Let’s talk about geocache quality

Today, we’re inviting you to join a community conversation about geocache quality. You have the opportunity to share thoughts about how you define geocache quality and what you think the community or Geocaching HQ can do to improve it. But before we get into specifics, let’s talk about why we think this conversation is necessary.

Cache quality has always been an important topic. In order for geocaching to continue to thrive, people have to enjoy what they’re finding. Here at Geocaching HQ, we’ve taken steps in recent years to bring cache quality into greater focus, including: the Geocache Health Score, the introduction of Virtual Rewards, recognition of great cache hiders in the Geocaching Blog, and more. If we’re going to do more, we’d like to first give geocachers a place to make their voices heard and see how others in the community feel about cache quality.

We have opened a new thread in our User Insights Forum. (We’re also opening dedicated threads for German and French speakers. For all other languages, please answer in the English thread and we’ll translate when compiling the feedback.)

There are four questions to answer:

  • In your mind, what is a high quality geocache?
  • In your mind, what is a low quality geocache?
  • What steps can the community take to improve geocache quality?
  • What steps can Geocaching HQ take to improve geocache quality?

The threads are open for three weeks. After compiling the feedback, we expect to follow up with a survey to gather more information.

Geocaching is played by a vibrant community of millions of people across the world. We hope this conversation will help identify common themes and possible next steps as we continue to build tools and services for the game.

Geocaching on the water

Paddle your way to a T5 geocache

After attending the MOGA 2014 Mega-Event in Ohio, my wife and I were driving through Kentucky on our way home. I opened the Geocaching® app to search for caches along our route when I caught sight of a ton of T5 caches. I mean a boatload of them (pun intended because they were the kind that required a boat to find). They were on creeks, rivers, and lakes. So many of them! I’d never seen anything like it. Alas, I had no boat. No kayak. No canoe. No watercraft of any kind.

I pondered the boat idea upon returning home. Impulsive as I may be when it comes to geocaching, I know enough not to immediately drop hundreds or thousands of dollars on a watercraft. So, I dipped my toe into water caching by tagging along on a lake outing with a friend who owns an extra hardshell kayak. I loved it. Still, I wasn’t quite ready to make a huge investment. Instead, I purchased an inflatable kayak for around $75.

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Updated Geocache Hiding Guidelines

Today, Geocaching HQ is releasing updated guidelines for hiding caches. The main goal of the update is to make the Geocache Hiding Guidelines easier to read and understand. Here is what we have done to achieve that goal:

  • Improved guideline layout
  • Made text more clear
  • Reduced number of words by 15%
  • Moved supporting material to Help Center
  • Added some changes or clarifications to specific guidelines (see below)

In addition to the text updates, the page got a face lift, including better navigation! Read the new guidelines.

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Introducing Virtual Rewards!

Based on feedback we have received about Virtual Rewards, Geocaching HQ has decided to update the blog post with a new statement, found at the end of the post.

Geocaching HQ is thrilled to announce the release of Virtual Rewards, a project to reward some of geocaching’s great contributors, while also introducing a limited number of new Virtual Caches for the enjoyment of the entire geocaching community.

Starting today, approximately 4,000 geocachers in 63 countries around the world will receive emails with information about their Virtual Reward. This group is made up largely of top quality cache hiders from countries with at least 100 hiders. We created an algorithm to identify these people based on overall cache quality and cache health. Active community volunteers are also receiving a Virtual Reward as a thank you for giving their time and talent to support the geocaching community.

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