It probably goes without saying but I REALLY enjoy Geocaching. I enjoy almost every aspect of this cool hobby. Seeing new places, meeting new people, solving puzzles, group geocaching, and on and on. But I do need to mention that one of my biggest pet peeves are Geocaches that are hidden with deliberately inaccurate coordinates. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t expect to go straight to the listed coordinates and find a geocache. Though this is many times the case, most of the really cool caches I have found are a only a few meters off and I believe this is normal.
I think the first thing I need to make clear is what I consider inaccurate coordinates. In my humble opinion caches should normally be within a ten meter radius of the listed coordinates. Notice that this is MY opinion. Any caches found outside this radius I would consider inaccurate. But what do the Groundspeak guidelines say about this subject. Hmmmmm…..let’s see….
Well look at this!! The VERY FIRST guideline is:
1. Listings must contain accurate GPS coordinates. You must visit the cache location and obtain the coordinates with a GPS device. GPS usage is an integral and essential element of both hiding and seeking caches and must be demonstrated for all cache submissions. Projecting waypoints from a specific location already defined by set of coordinates is permissible. For geocaches that include additional waypoints see the guidelines specific to those cache types.
You are probably saying to yourself right now, “Come on Jedi Meister, it’s JUST A GUIDELINE, it is not a RULE and we can all play the game the way we want to.” Sure, it is just a “GUIDELINE”, not a rule, but in my opinion, but if the cache is listed on Geocaching.com then it should follow their guidelines. In my humble opinion, intentionally providing inaccurate coordinates, just to make finding a cache harder is only done by cache owners who are either lazy, mean, or just don’t care. I can imagine these cache owners sitting at home giggling to themselves when they get a log notice email of another DNF or a finder that mentions the inaccurate coordinates. Personally when I hide a cache I try to make the coordinates as accurate as possible.
By no means do I think that every cache that is outside my self imposed 10 meter radius guideline has deliberately inaccurate coordinates. There are many reasons why the cache is not near the list coordinates.
1. A smart phone was used to record the coordinates.
2. An older, less accurate GPSr was used to record the coordinates.
3. The cache was moved from its original location by a lazy finder but not maintained by the cache owner.
4. Cache is in a location that accurate coordinates are hard to obtain such as in valleys, in thick wooded areas, locations with tall buildings, etc….
But with each of these cases it’s not deliberate.
Here is an example of what I consider an intentionally inaccurate cache.
Osternest – This is a cache that I have search for two times and for over an hour each time. Still I have not found it. Almost EVERY log states that the cache is quite a way off the listed coordinates but still the cache owner does nothing to improve their cache. The translated description says, “An easy cache in a dark forest”. The cache owner started geocaching in on 13 April 12, found their first geocache on 14 April 12, has found only 18 geocaches, and has not found another geocache since 19 May 12. In my opinion this is just a lazy cacher who either just does not care or enjoys imagining people walking around in circles.
One thing that I believe is bad about this cache is that it is in the woods. This means that all the searchers are gonna trample all over the place and damage or destroy nature. Another Groundspeak guideline says,
Wildlife and the natural environment are not harmed in the pursuit of geocaching. Geocaches are placed so that plant and animal life are safe from both intentional and unintentional harm. In some regions geocaching activity may need to cease for portions of the year due to sensitivity of some species.
When a cache owner create a geocache like this, which cause damage to nature it makes the entire Geocaching community look bad and can cause cities to forbid geocaching.
So what can we do if we find a geocache that appears to have deliberately inaccurate coordinates. Well….here is my solution…
Contact the cache owner and ask them if they know how inaccurate the coordinates are and ask them to correct them. Maybe they are a new cache owner and don’t know how to correct the coordinates on the cache page. If so, you can direct them to this help page – 6.9. Editing Your Cache Coordinates.
IF the cache owner does not respond in a reasonable amount of time or in a rude or uncaring way then you can contact the reviewer of the cache and inform them of the problem and your concerns. You can find the reviewer at the bottom of all the logs. Normally there is a PUBLISHED log but if the cache owner deleted it then you can just contact another area reviewer.
Geocaching is supposed to be fun. It is not supposed to be a wild goose chase. If you are a new geocacher, or a veteran geocacher, planning on hiding your first cache please respect your fellow geocachers and provide coordinates that are accurate. Use your imagination to create a geocache that is difficult to find but still near where you say it is. I have searched for hours for geocaches that were right in front of my face because the cache owner was clever enough to create a cool cache that blended into the surroundings. Searching for hours for a cleverly hidden or camouflaged geocache is fun. Traipsing around in the woods in a 50 meter diameter circle and hurting nature is not fun.
So that is it. My rant about deliberately inaccurate geocache coordinates.
Here are some other articles discussing this issue.