Posted in the New England Section of the Geocaching.com forums:
Do you own multistage or mystery/puzzle caches that were published more than five or six months ago? If so, the parking, intermediate and final stage coordinates may be in reviewer notes, e-mail messages you sent to the person who was your reviewer at the time, or perhaps just in your personal notes if the cache was published before 2003-2004 when we started looking beyond the coordinates at the top of the cache page.
There's now a new feature on your cache page - a way to document the waypoints associated with your cache, in addition to the obvious posted one. You can add waypoint coordinates to help other geocachers - like a parking area or a trailhead. For the paperless caching crowd those additional waypoints can be magically downloaded to a PDA and GPS. Pretty cool.
You can also add coordinate waypoints to help us - your cache reviewers. That would include the final coordinates of a mystery cache, and the intermediate and final coordinates of a multistage cache. This category of added waypoints can be set to be only be visible to you and to an administrator/reviewer like myself using a new reviewer’s tool.
While having your coordinate information documented with your cache page can be helpful to you, your reviewers will probably gain the greatest benefits. And what helps your reviewers also helps you, but we will get to that a little later.
Here's why we ask that you do this:
Whenever we review a new cache submission we have to be sure that it's not too close (less than .1 mile, or 528 feet) to another cache, or to the intermediate stages of another cache. We are not so concerned with the ficticious posted coordinates of a mystery cache, but we don't want your container being found while someone is searching for another one. When a new cache is submitted in a cache-rich area we have to check for the nearest caches, then open as many as a dozen nearby cache pages, retrieve that "note to reviewer" and compare the new cache's coordinates to those of the old cache. It's very tedious and time consuming.
The "waypoints" feature has been added to help the cache reviewers. With this plus a new reviewer tool, we can click on a link that will show the reviewers at a glance how close the new cache is to the starting and ending coordinatess of all other caches in the area. It's a great help, but it relies on those waypoints being recorded to provide a comprehensive view.
Here's where you can help us: If you own a multistage or mystery cache please go to your cache page and click on "waypoints" at the top right section of the cache page. You'll then see a page where you enter your coordinates and make some selections.
These Waypoint Types can be selected from the drop down menu:
Stages of a Multicache
Question to Answer
Next there is an entry box for a Waypoint Name. For consistency, we suggest using entries like these:
GC???? Stage 1, Stage 2, Stage 3, etc.
GC???? Question 1, Question 2, etc.
GC???? Reference Point 1, etc.
(GC???? represents your cache page waypoint number starting with the letters GC.)
Next there is an entry box for a Waypoint Lookup Code of up to six digits. Suggested entries include:
TRAIL (or TRAIL1, TRAIL2, etc.)
STAGE1, STAGE2, etc.
QUEST1, QUEST2, etc.
REF1, REF2, etc.
Next there is an entry box for a two character Prefix Code; suggested entries include:
T1, T2, etc.
S1, S2, etc.
Q1, Q2, etc
R1, R2, etc.
Next there is an area for the coordinates of the waypoint you are entering, followed by an optional text entry box. In the case of a parking waypoint, you may want to state something along the lines of "Metered parking is in effect from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. except Sundays and holidays." This field is optional.
Here's a real important part. The next thing you will see are three radio buttons, of which you may select only one:
o Show all information for this waypoint, including coordinates
o Show the details of this waypoint but hide the coordinates
o Hide this waypoint from view except by the owner or administrator
For parking and trailhead waypoints, you will want to select the top radio button so everyone can see the information.
For questions to answer or reference points, you might choose the middle radio button to hide only the coordinates from the view of geocachers.
For the stages of a multicache and for the final location, you will want to choose the bottom radio button to keep the waypoint information under wraps.
Finally, be sure to click the Create Waypoint link at the bottom left of the page. If you forget to do this, or if you click on the Archive Waypoint link, you get to start all over. Not fun!
So how does this help you as a cache owner?
First, it provides you with a convenient place to store the details of your multistage and mystery caches. No more random scraps of paper or extra waypoints stored on your GPSr.
Second, it will help prevent cache placements that conflict with or overlap one another.
Third, it will help the volunteer reviewers perform a more thorough assessment of potential cache proximity issues.
Fourth, it will help to get new caches published more promptly for you to hunt. (OK; this one is a bit lame, but I needed to say someting to make you smile at this point.)
If you could help us out by updating your previously published caches, it will be greatly appreciated.
-gpsfun, MadMin, and POFE
Volunteer Reviewers for New England
(With thanks to erik88l-r for his similar article in the GGA forums.)