Is Geocaching Australia worth pursuing?

Discussion about the Geocaching Australia web site
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caughtatwork
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Is Geocaching Australia worth pursuing?

Post by caughtatwork » 29 June 15 12:39 pm

Geocaching Australia finds over time and a discussion.

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First chart is a percentage of all cache finds. To be technical, it would be a percentage of all cache finds which have been loaded into the GCA database. It's highly possible that GCA is missing some cache logs, but I suspect it won't impact the overall look of the data / trend. To get the data we calculated the total number of GCA finds as a percentage of all finds for a given month of the year. This will track the "popularity" of GCA caches as a whole vs. GC.com.

From start 2006 to end 2009, the find rate was around 1.5%. From the start of 2010 through to the end of 2012 there was a rate of finds on GCA caches between about 1.5-3.0 percent. This coincides with the moving cache races at GCA. From beginning 2013 through to mid 2015 the rate is around 0.5% of all cache finds being on GCA caches.

Second chart is a count of all cache finds. This one is a bit tougher to drawn long term conclusions about as the game of geocaching (whether it be GCA or GC) has grown over time. From the start of GCA becoming a listing site, up until start 2010 the number of finds per month seems to be from 0 through about 400 per month to peak up at about 1,500. From the start of 2010 through to the end of 2012 there were bout 2,000 finds per month on GCA caches. From start 2013 to now he find rate at the moment is around 1,000 finds on GCA caches per month.

Regardless of the trendline which accompanies the graph it seems clear that the trend on GCA is down.

GCA belongs to the folks who use it. GCA has some senators and some developers who are more or less quite passionate about the site and the free and open nature of the listings. GCA has a number of members who vary from quite passionate through "gave it a try" to "will avoid at all costs". That's the nature of people.

What we're finding is that as more and more people join geocaching and geocaching becomes more mainstream the niche opportunities that GCA offered when is started as a listing service are being sidelined by the mass appeal of other focus.

GCA is the only site that has true movable caches. GCA offers locationless caches to those in Australia who are not in cache rich areas which still enable them to play the game. GCA offers virtuals for sensitive areas. GCA offers TrigPoints which are a unique cache listing type around the world. TrigPoints also help those in cache poor areas get out and find geocaches. These niche points don't seem to be helping GCA to grow.

It seems that numbers are the name of the game nowadays rather the journey. The metropolitan areas of Australia's major cities are starting to overflow with geocaches, but the overflow is GC focused. The number of power trails both in, around and far from almost every geocacher in the country is staggering. The number of caches being hidden, "just because I can" is also rather staggering. The quality of caches (very subjective) seems to be heading in the wrong direction, but as long as I can make a milestone out of it, I'll find it. There are undoubtedly a great number of extremely good caches being hidden, but there are many, many more caches of poor quality being done, it would seem, just for the numbers.

Whether they be the newbies who hear of the biggest fish in the pond (GC) and have never heard of GCA; whether they be power trail fanatics who will hide / find a series of 100+ caches in a day "just for the numbers"; whether they be folks who harbor a long term grudge against GCA (and/or those involved) for being a break-away group; whether they be the folks who like to keep all their stats in one place for ease; regardless of who they are GCA is not growing but dwindling at the hand of the growth of the monopoly geocache listing site.

GCA belongs to the folks who use it. If you don't use it it will stagnate and die. If you use it they will come.

Should GCA persist as a niche provider or should we give it in?
Should we just give it away?
Should we let the biggest fish in the sea be the true monopoly?
Should we accept our game is to be controlled by overseas interests?
Do we want GCA to continue to provide an alternative or not?

The time is drawing close to where the continued existence of GCA may be not be sustainable. If you would like GCA to continue, then hide a cache, find a cache, log a cache, return a movable cache from your boot / car / garage / bag. If you dream it would just die, then do nothing, it seems to be happening already and a lack of contribution to the site and the game will make that dream come true.

BTW, this is not a pity party by the developers or the admins or the senators. This is a serious discussion about whether GCA as a site, as a function, as a service should continue. People will always come and go, but once your site goes, it probably won't come back.

Laighside Legends
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Re: Is Geocaching Australia worth pursuing?

Post by Laighside Legends » 29 June 15 4:05 pm

The part I like most about GCA is that I can hide caches that are actually interesting and not just drive-by traditionals like Groundspeak seems to encourage. But it is hard to convince people to come and play on GCA when it takes 10mins to load up a cache page - I think the new server will go a long way with solving this problem.

How are the GCA finances going?

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Re: Is Geocaching Australia worth pursuing?

Post by Tuena » 29 June 15 5:44 pm

I think we should stick with it. When I travel I always keep an eye out for GCA caches & get more satisfaction out of finding them than the other site's. My PQs are aimed at reducing the number of GC caches that get recorded on GSAK whereas all GCA caches, other than Locs, are gathered.

