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Geocaching Labs: Mega-Event Caches Not your typical release note

#1 User is offline   OpinioNate 

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Posted 14 August 2013 - 01:43 PM

Greetings everyone! These are not your typical release notes. Read on to find out why.

In the past we've perhaps been a bit hasty in introducing new concepts, sometimes investing heavily in new development without first validating the concept with the community. In an effort to introduce new concepts purposefully and in a more limited, controlled fashion, we have cooked up something new. I present to you: Geocaching Labs.


We worked up a list of anticipated FAQ's to help explain what a Lab Cache is. We welcome further questions to help flesh out this list.


What is Geocaching Labs?
This is our R&D department. This team always working to create new and innovative ideas to make geocaching more fun and exciting.

What is a Lab Cache?
Lab Caches are a new and rare geocache type. Anytime you find something thatís being tested by Geocaching Labs, it will count as a Lab Cache.

Does this count as a find?
Absolutely! For every Lab Cache you find, youíll earn a smiley and your find count will go up. However, since these arenít full-fledged geocaches, they wonít earn you souvenirs (including for the 31 Days of Geocaching) or count toward earning Favorite Points.

If the Lab Cache goes away, will my find go away as well?
Nope! With this new geocache type, all of your Lab Cache finds will stay on your profile.

How can I get the Lab Cache icon on my profile?
Right now the only way to obtain a Lab Cache icon for your Geocaching profile is to attend a Mega-Event where a Lab Cache is being offered. So far thatís only Block Party, but we are aiming to extend them to other Mega-Events soon.

Can I leave feedback?
Of course! Thatís why weíre testing them. Shortly after Block Party, weíll send a survey to everyone who found a Lab Cache. If you have other feedback, feel free to post it in the forums.

Iím a Mega-Event owner and I want Lab Caches at my event!
Awesome! Visit Geocaching.com/help and send us a message under the category ďHiding a GeocacheĒ to express interest. As we expand Lab Caches, weíll contact you if your event matches what weíre looking for.

Why were these Lab Caches created?
This Lab Cache was developed to solve the problem of event-specific geocaches. Mega-Events often require new geocaches to be hidden, but since temporary geocaches are not allowed, the placed geocaches often end up neglected after the event. These new geocaches enable Mega-Events to have their own, temporary geocaches.

How does this Lab Cache work?
These mostly work the same as regular geocaches: navigate to the location, find the cache and sign the logbook. However, these differ in that you must use the find code in order to mark the geocache as found.

Are these Virtuals?
No, each of these Lab Caches has a log book, just like any other geocache.

Are these Challenges?
No, you donít have to do anything special to mark it as found.

Do I need to download an app to play?
Nope! We developed a special web app that can be accessed from any smartphone. We also have GPX files for download, as well as good old-fashioned, printed-on-paper coordinates.


Over the next year, we'll be rolling Lab Caches out to select Mega Events around the world, gathering feedback from event hosts and attendees alike. Let us know your thoughts!

#2 User is offline   Cardinal Red 

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Posted 14 August 2013 - 02:28 PM

I am not your target audience. I am not a lab rat. I opt out. I guess that after nearly ten years, Geocaching will no longer be fun or exciting for me. Darn.

#3 User is offline   OpinioNate 

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Posted 14 August 2013 - 02:41 PM

View PostCardinal Red, on 14 August 2013 - 02:28 PM, said:

I am not your target audience. I am not a lab rat. I opt out. I guess that after nearly ten years, Geocaching will no longer be fun or exciting for me. Darn.


Great! It's not a requirement to participate.

#4 User is offline   Dr.MORO 

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Posted 14 August 2013 - 03:14 PM

Domo!!!

I AM a Lab Rat, so I am interested in where this 'experiment' will go.
Not that I can attend a MEGA Event often, but we'll see.
Of course, every cacher's wish would be the attend the Block Party for once, and also visit HQ.
Oh, how much I wish I was able to be there this weekend.
One day.......

Go Science!

#5 User is offline   stebu 

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Posted 14 August 2013 - 03:28 PM

View PostOpinioNate, on 14 August 2013 - 01:43 PM, said:

Greetings everyone! These are not your typical release notes. Read on to find out why.

In the past we've perhaps been a bit hasty in introducing new concepts, sometimes investing heavily in new development without first validating the concept with the community. In an effort to introduce new concepts purposefully and in a more limited, controlled fashion, we have cooked up something new. ...

This far your message sounds interesting. I'm not quite sure of the rest?

I'm sure that if you polled every (or even most of) new idea(s) with the community, you would get plenty of feedback before the actual implementation.
Of course, there's a risk of change resistance that would put a halt to progress, but I believe that a benign dictatorship could filter the feedback to concentrate the development effort on the most beneficial ideas.

