Where do you see geocaching in the next 10 years?

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stringy
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Where do you see geocaching in the next 10 years?

Post by stringy » 13 October 09 11:02 am

I reckon, triple people will be doing geocaches and we'll have to replace log books as they will get full. :|

Otherwise geocaching will stay normal. \:D/

Please feel free to place and opinion.

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Re: Where do you see geocaching in the next 10 years?

Post by caughtatwork » 13 October 09 11:20 am

Dead in the water.

Too many people.
Too may restrictions on where caches can be placed.
Too many caches with one under every light pole in the carpark.
Too many small / micro caches.
Too little in the way of swaps.
Too many getting muggled due to the too many people not replacing them properly.
Too many cachers hiding crappy caches every 161m.

A lot of the appeal of geocaching has been the underground component of the game.
If everyone knows there is a cache over there, then the fun and secrecy of the game is spoilt.

Active geocachers are doubling about every 2-3 years.
There are 2,500 (round numbers) active cachers now.
By 2012 this is likley to be 5,000.
By 2015 this could be 10,000.
By 2018 this could be 20,000.
So 9 years down the track, we could be looking at 20,000+ active cachers vs. the current number of around 2,500.
That's a 10 fold increase.
http://geocaching.com.au/stats/cachers/ ... ers_active

Caches are doubling every 2 years (or so).
There are 30,000 caches in Australia.
By 2012 this could be 60,000
By 2014 this could be 120,000
By 2016 this could be 240,000
By 2018 this could be 480,000
http://geocaching.com.au/stats/graphs/a ... cumulative

Those numbers (based on past experience) are ridiculous both in terms of people seeking a cache and caches in the wild.
If we take a simple cache which might get 100 visitors a year (that's 2 a weekend) and extrapolate to 10 fold increase in finders in 10 years, that's 1,000 people finding the same cache at the end of the year or around 20 per weekend.

There is no natural environment that will stand up to that sort of pressure of ripping an area apart week after week for a year. I've seen some caches that are visited much less frequently significantly damaged as a result of caching activities. To increase that damage 10 fold will incur the (correct) wrath of the organisations that control our parks.

Look to the US for history. A huge number of caches and cachers. Strictly controlled parks areas and some outright banned. Caches being blown up as the available area to hide them decreases and the liklihood of discovery under a major arterial bridge / railroad increases. Lots of people bithing about crappy hides, micro containers, crappy swaps, etc, etc.

We are some years behind the US in terms of volume, but if we follow the trend of numbers as has occurred in the past, we will end up in the same place and well before that stage the game will have lost all appeal to me.

My 2 cents.

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Re: Where do you see geocaching in the next 10 years?

Post by pjamesk » 13 October 09 5:25 pm

Too many restrictions, from GC and land owners/managers (parks etc)
Sites like GCA wil be the place to find the better caches.

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Re: Where do you see geocaching in the next 10 years?

Post by CraigRat » 13 October 09 6:03 pm

pjamesk wrote:Too many restrictions, from GC and land owners/managers (parks etc)
Sites like GCA wil be the place to find the better caches.
I fear the Traditional Geocache might become the minority due to the dreaded rules and regulations as red tape gradually makes it hard for us to hide caches in public spaces.

Things like virtuals, locationless, Trigs, waymarking etc will probably end up being the more prevelant type of 'caches' out there.
Sad but true.

I also feel that as smart devices become more common, things similar to WhereIgo and other augmented reality apps will become quite common types of GPS/location based entertainment. Hopefully someone developes a workable open framework similar to whereigo that is actually useable to the masses and not tired to one site.

The optimistic 20% of me hopes this isn't the case, and caching keeps on as it does now,

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Re: Where do you see geocaching in the next 10 years?

Post by Diadem » 14 October 09 9:03 am

I pondered this question a few years ago when I realised the geocaching model is a growth machine. I don't think things will stay the same indefinately. As cachers become longer term they start to find all the caches in their area and require more and more to be hidden in order to keep participating. More and more caches in an a finite area will eventually lead to saturation and frustration in potential hiders not being able to find a place to hide a cache (and frustrated finders who have found everything waiting for frustrated hiders to hide more caches).

I think the game will eventually need to evolve, perhaps with specific life exptancies built into caches to keep them turning over. Moveable caches you can find over and over again I think is another option. Better quality caches would be good (e.g. ban the eclipse tin! - oops wrong thread). The may be a need for changes of expectations, eg. city dwellers who perhaps currently expect that they will always be able to hunt for a dozen caches in a weekend (or day).

