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Frequently Asked Questions

Support

Here you can find the answer to those questions that has been repeatedly sent to us. With some luck, the answers to your questions are listed here.


General site info
How up-to-date is the data?
Can you describe the process of updating data?
What about Lab caches?
Are other platforms than Geocaching.com supported?
I found an issue with the translations from English
I found an issue with the American English texts
Profile stats
My Profile Stats hasn't been updated for several days
My streak count isn't correct, why?
My FTF count is wrong and I don't want to fix it. Can I hide them from my Profile Stats?
I don't want tab x to be shown in my Profile Stats
I don't want anyone to see my Profile Stats
BadgeGen - Missing badges
BadgeGen - State badges (aka flag badges)
FTF
Why is my FTF count 0?
I have edited all my FTF logs and added tags, why doesn't it work?
I have edited my logs and added FTF tags. I ran the refresh find data in the self-support system, but they are still not visible.
My FTF count is wrong
I don't want to edit my logs, is there another method to get my FTFs shown?
Incorrect data
My found count isn't correct
I found a cache with a faulty elevation
How is the elevation data calculated?
The region on a geocache doesn't match with Geocaching.com
A geocache is assigned to the wrong county.
Paid membership
I heard about paid membership, what is that?
Why does some features require payment?
Will I get a receipt for my payment?
Corrected coordinates
How does corrected coordinates work?
Challenge checkers
What is a challenge checker?
How do I use a challenge checker?
Is there a challenge checker that I can use for testing only?
Do I need to be a Premium Member at Geocaching.com or a paying member at Project-GC.com to use challenge checkers?
Do I have to pay Project-GC for the challenge checker?
How does a challenge checker work?
Who can write challenge checkers?
How do I apply for access to write challenge checker scripts?
OK, there already are challenge checker script writers. Can they help me?
I can't write program code but want to create a challenge cache. How can I do that?
What about the tags, can I create those?
Can I apply for access to create checker tags?
If there is an existing challenge checker/tag that does exactly what I want, can I then reuse that?
I just logged some geocaches online which should make me fulfill a challenge. But it doesn't. Why?
A challenge checker formerly approved me for a challenge. Now it doesn't. Why?
Do all challenge caches require a challenge checker?
How do I link to a challenge checker?
How do I find a checker if the challenge hasn't linked one?
Is it possible to create challenge checker for all challenges?
Many of the challenge checkers are incorrect. Will it be like this in the future as well?
Many of the challenge checkers doesn't output what's required. Will it still be like this?
There is a checker for an identical challenge, can I use that?
Can I reset the green and red counters for a challenge checker?

General site info

How up-to-date is the data?

Normally the data is 24-36 hours behind. But there are circumstances that will take a longer time to detect. What is detected within the given time frame is new found (or equivalent depending on cache type) logs. Deleted/edited logs might take a longer time. Adopting of caches or changing of status (disabled/archived) might also take a longer time to detect. So how long time will it take then?

That depends, if the cache in question gets a found log, everything else should sync up as well. Otherwise it takes up to 30 days for a non archived cache and up to 90 days for an archived one. The more precise time depends on a lot of factors, including the age of the cache.

If your finds seems to be out of sync, you can use our self-support system to tell the system to go through your data. You find it by clicking the orange support button that are available in the top right on most pages.

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Can you describe the process of updating data?

Project-GC replicates data from Geocaching.com to be able to provide its statistics and other functionallity. Some data is fetched in real-time, some is not. Data regarding Geocaches and logs normally isn't fetched in real-time. The short answer regarding these updates is that it's unpredictable.

The longer answer is that Geocache data and their logs are updated through several methods. There is never a guarantee that the data is updated in any order that can be foreseen. Even though your latest find from today might exist in Project-GC, your second latest find from yesterday might not.

Primarily Project-GC fetches data via four different methods:

1) Project-GC fetches all new geocache publishings regularly (every minute more or less).

2) On a daily basis we fetch a list of yesterday's finds. If a Geocache was found yesterday, its data and its logs will be fetched.

3) A geocache that hasn't been refreshed in X number of days will be refreshed. X will vary depending on several factors, one being how old the cache is, another if it's archived or not.

4) A geocacher's logs will be updated every X number of days. X will vary on several factors as well, including membership status with Project-GC, last time Project-GC was used, how active the geocacher is and so forth.

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What about Lab caches?

Lab caches aren't considered as normal Geocaches by the system and therefore they aren't included in most statistics.

We do however include their count in the find count of the Profile Stats header. With time they will be included in several of the Profile Stats modules as well.