But I hope this is an effort to start (again) listening to your subjects.

#6 User is offline   The Leprechauns 

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Posted 14 August 2013 - 03:48 PM

I can't wait to try these Lab Caches during Block Party weekend! Packing right now.

Two weekends ago, I enjoyed attending Midwest GeoBash. The organizers there do a fabulous job putting on so many fun activities right at the event location. Imagine how their creative energy could be amped up using temporary caches around the Mega-Event!

There are a lot more Mega's nowadays, and many of them are in Europe, Australia, etc. I truly hope that the Laboratory is worldwide in scope, so that nobody complains about another "exclusive" US cache type. In terms of innovating, the geocachers of Germany and the Czech Republic would be up at the top of the list. Give them the next shot!

#7 User is offline   The A-Team 

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Posted 14 August 2013 - 03:55 PM

View PostOpinioNate, on 14 August 2013 - 01:43 PM, said:

What is Geocaching Labs?
This is our R&D department. This team always working to create new and innovative ideas to make geocaching more fun and exciting.

What is a Lab Cache?
Lab Caches are a new and rare geocache type. Anytime you find something thatís being tested by Geocaching Labs, it will count as a Lab Cache.

Up to this point, a Lab Cache sounds to me like a catch-all type for any new innovations being tested by the R&D section. However...

Quote

Why were these Lab Caches created?
This Lab Cache was developed to solve the problem of event-specific geocaches. Mega-Events often require new geocaches to be hidden, but since temporary geocaches are not allowed, the placed geocaches often end up neglected after the event. These new geocaches enable Mega-Events to have their own, temporary geocaches.

...this part makes it sound like "Lab Cache" = "Temporary event-related cache". Is it just that this is the only new innovation currently being tested and there are others on the radar?

I'm also a bit confused about the part where you say that "Mega-Events often require new geocaches to be hidden, but since temporary geocaches are not allowed, the placed geocaches often end up neglected after the event." I guess other regions might do things differently, but the organizers of the two Megas we've had in Western Canada have placed a number of permanent caches in association with the event, and they were adopted out after the event. I'm also confused about the "require new caches" part. Geowoodstock VIII, as far as I can remember, had no caches hidden, and it went off just fine.

I guess my position is that rather than officially recognizing the temporary caches, why not encourage Mega organizers to make their event-related caches permanent?

#8 User is offline   MissJenn 

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Posted 14 August 2013 - 04:16 PM

View PostThe A-Team, on 14 August 2013 - 03:55 PM, said:

I guess my position is that rather than officially recognizing the temporary caches, why not encourage Mega organizers to make their event-related caches permanent?


My personal hope is that geocaches created around Mega events that are good candidates for permanency and positively add to a visitors' travel/tourism experience to that area eventually get included in an official GeoTour.

#9 User is offline   Joshism 

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Posted 14 August 2013 - 04:40 PM

Are Lab Caches subject to proximity rules?

Are they essentially just Traditional caches that require a verification code and must follow all Guidelines except the one about caches not being temporary?

This post has been edited by Joshism: 14 August 2013 - 04:43 PM


#10 User is offline   JJnTJ 

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Posted 14 August 2013 - 06:07 PM

Nothing against these, but I'm frustrated all this effort wasn't put into things people actually asked for. Like a Nano cache size. Or corrected coordinates on the main map. Or any number of things that constantly pop up in the suggestions forum.

This post has been edited by JJnTJ: 14 August 2013 - 06:10 PM


#11 User is offline   JesandTodd 

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Posted 14 August 2013 - 07:01 PM

View PostMissJenn, on 14 August 2013 - 04:16 PM, said:


My personal hope is that geocaches created around Mega events that are good candidates for permanency and positively add to a visitors' travel/tourism experience to that area eventually get included in an official GeoTour.



Sounds....--->awesome!

My hope is that they are regulated in some way...not just 'kiss a frog', 'hug a dog', etc... I'd love for them all to be high quality! A girl can dream!

I, personally, cannot wait to hit up the 5 breweries this weekend! And I get a mug?

I like the idea that I can go to a new city, and try out their version of what they thnk is a 'cool' time.

I hated challenges. So liking these is....strange. But whatever. I do.


How do I access them on my smartphone?

#12 User is offline   cheech gang 

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Posted 14 August 2013 - 07:09 PM

Following the link in the original post reveals that the first set is designed to have you visit five nearby pubs. :blink:

EDIT: looks like I posted this concurrently with the previous post.

