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Thread: Isle of Wight geocaching project

  1. #1
    naturenet Guest

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    Hi GAGB

    I'm Matthew Chatfield, and I work on the Isle of Wight for the IW Council. I've recently, much to my pleasure, got some modest funding for a project promoting geocaching on the Island next year. It will involve putting a series of caches on the Island, in public places owned by the council. There will also be some handhelds to borrow and events to teach people about geocaching. Here's an extract from the bid document:

    Project goal
    To devise and implement an innovative interpretation project using GPS technology to encourage the exploration and discovery of the Isle of Wight’s landscape.
    Objectives
    1. To create, manage and publicise a series of unusual and interesting geocaches on the Isle of Wight in publicly-accessible areas which can individually and collectively be explored by anyone with a GPS unit.
    2. To provide access to equipment and support to raise awareness and build capacity amongst local community groups and individuals in the responsible use of GPS for geocaching.
    3. To investigate the possible use of combined GPS/MP3 units for delivery of dynamic audio interpretation trails.


    I'm no geocache expert being relatively new to the game and having only found a handful of caches on the Island. So I'd welcome advice from anyone who felt it appropriate to offer it. I can send the full project proposal on to anyone who cares to read it, or maybe I'll upload it to somewhere if there's enough interest.


    Looking forward to any feedback.

  2. #2
    nobbynobbs Guest

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    excellent news. if only more councils could be as pro and active in this way.

    i'm just over the water on the edge of the new forest and i'll help in any way that i can. is the full proposal online anywhere as that will be the easiest way for lots of people to be able to read it and make any comments.

    if not and it's not possible then how long is it? i'd certainly liketo read it and i'm sure some of the more experienced cachers here will have an input.

    good work.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Wiltshire
    Posts
    5,520

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    Matthew, that's really great news! GAGB would be very happy to help in any way we can. If you need web space for the full proposal we'd be happy to host it for you.

    I'll contact you directly through your profile.

    ---
    Bill Daly, Chairman GAGB
    ​​Do not go gentle into that good night.
    Rage, rage against the dying of the light. (Dylan Thomas)​


  4. #4
    naturenet Guest

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    Thanks for the positive responses! I shall email the full document to Bill and hopefully he will be able to get it online.

  5. #5
    nobbynobbs Guest

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    can't wait. might make me tempted to do that damn expensive ferry crossing at some point.

  6. #6
    Roving Rangies Guest

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    if you go after 9ish i think it is and return after 7 ish, again I think, you can take your car plus 4 for about £35 ish I think again!

    Not too bad if you can fill the car with cachers and share the cost. At least you only live a stones throw from the Island, we have to do the milage to the ferry and back as well!

    Ever thought about waiting till low tide and walking across Nobby?

    Vivien

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Shropshire
    Posts
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    Thats excellent news. Check out this link for a similar scheme run in shropshire
    at the secret hills discovery centre.
    I am sure they would help you out with details of how they operate thier trails etc if you give them a call.

    http://www.shropshire.gov.uk/discover.nsf/...02570D5003AB4BD

    Based on our experience of setting up an event on the ISle of Man i would recomend a geocachers discount for the ferry
    "If you can't be a good example, then you'll just have to serve as a horrible warning."

  8. #8
    naturenet Guest

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    Hello again - I was looking at the bid document but it was a whole load of tables and guff. So I've cut to the chase and extracted the relevent bits, which are presented below. You'll appreciate that it was intended to explain the game to those who have little or no knowledge of GPS, so apologies if it seems oversimplistic. Please also excuse the slightly dubious formatting, but I did cut and paste much of it. Thanks for the replies so far - any further feedback welcomed.


    The Isle of Wight Geocaching Project

    What is GPS?
    A GPS (Global Positioning System) unit is an electronic device that can determine your approximate location (within around 2-7 metres) on the planet. You can use the unit to navigate from your current location to another location. Some units have their own maps, built-in electronic compasses, or even voice navigation, depending on the complexity of the device. Some are vehicle mounted but the simpler and cheaper units are hand-held. A typical hand-held GPS unit that will play geocaching costs about £90 and is a little larger than a mobile phone.
    You don't need to know much about GPS units to play geocaching. All you need to do is be able to enter what is called a series of numbers called a "waypoint" which specifies where the cache is hidden.

