How Do You Check Your Cords When Placing a Cache?
So, I am going to paste my log from a cache here which Marcipanek and I ran to try to get FTF on yesterday. I am santizing the log so no cords, or identifying info about cache is in it. What I would like to know is, how do you guys all check your cords when placing a cache? This is a bit of a rhetorical question. I am not asking because I myself need help doing so. But I would like to know from everyone else, whether you even look at the placement cords in Google Earth or another application before publishing? Even looking at them on the cache listing? So... here it goes, and I am sure I am going to get some mean comments regarding my log:
"Not-so-quick find with Marcipanek at 1:00 PM. STF (Second to find) behind XXXXXX.... congrats on your find! I am sure you had as much difficulty as we did on this cache. Good job over coming the hurdles and obstacles of bad cords.
Our caching day started out very early leaving Saco, ME at 4:00 AM to run for an unfound cache which was published yesterday in Weld, ME at Mt. Blue State Park. We got the First to Find on it at 6:30 AM and then cached our way to the Pancake Cache Event in Livermore. After eating, we left and started home... when we decided, XXXXXXXX Cache was still unfound. We have been running for distant unfound caches recently a lot including one 250 miles north of us earlier in the week, with very good results. So we rerouted 60 miles out of our way from Livermore, through Winthrop and Augusta to try to snag this one.
Upon arriving at parking cords, it looked as if cache was easier to just bushwhack to. This was a first to find run wasn't it? Gotta be quick. The straight line route amounted to nothing. Why? Because the posted cords put us 60 feet out into the lake! We couldn't find cache in anything nearby that matched the cache description and cords and hint. So we decided to work our way up the hill though the forest on wet leaves and over some small streams in an attempt to find the marked trail. We found it and then started looking all along the trail for anything that matched the description. Finally just as we were about to give up and follow trail back to parking, we spotted obvious cache location.... which was a whopping .18 (that is POINT one eight) mile away from the posted cords. That is about 1,000 feet! A significant distance Funny thing is, even the cache description (which WAS worded in a wonderful rhyming verse) didn't even match where we found the cache. Description discusses cache being where their dog (XXXXXX I assume) likes to swim. Never knew a dog who liked to swim in leaves and rocks. Description makes you think cache is near the lake or a LARGE stream which a dog could swim in. Cache is not. PLUS cache is so far from posted cords.....
When we went to sign log we discovered that we were (as it turned out later when XXXXXXX logged my Serious Jeep Travel Bug tag on the back of my Jeep from the parking lot) beaten to the cache. Oh well. We gambled and lost. Maybe if the cords had been good we would have had a fighting chance though....
But it get's even better, from seeing XXXXXXXX's log.... there wasn't even a log book in the cache when they found it! You've got to be kidding me! They had to place one in the cache for cache owner. Wow....
Anyhow, I'd advise that cache owner disable cache ASAP and submit new cords to MainePublisher for review. The cords I have provided were averaged on my Delorme PN-60w with an accuracy of 8ft , for 250 readings. Please do this soon before other helpless cachers (who may not be as nimble and resourceful as XXXXXXX, Marcipanek and myself) attempt this cache and have SERIOUS issues. Thanks in advance for taking care of this
N 44. xx.xxx
W 069. xx.xxx
I have included several photos of the beautiful area this trail is located on. Would love to come back and backpack and climb here sometime in the future. Also have included photos showing the distance from listed cords to actual cache.
Took the TB that was in cache and logged it. Will move it along quickly.
SL TFTC STF"
I generally visit all my cache sites at least three times, and for the multis or puzzles I like to visit the cache as if I had never been, entering the coords in by hand and proceeding to the next stage. If it's an area with tough reception, I go more times. I bet I averaged battleship 30 or more times over a couple weeks before I was confident the coords were acceptable.
I think many people figure the averaging feature of GPSrs will give you a decent coordinate, and 95% of the time it probably will. I'm still a proponent of going back another day at least once to make sure. Double checking the posted coords helps tons too. Looking on Google Earth or Maps is a great idea as well.
