Register · Login
About Theme

A Letterboxing Community

Help: Adding/Editing Letterboxes

Help Home > Atlas Quest > Adding/Editing Letterboxes

  1. How do I delete or edit a listed letterbox?
  2. How do I change the type of a letterbox?
  3. How do I adopt a letterbox?
  4. What's the difference between the carver, planter, and owner of a letterbox?
  5. How is the distance for a letterbox calculated?
  6. What happens to abandoned letterboxes?
  7. How do I add more than one photo to an AQ hosted clue?
  8. How do I add a box to a series?
  9. How do I remove a box from a larger series?
  10. How do I host a clue on Atlas Quest?
  11. How do I let AQ know where my clue starts and ends for remotedly-hosted clues?
  12. How do I add one photo?
  13. How do I change the box type if I made an error?
  14. How do I edit the name of my letterbox?
  15. What the P-club and F-club restrictions?
  16. What are member group restrictions?
  17. What are whitelists?
  18. How do you go about planting and listing a letterbox?
  19. I made an error while entering a letterbox—how do I fix it?
  20. I have a letterbox listed on another web site, how can I list it here and create a link?
  21. What are keywords?
  22. How do I input a series of boxes?
  23. What is a geocoded location?
  24. What is the radius for?
  25. How do I list the coordinates of a location?
  26. How do I create a mystery location?
  27. How do I list multiple stamps in the same box
  28. How do I list a bonus box?
  29. What are exceptions?
  30. What are dependencies?
  31. How do I link a town to my planted letterbox?
  32. I found a letterbox that is not listed on Atlas Quest. Is it ok to add a listing for it?
  33. How do I retire a box?


How do I delete or edit a listed letterbox?


You should rarely ever need to delete a letterbox. If a letterbox goes missing or is retired, you should change the status of the letterbox instead. This way, those who have found the letterbox can still record it as a find. However, if you ever do need to delete a letterbox—for instance, you accidentally added a box twice—drill down to the letterbox's details. (If you perform a search for a letterbox, clicking on the name of the box will get you to this screen.) Assuming you are logged in and have the authority to delete the letterbox, you will find a 'Delete Box' link near the upper-righthand corner of the window in the shape of a prominent red X.

To edit a letterbox, look in the same location except click the picture of the pencil in the upper-righthand corner. This will allow you to edit almost any information about the letterbox in question.

Help Home > Atlas Quest > Adding/Editing Letterboxes


How do I change the type of a letterbox?


This question almost invariably has its roots in a letterboxing gathering where you carved a special box just for the gathering, then afterwards convert it into a hitchhiker (or some other type of letterbox) to be unleashed upon the rest of the world at large.

You cannot change the type of a letterbox, and there's a good reason for that. If you plant a temporary letterbox at a gathering, people will want to record it as a find on Atlas Quest. Later, after you turn it into a hitchhiker, people who find it will want to record it as a hitchhiker. If you simply change the letterbox type, however, people who found it as a real letterbox will end up getting credit for finding a hitchhiker that they really did not find and not getting the proper credit for finding a traditional letterbox. Even worse, if someone who was at the gathering that found it as a traditional letterbox ends up finding the hitchhiker, they won't be able to record finding both versions of the letterbox.

The solution, in this case, is to list the letterbox twice: once as a traditional letterbox and once as a hitchhiker. The traditional version should be listed as retired once it's played its role while the hitchhiker can be listed as active. That way, people can record the find for the correct type of box that they found, and if they find both types, they have a way of recording it.

It doesn't really matter what type of letterbox you are starting with and into what you have converted it. The theory is still the same. An event stamp that becomes a traditional letterbox, or a personal traveler that becomes a hitchhiker, or for any other combination of letterbox types, the process is still the same. Mark the old version as retired and list the new version as if it were a completely new letterbox.

So Atlas Quest does not allow you to change the type of a letterbox once it's been listed. Instead, the recommended method is to retire the old type, and list a new type.

If you inadvertently list a box incorrectly, just delete the incorrect listing and relist the box correctly.

Help Home > Atlas Quest > Adding/Editing Letterboxes


How do I adopt a letterbox?


The owner of a letterbox can transfer ownership to you if he or she agrees to allow you to adopt their box. They can change the ownership by editing their box's listing.

