Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Geocaching Update: Hunting the Elusive Webcam Cache

On the geocaching web site, you can search for nine different types of caches. There are other, rarer types, but I think they are considered subtypes for search purposes. Here they are with the total number of caches available worldwide as of Saturday, October 29, 2016.
  • Traditional (2,365,714)
  • Multi-Cache (157,030)
  • Mystery (363,775)
  • EarthCache (24,809)
  • Letterbox Hybrid (20,447)
  • Event (3,420)
  • Webcam (313)
  • Wherigo (9,365)
  • Virtual (4,636)
Of these, Virtuals and Webcams are "grandfathered", meaning that it is no longer possible to create new ones, and it has not been for more than a decade. Since I last counted virtuals a month ago, six have gone away. By far the rarest type is the webcam cache. The idea is to go to a location where a webcam is filming and capture an image of yourself on camera. This was a lot more difficult back when the caches were active, since nobody had phones that could grab the image! You would have to call a friend to get them to nab the image, or you would have to set up a script on your home computer to save the image.

When I learned I would be giving a talk at a conference at Towson University, home of one of 130 remaining webcams in the United States, I knew I wanted to find it.

(I had actually had a shot at finding one in California this summer. My family and I were walking down a beach covered by one webcam associated with a webcam cache, but I never saw us on screen.)

I got to the conference early, made sure everything was set up for my talk, and then ran out and grabbed the image. It's not a very high-resolution picture, but you can see (but not read) my conference badge.

So that leaves one of the main types of caches for me to find -- the letterbox. They aren't as rare, but they are still a little bit unusual. That's a story for another day, however.
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