Guest Post: Sag Harbor Historic and Cultural District Geocache Hunt

The John Jermaine Memorial Library in Sag Harbor, New York recently listed their 6 cache series, The “Sag Harbor Historic and Cultural District Geocache Hunt” on our website, and Garmin’s Opencaching.com. Sag Harbor is on the eastern end of Long Island, and is located partially in both the towns of Easthampton and Southhampton. Yes, they are two of “The Hamptons”, as made famous on TV, and in film. This Geocaching program is partially funded by a grant from The Town of Southhampton. There is a rubber stamp in each cache, and passports are available at the library. If you bring back a completely stamped passport, you will receive a certificate of completion. To see the whole series, you can look the profile the cache owner, JJMLibrary, or see them here on our map of caches. On June 11th, 2015, The Library blogged about the series on their blog, and we have received permission to reblog it here as a guest post.


The long-awaited Sag Harbor Historic and Cultural District Geocache Hunt announced in the May-June issue of our newsletter is now fully operational. Those of you who have stopped by the library hoping to get started on the hunt, can now pick up your “passports” (log sheets) at the library and begin searching. For those of you who don’t know what geocaching is, we’ve included an explanation below.

Important Note

opencaching.usopencaching.com
The library’s geocaches are registered on two websites: http://opencaching.us and http://opencaching.com. (They are different…one is .us one is .com). You must create a free account at one or both of these sites in order to download the coordinates of the geocaches and play our game. Due to some technical issues, our caches are NOT listed on the most popular geocaching website, geocaching.com. But both of the sites we use are good. If you are using a Garmin GPS device to search for geocaches, you will be better served by the opencaching.com. If you are using a smartphone, opencaching.us supports the greatest number of apps.

Geocaching, and the John Jermain Geocache Hunt Explained

Geocaching is a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices [e.g., smartphones]. Participants use an app on their phones to navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and attempt to find the geocache (container) hidden at that location. Our hunt adds an additional twist.

While looking for a way to honor Sag Harbor’s contributions to Southampton Town history during the Town’s 375th anniversary year, a few geocachers on the library staff decided to combine our love of geocaching with a bit of culture and history, and a touch of the Camino de Santiago (Wickipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Camino_de_Santiago).

Here’s what we came up with: six geocaches are hidden around Sag Harbor. Each one relates to a member organization of the Sag Harbor Cultural District, all of which have cultural or historic significance for Sag Harbor and Southampton. (We’re not telling which organizations. It’s part of your job to figure that out.) To join in the hunt, stop into the library and pick up a free “passport.” (This is the part that’s inspired by the Camino de Santiago.) Then go hunt for the geocaches. Each cache contains a unique rubber stamp. Use the stamp on your passport…then go find another cache. When you’ve found all six caches, bring your passport back to the library and you will receive a certificate of completion (another idea borrowed from the Camino).

As mentioned above, all of the geocaches are registered on two geocaching websites: http://opencaching.us and http://opencaching.com. These sites are treasure-troves of information on how geocaching works. You’ll need to register at one of the websites in order to get access to the information about our geocaches that is stored there, but both registration, and the app for your smartphone that will lead you to the caches, are free. You’ll find a list of geocaching apps that work with various types of smartphones below. If you don’t own a smartphone but want to play, the library has a dedicated GPS navigation device that it will loan to library card holders.

Confused? Help is also available from Eric Cohen or Mireille Stürmann at the library. Call 631-725-0049 or send an email to [email protected]

Geocaching Apps for Your Smartphone

Android

  • c:geo (free and highly recommended)
  • GeoCaching Buddy (fee)
  • Columbus

iPhone

  • GeoCaches (recommended)
  • Geocaching Buddy (fee)

Windows Phone

  • Me Caching Geo
  • OpenBasic

This program is partially funded by a Town of Southampton 375th Anniversary grant.

Town of Southampton, NY 1640-2015, 375th Anniversary


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“Our” Opencaching vs Garmin’s Opencaching, a comparison of sorts

                    

Part two of two, You can find part one here. Since we at the world-wide Opencaching Network, which includes Opencaching North America, are often confused with Garmin’s Opencaching.com, I figured a blog post comparing the two listing services was in order early on in the history of this blog. This blog post is highly influenced by a post fellow OpencachingNA Admin Dudley Grunt made to his local Geocaching forum in July 2012, and he posted links to that post at the forums of all the U.S. based alternative Geocaching websites. I asked him if he wanted to come on and do a guest post, but he was OK with my using it as reference material, and I promised to not to plagiarize it too much!!

 Ownership:
 Garmin: Like Groundspeak, the Garmin site is run by a corporation with relatively significant money to  invest in the site.
 OCNA:  The site is funded and run on a fully volunteer basis, essentially, as a not-for-profit entity. We pay for our three domain names and web hosting (at the well-known website host Rackspace.com) out of our pockets.


