This is part 4 of a series of posts planned as a review of the Opencaching website. Readers are encouraged to contribute their thoughts. After over a year to develop the site, this is an attempt to see how they have progressed, including benefits and faults. If you want to see a previous post, you can start here.
I know that I want to move on to finding and logging an opencache. Yet there is a feature I want to explore that I feel plays a role in finding a cache. I am talking about importing my finds. Most cachers do not usually go back out to a cache they have already found unless they are helping the owner with cache maintenance or taking a friend there. Since there are caches on Opencaching that are cross listed from other sites, I would like to see which caches I have already found. That is where importing my finds is important. Before we look at importing my finds, there are a few questions that I want to answer. Questions to lay out in front of us BEFORE I do anything else. The obvious question is “How do I import my finds?” That is not one of the questions I am talking about. They are:
- If I import a find on a cache that is already listed on the Opencaching site, will it automatically log that as a find or will it leave the cache unlogged?
- If #1 leaves the caches unlogged, and I go to log them, will it alter my find count?
- Will importing my finds automatically add, or “crosslist”, everything I have found to the Opencaching site?
I see these as important questions because they deal with both the Opencache database itself, and the work that the user has to perform. If the answer to question #1 is the latter choice, that creates more work for me. If the answer to question #2, if we have to answer #2, is yes, then there is even more work for me. For question #3, I suspect the answer is no as that would seem rather devious and would likely result in much larger numbers of caches in a rather quick fashion. Knowing at least one person in the Kansas City area who “appears” to have done this already, I don’t see some of the caches I know they have logged. But we’ll try to answer the question none the less.
So how do we go about doing this process? For starters, you will need to download a .GPX file of your finds from whichever non-Opencaching site you use. I use Geocaching.com, so I have downloaded a “My Finds Pocket Query”. We aren’t going to go through all the different sites to show how to do this. That would take to long. For now, we will go on the idea that all of you are aware of this process already. Let’s just focus on what to do on the Opencaching site itself.
So go ahead and log into the site and get to the main screen. Once there, find the button you see here. It should be located slightly to the lower right of the center of the screen. If you do not see it, you can also click on the “More Stuff” menu and select “Import Geocaches”.
Once on this screen there will be two buttons, each with a description, located above a video. The buttons are “Import Finds” and “Import Hides”. Since we are looking at “Import Finds” today, here is what the description says:
You can import a gpx file that lists geocaches you have already found. The logs you upload will automatically be added to your profile and to the individual cache listings. If you have a lot of finds, the upload may take several minutes.
Based on this, I am going to guess that the answer to question #1 is yes, it will autolog any caches already listed on the site. Notice the note about taking several minutes. This will obviously depend on your computer, your connection, and the number of finds. I have 3,624 finds to upload. This could take a bit.
Before continuing, there is another step you will want to take. The Geocaching.com site, and possibly other sites, sends you a .GPX file zipped up in what is called a .ZIP file. This is a common type of file that many computer users have likely seen before. Just to test the system, I tried to import the .ZIP file. This will not work. So I will have to EXTRACT the .GPX file before I can import it. If you have never done this before, a simple Google search for “extract .ZIP file” will produce enough resources to help you through the process, and even a few programs to help you (WINZip is a common one).
Once you have your .GPX file, go ahead and click on “Import Finds”. It should pull up a dialog box asking you to locate the file you want to upload. When this is done, a percentage value will display itself under the “Import Finds” button. It will look something like this:
Your finds have been uploaded. It may take a few minutes before they are visible on the site. Once they are processed, you will be able to view them in your profile.
This message will persist until you reload the page or go to your profile page, which is linked to at the end of the message.
This is the point at which I ran into problems. I have now tried this process twice and my number of finds still sits at zero. The message says to wait a few minutes. I gave it a bit over 90 minutes. So at this point, this feature seems to be the one big feature that has some bugs that I’ve come across. Without seeing the import process work, I cannot answer the original questions with certainty.
Well, that stinks.
Pro’s: The site gives very clear instructions for how to import your finds. It also does the process with a minimum of steps.
Con’s: At least for me, the import process didn’t appear to work. It said to wait a few minutes, but almost two hours later, my profile doesn’t seem to reflect the import.
Finding myself at this point, I will end the post…for now. I’m going to try coming back tomorrow and see if maybe I didn’t give it enough time. Maybe tomorrow the import will have had enough time and suddenly have worked. If it corrects itself, we will do a follow-up post. Otherwise, I will move on to finding and logging a cache.
This seems to be the one feature that as of yet appears to contains some big bugs. Preliminary clicking around of the site hasn’t produced anything else of this level, so I will hold out hope that everything else will go smoothly. Oh well. I know Garmin is busy with lots of different ideas for the site so some things may not be fully fleshed out yet. Thankfully, this feature doesn’t hinder your ability to find caches, just your crossover stats.
UPDATE: I have posted a followup to Part 4 that can be found HERE. It appears the problems I ran into were the result of a bug that has been fixed. The followup continues with my examination of the “Import Finds” feature.