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A Guide to Searching on Geocaching.com

#1 User is online   The A-Team 

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Posted 18 March 2015 - 12:31 PM

Due to the rampant confusion and frustration surrounding the release of the new Search tool, I've put together a guide to help with its use. It combines descriptions and instructions for the new tool with links to alternative searching methods. This guide is definitely incomplete and not necessarily completely accurate, but I've done my best to extract the most important information from forum discussions and put it all in one place.

A Guide to Searching on Geocaching.com

Please let me know what you think can be improved/added/corrected/etc.

Please limit this discussion to that of the guide above. Expressions of frustration over the new tool or requests to Groundspeak for changes to the new tool should be made elsewhere.

Disclaimer: This guide is unofficial. It has been created by one member to assist other members. It has been kept factual and does not take a position either in-favour-of nor in-opposition-of the new search tool.

This post has been edited by Keystone: 04 May 2015 - 07:18 PM
Reason for edit: Updated link


#2 User is offline   Uncle Alaska 

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Posted 18 March 2015 - 12:36 PM

Very Nice :D

#3 User is offline   jholly 

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Posted 18 March 2015 - 12:38 PM

Nicely done.

#4 User is online   cheech gang 

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Posted 18 March 2015 - 12:53 PM

A specific cache by GC code, I belive column 2 should be a YES, at least for premium members. Placing a GC number in the first block gives a satisfactory result.

#5 User is offline   CanadianRockies 

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Posted 18 March 2015 - 12:54 PM

There are a few things that I think aren't quite accurate.

First, you note that "Basic Members cannot apply any of the additional filters..." But Basic Members can filter by cache type.

Second, you state that Basic Members are unable to search for upcoming events in a state/province/country. I'd say they can do so but with limitations. They can pick a location (e.g., "home") and search for only "Event" caches within 30 miles of that location.

Third, you indicate that nobody can search for a specific cache by its GC code. But you can do this using the main search page.

Finally, you indicate Premium Users have no alternative to the search page for finding the newest/oldest caches in a state/province/country, but Pocket Queries are one alternative.

#6 User is offline   Car54 

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Posted 18 March 2015 - 12:56 PM

View Postcheech gang, on 18 March 2015 - 12:53 PM, said:

A specific cache by GC code, I belive column 2 should be a YES, at least for premium members. Placing a GC number in the first block gives a satisfactory result.


I have noticed the same thing - works for me and we are premium members.

Mrs. Car54

#7 User is online   The A-Team 

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Posted 18 March 2015 - 01:20 PM

View PostCanadianRockies, on 18 March 2015 - 12:54 PM, said:

First, you note that "Basic Members cannot apply any of the additional filters..." But Basic Members can filter by cache type.

Second, you state that Basic Members are unable to search for upcoming events in a state/province/country. I'd say they can do so but with limitations. They can pick a location (e.g., "home") and search for only "Event" caches within 30 miles of that location.

I wasn't aware that Basic members could filter by cache type. I do have a Basic member account I use for testing, so I'll use that tonight so I can see exactly what access they have. Thanks for pointing that out!

Quote

Third, you indicate that nobody can search for a specific cache by its GC code. But you can do this using the main search page.

Well, yes and no. Yes, if you put a GC code in the main search field it would be the first result, however there are caveats and exceptions. One notable one that has been mentioned in other forum discussions is that this doesn't work if the cache is archived. I'll find a way to denote this "Yes, sometimes" behaviour in the table.

Quote

Finally, you indicate Premium Users have no alternative to the search page for finding the newest/oldest caches in a state/province/country, but Pocket Queries are one alternative.

I thought about this one last night and decided it wouldn't work, but I just did some more thinking and realized you could do it by using a date range and sorting. I'll update that to "Yes". Thanks!

#8 User is offline   cezanne 

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Posted 18 March 2015 - 01:27 PM

View PostThe A-Team, on 18 March 2015 - 01:20 PM, said:

View PostCanadianRockies, on 18 March 2015 - 12:54 PM, said:

First, you note that "Basic Members cannot apply any of the additional filters..." But Basic Members can filter by cache type.

Second, you state that Basic Members are unable to search for upcoming events in a state/province/country. I'd say they can do so but with limitations. They can pick a location (e.g., "home") and search for only "Event" caches within 30 miles of that location.

I wasn't aware that Basic members could filter by cache type. I do have a Basic member account I use for testing, so I'll use that tonight so I can see exactly what access they have. Thanks for pointing that out!


They can, but only within 30 miles and without filtering out found and owned caches, making it completely useless, and if then one tries to be clever and adds &f=1 to the search command, then one obtains the answer that one uses a PM filter.
Working with the old search as long available, is the only way out.