This post has been edited by cheech gang: 14 August 2013 - 07:11 PM


#13 User is offline   psubrian 

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Posted 14 August 2013 - 08:24 PM

Apparently Groundspeak needs to remember the rules that THEY created:

Quote

Commercial geocaches are disallowed.

Cache listings perceived as commercial will not be published. A commercial cache listing has one or more of the following characteristics:
It has overtones of advertising, marketing or promotion.
It suggests or requires that the finder go inside a business, interact with employees and/or purchase a product or service.
It contains links to businesses, agencies, commercial advertisers, charities, or political or social agendas.
It contains the logo of a business or organization, including non-profit organizations.
It contains the name of a business or commercial product.

This is extremely disappointing to see that not only Groundspeak is engaged directly in a violation of their own rules by suggesting that the finders go into a business, BUT they are establishments involving alcohol! Free beer tasting? Oh right, no advertising, marketing or promoting there.

Once again, severely disappointed in how Groundspeak is devoting their resources. There are so many other great ideas that those who geocache on a regular basis (not just once a day in August of 2013) have presented and offered in the forums and have great support of other cachers. ::sigh::

"Its must be a bandwidth issue."

#14 User is offline   on4bam 

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  Posted 14 August 2013 - 10:31 PM

Looks like my ignorelist will get longer if this catches on. It's as commercial as can be while well thought out multicaches where an entrance fee has to be paid or where you have to ask for the cachecontainer in a shop (no obligation to buy/drink something)are not published.

Oh well, there's always the micro behind a lamppost :mad::(


Let's see this idea go the way challenges went.... fast...

#15 User is offline   wellner 

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Posted 15 August 2013 - 12:27 AM

Sounds VERY interesting! I hope we can use these on the night caching on Mega Sweden. Email sent!

/Fredrik

#16 User is offline   wellner 

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Posted 15 August 2013 - 12:58 AM

View PostMissJenn, on 14 August 2013 - 04:16 PM, said:

My personal hope is that geocaches created around Mega events that are good candidates for permanency and positively add to a visitors' travel/tourism experience to that area eventually get included in an official GeoTour.


The biggest problem is that the GeoTours are so expensive to set up and maintain. May I suggest that you include a free tour in the Mega event package? Valid for 5 years after the event or so.

/Fredrik

#17 User is offline   ChileHead 

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Posted 15 August 2013 - 05:19 AM

I don't have any problem with the commercial aspect of the brewery tour. Remember this is "labs", a chance to try something new and different - something that wouldn't normally be allowed by the current guidelines. Besides, it's beer - beer! I'd be totally opposed to a candle store tour - that would be crossing the line. :D

I'm looking forward to seeing what people will put out with this. Many of us have had thoughts of cool caches that we'd like to put out, but couldn't because of issues with cache permanence (90 days), worries about weathering, leaving an expensive item out for long in the wild, etc ..

What cool things can people build?

- some expensive electronic gizmo thingamabob that was itself a cache or led you to a cache, but you wouldn't want to leave out as a real cache for 90 days due to weather issues and cost issues.

- a well constructed puzzle box (wooden, metal, ...) that would not be appropriate for leaving out in the woods

- temporary moving caches, that move from person to person at an event

- a cache where you have to go talk to various people at an event to collect clues to find the actual cache. If you watch Amazing Race there was an episode a couple seasons ago where the contestants had to find people walking with trench coats and briefcases in Washington DC and give some spy code-word to them and find the right "spy" who had a clue for them. This would be something cool to do at an event to find a cache, but wouldn't normally work.

- caches involving NFC with phones, again where you have to find cachers at an event who have a clue on their phone you get via NFC

- a "flash mob" cache, where you have to get 50 (or whatever) people with smart phones into a 50 ft (or whatever) circle before a web site will reveal coordinates to a cache. I'll have a puzzle cache doing this soon, but it will also make a good lab/event cache.

- A scavenger hunt where you have to drive around a town/park/... to collect various clues and present them back to the event organizer before you are given cache coordinates

- Night caches involving electronic blinkies, which are only good for a day or two

#18 User is offline   JoenSue 

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Posted 15 August 2013 - 07:53 AM

Something new? Something different? We are always in for a look see and reserve judgement until later. It looks interesting to us. I hope there is one at GCF this year to see first hand what this is all about B)

#19 User is offline   OpinioNate 

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Posted 15 August 2013 - 08:03 AM

View PostChileHead, on 15 August 2013 - 05:19 AM, said:



What cool things can people build?