Help Home > Atlas Quest > Adding/Editing Letterboxes


What's the difference between the carver, planter, and owner of a letterbox?


Find reports will go to everyone associated with the letterbox except the carvers, including the person who listed the letterbox if they are not already listed as the planter, owner or contact.

Only the planters receive credit for a plant. Some people like to count any letterbox they've carved the stamp for as a plant, but Atlas Quest does not for two reasons: (1) A hand-carved stamp is optional and it seems odd to get credit for planting a letterbox for a feature that's optional, and (2) if you later find the letterbox with your stamp, you can still record it as an official find. If you were getting credit for the box as a plant, you would not also be able to claim credit for it as a find.

Likewise, as much as we appreciate those who've adopted and maintain a letterbox, those are adopted letterboxes and do not count towards your P-count. However, they may count towards your F-count if you went out and found the box yourself.

The owner of a letterbox may change, sometimes quite often, and ownership can be revoked or transferred by the listed planter or owner. The carver of a letterbox cannot transfer ownership of the box to someone else—unless, of course, they are also a planter or owner.

Finally, there is a 'secret' piece of information included with every letterbox listing—the person who originally listed the box in the first place. Their name won't show up anywhere on the listing; it was originally designed to find people who list letterboxes without permission. However, if they have received permission to list the boxes, it also assumes you have permission to edit the boxes as necessary, and therefore the original lister of the box can also edit the boxes. Anyone designated as the owner or planter can edit clues, but not someone listed as a carver or contact.

If the carver, planter, or owner do not have accounts on Atlas Quest, leave the appropriate option blank and give credit where credit is due directly in the clues.

Table summary (powers and privileges):
Status Notified of a Find Credit for the Plant Edit the clue Transfer Ownership Expected Use
Owner Yes No Yes Yes The person who maintains the box
Planter Yes Yes Yes Yes The person(s) who physically planted the letterbox
Lister Yes No Yes No The person who listed the box on Atlas Quest
Carver Yes/No No No No The person who carved the stamp. By default, when a carver is added to a box, he or she is also added as a contact automatically, so most carvers will get notifications of finds, but this does give them the ability to opt out.
Contact Yes No No No People who should be notified whenever a find or attempt is recorded


Help Home > Atlas Quest > Adding/Editing Letterboxes


How is the distance for a letterbox calculated?


The listed distance of a letterbox is the total length, in miles or kilometers depending on your preferences, required to walk for a letterboxer to nab all boxes within the series, as specified by the directions in the clue. It should include both the distance to get all letterboxes and to get back to the trailhead. You can estimate the distance, as long as the distance is somewhat accurate.

To measure the distance for your box, you have several options:


And remember, the distance does not necessarily have to be accurate to within 1/10th of a mile. Telling people that a hike is 5 miles long instead of 4.8 miles is not a problem. You want to give them an idea of how long and strenuous a hike is, and a rough estimate is better than no information at all.

Help Home > Atlas Quest > Adding/Editing Letterboxes


What happens to abandoned letterboxes?


For a box to qualify as abandoned, all people associated with the letterbox (including the carvers, planters, owner, and the person who originally listed the box) will not have logged into Atlas Quest for one year. At this point, the status of the their boxes will be controlled automatically based on the finds and attempts associated with the box. The precise requirements to have the status automatically change is not public (and is subject to change), but as a whole, boxes that are found recently will have a status of "active," those with lots of attempts will be listed as "retired," and those boxes with just a small number of attempts will be listed as "unknown."

Help Home > Atlas Quest > Adding/Editing Letterboxes


How do I add more than one photo to an AQ hosted clue?


You have several options. Atlas Quest will accept just one picture for the clue, but you can do anything you want with that picture. Using your favorite photo editing program, you can merge several photos into a single photo that can be uploaded.

Another option is to host the pictures somewhere else, then link to the photos from your clue. You can even host those photos as a private photo album in Atlas Quest.

Or, of course, you can also create your own website and use all the photos you need.

Help Home > Atlas Quest > Adding/Editing Letterboxes


How do I add a box to a series?


Use the Edit Box button found in the panel of buttons along the right side of the box details page. On the right side of the edit page, there will be a button for Series Info. Use that page to add additional boxes to your series and reorder them as necessary.

