Difference between revisions of "Difficulty and Terrain Ratings"

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[[Category:Geocaches]]
 
[[Category:Geocaches]]
 
[[Category:Terms]]
 
[[Category:Terms]]
Caches at [http://www.geocaching.com Geocaching.com] are rated between 1 (easiest) and 5 (most difficult) on two criteria: terrain and difficulty.
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Owners of geocaches rate them on a 5-point scale for difficulty and terrain.
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The difficulty rating describes the mental challenge of finding a cache.
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The terrain rating describes the physical environment.
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A difficulty–terrain rating of 1/1 is the easiest,
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while a difficulty–terrain rating of 5/5 is the most difficult.
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Likewise, a difficulty–terrain rating of 5/1 indicates a cache that is extremely difficult to find, but easy to get to.
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A difficulty–terrain rating of 1/5 indicates a cache that is easy to find, but extremely difficult to get to.
  
==Terrain Rating==
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== Ratings ==
  
The terrain rating lets you know what the trip to the cache location is going to be like.
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The generally accepted definitions for the various ratings were originally developed based on discussions in the Groundspeak forums,
# '''wheelchair accessible''' - The path to the cache location should be paved, relatively flat, and short (less than ½ mile); someone sitting in a chair on the paved path should be able to reach the container.
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with particular input from Scout, Markwell, Brokenwing, and ClayJar.
# '''suitable for small children''' - The path to the cache location follows marked trails, and is less than 2 miles; there are no steep elevation changes or heavy overgrowth.
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# '''not suitable for small children''' - The path to the cache location is suitable for most adults and older children, but may be longer than 2 miles, and may include some off-trail hiking, some overgrowth, or some steep elevation changes.
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# '''experienced outdoor enthusiasts only''' - The path to the cache location probably includes off-trail hiking, and will include very heavy overgrowth, very steep elevation changes (requiring use of hands), or more than a 10 mile hike; an overnight stay may be required.
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# '''requires specialized equipment''' - The path to the cache location requires specialized equipment (for example, SCUBA gear, rock-climbing gear, a boat, or a 4WD vehicle) and the skill to use it, or is otherwise extremely difficult.
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==Difficulty Rating==
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=== Difficulty ===
  
 
The difficulty rating lets you know what the search is going to be like once you get to ground zero.
 
The difficulty rating lets you know what the search is going to be like once you get to ground zero.
 
The suggested search times are at best approximate, and reflect search times for a typical geocacher.
 
The suggested search times are at best approximate, and reflect search times for a typical geocacher.
# '''easy''' - The container is in plain sight or is in an obvious hiding place, and is easily recognized as a geocache; it requires only a few minutes searching.
 
# '''average''' - The container is in one of a few possible hiding places, or is [[camouflage]]d to blend well into the environment; it may require up to half an hour searching.
 
# '''challenging''' - The container is well hidden in one of several possible hiding places, or its camouflage could be mistaken for part of the environment; it will challenge an experienced geocacher and may require more than an hour searching.
 
# '''difficult''' - The container is very well hidden in one of many possible hiding places, or its camouflage appears to be part of the environment; it is a real challenge for an experienced geocacher and may require multiple days/trips to find.
 
# '''extreme''' - Finding the container is a serious mental/physical challenge that requires specialized knowledge, skills, or equipment.
 
 
 
In the case of a [[Puzzle Cache|puzzle cache]], the difficulty rating also reflects the challenge of solving the puzzle to obtain the actual coordinates.
 
In the case of a [[Puzzle Cache|puzzle cache]], the difficulty rating also reflects the challenge of solving the puzzle to obtain the actual coordinates.
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# '''Easy''' – In plain sight or can be found in a few minutes of searching.
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# '''Average''' – The average cache hunter would be able to find this in less than 30 minutes of hunt.
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# '''Challenging''' – An experienced cache hunter will find this challenging, and it could take up a good portion of an afternoon.
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# '''Difficult''' – A real challenge for the experienced cache hunter – may require special skills or knowledge, or in-depth preparation to find. May require multiple days / trips to complete.
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# '''Extreme''' – A serious mental or physical challenge. Requires specialized knowledge, skills, or equipment to find cache.
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Note that many [[camouflage]]d caches hidden in plain sight are not easy to find,
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and should be rated higher than 1-star difficulty.
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Camouflaged caches may blend well into the environment,
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may be mistaken for part of the environment,
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or may even appear to be part of the environment.
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TechBlazer is developing a
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[http://www.techblazer.com/geocache-rating-calculator.php Geocache Rating Calculator]
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that takes a cache's camouflage into account, among other factors.
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=== Terrain ===
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The terrain rating lets you know what the trip to ground zero is going to be like.
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# '''Handicapped accessible''' – Terrain is likely to be paved, is relatively flat, and less than a 1/2 mile hike is required.
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# '''Suitable for small children''' – Terrain is generally along marked trails, there are no steep elevation changes or heavy overgrowth. Less than a 2 mile hike required.
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# '''Not suitable for small children''' – The average adult or older child should be OK depending on physical condition. Terrain is likely off-trail. May have one or more of the following: some overgrowth, some steep elevation changes, or more than a 2 mile hike.
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# '''Experienced outdoor enthusiasts only''' – Terrain is probably off-trail. Will have one or more of the following: very heavy overgrowth, very steep elevation (requiring use of hands), or more than a 10 mile hike. May require an overnight stay.
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# '''Extreme''' – Requires specialized equipment and knowledge or experience (boat, 4WD, rock climbing, SCUBA, etc.), or is otherwise extremely difficult.
  
==Half Stars==
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== Half Stars ==
  
 
There are no official definitions for half-star ratings.
 
