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Cache Listing Requirements/Guidelines

These are listing guidelines only. As the cache owner, you are responsible for the placement and care of your cache.

Before posting a cache, first review the following guidelines and rules. This is a constantly changing and evolving sport, so the rules may change. Refer back before posting to make sure no new rules are added.

Keep in mind that there is no precedent for placing caches. If a cache has been posted in the past and break any rules listed below, you are welcome to report it. However, we honor the posting of older caches that came in before the rule was issued.

We'd love to post everything, but we're trying to keep the noise to content ratio low. We're working on new ways to open up the site for all sorts of waypoints, so who knows what the future may hold?

If your cache has been archived make sure to read the log to see why. If you want to dispute your archived cache, feel free to post a message in the forums to see what others think. If the majority believes it should be posted, your cache may be unarchived.

Off-limit (Physical) Caches

We're assuming that you asked permission to post your cache. However, if we see any listing description mentioning ignoring "No Trespassing" signs (or any other obvious issues), your listing will be automatically archived.

Caches will be quickly archived if we see the following (which is not inclusive):

  • Caches on National Park Service maintained lands
  • Caches that are buried - If a shovel/trowel/pointy object is used to dig - in order to hide or find a cache - it's not appropriate.
  • Caches hidden by active railroad tracks
  • Caches near or in military installations
  • Caches under public structures deemed targets for terrorist attacks

There are always exceptions. If your cache fits within these areas, please explain in the description (or hints) of the cache. For example, if you are given permission to place a cache on private property, indicate it in the description.

If the web site is contacted and informed that a cache has been placed inappropriately, your cache will be archived or disabled and you will be contacted with any contact information provided by the individual or organization who contacted us.

Commercial Caches

What is a commercial cache? A commercial use of the web site cache reporting tool is an direct or indirect (either intentional or non-intentional) attempt to solicit customers through a geocaching.com listing. Examples include for-profit locations that require an entrance fee, or locations that sell products or services.

Some exceptions can be made for certain cache types (e.g. locationless) In these situations, permission can be given by the geocaching.com web site. However, permission should be asked first before posting. If you are in doubt, ask first.

Commercial by this definition is not restricted to monetary solicitations. Caches posted for religious, political, or social agendas will not be posted either.

Virtual Caches
A virtual cache is a cache that exists in a form of an object at a location which was already there. Depending on the cache "hider," a virtual cache could be to answer a question about an item at a location, something seen at that location, etc. The reward for these caches is the location itself and sharing information about your visit.

  1. A virtual cache must be of a physical object that can be referenced through Lat/Lon coordinates. That object should be semi-permanent to permanent. Objects in motion (such as people, vehicles) do not count as a virtual cache, unless that item can be adequately tracked and updated on the web site (For example, a link to a tracker for a vehicle would be ok). If I post the cache today someone else should be able to find it tomorrow.

    A trail is a trail, a beach is a beach, a view is a view; but a trail/beach/view is NOT a virtual cache. A cache has to be a specific distinct GPS target - not something large like a mountain top or a park, however special those locations are.

  2. A virtual cache must be novel, meaning of interest to other players. Items that would be in a coffee table book are good examples. A flagpole, manhole cover, tree, etc are poor examples (with an exception: A flagpole at a memorial or a particular novel flagpole would be ok, or an especially unique tree would count). If you don't know what is appropriate, post to the forums first.

  3. Virtual caches are not commercial. For example (but not exclusive), a coffee house, pizza parlor, ice cream shop are not acceptable.

  4. There should be a question that only the visitor to that location will be able to answer. The questions should be difficult enough that it cannot be answered unless you physically visit the spot.

  5. A photo is acceptable way to verify a find, or an email to the owner with the answer. In *no* cases should answers be posted in the logs.

  6. Understand that although the virtual cache is not something you physically maintain, you must maintain your virtual cache's web page and respond to inquiries. You should also return to the web site at least once a month to show you are still active. Virtual caches posted and "abandoned" will be archived by the site.

Locationless Caches
A locationless cache is best defined as a "reverse virtual" cache. A locationess cache gives a task for an item to find and log with lat/lon coordinates.

  1. Locationless caches must be semi-permanent to permanent. For example, nothing that is mobile can be a locationless cache. Examples (nonexclusive) are cars, buses, helicopters, boats, etc. A local carnival cache is another example of a cache that would not be approved. If I mark coordinates at a location it should be there tomorrow.

    Caches dubbed "scavenger hunt caches" will no longer be approved unless they meet the guidelines above.

  2. Locationless caches must be novel, meaning of interest to someone else. Something you'd expect to find in coffee table book format. Good examples would be Burma Shave signs (americana), dinosaur sculptures of the world, mazes of the world. Bad examples are "manhole covers of the world" or "American flags on poles." The interest is in the uncommon, not the common. Views (cityscapes, etc), however spectacular, do not count as well.

  3. Don't consider a locationless cache to be automatically approved. In fact, expect it not to be approved. The approvers will approve caches based on their interpretation of the rules.

  4. Logging a locationless cache find requires (real) coordinates. No exceptions. Logs without coordinates will be deleted.

If you have a question whether a specific cache should be acceptable, ask in the forums.


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