They are not likely to be included in any other statistics since they are not compatible (missing several data fields like difficulty/terrain).

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Are other platforms than Geocaching.com supported?

Like: Opencaching Network/TerraCaching/NaviCache/Opencaching.com/..

The only geocaching site that is supported is the one created by Groundspeak Inc, https://www.geocaching.com/. This is not likely to change.

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I found an issue with the translations from English

All translations are done by the community, and it's an open platform where anyone can help out translating. Translations are done using an external service (Crowdin) and can be accessed at https://translate.project-gc.com/.

The translations are not updated live though. In fact there are several steps needed. First, we need to submit the newly added texts to Crowdin. Then it needs to be translated by the community, and finally we need to import the new translations into Project-GC. We try to do this regularly, more frequent after bigger updates of the site.

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I found an issue with the American English texts

The default texts are intended to be written in American English (en_US), however, no one at Project-GC speaks English natively. If you found a minor issue, like grammar, this can be corrected using the translation site mentioned above as well. If you believe the string is completely wrong or unreadable you can either contact our support or create an issue in the translation system.

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Profile stats

My Profile Stats hasn't been updated for several days

We generate Profile Stats for several thousands of users every day, this is a quite intense operation and we have therefore decided that only Paying members will get their Profile Stats updated on a daily basis. Others will get them updated once per week.

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My streak count isn't correct, why?

First check that your log actually has the correct date. Some mobile applications are known to log on the wrong date if you log a geocache fairly close to midnight, this is timezone related and a bug in those applications.

This is also a common case if your log has been edited and moved to another date. We do not get updates about changed logs as often as new ones and this may take up to 1 month for active geocaches and up to 3 months for archived geocaches. If someone logs the cache after your change, it's normally corrected within 1-2 days after that.

You can however click one of our support buttons, choose self-support and click the refresh button for refreshing data about your finds. This will trigger a faster refresh for you.

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My FTF count is wrong and I don't want to fix it. Can I hide them from my Profile Stats?

The idea is that the FTF tab isn't shown for those with 0 FTFs. This is by design, since they might actually have FTFs that Project-GC doesn't know about, we prefer to not mention the number zero. But the issue is when you have some of your FTFs detected but not all. Then the tab is shown and yes we are then giving false information, which we do not want to.

By clicking settings at Profile stats page you will be able to toggle which tabs you want to show.

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I don't want tab x to be shown in my Profile Stats

That can be fixed, visit the Profile Stats page and click on Settings. There you can find a section to hide tabs. Don't forget to click save.

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I don't want anyone to see my Profile Stats

We are sorry to hear that, but you probably have your reasons. You can turn them off by visiting you Profile Stats page and follow the instructions.

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BadgeGen - Missing badges

Our implementation of BadgeGen is not identical to the original, which was implemented for FindStatGen, for GSAK. Our version has been implemented as close as possible, and with permissions from the Author of BadgeGen.

We are currently missing 4 badges. The first two we are missing are The Waymarker and The Benchmarker. This data is not provided via the Geocaching LIVE api, and we can therefore not implement them. Also, they aren't really about geocaching.

Then we are also missing the badges The Scuba-Cacher and The Night-Owl. These can not be automatically calculated. We have been strictly told by the author of BadgeGen that we can not use the cache attributes to determine these. Therefore, there is currently no technical solution to solve these badges.

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BadgeGen - State badges (aka flag badges)

Our implementation of BadgeGen is not identical to the original, which was implemented for FindStatGen, for GSAK. Our version has been implemented as close as possible, and with permissions from the Author of BadgeGen.

For example, the calculations of State/Flag badges might be a bit different. We have our state data in our database, and that is what we use. Most of our data for this comes from Openstreetmap, and in some cases where we can see that Openstreetmap isn't correct, we try to fix this the best we can.

BadgeGen uses state data from GSAK combined with user contributed numbers, numbers that aren't always accurate. For example, there is a hard coded list which can say that country x has y regions.

This all comes down to the following. Where BadgeGen for FindStatGen/GSAK says there are 4 states in a country, we might say 5. We believe that we are the more accurate in most cases.

It should also be noted that the data might change in the future. Not only do the administrative borders of countries change, but we might also find more accurate data with time.

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FTF

Why is my FTF count 0?

Or close to it.

First to Finds isn't something that is officially supported by Geocaching HQ, therefore we can not retrieve this data from them. What Project-GC is doing is that it's looking for tags in your found logs. Some of those that are supported are:

{*FTF*} {FTF} [FTF]

There are some additional tags that are less official, but are supported as well. Some of those tags are required to be first in the log, some can exist anywhere. None of the above needs to be first.