I have lost interest in Locationless caches though because of the mad increase in their numbers over the last while, plus I now do Waymarking. The latter is also my main interest on the GC side of things.

We'll never compete with the other site on numbers but for cache variety & inventiveness we have no peer.

We can't quit anyway as we're still trying to work out how Sol got 9000+points in the Winter game.

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Re: Is Geocaching Australia worth pursuing?

Post by oldfella » 29 June 15 5:58 pm

I would like to see it keep going as I get a lot of benefit out of it and am a user of the GCA shop. Like some others, I check for GCA hides in all areas that I travel and/or go caching. I have hidden GCA hides in the past but the area I live in does not lend itself for hiding these. I make finding GCA hides and moveables a priority on my hit list on my travels. South East Queensland is not a good GCA area in comparison to our southern friends.

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Re: Is Geocaching Australia worth pursuing?

Post by rogerw3 » 29 June 15 7:43 pm

I do love GCA and would be very sad indeed to see its demise. I have done my best over the years to place GCA caches but the overall find count is still very low.

I use the GCA site almost exclusively and use it even for finding CG caches.

I realise that to maintain the site a large investment in time and effort has to be made by only a couple people and they do have to get some satisfaction out of it. Sadly the trend in GCA hides/finds is down and probably disappointing some those involved.

All in all I would love to see GCA go on to bigger and better things but the reality is that at best it will only grow very little overall.

In my case since I have found most of the GCA caches I can reach my find tally has almost stopped, and all I can do is place caches in the hope that it will encourage more players.

Keep the site going is my choice, but that is purely a selfish opinion.

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Re: Is Geocaching Australia worth pursuing?

Post by ziggiau » 29 June 15 10:11 pm

I like keeping things local and having local representation for what's happening on the ground here. Whether GCA operates as it currently does or in some other format, I think there will always be a place for GCA. I very much appreciate all the work that has gone into building what is here and all that has gone before.

Being relativity new to the sport (<1 year) and exclusively an iphone cacher (that's what I've got so that's what I've gotta go with), I find that because I don't have the immediacy of loading GCA caches on the fly like I do with the GC app, I don't even think of GCA caches as an option/priority when I'm out and about. Call me a spoiled newbie who hasn't had to do it "the old fashioned way", but it did bring me to the game, and I LOVE IT :D ! I have logged GCA caches but most were trig points that happened to be close to GC caches. I intend to seek out more but there are none near me and I don't get to travel as much as I'd like.

It was important to me to connect with the existing community as it was quite obvious there was something special going on here. But that aspect is not for everyone and as noted previously in this forum, everyone caches for their own reasons. I feel like GCA offers a set of extension caches for when you've done all the GC ones - it's just not my first port of call.

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Re: Is Geocaching Australia worth pursuing?

Post by Richary » 29 June 15 10:16 pm

I love having the forums, and the stats available on this site. While I don't specifically go out of my way to find GCA caches (apart from trigs if I am likely to be near the top of a hill etc) I certainly don't discriminate between the 2 sites, whatever cache is nearest I will find it no matter which of the 2 sites it might be on (I rarely check opencaching though and have only ever found 1 when it contained a Munzee when I was still working out if I was interested in those). I think the new server will help as sometimes the site runs horrendously slowly with the old hardware to log a cache or do anything else.

I don't know if I agree that GCA necessarily promoted placing a better cache, it's just that the vast number of newcomers who get the Groundspeak app on their phone find so many (and so many crap) caches that they probably expect that is what they should hide in return (which is a different topic). Most of the GCA cachers have probably been involved longer and so remember the joy of finding an ammo tin over a mint tin.

With the numbers available in most areas now there is no need to find a second site for more cache listings. Also the forums probably drove a lot of interest in GCA in the early days, which now seems to have been much replaced by local facebook groups (and for all I know Google+ but I don't really use that). To my mind that is a backward step as the forums are a lot more useful for searching previous threads than social media will ever will be, but it seems to be a trend.

I like the ability to do moveables, virtuals etc on this site - and really should list some more caches myself which I haven't done for ages on either site.

So my view is I would like it keep running, and will keep supporting it while I can as a lot will be lost if it is decided to close it down. That said it all comes down to C@W and CraigRat wanting to continue to put the time in. And we appreciate your work :D

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Re: Is Geocaching Australia worth pursuing?

Post by Richary » 29 June 15 10:21 pm

ziggiau wrote:Being relativity new to the sport (<1 year) and exclusively an iphone cacher (that's what I've got so that's what I've gotta go with), I find that because I don't have the immediacy of loading GCA caches on the fly like I do with the GC app,
Hi ziggiau - I've never used the official Groundspeak app on my iPhone, but instead chose Geosphere which was the same cost. It allows you to download PQs generated here as well as the GC ones, so when you turn up to an area it will show you caches off both sites. The advantage of that is that you can also be out of coverage, but the caches are still on your phone which doesn't happen often around Sydney but can in valleys, and I still have the logs without the data connection (I don't know how the GS app works in terms of downloading stuff or if it needs you to be online or not). Plus it doesn't suck your data allowance when on 4G (unless you use the maps) as you already have all the caches loaded in from your home or work Wifi connection.

