Moving Caches: still going strong on OCNA

Traveling geocaches listed on Geocaching.com have ridden off into the sunset. On May 22, 2017, the following log was posted to all remaining Traveling Geocaches: “Geocaching HQ is archiving this traveling geocache and offering the cache owner an option to convert it to a trackable with a special icon. Each was subsequently archived and locked.”

What is (was) a traveling geocache?

Simply put (and generally speaking, because there were exceptions), the traveling geocache was a physical container that was listed as a physical cache type (traditional, multi-cache, or unknown cache) but was not bound to a specific set of coordinates. Instead, the traveling cache would move – or travel – from one hiding spot to another. Finders would have the option of finding the cache (sign the log) and leave as found, or to physically move the cache to a new hiding spot. If they chose to move the cache, they would be required to provide the cache owner with coordinates for the new hiding location. The cache owner would then update the listing, and other players could head out to find the cache at its new location.

Traveling geocaches were introduced in 2001, but by 2003 they were added to the new but growing list of “grandfathered” cache types (which now includes virtual caches, webcam caches, and locationless caches – all of which are still allowed on various alternative caching sites). Existing traveling caches would be allowed to continue, but no new traveling caches could be created and published.

At the time of the lockdown, Groundspeak stated that “by 2017, fewer than 100 traveling caches remained active”. Searching through bookmark lists claiming to list “all remaining traveling caches”, the number appears to be somewhere between 40 and 50.

Moving caches on OCNA

OpenCaching North America (as well as most, if not all other OpenCaching nodes) allow traveling caches (known as Moving Caches on OCNA). Currently there are 41 active moving caches listed on OCNA. Moving caches have their own cache type, so you can specifically search and find OCNA moving caches. OCNA moving caches can be found and moved, and each action has its own log type. When a Moving cache is moved to a new location, the coordinates of the new spot must be provided in the cache log so that future seekers will know where to look. Not all Moving Cache owners adjust the coordinates to reflect the new hiding spot, so always check the logs before heading out to find a Moving Cache.

True to the philosophy of OpenCaching, there are no extraneous restrictions placed on Moving Caches – aside from common sense. Like any other physical cache, they should only be moved to locations were they can safely be hidden and found. It is up to the cache owner if they want to set specific requirements / requests. Some OCNA moving caches go from one hiding location to another, while others stay with the CO and are discovered at events for example. Some even double as Groundspeak Travel Bugs® and move around from one Groundspeak cache to another. And several moving caches provide housing for other findable items, such as BIT caches or geokrety.

Examples of moving caches on OCNA

It’s interesting to note that 3 of the 5 OCNA caches (currently) with the most finds are Moving Caches: Infiltrator, MAGC Ammo Can Roll Call, and Introduction to OpenCaching North America. In principal all five are Moving Caches: the other two are listed as a BIT caches but attached to a moving cache (Infiltrator BIT) or attached to a vehicle (Cache Retrieval Vehicle Rolling BITcache).

the life of a Moving Cache is not always an easy one. On occasion finders of moving caches are at a loss of what to do as evidenced by cachers removing the Travelbug from the container seperating the two. This has happened twice to Infiltrator in its 5 year life time. Eventually with the help of some exceptional cachers the two parts were brought together the first time from the far reaches of Michigan and Texas. At present they are once again separated. The Infiltrator has also been muggled, re-created and returned after placement by the OCNA webmaster, MrYuck. Read the story of that adventure featured in an earlier blog post here.

And that’s how we roll.

About the author: Bon Echo is a a Geocacher and Letterboxer from Hamilton, Ontario. He started caching at the beginning of 2012 and created his first OCNA listing in 2015. With 86 active OCNA hides (nearly all OCNA-only), he currently sits in second place for number of active hides. He jokes that he is Canada’s “leading OCNA hider and finder”, having created listings and logged finds in 5 Canadian provinces as well as in at least 8 US states. He mostly enjoys finding lonely caches and letterboxes, and would rather take a long hike to search for one lonely and possibly missing cache rather than complete a power trail of frequently-found bison tubes along a short flat trail.

