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1.13. Checking for Geocache Saturation

Before placing a new geocache in a chosen area, go geocaching there. Other people may have already placed their own geocaches there, some of which may have multiple stages.

Importantly, any new geocache must be in compliance with the Geocache Saturation section of the Listing Guidelines; it must be at least 0.10 miles (528 ft or 161 m) from the physical element of any other geocache.  Below are some tips that can make this process easier for you.

Before you place your container

Load the geocaches of your chosen area into your GPS device and go geocaching. If you are using a phone, please change the settings so that it shows you disabled geocaches. They hold their places. When you find a good place for your geocache, check for "nearest" geocaches on your GPS device. If you see any geocaches at a distance of .1 miles or less, this is not a good place to hide your geocache. In the field, it's a good idea to look within .12 miles from your proposed geocache site, allowing for some error in the GPS device's reading.

The planning map of the Hide a Cache form will  tell you if your proposed cache coordinates are too near the visible coordinates of another cache, and illustrate it. 
Or you can use the Seek a Geocache  page, the "Latitude Longitude Search".  Put your proposed geocache coordinates in the latitude and longitude boxes. This will produce a list of nearby caches with distances from your coordinates, including the distance to any Premium Member Only geocaches. This allows Basic Members to avoid being too close to those PMO geocaches when placing theirs.

If you see any physical geocache within .10 mi (528 ft or 161 m) of your proposed new geocache, your geocache is unlikely to be published. Some multi-caches start with virtual stages, and you may be able to place a physical geocache near these geocaches. A reviewer will be able to help you with this query (see below).

Important: Neither the planning map or the Hide and Seek a cache list will show you hidden stages of geocaches in the area, puzzle solutions, stages of multi-caches, Wherigo finals.

Below are sample search results from a "Latitude Longitude Search".

serach results with PMOCs

Other things to consider

The search described above is a good first step in checking for saturation, but doesn't produce all of the possible results. There may be:

  1. Hidden stages of a multi-cache or Wherigo
  2. The final location of a mystery or puzzle geocache
  3. Unpublished geocaches which are in line for review ahead of yours

If you see mystery or puzzle geocache with bogus coordinates within 2 miles of your chosen location, its final location might be near your proposed geocache. Many, but not all, multi-caches and Wherigo geocaches start and finish in the same area. However, there is no limit on their range, so even if don't see a multi-cache nearby, there may be a stage of a multi-cache in the area.

What can you do about those geocaches which you can't "see" online?

If after Steps 1 and 2 you are still concerned about encountering the hidden parts of other geocaches, contact a reviewer with your geocache coordinates for a saturation check. This should be done before placing the geocache container.

  1. Create a geocache listing, with a title like "Coordinate Check". You can add additional waypoints if you'd like more than one spot checked (use stage of a multi-cache waypoint type).
  2. Add a Reviewer Note explaining that the geocache is not in place and you would like a saturation check.
  3. Either enable the geocache, or email your local reviewer with the GC Code of the geocache. To find your local reviewer, check for a recent Published log on a nearby geocache. Follow the link of the reviewer's name to their profile, where you can email them through the site.

Many thanks to Volunteer Geocache Reviewer palmetto for initially developing this article.

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