In the last post, I introduced a piece of software called Cache Stats, a simple program you can run on your computer to keep track of your caching statistics. We gave a basic overview of the main screen. Let’s start today by giving a simple rundown of those basic stats before we examine some of the additional options it provides. If you’re a premium member and would like to follow along, you need to go to the “Cache Stats” link to the right and download the program along with requesting a “My Finds” pocket query. If you aren’t a premium member, you will need to sign up to be able to use this program.
Once you have the program and the .gpx file, open Cache Stats and click on “Open GPX File” at the bottom of the screen. Once you have found and opened the file, the follow any instructions that pop. Every time you upload a new file into the program, it will update your information to include any new caches.
Let’s examine the basic information:
First is information about your cache finds. Many of these stats are common stats that you will see from various different stat generating methods. There are two additional stats that this program provides that are interesting. One is the oldest cache you’ve visited. For me, that was Arikaree, placed 5/31/2000. The other interesting figure is the FTF’s number. If you know what your number is, but it doesn’t fit, you can fix that with the “Set FTFs” button located to the right of this number. We’ll come back later and take a look at how to use this feature. I also like seeing the information about the most in one day and month. Hopefully, we’ll see the addition of a feature for most in one week with the next update.
Under the information about the caches found is information about the days cached. Again, mostly standard information, but still interesting to see. For instance, in May 2008, I found 78 caches across 6 days, for an average of 12 caches each time I went out. This isn’t right, as I had one day with only two finds and another with only one, but it helps show that when I cache, I usually cache in clumps instead of small amounts. Lately, this is because I don’t live close to largely saturated areas. Now, let’s take a look at the buttons to the right.
The “Show All” button is just that, a listing of all the caches you’ve found in the order that you logged them. You can click on each one to pull up some information, including name, owner, D/T rating, date it was placed, size, type, location, and status. By default, it will show you your log entry, but there is also an option to display the cache description alongside your log entry. If you are concerned about multiple logs, there is an option to show caches that you have logged more than once. The last thing you can do on this screen is double-click on a cache name to pull up that cache’s web page.
Next is the “Set FTF’s” option. If you click this, it will pop up a screen with a list of caches, some options, and a search bar. By default, it searches all of the logs for the caches you found for the phrase “FTF”. It will list those caches in a box with a option to checkmark them, along with your log entry at the bottom. You can Select or Unselect them all, and you can change what it searches for. At this point, you will want to check the logs. For example, the first time I ran this program, it had 12 FTF’s for me. However, some of them weren’t correct. I had put FTF in the log, but because I almost had FTF, but missed it. So, I unchecked those that weren’t correct and updated it properly read out the six caches I did have an FTF on. Doing this will update the FTF number on the main screen.
The last option we will look at today is the “Favorites” button. At first, I thought this was similar to the Bookmark option on the geocaching site. It actually pulls up a screen with three parts. Part one is a list of categories: All-time favorite, recent favorite, most memorable, favorite multi, most difficult find, most difficult terrain, most scenic, best hike, cleverest hide, and most embarrassing are the default categories. You can create custom categories too. Part two is a listing of all of your finds, along with a checkbox next to each. Select a category in part one, and a cache that represents it from part two. Part three provides a option to briefly say why you chose that cache. This screen also provides you with your log entry if needed.
Those are some of the features Cache Stats provides. Next time, we’ll take a look at the options found below the “Days Cached” section.