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[Awaiting feedback] Contiguous Counties Challenge Checker?

[Awaiting feedback] Contiguous Counties Challenge Checker?
January 25, 2017 08:09PM
There is currently a series of checkers for contiguous counties as they relate to the number of states that they connect (for example, if you found the 4 counties where NM, AZ, CO, and UT meet, it would count for 4 states, or if you found ALL of the counties in both NM and AZ, it would count for 2 states) but I was thinking of putting out a series of challenges strictly regarding the number of contiguous counties - 10, 25, 50, 100, etc. (or something of this nature). Is this something that is possible or do-able? I'm assuming so. If so, how do I make it happen?
Thanks in advance for the help!
Tom (henne165)
Re: Contiguous Counties Challenge Checker?
January 31, 2017 06:03PM
I requested something similar last year but was told it was too complicated to implement. There is another cacher MaxB ??? who has a checker which he built himself, but the holy water was not sprinkled on his effort.
Re: Contiguous Counties Challenge Checker?
February 09, 2017 08:43PM
dagrandpa Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I requested something similar last year but was
> told it was too complicated to implement. There is
> another cacher MaxB ??? who has a checker which he
> built himself, but the holy water was not
> sprinkled on his effort.


Not sure what you mean by holy water being sprinkled. Are you saying it is a vampire that has been allowed to live?
Re: Contiguous Counties Challenge Checker?
February 09, 2017 09:36PM
Okay, so it looks like this checker is certainly doable then. I have created cache pages for the 10, 25, and 50 county challenges and am waiting to hear back from a reviewer regarding the 100 county challenge (in case it is deemed as "not achievable enough" to warrant publication). Once I get the approval on that final challenge in the series I will put together the cache page for it as well. The GC#s are:
GC70AQY (10)
GC70ARA (25)
GC70ARK (50)
Re: Contiguous Counties Challenge Checker?
February 09, 2017 10:02PM
Howdy,

The checkers are at.

http://project-gc.com/Challenges/GC70AQY/24808
http://project-gc.com/Challenges/GC70ARA/24807
http://project-gc.com/Challenges/GC70ARK/24804

Please make sure to describe the challenge as being for US caches. The connection data is only good for the US.

If/when you want the 100 county version, ping this thread. It is quick to create it.
Re: Contiguous Counties Challenge Checker?
February 11, 2017 10:59PM
Is there a thread somewhere to discuss connection issues? IE Contiguous counties that aren't showing up that way on the map?
Re: Contiguous Counties Challenge Checker?
February 12, 2017 12:49PM
As a tagger and scripter, I am accustomed to bugs such as this being raised by e-mail. That is to say there is no forum per se.

One thing that makes this somewhat different is that the ability to upload these JSON blobs is even more restricted than scripting privileges.
Re: Contiguous Counties Challenge Checker?
February 12, 2017 01:07PM
To OReviewer,

Are you aware of connections not showing up. Can you contact me outside forums to see what? The definition we used is shown on our Contiguous counties challenges.

Warren & Maxine Brown
Re: Contiguous Counties Challenge Checker?
February 12, 2017 12:09AM
The 100 county challenge has been given the nod and is ready for a checker. GC# is GC70D4X
Re: Contiguous Counties Challenge Checker?
February 12, 2017 12:47PM
Re: Contiguous Counties Challenge Checker?
February 13, 2017 12:57AM
From studying my account's results, it appears that locationless caches are counted as finds in the county where the arbitrary posted coordinates for the locationless are found. For example, because I logged a find on "Yellow Jeep Fever," a locationless cache that paid tribute to an Arizona geocacher who drove a yellow jeep, my map shows that I've geocached in Phoenix Arizona when, in fact, I've never been there since I started caching.

While the decision lies with the challenge cache owner, I'd recommend excluding locationless caches from any "contiguous county" GeoCheckers.
Re: Contiguous Counties Challenge Checker?
February 13, 2017 04:45PM
Restricting to a list of cache types is possible now. It was a feature added to support MaxB's events in contiguous county challege.

As you say though, it is at the discretion of the CO.
Re: Contiguous Counties Challenge Checker?
February 20, 2017 10:35PM
Yes I would say that removing locationless caches would be preferred as long as it isn't too much trouble. Also, the publication of these challenges has been put on hold as I guess some counties register when they are connecting over larger bodies of water (e.g. Lakes Michigan/Superior) -- is there any way to correct that? Beyond that I have tested a few cachers on each of the checkers and have found no issues. Thank you so much for all of your help!!
Re: Contiguous Counties Challenge Checker?
February 20, 2017 10:42PM
Can you provide examples of connections you wish to remove? Also is there a cacher that triggers them for me to test with.