<majorly cool things snipped>



Chilihead gets it. How do we take geocaching to the next level? There are so many opportunities for cool geocaching experiences but we are limited by the constraints of the current game. What we absolutely don't want to do is open it up for a free-for-all. That was a major issue with Challenges from the beginning, right? And Virtuals to a lesser extent, but only because we burdened volunteers with the difficult task of maintaining quality. For the foreseeable future we (Groundspeak) will accept that responsibility and ensure only high-quality geocaching experiences are tested.

#20 User is offline   OpinioNate 

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Posted 15 August 2013 - 08:29 AM

View PostThe A-Team, on 14 August 2013 - 03:55 PM, said:

View PostOpinioNate, on 14 August 2013 - 01:43 PM, said:

What is Geocaching Labs?
This is our R&D department. This team always working to create new and innovative ideas to make geocaching more fun and exciting.

What is a Lab Cache?
Lab Caches are a new and rare geocache type. Anytime you find something thatís being tested by Geocaching Labs, it will count as a Lab Cache.

Up to this point, a Lab Cache sounds to me like a catch-all type for any new innovations being tested by the R&D section. However...

Quote

Why were these Lab Caches created?
This Lab Cache was developed to solve the problem of event-specific geocaches. Mega-Events often require new geocaches to be hidden, but since temporary geocaches are not allowed, the placed geocaches often end up neglected after the event. These new geocaches enable Mega-Events to have their own, temporary geocaches.

...this part makes it sound like "Lab Cache" = "Temporary event-related cache". Is it just that this is the only new innovation currently being tested and there are others on the radar?


Right. The adventures available this weekend at Block Party 2013 are lab caches, but not all lab caches will necessarily be event-related.

Quote

I'm also a bit confused about the part where you say that "Mega-Events often require new geocaches to be hidden, but since temporary geocaches are not allowed, the placed geocaches often end up neglected after the event." I guess other regions might do things differently, but the organizers of the two Megas we've had in Western Canada have placed a number of permanent caches in association with the event, and they were adopted out after the event. I'm also confused about the "require new caches" part. Geowoodstock VIII, as far as I can remember, had no caches hidden, and it went off just fine.


Perhaps "require" is not the right word. I've been to many Megas and I'd say more often than not anywhere from 30-400(!) caches have been placed and published for the event. I get the sense that many event attendees demand (in the supply/demand sense of the word) a certain number of "finds" as part of the event, and event hosts are responding to that demand in the only way they can: by placing new permanent caches. This is a huge outlay of resources for them, not to mention for the local reviewer.

Imagine trying to place that many caches at one time without breaking a proximity guideline. In addition, the effort of maintaining/adopting out the caches after the event has passed can be monumental. And are they quality caches, really? That's not a dig against the event hosts and helpers. If I go out tomorrow and place 30 caches you would be hard-pressed to find anything unique or interesting about each and every one of them. A good cache requires some thought and care in its placement. Why not find a way to devote those resources to the experience, rather than to finding a π5282 plot of free land and perpetual life-support givers.

Quote

I guess my position is that rather than officially recognizing the temporary caches, why not encourage Mega organizers to make their event-related caches permanent?


For all the reasons I stated above. Of course organizers will still have the ability to place permanent caches for their events. This just gives them another option. For instance, our own Block Party mega has released a new GeoTour of traditional caches in addition to these Lab caches.

#21 User is offline   Sharknose Bunnies 

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Posted 15 August 2013 - 09:44 AM

Is there a process in place yet for geocachers wanting to place these, or will Groundspeak be doing them all?

EDIT: Skip that, I see the answer. Nothing to see here.

This post has been edited by Sharknose Bunnies: 15 August 2013 - 09:47 AM


#22 User is offline   supertbone 

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Posted 15 August 2013 - 12:28 PM

View PostSharknose Bunnies, on 15 August 2013 - 09:44 AM, said:

Is there a process in place yet for geocachers wanting to place these, or will Groundspeak be doing them all?

EDIT: Skip that, I see the answer. Nothing to see here.


I really hope that one will be allowed for the 2nd International EarthCache Mega Event in St George, UT on Sept 7th.

#23 User is offline   Dr. House 

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Posted 15 August 2013 - 03:36 PM

View PostOpinioNate, on 14 August 2013 - 01:43 PM, said:


What is a Lab Cache?
Lab Caches are a new and rare geocache type. Anytime you find something that’s being tested by Geocaching Labs, it will count as a Lab Cache.

Does this count as a find?
Absolutely! For every Lab Cache you find, you’ll earn a smiley and your find count will go up. However, since these aren’t full-fledged geocaches, they won’t earn you souvenirs (including for the 31 Days of Geocaching) or count toward earning Favorite Points.

If the Lab Cache goes away, will my find go away as well?
Nope! With this new geocache type, all of your Lab Cache finds will stay on your profile.