This post has been edited by cezanne: 18 March 2015 - 01:36 PM


#9 User is offline   NYPaddleCacher 

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Posted 18 March 2015 - 01:46 PM

View Postcheech gang, on 18 March 2015 - 12:53 PM, said:

A specific cache by GC code, I belive column 2 should be a YES, at least for premium members. Placing a GC number in the first block gives a satisfactory result.


NIcely done A-team.

Perhaps a clarification here that entering a GC number in the Main Search box will return a *list* of results within a 10 mile (default) radius of the published coordinates for that cache, and that the first cache on the list will be for for that GC number.

Something that may add a bit of clarity may be a paragraph or two which describes the new search as having two different (which may be combined) search modes. I'm making up terminology here but the first mode would be a "Location specific search" which essentially means that if you enter something into the main search box, that it will attempt to resolve to a specific location (a set of lat/long coordinates) and that the results will be relative (and within a proximity up to 30 miles) to that specific location. The second mode would be a "Location non-specific search". A location non-specific search requires the use of one the filters you've identified when not combined with a location specific search. To avoid confusion, the use of the "Search Only In" field is used to search within a region, not relative to a specific waypoint.

You might add that while the "I've found", "I own", "Has Corrected Coordinates", "Has Personal Cache Note" can be used without any other filters or a specific location, the converse filters ("I've not found", "I don't own", or selecting no for "Has Corrected Coordinates" or "Has Personal Cache Note") requires the "Hidden by" or "Search Only In" filter as well, or with a specific location.


Although you mention using the column headers on some of the example pages it might be useful to have a section on "View Results" which could have something about downloading. You might also consider adding a "Download results" row in the table.






#10 User is offline   NYPaddleCacher 

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Posted 18 March 2015 - 01:56 PM

I forgot to add..

As a general purpose alternative, the old Advanced search page can be used by premium and basic members by going to:

http://www.geocachin...px?country_id=0

In addition to being able to search by country/state it has a drop down menu for searching by keyword, found by, hidden by, search by cache type, and search by postal code or gc code.



#11 User is online   The A-Team 

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Posted 18 March 2015 - 01:57 PM

View PostNYPaddleCacher, on 18 March 2015 - 01:46 PM, said:

Something that may add a bit of clarity may be a paragraph or two which describes the new search as having two different (which may be combined) search modes. I'm making up terminology here but the first mode would be a "Location specific search" which essentially means that if you enter something into the main search box, that it will attempt to resolve to a specific location (a set of lat/long coordinates) and that the results will be relative (and within a proximity up to 30 miles) to that specific location. The second mode would be a "Location non-specific search". A location non-specific search requires the use of one the filters you've identified when not combined with a location specific search. To avoid confusion, the use of the "Search Only In" field is used to search within a region, not relative to a specific waypoint.

Good point. I had actually considered doing that at one point, but forgot to actually do it because I was working on so many other sections. I'll add that.

Quote

You might add that while the "I've found", "I own", "Has Corrected Coordinates", "Has Personal Cache Note" can be used without any other filters or a specific location, the converse filters ("I've not found", "I don't own", or selecting no for "Has Corrected Coordinates" or "Has Personal Cache Note") requires the "Hidden by" or "Search Only In" filter as well, or with a specific location.

Although you mention using the column headers on some of the example pages it might be useful to have a section on "View Results" which could have something about downloading. You might also consider adding a "Download results" row in the table.

I'll add those as well.

Thanks for the suggestions!

#12 User is online   The A-Team 

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Posted 18 March 2015 - 02:01 PM

View PostNYPaddleCacher, on 18 March 2015 - 01:56 PM, said:

As a general purpose alternative, the old Advanced search page can be used by premium and basic members by going to:

http://www.geocachin...px?country_id=0

In addition to being able to search by country/state it has a drop down menu for searching by keyword, found by, hidden by, search by cache type, and search by postal code or gc code.

I did provide that link in the second paragraph (huge thanks for that, BTW!), but it's intentionally not very prominent. Since it's essentially orphaned legacy code, I didn't want people to consider it to be permanent. For all we know, it may be removed in the next site update.

#13 User is offline   knowschad 

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Posted 18 March 2015 - 02:28 PM

I was going to suggest coords.info/ for non-PMs, but I see that you've got it there already. Very VERY nice work. Thanks for volunteering.

