One Point Five

Difficulty 1.5 - Terrain 1.5

That's by far the most common D/T geocache combination on the planet. Why is that?


The answer is very simple: If you submit a cache, that's the default value the page suggest, most hiders don't change it and here we are. It's unlikely that all of those caches are correctly rated so let's do a quick spot check. First we have to look-up how 1.5/1.5 is defined. Fortunately this isn't Nam and there are rules:

Rating Difficulty Terrain
Effort needed to solve and find the cache and logbook at GZ. Physical effort needed to arrive at coordinates.
1 star
Easy to find or solve within a few minutes.
The hike is less than 0.8 km and wheelchair accessible (attribute required). Most likely paved and flat.
1.5 stars
Easy to find or solve within 10-15 minutes.
The hike is less than 0.8 km. Most likely flat but may not be wheelchair accessible.
2 stars
Relatively easy to find or solve within 30 minutes
The hike is less than 2 miles (3 km) along well-defined paths with no significant elevation change or overgrowth.

T1.5 means maybe not wheelchair accessible and/or roughly 0.8km of walking. That's very debatable so let's not get into it because now comes the kicker: To "earn" D1.5 the normal search is between 10 to 15 minutes. That's an extremely small window and let's face it most power-trail caches which are rated as D1.5 probably take far less.

Alright. The ten closest 1.5/1.5 caches to home which I've found:
  1. NOPE - takes less than 5 min, maybe wheelchair ok
  2. NOPE - Perfectly wheelchair accessible
  3. NOPE - takes less than 5 min, maybe wheelchair ok
  4. YEAH - I'll give you that
  5. NOPE - wheelchair ok
  6. YEAH - I'll give you that
  7. NOPE - takes less than 5 min 
  8. NOPE - takes less than 5 min
  9. NOPE - takes less than 5 min
  10. NOPE - takes less than 5 min

Ok, ok, ok that wasn't actually surprising. We all knew there are plenty of them, the D/T rating might not be 100% accurate and they get plenty of finds. Who cares? Not the reviewer because there seems to be no scrutiny as there is on T5 caches and also not me because I scrapped them from my searches and I'll show you why along with some other fun data.

Show me the numbers!

Let's start easy with the distribution of D/T ratings in Victoria. There won't be any surprises and in general it reflects Geocaching as it is. If you take a snapshot of other states or countries it will look very similar to this


The caches in the first nine boxes with a rating of 2 or less already account for more than 60% of all active caches. This it’s probably equally surprising as the fact that the high difficulty and high terrain caches are low in numbers. Not at all.

Which are the favoured caches?

That’s an easy question to answer ... kind of. If I would run the query by total favourite points it would look like the matrix above. A lot of caches get - eventually - a lot of favourite points but quantity doesn't equal quality. Holy shit! Another non-surprise!
Now every 10 finds you get a 💙 to hand out. An equal distribution means an average favourite percentage of 10 for every cache. If your cache gets more than 10%, you're doing well. If your cache is below 10%, it's most likely a wombat

You can clearly see the shift from the upper left to the lower right corner. Of course if someone dishes up a really good Anvil Angus steak or a Bushman's sausage, you might as well enjoy it. 
HOWEVER
like everyone is saying they want to eat healthy and keep a balanced diet and then running of to maccas, geocachers are kidding themselves in a very similar way. While trickier, smarter and more adventurous caches seem to preferred, cachers are then just plumping down the next power-trail. Don't believe me? The finds per D/T are fairly obvious:
The upper left 3x3 corner accounts for 74% of all finds. Obviously there are some rounding issues because the lower right doesn't account for flat-out zero. But yeah. There you have it. If you're playing above D2 & T2, you're playing a different game compared to everyone else. The huge advantage of doing so is that - purely statistically - the chance of running into a wombat cache gets highly reduced. Less but better finds. 
I can almost hear the usual voice screaming from the off: "There are good D1/T1 caches!" - short reply: Yes but you'll find out via friends, social media, blogs or whatever and then you can specifically go after these good caches. In the meantime you haven't wasted your time 😉 Easy as that.

Are there regional differences?

Fuck yeah. I didn't look too much into it but there's a significant difference between Australia and Germany. The Germans tends towards slightly higher D caches - both in placing as well as favouring them. 
On a side note the average favourite % for T5 caches is:
  • Victoria: 32%
  • Australia: 29%
  • Germany: 22%
Does this match up with your experience and do you think this distribution has an impact on the game? Leave your comments here or on the facebook page

Cheers and good hunting 😆
Philipp









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