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I have edited all my FTF logs and added tags, why doesn't it work?

As you might have read under How up-to-date is the data? it takes time for some data changes to be detected. Edited logs is one of them. In short, it might take up to about 3 months for edited logs to get detected. You can however trigger a faster refresh using the self-support system, which you can find by clicking one of our support buttons.

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I have edited my logs and added FTF tags. I ran the refresh find data in the self-support system, but they are still not visible.

Depending on the amount of finds you have and the current load of Project-GC the time to go through your logs differs. There is also a rate limit with Geocaching LIVE api. Therefore, you should not expect us to be able to refresh more than 5000 finds per day. Also check your job queue (in the menu) to see if the job has completed. It may take another hour for our data-caches to expire even after the job has completed. After that though, they should be visible here. The Profile Stats will not be updated until next time it renders. This is daily for paying members and weekly for others.

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My FTF count is wrong

See the above questions about FTF. Besides that, try to figure out which caches are missing by comparing your FTFs with the FTF List. If you can't find the issue, feel free to contact us.

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I don't want to edit my logs, is there another method to get my FTFs shown?

Actually there is. The alternative is to create a public bookmark list at Geocaching.com which lists all your FTFs. After that, go to Settings and select your bookmark list there. The list will then be parsed once per day to detect your FTFs. If you want to, this can be combined with the FTF tagging mentioned aboive. The tagging might be easier to maintain than a bookmark list.

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Incorrect data

My found count isn't correct

This can be due to many reasons. If you have deleted logs, Project-GC might not have detected it yet. The logs you have created the last two days might not be detected yet either. But this should normally not be a consistent issue. Project-GC is trying its best to sync up every profile, and users of Project-GC gets a higher priority and normally gets a sync about daily. But there is at least one case that can not be solved via the Geocaching LIVE API. Geocaching.com is showing finds a bit inconsistently sometimes. If your profile on Geocaching.com lists 100 finds but you only see 99 when you list all your finds there, then Project-GC will just show the 99. The reason behind this is that one of your logged caches has been retracted. It has been removed after being published. Not just archived, but a reviewer has been taking the cache back for some reason. These can not be seen by Project-GC, this is by design from Geocaching HQ and not something we can do anything about as it works today. As mentioned, these aren't listed anywhere on Geocaching.com either.

Added to this, there is also the Lab caches, which aren't supposed to show up in statistics. They do not exist in the API and Project-GC does not handle them at all.

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I found a cache with a faulty elevation

Sadly there are a lot of geocaches with these issues. The elevation data does not come from Geocaching.com since it doesn't have that data. We have therefore build our own SRTM-service for the purpose, it serves both SRTM1 and SRTM3. As a fallback for the areas these doesn't cover, we fallback to several over services, for example: Geonames, Google and MapQuest.

If you find that a value in Project-GC isn't correct. Please read below how our elevation data works, and also check other services like for example Geonames SRTM3. If you find out that other services has about the same fault tolerance, then there is nothing to do.

We do not do manual changes in the data. But if you find an entry that seems to be off by a lot more than in other services, feel free to report it so that we can investigate.

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How is the elevation data calculated?

This is actually quite advanced, but we will try to simplify it a bit.

First off, we use different data sets for different areas on the earth. For most of the planet we are using data from the SRTM1 and SRTM3 databases created by Nasa. Nasa has created this data by measuring the height using satellites. SRTM1 has a higher resolution, but that data only exists around USA. SRTM3 exists for other parts of the world, except closer to the poles.

The SRTM1 data has ONE measure point per 30x30 meters, and the SRTM3 data has ONE measure point per 90x90 meters. What this means, is that there is no measurement for every coordinate, and therefore not for every geocache location. So what we do is that we interpolate between the 4 closests values to get a weighted average for the geocache location. In an area which is very hilly, like mountains, this will give a quite big fail factor and almost always a too low value. There is however no better way to do this, since the measurements just doesn't exist, well, except manually adding data for all the geocaches, which we do not do.

Other services like for example Geonames might have slightly different approaches to how they calculate the data, therefore we will have smaller differences. But they do have similar solutions.

Before using SRTM as our primary source we used AsterGDEM which is created by radar measurements. This data has measure points for every 30x30 meters in a larger area of the earth, which in one way makes it better. But, AsterGDEM is also known for being affected by radar shadows, which makes the data quite useless for some areas. We have found out that switching to SRTM has giving us more precise data.

For those areas where there is no SRTM1 or SRTM3 data we are falling back to other services which relies on other data.

