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    « Provo Tabernacle Burns | Main | A night with the Bomb Squad »
    Tuesday
    Dec142010

    Stats, Maps, and Favorites.

    They have been discussing these changes for some time, in some cases for a long time.  Ideas were tossed around and off they went.  Then a few months ago the reviewers had a sneak peak at some of the ideas, and others we were told what direction they were going.  More ideas were tossed around, and now we are coming to a culmination of what I would imagine is 6-8 months of work on the projects.

    All of this is subject to change, and barring a massive collapse of the system, or finding a huge bug that has been undiscovered we will get a number of fantastic new changes to the site.  So without further discussion......

    Stats

    There will now be a new page on your profile.  It will house geocachings new stats page.  This will be a compilation of a number of the commonly gathered stats.  There are plans to make more additions to this, but this is the initial roll out of the information.   You will be able to hide your stats if you wish, but the default is a planned "on".  It will be tied to the Premium Member feature, and I am seeking more info on that.  I should know soon. 

    The stats page will look very familiar.  We see many of those out and about now.

    Maps

    This is really cool, really cool.  Did I mention it was cool?  When I first heard of it and saw the link to a movie I kind of ignored it.   After hearing how cool it was I went and actually pulled up the video.  A photo/screen shot cannot really do it justice. 

    The biggest change....... wait for the drum roll please...... No more 500 cache limit.  Actually the limit will be infinite.  You could (in theory) see all the caches at one time.

    The maps are larger, and far more dynamic.  Zooming in and out looks very smooth.  Much more than the one we use now and especially when you get to 400 caches now it is very choppy, but with 3000 it looked smooth.  :D   woo hoo.

    Favorites

    This is a huge change for the site.  Where the other steps make the experience on the site very useful.  This is a game changer in how you may actually look for caches.

    Based on the number of finds you will get a favorite point. 

    These will be earned by finding caches.  Woo hoo, finding caches give you points.. everyone likes that.  Except now a you will be able to award points to your favorite caches.  

    The problem with many averaging systems is people.  I may rate a persons find high because he is my friend, or I love all power trails so I rate them high, or mountain peaks, I may even love LPC caches, or quick finds.   Other people may hate my cacher friend, power trails or LPC's, and only love those that challenge. 

    In essence votes start to cancel others out.  You never see a 1 star or a 5 star.  or even a 1.5-4.5 if many votes are given.  they tend to all end up in the 2-4 range, and over time a 4.5 star cache degrades, and cache quality also.  The system quickly becomes useless.

    Now you can take the points that you earn, and donate them to your favorite caches.

    On a cache page you will have the ability to add your favorite points to caches, and take them away.

    Voila simple and clean.

    You will be able to go to the page and see who liked the cache.

    Your page will tell you where the points are, so you can go back and reclaim points if you find better caches, or when you realize that a LPC, or nano cache is not really your favorite.

    Last but not least you will be able to sort by favorites.  Look for those that others found most excellent.

    Hopefully you get the idea.

    Wrap up

    Premium member.  that is the magic word that I did not mention much.  Most of these functions are going to be available to premium members only in varying degrees.   Premium members will be able to give favorite points (to avoid spamming the site with fake logs, and likes).  I do think this is a game changer.  You can only give them to caches you have found.  So once a cache is found you can mark it as a favorites. 

    So start dusting off the cobwebs from your mind.  Think of the best caches you have visited, so you can mark them, and then you can find them on the new map while checking your fantastic stats.

    (Screenshots used were courtesy of Groundspeak)

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    Reader Comments (28)

    Can you run a PQ based on the number of favorite points a cache has?

    December 14, 2010 | Unregistered Commentersupertbone

    I will say... I do not know for sure. This is a good idea.. if they dont have it I will ask. You can sort it that way... so I am guessing yes.. maybe.

    December 14, 2010 | Registered Commenterfirennice

    Thanks for this review of things to come! I believe you have a small error in your text: according to the screenshot, you get favorite points based on your number of finds, not your number of hides.