Help Home > Atlas Quest > Adding/Editing Letterboxes


How do I remove a box from a larger series?


Use the Delete Box button from the box details page. It will give you an option to choose which boxes in your series should be deleted rather than delete the entire series—unless, of course, you tell it to delete all the boxes in the series.

The Edit Box button will also allow you to delete individual boxes in a series from the Series Info page. If the only change you need to make is deleting a box from a series, however, it's faster and easier just to use the Delete Box button.

Help Home > Atlas Quest > Adding/Editing Letterboxes


How do I host a clue on Atlas Quest?


When adding or editing a letterbox, click the button for the Clue section. By default, the drop down list at the top of that page will be to have no clue at all, but you can change it to be an AQ-hosted clue.

Everything for AQ-hosted clues is optional, except the clue itself. Atlas Quest will require that something be included as part of the clue's text before you can save the page, but if you change your mind, you can use the drop down list to go back to the option for no clue at all.

Help Home > Atlas Quest > Adding/Editing Letterboxes


How do I let AQ know where my clue starts and ends for remotedly-hosted clues?


Atlas Quest pulls information into its database for clues hosted on other websites. In order for the information brought in to be concise (no page headers and HTML from navigation links or other unneeded frames), place the following tags (without the spaces between the less than and exclamation mark) at the top and bottom of your clue.

< !-- aq -->
Your clue goes here.
< !-- aq end -->

Keep in mind that these tags should be comments in HTML and therefore will not be visible to people viewing your clue. If the tags are visible, you've done something wrong. Atlas Quest will still recognize the mistake and use the correct starting and ending points, but it still looks ugly for people who view your clue directly.

Note to Editors
Do NOT 'fix' the HTML comments to remove the extra spaces. The extra spaces ensure that the comments don't disappear from the help pages!

Help Home > Atlas Quest > Adding/Editing Letterboxes


How do I add one photo?


To add a photo to your clue, the clue must be hosted on Atlas Quest. If your clue is hosted on LbNA or your own personal website, you will not be able to include a photo with your box listing.

On the clue page for AQ hosted clues there will be a location available to specify an image for uploading.

Help Home > Atlas Quest > Adding/Editing Letterboxes


How do I change the box type if I made an error?


Delete the listing and relist it using the correct letterbox type. If the box already has lots of finds on it, you can contact an administrator who can change the box type manually. If you reuse a stamp for a different box type, you should retire the old listing and create a new listing with the new type so people can record the type of box they actually found.

Help Home > Atlas Quest > Adding/Editing Letterboxes


How do I edit the name of my letterbox?


Make sure you are logged into Atlas Quest, pull up the box details or clue for your box, then edit the 'Edit Box' button near the right-hand side of the page.

Help Home > Atlas Quest > Adding/Editing Letterboxes


What the P-club and F-club restrictions?


You can restrict your letterboxes to only AQ members with a specified number of plants and finds. Keep in mind, these restrictions are based on official AQ counts so members who do not record their plants or finds on this site may not be able to access your clues. You are only allowed to restrict boxes up to your own P and F-counts, so if you have a P-count of 12 and an F-count of 132 on Atlas Quest, you will not be able to restrict your boxes beyond 12 plants and 132 finds respectively. If you are truly a spectacular planter and finder of letterboxes, AQ will also not allow you to exceed a P-count restriction of 250 or an F-count restriction beyond 9999.

If you have no plants or finds, you cannot restrict boxes by one's P or F-counts.

Help Home > Atlas Quest > Adding/Editing Letterboxes


What are member group restrictions?


You can restrict boxes to people who share a common member group as you. By default, all boxes will go into the "None" group, that—not surprisingly—is not a group at all. It means that everyone can see the listing (assuming no other restrictions would prevent them from seeing it). If you want to limit your box to all AQ members, use the Everybody group. Every member signed up on Atlas Quest is in this group, so by restricting your listing to this group, the only people who won't see the listing are those who are not logged into an account. If you are a member of any protected or private groups, you'll be given the option to restrict your box to only other members of that group. Since anyone can sign up for a public group, those groups will not be available as options. (The Everybody group is actually a "system" group, in case you're wondering why that group has special treatment.)

Help Home > Atlas Quest > Adding/Editing Letterboxes


What are whitelists?