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The region on a geocache doesn't match with Geocaching.com

This is fairly common and is actually intentional. The region data at Geocaching.com is chosen by the cache owner and is quite often incorrect. Either the cache owner doesn't know of the region borders or the cache owner looks at a map to figure it out. Quite often Google Maps is used for this purpose and their borders are of very low resolution and in most cases inaccurate.

Project-GC instead uses external data to determine the region for most countries. For some countries we use official goverment data and for other we use OpenStreetMap as a source. Most often OSM has the most accurate data that is freely available. We also have a few other sources, but OSM is definitely the most common one.

There of course are cases where the data at Geocaching.com is correct and Project-GC is wrong, but this is very rare. Our estimations says it's less than 1% of our changes that are wrong. When it happens, it's usually when a geocache is placed more or less on the border. By the way, it's not always the border road signs are in the correct spot in all countries even. They are often placed where they are visible and in other ways a suiting spot.

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A geocache is assigned to the wrong county.

This may very well be, but it's just as likely that your assumption about what county it should be in is wrong.

Project-GC uses external data to determine the county for most countries. For some countries we use official goverment data and for other we use OpenStreetMap as a source. Most often OSM has the most accurate data that is freely available. We also have a few other sources, but OSM is definitely the most common one.

The most common source used by geocachers is Google Maps. Their data has a very low resolution and is in most cases quite inaccurate.

Our data could of course also be inaccurate. We don't import new data for every country every day. Sometimes definitions change, sometimes our data sources are updated to be better. In an ideal world we would update more frequently, but it's quite a lot of work to do so. However, if you do know of something that is definitely wrong and that it's better in OSM for example, feel free to contact us.

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Paid membership

I heard about paid membership, what is that?

For more information about paid memberships, please visit the Membership page. Here you will find a list of extra features that are only available to paying members.

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Why does some features require payment?

We have aimed to make most content available for free. But Project-GC has a lot of monthly costs and there has been big investments in servers to get things running. Besides this there has been thousands of hours in development time and several hours per day on support.

Some of the monthly costs are of course electricity and bandwidth. But we also pay a subscription fee to several other services, like for the translation tools and the CDN.

In short, we need money to keep hosting and developing the site.

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Will I get a receipt for my payment?

Absolutely. You will get a receipt by email from Ground Zero Communications AB within minutes after you have made your payment. The VAT will also be specified on the receipt. You should also receive a confirmation from PayPal that you have made a payment to us.

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Corrected coordinates

How does corrected coordinates work?

Project-GC primarily parses your personal cache notes at Geoaching.com for corrected coordinates. This is done once per day for paying members. If your note contains more than one coordinate, the first one will be used. These corrected coordinates will then be used on our maps to show the geocache icon on it's corrected position.

If a coordinate in the personal cache note is prefixed with a ^ (caret) it will be ignored by Project-GC. Useful for stages or solutions that aren't correct.

When building GPX files from the Virtual GPS system, you can also ask the system to replace the original coordinates with the corrected ones. There is also an option to refresh your corrected coordinates before building the file GPX file for you. The default is to parse cache notes only since that's much faster.

The reason behind that we don't always read the corrected coordinates field is due to the design of the API from Geocaching HQ. It's impossible to fetch all corrected coordinates for a user using the API. One needs to know which geocaches has them beforehand.

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Challenge checkers

What is a challenge checker?

A challenge checker is a piece of program code that will check if a geocaching user is qualified to log a challenge cache. If the user is qualified, challenge checkers will often produce a sample log entry that documents why the user is qualified. If the user is not qualified, many challenge checkers will specify how far you have gotten and what you still need to do in order to qualify.

Beginning in 2016, a web-based challenge checker is required for all challenge caches published on Geocaching.com.

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How do I use a challenge checker?

To use a challenge checker, follow the link from the challenge cache page to get to the right challenge checker (or use the Tools -> Challenge Checkers search feature on Project-GC). Make sure the correct username is specified and click "Run checker".

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Is there a challenge checker that I can use for testing only?

There is no harm in using any of the challenge checkers. But if you want one for which you will most likely qualify, you can try this one. The only requirement is to have at least one find. This particular challenge checker is not connected to a challenge cache, it was created for the single purpose of testing.

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Do I need to be a Premium Member at Geocaching.com or a paying member at Project-GC.com to use challenge checkers?

No.

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Do I have to pay Project-GC for the challenge checker?

Project-GC does not create the challenge checkers (they are created by volunteers) and we do not charge anything for hosting them.

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How does a challenge checker work?