    What is Geocaching?
    Geocaching is an entertaining adventure game for GPS users. A cache is something concealed in a location in a public place. The game is to find the cache. This non-competitive entertainment has been going on for many years, but the recent drop in the price of GPS units has meant a big rise in its popularity.
    A cache can be almost anything but always includes a logbook and usually some sort of container to keep it in. In May 2006 there were there were over 270,000 active caches worldwide, with more than 10,000 in the UK and about 15 known on the Island. Individuals and organisations set up caches and share the locations of these caches, normally on the internet. GPS users can then use the location coordinates to find the caches. Once found, a cache may provide the visitor with a wide variety of rewards. Normally the visitor is expected to write in the logbook, and can leave a trinket, toy or token in the cache, and equally may take one left by someone else. Popular variations on the basic game include ‘Virtual Caching’ whereby the cache is a pre-existing object such as a monument or sign, and the ‘reward’ is some information upon it. It is also possible to have cache trails which are a series of locations leading up to a cache, like a treasure hunt.

    The Proposal
    Project goal
    To devise and implement an innovative interpretation project using GPS technology to encourage the exploration and discovery of the Isle of Wight’s landscape.

    Objectives
    1. To create, manage and publicise a series of unusual and interesting geocaches on the Isle of Wight in publicly-accessible areas which can individually and collectively be explored by anyone with a GPS unit.
    2. To provide access to equipment and support to raise awareness and build capacity amongst local community groups and individuals in the responsible use of GPS for geocaching.
    3. To investigate the possible use of combined GPS/MP3 units for delivery of dynamic audio interpretation trails.

    Delivery proposals
    Objective 1: It is proposed to design and install a series of geocaches. This will require the design and construction of cache boxes, the selection of sites and design of trails, obtaining the landowners’ permission and installing the boxes. Ten of these will be individual caches, which may be linked by a theme so they could be discovered individually or as a series, and in any order. They could contain a stamp or clipper or similar gadget to allow finders to collect ‘stamps’ to show they have been to a number of caches. These will be of varying difficulty, including some very easy and some quite challenging sites.
    Another ten boxes will be divided into two sets of five, which will be installed in two ‘training areas’ where public events can be held, and where users can try the game in a safe and relatively small area. This will be particularly suitable for school groups. Locations suggested include Fort Victoria and Appley/Puckpool Park.
    All caches will require regular inspection, at least annually and probably more frequently. Five boxes will be retained as spares, to replace the caches during the three year life of the project. Monitoring of the geocaching.com website will draw attention to any damaged or missing caches.
    The project will be publicised on the geocaching.com website, and by a dedicated website which promotes the Island as a geocaching destination and provides encouragement and information. However the dedicated website will not replace the interactivity already shown on geocaching.com. A complementary paper leaflet will enhance accessibility, and this can be distributed to TICs and libraries, if any are available.

    Objective 2: hand-held GPS units can now be bought for around £80. It is proposed to buy a set of 20 units plus batteries, chargers and cases for loan and for public events. These can be lent out in a similar way to the Night Vision equipment currently managed by the Leading Wildlife project. There will also be a series of events to build capacity and awareness of the techniques of safe and responsible geocaching. These can be led mainly at the ‘training area’ locations, or possibly temporary trails can be set up for use at public shows or for special events such as corporate training.

    Objective 3: it is proposed to investigate the use of MP3/GPS units to provide an interactive audio commentary for visitors, giving them the opportunity to ‘roam’ around the Island as opposed to following a definite trail. These units exist but are not presently marketed. This pilot project will investigate the practicality of using the units, along with the costs of producing interpretive material, with the objective of making further funding bids if appropriate.

    Item Notes
    1. 20 hand-held GPS units Includes batteries and spares
    2. 25 Custom cache containers Includes spares
    3. Website and Leaflets 10,000 leaflets for TICs/libraries
    4. Events
    5. Cache design and maintenance Caches to be positioned and monitored for 3 years
    6. MP3 Research
    7. Management



    Timescale
    Note that geocaching can be done at any time of the year, but as with many outdoor activities it is likely that the main use of the caches will be in the summer seasons.