I don't buy the argument that eventaully GCA will be where the best caches are listed. GCA is many more years behind GC than Aus is to US caching in general, but the same problems will I think occur here (unless GCA allows several caches in the same location). I think GCA would have been better to have limited itself to caches GC would not host, not duplicating the same functionality with less stringent rules.

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Re: Where do you see geocaching in the next 10 years?

Post by Kerry » 14 October 09 10:14 am

In 10 years time "handheld" will no longer mean the same thing and accuracy will be be less than 0.5 metres (or better) without any augmentation of any kind.

Does accuracy less than 0.5 metres then constitute "a game" anymore?

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Re: Where do you see geocaching in the next 10 years?

Post by Team Ladava » 14 October 09 10:24 am

I must have foresaw this thread a couple of years ago when I told my Geocaching brother-in-law baby gopher that we are in 'The Golden Age of Caching'.
Always the optimist but !!!!
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Re: Where do you see geocaching in the next 10 years?

Post by PesceVerde » 14 October 09 12:37 pm

"It's life Jim,
But not as we know it,
Not as we know it,
Not as we know it,
It's life Jim,
But not as we know it,
Not as we know it, Cap."

Some of the most attractive elements of caching for me, now I see either slowly or quickly disappearing from the 'game' and I see the evolving face of Geocaching, in 10 years, being attractive to a whole new demographic. It's happening already.

On the other hand,
it may just be exactly the same in ten years, as it is now, except with newer models and twice as much of everything fighting for the same space.

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Re: Where do you see geocaching in the next 10 years?

Post by Zytheran » 14 October 09 5:00 pm

Based on everything I know about predicting the future, it will be more similar than it is different. So in general, the change over the last 5 years (which has been very little) will be typical of the future.

However a big issue will become one of suitable sites that are not "taken". I can imagine that new players will soon get frustrated when they realise some of us older players had an advantage when it came to placing, the world was our oyster and it was virgin territory.
This has now changed. Nearly all of the obvious locations, scenic, historic, simply interesting now have geocaches. As such there are a plethora of crappy drivebys. (Which I ignore, the numbers really don't matter.)

The upside of this is choice, and what a choice we now have. The problem now is , how to find those caches you really like. In my case I just set the terrain filter in GSAK to 3.5 and above or difficulty to 4 or above and I'm happy. However that's only because I can work out those puzzles and physically get to any terrain. Not everyone else is that "lucky".
What does concern me though is pretty much everyone else who is after quality and not quantity. If you are interested in historical caches it is time consuming to work out which ones to go for.. If you're a mum with kids and want caches near playgrounds it's time consuming, even using Google maps, to find them. And some sort of rating system on GC please. When I visit a new area finding heaps of crappy caches does not a good day make.

What I really, really wish for is that Groundspeak would add better tagging to all caches and the online search functions. (GSAK could easily incorporate some extra fields so that's a no-brainer.) Work out a list of 100 common tags that could apply to a geocache and an easy way to add them to existing caches and force their use on all new caches.

(As an after thought it reminds me of the early years of Dungeons and Dragons when many people went through the Monty Haul phase until they got sick of god like characters. After this people made much more sophisticated worlds with much better narratives and complexity. Things like WhereIgo or whatever it's called may be the way forward.)

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Re: Where do you see geocaching in the next 10 years?

Post by Rabbitto » 14 October 09 8:07 pm

I can see the world of geocaching recombining with the world of waymarking at some point to a place somewhere in the middle. The thoughts behind waymarking is fairly sound and although not so big in Australia at the moment, the database is starting to build up fairly quickly in the USA.

Unfortunately, waymarking is not a really functional site and the tools available are almost non-existant. Moving around the site is extremely clunky too. Hopefully, there may be some good improvement in this area soon.

I used to think that the categories spreading into everything including retail was a rubbish move but now I am starting to see there is some merit (not that I look forward to collecting a complete set of photographs of myself in front of every Mc Donalds in the world or anything like that but it has it's place)

The advantages of a waymarking hybrid are thus -
1. The hunt for the box causes destruction. Example: Standard Multicache. Currently, you follow the GPS co-ordinates to a plaque and read the history or information that the hider has wanted to show you, let's say in a national park just to be topical. You read the plaque, then manipulate some numbers and walk to another spot nearby, possibly off the track, possibly under tree cover and a little hard to navigate exactly to, possibly in an area a little fragile. (Read the current Vic forums for the result.) Under Waymarking, you follow the GPS co-ordinates to a plaque and read the history or information that the hider has wanted to show you, take a snap of yourself there. Enjoy the scenery.