A challenge checker consists of two parts: a challenge checker script and a tag. The checker script is a piece of program code written in the programming language Lua. The same checker script can be used for multiple challenge caches (For instance, most calendar challenges are handled by the same checker script). The tag is what makes this possible. The tag links a checker script, a challenge cache, and (optionally) a set of parameters for the checker script. This means that the same checker script can be used both for a challenge that requires the user to have found 100 mystery caches and a challenge that requires the user to have found 1000 traditional caches, since the cache type and quantity of finds required is specified in the tag.

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Who can write challenge checkers?

Technically, anyone with some programming experience. The programming language used for checker scripts is Lua. But if you know some other programming language it is easy to grasp the differences. However, in order to obtain access to writing challenge checkers, you need to apply for access.

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How do I apply for access to write challenge checker scripts?

You contact our support. They will give you all the documentation you need and a minor test to make sure that you have understood both our challenge checker system and the guidelines.

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OK, there already are challenge checker script writers. Can they help me?

We have a forum available where you can request a checker to be implemented. Please start by reading the READ FIRST post.

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I can't write program code but want to create a challenge cache. How can I do that?

We have a forum available where you can request a checker to be implemented. Please start by reading the READ FIRST post.

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What about the tags, can I create those?

In the past, anyone has been allowed to tag checker scripts with configurations and match them with challenge caches. However, this has changed now that Project-GC is an official part of the challenge cache framework. This is because we want to ensure that everything is working as intended.

Everyone who has created a checker tag in the past has been added into the permission list to be allowed to continue creating tags.

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Can I apply for access to create checker tags?

Currently no. We will need to figure out a good process for this.

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If there is an existing challenge checker/tag that does exactly what I want, can I then reuse that?

You should not use that one since it's linked to another challenge cache. You can however press the clone button and apply it to another GC-Code. A new checker with the exact same configuration will then be created for you. This requires no special access.

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I just logged some geocaches online which should make me fulfill a challenge. But it doesn't. Why?

Project-GC's data isn't real-time data. Normally, your new logs will exist in Project-GC within 24-36 hours. For more details, see How up-to-date is the data?

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A challenge checker formerly approved me for a challenge. Now it doesn't. Why?

There can be several reasons for this. One example is when the challenge is to log every unique difficulty/terrain rating available, a cache owner might have changed the rating of one of the geocaches you have logged, you have then lost your qualification according to your data.

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Do all challenge caches require a challenge checker?

No they do not. This requirement applies to challenge caches published after April 20, 2016. Those which existed before that were created with older guidelines and do not have that requirement. We do, however, advocate that all challenge cache owners should try to have checkers for their challenges.

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How do I link to a challenge checker?

Project-GC provides three different ways to link to a challenge checker. You can find them all from the checker page by clicking the Link button. From there you will see both how they appear on the cache page, and the HTML you need to copy/paste into your cache description. These three variants are the only variants that are approved to use. We strongly suggest that you use the last image-link.

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How do I find a checker if the challenge hasn't linked one?

You can search for challenge checkers using Tools -> Challenge Checkers. You can search by either the GC-Code or by the name of the challenge. Don't forget to select the correct country.

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Is it possible to create challenge checker for all challenges?

No it is not. There are many cases of older challenges where it's not possible. An example would be the requirement to log 100 geocaches in the vicinity of a church. This has two issues. First off, vicinity isn't defined. Secondly, Project-GC doesn't know where all the churches in the world are.

Since a challenge checker is required starting in 2016, challenges for which it is impossible to create checkers won't be published.

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Many of the challenge checkers are incorrect. Will it be like this in the future as well?

Many of the current challenge checkers has been created by the community, normally without any contact with the cache owner. The developer/tagger might very well have missed some details in the requirements. In these cases we do advocate that the tag gets reported to the tag creator, and an explanation.

With the new challenge checker requirements, the challenge owner is very likely to be much more involved in the creation of the checker. He/she will then get a much better chance to explain what he/she meant.

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Many of the challenge checkers doesn't output what's required. Will it still be like this?

Since it's up to the ones who create challenge caches to have a challenge checker, it's up to that challenge owner to make sure the checker fulfills his needs. If someone else makes the challenge checker, he should be clear about what's required when asking for help.

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There is a checker for an identical challenge, can I use that?

Technically you can, but you should not. We require that a new tag is created for your specific challenges so that it refers to the correct GC-Code. Right now you can get help with that in the Checker request forum. Or if the tag is exactly what you want, besides the GC-Code, you can clone it to get a copy with a new GC-Code.

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Can I reset the green and red counters for a challenge checker?

That is not supported and we do not see the need for it.

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