The location less caches are easy to remove. I will do that update.
Re: Contiguous Counties Challenge Checker?
February 21, 2017 12:29AM
If you run checker for cacher Tsmola. You can see on the map graphic he has counties across lake Michigan, but the checker (i.e. Green vs Blue) show these are not considered connected.
Re: Contiguous Counties Challenge Checker?
February 21, 2017 02:46PM
I ran one of your checkers. If I understand the display codes; green is used for the largest segment of contiguous counties and purple for for all others.
Note that in state MS I show a break in the counties. We had star ted in Dallas that day and I remember that we missed a couple of counties heading east as it was getting late in the day. Yet it shows the counties east of that break as contiguous.
Possibly an error in the connectivity table for counties in state MS?
I did not count the actual number of green counties so it may be that the count is actually correct but the coloring on the display is incorrect.
Re: Contiguous Counties Challenge Checker?
February 21, 2017 03:06PM
DaGrandpa,

When looking at your result for the checker, it shows you found caches in connected counties up to Hines Co - Jackson MS. then skipped at least 1 county before Scott Co MS, then skipped again at least 1 county before Lauderdale Co MS. After Lauderdale county you found caches in contiguous counties through AL into GA to Augusta GA. All Blue counties displayed are ones you have cached in, if they connect together they will create a string. Only the longest connected string of contiguous counties is displayed in green, this is your count for connecting states or counties together.
Re: Contiguous Counties Challenge Checker?
February 21, 2017 07:40PM
It appears there was actually a misunderstanding - the reviewer is under the impression that counties touching across bodies of water (like Lake Michigan) should be counted as contiguous rather than the other way around. We have messaged back and forth a couple of times and are working on reaching agreement on what should or should not count as contiguous regarding these oddities. I will update as needed regarding the development of the discussion.
Re: Contiguous Counties Challenge Checker?
February 21, 2017 12:19AM
The counties should not actually connect across the great lakes. The map graphic shows counties out across lake, but the checker should not show those as connected. Let us know some that show as connected, so we can check connection matrix.
Re: Contiguous Counties Challenge Checker?
February 21, 2017 08:11PM
Here is the latest feedback from my local reviewer:
Geocaching HQ has given the following direction:

"The checker for a challenge like this one should be written so that the county contiguity is defined by political boundaries, not by the boundaries that are arbitrarily drawn by the writer. Even if the counties connect by water only, then the checker should show them as contiguous."

So at this point, the checker will need to be written to give the correct output.
Re: Contiguous Counties Challenge Checker?
February 21, 2017 08:18PM
According to http://www.mnopedia.org/thing/minnesota-state-boundaries -
In the congressional acts that created the states of Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota, their borders in Lake Superior were imprecise. Finally, in 1947, the three states agreed on a boundary compact that clearly outlined their Lake Superior extents.

In 1990, the U.S. Census Bureau began adding the area of all adjoining waters to official state areas. The inclusion of its Lake Superior section of 2,546 square miles sharply increased Minnesota's size and changed its shape.


So it looks like unless I'm mistaken in order for this challenge to be kosher with GCHQ this will need to consider counties touching across the great lakes will need to be considered contiguous.
Re: Contiguous Counties Challenge Checker?
February 21, 2017 08:22PM
i understand now. thank you.
Re: Contiguous Counties Challenge Checker?
February 21, 2017 08:24PM
Oddly Michigan does not claim water rights in this county map.


http://www.michigan.gov/cgi/0,1607,7-158--118145--,00.html
Re: Contiguous Counties Challenge Checker?
February 21, 2017 08:40PM
henne165 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> So it looks like unless I'm mistaken in order for this challenge to be kosher with GCHQ this will
> need to consider counties touching across the great lakes will need to be considered contiguous.

Please note that it is not just the great lakes. There are many places this happens. It is working as MaxB made it as intended; however, that isn't how HQ wants it to work. Here are the examples we've found so far but based on talks with Max, that is how the connection file is written.



Someone will need to fix the connections (or make a new file) to make it work to meet HQs edict.

I'm also unsure if this will change the Contiguous Events challenge that was published recently.
Re: Contiguous Counties Challenge Checker?
February 21, 2017 09:40PM
The county matrix we created and provided to Project-GC was created in May/June of 2016 for our grandfathered contiguous county states challenges. Publishing of our event challenge was approved before GCHQ weighed in on the concept of contiguous counties. We certainly hope that our events challenge, which identifies clearly on the cache page requirements and our definition of contiguous counties not be archived due to this GCHQ statement.
Re: Contiguous Counties Challenge Checker?
February 22, 2017 09:59PM
MaxB on the River Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Publishing of our event challenge was approved before GCHQ weighed in on the concept of contiguous counties.

