I <3 Geocaching - Lab Caches!

I’m sure that everybody received the “February Only: Create a Free, Personalized Geocache” from Groundspeak and wondered what it was all about.  You may have ignored it, but Judy & I took a look.  What a strange idea this was and one which seemed to fly completely in the face of everything that Groundspeak stands for.  A cache that was temporary, a cache that could only be found once, a cache that wasn’t going to be reviewed, a cache that could only be found by one person, a cache that could be placed in your own house, etc! Pondering

So we read all about it and watched the video and Judy thought (rightly or wrongly) that this was a Valentine’s Day stunt!  All the video shots seemed to contain a happy couple and one even showed a ring being offered.  As we are not both premium members, we ignored it and thought no more of it.  That was until yesterday when I received an email saying that one of these caches was waiting for me to find!

Valentine-Kiss No, not a secret lover but a caching buddy who wanted to try it out – and thought of me!  So not to disappoint we made straight for the cache this morning on our way to B&Q.  We had to divert because of closed roads around Burrator but eventually got to GZ and found the secret code which would allow me to log the cache.

On our return I entered the code and was congratulated on my find.  But that was it! There was no way to write a log, no way to add the photo that I had taken, no way to thank the cacher who had placed the cache – absolutely nothing.  It has been added to my count of finds and appears in my list of cache types as a Lab cache, but nothing in my statistics.  When I click on the Lab cache it just takes me to a page congratulating me on finding it.  When Judy (not a premium member) tries to look at it, all she gets is a page of Lab cache mega events – nothing else at all.

I’m not going to name the cache owner, but I am perfectly happy if they want to identify themselves, but I would like to thank them for placing the cache and thinking of me, so TFTC.   I couldn’t write a log or post a photo but I have posted a video below.

What do you think of Lab caches?  Have you placed or found a Lab cache?  Please let me know by commenting below and please look at my Lab cache on my profile and see what is written there, as I have no idea!

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Author: Dartmoor Dave


15 thoughts on “I <3 Geocaching - Lab Caches!”

  1. I embraced this Lab Cache idea and put some thought and effort into creating the best that I could with what was supplied. In return for the one I placed for someone, they in turn placed a great cache for me also. More detail plus screenshots of the cache pages are on My Blog.

    I do have quibbles with the functionality and the implementation of the Lab Caches so far, but at the same time I enjoyed myself 🙂

  2. Yesterday whilst at work i snapped my Achilles. My leg is now in
    Plaster. The road to recovery is long. The consultant said the recovery would be quicker if I’d broken my ankle. What does this have to do with Lab caches I hear you ask.
    I am now unable to leave the house. It’s only approaching 24 hours since the injury and I’m already going stir crazy.
    I can’t walk I can’t drive and apart from event caches. Caching is over for me for at least 6 months. Maybe more. Gutted does not come close.
    Anyway. Lying down at home. I turned on my iPad. Logged onto Facebook. I’m a member of several FB groups; Devon geocachers; Cornwall Geocachers & Dorset geocachers.
    One of the Dorset geocachers. Posted a quick puzzle lab cache on the FB page. She said. First person to solve the puzzle; enter the code can claim the lab cache. The first person was me!
    I cannot begin to tell you how this little random act cheered me up.
    I now have a lab cache icon. And my number has increased by one!

    I immediately messaged the FB user back with a thank you message. I am now in the process of setting a lab cache for her.

    I poo poohed lab caches last week. But this small thing has cheered me up no end as well as cheering up the cacher who set it.

    All this without leaving the house. Lab caches aren’t that bad after all!

  3. i think its lovely that someone has put that lab cache out for you, in such a lovely place too. its a shame you cant write a log with it or put up a picture though. i think lab caches for events sound like a good idea, saves caches being neglected after the event itself. havent tried my lab cache yet

  4. Just found that email from Geocaching in my SPAM folder. Geocaching emails do not go in the SPAM folder normally. Amazing piece of software this Apple SPAM folder. :mrgreen:

  5. It looks like I stand alone then. I think the concept has great potential. First, let’s get the negatives out of the way: no they shouldn’t be temporary, and no they shouldn’t be for just one person then be archived. There should be some way to write an on-line log, just like any other cache. I get the feeling that these caches may a be a test of the concept of using codes and not using reviewers. The reviewers seem to be working an increasing number of hours in the curret setup, and maybe the feeling is that their jobs are not sustainable.

    The lab cache concept has many plus points, however:

    > They bring back the virtual, or at least the capability to place a virtual. This means places like the Dartmoor Ranges, the Royal Parks, public buildings, the American National Parks (to name a few possibilities) could all be used to house caches. This greatly opens up the variety of cache sites that might be used.

