«

»

Putting Himself On The Geo-Map

Sshhh! Check out the present I got for Peter’s birthday next month – a map of his geo-milestones created by CajunABear. The American cacher tells It’s Not About The Numbers how he’s hoping this hobby will map out for him.

Wayne Hebert can’t tell you where you’re going but he can show you where you’ve been.

By day, he’s a GIS map-maker for an American energy company, and in his spare time, the Louisiana resident designs colourful, milestone maps for his fellow geocachers.

He’s been doing so since late 2007 – the same year he took up caching – as “a means of recognising geocachers in my area” – and estimates he’s made nearly 100 maps in that time.

Each details its recipients’ first finds per cache type, their FTFs, best day and weekend’s caching efforts, completed challenges – including the US Delorme Challenge and Busy Day Challenge – milestones, their most extreme and oldest finds, as well as “anything else that may be interesting to the geocacher such as a favorites list” – with the finished product taking four to six hours.

First, Hebert uses GSAK macros to compile “some of the STAT generation and the beginning export file” before that data is molded into GIS (Geographic Information System) format using several databases.

“Once I have the GIS format, the map portion of the procedure starts. I generate the map with ESRI ARCGIS and export the map image. I then work with an image program to add effects that give the map its unique and somewhat antique appearance,” he says.

“A 1000-find map typically takes about four hours, and more finds mean more to analyse, but I usually finish most maps in under six hours.”

His favourite, so far, has been for Team Bamboozle in Louisiana – shown above – though Hebert says he’s had fun “doing several maps that contain the GeoTriad” and “a friend in Mississippi had a great ‘Maximum Distance in a Day’ trip that really showed well”.

“Most [recipients], I should say, had not a clue of what I was going to do for them so they were sort of in awe. I have tried making only one Hides Map for a geocacher that hid 600-plus geocaches. I admire that tenacity.”

Hebert, himself, is approaching a milestone with his completed geo-maps, though admits he has never counted them all properly. “I suffered a hard-drive failure about two years ago and those that existed before then were not part of my backup. If I had to guess, I have made somewhere between 70 to 100 maps.”

The response to each has been “mostly disbelief”, he says. “It has been always positive, sometimes with challenges that make the maps better down the line, but always rewarding.

“However, I have a hard time getting to do enough maps to keep the process fresh. I should do at least one a month to help cover the yearly US$500 cost of the software but until I started my Facebook page and reached for geocachers in surrounding states, I would go a few months without a map. Since launching that page, I get at least two maps a month.”

Surprisingly, Hebert has yet to sell any of his creations. “I call them priceless for that reason but also it is something I do as a means of virtual caching. If the maps were successfully received, I guess I would have to set a price as the software does have a yearly fee.

“To that end, I have started making booklets I call Geochallenge Books. The intent is to make enough money with them so that I would NOT have to charge for the maps. When I get to retirement, though, I do hope to sell the maps as a means to support my geocaching hobby.”

These Geochallenge Books are “8.5 x 11 atlases that contain all the active geocaches shown with the outlines of Counties and Delorme Gazette boundaries” as well as state-wide challenges. So far, he’s completed five states – Louisiana, Arizona, Florida, Mississippi, Alabama and Arkansas – and has nearly finished editing Texas.

Hebert charges US$10 plus shipping per gazette for regular-size states and $15 plus shipping for the larger states, which feature more challenges and map pages. All come with a CD containing a specialised GSAK macro and other map tables.

His third creation is called Big Bucks, customisable geo-money which can be used at Mega events, for promotions or as an alternative way to mark the 1000-find point.

In future, Hebert would like to work on imitating older-style maps, which he finds “really intriguing”. “If you look at any of my maps I have recreated one cartouche or another but to recreate some of the great maps that are truly artful, I have not come close.”

As for his own geo-milestones, he hopes to “close in on 3000 finds” this year, followed by ticking off the Mississippi State Delorme Challenge within a few more. “In extremes I do not have too many, a few on difficulty and some on terrain. I just kind of savour every find I get to make.”

*Check out Hebert’s Geocaching Map of Your Milestones and Extremes page on Facebook to buy one of his Geochallenge Books or enquire about having a Geo-Map made.

2 comments

  1. Cumbyrocks

    So, ahh, you realise this won’t be a surprise then?

  2. Kylie Walker on Facebook

    Check again, Peter … I said I got it for your birthday next month, I didn’t say I was actually. giving it to you, though. Surprise!

Leave a Reply to Kylie Walker on Facebook Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Switch to mobile version