TAG :: Toronto Area Geocachers » Geocaching Sites

Feb 03 2011

The Geocaching.com February update also brings much goodness to the beta maps. Version 0.9.2 adds some personalization and filter abilities, and thus adds considerable value to the new maps.

As a reminder, the new beta maps enable you to view as many caches as you’d like plotted on the screen. You can view all the caches in the world if you’d like – you’re not limited to 500 caches at a time like the old maps. Up to now though that was about all you could do. The tool wasn’t useful for planning caching outings within your normal areas, since you could not hide the caches you owned or found:

With version 0.92, you have additional controls now. You’ll see there are filters on the left hand side, that let you toggle certain cache types on or off. To show the caches you have already found, or placed – you select that “Enable Personalization” check box about half way down the screen :

This shows all your finds, and caches placed. Pretty, but not much use for planning that power caching run. Let’s hide all those smileys and see where to cache this weekend. Click on the Smiley Face icon and the Star icon under personalization and I can see Terra Cotta might be a nice spot to check out:

What’s more, our friends at Groundspeak are not quite done yet! After this they are adding filters for Pocket Queries, trackables, and caches along a route. The Real-Time chat and Prescence items are interesting and may be coming from the Geocaching Live beta, though they’ll need to add these functions to the iPhone, Android and Windows Phone apps to get much traction in North America (and, it appears they are going to). Still, how cool would that be, to get a push notification that one of your geocaching friends is caching in the area…. or see geocachers plotted on the map screen (opt-in of course for those concerned with privacy)

Feb 02 2011

One of the updates that came out of yesterday’s Geocaching.com update is an upgrade to the Favourites feature. Now, you can see the percentage of finders against the number of finders who flagged a cache as a favourite. The intent is to show those caches which are being favourited, yet reflect that against the total number of finders. The hope is to show some measure of cache quality rather than just the raw number of cachers who flagged the cache. One caveat to this is that Favourite points can only be assigned by a Premium Member, so the ratio calculation ignores Basic Members in the calculation.

Since this calculation is a bit intensive on the site, we cannot sort by caches with a higher ratio. To see the Favourite Ratio, you have two methods:

  1. On the cache page, click on the little arrow below the favourite count to see the ratio, and who favourited that cache
  2. In a list of caches, like a search, click on the number of favourites to see the ratio pop out.

Jan 31 2011

Looks like it’s maintenance mode time again at Geocaching.com. Tomorrow, the site will go offline for it’s monthly site update and come back shortly with new features, changes and fixes. The site will go offline at 1PM EST, and these things usually last a good hour or two. During the maintenance window, you won’t be able to log caches or look them up. If you want to cache in tomorrow’s snowstorm, better grab a Pocket Query beforehand.

One of the updates I am expecting to see, based on the UserVoice feedback is the addition of “Favourite Ratios”, where you can display a cache’s favourite count against the number of Premium Members who found that cache.

Jan 18 2011

…. and the Geocaching.com update train keeps on rolling. This one is for geocachers who cache with a Windows Phone 7 device. This one is a little different – they updated the site instead of the App for these fixes, so you don’t need to run out and download anything.

The forum post says it all:

Bug Fixes:

* “Hide my finds” now only hides you’ve logged as “Found”.

* Log in issues have been corrected.

* Pocket Queries are working.

* Connection issues have been resolved.

* Archived caches no longer show up in searches.

Jan 13 2011

Groundspeak has finally started issuing the Canadian Provinces “souvenirs”. They started with Ontario. Souvenirs are Groundspeak’s equivalent of an achievement badge. These are awarded these for visiting caches or events, sometimes at a specific date or time.

The Souvenir for Ontario features artwork of maple leaves, a loon and Niagara Falls. They also include some descriptive text about the Province:

The most populous of the provinces, Ontario is the seat of the national capital and over half of Canada’s manufacturing. It stretches the farthest south of any part of the Canadian mainland, reaching farther south than California’s northern border.

Souvenirs are also awarded retroactively – so if you’ve ever found a cache in Ontario, check the Souvenirs tab on your Geocaching.com “My Profile” page to see yours.

Dec 22 2010

I’ve pulled together some handy searches for quickly finding which caches are most favourited on the site in Ontario, and which caches are the newest in Ontario. Upcoming events are always posted first in the Newest Caches list, which makes that particularly handy.

I’ll be using that last one for planning my cache outings. I’ve added a couple of them to the TAG links under “Geocache Listing Sites”. Some of these links will require you to have a Premium Membership on the Geocaching.com site.

I also found a great article for power using the Geocaching.com website by GizmoGuy411. It’s great resource if you want to make your own custom, bookmarkable searches too.

