Are Virtuals BACK?!?

Major Announcement about Virtual Geocaches

SO, as you might already know if you have your eye on social media, Geocaching HQ dropped a major bomb of an announcement today (August 24, 2017), with it's release of a new project called "Virtual Rewards". They say it's a way to reward "some of geocaching's great contributors" while allowing a few (about 4000) new virtual geocaches for all of us to enjoy.

Geocaching HQ used a secret algorithm to identify the top 1% of quality cache hiders based on overall cache quality and health. Active community volunteers also got one as a thank-you. Those selected will be able to submit a new Virtual Cache within the next year. It will have the same icon as current (grand-fathered) Virtual Caches.

There's been quite a buzz on social media about this announcement. Most of what we have seen is generally positive, but there are also questions and concerns about the algorithm used, and how it might make cache hiders feel if they were not selected.

We would love to hear YOUR RESPONSE on this topic

AND it would be great to hear it in your own voice! Please send us your thoughts and reactions to this big news (see the following ways) and we might play it on an upcoming show.

  • Call the PodCacher Hotline and leave a message at (760) 300-3633
  • Record your own audio and email it to us at
  • Goto the Contact Us Page and leave a voice message via the SpeakPipe Widget

And while you're here, take a look around our website full of geocaching information, entertainment and inspiration!

Original Geocaching HQ post can be found here.

6 Responses to Are Virtuals BACK?!?

  1. the puffin August 25, 2017 at 7:58 am #

    This is great news.
    For two reasons.
    A we get more virtual caches.
    And B that means the virtual caches wont get achieved like the location less caches.

    The Puffin

  2. HikingSeal August 26, 2017 at 8:54 am #

    Before I say anything else and in the interest of full disclosure, I was one of the lucky recipients.

    When I first heard about it, I was really psyched. I said to a fellow cacher with whom I’ve been discussing trying to do some kind of cache award program, that GCHQ just trumped whatever we can come up with to help improve cache quality. That’s really how I saw it, a reward quality cache placers with an extremely valuable reward for putting out cool caches and maintaining them. Presuming this would not be the only time virtuals would be awarded, it would serve as a motivator for others to up their game to earn it next time.

    Choosing this group of people to put out new virtuals is a smart way to avoid the garbage virtuals that caused their death. The other key qualification for a virtual owner is to stay on top of the logs and delete armchair logs. A good track record of maintenance on physical caches supports that quality.

    As the day wore on and I began to hear about people who had very few caches being receipients. I became concerned. I struggle with a reward going to someone who has been caching less than two years and owns six caches with only one active one having all the favorite points which are less than 1% of total finds and 6% of Premium Finds. That cache was adopted two months before the reward. I think the algorithm blew it on that one. There was another one that has been caching for 12 years with only three caches only one of which has many favorite points.

    By the next day, despite there being a contingent of posters across social media claiming there were more, these were the only two specific examples I could find. Lots of complaining by a few who offer no support. Realistically I’m sure there’s a few more. The majority of the new virtuals seem to be in experienced hands with good track records. I’m excited to see what people come up with. There are a few that are reincarnating favorite virtuals from the past. Some places really should have a cache to help us mark our visits to them, like the Alamo. I look forward to some original ideas too. Most importantly I’m just psyched to go find some new virtuals! Thanks for the space to share my thoughts. Now I need to get back to figuring out what to do with mine.

    Keep on cachin’!

    Hiking Seal

  3. Merlin1392 August 26, 2017 at 9:46 am #

    I love virtual caches and try to collect them whenever I travel. They do need a strict guideline for placement, and maybe this is a way to get a few more into play. We’ll see.

  4. Julie Carnes August 26, 2017 at 1:46 pm #

    Hi there,
    You might want to mention on your pod cast, that cachers should set up a new notification for Virtuals. It’s an option now.
    Happy caching!
    San Diego Girl

  5. Mike (of MikeAndJuli)
    Mike (of MikeAndJuli) August 28, 2017 at 3:24 am #

    I can’t speak for everywhere, but here in Colorado I am very pleased with those who were chosen as the top cachers (at least those I know of). Not only are they the type of cachers that motivate others to elevate their game, but they are also cachers who have given a lot more back to the community in the form of Events, speaking at public events, and representing geocaching the geocaching community positively.

    I’ve heard some of the ideas they are tossing around and I am really excited. I even set my virtual notification radius to a few hundred miles, in hopes to be one of the first to discover these caches.

    Honestly, I hope Geocaching rewards continues – whether it be with virtuals or some other form of recognition. It is a huge encouragement for those who spend so much of their time making geocaching fun for everyone. The game wouldn’t be the same without those top 1% of cachers

  6. Scott November 12, 2017 at 11:16 pm #

    I don’t think it should have been killed in the first place, and anyone should be able to place a virtual just tighten up the guidelines! I found this podcast by typing “Who killed the virtual” I would much rather find caches on history than earth caches while good also more into history. Loved the history virtuals when I would come across them.

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