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.GPX file of all active OCNA Caches

As many of our regular users know, our site had a major meltdown in November, 2016. Although the site was restored to 98% capability within a couple of days, a few bugs remained, and still do to this day. (Don’t worry, latest and greatest Opencaching code coming real, real soon!!!). What we consider the two major remaining bugs are the inability to see page 2 and above of any search for caches, and the inability to download that entire first page of results that you can see as a .gpx file. (caches can still be downloaded one at a time from a cache page). Our move to the new Opencaching.pl code is taking a little longer than expected, so one of our loyal long time users wondered if he might get a .gpx file of all active OCNA caches, since there are only about 1,800 of them. The answer is, yes, there was a back door way to do it! Without getting into full detail, the following was needed to get this done:

  • A current version of GSAK (Geocaching Swiss Army Knife).
  • A .csv file containing a list of only current OCNA Waypoint names (i.e. OUxxxx). This was provided by OCNA, our database can be and was converted to .csv in one click.
  • An API Key from the Opencaching API, OKAPI. This is a free and open API, anyone can request a key.
  • The GSAK Macro GpxOpenRefreshCaches.gsk.

Let that macro work it’s magic, and voila! Our user had his very own .gpx file of all active OCNA caches. It is available for download here, and is dated 23 March 2017. It is 12 MB unzipped, so that link is to the 2 MB zipped version. This .gpx is a thing of beauty too, even contains pictures uploaded to cache pages, should your device support them. They definitely show in GSAK or EasyGPS. Should we find our migration to the new Opencaching.pl code still taking longer than we hope, we will update it every few weeks, and post that info to the main page of our site.

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The GC Doc and the oldest (and first) cache in Minnesota

docAward winning Vlogger The Geocaching Doc recently found the oldest and first Geocache in his home State of Minnesota, GC9FF, Alvin’s Phone Line (Placed 11/5/2000), and posted the video to his account on December 10th, 2016. Here is a link to the video, as the latest video from the Geocaching Doc to the right of this post obviously updates to his latest video when he posts a new one. With him in the screen shot is a new face on the Geocaching Vlogging scene, SoDakZak. As you can see, he can be zany, shown taking the “wear orange to this cache” warning on the cache page to the extreme. Here is the link to SoDakZak’s YouTube Channel. They made a great video together, check it out, whether it still appears on our sidebar when you see this post, or you have to use the direct link above. We’d  also like to point out, because we do not believe we ever have, that you can watch the Doc’s videos in full screen mode on this blog; you don’t have to watch them 4″ x 2″! See the red circled rectangular box in the screen shot above? Click that to go to full screen mode, and hit escape on your keyboard to exit full screen mode.

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OpenCaching News

Things have been a little slow at this blog lately, but we do have a couple of recent developments pertaining to the OpenCaching Network, and more specifically, the native English speaking OpenCaching community!

ocukbannerOpenCaching in The U.K. is back, in the event you knew it was briefly missing in the first place. In early October, the original opencaching.org.uk site (which was also reachable at opencaching.uk) disappeared. But within a couple weeks, a new OpenCaching team had a new site under construction at opencache.uk, and it officially launched on November 15th, 2016. Click their banner to go there, and there is a “latest news” item telling the story in more detail, which will remain on their main page until December 15th. Note also the opencaching.org.uk and opencaching.uk links above will also get you to the new OpenCache UK site.

website-downWe first noticed early Friday Morning, November 18th that the Opencaching.us site had major issues. Our OpenCaching Network API (OKAPI) was down. This means c:geo and all OC compatible smartphone apps were down. Our cache maps were broken; our “statistics” pages (reachable from the left hand side bar on our site) were a mess. Many pages and functions still “worked” but had php error messages (sometimes hundreds) on the top of the page before the content. Being all volunteer, it took us a good 48 hours to get most of these problems fixed, not including a temporary relapse a few days later. The only known issue on our site as of the date of this post is that page 2 and above of any type of search on our site is still broken. We resolve to fix this last issue as soon as possible.

keep-calm-new-website-coming-soon-12What happened? We’re heavily leaning towards our hosting company updating cpanel, which, according to wikipedia, “is a Linux-based web hosting control panel that provides a graphical interface and automation tools designed to simplify the process of hosting a web site.” Early in this snafu, we were considering updating to the latest and greatest version of the Opencaching.pl (Poland) code base immediately, but we managed to diagnose and fix the problem relatively quickly (which we could have never done without the help and guidance of Andrei from opencaching.ro). so we are going to stick with our late Winter/early Spring 2017 target for that major project. Want a sneak peak? Why not create an account at opencaching.pl, and click on the little Union Jack flag in the extreme upper right hand corner of the site (i.e., translate most of the site to English). And good news there, the OpenCache.uk team and the OCNA webmaster have very recently “improved” all the English translations for the opencaching.pl code.

UPDATE: Shortly after this article was posted, it was brought to our attention that whole pages of downloads do not work (you can still download caches one at a time), and many, but not all U.S. Zip Code searches don’t work. We apologize for this oversight, and are still working on those issues.

