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Coordinate checker for puzzle caches

 
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nudlez
Geocacher


Joined: 25 Feb 2006

Posts: 12

PostPosted: Fri Oct 06, 2006 2:02 pm    Post subject: Coordinate checker for puzzle caches Reply with quote

There are a few different sites out there, and it seems that they are all built off of the same source, but I've been using this one:
http://www.geochecker.com/
I don't like the ads, but if you add "&visitcount=1" at the end of a URL for a cache page there, you can see some basic stats about how many people have verified their coords, and the cache owner can set a tolerance level to let the end user know if their coords were really close but not exact (could be useful in math puzzles where rounding or different mathematical procedures would allow for a small margin of error, while still putting your coords within a few feet of the cache). I'm not sure if this is old news, but it's new to me. I've never been a big fan of emailing cache owners to double check my coordinates for a puzzle or multi, so I hope this catches on. Here's how it works:

1) The cache owner obtains a URL from geochecker.com which contains a one-way hash of the final coordinates.

2) Said owner places that URL on the cache page with a link saying something appropriate, like "click here to check your coordinates"

3) Anyone who clicks on that link can put in the coordinates that they "solved" the puzzle for, and are told whether the coordinates in question match (or, if the cache owner chooses, if they are very close but not exact) those submitted by the cache owner.

4) People can search for a puzzle cache, confident that they solved the puzzle correctly... now if they DNF the cache, at least they don't have to question their coordinates.

I've added this feature to my puzzle cache pages, as I believe that some people are too shy to email a cache owner to verify coords, and don't want to drive out to an alleged cache site just to find out that they didn't solve the puzzle correctly. I hope that other cache owners start doing this in the future, as a courtesy to puzzle seekers. I personally don't have many puzzle caches in my area, and have to drive a long way to attempt to find one, so I ALWAYS double check my "solved" coords with the cache owner before doing so. Anyways, I thought it was interesting and wanted to spread the word. I personally found out about it from a cacher in New Mexico, whose state organization uses the coordinate system for their caches. He was going to be attempting a puzzle of mine while on vacation and enlightened me to the existence of these types of pages. Any thoughts, ideas, questions?
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pfalstad
Geocacher


Joined: 02 Feb 2006

Posts: 1012

PostPosted: Fri Oct 06, 2006 8:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, those sites are very handy. I didn't see the point at first, because I like getting that kind of mail from people. It wasn't what I would call an unmanageable flood of emails.. But I suppose some people don't like to email the owner to check their answer.. (I don't like to, personally..) They were quite useful on a trip I took recently, so I decided to add some to my puzzle caches. I used evince at first, but now I prefer geochecker because it has the statistics. Anyway, geochecker or no geochecker, doesn't matter.. Just hide more puzzles! Smile
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Hayward Cheezehead
Geocacher


Joined: 29 Oct 2006

Posts: 32

PostPosted: Sat Nov 04, 2006 2:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for posting the link. I added it it to both of my puzzle caches.
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pfalstad
Geocacher


Joined: 02 Feb 2006

Posts: 1012

PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2008 11:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A couple of people have asked me for more details about using the geochecker. Here are some screenshots to show you step-by-step how to do it.

1. Go to http://www.geochecker.com and enter the information for your cache.



2. It will give you a bunch of information back. You want to save all this info. Saving the page, like it suggests, might be a good idea. I usually just copy the last box (the very special link) and paste it into an email to myself, because I can create everything else I need from that. You will probably want to save all three boxes.



3. Copy the first box ("You can check your answers for this puzzle...") and paste it into your cache page. Make sure you check the "The descriptions below are in HTML" box, or you'll be sorry.



4. Submit your changes to the listing. You'll get a simple link on your cache page saying "You can check your answers for this puzzle on Geochecker.Com". You can test it if you want, but then the right answer count will be 1 instead of 0, so some people might think another cacher has solved the puzzle already.

Bonus tip:

5. Add the text "&visitcount=1" to the end of the link in the A tag, right before the double quote. (Not ?visitcount=1 like the geochecker page says.) This will fix it so that when a cacher clicks on the geochecker link, it will say how many people have gotten right/wrong answers.



(If a cache owner doesn't do this, you can still get this information by clicking on the geochecker link and adding the &visitcount=1 to the end of the URL in your browser.)

Extra special bonus tip:

Instead of the textual link, you can get an image like this:



To do this, follow these steps:

6. Delete the "You can check your answers" text before the A tag, the "Geochecker.com" text between the A tag and the /A tag, and the period after the /A tag.



7. Insert this IMG tag before the /A tag: <img src="http://www.geochecker.com/banner_stats.php?code=XXX&amp;full=1">



8. Select the string of text after the "code=" in the original geochecker link. Copy it to the clipboard.



9. Paste it into the IMG tag in place of the XXX. Make sure there aren't any spaces before or after it.



10. Submit your caches to the cache page.

11. Email the coordinates to me, so I can test it out to make sure you did everything right. Wink
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speedysk1
Past MnGCA Board


Joined: 29 Oct 2007

Posts: 1991

PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2008 12:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

pfalstad wrote:

11. Email the coordinates to me, so I can test it out to make sure you did everything right. Wink


I've heard you designed that website and have a back door into it to get the coordinates. So why do you need us to send the coordinates to you? How else could you solve the puzzle caches so quickly? Laughing
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Paklid
Past MnGCA Board


Joined: 09 May 2004

Posts: 656

PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2008 3:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks pfalstad!

I used your detailed instructions, and for once had a fairly good feeling that the checker was going to work. I've used it several times before and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. It always baffles me (maybe it's that question mark you shouldn't put in there contrary to their instructions).

Of course, after I inserted the checker code I couldn't resist the temptation to test it so I recorded a correct "guess" on one of my caches. Maybe next time I use the checker, I will be a little braver and not perform a checker check.
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pfalstad
Geocacher


Joined: 02 Feb 2006

Posts: 1012

PostPosted: Fri Jul 11, 2008 10:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

New geochecker with snazzy new features:

http://geocheck.org
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Paklid
Past MnGCA Board


Joined: 09 May 2004

Posts: 656

PostPosted: Fri Jul 11, 2008 10:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

pfalstad wrote:
New geochecker with snazzy new features:

http://geocheck.org


Well, that looks very nice. Something tells me there will be a puzzle coming out that plays off of this checker...
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Bunganator
Geocacher


Joined: 09 Apr 2008

Posts: 277

PostPosted: Fri Jul 11, 2008 5:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I saw that "new" checker on some other out of country caches and played with it a little bit, but I was a little confused on some features. I think there was something where the GPX download showed the final location in the additional waypoints, but I wasn't sure if it was because I had already put the correct coords into the checker or if it was a glitch. I do like the additional waypoints shown after the checker has been passed and the direct gpx download of all of those waypoints.
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