All of Illinois Geocaches in One Map*

Well Traditional caches... larger than Micro. 

What am I talking about? Geocaching of course. If you're reading this tech blog there's a pretty good chance you already know what geocaching is. if you don't I'll just direct you to their website for additional explanation. 

For a Statewide GIS conference this past February, I made a map showing all 12,000+ traditional Geocaches across the state of Illinois. What is interesting about this map was that it was the first project I started and finished completely in ArcGIS Pro. You need to know that I am convinced that ArcGIS Pro will eventually replace ArcMap and ArcCatalog, but this was exceedingly frustrating. Simple tasks seem to be hidden and routine tools do not work the way you expect (HOW DO I USE FIELD CALCULATOR?). That being said, I love multiple layouts and appreciate the contextual ribbon. But I digress.

Back to the Map:

I work for a living, but in the off times I still play with this technology, so I have a Premium Geocaching subscription. This allows me to query their data in circular buffers and return a GPX file. After about 27  of these queries, I was confident that I had all of the cache locations I wanted. Running a few geoprocessing functions, I dropped any duplicates and union-ed these points to county polygons to get the number within each county. This data are reflected in the Classified inset map.

Another fun aspect of this map was using a “Cartogram” for the first time. This is a unique choropleth style map that mis-shapes the polygons according to the numeric classification. Eg: Cook county is bloated because of the amount of caches there while Schuyler County is anemic.  Notice the inset map for Cook County and surrounds. The hot spot analysis is truly little more than a population map, no big surprise. The background imagery for the main map is from Esri as are the basemaps for two of the inset maps.  

According to the website: Traditional Geocache is the original type of geocache and the most straightforward. These geocaches will be a container at the given coordinates. The size may vary, but at minimum, all of these geocaches will have a logbook. Larger containers may contain items for trade and trackables.  

Along with only traditional geocaches, This map displays only caches larger than micro. 'Micro Geocaches' are easy to hide and so consequently there are Tens of thousands in Illinois that litter the state (no really, it's litter). In this cartographer's humble opinion,  Microcaches do not properly represent the true sport of Geocaching, plus they are no fun for kids. 

All caches were pulled from the website on June 1, 2015 and then new cahces again pulled on December 31, 2015. There are a total of 12,613 caches  represented here. However, around 400 became inactive between the query dates.

Of Course I don't want to get banned from so I cannot share the data. If you want a link to the 100mb PDF map, just let me know.