There's been a lot of discussion - and frankly, a lot of confusion - around Groundspeak's (geocaching.com) introduction of Lab Cache type. The Lab Cache type was introduced at this years Block Party (August 17th, Seattle WA) with a lot of fanfare but also a lot of confusion.
Prior to the event, Groundspeak let us all know that a "new cache type" was going to be introduced. Hey, they wanted to amp up the excitement and attendance for the Block Party, and that was successful. Subsequently, folks arrived, but then the confusion kicked in. Depending upon where you were when, and to whom you spoke, different messages (unofficial, of course) made their way around about what the deal was with Lab Caches.
discussion forum posting, there was little official and consistent communication from Groundspeak on the topic.
For example; while at the event I recorded a LMGA episode on the Lab Caches to try and explain what I currently understood - by the time the video was in post production (1 week later) there was more information that I used to make some corrections in the video. Subsequent to that, deeper "research" into the Lab Caches has provided me enough information to write this blog entry - so the first thing to be cognizant of is that this is an evolving concept.
Here are three key things to help you understand Lab Caches.
1. This is a test - this is only a test. Lab Caches are, in essence, a real-world labratory to test out new ideas for geocache types; and the place(s) Groundspeak has decided to use for their "alpha testing" or lab work, are the Mega Events. This means that if you are jonesin' to get a Lab Caches icon in your profile, you'll need to attend a Mega that has announced it will host Lab Caches.
2. They count (sort of). Lab Caches give you smilies, and count in your over-all cache finds, but
3. They're not my type. Lab Caches aren't one specific type of cache; this is a category for Groundspeak to use to try out all kinds of different ideas (remember "Challenges?") for what might make a new cache type. So each event that has Lab Caches may have something completely different, and Groundspeak is really looking for your feedback on those caches. Attendees from the 2013 Block Party who tried out the "Adventures" Lab Caches were subsequently sent a link to a survey asking for our feedback on these.
As always, I'm really interested in your thoughts & opinions around Lab Caches, and geocaching topics in general, so feel free to post your comments to this blog or to the Lab Cache FYI video on our YouTube channel.
Cache safely, and cache often.