Dec 21 2010

Groundspeak has relaunched the Geocaching.com site after today’s highly anticipated update. The core features are in place, and obviously people are taking notice as the site is getting slammed right now traffic wise. Here’s some of the new functionality you can now play with on the site.


The most impressive of the new features is the update to the maps. You can now view a lot more information on the screen, and there is no 500 cache limit on the map anymore … in fact, there is no limit at all any more. This makes locating a cache cluster much easier, and helps to easily visualize an area you may be visiting without all that pan/zoom madness that was on the old maps. You can also easily grab a link (URL) for the map to easily share with others.

When zoomed out past 500 metres, the display will change to coloured boxes instead of icons. You can change the map type displayed easily from the usual Google Road/Satellite/Terrain and also MapQuest, Bing and event OpenStreet Map and OpenCycle.

There is also a promise of “Geocaching Social” in the future, which will most likely utilize live.geocaching.com and/or the Geocaching.com mobile apps to show where your friends are geocaching on the map.  To use the new map, you’ll need to click on the “View the Map Beta” link at the top left of the screen when you head to a map page.


This is the implementation of the oft requested rating system for caches. Rather than go with a 1-5 rating for various attributes of the cache, Groundspeak has opted to use a system where you can mark a cache you have found as a “Favorite”

You get 1 “Favorite” point for every 10 geocaches you visit. Multiple “Found it” logs on a cache count as one visit.  On cache pages which have been marked, you will see how many people have marked that cache as a Favorite. Click on the badge and you will see who they are, and have a link to their log entry for that cache.

At the moment, Pocket Queries do not support filtering on Favorites, but it is planned for the future.


Groundspeak acquired mygeocachingprofile.com so we were expecting this change. On every cacher’s profile page there is a new tab, “Statistics“. The tab does what you’d expect and shows various stats about your caching history. One nice touch is that the oddball caches, like that Virtual in Germany or the moving cache in BC are not included when calculating the distance stats.

While you can use the mygeocachingprofile.com web page, or the FindStatsGen macro for GSAK to get a lot of these statistics (and more), the stats on the Geocaching.com site are created automatically with no need to download your MyFinds PQ and wait for the number crunching. It’s a convenient way to flip back and forth between your friends if you’re sharing a challenge cache for example the Cache a Day or Fizzy challenges.

The statistics tracked at launch include:

  • Your find rate caches/day
  • Your longest find/no find streaks
  • Your best day, month, year for number of caches found
  • Finds/month (graphed)
  • Finds for Each Day of the Year
  • Cache types/ container types  found
  • Difficulty and Terrain Matrix (for Fizzy challenges et al)
  • Farthest distances travelled to find a cache

Dec 21 2010

The long awaited update to the geocaching.com web site has begun today shortly after 2pm.

The three main updates are:

  • Geocaching Favorites
  • Geocaching Maps
  • Geocaching Statistics

You can read more about it here:  Geocaching.com site update 12/21/10

Geocaching Favorites

Dec 21 2010

The Groundspeak forums came back with a mainly cosmetic update last night. Logging in, it’s quite easy to notice the entire forum has a much nicer look and feel to it. The core functionality appears to be pretty much the same, though there are performance enhancements in the background. This will hopefully get rid of those forum timeout messages and duplicate posts that have plagued the system for years.

Jeremy posted this to describe the update:
As you may have noticed, the forums underwent a complete renovation on Monday, December 20. It was long overdue and will hopefully come with some much needed performance enhancements. There is still some drywall dust and spent nails around the place, so we’ll likely be making adjustments for the next couple of days. However, all the content for the last 9 years is still here and ready to search. We’re looking forward to continuing the conversation! Jeremy & Elias

Sadly, while the RSS subscription is more prominently displayed, it is still limited in that you get the first post of a topic only – no subscribing to replies in the forums via your favourite newsreader.

A wonderful development is the mobile device support. The forum detected my iPhone and switched to a touch  friendly layout, optimized for the small screen. This also worked for me running on my Android device. It did not correctly detect my Blackberry Bold 9700 (OS 6), or my Windows Mobile Device (Touch Pro2) and produced the desktop version of the forums on those devices.

Forum upgrades have been requested by the community for years and the responses of “it’s coming” had taken on an almost Duke Nukem: Forever persona where it was widely believed we’d never see an actual update.  This upgrade kicks off Groundspeak’s major site update with the rest of the pieces falling into place later today.

Dec 20 2010

The forums suddenly went offline this afternoon at Groundspeak. Looks like some maintenance is going on there now. Could this be the much requested forum upgrades, or are we looking at something more basic like a server hardware upgrade. Given that tomorrow is the “big” upgrade we’re all waiting for, I wonder …. The forum upgrades are expected to last the rest of the day, and tomorrow’s Geocaching.com site upgrade kicks in at 1PM EST.