How can I get the Lab Cache icon on my profile?
Right now the only way to obtain a Lab Cache icon for your Geocaching profile is to attend a Mega-Event where a Lab Cache is being offered. So far that’s only Block Party, but we are aiming to extend them to other Mega-Events soon.

How does this Lab Cache work?
These mostly work the same as regular geocaches: navigate to the location, find the cache and sign the logbook. However, these differ in that you must use the find code in order to mark the geocache as found.



I have some basic operational questions:

Firstly, is the only way to find one of the active Lab Caches by visiting the "labs." website? Is a functional way to view this information going to be provided to cachers via any other methods (i.e. existing Geocaching.com maps, Weekly Geocaching email server list, or the "List Newest in <state>" feature)? Given that these are only going to be offered at Mega Events at this time, will some sort of separate link from within a Mega Event cache listing show these as available?

Secondly, I'm wondering what the icons look like that are mentioned in Nate's OP? While the find count may go up, how does this display within the "Statistics" tab of a cacher's profile?

Thanks!

This post has been edited by Dr. House: 15 August 2013 - 03:37 PM


#24 User is offline   mogasman 

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Posted 15 August 2013 - 07:46 PM

Cybercat and I did the Microbrewery Tour today. We got the Labs icon so you can look on our profiles to see it. It was a lot of fun. We were pretty surprised that we were actually steered into the microbreweries, considering the commercial cache rule.
Of course, we spent $ in some of them.......extra beers, lunch, and a couple of beer mugs with the company name on them.
And we were surprised that we didn't have to sign anything........there was a notebook available at 4 of the breweries we visited, but all that was really needed was a code.
So I suppose you could just give your friends the code and they could sign them from afar.
We really enjoyed the tour. We think it's a fun idea and we are looking forward to the "tour of Fremont" Lab cache in a couple of days.
We would like to be able to click on the Lab Cache link on the profile to see which caches were done, how many people ended up doing them, and to be able to leave a comment, though..

#25 User is offline   JesandTodd 

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Posted 15 August 2013 - 08:14 PM

View Postmogasman, on 15 August 2013 - 07:46 PM, said:

Cybercat and I did the Microbrewery Tour today. We got the Labs icon so you can look on our profiles to see it.


I didn't see them on your profile...

#26 User is offline   mogasman 

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Posted 15 August 2013 - 08:24 PM

View PostJesandTodd, on 15 August 2013 - 08:14 PM, said:

View Postmogasman, on 15 August 2013 - 07:46 PM, said:

Cybercat and I did the Microbrewery Tour today. We got the Labs icon so you can look on our profiles to see it.


I didn't see them on your profile...



Last item on the left side on the bottom

#27 User is offline   mogasman 

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Posted 15 August 2013 - 08:27 PM

Click Geocaches Tab

#28 User is offline   JesandTodd 

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Posted 15 August 2013 - 08:41 PM

Lol. I know how t look for an icon...I just don't see it...

#29 User is offline   wellner 

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Posted 15 August 2013 - 08:44 PM

Me neither. are you on labsgeocaching.com?

/Fredrik

#30 User is offline   mogasman 

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Posted 15 August 2013 - 08:56 PM

View Postwellner, on 15 August 2013 - 08:44 PM, said:

Me neither. are you on labsgeocaching.com?

/Fredrik




No.......on Geocaching.com

#31 User is offline   Sol seaker 

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Posted 15 August 2013 - 09:26 PM

I don't see the "lab" icon either.

I think the idea of checking things out with community is a really great idea.
Is there a way we will be able to give feedback? That's what checking things out with the community is all about.

I like the "tour" idea, but since I don't drink I'm not hot on the idea of having to go into a brewery, actually many breweries to get an icon. I would be even less happy if I had children who like to cache, but I guess most cachers seem to be adults anyway.

If I can actually see an icon I'd do it though. I'm a sucker for a new icon. :anibad:

#32 User is offline   Corfman Clan 

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Posted 15 August 2013 - 09:37 PM

This sounds interesting and I hope this can carry forward.

Last month I served on the geocaching staff at the BSA National Jamboree in the Summit Bechtel Reserve. We placed 14 caches for the scouts to go find as a part of the curriculum we provided. Several scouts and scouters (adult scouts) were hoping for a real cache to find and log but we were unable to offer anything since the jamboree site is not publicly accessible. Some sort of special event cache would have been great and these lab caches sound like just the thing. The only issue is that there was no event cache or mega event cache to attach them too. Something there would have been really nice for the attendees too.

We also had several travel bugs and geocoins dropped off. We were unable to log them into anything though one did log them at a cache near the entrance of the Summit Bechtel Reserve.

