Author Topic: Why the Ottawa Bingo Card (GC4Q6CM) isn't a challenge cache.  (Read 5841 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Xira

  • Full Time Cacher
  • ***
  • Posts: 137
Lostinthegarden wondered "how many of the requirements don't meet the guidelines" The answer is 13, just over half of them. They include most of the interesting challenges that are connected to caching in Ottawa.

Here's why:

Green cells

These cells are location based.

One of the requirements of challenge caches is that the “challenge criteria on the geocache page … must be verifiable through information on the Geocaching.com website.” How it is possible, via geocaching.com, to verify that a particular cache is in Kanata, or on the Experimental Farm, or on the Jock River, or within 1.0 km of the Peace Tower? None of those locations is known to geocaching.com. I didn’t push the point that I could specify the Peace Tower via a waypoint.

Of the 8 green cells, I4 was the only cell that could possibly be accepted.

Blue cells

These cells are for caches that somehow reflect the spirit of Ottawa.

  • I couldn’t use Binthairs because: “Challenge geocaches based on a specific list of geocaches, such as those placed by a specific person or group, will generally not be published.”
  • I couldn’t include the GAG and CCC events because “how do we know there will be three or more GAG's. A new player has to wait for them to be listed.”
  • I couldn’t have caches based on placement date (B3 and I5) because each of them “Promotes new cache placements.”
  • I couldn’t specify the oldest cache because it “Showcases a single cache owner.”
  • One version included the goal of finding 3 lonely caches. That wasn’t possible because it “Restricts others too greatly, pool depletion is far too deep.” What does that even mean? I didn’t argue about it because I had decided not to use it anyways.

So, of the blue 8 cells, only 3 of the blue cells passed inspection: I1, N3, and O1.

Grey and coral cells

These cells are based on type (5) or attributes (4) of caches.

These are OK except that I couldn’t specify having to find a webcam. Since there’s only one, it “Requires a specific cache to be found.” 

The really big problem …

… wasn’t actually the individual cells. It was the whole matter of verifying that a cache does or does not lie within the City of Ottawa. Doing it via geocaching.com is possible but horribly cumbersome.

Where did that leave the challenge?

Of the 25 cells, only 12 were acceptable. I’d have to fill the other 13 cells with goals based on types or attributes or Ds or Ts. I wasn’t interested in that. It didn’t capture the variety of caching that we have here in Ottawa.

I nearly gave up until it occurred to me that this didn’t have to be a challenge cache. Then I wondered if anyone would actually do the goals if they didn’t have to. I decided to gamble that enough people will do so to make it worth having created this cache.

lostinthegarden

  • Jr. Cacher
  • **
  • Posts: 92
Re: Why the Ottawa Bingo Card (GC4Q6CM) isn't a challenge cache.
« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2015, 19:51:52 »
Thanks for shedding more light on the challenge cache guidelines, and the way they were interpreted in this case.  Guess we're lucky we got our 50 Golden Oldies Challenge (GC5GD7P) published, since it's based on a specific list of caches (albeit by a number of different owners).  It probably helped that we had a different reviewer.   ;)

cd.cuts

  • Full Time Cacher
  • ***
  • Posts: 123
Re: Why the Ottawa Bingo Card (GC4Q6CM) isn't a challenge cache.
« Reply #2 on: January 29, 2015, 01:40:56 »
Thank you Xira for this very local challenge cache.
And thanks for sharing the reasons why certain types of caches are rejected by reviewers.

I really do like the local aspects of your Bingo card, yet I have mixed feelings about it, because at the same time these very requirements feel so daunting to verify that we might end up only claiming the first line even though we probably qualify for a lot more than that.
In a way, I do agree in general with Groundspeak's rule that “challenge criteria on the geocache page … must be verifiable through information on the Geocaching.com website.” But it would have forced this Bingo Card to become a lot more generic, and I am surely glad that you picked some of those special tasks that represent our community specifically.