That being said, everyone makes mistakes, My last hide I reversed my entire puzzle stages so the posted coords were of the actual final. It was actually funny getting a call from the first finder as he was unsuccessfully looking for the first stage (micro) while pretty much standing on top of the final (Ammo box).
DNFTT! DNFTT! DNFTT!
"The funniest thing about this particular signature is that by the time you realize it doesn't say anything it's to late to stop reading it..."
I find that averaging works great. Most GPS units offer automatic averaging. My Delorme PN-60w is VERY accurate to begin with and when I average my cords (usually to 50 readings out in the open, and 250 readings under tree cover or in the city) no one has any complaints with my cords. They usually bring your right to the cache. And if I am not mistaken, then whole idea of Geocaching according to Groundspeak is to use PRECISE GPS cords to bring you to the cache. Some people purposely give bad cords that are off by 30 or 40 feet, which is a whole other discussion in it's own...
But... once I get my cords home after averaging and also routing myself back to the cache from about 200 feet away using those cords, you can very easily check your cords in Google Earth or Google Maps online. These are great ways to see how good your cords are especially if your hides are in close proximity to landmarks or easily distinguishable objects from the SAT imagery.
But the easiest way, and what I wish new cachers would do, is when they type in the cords on the cache listing page, simply hit the "Show on Map" button and a map, which can show your proposed cache location in SAT imagery, pops up to the right. I have no idea why people don't look at the obvious when this is offered. In our experience at the cache yesterday, that was the impetus for my thread here.... if cache owner had simply done this, well.... they would have EASILY seen that cache location was in the lake with the cords he had taken and knew the cache was wrong.
The above cache owner DID finally change the cords today and I in return edited my log and made it a simple and typical found log of mine without any mention of his bad cords. BUT, which I didnt realize at first.... he only changed them a mere 20 feet! So I wrote him and email and explained again what the proper cords were, and how to disable his cache and then contact MainePublisher to get the cords properly changed due to the fact that the new cords were over .1 miles from original ones ( . 18 miles away!).
Bad coords happen...
I have had a few that were not as right on when I placed a few back in the day. I too now use the averaging features on both my Oregon and my PN-60 for placing caches. I usually go out to at least 100, but you can watch the numbers to see if they are still changing. I also will walk around GZ as well as moving in and out especially where there is significant tree cover. I don't seem to receive many complaints since I have been using these methods. Spotting where it takes you on Google earth or another online map is good too. One of the easiest mistakes to make is transposing a digit when typing them in. Cross checking on a map is the easiest way to be sure you did it correct. All these as well as what was said above will help to prevent these mistakes. But yes, people do make those newbie mistakes. Educating them is about all you can do. It's just a game after all.
Always always now, whenever we place a cache, we fine-tune the coords using the Satellite functionality of Google Maps. The photo coverage varies from place to place within the state. Some locations have very high detail photos, while others are fuzzier as you zoom in. Even in areas with lesser detail, this check obviates the "we just sent you into the middle of a highway/someone's shooting range/ a steep hillside covered in brambles" problem. That is, of course, unless you want to place a cache on a steep hillside in some brambles (and next to a yellow jacket hive to boot).
We have at least two GPS's with us and sometimes three. We manually average the coordinates and then check them on a second day whenever possible. We've had several comments that our coordinates are good but I don't doubt we'll have some that aren't as accurate as others. If this was a game that had higher stakes I'd worry more about getting much closer on the coordinates. Most of our caches are ones that once you get close and use a little geosense you're able to get them easily. If I get what I consider a very difficult hide set up I'll be much more critical of my own coordinates. I think that if every time we went out the GPS took us to the exact spot and there was little room for error....in other words if we walked right to it and whammo there it was we probably would have gotten bored with this game and moved on. Even coordinates that are off by several hundred feet don't bother me as long as the cache owner is willing to resubmit them as corrected coordinates in a timely manner once a more accurate set is determined.
You're cords are always spot on, which I respect....