2. The hunt for the box creates danger. I, like a lot of geocachers, am a little too enthusiastic about sticking my hands too quickly into logs, rocks, hollows etc. This is probably as dumb as an overweight diabetic grabbing the 2 dozen mixed from the Krispy Kreme drive-thru. Sooner or later my luck is going to run out.

3. The hunt for the box finds you things that you don't really want to find. I have lost count of the bush toilets, syringes, broken glass, rusty metal and general garbage that I have been on my hands and knees rummaging through on the trail of the box.

4. The hunt for the box wastes time and causes angst. My box hunt enjoyment usually follows the following enjoyment factor. Walk up to a fantastic spot, find the box in the MOP (Most Obvious place) - 100%. But the co-ords are a bit lax and it has taken about 15 minutes with no find - 60%. I am starting to notice that prior greocachers have had the same trouble but have taken little care with their search. Flora busted everywhere - 35%. I have just knealt in a poo, cut my hand on a bit of broken glass and realise that I have now been here for 40 minutes and rather than enjoying the place that the cache placer had originally intended, I have now spent a good amount of my time with my head stuck in a thorny bush - 0%.

5. The hunt for the box makes you look like a paedophile / terrorist / sleeze / drug / dealer depending on your location. Nuff said.

On reading the above, you may be mistaken for thinking that I dislike geocaching. On the contrary, those who know me know that I love it.

However, there are changes that could be made without diluting the game at all.

On cache ownership. Just think of the things that cause annoyance amogst geocache owners.
1. Your cache is gone.
2. Your cache is broken.
3. Your cache is wet.
4. Your cache has shifted.
5. People can't find your cache and you get tart logs.
6. Your expensive box of swaps is now an inexpensive box of rubbish.
7. Your log book is full.
8. Someone has trashed your cache.
9. Someone has left a rude message in your log book.
10. Someone has left a poo in your cache - mark me down for three of those so far (that's finding them, not leaving them for those with your finger poised over the quote button)

Box maintenance is time. Box maintenance is money. You can't get to your box to fix straight away. SBA logs. Time away from family. DNFs.

The box, the box, the box. It all comes back to the darn box.

The box has it's place. The sport would be a lot poorer without the excellent workmanship of a Romax or Team Ladava cache as an example, at least here in Victoria. But how many of you honestly go for a long walk in the bush just so you can lay your hands on another Sistema Box or Ammo Can or Film Cannister.

Unfortunately, Geocaching in it's present form is not the future. Waymarking is not the future either. It's that sweet spot almost smack bang between the two.

I for one am looking forward to notching up my 100th visit to a lake. My 50th trig point log. Jeepers, I am such a numbers nut, I would love to visit 20 towns in Australia that start with the letter "T". Have my picture taken next to 75 silos. Find 93 weird letterboxes. Compare my stats to those of other geocachers. And all without having to try to stuff mouldy toy animals into a Tupperware, take my eye out on a cactus and having the left knee of my jeans reeking of odour le poo for the rest of the day. We're just not quite there yet.

Don't worry about the future. The future is shiny.

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Re: Where do you see geocaching in the next 10 years?

Post by Devar » 14 October 09 9:03 pm

Wow, fantastic post Rabbitto! =D>

I'd like to see the GC database open in 10 years, not closed away under Jeremy's lock and key. :lol:

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Re: Where do you see geocaching in the next 10 years?

Post by Richary » 14 October 09 11:03 pm

As said, excellent post Rabbitto and others. The game will undoubtedly change as numbers increase. Already more and more muggles are aware of the hobby even if they don't play themselves.

Why - because of publicity in newspapers and other media, or meeting other cachers. Everyone in my small company knows I have it as a hobby, and have dragged a couple of them on a find when out somewhere. They see the attraction even if not interested themselves. I figure that is OK because if they do stumble across one they will know what it is and not to vandalise it. At the same time I have converted a couple of friends. And really - the "secret" aspect of the game was gone once there were media interviews and so on.