A whitelist is a list of everyone you allow to see your letterbox. A whitelist is a good way to limit your boxes to close friends or family.

Whitelists are specified as contact groups. The primary purpose of contact groups is to contact groups of people you know, but they also do double duty as whitelists and exceptions if you choose to use them in that manner. A letterbox with a whitelist restriction will require members to be logged in in order to see them on Atlas Quest to check if they are on the whitelist.

To apply a whitelist to your boxes, you must be the owner of the letterbox, then follow these steps:

  1. Create a contact group. You'll probably want to make the group private and give it a name such as "My whitelist" or "My friends," then add everyone who should be a part of that group.
  2. While listing a letterbox, change to the Restrictions page. If you have any contact groups (which you should now, if you did step #1), they'll all be listed as options for whitelists. Select the appropriate whitelist for your restrictions.
  3. Save the box. You're done!

To add or remove someone from a whitelist, edit the contact group that is being used for that purpose. You do not have to edit or change the box listing in any way to apply such changes.

Help Home > Atlas Quest > Adding/Editing Letterboxes


How do you go about planting and listing a letterbox?


Before planting letterboxes of your own, it's usually a good idea to find a few first to get a sense of what's out there and what people are expecting in a letterbox. That does not mean you have to do things exactly like others do—but it's at least good to know where you might be doing things different from the standards in your area.

When you do finally plant a letterbox, use the Add Letterbox page (always found under the Letterboxes menubar option) to list your box on Atlas Quest. Fill in the blanks provided. Many help pages are available by clicking the Help icon if you aren't sure what is expected in a particular blank.

Help Home > Atlas Quest > Adding/Editing Letterboxes


I made an error while entering a letterbox—how do I fix it?


From the box details page, click the Edit Box button. That allows you to edit almost everything you entered about the letterbox—the location, the attributes, the name, the status, and whatever options are available.

The one thing you cannot change, however, is the box type. If you've mistakenly listed a letterbox as the wrong type, you'll needed to delete the box and add it again using the correct type. Details about why you cannot change the box type are described in the help question How do I change the type of a letterbox?

Help Home > Atlas Quest > Adding/Editing Letterboxes


I have a letterbox listed on another web site, how can I list it here and create a link?


When adding a letterbox, the clue page allows you to specify where the clue is hosted. If the clue is hosted on the Letterboxing North American (LbNA) website, select Letterboxing.org as the location. You'll then be asked to enter the box number for the listing on LbNA. The box number can be found on the clue page there, or in the URL as the image shows.

An LbNA-hosted clue's box number can be found in the URL

If the box is hosted on some other website—any website other than LbNA or Atlas Quest—set the clue location to Other Website. You'll then be asked to provide the full URL to the clue, so the following images shows.



Help Home > Atlas Quest > Adding/Editing Letterboxes


What are keywords?


There are two distinct uses of "keywords" on AQ. This help entry describes how keywords are included in a clue listing, enabling users to do a search for a keyword and pull up all the boxes that have been tagged with that keyword. See the other help entry for how keywords are used in the trip planner.

Many times, people want to search for letterboxes that match specific criteria that Atlas Quest simply does not support. Usually, requests come in the form of attributes-such as, "Can we have a cemetery attribute" to search on? The answer, invariably, is always no. There are an infinite number of special-case attributes that could be created, and a list with hundreds of possible attributes isn't particularly helpful when most of them are of no interest to most people. Searching the clues for specific keywords, such as cemetery helps, but it's not perfect either. Many times, the word is spelled incorrectly or the clue uses common variations of the word (cemeteries, graveyard, etc.)

So support for keywords has been created. In a lot of ways, it's like a member-created attribute. People will be able to search for your keywords, and it won't get mixed up with false positives that a clue search might generate. Four keywords have already been defined:
Keyword Meaning
cemetery The letterbox is located in or near a cemetery.
historical A vague term that means something interesting happened where this letterbox was planted, not including the fact that a letterbox was hidden in this location.
nightbox A box that should be found at night. Not that it can be found at night, but rather that it's designed to be found at night. In daylight, the box may be difficult or impossible to find.
restarea The letterbox is located at a rest area, rest stop, truck stop, travel plaza, or whatever you want to call them along a major road. Ideal for nabbing while on a long drive to get out an stretch one's legs.