I can tell you that all these geocachers that stopped by were very happy to talk to us but there most always was an underlying disappointment that they would be unable to log a smiley at the jamboree.

I made it up to Groundspeak's display and was discussing just this thing with Lackey Amy (DellaBell?) but there ended up being a lightning warning and everyone had to leave the area so our conversation was cut short.

So I'm very interested in finding out more about these lab caches and how we might be able to make use of them at the next jamboree in 2017.

Thanks!

#33 User is offline   wellner 

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Posted 15 August 2013 - 09:57 PM

Talked to the geocacher Famaxe. Same problem there, they see it in the bottom of the listing but I can't

#34 User is offline   mogasman 

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Posted 15 August 2013 - 09:58 PM

That's weird........my Lab caches shows 5 found, and also Cybercat's. Then we also have a joint account called MoCat!, and that account shows 5 Lab Caches as well. Wonder why you can't see them? They are listed right under the Benchmark caches......?

#35 User is offline   Dr. House 

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Posted 15 August 2013 - 10:13 PM

If someone is able to provide a screenshot of their statistics tab showing off the new icon, I'd love to see it.

#36 User is offline   wellner 

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Posted 15 August 2013 - 10:14 PM

Here you can see the difference.

Posted Image

The fun thing is that it seems that you can see it on other cachers profile if you have logged one yourself.

#37 User is offline   Dr. House 

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Posted 15 August 2013 - 10:23 PM

View Postwellner, on 15 August 2013 - 10:14 PM, said:

Here you can see the difference.

Posted Image

The fun thing is that it seems that you can see it on other cachers profile if you have logged one yourself.


For visiting each bar and sampling with the mug, this cacher received a find at each stop? I would've expected it would act like a multicache and give one find for successful completion of all components of the Lab.

Interesting. Thanks for the screenshot.

#38 User is offline   Don_J 

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Posted 15 August 2013 - 11:11 PM

View PostOpinioNate, on 15 August 2013 - 08:29 AM, said:

View PostThe A-Team, on 14 August 2013 - 03:55 PM, said:

View PostOpinioNate, on 14 August 2013 - 01:43 PM, said:

What is Geocaching Labs?
This is our R&D department. This team always working to create new and innovative ideas to make geocaching more fun and exciting.

What is a Lab Cache?
Lab Caches are a new and rare geocache type. Anytime you find something thatís being tested by Geocaching Labs, it will count as a Lab Cache.

Up to this point, a Lab Cache sounds to me like a catch-all type for any new innovations being tested by the R&D section. However...

Quote

Why were these Lab Caches created?
This Lab Cache was developed to solve the problem of event-specific geocaches. Mega-Events often require new geocaches to be hidden, but since temporary geocaches are not allowed, the placed geocaches often end up neglected after the event. These new geocaches enable Mega-Events to have their own, temporary geocaches.

...this part makes it sound like "Lab Cache" = "Temporary event-related cache". Is it just that this is the only new innovation currently being tested and there are others on the radar?


Right. The adventures available this weekend at Block Party 2013 are lab caches, but not all lab caches will necessarily be event-related.

Quote

I'm also a bit confused about the part where you say that "Mega-Events often require new geocaches to be hidden, but since temporary geocaches are not allowed, the placed geocaches often end up neglected after the event." I guess other regions might do things differently, but the organizers of the two Megas we've had in Western Canada have placed a number of permanent caches in association with the event, and they were adopted out after the event. I'm also confused about the "require new caches" part. Geowoodstock VIII, as far as I can remember, had no caches hidden, and it went off just fine.


Perhaps "require" is not the right word. I've been to many Megas and I'd say more often than not anywhere from 30-400(!) caches have been placed and published for the event. I get the sense that many event attendees demand (in the supply/demand sense of the word) a certain number of "finds" as part of the event, and event hosts are responding to that demand in the only way they can: by placing new permanent caches. This is a huge outlay of resources for them, not to mention for the local reviewer.

Imagine trying to place that many caches at one time without breaking a proximity guideline. In addition, the effort of maintaining/adopting out the caches after the event has passed can be monumental. And are they quality caches, really? That's not a dig against the event hosts and helpers. If I go out tomorrow and place 30 caches you would be hard-pressed to find anything unique or interesting about each and every one of them. A good cache requires some thought and care in its placement. Why not find a way to devote those resources to the experience, rather than to finding a π5282 plot of free land and perpetual life-support givers.

Quote

I guess my position is that rather than officially recognizing the temporary caches, why not encourage Mega organizers to make their event-related caches permanent?


