Friday, February 22, 2013

Geocaching Maps Part 2

This is day two in the series on geocache map making with Wayne, aka Cajunabear.  If you missed part 1, go back here to read it and get up to speed.  Let's pick up with our Q & A where we left off.
The finished product is a JPEG which you send to the client to print.  I see the printed size is 18" by 24".  How does one print that out and what type of paper do you suggest they use?  Or do you need to use a service like Walgreens to print it?
That is correct.  The size is a result of common poster and frames sizes and also the result of trying to keep the image to about 5 MB or less without losing its clarity or becoming pixelated.  A number of retailers have the capacity now to print poster size images such as Walgreens.  But there are also many Walmart, Office Depot, Fedex Office places that have the capacity to print poster size prints.  Large format plotters are also used at many Surveying and Engineering firms and at supply retailers for these firms.  Years back Engineers and Surveyors employed these vendors to make blueline and large plots.  I imagine some of them still offer the same services today.  Fedex Office also has an option to print images to canvas.  One of the maps I made for a geocacher was printed on this medium, but due to distance I have not seen it in person to know whether it produces well on that medium.
Short Circuit 2’S Map was a special size..... 
Short Circuit 2's map is only one of two that I have made in this particular size, i.e. 24x36. I lost the map template with a computer crash, but could bring it back.  The present size of 18" x 24" allows everyone to find a frame easily. It also is from a while back when I was using other mapping technology, Digital Elevation Models along with mapping data to make the hill-shade affect.
One of the inset maps is a treasure to me.  There were about 15 of southern Louisiana folks that invaded the north (North Louisiana that is).  Our ultimate goal was to get to the GPS Adventure Exhibit which was at a park in Southern Arkansas.  Being in that number, this is the only map or inset where I share the Busy Day Challenge with a team that had a blast on that trip.  To this day I have not made a map of my own adventures.  Kind of like the carpenter that does not make his own house I guess.
I’d like to tell you about Short Circuit 2 -  His generosity was the inspiration for the Milestones and Extremes Maps.  It has been my experience that there are givers and takers.  SC2 as his friends know him, was in a bad accident over 10 years back which crippled him.  As you can imagine the effects were not only physical, but it weighed heavy on him as a person as well.  He told me that in many ways Geocaching helped him to recover, stick through the therapy and conquer the disability physically and mentally.  His legs are not completely healed than before the accident, but I think his mind is as agile as it can be.  He pays back to the geocommunity these days by serving as a Geocache Tour ambassador.  That is if cachers will provide the transportation he will help them navigate the many odd streets of the Metropolitan New Orleans Area to some of the best caches.  No, he does not show them where the geocache is, but he can verify if it is missing for them.  This is just one of the many things he does. 
The other is that he has from the earliest time provided Ammo Cans that are stocked and Gold in color to geocachers that have made a major milestone.  The cost of these has risen during the same period.  SC2 represents the spirit of a volunteer and is something that I always admire in others.  I have many geocaching friends in the New Orleans area and miss them.  I am always pleasantly enchanted by the good spirit of fellow Geocachers.
So what’s the process if someone wants to get a map made?

In order to make a personalized map there are a number of requirements:
1. Your My Finds Pocket Query (email to: cajunabear at gmail dot com)
2. A list of your FTFs by GC codes.
3. And as much detailed information about your history using GCcodes for your Milestones, favorite finds, challenges you have completed and related finds. Special Trips which you would like shown on the map can be given by the days in which you made the finds on the trip. (Alternatively if you post this information on your profile and keep it updated I will data mine the information for your map.)
4. Notification of your position on whether you allow the map to be posted to the web. (You may tag the image after it is posted)

