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0 votes

I found caches in Northern Ireland, but the map is empty. Why?

Thx for answer

in Bug reports by koc256 (160 points)

1 Answer

+1 vote
The reason for this seems to be a strange confusion between geographical and political terms. PGC, however, just repeats what geocaching headquarters does:

Although the country name is "United Kingdom" effectively what they mean is "Great Britain". "Ireland" on the other hand for them is the entire island, not just the republic. That’s why Northern Ireland ends up under "Ireland". (There were a number of caches in the past which are in Northern Ireland and were attributed to "United Kingdom" without specifying any level 2 administrative unit ("state"), but all of them have been archived in the meantime.)

Of course, all this does not make a lot of sense. I see the following solutions:

a) Convince headquarters to include Northern Ireland into "United Kingdom". However, in this case they would need to split the 2nd level ("state") unit "Ulster", because there is, of course, a difference between Ulster and Northern Ireland, as only part of Ulster is part of the UK. This will probably be difficult.

b) Convince headquarters to rename "United Kingdom" to "Great Britain". In this case no change of attribution of caches would be needed, so it would be easier. However, it would be a bit awkward, as usually top level units ("countries") tend to be actual countries, i.e. souvereign political entities, although there are quite a number of cases where non-sovereign entities get a level 1-listing of their own (e.g. Isle of Man, Guernsey, Jersey etc.). I am not aware, however, of any other case were a level 1-listing comprises territories of two souvereign states (if we do not take into consideration disputed cases like Kosovo).

c) As it will be difficult to change HQ’s policy, PGC could give up it’s policy not to override CO’s attribution when it comes to the top ("country") level. PGC ignores what the CO (wrongly) says when it comes to lower levels, but strangely enough "believes" the CO on the top level. In the Irish case a change of policy would mean that PGC could for its own statistical purposes define Northern Ireland as an additional region of the UK and list all caches there accordingly.

Best regards,

by k+gw+a (12.6k points)
I'm for C reason :).

*PGC could for its own statistical purposes define Northern Ireland as an additional region of the UK and list all caches there accordingly*
"PGC ignores what the CO (wrongly) says when it comes to lower levels, but strangely enough "believes" the CO on the top level"

Countries tend to be visible in the real world. You need to cross a border that is normally visible and are often required to show a passport, etc. I'd say that it's very rare for someone to be unaware of what country they are in.

Regions and counties on the other hand are typically not clearly marked in the real world (at least not more than by an approximately-placed road sign) and it's normal for someone to not be aware of exactly when the border from one to another is crossed.
In Ireland is other metric (km) than in Northerm Ireland (Great Britain) (miles). It is big difference between countries.

BTW: In Europe is normal Schengen area and you do not know in which country you are, because there are no border controls.

My MAP on PGC:

Will you fix it?

Honza (koc256)
I agree that this is not a huge problem, but there are more than just a number of cases. These can have different reasons:
1) The CO does not know where exactly the border is, e.g. GC4KTAG (the CO kindly corrected the attribution from Croatia to Bosnia and Hercegovina after I asked him to); GCGJJ8 (an event long ago but funny because even the title refers to Belgium although the co-ordinates are in the Netherlands)
2) The CO wants to keep all caches of a cross-border series in a single country, e.g. GC6KNJ7 and others of the series, originally attributed to Belgium, but kindly changed by the CO after I had asked him to.
3) Political reasons, if the CO wants to make a political statement, e.g. GC63JJG, and, perhaps, those archived UK caches situated in Northern Ireland, e.g. GC17QPG.
4) Deliberate wrong attribution due to other reasons, e.g. the recent discussion here:
Sometimes, the reason is not clear, e.g. GC1EXW8 (attributed to Belgium, co-ordinates in the Netherland); GC11BNQ (header co-ordinates clearly in the Netherlands although attributed to Belgium).
Sometimes the cache in reality is on the border but the co-ordinates point to the other country, e.g. GC3Q3FQ (attributed to Serbia, in reality intended to be on the border, co-ordinates in Bulgaria). GC4MKJT might be such a case, I don’t know what the situation is there, but the co-ordinates seem to be in Zambia, the cache is attributed to Zimbabwe.
In other cases it might simply be a fundamental error when it comes to the co-ordinates, e.g. GC6V6QT, GC6M0WN, GC7DYF9, GC5Y43Q, GC6FF1G, GC6MQCK, GC537NE, GC4A1N7, GC59FNJ.
Or a strange mistake with the country, e.g. GC4E4E1, GC1KAVM.
Or temporary insanity, e.g. GC83152.
Or even some weird kind of humour like in GC6DFRX, GC6CVC9 and the rest of that April fool’s day series, which, harmless as it may seem, leads to maps – when running a search for caches in that country – showing the entire world. If PGC overrode the wrong country attribution we would not need to scroll and enlarge the map every time till we see the country we really want to see.

Summing up: normally CO’s with wrong attributions do understand the issue and correct it if asked to. Therefore, as long as I don’t come across a CO who would not be willing to correct a wrong country attribution (thereby distorting my geographical statistics), the biggest practical problem in my view is the maps issue.