I have been using GSAK for a while, mostly running macros that were already designed by others, so with a little bit of guidance I am sure that some of those complicated requirements might become a lot easier to verify.
If I am able to identify which squares we do/do not qualify for, it might motivate me to pursue those that we are missing and have that much more fun along the way.

One thing I would be very interested in, if someone volunteers to present it, would be to attend a CCC Workshop dedicated solely to showing the exact steps needed to verify each square of this Bingo cache using GSAK... starting with how to load the polygon lines and how to use them. This very cache might be the perfect occasion for a GSAK 201 Workshop, with a specific purpose, that many might be interested in.
Or maybe a macro writer volunteer (even if only for some of the squares)?
Or both?
Or even someone willing to submit a challenge checker at project-gc.com? (http://project-gc.com/Tools/Challenges)

About your question related to lonely caches which “Restricts others too greatly, pool depletion is far too deep.”, I think that the explanation means that lonely caches tend to be fairly rare and if let's say there are 5 lonely caches in Ottawa at the time the challenge is published, only one person could possibly qualify until an unknown amount of time, which would not only be unfair to others, but also (I might be mistaken) challenges should be possible to complete anytime the cacher decides to take on the challenge, which would not be the case here. That being said, the actual purpose of lonely cache challenges *is* to "deplete the pool" i.e. give those few lonely caches some love, but IMO they are probably more suited to have a dedicated challenge solely for that requirement. I wonder whether the requirement would have been accepted if you had not set any geographical limit to it...
For anyone out there too intimidated to attempt finding caches that no one has found in a year or more, I would say that many of them are actually in pretty good shape, and often easy to find. The trick is to pick those that have been forgotten, rather than those that have a long list of straight DNFs.

About "The really big problem …": you are saying that "verifying that a cache does or does not lie within the City of Ottawa via geocaching.com is possible but horribly cumbersome". I am curious: how can one even do so via geocaching.com? Do you mean eyeballing it on the map?

About placing a cache with "non-required" requirements: we have actually FTF such a geocache in Alberta a few years back: GC3DXGD. That cache was about finding 250 out of 580+ caches placed by a prolific Alberta cache owner, and was rejected for the same reason why your Binthair Bingo square was rejected. When we FTF'ed it, we had only found 5 of his caches (not bad considering that his caches are roughly 3000 km from home). So no, we did not technically qualify, and many (most?) others who have claimed a find since then don't qualify either. But for the most part, all are recognizing the contribution that the particular featured cacher has made to the Alberta community (including ourselves), and they are enjoying the dedicated cache, which is motivating some to find more of his caches.
So if some cachers end up logging your cache without qualifying or without checking whether they do or not, or without providing proof that they do, I hope it will not discourage you, because it will likely motivate them to pursue some of the unique challenges described in the Bingo card.
In a way, I wish some of the early finders were not quite as qualified as they have been to date - I am worried that it may intimidate those who do not have such stellar qualifications. Hopefully it will, on the contrary, motivate them to try something new.

Cheers,

cd.cuts

BlackRose67

  • Big Time Cacher
  • *****
  • Posts: 589
Re: Why the Ottawa Bingo Card (GC4Q6CM) isn't a challenge cache.
« Reply #3 on: January 29, 2015, 12:43:55 »
Regarding the use of the GSAK polygons.

Add the coordinates for the Peace Tower to Locations defined in the Location section of the Options dialog, and then select it in the locations drop down.
This will help with the requirements specific to the Peace Tower.

Switch to your database where you keep your finds, or set a filter to show only your finds.
Click the search menu (or press Ctrl+F) and then select the Arc/Poly tab on the find/search dialog.
Paste in the respective section of the polygon file Xira provided, and press the 'Go" button.