    December 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterExTechOp

    Wow thanks for the catch ExTechOp. There is a lot of difference between the two.

    December 15, 2010 | Registered Commenterfirennice

    I came to your blog for the sneak preview pictures of the new features, but ended up staying a while. It was interesting to read the posts about caching from the reviewer's perspective. Thanks for taking the time to share. Cheers.

    December 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterVP

    Anytime... thanks for the visit VP and the comment... it is nice to know that someone reads my inane (or should that be insane) ramblings.

    December 15, 2010 | Registered Commenterfirennice

    My question is how many finds do you need per "Favoit" vote?

    December 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJeff

    Last I heard 10 for 1 vote. Though that could change by the final release.

    December 15, 2010 | Registered Commenterfirennice

    I like all the proposed improvements (especially the maps!), but IMHO earning one Favorite point for every 10 finds might be excessive. Really, for it to be an actual favorite list, I think the ratio should be more like 1 to for every 50 finds or 1 for every 100 finds.

    We currently have about 9500 finds, and there's no way I could say 950 of them were high quality...not even close.

    Thanks for sharing all this great info!

    December 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSue

    Good point Sue. Welcome to the ongoing argument. On the other side of the argument is the vast majority of people are casual cachers. They may have 300 finds in 5 years. There is also the issue of people that only search for large caches in the mountains. Because they ignore power-trails they get penalized, while the majority of their caches are better and more deserving of a favorite.

    Other areas have websites where you can give favorite points (local geocaching organizations). They looked at those and seemed to see what would work. If you look at cacherstats.com. They have 110,000 geocachers with over 200 finds. Only 20% have over 1000 finds. 7% over 2000, and you fall in the top 1% (congrats by the way). So I am guessing it will stay that number, for the everyday casual finder.

    December 15, 2010 | Registered Commenterfirennice

    I'm fine with 10 caches per favpt. 20 or 25 caches might work better though. Simply spend the favourite points on caches you like, I already have a bunch in mind.

    December 16, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterstinger503

    I'm excited!

    December 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterErikaJeanq

    These new features look great, thanks for giving us a preview. My wishlist would be for the ability to PQ based on a polygon drawn on the map, ie. caches that fall within the boundary. Even a simple square/rectangle would do, rather than a circle as it is now.

    December 16, 2010 | Unregistered Commentergeogeek

    Thanks for the information. It looks like you can award one favorite point per found cache - is that correct, or can you award more than one of your earned points to the same cache?

    December 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKai Team

    @geogeek: I want the polygon as well. Right now I do that in GSAK, but it would be nice to do that online.

    @Kai Team: Close.... you get one favorite point for every 10 unique caches that you found (not logged). If you found a cache 10 times, it will only count as one. You can give favorites points to any cache you have found, and take them away if and when you wish.

    December 16, 2010 | Registered Commenterfirennice

    Yeah, I just don't want to have to go to the extent of havign to use GSAK and manage an offline database. I used it for a recent trip, with mixed success (some of the resulting GPX files were good, but one was unexplainably incomplete with only a fraction of the caches actually there). Being able to perform such PQs from gc.com would be a real plus. I shall wait til I see a falling star and make a wish... ;-)

    December 16, 2010 | Unregistered Commentergeogeek

    Has anyone placed that on the feedback site? Polygon based PQ's?

    December 16, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterfirennice

    You know what.... I don't actually know. I started a few feedback topics, most of which got ignored, and then out of the blue I got a couple of emails saying they had been accepted and were being worked on - I'm sure that meant there were a whole bunch of similar topics and they were accepting them all (one of them was the wish for more stats).

    December 16, 2010 | Unregistered Commentergeogeek

    Can I assume we'll have the option not to show our detailed stats so that we may continue to display and run 3rd party apps? (namely GSAK, etc)

    December 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTom Veil

    @Tom It will be a different tab. You will be able to continue stats on the regular page. You will also be able to turn them off.

    December 16, 2010 | Registered Commenterfirennice

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