GCA vs GC
Where should I list my cache?
A majority of Australian caches are listed on the Groundspeak site, at Geocaching.com but there is a strong and growing community of Australian cachers choosing to list their caches right here at Geocaching Australia. Geocaching Australia began listing caches to assist those who didn't like that Groundspeak was dictating how the game was played, or that Groundspeak were making money out of the game.
To help you make your decision, some pros and cons of each listing site are provided below.
Listing your cache with Geocaching Australia
- Geocaching Australia freely provides GPX files with bulk cache coordinates and information, for easy uploading to your GPS.
- You're supporting the evolution of the game. Geocaching Australia doesn't have restrictive listing policies. Innovation is encouraged.
- More variety, some types of caches (moveable caches, locationless caches or virtual caches) are only able to be listed on Geocaching Australia.
- Swaggies, the Geocaching Australia version of Travel Bugs, are free.
- Your cache is immediately available on the website, no waiting for it to be published, and you can set up Future releases, to be made available on a date you choose.
- You're supporting Free and Open Geocaching. Free to play, free to access your data.
- You won't have as many people finding your cache. Some cachers (especially international visitors) don't know about Geocaching Australia yet, and some cachers refuse to find caches listed on Geocaching Australia.
- Geocaching.com purchased and trackable Travel Bugs and Geocoins cannot be logged in or out of your cache.
Listing your cache with Groundspeak
- More people will know about and find your cache, including overseas cachers holidaying in Australia.
- The cache is listed amongst the global community of other caches.
- Travel bugs and Geocoins can be logged in and out of your cache.
- Publication (after reviewing) indicates that your cache conforms to Groundspeak's published listing restrictions, which gives finders certainty about some aspects of your cache.
- You're supporting the building of consistency, rules and guidelines within geocaching.
- Cachers have to buy a premium membership to download bulk amounts of cache information from geocaching.com.
- Restrictions on cache listings.
- No moveable caches, locationless caches or virtual caches.
- Caches must be reviewed by a volunteer community reviewer before it is listed.
- Trackable Travel Bugs must be purchased.
GC vs GCA
GC is a US based for-profit company that make decision on their website and the nature of the game of playing geocaching based on commercial decisions.
GCA is an Australia based community of geocachers who make decision on their website and the nature of the game in Australia based on input from the Australian and New Zealand (primarily) geocaching community.
GC restrict bulk downloading of caches based on how much you pay them.
GCA will allow you to download the whole database at once (subject to the memory requirements of the machine it runs on) at any time without cost.
GC requires an account to see cache co-ordinates.
GCA does not require an account to see cache co-ordinates. Obviously both require an account if you want to log them on line.
GC has significantly more geocaches to find in Australia than GCA.
GCA offers types of geocaches that GC don't want anymore or have done away with. Examples are virtual and locationless caches. GCA also offer full functionality moving caches which is something GC used to have, but with functionality to a much lesser extent.
GC doesn't list TrigPoints in Australia.
GCA lists TrigPoints in Australia. This is another type of cache that you can find, but only on GCA.
GC is the most popular website to find and log geocaches.
GCA is a niche community for the ANZ region. NZ currently plays a very small part of GCA with few GCA caches, that said: GCA encourages and welcomes participation from the NZ geocaching community.
GC sets guidelines that some in Australia believe reflect the nature of geocaching in the US and other high density caching countries such as the UK. GC have restrictions on distances between caches (some will argue for good reason), they have restrictions of where you can place caches (even though placement may be legal) due to the higher perceived security risk in the US. GC requires a formal review of your cache placement prior to the cache submission being listed. If your cache fails review it may never be published and your cache will rot in the bush. This means a reviewer will determine if you cache placement is suitable, not you or the community.
GCA has no guidelines on cache placement other than common sense (which some will argue is not all that common). GCA does not restrict the distances between cache placements. If you want to (and I suggest it's stupid, but we won't stop you) place a cache every 10m along a track you are welcome to. The community will determine whether they are worth seeking.
- GCA caches, while not rare, are not all that common. Including TrigPoints, GCA has 20% of all caches in Australia, while GC has the remaining 80%. GCA caches account for between 1-2% of all cache finds in Australia while GC has the remaining 98-99%.
- If you want your cache to be found and found often, then GC is generally the site to list it on. Various states have varying differences though. Tasmania for example has 28% GCA caches and 10% GCA finds whereas Victoria has 20% GCA caches but less than 1% GCA finds. The ACT has 7% GCA caches and a little over 1% of GCA finds.
- Some will argue that GC being a for-profit company is manipulating the game such that they receive the best return on investment. That's a reasonable argument. Others will argue that GCA being a community effort best reflects the Australia community aspect in that there is no money changing hands and the game proceeds in the direction best suited to Australians.
- If you have no-one nearby who finds caches listed on Geocaching Australia (put your home coordinates in your profile and click the "Neighbours" link on your cacher page to check and see if any nearby cachers have found GCA caches. You could also use the GCA Cacher Network Link for Google Earth or ask on the Geocaching Australia Forum); or
- If you would be disappointed with not many finds (eg: you have children helping you put out the cache who want to watch lots of finds); or
- If you don't care about politics and just want to play the game...