Opencaching Review – Part 4b

This is [the second half of] 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.

When we last visited (<—the first half of this review) Opencaching.com, I had tried to import my finds to the site.  I say tried because it didn’t quite work.  I suspected either a bug or a feature that got delayed due to time.  A couple of days later, the team at Opencaching responded (how cool is that) to the post by saying that there had been a recent bug that was affecting some users trying to do this very feature. DOH!  I had some bad timing.  So I got back on and tried another import.  I noticed an immediate difference as the percentage value started increasing almost right away.  Previously, it sat at zero percent the whole time.

Before we look at how the import worked, let’s quickly revisit the three goals I had:

  1. 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?
  2. If #1 leaves the caches unlogged, and I go to log them, will it alter my find count?
  3. Will importing my finds automatically add, or “crosslist”, everything I have found to the Opencaching site?

We will start this evening by going to my profile to see how it changed.  It previously listed the two finds I logged before starting the review.  Now it lists me as having 3,525 finds.  So this does introduce one question…which 99 finds aren’t getting imported? But we’ll move on.

Let’s look at question #1.  For the purpose of answering these questions, I looked for a spot where I could quickly recognize the caches in the area.  In the Kansas City area, there are a lot of caches I haven’t found and many of the ones on Opencaching.com are in areas of the city where I haven’t spent a lot of time caching.  While looking at the map, I found an intersection in Saint Joseph, MO that I was familiar with.  It had a cache that I enjoyed called Till Death Do Us Part.  Here is a view of that intersection, as seen using the maps on Geocaching.com:

The cache I mentioned is the smiley face located just North of the interstate.  You’ll notice eight found and two unfound caches on this map.  Now let’s look at the same location using the Opencaching site.  I’ll actually be showing two images side by side.  One was taken before the import and one was taken after the import.

In thebefore picture, you can see five caches.  If you compare them to the map from Geocaching.com, you’ll notice that I have found four of the five.  The before image was taken last Wednesday.  The after image was taken while writing today’s post.  Notice that the number of caches has gone up to seven.  When I first saw this, I got worried about question #3.  We’ll get to that in a bit.

So let’s look back to Question #1.  Did importing automatically log any crosslisted caches?  It appears that the answer is yes.  Any caches on Opencaching.com that are cross listed from Geocaching.com (I cannot answer whether this occurs with caches from sites like Navicache, Opencaching.US, or Terracache) will be automatically logged.  This is a good thing as it does two things in one.  It saves you from typing up your old logs.  It also helps to identify caches you have already found.

This also helps address Question #2.  Since the caches are autologged, we can go ahead and throw out Question #2.  That only applied if the import did not autolog your finds.

Now we can look at Question #3.  This question was one that I personally was worried about.  Not because I would be listing caches on Opencaching.com.  I was worried because it would be rude to list another person’s cache on any site without their permission.

When I first looked at the map after doing the import, that last statement came to mind.  You will notice the addition of two more caches after the import in the map comparison above.  I initially worried that I had just cross listed two caches from someone else.  So what did I do?  I looked at the map from Geocaching.com.  The first image in this post.  It is hard to see, but near the bottom is a light green color.  Its location matches the country club identified at the bottom of the Opencaching.com map.  I mention this to help point out that the scales and locations on all three maps you see above are very close to each other.

Now look right above the green of the country club.  See that smiley found to the left of the highway on the Geocaching.com map?  Now notice the smiley located just South of the exit ramps?  Find them on the Opencaching.com maps.  Yep.  That’s right.  They aren’t there.  When I saw that, I quickly pulled up my home location.  None of the nearby finds I’ve made are being shown on Opencaching.com either.  It appears that the answer to Question #3 is a very grateful Nope.  Grateful because it avoids the rudeness I previously mentioned.

Pro’s (updated): The site gives very clear instructions for how to import your finds.  It also does the process with a minimum of steps.  The import automatically logs any crosslisted caches (at least from the Geocaching.com site).   If concerned that you might be adding to the number of caches on the Opencaching.com site, you can stop worrying.  Importing your finds does not add caches to the site.

Con’s (updated): 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.  The only con appears to be in the form of a bug in the system that results in some finds not being imported.  If you have a lot of finds you might want to consider waiting for a bug fix instead of searching out which ones got missed.

After a little bit of an issue at the start, this process turned out to be rather smoother than expected.  I also became impressed with the quickness at which the Opencaching Team addressed the initial issue.  Two days later, it appeared to be fixed (though I would guess they were already working on it before I wrote the post).  Considering the amount of time you save in filtering your finds and updating your Opencaching.com find count, this is a nice feature to have.  Once any additional bugs are worked out, this could be a great way to reduce the feeling of “starting over” than many geocachers have mentioned when discussing why they don’t want to use the site.

Later this week, we will look at loading a GPSr and going after a cache.

TripCyclone

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One Response to Opencaching Review – Part 4b

  1. Pingback: Opencaching Review – Part 4 | Trip's GeoAdventures

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