It is tedious; it took me close to 2 hours to find out what I did and didn't qualify for.
« Last Edit: January 29, 2015, 13:50:13 by BlackRose67 »

Xira

  • Full Time Cacher
  • ***
  • Posts: 137
Re: Why the Ottawa Bingo Card (GC4Q6CM) isn't a challenge cache.
« Reply #4 on: January 29, 2015, 23:26:42 »
One thing I would be very interested in, if someone volunteers to present it, would be to attend a CCC Workshop dedicated solely to showing the exact steps needed to verify each square of this Bingo cache using GSAK... starting with how to load the polygon lines and how to use them. This very cache might be the perfect occasion for a GSAK 201 Workshop, with a specific purpose, that many might be interested in.
Or maybe a macro writer volunteer (even if only for some of the squares)?
Or both?
Or even someone willing to submit a challenge checker at project-gc.com? (http://project-gc.com/Tools/Challenges)

I would be happy to do a presentation on how to use GSAK to determine qualifications. Unfortunately, except during the summer, I work evenings. The only time I could do that before summer is during March Break, which is the week of March 16.

I've never written a GSAK macro, although I've occasionally tweaked some to get just the result I want. I certainly agree that a macro will go a long way to making the scorecard more accessible, so I've started exploring this with an eye to teaching myself enough about macros to write one for this. I'm sure that I'll be able to find examples that I can stitch together. Also my experience with the members of the GSAK forum has been exceptionally positive - they leap to answer questions, so I'm sure I can get help if I hit a brick wall. It will probably be weeks, though, before I come up with anything that begins to be useful.

It will not be me, at least not in the short term, that writes challenge checker at project-gc.

About "The really big problem …": you are saying that "verifying that a cache does or does not lie within the City of Ottawa via geocaching.com is possible but horribly cumbersome". I am curious: how can one even do so via geocaching.com? Do you mean eyeballing it on the map?

Cachedrone suggested that I use Bing Maps. At first glance, it seemed promising. Here's an example. Go to the cache page for Ottawa Electric Railway http://coord.info/GC38Y4E Below the description, click on Bing Maps. It will map that location and, and at the upper left of the map, give a geographical description. For this cache, it's World*Canada*ON*Ottawa*Centretown-Downtown. It seems tedious but it was really only necessary for boundary caches to determine if they were in or out.

But, Bing has some problems with its data. Do the same thing for http://coord.info/GC2CKTA. Bing says the location is World*Canada*ON*Lanark*Stittsville-Basswood. Lanark? Nope. Stittsville is in Ottawa. The boundary with Lanark is over 8km to the west. To make this work, I was going to have to list all the acceptable communities around the boundary of Ottawa. Blech.

It get worse than just having the wrong county. Check out this one: http://coord.info/GC3A9QD Besides the wrong county, what else is wrong?

kirok

  • Administrator
  • Big Time Cacher
  • *****
  • Posts: 687
  • "To boldly find what no cacher has logged before!"
    • Binthair Challenge
Re: Why the Ottawa Bingo Card (GC4Q6CM) isn't a challenge cache.
« Reply #5 on: January 30, 2015, 10:22:03 »
My spare time is at a premium as well, but I'm willing to take a crack at writing some macros to cover off the "easier" squares to check on.  The polygon ones should not be too difficult to write, as they have already been nicely defined by Xira.   

No promises.

Xira

  • Full Time Cacher
  • ***
  • Posts: 137
Re: Why the Ottawa Bingo Card (GC4Q6CM) isn't a challenge cache.
« Reply #6 on: February 15, 2015, 00:39:49 »
My life for the last week or so has been consumed by macro learning and writing. I hit only two brick walls; there's a work around for one of them.

One brick wall was that the macro function GetPolygon uses the corrected coordinates so caches could show up in areas that they shouldn't be. There doesn't seem to be a way to get that function to use original coordinates, so I set the macro to ignore any caches with corrected coordinates. There is a work around. Export the caches to a GPX file, being sure to set the export to use original coordinates, then import that into a new database and run the macro from there.

The impenetrable brick wall was the matter of filtering along a line. I had set up lines instead of polygons for the three rivers. That works great in the Set Filter dialog. There doesn't seem to be anything comparable for macros. The obvious solution that occurs to me is to rework the rivers as polygons but for some reason I'm resisting that. It's a goal that easy to check, so I've left it implemented for now.