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Re: Is Geocaching Australia worth pursuing?

Post by pjmpjm » 29 June 15 10:37 pm

I'm an extremely keen GCA cacher and would be devasted if the organisation folded up.

The maps are very useful and I use them in preference to the GC site.

And the statistics are unique.

Finally, what on earth would we do without trigs?

I always find and log all GCA caches within reach, have placed quite a few GCAs (including a great many moveables), and agree with rogerw3's comments.

Please take this post as my vote of approval and appreciation! =D> =D> =D>

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Re: Is Geocaching Australia worth pursuing?

Post by ziggiau » 29 June 15 10:47 pm

Richary wrote:I've never used the official Groundspeak app on my iPhone, but instead chose Geosphere which was the same cost. It allows you to download PQs generated here as well as the GC ones, so when you turn up to an area it will show you caches off both sites. The advantage of that is that you can also be out of coverage, but the caches are still on your phone which doesn't happen often around Sydney but can in valleys, and I still have the logs without the data connection (I don't know how the GS app works in terms of downloading stuff or if it needs you to be online or not). Plus it doesn't suck your data allowance when on 4G (unless you use the maps) as you already have all the caches loaded in from your home or work Wifi connection.
You can both "save for offline use" and load PQs from the GC paid app but I'm still perfecting this. I also use L4C to manage family and TB logging. And rather than get another app, I opted for GCNSW membership instead this year :D. The GCA caches will just have to wait a little longer on my to do list.

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Re: Is Geocaching Australia worth pursuing?

Post by Goldenwattle » 29 June 15 10:50 pm

I like the forum most here and find it very useful. I would hate it to go. I only find the occasional GA cache, but I should make a greater effort and load more local ones into my Garmin. I logged a trig last night and a GA cache today in an effort to increase my GA finds.

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Re: Is Geocaching Australia worth pursuing?

Post by cantanga » 29 June 15 11:10 pm

I vote for keeping it. All my hides are on GCA for 2 reasons. Mainly I want to see GCA succeed, the stats, the helpfulness of the developers, the fact you're not in it to remove the very little money I have in my wallet these days, the helpfulness of the developers (yes I know that's repeated, it's repeated for a reason) all amount to a better experience. Secondly because I'm in Canberra. Every inch of Canberra is covered in a powertrail, there is no way I could hide a decent cache on GC that I could regularly maintain because there is guaranteed to be a mint tin hiding nearby, GCA allows me to actually place a decent cache (or at least I like to think they are decent and I haven't had any negative feedback) where a decent cache can go.
The only downfall is having to switch between apps on my phone. In the bush I have no issue as I download it all to GSAK then the listing site is irrelevant. In the city when I'm after a quick find, or travelling or just want to find a cache on the fly I need to switch between apps which can get cumbersome.
Overall if GCA goes then I am unlikely to continue geocaching as I do prefer finding the GCA ones and even though I rarely do moveables the trig points are my favourite type.

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Re: Is Geocaching Australia worth pursuing?

Post by Zalgariath » 30 June 15 12:16 am

Dont know what I'd do without GCA. Due to becoming a boring office worker my 100 find a month average has plummeted to a point where I actually preference GCA caches over GC ones as I have so little time to spare for caching in general. I hate to say it but one way to boost exposure would be to get a community member skilled in such areas to develop an iPhone app. The GA Cacher on Android is awesome and makes it so easy to go GCA hunting! Ive got a few cross promote caches and try to get involved in the events as best I can... shame work takes up so much time, I need GCA to be here when I retire in 30 years so keep up the good work ;)

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Re: Is Geocaching Australia worth pursuing?

Post by Goldenwattle » 30 June 15 12:40 am

After reading this, tonight I loaded all the GA traditional caches and trig points in Canberra into my Garmin, so when out caching I will find the GA ones too. I also logged a number of trigs I have visited, but until now had not logged.

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Re: Is Geocaching Australia worth pursuing?

Post by mtrax » 30 June 15 8:30 am

If you really want to encourage growth you probably need to offer more unique types of features, like trigs but not limited. Most people (not me) can't see why they should look at two sites.
One thing I think CG hasn't really done well, that maybe gca might try is facilitated group finds or tools to engage with other cachers.
Also the performance of current server is a concern.
The gca forums of late seems to be more exclusion because or this rule and that rule.
Perhaps some more effort to engage with events and groups might help.
I hope GCA can weather this storm it would be sad to see it go, but yes we need some changes to encourage growth ..

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