Recently, intelligence agents at GCHQ 47 intercepted a series of encoded messages from a highly classified source. We believe these messages include detailed instructions for securing three new geocaching souvenirs. However, our analysts have been unable to decipher their meaning.
Your mission, should you choose to accept it, involves decoding these messages and securing these souvenirs for your Geocaching profile. Fair warning: This isn’t mission difficult. It’s Mission GC.
New intel suggests souvenirs will only be available for procurement on the following dates:
The window for securing Souvenir #1 is July 30-31, 2016.
The window for securing Souvenir #2 is August 13-14, 2016.
The window for securing Souvenir #3 is August 27-28, 2016.
Given the top secret nature of this mission, the encoded messages will be sent for analysis only to those with proper security clearance. Premium members will receive an email including the encoded message one week prior to each souvenir release. Decoding the message will unlock instructions for securing the next souvenir. The first encoded message will be sent to Premium members on July 22, 2016.
Instructions for unlocking the souvenirs will be made available to members of all security levels on the morning of each souvenir release. This information will be posted on all major GCHQ 47 channels (Geocaching.com, Geocaching® app, Facebook and Twitter).
As always, should you or any member of your team be caught by muggles, GCHQ 47 will disavow all knowledge of your actions. This message will self-destruct in 5 seconds.
Good luck. The fate of the geocaching universe is in your preferred TOTT.
Whether you’re developing an app, building a website or designing Tupperware containers, it’s important that you have people in your organization who are passionate about understanding people — people who are committed to discovering what makes the lives of those in their community better. At Geocaching HQ, there is a whole team of folks responsible for making sure we’re building the right tools at the right time to meet the needs of geocachers around the world.
Meet the Product Team:
In January, we introduced you to Jayme, our User Insights Analyst at Geocaching HQ. Jayme collects feedback from geocachers about our apps and features by working with playtesters, coordinating surveys and even organizing special games designed to collect feedback. Recently, Jayme and the rest of her Product teammates — the people who work with departments across the company to determine the “what”, “how”, “when” and “why” for everything we build — took their insights-gathering on the road to the Going Caching Mega Event in Rome, Georgia.
We asked Jayme to share some of the Product Team’s takeaways from the experience with us:
Why did the Product Team decide to take a trip to Going Caching in Rome, Georgia?
The first User Insights Games — games designed to collect feedback from geocachers about our features — were a success at the 2014 Geocaching Block Party, so we were looking for a way to expand the program and bring voices in from other regions and demographics. Geocaching’s Founder, Jeremy Irish, had attended the Going Caching Mega Event the previous year and thought it would be a great place to host the next User Insights Games because the event attracted players with a wide range of experience levels.
What were you trying to achieve by taking the User Insights Games on the road?
We had a few different goals in mind for these games:
First, we wanted to invite geocachers to help us prioritize various community-suggested features for the Geocaching website and apps — and have fun playing a game too!
We also saw this as an opportunity to share what it’s like to be on the Geocaching Product Team with the community. When Geocaching HQ makes decisions on a new (or old) feature, we have to consider how people play the game differently across the world and across interests. That’s actually one of the coolest things about geocaching — it allows for you to play the game just the way you like it. But not everyone likes the same aspects of the game which can make deciding which features to focus on (and when) very challenging. All the geocachers who participated in these games were made “Honorary Product Team members” for the day, and were presented with some of the challenges we get to think about every day.
Finally, we wanted to spread the word about how we gather feedback about product and ways to stay involved. The games are just one step in the lengthy process of creating new geocaching features.
What are the steps to deciding on a new geocaching feature?
We usually start with a thread in the User Insights forums and follow up by sending out surveys to the global geocaching community. (Editor’s note: Make sure you’re signed up to receive the Geocaching Weekly Newsletter to be notified about these surveys.) We’ve played User Insights Games with folks at the Geocaching Block Party and Going Caching, as well as with geocachers at Mega-Events in Germany, Czech Republic, Spain, and Sweden. We’re hoping to bring these games to more geocachers around the world in 2016.
What happened at the User Insights Games at the Going Caching Mega Event?
We played with 75 different geocachers over a three day period in four separate two hour sessions. Whew! This time, groups were given a set amount of Monopoly money and were then asked to “purchase” various features — and making sure to consider geocachers of different skill level living in different places with different likes and dislikes. They purposefully were not given enough money to purchase everything (similar to how we have to consider resource constraints here at Geocaching HQ) so the groups had to collaborate and make some decisions together.
What will you do with your learning from the User Insights Games?
As members of the Product Team, it’s our job to be the voice of the geocaching community, based on the insights we gather at games like these. These learnings are shared with others at Geocaching HQ and are central to the product development process, ensuring that we design new features with many different geocachers’ interests in mind.
What was the highlight of the event for you?
It’s incredibly fun to watch a team of 5-7 geocachers collaborate on a specific topic. They may not agree on everything, but watching them get a bit vulnerable and share their passion for geocaching with each other (and us) is pretty special. Ideas are shared, listened to, and friends are made — all in a two hour whirlwind of fun and games.
One geocacher pulled me aside at one point and said, “I was wondering to myself why you don’t just ask us the questions and save the time, and then I thought that probably wouldn’t be any fun. I see what you guys did here. You tricked us into having fun AND giving you feedback. Well played.”
Anything else you’d like to add?