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An interview with Jesenia (of Team Minions J&D), Winner of the SCOTTeVEST Featherweight Vest

On August 15th, when we announced that Jesenia of Team Minions J&D, a cacher from Naguabo, Puerto Rico, was the winner of a SCOTTeVEST Featherweight Vest, we hinted in that post that we had a funny feeling we’d be hearing from her again. That is because at the time, she agreed to do a little interview with us after trying out the vest! We finally got around to sending some questions, and she was more than happy to answer them, and include some outstanding Geocaching pictures as well.

OpenCaching: How did you hear about Geocaching, and when did you start? 
roo
With Skippy The Kangaroo in Australia

Jesenia: We love to travel around the world, so last year we moved to Australia for four months and while doing some Couchsurfing (staying with locals that offer their home to travelers through a website called Couchsurfing.com), we met this amazing Aussie family that were Geocaching addicts. When they first told us about this hobby they were super excited and kept telling us all about the game. And I was like “cool, it is like treasure hunting, this must be fun!”.  It was our first time hearing the word Geocaching and they took us around Queensland to do our first caches. I remember we visited Coombabah Lake Lands where we saw a huge family of kangaroos living happily in the wild. We even got so close to them that we got some pretty neat kangaroo selfies plus some dangerous ones with poisonous snakes. During our first geocaching trip, we did so many and enjoyed it a lot. But the process of logging all the caches afterward was a bit confusing and overwhelmed us at first since we had so many to log during our first day Geocaching. We only did geocaching in Australia while we were with our friends. Then we forgot about it for a while, we kept on traveling and then we moved to Hawaii. And suddenly one day we remembered, “oh, it could be fun to do some geocaching every time we go out for a hike“. We love hiking so we started to do geocaching again, but from time to time. Now that we are back in our island Puerto Rico, I want to see where geocaching takes us. We have discovered so many beautiful places we did not know existed until now.

(more…)

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Win some OCNA 5th Anniversary Pathtags, Part Deux

frontEven though our 6th Anniversary has since come and gone.  We’ll explain that later. The OpenCaching North America 5th Anniversary Pathtag, (our 2nd Pathtag commissioned) is sold out, and no longer available for purchase to the general public from TheGeocoinStore.com. A total of 510 were produced. However, 400 of those were produced for sale to the general public, and the other 110 were in fact an owner refill (they had a 10% free tags promotion going on the month we ordered our refill). We still have quite a few left, so we’re giving away a total of 10 of them, to three different lucky winners in a blog contest now!

backMany readers may remember we also gave away 10 of our Pathtags 3 times in the past, starting in September, 2013, with our long retired 1st Edition tag.  Not to one person though, we spread them around a little bit. As before, we will have three separate winners. The 1st prize winner will receive 5 of our Pathtags; the 2nd prize winner will receive 3 of our Pathtags; and the 3rd prize winner will receive a paltry 2 of our Pathtags. These tags were designed by our Graphic Artist Nancy, of The Deadliest Cachers, of course with plenty of design input from the OCNA team. They feature our Mascot Hank The Hawk (also designed by Nancy) and they turned out very nicely, and have an OpenCaching North America tag back (blueprint shown, that anyone can use for their own Pathtags, and it’s design is the major reason our 5th Anniversary tags were produced so late) with the tracking number on our back for logging.

To enter the OCNA 5th Anniversary Pathtag Part Deux giveaway, fill out the form below with your name (as it says, “Geonick” is fine), and a valid email address. Note though, that someone once entered one of our contests as Geonick, and that’s already been done, and was only funny once. (They didn’t win, by the way). We will never use your email address, and the Google Document storing all the entries will be deleted after the contest. There are rules, of course, which appear below, in italicized text above the entry form.


Rules: To enter, provide your name and email address in the form below. One entry per person, and one entry per email address. There are no Geographical restrictions, contest is open to anyone in the world. The contest begins upon publication of this blog post on Wednesday, September 21st, 201, and ends at 9:00 PM Eastern Standard Time on Thursday, September 29th, 2016. Three winners will be chosen at random from the entries received. Winners will be notified via email, notification being sent from the email address opencachingnorthamerica at gmail.com (be sure to check your spam folders!), and must respond within 48 hours, or the prize will be forfeited, and another winner will be chosen. Once the prize is accepted, you must provide a valid mailing address, and the prize will be sent out via the U.S. Postal Service .


 

                                         Contest over, entry form removed!

 

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