#14 User is offline   NYPaddleCacher 

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Posted 18 March 2015 - 02:39 PM

View PostThe A-Team, on 18 March 2015 - 02:01 PM, said:

View PostNYPaddleCacher, on 18 March 2015 - 01:56 PM, said:

As a general purpose alternative, the old Advanced search page can be used by premium and basic members by going to:

http://www.geocachin...px?country_id=0

In addition to being able to search by country/state it has a drop down menu for searching by keyword, found by, hidden by, search by cache type, and search by postal code or gc code.

I did provide that link in the second paragraph (huge thanks for that, BTW!), but it's intentionally not very prominent. Since it's essentially orphaned legacy code, I didn't want people to consider it to be permanent. For all we know, it may be removed in the next site update.


I was wondering about that as well. One can hope that there will be a satisfactory solution that provides the functionality that page provides before it's completely removed and that it, like the pages you've created won't be necessary. I *do* have hope that eventually the new advanced search page will be able to do all that and more and believe GS wants to produce the best search mechanism they can as well. I don't want to turn this into a pro/cons debate of the new search engine but I get the impression that they're intentionally trying to redraw the line in terms of features provided between new and basic members and that's making a lot of basic members unhappy. I don't think that there is really anything any of us can do about their decision for where to draw the line and, as you've done, our contributions can still be made to help others understand how to work with what we've got.

I know that in my case, when I've been working on a project a lot over a long period of time that once it's released it's nice to have a chance to take a breath. Hopefully the developers will have a chance to breath, regroup, then start working on addressing the many concerns we have over the upcoming weeks/months.





#15 User is offline   K13 

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Posted 18 March 2015 - 02:47 PM

Great work, A-Team. I can only hope that the GS developers will spend as much time writing instructions for how to use the new search as you have spent making the chart and explanations.

Maybe the folks at GS Search Development Team should take this quote to heart ..."If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough." - Albert Einstein



#16 User is online   The A-Team 

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Posted 18 March 2015 - 07:20 PM

The suggested changes have now been made. Thank you for all the feedback!

#17 User is offline   CanadianRockies 

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Posted 18 March 2015 - 09:19 PM

I don't know how many people actually use the feature, but you might want to add a row indicating that all members still can search by postal code.

#18 User is offline   Sol seaker 

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Posted 18 March 2015 - 10:07 PM

Thank you so much for doing this, A-Team!! This is great.


I haven't used the new search engine much, but I just did and was so happy to find I could search for a word in the title of the cache and for the state the cache was in at the same time. I am really, really happy about that!!!

#19 User is offline   noncentric 

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Posted 18 March 2015 - 10:29 PM

Huge kudos to "The A-Team" for taking on this project! If I was creating something, then it would've been a Word doc or something. Your entire website with links and such is wonderful.

One suggestion I'd have for the chart would be to have a line of "Caches not found by specific users". I would make that last word plural, since the search allows entering up to 5 usernames. Additional lines could be "Caches for which I've entered corrected coordinates", "Caches for which I've entered Personal Notes", and "Caches with a minimum number of favorite points". These would only be for PM's though. I don't think there are alternatives for these.

If you end up creating a section about the Results map page, then it might be good to note that those maps will show cache icons at corrected coordinates. If someone views an area with "Play --> View Geocache Map" in one window and "Map These Results" in another window...then some icons could be in different locations between those maps if there are corrected coordinates. I don't know if this happens for Basic Members.

#20 User is offline   The_Incredibles_ 

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Posted 18 March 2015 - 11:48 PM

Looks great. I have to admit I haven't yet explored the search function, due to its complexity. This page will help. I hope the information in it is incorporated into the official site.

#21 User is offline   Team Taran 

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Posted 19 March 2015 - 06:16 AM

One method of searching which has hardly been mentioned that is available to everyone is the link on your profile to nearby caches. The other is the link to nearby caches on every cache pages. These two methods were the ones I used almost exclusively when I started out. I wonder if the link on finding a cache should not lead to a single search page. Many of the complaints about the new advanced search seem to reflect a belief that this is the only tool available instead of one of many. I really like that your document reflects that.

#22 User is offline   Isonzo Karst 

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Posted 19 March 2015 - 06:26 AM

Another route for Basic members 9and premium) to see events is through the weekly newsletter. At the end of the list of 10, there's a link Search for More Events

For for however long the link at the end remains, it's "old search", events from your home coords, out 100 miles.

#23 User is offline   fuzziebear3 

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Posted 19 March 2015 - 06:53 AM

View PostThe_Incredibles_, on 18 March 2015 - 11:48 PM, said:

Looks great. I have to admit I haven't yet explored the search function, due to its complexity. This page will help. I hope the information in it is incorporated into the official site.