A valid keyword must have between 3 and 15 alphanumeric characters in it, and must not use any spaces since spaces are used to separate multiple keywords. (This is why the keywords reststop and nightbox are one word.) If certain keywords start becoming popularly used, they may be added as a designed pre-defined keyword in the future. Keywords are not case-sensitive, so feel free to capitalize keywords if that makes sense or helps readability.

A full list of all keywords used by everyone can be found at http://www.atlasquest.com/boxes/actions/viewkeywords.html.

The following keywords are suggested by boxers, with guidelines on how the keywords are intended to be used:
Keyword Meaning
airportThe letterbox is within easy walking distance of an airport so that a private pilot may find it without having to secure ground transportation.
artworkThe letterbox is located at or near a work of art (sculpture, mural, etc.), planted to call attention to that work of art.
hauntedThe letterbox is located at or near a location reported as haunted or where some sort of paranormal occurrence is supposed to have happened.
horseA good place to bring a horse.
InterstateA quick find along an interstate or similar limited-access highway, either in a rest area or within a couple of blocks of an exit. If the stop takes longer than a potty break, it doesn't qualify!
library The letterbox is located in or around a library.
mountainbikeA designated ATB trail. Don't use this keyword for paved bike trails; mountain bikers who would enjoy paved trails can use the keyword "roadbike".
picnicA good place to stop for a picnic.
restaurantThe letterbox is located in or around a recommended restaurant.
roadBikeA good place to bring a road bicycle. This generally means there is a good place to ride a bike, and it's paved. It usually means a good place for rollerblades, too.
scenicrouteThe letterbox is located on or near a scenic highway.
touristThe letterbox is located at a place recommended for tourists to visit. The clues can be followed by anyone without local knowledge, although they may require some google research ahead of time. If they do require google research, they have the Mental Puzzle attribute as well.
trail namesJust type in the name of any hiking trail, such as appalachiantrail or pacificcresttrail. Remember to omit spaces. As a general guideline, the box doesn't have to be directly on the trail, but it should be close enough that a thru-hiker would want to hunt for it.
TransCanadaThe letterbox is located somewhere along the TransCanada Highway which stretches from St. John's Newfoundland to Victoria, BC, either in a rest area or within a couple of blocks of an exit. If the stop takes longer than a potty break, it doesn't qualify!
tributeA box that is planted in tribute to a person or group of people. This is not intended for tributes to historical personages -- we can use historical for that -- rather, for boxes like the ones planted for weddings, loved ones who have died, special teachers, etc.
wildlifeThe letterbox is in a location where animals may be observed.

One keyword that is remarkably popular but not suggested is "park." The problem with this keyword is that it tells you absolutely nothing. A city park host to a child's jungle gym, a national park, a car park, and a ball park are all very different places, but without a qualifier, it's meaningless, you have no idea what it means. In many instances, people are trying to use multi-word keywords such as "state park"-but AQ treats those as two distinct and separate keywords. "State" by itself is as useless as "park," but "statepark" might be a legitimately useful keyword, along with nationalpark, countypark, citypark, ballpark, etc.

The following multi-word keywords are commonly misused by boxers. If multi-word keywords are used, do not insert spaces or hyphenate words.
Incorrect format Correct keyword
parking lotparkinglot
picnic areasee picnic
ice cream or ice-creamicecream
city parkcitypark
boy scouts or girl scoutsboyscouts or girlscouts
kid-friendly, family-friendly, child-friendly Remove the hyphen; ie. kidfriendly
boat requiredboatrequired
open spaceopenspace
post officepostoffice
nature trailnaturetrail
I-70, I-94, etc.AQ treats these hyphenated interstates as two distinct keywords, "I" and "70"/"94", etc. Use the keyword interstate and list the Interstate number in the synopsis, if necessary.


Help Home > Atlas Quest > Adding/Editing Letterboxes


How do I input a series of boxes?


When adding or editing a letterbox, Atlas Quest will take you through a series of pages about your box. One of those pages, labeled "Series Info," allows you to enter additional boxes that are part of the series.

Help Home > Atlas Quest > Adding/Editing Letterboxes


What is a geocoded location?