It depends on how HQ wants to handle it but what you did was create a user-defined map by adding and removing connections via your rules, which is not allowed by the post-moratorium guidelines.
Re: Contiguous Counties Challenge Checker?
February 22, 2017 10:36PM
This is NOT true. OReviewer seems to have taken a special dislike for our Challenge, because his wife didn't qualify for our newest challenge. Seems personal! We used existing county maps and Google Earth to determine connections. We had written a Challenge long before the moratorium. We spent a month of our time to create a connection chart which matched the criteria in OUR challenge. Many cachers have enjoyed our challenges. Groundspeak, Project GC and GSAK can't even seem to agree on State boundaries.

The post moratorium guidelines clearly allow county boundaries to be utilized. It does not allow user defined polygons . We did not define any new polygons. Other than OReviewer, we have had NO complaints about how we chose to define counties which were separated by Lake Michigan, or Lake Superior.

If Groundspeak didn't like our approach there was plenty of opportunity for them to contact us. I would think they might like to include us in the conversation instead of a biased single reviewer.
Re: Contiguous Counties Challenge Checker?
February 22, 2017 10:56PM
You couldn't be more wrong if you tried MaxB. This is the first post-mor challenge that has me interested in challenges. One county wouldn't make or break my wife's ability to qualify. I promise, it has nothing to do with her, nor my opinion.

This is a real life version of "don't kill the messenger".

That said, I will stop commenting on this one as you made this personal.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/22/2017 10:57PM by OReviewer. (view changes)
Re: Contiguous Counties Challenge Checker?
February 23, 2017 02:29AM
I will happily take over for my valued volunteer colleague, OReviewer. My credentials: I have found around 120 challenge caches and I own or co-own three -- two of which are prohibited under the 2016 guideline changes. I still love challenges, which is why I post a lot here in an effort to make the new system work smoothly. I qualify for the "contiguous counties" challenge with a string of more than 250 counties.

Guidance from Geocaching HQ has been quoted or summarized in this thread, accurately. HQ and a group of reviewers have participated in an active private discussion about how challenges like this ought to work. They must rely on true mapping and political geography principles -- and not one single geocacher's set of rules. (Don't worry, MaxB... your grandfathered challenge predates the current guidelines.)

A proper data file for a "contiguous counties" checker would reflect political boundaries that meet in the middle of a body of water, regardless of the presence or absence of bridges, tunnels, ferries, etc. It would also count as "contiguous" (or "touching", per most dictionary definitions) two counties that meet at a single point. Hopefully interested persons can work on a new data file, leaving MaxB's file alone for use with their pre-moratorium challenges and their grandfathered user-defined mapping rules.

Until that happens, I regret that new contiguous county challenges cannot be published. That makes me sad, since I'd like to find or own such challenges, so I'm motivated to help.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 02/23/2017 03:29AM by The Leprechauns. (view changes)
Re: Contiguous Counties Challenge Checker?
February 23, 2017 01:05PM
Looking at the US Census County Map, there appear to be a few places worthy of discussion. Massachusetts for Dukes and Nantucket county, Chesapeake Bay, The Great Lakes, Washington State San Juan County, And some of the islands off California. Oreviewer had highlighted some of these as well.

Massachusetts is interesting in that the Census map does not show complete borders and could be seen as ambiguous. The OSM data that Oreviewer showed did show complete borders. The Massachusetts Secretary of State web site shows Dukes connected to Barnstable and nothing bordering Nantucket.

The Chesapeake is interesting in another way. Some of the counties extend into the waterway and some don't. Again there is a disagreement between OSM and the census map.

The Great Lakes have a situation where some water is clearly attached to the county and others water spans multiple counties without being divided or marked as attached to any county. This is particularly clear on the Western Edge of the lower peninsula.

San Juan County in Washington according to the census bureau appears to well connected to all the surrounding counties.

The islands off california, I need to do more research. Alaska may also need more attention just because the detail is low. Hawaii I would say does not connect to the mainland but the internal borders should be examined.

Most other places, in the Gulf of Mexico,Florida, the islands appear to be in mainland counties and it does not really impact the connectivity.

From a software point of view I don't care. From a reasonable attempt on the part of whoever creates the contiguity, these could go multiple ways. My guess is there are maps from reasonably authoritative sources that disagree on these and other regions. We have found a couple already.

The question seems to be: How do we adjudicate these discrepancies in a way that makes it possible for CO's and reviewers to have some confidence that they are doing "The Right Thing"?
Re: Contiguous Counties Challenge Checker?
February 21, 2017 09:03PM
The checker utilizes a JSON data matrix that we spent a whole month creating for the people at Project-GC. We did this based on our grandfathered challenges criteria we outlined in each of our cache page writeups.

If GCHQ isn't going to approve checkers that utilize that data set of county matrixes, then they need to create their own matrix and provide that to the script writers of Project-GC. We will not be correcting our dataset provided to Project-GC and don't give permission for them to correct our dataset either. Someone will have to create the GCHQ required data set for future challenges. We can go back to utilizing just the Project-GC maps as before which don't show counties connecting through the bodies of water, like Lake Michigan.

