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Hiding caches - How do you ensure accurate coordinates?
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spd2662
Geocacher


Joined: 29 Nov 2008

Posts: 59

PostPosted: Tue Jan 12, 2010 10:46 pm    Post subject: Hiding caches - How do you ensure accurate coordinates? Reply with quote

I searched but didn't find a topic that fit for my situation so I made a new one...

I have entered the world of hiding caches and I love it. On a couple hides I have had people post that my coordinates were off and they definitely were on one. I have started to mark the location several times and have found that the marks can be really off. I forgot how much bounce I was getting at times while searching and didn't think about this and how it would make my coords on hides off by so much. I now mark the spot several times while walking around the area and back to the location I want to hide the cache and then take an average of the closest group and it seems to be working. Do any of you have some advice from your experience that would make it easier for me to be as accurate as possible?

I'm using an etrex Vista Cx with the most current software update. I have the WAAS/EGNOS enabled and map datum WGS 84. Are there any other settings I could tweak to make it as accurate as possible?
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Pear Head
Past MnGCA President


Joined: 04 Apr 2004

Posts: 5709

PostPosted: Tue Jan 12, 2010 10:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't know if that GPS has an averaging function when you mark the point or not - if it does then I'd use it.

I make sure that the GPS has the best possible view of the sky. That may mean moving it a foot or two from the cache site. I then leave the GPS alone (ie. don't move it) for a couple of minutes prior to marking. Then I typically mark the spot a few times and average.

If you want to get really good coordinates (and I've never done this) then you'll revisit the site a few times over the span of a day or two. That's overkill to me, but to some it's not.
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Sharknose Bunnies
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Joined: 29 Jun 2009

Posts: 303

PostPosted: Wed Jan 13, 2010 9:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is stuff that more experienced hiders have suggested that I do, and I'm finding good luck (so far) with it. In case it helps...

I start out by taking at least two sets of four averaged waypoints on at least two different visits to the cache location. I use the waypoint averaging function on my Oregon to do this. Because the Oregon can be a bit slow to adjust, I usually wait a minute or so at ground zero before I start averaging waypoints.

After I generate one averaged waypoint on a visit, I'll walk 50 feet or so in one direction, then come back and average another. Then I'll go 50 feet in a different direction and average another, then repeat until I've got a set of four (or more). I do that on two (or more) different visits to the cache location so that the effects of clouds, temperatures, and evil spirits are mitigated.

If the cache is close to a large obstacle or in heavy cover that's interfering with the signal, or I'm just getting a wide range of coordinates in my averaged waypoint sets, I'll adjust where I take my waypoints by a few feet, average my waypoints at that point, then add or subtract as needed to get the cache location (6 feet for a north coordinate, 3 feet for a west coordinate).

When I pick the final coordinates, I'll toss out the outliers in the averaged waypoints and look over all the rest. Generally, at this point it's pretty clear what to put down for coordinates.
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Bunganator
Geocacher


Joined: 09 Apr 2008

Posts: 277

PostPosted: Wed Jan 13, 2010 9:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My Oregon has waypoint averaging, but I actually prefer the method I used with my old etrex Legend. I take a point right above the cache, then walk a ways away. I then follow the arrow until my GPS distance is 0 and see how far it is from the cache. I then adjust the coords manually until I finally get a set on the cache. Then I turn my reciever off, walk away, and turn it back on to get new satellites (not sure if that makes a difference since the same satellites would probably be used). Then I'll see how close they are. If they are still good after a few runs, I go with them. I think I've only had to adjust coordinates once or twice, so it must not be a terrible method.
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Bunganator
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Joined: 09 Apr 2008

Posts: 277

PostPosted: Thu Jan 14, 2010 8:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think the most important thing is that you shouldn't just mark the cache and go. Double checking the mark you took several times seems to be the key to success.
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IBcrashen
Geocacher


Joined: 17 Dec 2002

Posts: 246

PostPosted: Thu Jan 14, 2010 9:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was with kalli01 last night when we found Turtle. I found it on the ground. Its another story why I cant log it. Your coords were close enough, maybe 15 feet off. I dont have my girlfriends Legend Hcx (basically same gps) and havent used it enough to know if it has averaging but I think it does. When you hit mark there should be an option to average. I usually let it go for 5 minute reading and then save. Walk away and come back and if its off I do it again, and again if needed.
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spd2662
Geocacher


Joined: 29 Nov 2008

Posts: 59

PostPosted: Thu Jan 14, 2010 2:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for all the input. I really appreciate it and it's helping me learn this part of the sport. I really enjoy placing these and I'm finding there's a learning curve on this part of it. The marking of it, the classifying difficulty (hard to imagine how hard or easy it's going to be for others), and finding good places. It takes a good amount of time to research good places and locate a spot within that area to place one. I ended up going back to Turtle Park about 5 times before I could get a container that worked with the placement. All that for a 1-1.5 difficulty hide. It's made me appreciate even more the amount of work that goes into the creative cache containers and hides. It's a lot of fun and a challenge. I am looking forward to the breakfast get-together at the end of the month to finally meet the people I've gotten to know by searching for their caches.
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Hunter-Killer
Geocacher


Joined: 25 Apr 2009

Posts: 226

PostPosted: Thu Jan 14, 2010 11:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Several trips and mile high blue sky before we will publish a cache as final. We have never published a cache with co-ords taken on a cloudy day. Some take offense to reports of bad co-ordinates Us included. We take pride in giving accurate locations to our caches. Lets face it someone may be putting on the miles for a find. Try to make this as pin point accurate as possible, given what we have to endure in the North. 3 meter accuracy or better or we don't publish it. Use your skills in the art of camouflage to hide your caches. Firmware versions, and manufacturers of gps units all play a part as well. And from what we have seen you have the art of camouflage nailed down. Nice Job.
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speedysk1
Past MnGCA Board


Joined: 29 Oct 2007

Posts: 1991

PostPosted: Fri Jan 15, 2010 12:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I use Google Earth.
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Red_Devil35
Past MnGCA Board


Joined: 26 Apr 2006

Posts: 3099

PostPosted: Fri Jan 15, 2010 12:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

speedysk1 wrote:
I use Google Earth.



What's Google Earth?
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Moe the Sleaze
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Joined: 10 Jan 2003

Posts: 1148

PostPosted: Fri Jan 15, 2010 12:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

speedysk1 wrote:
I use Google Earth.

You better hope Surfer Joe isn't reading this.
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speedysk1
Past MnGCA Board


Joined: 29 Oct 2007

Posts: 1991

PostPosted: Fri Jan 15, 2010 1:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Moe the Sleaze wrote:
speedysk1 wrote:
I use Google Earth.

You better hope Surfer Joe isn't reading this.


Laughing
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KRedEP
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Joined: 03 Aug 2007

Posts: 784

PostPosted: Sun Jan 24, 2010 5:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just got back from caching in Brussels, Antwerp and Lille (France). I was amazed at how inaccurate the coords were there. Many were more than 50 feet off, and several were over 100. No one seemed to complain. I got the sense that was part of the caching experience. It was frustrating at times.
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EPMinnesota
Past MnGCA Board


Joined: 13 Apr 2006

Posts: 1944

PostPosted: Sun Jan 24, 2010 7:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Speedy, you bring this on yourself. I can't even feel sorry for you!
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speedysk1
Past MnGCA Board


Joined: 29 Oct 2007

Posts: 1991

PostPosted: Mon Jan 25, 2010 12:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

EPMinnesota wrote:
Speedy, you bring this on yourself. I can't even feel sorry for you!


Well, sometimes I use my iPhone too.
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