    > The find code can be used to confirm finds for caches that are hard to find and/or get to

    > The find code can be broken up, and parts can be found along a route to create a route, a sort of virtual multi

    > The congratulations message you get when you enter the correct code could be used to give further clues and/or bonus info for other caches

    If after a trial period, GC gets positive feedback, and removes the negative aspects, I for one am right behind it. The challenges of last year were a mistake, and I felt that from the start. I never did one, but I think these lab caches have great potential.

    If they remain in their current form, however, I can’t see them being accepted. The mistake of the challenges, amongst other things, was that they didn’t behave like other caches, and that was their downfall. For these new caches to work, they must behave exactly like other caches except for having the find code.

    1. We would probably all agree that the limitations are only short term and wouldn’t exist in the final product, but that only leads me to believe that they were not ready for this test. Why didn’t they sort out these very obvious problems first?

      I don’t understand the logic behind mp’s plus points. How does the find code in any way replace the reviewer? Reviewers check that your cache obeys the rules – the find code confirms you have found the cache, I don’t see any connection at all.

      You don’t need lab caches to bring back virtuals, if they want to bring them back they can do so anyway. I can’t see any advantage over the current multis which often contain virtual waypoints. However, the concept of providing additional information in the congratulations message would allow very innovative caches, but is this going to be an option?

      My feeling is that this is more to do with replacing both the gps and home-based computers with mobile phones. Everything could then be done whilst mobile – cut down descriptions, cut down logs and instant logging of finds. As dartymoor says – a bit munzeeish!

      I guess we will just have to wait and see, but nothing I have seen so far gets me very excited. Unlike the Americans I won’t be describing this as “awesome” 😎

  6. The idea is OK but shouldn’t be part of Geocaching.com.
    It should be moved off to one side just as, I assume, Virtual caches were and then became Waymarking.com. GH.

  7. I clicked on yer Lab Cache Dave :mrgreen:
    Sent me to a page giving me a list of upcoming MEGA Events where Lab Caches will be set; while there I hovered and clicked on the words Lab Cache, which took me to a Groundspeak Q & A Blog page on Lab Caches.
    One of the more pertinent questions enquired as to why they were created>>>>>>>
    The answer being they were created to solve the problem of ”event specific geocaches”. Or more to the point – ”Mega Events often require new caches to be hidden, but as temporary caches are not allowed these often become neglected after the event. These new geocaches allow MEGA Events to have their own tempory caches”
    And apparently they are NOT virtuals, as they have a log book – just like any other geocache.
    QUESTION: WHY do MEGA Events often require new caches to be hidden? There is no tangible need for ANY event to place a physical cache as part of the Event itself?
    And besides, Groundspeak makes the rules – so therefore surely they could relax the Permanence Guidelines (the 3 month minimum rule) for caches placed exclusively for MEGA’s thereby negating the problem of un-maintained MEGA Trads?
    I very much agree with you Dave, Groundspeak’s line on Temporary Caches has always been consistently against them, and although I applaud their efforts to try and solve the MEGA Event issue, all this is pants 👿 although it does allow future well constructed efforts to use this as a precedent

    1. Thanks Phil, so it looks as though even a premium member can’t actually see the cache I found.
      I’m not certain that these I <3 Geocaching Lab caches are the same thing as the Mega event Lab caches. I think the term Lab cache includes anything experimental and that these caches are something totally different. Possibly these are only temporary caches whilst they experiment with them, in the future they could be permanent, but they really haven't given us enough information.

  8. So how does it work? You go to some coordinates and you find a code, or the gps/phone somehow reveals a code which you enter later on, assuming you haven’t lost it?

    Isn’t that a little, uh, munzeeish?

    1. All I was given was the coordinates and the cache title. There was no indication what sort of cache it was, I found out it was a virtual by email. Had I not known I would have searched for a box and not found it (no way to log a DNF either!) Being a virtual I had to deduce the code from what was there. Had it been a traditional cache I guess the code would have been in the cache. When I got home I entered the code on the cache description page, but had no opportunity to write anything else. But this is only experimental – obviously not the final thing.

    1. I have said I would – I’ll put some lovehearts in it 😎

      Did anybody else think there was a Valentine’s Day tie up with these? Or is that Judy being so romantic 😳

  9. I recognise that spot – and it’s within about 30m of an existing cache!

    I didn’t get any email from Groundspeak about this, but it does sound very silly. Some of the comments on facebook are similarly dismissive, and apparently the email I haven’t seen contradicts itself too (does it count? Yes. Does it affect your stats? No).

    Not seen anyone think this was a great idea yet – maybe we’re not on the same drugs as HQ, but maybe somebody likes it?

    1. A good video then! The cache was a virtual so didn’t infringe on the one up at the top.

      I have to say – I just can’t see the point. However, it’s an interesting concept having to enter a code to log your find. Is that what it’s all about? It would stop some cheating but nothing stops coordinates or codes being passed around, much as puzzle solutions are now 😥

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