GPS accuracy becoming better is an interesting point but people could argue that when DGPS became available or WAAS in the northern hemisphere. Does a 1 metre accuracy really equate to that under tree cover or in the CBD? Is the hunt really driven by what the GPS tells you is 7 metre accuracy but in reality more like 20 if conditions aren't good? It is still the challenge of the find, using the hint if available in a hard area. Others I can drive to within 30 metres of the spot and without the GPS still know where it is. And no matter what the technology for a lot of years it won't get you within 50cm of the cache in every situation. And those it does will just need a better hide to make them a challenge.

I for one don't want to see a crappy hide in every local park or under every bus seat. But I can see how future cachers could be wanting to give something back but all the good spots are taken. One answer is to stop any forum/peer pressure to give back to the game (which I haven't seen for a while, but anyway). Instead encourage people to only hide one where there is something worth seeing or a place worth hiding in.

As for Zytheran's comments about filtering, yes I can see where people want certain caches of a certain challenge or type. But I don't think 100 possible attributes will solve that. Be too hard for many people, especially newcomers to work out. Not sure what the answer is, maybe a system where finders are encouraged to rate caches with public attribute tags like we seem to have here at GCA though I have never played with them. Then you can generate a list from those.

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Re: Where do you see geocaching in the next 10 years?

Post by ma77hew » 14 October 09 11:55 pm

I guess geocaching will tend to some sort of saturation point where it becomes as widely known as fishing, golf or going to church on a Sunday. At that point, everyone who would be interested in it has discovered the game, so the growth in participation would slow. Sadly, the 'underground' appeal would be lost as this happens, but it's only one aspect of the experience.

As Z said, we would start filtering out the crap. I don't blame it on any decline of the game, but the law of deminishing returns. Remember when you were six years old and thought that McDonald's was the best restaurant in the world? Fast food franchises and 1.5/1.5 caches are springing up like weeds, yet our tastes mature as we grow towards five-star restaurants and caches alike.

I'm not sold out to caching, I'm just here in my spare time until another fad gets my attention. If the authorities ban or overly restrict the game, or the US want their satellites back (hypothetically, OK, I'm pretty confident that they won't, but that's a whole 'nother thread), or the appeal is lost to the point that a day of caching becomes a chore, my life won't be over - it's not what I live for.

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Re: Where do you see geocaching in the next 10 years?

Post by J_&_J » 15 October 09 7:41 am

Hopefully there will be some way of educating newcomers to the hobby about cache placement, before they go canvassing a relatively uninteresting region with dozens of caches, most of which are poorly hidden or use totally inappropriate containers.

There are pages here and on the other site that do address this, but it seems this information is largely ignored.

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Re: Where do you see geocaching in the next 10 years?

Post by reasonjo » 15 October 09 12:00 pm

As a newbie, I've seen a few pages on cache placement, I've seen a few threads aimed at newbies in different forums - but as a newbie where the hell do you start? There is quite a lot of info out there, some of it is contradictory (which is understandable given some people are hiding stuff where snow is an issue and others are hiding were monsoon rain is an issue), some of it is useful and some of it is just ordinary.

I've just placed my first two caches, and I know that they're not in particularly interesting places. I took a friend's kids out (one for each cache) so they've just hidden the caches in local parks with play equipment they could play on. I've done my best to use appropriate containers, complete the cache page properly so that people know it's 'just a cache in a suburban park' and hide them in a way that muggles (hopefully) won't twig that something is hidden there but so that cachers will recognise the hide relatively easy (both are rating 1 difficulty - i figured no one wants to spend too long picking up every rock in a suburban park just to find a cache. I have a few ideas for (what I hope are) more interesting caches. I see these first two basic caches as practice for me (and an opportunity for the kids to have a go as well) at finding a spot, checking and checking the coordinates to make sure they're accurate and jumping through the hoops to have the thing published.

I'm hoping, as I get more experience in the game, that I can place more interesting caches. I'll learn which containers last in the environment up here (NT) and which ones don't. I'll get more of an idea about the local caching etiquette - I didn't imagine that 'caching etiquette' was something that would even exist, let alone be different from one location to the next.

As for how caching will look in ten years (getting back on topic!!) I have absolutely no idea - but, in my newbie naivete, I hope that whatever happens the game/sport evolves into something that the players can still enjoy, and to steal c@w phrase, 'play the game the way they want to play the game'.

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