    Sept 2006- April 2007: development phase
    Purchase of units
    Design of containers
    Location of caches
    Creation of website and leaflets
    Research begins

    April 2007-Sept 2007: Delivery season 1
    Events run
    Units lent out
    Caches maintained
    Website updated
    Test MP3 units if available

    Sept 2007 – Sept 2009: Delivery seasons 2 & 3
    Units lent out
    Caches maintained
    Website updated
    Further bids for MP3 units/other developments considered

    Sept 2009: Project end
    Caches retrieved
    Summary of project and logbook feedback etc published on website
    Surviving cache containers recycled

    Proposed cache distribution

    Individual caches (classic geocache) 10
    Training areas / localised trails 2x5 = 10
    Spares 5
    Total 25

  9. #9
    nobbynobbs Guest

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    don't forget the cache in trash out aspect.

    there is a health benefit. it can be used for rehab after illness or against some forms of fatigue as gives a definitive target to aim for and a pre thought out route for the person to travel along.

    i wouldn't necessary hold back so many spares as , touch wood, the island doesn't seem to have a problem with caches going missing and in any case they don't go that often. famous last words i know.

    i'm sure that someone will be available for assistance in finding locations and help hiding.

    containers, well the generally held best ones are the ammo boxes from army surplus stores. £5 or so each.

    there is lots of experience here for organising agreements with landowners.

    if i think of anything else....

  10. #10
    naturenet Guest

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    Thanks for your thoughts. The spares - well, you could be right. We are blessed with a very low vandalism rate over here. But we do intend to put out some rather unusual cache containers, and they may just be too tempting. It's an interesting brief that we have given the designers - to make a watertight container that is unique and interesting, but not interesting enough that anyone would want to steal it!

    Plus at least some of the caches will be in more intensively used, more urban public places as opposed to hidden away, at present I'm thinking of Fort Victoria Country Park and Appley Park. These could form a kind of 'training area' where we could take, for example, a group of cubs or brownies and let them try geocaching in a safe environment and not have to wander very far.

    Hopefully we won't have any problems with landowners as we'll be using all our own land. However if we do decide to stray off it we know most of the landowners over here anyway. It is an island, you know! But nonetheless it's very helpful to have the example agreements which I've already looked at to understand the sort of thing we might be getting into if we do go off our own sites.

  11. #11
    nobbynobbs Guest

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    you've commisioned some designers for the cache container????

    copyright it, and market it at a reasonable rate and you might suddenly find a new growth industry for the island.
    i kid you not.....

  12. #12
    naturenet Guest

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    Good idea!

    Tho' we won't need to copyright it, we'll own the IP automatically. And yes, we have considered what we might do if the thing is very successful. It's likely that the containers will have a bit of an Island theme, but the principle is a good one.

    One idea we have had is to have some kind of integral stamps/clippers/rubbing areas where people can use each cache to make unique records of their visit. Anyone ever seen anything like that before?

  13. #13
    nobbynobbs Guest

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    rubber stamps are the domain of the letterbox. basically similar to caching but without the gps, they follow clues to locate the container within which is a rubber stamp to use in their records and a log book to record their visit.

    i certainly don't use a book to record my visits to caches so i wouldn't be able to clip anything. rely on the geocache website to record my finds. i think that would be of limited use. i could be wrong though.

    have you spoken to the approvers from geocache.com? they may have input as regards the boxes. be a shame to design them then get the cache turned down due to something simple. unlikely but worth getting their input at this stage.

    if you want their details i'm sure bill or i could forward a note to them to look in to this thread.

  14. #14

    Join Date
    Jun 2003
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    Wiltshire
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    I've asked the gc.com reviewers to take a look at this thread if they haven't seen it already. Thanks for the suggestion, Matt.
    ​​Do not go gentle into that good night.
    Rage, rage against the dying of the light. (Dylan Thomas)​


  15. #15

    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    North Wales
    Posts
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    Thanks Bill and Matt for bringing this to the attention of my colleagues and myself. I've had a look at the tread and think it's a great idea what naturenet has planned.

    Bill can pass my email address on to you or it is available via my GC profile Deceangi, as is my colleagues Eckington and Lactodorum email address, if you wish to discus anything.

    One point you got slightly wrong Matt is, Rubber Stamps are a requirement for letterbox Hybrid geocaches, and not just for Letterboxes :P. They have their own icon, and can be a Traditional cache, multi cache, or even a Puzzle cache.

    Also setting a Earthcache [which are returning to GC] with its educational requirements and the use of a gps would also fit in with your ideas, especially with school groups.

    Dave
    Deceangi Volunteer UK Reviewer
    My post is my personal opinion and as such you do not have my permission to quote me outside of these forums!

    Dave
    Brenin Tegeingl
    Formerly known as Mancunian Pyrocacher on GC

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