There are no official definitions for half-star ratings.
 
They reflect intermediate ratings, and cache owners must use their best judgment.
 
They reflect intermediate ratings, and cache owners must use their best judgment.
For example, a -star terrain rating could indicate an easy hike (easier than typical 3-star terrain), but a cache location that is more difficult to reach.
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For example, a -star terrain rating could indicate a very easy hike (easier than typical 2-star terrain), but a cache location that is not wheelchair accessible.
 
As another example, a 2½-star difficulty rating could indicate camouflage that could be mistaken for part of the environment, but where there are only a few possible hiding places.
 
As another example, a 2½-star difficulty rating could indicate camouflage that could be mistaken for part of the environment, but where there are only a few possible hiding places.
  
==See Also==
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== See Also ==
  
* [http://www.clayjar.com/gcrs/ ClayJar's Geocache Rating System] - fill in the data and submit the form, and it spits out a rating.
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* [http://www.geocaching.com/hide/rate.aspx Groundspeak's Geocache Rating System] - fill in the data and submit the form, and it returns a rating
* [http://www.techblazer.com/geocache-rating-calculator.php TechBlazer's Geocache Rating Calculator] - fill in the data and submit the form, and it spits out a rating.
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* [http://www.clayjar.com/gcrs/ ClayJar's Geocache Rating System] - fill in the data and submit the form, and it returns a rating. This is the original system that the Groundspeak one was based on.
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* [http://www.techblazer.com/geocache-rating-calculator.php TechBlazer's Geocache Rating Calculator] - fill in the data and submit the form, and it returns a rating. TechBlazer has expanded the criteria for rating a cache's difficulty.
 
* [http://www.markwell.us/geofaq.htm#Ratings What do the different ratings mean, and how should I rate the cache I placed?] in Markwell's FAQ Update.
 
* [http://www.markwell.us/geofaq.htm#Ratings What do the different ratings mean, and how should I rate the cache I placed?] in Markwell's FAQ Update.
 
* [http://www.handicaching.com/ Handicaching] provides a cache accessibility rating system with much more detail than a 1-star or 1.5-star rating can provide.
 
* [http://www.handicaching.com/ Handicaching] provides a cache accessibility rating system with much more detail than a 1-star or 1.5-star rating can provide.
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* [http://support.groundspeak.com/index.php?pg=kb.page&id=82 Ratings for Difficulty and Terrain] (Groundspeak knowledge base)

Latest revision as of 01:31, 13 November 2010

Owners of geocaches rate them on a 5-point scale for difficulty and terrain. The difficulty rating describes the mental challenge of finding a cache. The terrain rating describes the physical environment. A difficulty–terrain rating of 1/1 is the easiest, while a difficulty–terrain rating of 5/5 is the most difficult. Likewise, a difficulty–terrain rating of 5/1 indicates a cache that is extremely difficult to find, but easy to get to. A difficulty–terrain rating of 1/5 indicates a cache that is easy to find, but extremely difficult to get to.

Contents

[edit] Ratings

The generally accepted definitions for the various ratings were originally developed based on discussions in the Groundspeak forums, with particular input from Scout, Markwell, Brokenwing, and ClayJar.

[edit] Difficulty

The difficulty rating lets you know what the search is going to be like once you get to ground zero. The suggested search times are at best approximate, and reflect search times for a typical geocacher. In the case of a puzzle cache, the difficulty rating also reflects the challenge of solving the puzzle to obtain the actual coordinates.

  1. Easy – In plain sight or can be found in a few minutes of searching.
  2. Average – The average cache hunter would be able to find this in less than 30 minutes of hunt.
  3. Challenging – An experienced cache hunter will find this challenging, and it could take up a good portion of an afternoon.
  4. Difficult – A real challenge for the experienced cache hunter – may require special skills or knowledge, or in-depth preparation to find. May require multiple days / trips to complete.
  5. Extreme – A serious mental or physical challenge. Requires specialized knowledge, skills, or equipment to find cache.

Note that many camouflaged caches hidden in plain sight are not easy to find, and should be rated higher than 1-star difficulty. Camouflaged caches may blend well into the environment, may be mistaken for part of the environment, or may even appear to be part of the environment. TechBlazer is developing a Geocache Rating Calculator that takes a cache's camouflage into account, among other factors.

[edit] Terrain

The terrain rating lets you know what the trip to ground zero is going to be like.

  1. Handicapped accessible – Terrain is likely to be paved, is relatively flat, and less than a 1/2 mile hike is required.
  2. Suitable for small children – Terrain is generally along marked trails, there are no steep elevation changes or heavy overgrowth. Less than a 2 mile hike required.
  3. Not suitable for small children – The average adult or older child should be OK depending on physical condition. Terrain is likely off-trail. May have one or more of the following: some overgrowth, some steep elevation changes, or more than a 2 mile hike.
  4. Experienced outdoor enthusiasts only – Terrain is probably off-trail. Will have one or more of the following: very heavy overgrowth, very steep elevation (requiring use of hands), or more than a 10 mile hike. May require an overnight stay.
  5. Extreme – Requires specialized equipment and knowledge or experience (boat, 4WD, rock climbing, SCUBA, etc.), or is otherwise extremely difficult.

[edit] Half Stars

There are no official definitions for half-star ratings. They reflect intermediate ratings, and cache owners must use their best judgment. For example, a 1½-star terrain rating could indicate a very easy hike (easier than typical 2-star terrain), but a cache location that is not wheelchair accessible. As another example, a 2½-star difficulty rating could indicate camouflage that could be mistaken for part of the environment, but where there are only a few possible hiding places.

[edit] See Also

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