This afternoon, I got the macro to the point that I was willing to make it publicly available. There's a link to it from the cache page. You can find it here: http://www3.sympatico.ca/ambartley/OttawaBingoCard/OttawaBingoCard.gsk

BlackRose67

  • Big Time Cacher
  • *****
  • Posts: 589
Re: Why the Ottawa Bingo Card (GC4Q6CM) isn't a challenge cache.
« Reply #7 on: February 15, 2015, 01:23:51 »
Since I store my puzzles with corrected coordinates, as well as a few multi's I think, I exported to a GPX and imported into a new DB.

Ran the macro against the new DB, and all of the currently implemented functionality gave the same end result as my manual checks.

Nice work, and very fast execution.

cd.cuts

  • Full Time Cacher
  • ***
  • Posts: 123
Re: Why the Ottawa Bingo Card (GC4Q6CM) isn't a challenge cache.
« Reply #8 on: February 16, 2015, 18:53:21 »
Wow awesome macro, works like a charm! Thank you so much for spending the time.
You should probably advertise it on the cache page.

If you feel like going further, you could also make a macro that runs on a DB of unfound caches, which would identify which caches are eligible to qualify for a given bingo square.

cd.cuts

Xira

  • Full Time Cacher
  • ***
  • Posts: 137
Re: Why the Ottawa Bingo Card (GC4Q6CM) isn't a challenge cache.
« Reply #9 on: February 20, 2015, 15:51:23 »
Wow awesome macro, works like a charm! Thank you so much for spending the time.
You should probably advertise it on the cache page.

Thank you.
You're welcome.
I did.  ;)

If you feel like going further, you could also make a macro that runs on a DB of unfound caches, which would identify which caches are eligible to qualify for a given bingo square.

Done.

The macro now has the option to create and populate a custom field called "OttawaBingo" that identifies the goals that a cache can be used for. A cache that has B2PF;G1;O110;  in that field can be used to qualify for the Pinhey Forest portion of goal B2, for goal G1, and as the GAG10 entry for goal O1.

Also, the macro now has polygons for the rivers (not intended for use outside of the macro) so it can check for goal O2.

At this point, I think the macro is complete.

kirok

  • Administrator
  • Big Time Cacher
  • *****
  • Posts: 687
  • "To boldly find what no cacher has logged before!"
    • Binthair Challenge
Re: Why the Ottawa Bingo Card (GC4Q6CM) isn't a challenge cache.
« Reply #10 on: February 20, 2015, 20:51:35 »
Congrats on your successful macro creation Xira!  Nicely done, and it didn't take you long at all to pick up GSAK macro writing.  Once I created a DB with my un-corrected finds, the output was exactly what I had expected. 

B I N G O
======
X X X X X
X X X X X
– X X – X
X X X X X
X X X X X

I find myself writing more and more macros for little things, and/or quick "where" statements to be used in the search filters that I want to define a little more than the options available.
You may find the SQLLiteBrowser tool (http://sqlitebrowser.org/) a handy thing to have if you want to write more complex SQL statements against the database before using them in macros, or to just run quick reports. 

 

BlackRose67

  • Big Time Cacher
  • *****
  • Posts: 589
Re: Why the Ottawa Bingo Card (GC4Q6CM) isn't a challenge cache.
« Reply #11 on: February 21, 2015, 09:15:35 »
A bit of feedback on the new river polygons for O2.

I have found a difference in results for O2 when using Version 2.0 of the macro vs the previous method (i.e. using the line method).

Prior to version 2.0, for O2 (find a cache on the Jock, Rideau, and Ottawa rivers) I had two finds on the Rideau (Canal actually: Oink and Pattersons Creek).
With the macro, the Rideau slot now shows as incomplete.
« Last Edit: February 21, 2015, 09:57:42 by BlackRose67 »

Whynotpinotte

  • Guest
Re: Why the Ottawa Bingo Card (GC4Q6CM) isn't a challenge cache.
« Reply #12 on: February 22, 2015, 16:46:04 »
Same issue here with the rivers. I found river caches this winter on Kettle Island (Ottawa River) and near Black Rapids Lock (Rideau River) and they are not showing. Those on the Jock River worked fine.