A geocoder is a system that takes an address or other location and converts it into latitude and longitude coordinates. You might hide a letterbox in Lincoln Park, Seattle, WA, but Atlas Quest needs to know the exact coordinates of this park to make sure it shows up properly when people run a search for letterboxes near Seattle. For most cities, parks, and other points of interest, AQ will figure this out automatically using geocoders. Entering a location here will attempt to convert your human-friendly text into a location that computers can easily read and process.

When listing names of places, it's usually best to type in the full, official name of the park or location. Use a name such as "Montana de Oro State Park" instead of "Montana de Oro SP." Use the city name "San Francisco" instead of abbreviating it to "SF." The geocoders might be able to figure out your abbreviations, but they make fewer errors and better matches when you don't use them. It also helps when you include commas to separate each part of a location, so a search for "Milan, MI" may work better than a search for "Milan MI" (without the comma separating the state from the city.) Other punctuation is usually best if it's left out. (A search for "SW 23rd St" is more likely to generate better results than a search for "S.W. 23rd St.") Usually these little things won't matter, but in rare cases, they actually can make a difference!

One of several things might happen when you attempt to list a location:


Regardless of what happens, the last item in the list of possible matches will include a link to 'Edit Custom Location.' If it becomes clear that the suggested geocoded locations aren't what you're looking for, use this link to override the geocoder. Before clicking it, find the best match possible for your location-Atlas Quest will pre-populate the geocoder override with whatever match you select which can speed up the process. Click the best possible match from the list, then click the 'Edit Custom Location' link. (If you don't select a best possible match from the list, AQ will pre-populate the next page with the first location in the list.)

Help Home > Atlas Quest > Adding/Editing Letterboxes


What is the radius for?


The radius of a location is roughly the distance from the center of a geographical area to the outer edge of the specified area. A small city, for instance, has a much smaller radius than a large city, and a large city will likely have a much smaller size than a state or province. While it's not generally important that this number be exactly right, it is important to make sure it's approximately correct since it's used to help accurately display search results. A location 'somewhere in California' is vague, while a location such as 'Lincoln Park, Seattle, WA" is very specific, and Atlas Quest needs to know how vague (or precise) these are to accurately display and sort letterboxes and events.

If you are using a specific address, the radius can be very small--0.01 miles, for instance. If your location is a park, take a look at the size of it on a map. From one side of the park to the other, how far is it as the crow flies? Take that distance, divide it by two, and that's the radius for your park. Small parks might have a radius of 0.01 miles, but large parks can be several miles. A park such as Yosemite National Park might be 30 miles or more in size!

Cities and towns are usually at least one mile wide, but the largest cities can often have a radius exceeding 30 miles. Remember too, we're referring to the geographical size of a city, not the population. New York City has a radius of about 20 miles, but Anchorage, Alaska, has a radius that's over 30 miles. While the population of New York City is considerably larger than Anchorage, the geographical footprint of New York City is considerably smaller.

Counties, states, and countries can have even an even larger radius. For California, the geocoder assigns a radius of 412 miles. For the entire United States, the radius expands to 3,881 miles.

AQ will do some basic "sanity checks" on any radius you enter. For instance, AQ will not allow you to use a radius for a city that's larger than the radius of the county that it's located in. And a city that's 300 miles wide would certainly seem a little suspicious, even if it is in a county that's more than 300 miles wide, but it's really up to to you to make sure the radius is accurate.

If you aren't sure what the radius of a location is but you know the area of the location—Wikipedia often includes information about the area of a park or other location—AQ will also accept that and convert it into a radius for you. To list an area in square miles, type "m2" after the area. To list an area in square kilometers, use "km2" after the area. Example: Wikipedia shows that Seattle, WA, has an area of 369.2 km2 (or 142.5 sq mi). Instead of typing in a radius, which is not provided on Wikipedia, you could type "369.2 km2" or "142.5 m2" as the radius. It's important to include the "m2" or "km2" after the number so AQ knows that you aren't typing a radius! AQ will convert this to 8.08 miles radius. The actual radius, as returned by one geocoder, is 11.4 miles, so the area generates a result that's slighter smaller, but the important thing is to be approximately correct than precisely wrong! While 8.08 miles might be a little small, it's close enough for our purposes and is better than not providing an actual value at all.

