GeoGearHeads 178: OpenCaching NA II

customLogo.gifOCNA Admins DudleyGrunt and NativTXN were recently on the GeoGearHeads Podcast episode 178, talking OCNA, in an episode titled OpenCaching NA II. They were last on that podcast on Episode 125. If you count by 10’s on your fingers, you can figure out that was just over a year ago, hence this episode being titled OpenCaching NA II. Anytime our Admins are on a Geoaching Podcast, we run it here on the blog as well. Listen to them give an overview of our site, with an emphasis on our recently released Challenge Caches. GeoGearHeads is a near weekly feature with The Bad Cop and DarrylW4 discussing topics of interest to Geocachers, Location-based Gamers, and Technology Enthusiasts. They record the shows live through Google+ Hangout On Air Thursday nights at 9:10PM Eastern/6:10PM Pacific (The upcoming shows are listed on the Google+ GeoGearHeads page). You can subscribe to the audio version through iTunes, RSS, or Stitcher, watch the shows on YouTube, and check them out on FaceBook, Google+, and Twitter.




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OCNA works with Patuxent Research Refuge to allow virtual caching

courtesy of Patuxent Research Refuge
Photo courtesy of Patuxent Research Refuge

OCNA’s longest tenured Admin, Dave Self AKA DudleyGrunt (hereafter referred to as Dave), recently worked with Amy Shoop, an interpretive Ranger at the Patuxent Research Refuge in Maryland, which is administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, to allow virtual Geocaching on the refuge. These are the first ever Geocaches at Patuxent, as best we can tell, including Earthcaches. We at OCNA are very excited with being given this opportunity! Dave was allowed to create 6 virtual caches (which are listed exclusively on our website) in one of the 3 sections of the Refuge.

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After 10+ years, an FTF on a lonely Virtual Cache

1024px-BoldtCastle_aerialRecently, FTF was claimed on a cache in France that sat for over 12 years before being found. However, the finder of that cache declined to be interviewed by this blog, as he is a Groundspeak volunteer reviewer elsewhere in Europe. We  did not know they were a reviewer before contacting them, and can totally understand that. Since we are the blog for an alternative or indie Geocaching website, we can tell you that in our world (Navicache.com, to be exact), FTF was recently claimed on a virtual cache created on August 10th 2004. The cache is on the somewhat famous Island in the foreground. Do you know where that is?
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Memorial Day (and GW) weekend in the USA

Memorial Day weekend is coming up in The USA, where OpenCaching North America is based. Since we have many readers (and even users) from outside the USA, our “Memorial Day” is celebrated the last Monday in May of each year, and is for honoring the Men and Women who died while in the service of our armed forces. Please, if you’re an American take some time to remember and honor these Men and Women in some way of your own choosing during the long holiday weekend. You can read about the long history of our Memorial Day (once known as Decoration day) in this Wikipedia article.

There is no denying that Memorial Day weekend has, over the years, increasingly become known as the traditional start of the Summer vacation season here. And for the relatively new hobby of Geocaching, it has become one of two weekends designated for the holding of the American phenomenon known as GeoWoodstock, an annual Geocaching (Mega) event. It can also be held the nearest weekend to our July 4th Holiday, known as Independence day. The choice of which weekend is up to the organizers of the event. The Florida Geocaching Association, host of this years event, has chosen Memorial Day weekend, as have the majority of the hosting organizations over the years.

We won’t get into the history of GeoWoodstock too much here, because who knows, we could think about it a few weeks out next year, and actually have an interview with it’s founder! And yes, it was founded by one guy, who held the first one June 21st, 2003, at a Boy Scout Camp in Louisville, Kentucky.
 

Geocachers Unlimited logo

All these years later, GeoWoodstock XI (that would be the 11th edition, if you’re not into Roman Numerals), is being held Saturday, May 25th, 2013 at the Circle B Bar Reserve in Lakeland, Florida. Now for some shameless self-promotion! Geocachers Unlimited is a loose organization of Geocachers who use alternative Geocaching websites in addition to Geocaching.com. They can be found on Google+ and Facebook. They will be hosting the event Geocachers Unlimited Meetup @ The Mega listed on our website, as well as on Gpsgames.org, Terracaching.com and Navicache.com. This is usually a short event (the Blogger himself attended one at GeoWoodstock IX), but there is nothing “flash mob” about it. Just a meetup, as the name suggests. You can expect to see some moving caches loggable on our website passed around, as well as meeting site admin Dudley Grunt. The time of this event is 12:00 Noon.

Are you one of the thousands of Geocachers from all over the world attending GeoWoodstock XI in Lakeland, Florida, USA this weekend? If so, feel free to comment to this blog post, and share your experiences!    

Useful GW links:

 OpenCaching.us related links:

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    Sporadically featured OpenCachingNA Cache: A Virtual Made in the Mist

    Welcome to the first “Sporadically featured OCNA Cache”, a feature promised in the very first blog post. Above is a picture of Niagara Falls, more specifically, the American Falls, as taken by the blog author from the Maid of The Mist tour boat. If you’ve never been to Niagara Falls, you can read about the three waterfalls collectively known as Niagara Falls on Wikipedia. The task of visiting Niagara Falls from below, which can be accomplished only through one of four “paid” access options, is the object of the Virtual Cache A Virtual Made in the Mist, created on July 6th, 2011, by Opencaching North America Admin DudleyGrunt.

    Editors note: Like virtually (pun intended) all the “alternative” Geocaching websites, we at Opencaching North America list Virtual caches. But we always like to add the disclaimer that you should review the section on them in our terms of use first.

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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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