+1

I think what was missing in the rollout is instructions, just such as these. I hope they are linked into the site, so it can help everyone use the tool most effectively.

#24 User is offline   Sol seaker 

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Posted 19 March 2015 - 10:17 PM

Thanks A-Team!! Appreciate the work that went into this.




I just used the search engine for the first time today.

For what I wanted to do it was pretty simple (narrow a search by area and by cache name). It came up with great results.

After reading over what that page can do I'm really happy about it.

THANK YOU Groundspeak!!!!


I've been wanting a new search page for a very long time, that I could search for both cache name and location in the same search.

I'm very happy with it so far.


I'm actually pretty impressed that they thought of things like searching for caches that have notes on them. Now I can find all the ones that I solved the puzzles to. I know there are a lot around that I've missed and would love to find. That is way cool!!

thanks guys!

#25 User is offline   Sol seaker 

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Posted 19 March 2015 - 10:19 PM

View Postfuzziebear3, on 19 March 2015 - 06:53 AM, said:

View PostThe_Incredibles_, on 18 March 2015 - 11:48 PM, said:

Looks great. I have to admit I haven't yet explored the search function, due to its complexity. This page will help. I hope the information in it is incorporated into the official site.


+1

I think what was missing in the rollout is instructions, just such as these. I hope they are linked into the site, so it can help everyone use the tool most effectively.




+1


I think the page is great, so I think what must be missing is the instructions.

For a lot of searches it seems pretty straightforward, but there are probably complications that are frustrating people.

New stuff can be hard for people even when it's good.

#26 User is offline   rjb43nh 

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Posted 20 March 2015 - 07:41 AM

I'll give the A-Team a grade of A+ for those instructions.

#27 User is offline   knowschad 

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Posted 20 March 2015 - 08:52 AM

View Postrjb43nh, on 20 March 2015 - 07:41 AM, said:

I'll give the A-Team a grade of A+ for those instructions.

That would make him the A+Team!

#28 User is offline   Pup Patrol 

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Posted 20 March 2015 - 09:00 AM

View Postfuzziebear3, on 19 March 2015 - 06:53 AM, said:

View PostThe_Incredibles_, on 18 March 2015 - 11:48 PM, said:

Looks great. I have to admit I haven't yet explored the search function, due to its complexity. This page will help. I hope the information in it is incorporated into the official site.


+1

I think what was missing in the rollout is instructions, just such as these. I hope they are linked into the site, so it can help everyone use the tool most effectively.


Help Center
http://support.Groun...k.com/index.php

Help Center → Finding a Geocache
http://support.Groun...g=kb.book&id=25

Help Center → Finding a Geocache
2. Searching for a Geocache
http://support.Groun....chapter&id=105

Help Center → Finding a Geocache → Searching for a Geocache
2.1. Advanced Search FAQ
http://support.Groun...=kb.page&id=649

Help Center → Finding a Geocache → Searching for a Geocache
2.2. I have feedback about the new Advanced Search
http://support.Groun...=kb.page&id=653



B.

This post has been edited by Pup Patrol: 20 March 2015 - 09:01 AM


#29 User is offline   Team Taran 

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Posted 23 March 2015 - 05:21 AM

This does such a good job of answering questions on the new search, I thought I would give it a boost. I would also recommend people try some of the other ways to search. They might discover something that works better than what they had been using.

#30 User is offline   qtbluemoon 

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Posted 23 March 2015 - 02:37 PM

Wow! This is great, thanks so much, The A-Team!

#31 User is offline   Dr.MORO 

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Posted 24 March 2015 - 05:16 PM

The A-Team rules! :antenna:

Very nice!

Now, have you not received a job offer from you-know-who yet? :anitongue:

#32 User is offline   jellis 

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Posted 24 March 2015 - 10:16 PM

Yes nicely done. But to me it shows (sorry) how much we can't do or not longer can do. And is this what we wanted? I guess I will have to go to the other site more for my searches.

This post has been edited by jellis: 24 March 2015 - 10:16 PM


#33 User is offline   Pup Patrol 

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Posted 28 March 2015 - 10:43 AM

Could this thread please be made into a sticky, so it's quick and easy to find?

Thanks.

B.

#34 User is offline   noncentric 

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Posted 28 March 2015 - 02:01 PM

I've just added a link to The A-Team's guide in my forum sig. Let me know if there are any problems with that, but I'm assuming it's out there as public info anyway. :D

#35 User is offline   fuzziebear3 

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Posted 02 April 2015 - 07:17 AM

great guide!

#36 User is offline   Pup Patrol 

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Posted 12 April 2015 - 11:37 AM

bump, cuz this has slid to page 2



B.

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