What better way to highlight quality caches than to encourage the community to discover and vote for their favorites? In this case, that community includes geocachers across all 20 regions of Portugal.
“We decided to organize the event to improve the quality of geocaching in Portugal and to reward the owners of the best caches,” explains prodrive, another GeoPT.org Website Administrator and Event Organizer.
Portugal experienced a geocaching boom in 2011. On average, over 500 geocaches were published each month, accumulating to more than 6,000 caches that year.
Peter! says, “We have around 18,000 active geocaches in Portugal, but not all take you to a place with an incredible view or put a smile on your face because they took you on a real adventure.”
GeoPT.org, a geocaching discussion portal in Portugal, initiated and organized the GPS awards to highlight quality caches across the country.
The organizers selected 365 of the Portuguese caches published in 2011 based on the following criteria:
- Favorite Points
- Average length of logs
- Number of photos in the gallery
- Terrain rating
They then encouraged geocachers to go out and discover as many of these caches as they could between February 17 and June 4, 2012. Geocachers who found at least 40 of the caches could vote for up to 20 of their favorites. An incredible 600 votes were submitted.
Voting closed on June 4 at midnight. Five caches in each district were selected as finalists. The awards ceremony took place on June 16, where the winner of each region and a national winner were announced. Over 150 geocachers attended the awards ceremony and crammed into a theater-style hall to recognize the finalists.
The 365 nominees received a bronze icon for their cache page. The 100 finalists received an additional silver icon, and the 20 regional winners received a gold icon for their cache page along with a medal.
One geocacher who attended the awards ceremony says, “Our first participation! We like! Not only because we stood on stage but for everything we experienced that night. We liked to see all those fantastic [cache] owners take the stage. Some more than once and without a doubt very well deserved. We kept adding more and more caches to our “to do ASAP” list. A great and fantastically organized event. Many congratulations to the organization that made it all possible.”
With the success of the GPS awards, another awards show, honoring 2012’s best regional and a national cache, is expected to take place in fall of 2013.