For all the reasons I stated above. Of course organizers will still have the ability to place permanent caches for their events. This just gives them another option. For instance, our own Block Party mega has released a new GeoTour of traditional caches in addition to these Lab caches.


I'll reserve judgement until I see it play out, but I really hate the idea that event hosts and especially Groundspeak would bow to the pressure of those that "demand" more than one smiley for attending an event. The only thing that I have ever expected out of an event was to have fun and get my one smiley for attending.

#39 User is offline   SwineFlew 

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Posted 16 August 2013 - 06:52 AM

View Postwellner, on 15 August 2013 - 10:14 PM, said:

Here you can see the difference.

Posted Image

The fun thing is that it seems that you can see it on other cachers profile if you have logged one yourself.

Thank you.

This post has been edited by SwineFlew: 16 August 2013 - 06:53 AM


#40 User is offline   niraD 

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Posted 16 August 2013 - 07:25 AM

View PostDon_J, on 15 August 2013 - 11:11 PM, said:

I'll reserve judgement until I see it play out, but I really hate the idea that event hosts and especially Groundspeak would bow to the pressure of those that "demand" more than one smiley for attending an event. The only thing that I have ever expected out of an event was to have fun and get my one smiley for attending.
While I agree that people should want to attend an event for its own sake, and not because of the additional smilies they can get, I think that's a side issue.

To me, it looks like the point of Labs is to beta-test new ideas with a limited group, for a limited time. The relationship between Labs and mega-events is practical: access to hundreds of attendees, many of whom are willing beta-test subjects that won't expect the new ideas to be available after the event.

#41 User is offline   cheech gang 

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Posted 16 August 2013 - 07:58 AM

WARNING: I am a professional cynic.

I'm wondering if a pub crawl was the best choice for the first example that we get to actually see.

Anybody remember the early example during the Challenge debacle having to do with kissing an amphibian?

That being said, I would hope future experiments with this idea have great appeal. Good luck!

#42 User is offline   OpinioNate 

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Posted 16 August 2013 - 08:06 AM

There is actually a bug currently where you can see your own Lab Cache stats, but not those of other geocachers unless you yourself have found one. (I know, crazytown). This is fixed but we're going to release on Monday since we don't deploy code on Fridays. Sorry for the confusion on that.

Also, they are "Lab Caches" not "Labs Caches". That will also be fixed.

#43 User is offline   mogasman 

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Posted 16 August 2013 - 08:41 AM

BTW, I'm curious as to how to steer other cachers to this lab cache. I didn't see a GC code......the only way I could find it was to click on a link in an email I received from GC.

And yes, we received a smiley for each pub visit....we were staggering to the 5th stop.......[:D]

Just kidding, the mugs were only 2 oz.

I'm sure there will be lotsa bitchin' about this, just like there was with the Challenges. I just hope if they do decide to pull the plug on them, the icon will stay. Cybercat likes to collect those things.......

#44 User is offline   supertbone 

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Posted 16 August 2013 - 09:02 AM

View PostCorfman Clan, on 15 August 2013 - 09:37 PM, said:

This sounds interesting and I hope this can carry forward.

Last month I served on the geocaching staff at the BSA National Jamboree in the Summit Bechtel Reserve. We placed 14 caches for the scouts to go find as a part of the curriculum we provided. Several scouts and scouters (adult scouts) were hoping for a real cache to find and log but we were unable to offer anything since the jamboree site is not publicly accessible. Some sort of special event cache would have been great and these lab caches sound like just the thing. The only issue is that there was no event cache or mega event cache to attach them too. Something there would have been really nice for the attendees too.

We also had several travel bugs and geocoins dropped off. We were unable to log them into anything though one did log them at a cache near the entrance of the Summit Bechtel Reserve.

I can tell you that all these geocachers that stopped by were very happy to talk to us but there most always was an underlying disappointment that they would be unable to log a smiley at the jamboree.

I made it up to Groundspeak's display and was discussing just this thing with Lackey Amy (DellaBell?) but there ended up being a lightning warning and everyone had to leave the area so our conversation was cut short.

So I'm very interested in finding out more about these lab caches and how we might be able to make use of them at the next jamboree in 2017.

Thanks!


My son was there and I know he was hoping for a loggable cache too.

#45 User is offline   Don_J 

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Posted 16 August 2013 - 09:09 AM

View PostniraD, on 16 August 2013 - 07:25 AM, said:

View PostDon_J, on 15 August 2013 - 11:11 PM, said:

I'll reserve judgement until I see it play out, but I really hate the idea that event hosts and especially Groundspeak would bow to the pressure of those that "demand" more than one smiley for attending an event. The only thing that I have ever expected out of an event was to have fun and get my one smiley for attending.
While I agree that people should want to attend an event for its own sake, and not because of the additional smilies they can get, I think that's a side issue.