 Cross Listing:
 Garmin: Strongly encouraged. With a few mouse clicks, you can import thousands of hides or finds. Often runs contests encouraging listing caches on their website. There is no direct way to tell whether or not a cache is cross listed, and no way to filter for unique hides to their site in searches.
 OCNA: Permitted, but unique hides are preferred. The very first page in the cache submission process contains text that informs the hider that we accept cross listings, but prefer unique caches. The cache submission page contains fields to link to sites the cache may be cross listed on. We have a special attribute “OC.US ONLY” available for caches that ARE unique to the site. It is possible to filter searches to show only the unique hides via our “advanced search”.Currently, about 55% of our listings have the “OCUS ONLY” attribute, and we believe approximately 75% of the listings are unique.

 Reviewers:
 Garmin: None, per se. They have “Peer Reviewing”. The site members vote up or down on caches. The blog author has not participated in this, but from reading their forums, it seems to be often problematic.
 OCNA: Caches reviewed by three site admins (Mr.Yuck, DudleyGrunt, NativTxn), who treat our guidelines AS guidelines and can work with individual caches/cachers to approve things that might not be 100% within the listed guidelines. Caches are generally reviewed & published the same day. Since the blog author, Mr.Yuck, is a newbie admin, he has not reviewed any caches to date.

 Cache Types:
 Garmin: Traditional, Multi, Puzzle, Virtual.
 OCNA: Traditional, Multi, Puzzle, Virtual also. But we also list Moving, Webcam, BIT Caches, Events, MP3, Guest book and Unknown (a catch all).

 Membership Fees:
 Both sites are completely free, with all features available to all users.

 Rating of caches by users:
 Garmin: Finders can give caches a rating based on “Awesomeness”. Garmin uses a sliding scale from 1.0 to 5.0 (in 0.1 increments – that’s 49 possibilities for each).
 OCNA: Cache finders can rate each cache on a 5 point scale and can give a “Recommendation” to 1 out of every 10 caches they find (this is similar to, but predates Groundpeak’s “Favorite Points”).                          

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“Our” Opencaching vs Garmin’s Opencaching, a history of sorts

A few notes first, I hope to post to this blog at least once a week, but I’m currently spending a lot of my free time educating myself with the OpencachingNA Linux server. Boy, is that a learning experience. It’s only been eight days since the first post. Note that the “Latest Geocaches” and “Latest Log Entries” to the right of this post are from an RSS feed, and should be updated every time you view this page. As well as our Twitter feed too, of course.

OK, why are there two totally different alternative Geocaching entities calling themselves Opencaching? This short answer is, I don’t know, ask Garmin! We, Opencaching North America, are part of the world-wide Opencaching network, established in 2005 with Opencaching.de There are currently nine Opencaching nodes, as we call them, that are part of this network. Opencaching.jp (Japan) has gone dark, and Opencaching.es (Spain) really just points to the German website, Opencaching.de. You can view them all at Opencaching.eu All characterized by their distinctive white and blue color scheme. Garmin came along, and purchased the domain name Opencaching.com in September 2010, and launched their website in early December, 2010.


But that’s not the whole story! The domain name Opencaching.com was originally purchased by “some guy named Hank” on September 15th, 2003. I have no idea who he was, or his Geocaching handle, because he has been obliterated from the WHOIS registry, being the original owner of an expired, and for several years vacant and for sale, domain name. Thanks to the Wayback Machine from archive.org we can see several snapshots of how his website looked from September 2003 until late December 2005, when he apparently decided he was going to throw in the towel, and the original Opencaching.com was never developed as an alternative to Geocaching.com.

In This snapshot of Opencaching.com from December 31st, 2005 you can see what Opencaching.com looked like shortly before “Hank” let it expire. All of his “Site news” is there from day one in that snapshot, so you can follow along on his updates on the project. He had forums, where people apparently discussed the project, but they were not indexed by archive.org.  Although he never got the project off the ground, you can see he was happy the concept took off somewhere (i.e. Germany), per this quote from the last post under site news: “This project has been off the radar for some time (measured in quarters or years at this point) … the one brightspot being that our German friends at opencaching .de had the resources and committment to make the concept work … perhaps someone will make other core nodes?”

I’m not sure exactly when “Hank” let the domain name expire, but Another snapshot of Opencaching.com, from May 2010, shows it with a classic “domain for sale” placer page. As previously mentioned, the domain name was then purchased by Garmin in September 2010, and Opie the Awesome (blue) Squirrel was born.

The next blog post, which I can tell you won’t take 8 days, as I was going to make it one post, but decided to make it two, will be “”Our” Opencaching vs Garmin’s Opencaching, a comparison of sorts”. Then after that, we have a couple interviews lined up, and possibly our first guest blog post.

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