Xira

  • Full Time Cacher
  • ***
  • Posts: 137
Re: Why the Ottawa Bingo Card (GC4Q6CM) isn't a challenge cache.
« Reply #13 on: February 22, 2015, 22:42:46 »
A bit of feedback on the new river polygons for O2.

I have found a difference in results for O2 when using Version 2.0 of the macro vs the previous method (i.e. using the line method).

Prior to version 2.0, for O2 (find a cache on the Jock, Rideau, and Ottawa rivers) I had two finds on the Rideau (Canal actually: Oink and Pattersons Creek).
With the macro, the Rideau slot now shows as incomplete.

Hmmm. Those caches sure aren't on the Rideau River. I think I tracked down the problem. It would seem that my suggested width for the Rideau River, in the Polygons and Lines files, was too generous. I never noticed that it was picking up those two boat caches (Oink and Patterson Creek) that aren't on the Rideau River. I've amended that file to indicate the width is only a suggested value and to be sure the caches are on the Rideau River. Hopefully now that the macro is complete, fewer people will use that file.

I'm sorry that this has caused you some grief. The Rideau River has several caches that are very nice to find in winter, finds which you need for I3.

Same issue here with the rivers. I found river caches this winter on Kettle Island (Ottawa River) and near Black Rapids Lock (Rideau River) and they are not showing. Those on the Jock River worked fine.

Kettle Island it not in Ottawa; it's in Quebec.  The maps (Google maps, OSM, Bing) are clear about that. So caches there can only be used for O5. The cache page specifically mentions that caches on it and Mohr Island can't be used for I3, G2, or O2. The Polygons and Lines file indicated that GSAK users should set the state to ON in order to exclude those islands. I've updated the file to remind users that caches on Mohr and Kettle Island can't be used for any goal except O5.

With just a bit of detective work, I think I've figured out that the cache that you're referring to at Black Rapids is A Little Birdie Paddled Me Black. This is one of those unfortunate cases of a cache that is missing an attribute. Goals I3, G2, and O2 require caches to have the boat attribute.

I know that cache is really a boat cache so refusing to allow it to be used for boat based goals may seem to be a bit harsh. I feel, though, that it's best to stick to the criteria stated for each goal. If I start allow exceptions, it will never end.

To balance that out, sticking to the criteria may occasionally work in a cacher's favour. There are some caches that have inappropriate attributes. I wish they didn't but I'm accepting that that has happened and I'm just going with it.

BlackRose67

  • Big Time Cacher
  • *****
  • Posts: 589
Re: Why the Ottawa Bingo Card (GC4Q6CM) isn't a challenge cache.
« Reply #14 on: February 23, 2015, 14:50:45 »
A bit of feedback on the new river polygons for O2.

I have found a difference in results for O2 when using Version 2.0 of the macro vs the previous method (i.e. using the line method).

Prior to version 2.0, for O2 (find a cache on the Jock, Rideau, and Ottawa rivers) I had two finds on the Rideau (Canal actually: Oink and Pattersons Creek).
With the macro, the Rideau slot now shows as incomplete.

Hmmm. Those caches sure aren't on the Rideau River. I think I tracked down the problem. It would seem that my suggested width for the Rideau River, in the Polygons and Lines files, was too generous. I never noticed that it was picking up those two boat caches (Oink and Patterson Creek) that aren't on the Rideau River. I've amended that file to indicate the width is only a suggested value and to be sure the caches are on the Rideau River. Hopefully now that the macro is complete, fewer people will use that file.

I'm sorry that this has caused you some grief. The Rideau River has several caches that are very nice to find in winter, finds which you need for I3.
No worries Xira.

I have a kayak now, so I'll be out on the Rideau grabbing caches this year.