To me, it looks like the point of Labs is to beta-test new ideas with a limited group, for a limited time. The relationship between Labs and mega-events is practical: access to hundreds of attendees, many of whom are willing beta-test subjects that won't expect the new ideas to be available after the event.


Well, the word "demanded" was Nate's, not mine, and frankly, it puts me off, especially when so many good ideas are politely posted to the request forum and they don't even get acknowledged.

Is there a special secret place where we can go to demand things, like a nano size or the ability to ignore a user's 450 placed, then neglected micros, with just a few clicks?

I'm not against new ideas and I'm happy that Groundspeak appears to looking into implementing some of them. I'm especially happy that they are testing this new one in a controlled setting instead of just releasing it to the world. I just kind of wish that the first one wasn't catering to those that apparently don't want to attend an event unless they get extra smileys or a special icon.

#46 User is offline   Don_J 

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Posted 16 August 2013 - 09:12 AM

View Postcheech gang, on 16 August 2013 - 07:58 AM, said:

WARNING: I am a professional cynic.

I'm wondering if a pub crawl was the best choice for the first example that we get to actually see.

Anybody remember the early example during the Challenge debacle having to do with kissing an amphibian?

That being said, I would hope future experiments with this idea have great appeal. Good luck!


For some of us, a pub crawl could be a very dangerous adventure.

#47 User is offline   The Leprechauns 

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Posted 16 August 2013 - 09:15 AM

I visited five brewpubs last evening, signed five logbooks in five physical Adventure Cache containers, entered five verification codes and got five Lab Caches added to my profile. More important, I had FUN -- and I don't even drink beer. The fun was in talking to other geocachers and walking with them from one stop to the next. This was like a mile or so of "hiking" - and felt no different than the night cache I did later in the evening with a large group, in terms of socializing.

The concept is very Mega Event friendly. I go to Mega Events to have fun, not to run up a big string of numbers. This was fun and different.

#48 User is offline   Don_J 

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Posted 16 August 2013 - 09:18 AM

BTW, the GSAK crowd is having a devil of a time trying to figure out the GPX for these things. It seems that elements have data that is expected to be in other elements and there is no unique identifier code.

Will these be included in the special My Finds PQ? If so, will it be in a way that follows the standard for other geocaches? If they are going to be in the find count, they should follow the convention that you have already established.

#49 User is offline   OpinioNate 

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Posted 16 August 2013 - 09:28 AM

View PostDon_J, on 16 August 2013 - 09:09 AM, said:

Well, the word "demanded" was Nate's, not mine, and frankly, it puts me off, especially when so many good ideas are politely posted to the request forum and they don't even get acknowledged.

Is there a special secret place where we can go to demand things, like a nano size or the ability to ignore a user's 450 placed, then neglected micros, with just a few clicks?



I'd appreciate if you would quote me in context, in particular because I was careful to clarify my use of the word "demand" being in the "supply/demand" sense and not "I demand you do X or else". There is an appetite for finds that comes with attending an event. Organizers are responding to that appetite.

#50 User is offline   Hynr 

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Posted 16 August 2013 - 11:06 AM

I am excited by new things. Innovation and experimentation is my business (at work). If I were to ever even contemplate involving the "production side" of my world without an alpha and beta stage, then that would have serious negative consequences, even if everything worked perfectly.

The various policy violations that I now see on the production side of geocaching.com are going to cause huge issues in terms of credibility. In placing a recent event cache I was motivated by the reviewer to reduce the number of times I mention a particular commercial entity in the description. I am baffled at what I now see on the "production side" of the geocaching web site, especially since it is being put in place by folks who make the policy, yet I see no alteration in the policy that would allow what I am seeing. You are poisoning your own water by letting these new experimental things count on the production side of your operation.

I think stability is important, particularly when you consider all the reviewers who are now left scratching their head and trying to defend a policy that is suddenly not defensible, and even more individuals who want very much to place interesting and useful caches. My sense is that if I were in your position, I would make some quick adjustments to pull these things out of the production side, move them into a beta site, give users the assurance that if this does get into "production" that then their finds will count. This then gives you time to do a thoughtful, careful revision of the policy, announce it for a particular effective date and then shift the beta stuff to production.

If there was an alpha or beta stage, then you need to consider how you do this sort of testing because it was a significant failure in reducing your risks. It should have identified for you the needed policy changes and you would have had time to carefully do what you must now do in haste with lots of band-aids.

Please do NOT give up on lab caches. The idea is great and will give you very valuable information that you need to grow and develop.

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