Another thing that the radius is used for—when displaying maps showing your location, it determines how far to zoom in or out on the map. A location with a radius close to 0 will be zoomed in to the maximum extent possible, while a large radius of dozens of miles might zoom the map out to show the entire state, or an even larger radius of several hundred miles might show most of the entire country.

Help Home > Atlas Quest > Adding/Editing Letterboxes


How do I list the coordinates of a location?


The coordinates of a location should, roughly speaking, mark the center point of the location with latitude and longitude coordinates. If you fail to include coordinates, AQ will attempt to make a best guess at it—perhaps using the city center of your location rather than the specific park. Ideally, you'll want to verify that the coordinates AQ uses are correct if you are not providing them yourself.

Coordinates can be specified in a variety of formats including:


Regardless of which format you enter coordinates, AQ will always reformat it to display the "50.3, -120.5" format.

NOTE: One of the most common errors while entering coordinates is not using the negative sign for longitude coordinates. Most members on Atlas Quest live in the western hemisphere, at a negative longitude, and forgetting the negative will put your location into the eastern hemisphere—usually in Europe or Asia somewhere.

Related Questions

How do I find a GPS coordinate for a location?

Help Home > Atlas Quest > Adding/Editing Letterboxes


How do I create a mystery location?


If you plant a letterbox somewhere in a county, state, or country, and that area is the 'mystery area', just type the area like you would any other location.

Often times, the geocoders might support more non-standard areas such as "Oregon Coast" or "San Francisco Bay Area." If the geocoder cannot find your non-standard area, however, you can still create one yourself by following these steps for a custom location. Let's assume the geocoders cannot figure out what you mean by "Oregon Coast," so we'll have to create our own custom mystery area. Follow these steps:

  1. Fill in the name of the location with the label we wish to use: Oregon Coast.
  2. Leave the address blank. The Oregon Coast does not have an address!
  3. Leave the city blank. The Oregon Coast is not contained within the boundaries of a single city.
  4. Leave the county blank. The Oregon Coast is not contained entirely within a single county.
  5. Fill in the state as "Oregon." Yes, the Oregon Coast is completely contained within a single state—the state of Oregon, and AQ needs to know this.
  6. Fill in the country as "United States." Again, the Oregon Coast is completely contained within the United States, so we can (and should!) include the country.
  7. Pull up a map of Oregon and eyeball the location that, roughly speaking, marks the center point of the Oregon Coast. If you need help with this, check out How do I find a GPS coordinate for a location? In this case, eyeballing the center point of the Oregon Coast, we determine it's coordinates to be 44.347422, -122.645874. Enter that as the coordinates.
  8. Now eyeball how far it is from that center point to the edge of the area to be covered—in this case, the entire distance from the Washington border to the north to the California border on the south. The entire distance, north to south, is about 300 miles as the crow flies, and half the distance (near the center point), would be about 150 miles. Enter 150 as the radius.
  9. And save your changes! AQ now supports mystery locations for boxes "somewhere on the Oregon Coast."

Mystery areas can be of any size anywhere in the world. A mystery location for "Western Europe" that spans multiple countries would require that you leave the state and country blank (since it's not contained within any one state or country), but everything else works exactly the same. A mystery location for "Eastern King County" in Washington state would require that you fill in the county as "King County" since Eastern King County is contained completely within the one county, but everything else works the same.

You could even mark a mystery area that includes only part of a city, such as "Southwest Seattle." Since southwestern Seattle is contained completely within King County and the city of Seattle, you'll want to include the county and city names in their respective boxes.

And, for the particularly devious and creative people, you could even "invent" imaginary mystery areas such as "Narnia." Let's say you planted a letterbox and want it's location to be "somewhere in Narnia"—an area that you arbitrarily decide covers the entire mid-west of the United States—fill in Narnia as the name of the location, the United States as the country, and leave the city, county, and states options empty. (You could even leave the country blank if you do not want people to know that Narnia is within the United States.)

Help Home > Atlas Quest > Adding/Editing Letterboxes


How do I list multiple stamps in the same box


Multiple stamps in the same box should not be listed as separate boxes, nor as a series of boxes. One box is one box, regardless of the number of stamps it contains. You can, however, list on the clue page each of the stamps in the box and who carved them. Some people may choose to list the extra stamps as 'other' boxes, which isn't really necessary but is an option if you absolutely have to list every single stamp you've carved on Atlas Quest.