It is too bad that an enjoyable concept that many people have worked and found based on their feedback to our challenges has been damaged by GCHQ over details that wouldn't have even been questioned if not for the map generated on the result. We thought the map was a neat idea and help people see where they could connect more counties and states together, but obviously it created dissension among others.

We appreciated Target and Sloth96's work to include this feature.
Re: Contiguous Counties Challenge Checker?
February 21, 2017 09:36PM
Yeah I'm a little bummed as well. sad smiley
But thank you to you as well, MaxB for your help and input on this matter, even if it appears to have been for naught (for now at least). Looks like I'll just have to come up with some new ideas for caches instead.
Re: Contiguous Counties Challenge Checker?
February 21, 2017 10:04PM
Any idea how many connections are missing Max?
Re: Contiguous Counties Challenge Checker?
February 21, 2017 10:48PM
OReviewer Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Any idea how many connections are missing Max?


Respectfully I think the question is a bit premature.

What sources are considered authoritative? Osm has been suggested. State gis services have been suggested by me. Others are deferring to the census bureau. All seem not outrageous sources.

What about contested borders? The us and canada still quibble about maritime borders. Some us states still squawk about territory. Then what about places like cyprus Kurdistan or palestine or Taiwan where then answer changes based on where you ask the question. I don't think groundspeak, projectgc, want to be adjudicating that.

Then there are the other questions about ferries, four corner points, brides and tunnels.

There are multiple reasonable sources of data one might pick. They all will disagree on some aspect. But if someone gives a reasonable source of data, isn't that a recognized border?
Re: Contiguous Counties Challenge Checker?
February 21, 2017 10:48PM
We have no idea, you would have to look at all bodies of water and then figure out what the county numbers are in the data matrix and duplicate the entries in both counties, many would be across state lines. We had over 18,000 data points in the file we created.
The job would be laborious and the only time the lines even show up is in the map displayed on our challenge checkers.
The county lines are not extended across lakes or waterways in Google Earth the only lines that appear are state lines (we have it set to display county lines on our computer). Even in the counties of Virginia and Maryland you have displayed in your post earlier do not show as being connected.
Re: Contiguous Counties Challenge Checker?
February 12, 2017 05:15AM
***I missed that my last reply had posted and didn't see until just now that I ended up posting it twice... This edit is just because I cannot delete the second reply***



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/12/2017 05:17AM by henne165. (view changes)
Re: Contiguous Counties Challenge Checker?
February 09, 2017 08:41PM
Howdy,

I just did one that counted only counties for MaxB.

The conversation is here
The checker is here.


Theirs only looks at event caches. It would be a change in the tag to look at all.

Kick the tires let me know what you think. MaxB on the River and I both qualify for Max B's challenge if you want to see a passing result.
Re: Contiguous Counties Challenge Checker?
February 21, 2017 04:43PM
the coloring of the counties depends on which checker is used.

Look at the result on dagrandpa from (10 counties)
http://project-gc.com/Challenges/GC70AQY/24808

I can send you screen shots

Send your email address to standunin@gmail.com
Re: Contiguous Counties Challenge Checker?
February 21, 2017 04:49PM
@dagrandpa everything in green is in a group of 10 connected counties. It turns out you have a group on both east and west side of the gap.
Re: Contiguous Counties Challenge Checker?
November 03, 2019 09:47PM
I'm interested in creating a challenge cache similar to the one that Just Finding Our Way created for GC8D6E6, NAFTA Challenge. That one is a north to south contiguous county challenge between Canada and Mexico. I would like to create a contiguous county challenge East to West from the Atlantic (not including the Gulf of Mexico) to the Pacific. I believe that our own finds (kingdomservant) qualify us to create this challenge. Since this is the first one of these I've tried to create is there a way to test the challenge checker ahead of time?
Thank you!
Ron (kingdomservant)
Re: Contiguous Counties Challenge Checker?
November 03, 2019 10:38PM
Sorry, but new "contiguous county" challenge caches are still not being published, due to the definitional issues discussed above in this thread. (I am a Community Volunteer Reviewer, and I'd know if the ruling had changed.)

Meanwhile, I'm still having a blast connecting contiguous counties on my own. I'm up to 517 connected counties across 25 states, and I'm less than 10 counties away from both a north-south connection and an east-west connection.
Re: Contiguous Counties Challenge Checker?
November 04, 2019 02:35AM
Thanks for your reply. That's a bummer! Any idea if "someone" is working on a solution, or nada?
Re: Contiguous Counties Challenge Checker?
November 04, 2019 03:58AM
This subject was last considered by Geocaching HQ in summer 2017. At that time, challenge checker writers were advised not to create any new contiguous county checkers. There has been no change/ no discussion since then.
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