The whole team would like to give a HUGE thank you to:
The event organizers and their crew for working with us to bring User Insights Games to the Going Caching Mega Event. It was the first time we had taken our more formal, organized games on the road and, thanks to their awesome teamwork and planning, it was wildly successful.
The city of Rome, Georgia for donating the use of their beautiful ECO Center. We needed a large space to hold the sessions and the ECO Center was an amazing place to play for the week.
All the geocachers who shared two hours of their time with us. There were so many things to do and geocaches to find at this event, and we greatly appreciate that they made the choice to spend their valuable time with us!
Are you a geocacher? (If not, then you may be reading the wrong blog.) If yes, we want to hear from you! Take this survey to share your two cents on Challenge Caches and check out this blog post for other ways you can give your feedback.
Soweit haben wir dieses Jahr 15 Jahre Geocaching gebührlich gefeiert. Wir fanden einen Geocache am Jahrestag des ersten jemals versteckten Geocaches, haben viel über #TBT-Fotos aus den frühen Tagen des Geocaching gelacht und uns sogar mit unseren Geochaching-Freunden auf einen großen Road Trip begeben. Wie die meisten Geocaching-Strähnen wird jedoch auch das Jahr 2015 unweigerlich zu Ende gehen…
Aber hier ist die gute Nachricht: Dieses Jahr laden wir Euch ein, Lebewohl zu 2015 und Hallo zu 2016 mit zwei neuen Geocaching-Souvenirs zu sagen. Finde einen Geocache oder nimm am 31. Dezember an einem Event teil, um dir ein Lebewohl-2015-Souvenir zu verdienen. Beginne dein Jahr gleich mit dem Hallo-2016-Souvenir, das man sich auch durch Finden eines Geocaches oder der Teilnahme an einem Event am 1. Januar verdienen kann.
Wie kann ich mir beide Souvenirs verdienen?
Verdiene Dir das Lebewohl-2015-Souvenir, indem du einen Geocache findest oder an einem Event am 31. Dezember 2015 teilnimmst.
Verdiene Dir das Hallo-2016-Souvenir, indem Du einen weiteren Geocache findest oder an einem anderen Event am 1. Januar 2016 teilnimmst.
Kann man zwei Souvenirs für einen Event verdienen, wenn dieser am 31. Dezember beginnt und am 1. Januar endet?
Netter Versuch. Um beide Souvenirs zu bekommen, musst du zwei verschiedene Geocaches finden und/oder zwei Events besuchen – je einen bzw. eines pro Tag.
Kann ich aufeinanderfolgende Events organisieren, um beide Souvenirs zu erhalten?
Nein! Die Geocaching-Richtlinien verbieten das Aneinanderreihen von Events. Um das Aneinanderreihen von Events zu vermeiden, sollten Event-Geocaches zeitlich getrennt und von unterschiedlichen Geocachers organisiert sein, mindestens 30 Minutes dauern und an anderen Orten als andere Events stattfinden. In den Geocaching-Richtlinien findest Du weitere Informationen über das Planen eines Event-Geocache.
Wie veranstalte ich einen großartigen Neujahrs-Geocaching-Event?
Keine Sorge, wir haben die Lösung für Dich. Dieser Blogeintrag zeigt Dir in 5 einfachen Schritten, wie Du eine fantastische Geocaching-Party veranstalten kannst.
Ob Du das neue Jahr nun feiern wirst, indem du Trauben isst (wie in Spanien), Dein Zuhause dekorierst (wie das in Japan üblich ist), oder indem Du Geocachen gehst (wie das auf der ganzen Welt getan wird), Neujahr ist die Zeit, an das alte Jahr zurückzudenken und das neue Jahr willkommen zu heißen.
Wie wirst du Lebewohl zu 2015 und Hallo zu 2016 sagen?
But good news: This year, we invite you to say goodbye to 2015 and hello to 2016 with two new geocaching souvenirs. Find a geocache or attend an event on December 31 to earn the Goodbye 2015 souvenir. Then, start your year off right with the Hello 2016 souvenir, which can also be earned by finding a geocache or attending an event on January 1.
How do I earn both souvenirs?
Earn the Goodbye 2015 souvenir by finding any geocache or attending an event on December 31, 2015.
Earn the Hello 2016 souvenir by finding another geocache or attending a different event on January 1, 2016.
Can you earn two souvenirs for one event if it starts on December 31 and ends on January 1?
Nice try. To earn both souvenirs, you’ll have to submit two different logs for two different geocaches and/or events, one on each day.
Can I schedule back-to-back events to earn both souvenirs ?
Nope! The geocaching guidelines prohibit event stacking. To avoid event stacking, Event Caches should be separated by time, organized by different geocachers, have a minimum duration of 30 minutes and take place at a different location than other events. Please check out the geocaching guidelines for more information about planning an Event Cache.
How do I throw a great New Year’s geocaching event?
Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Check out this blog post for how to throw an awesome geocaching bash in 5 easy steps.
Whether you celebrate the new year by eating grapes (like in Spain), decorating your home (as they do in Japan), or geocaching (as they do all over the world), New Year’s is a time to remember the past year and welcome the next.
How will you say goodbye to 2015 and hello to 2016?
As a geocacher, evil nanos, tricky puzzles and even fake spiders may no longer surprise you. That’s why we’ve created a list of the world’s spookiest geocaches — geocaches guaranteed to make you shriek, shudder and have a frighteningly good time.