And finally I'd like to share Bamboozle's special map....
This is one of the few maps where I have been able to watch the evolution of a geocaching history.  Bamboozle, Henry and Marilyn, are two of the nicest people I know.  They have given back to the community in a number of ways.
They have hidden some of the most intriguing finds in the NOLA area which includes one of the top finds in the country, "ViewCarre". 
This team has brought the area a new award called the Platinum Ammocan, given to geocachers that have done meritorious service to the community.  For the past several years they have hosted the "French Quarter Walkabout" which visits some of the most distinguished geocaches.  The number attending each year seems to grow larger, with many returning just for the camaraderie.  The event starts at "View Carre" which is adjacent to the quarter and winds around back and forth between traditional and virtual geocaches.
 I think it shows the ultimate Geocaching adventure by a husband and wife team.  They are Louisiana's ambassadors of geocaching and own the highly recognized geocache View Carre.  

Once you have all the geocachers stats, what's the next step?
Taking this information a table is constructed using the following programs, GSAK,MS Excel, MS Access.  This table list all of your accomplishments tied to the GC code and thus the location.  The data is then converted into an ESRI GIS Shape file which can then be thematically mapped by different categories of data in the table that was earlier finished.  Using ArcGIS a map with insets is created to show many facets of the geocachers adventures.
The finished map is exported as an image out of ArcGIS AND then an art program Paint Shop Pro is used to do touchup and special affects to give the map an antique look associated with a "pirate map".  The whole process is about 4 hours long for a 1K map and longer for more finds and depending on the history of the geocacher.
How much do you charge for this - I mean, it's a lot of your time invested and great attention to detail on your part.

$0 Costs!  and I'll tell you why....

This is just another way of geocaching, it also helps me in learning the tools of ArcGIS and gives me a way of giving back to this fun hobby.  Actually this is a hobby within a hobby.  While I love doing this there is an annual associated maintenance fee for the software.  I do NOT want to charge for the maps (they are priceless for more than one reason), but donations are accepted and if you wish to purchase one of our Geochallenge Gazettes for your state, it will certainly help.  It takes about 5 hours to make a map - what does that cost you in gas during a geocaching trip?  I don't need that much LOL.  Printing costs generally will run over $10 and I understand as high as upper $20s for special prints such as canvas.
Once you're finished, how do you get the map to the geocacher?
You will receive the JPG image by email, full resolution, about 5 MB on average.  The image will be at 200DPI 18 inches high by 24 inches wide.  The size is usually easy to find for frames and not so large as to take up a lot of wall space.
Thanks Wayne for sharing the history behind your beautiful maps and for introducing us to Bamboozle and Short Circuit 2.  They exemplify the true spirit of geocaching and what makes this sport the fun activity that it was meant to be.  It was really my pleasure to get to talk to you and learn about your friends and this interesting hobby of map making.
Wayne’s FB page is called Geocaching Map of Your Milestones & Extremes.  Go check it out and LIKE it.  He has a lot more photos of the different maps he’s made and I urge you to go take a look at the wide variety.  I spoke with several of the cachers who've had their milestone maps pictured in this post and every single one of them has commented on how easy Wayne is to work with, how pleased they were with their completed maps, and how beautiful they look framed and mounted on the wall.  The maps are really unique works of art if you ask me.  I’m now on a mad quest to hit my 2500th cache so I can get a map made too! 

Be careful of what you wish for Wayne – you’re going to be really busy map making pretty soon! 
Special thanks to Short Circuit 2, Bamboozle, DinaWorks, Salz69, Dutchlandia and Astarandson for allowing me to post copies of their maps.







  1. He spends many hours on each map! He's doing an awesome service for geocachers. I hope you post a photo of your map when you have it made Kim!

  2. Way to go Wayne! What a great contribution to the sport and you are quite a talented guy! Super series Kim, I love it!

  3. Again, amazing guy and fabulous maps! Bravo!!!

    Kim, you've asked him for a map, right? Can't wait to see it! ;o)

    1. I have 130 caches until I get to 2500, and then I'll get one. It's a nice goal to shoot for!

    2. That's quite a milestone! And definitely a good reward for after! :o)


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