Help Home > Atlas Quest > Adding/Editing Letterboxes


How do I list a bonus box?


Use the Add Letterbox page. One of the options for listing a traditional box is a bonus box. Keep in mind that a bonus box should be listed completely independently of the regular box that contains the clue for the bonus box.

Additionally, if you want to make sure your bonus box isn't visible to anyone who hasn't found the regular letterbox that holds the clue for your bonus box, be sure to click over the Restrictions page and add a dependency.

Help Home > Atlas Quest > Adding/Editing Letterboxes


What are exceptions?


An exception are people who you want to see a letterbox on Atlas Quest that otherwise might be restricted from seeing them for any reason.

Exceptions are specified as contact groups. The primary purpose of contact groups is to contact groups of people you know, but they also do double duty as whitelists and exceptions if you choose to use them in that manner. Exceptions, obviously, do not apply to anyone who is not logged into Atlas Quest.

Anyone on your exceptions will be excepted from all restrictions—including P and F-counts, group restrictions, whitelists, dependencies, and whatever other restriction options may be added in the future.

To apply an exception to your boxes, you must be the owner of the letterbox, then follow these steps:

  1. Create a contact group. You'll probably want to make the group private and give it a name such as "My Exceptions" or "My Friends," then add everyone who should be a part of that group.
  2. While listing a letterbox, change to the Restrictions page. If you have any contact groups (which you should now, if you did step #1), they'll all be listed as options for exceptions. Select the group you created in step #2.
  3. Save the box. You're done!

To add or remove someone from an exception, edit the contact group that is being used for that purpose. You do not have to edit or change the box listing in any way to apply such changes.

Help Home > Atlas Quest > Adding/Editing Letterboxes


What are dependencies?


In this case, you can restrict your box so that only people who've recorded a find on another box can see it. This restriction was created specifically for bonus boxes, but it's not restricted to them. You can add this restriction to any type of box and it can be dependent on the finds of any other type of box. For instance, if you put LTCs in one of your letterboxes for finders to take, you can restrict the LTC to people who've found that letterbox.

To create this sort of dependency, enter the box # of the "parent" box—the one that has to be recorded as a find before the one you're listing will show up. If the parent is a series, click the "Restrictions" button to save your changes and reload the page, and AQ will display each of the boxes within the series so you can pinpoint precisely which box in the series is the trigger to reveal your listing. If you don't select a specific box within a series, AQ will use the first box in the series by default.

The owner, planters, carvers, and anyone in your exceptions list will be able to see the listing without recording a find on the parent box.

Help Home > Atlas Quest > Adding/Editing Letterboxes


How do I link a town to my planted letterbox?


Only traditional boxes have locations, and even then bonus boxes—which are supposed to be surprises—do not allow you to include a location.

If you pass those two hurdles, you can link a town, address, park, or area when you add or edit your letterbox. To edit your letterbox, go to the details page (or clue page for AQ-hosted clues) and click the Edit Box button near the right side of the page. Go to the Locations page and enter your location!

Related Questions

What is a geocoded location?
How do I find a GPS coordinate for a location?
How do I list the coordinates of a location?
What is the radius for?
How do I create a mystery location?

Help Home > Atlas Quest > Adding/Editing Letterboxes


I found a letterbox that is not listed on Atlas Quest. Is it ok to add a listing for it?


Never. The only letterboxes that you should list on Atlas Quest are the boxes that you have planted yourself. If a webmaster, administrator or moderator finds that you have listed a box that you do not own, they will delete the listing. Listing these boxes is also unnecessary, as there are several ways for you to record a find on a box that is not listed.

Help Home > Atlas Quest > Adding/Editing Letterboxes


How do I retire a box?


Be sure you're logged into Atlas Quest--AQ has to know who you are before it'll let you edit your letterboxes!

From the box details page, you can change the status of the box directly. The status is a drop-down menu, and you merely have to select a different option. Your changes will be saved automatically.

Variant 1: You can also edit the status from the "Series Info" page when you use the "Edit Box" button near the right-hand side of the box details.

Variant 2: The "Update Status" button near the right-hand side of the box details page not only allows you to edit the status of your box, but it also also allows you to record maintenance visits and add a public comment to the box for others to see.

Help Home > Atlas Quest > Adding/Editing Letterboxes