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Help: Recent Additions & Changes

  1. Erna Nixon Park
  2. Are there boxes planted on cruise ships and how would we search for them?
  3. How do I list a bonus box?
  4. How do I delete a comment I submitted on a find?
  5. What if, after a certain amount of boxes have been found, that one must now plant?
  6. Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve
  7. How do I add a bonus box name to be logged but not give the clue to the public?
  8. How do I join a 'limited' status tracker?
  9. How do I find postals that are open for signups?!
  10. Gwinnett County Parks
  11. What printer/toner combinations work with which transfer methods?
  12. How does the Basic Search work?
  13. How do I send AQ mail to a mailing list?
  14. How do historical events, birthdays, and anniversaries get added or updated?
  15. What are whitelists?
  16. What are exceptions?
  17. What is a whitelist?
  18. What is good to use for a mailbox?
  19. How do I post my own letter box online?
  20. How do I formally request a new letterbox hide? Do I fill a form out and wait for reviewer to approve like geocaching?
  21. Why can't I delete mail in my Sent box?
  22. What does status retired mean?
  23. What do the icons stand for in a traditional letterbox?
  24. How do I manage tags?
  25. Do I print out clues or is there an app to save them to an electronic device?
  26. Is there a BlackBerry app for Atlas Quest?
  27. Who is the webmaster here?
  28. What kind of prizes should I leave for first finders?
  29. Is it possible to change the theme displayed on Atlas Quest?
  30. How do I search the help pages?
  31. What browsers are supported by Atlas Quest?
  32. What's up with the chick logo?
  33. What do all the options for printing multiple clues mean?
  34. What happened to print-friendly clues?
  35. How do I switch between metric and imperial measurement units?
  36. What do the icons next to a member's trailname mean?
  37. What are Treasure Hikers?
  38. How can I get a list of the LbNA events?
  39. How do hitchhikers work?
  40. What should I use for the actual boxes?
  41. How do I view my uploaded photos?
  42. How can I rearrange my finds from the same day in my online logbook so they match the order in my physical logbook?
  43. What can I use as a trip name?
  44. How do you adopt a letterbox once you have the owner's permission?
  45. How do I search by location?
  46. Jefferson County, Colorado
  47. Can I record finds for boxes that are not listed on AQ?
  48. Can I get board messages sent directly to my email?
  49. What do I put into the letterbox?
  50. How do I carve small letters?

Erna Nixon Park

Last Updated: December 7, 2018 08:08:52 PM
Erna Nixon Park in Melbourne, Florida, is off limits to letterboxing. They weren't happy when they discovered a box on their premises in the past.

Update: They were unhappy because the box placed there had clues directing the finders to climb over a locked gate and heading down a clearly marked "Staff Only" trail.
Cheryl Caldwell is the new park supervisor and she would love to have a letterbox placed here!

Are there boxes planted on cruise ships and how would we search for them?

Last Updated: November 17, 2018 08:03:02 AM
If you want to find letterboxes planted on or near cruise ships, you should search the database using the keyword "cruiseship" to filter the listings. Keywords are not required, but the search will produce a number of results.

How do I list a bonus box?

Last Updated: November 5, 2018 11:47:34 AM
Use the Add Letterbox page and add your bonus box as a traditional box. The only thing that makes a bonus box special is that people have to find another box first before they can find your bonus box—usually because the clue is located in other box.

So to turn your traditional box into a bonus box, click over to the Restrictions page of your listing and add a dependency. Let AQ know which box your bonus box is dependent on, and then it'll automatically add the bonus box icon to your listing.

When AQ knows about this dependency, it'll also hide your bonus box from search results unless the person doing the search has found the dependent box already.

Some people will list bonus boxes but not add a dependency, which is fine—no harm done. But their bonus box will be exposed to the public at large and will not include the special icon since AQ doesn't know about it.

How do I delete a comment I submitted on a find?

Last Updated: October 11, 2018 07:47:53 AM
Go to the box where the comment was listed and click the "delete" icon (Delete) next to your comment.

What if, after a certain amount of boxes have been found, that one must now plant?

Last Updated: October 5, 2018 11:03:13 AM
The consensus was that letterboxing is a form of play and that such expectations cramp the joy of unfettered frolicking. Better to find boxes planted by those who love planting than boxes planted by those fulfilling an obligation.

Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve

Last Updated: August 9, 2018 06:11:21 AM
The folks running this preserve don't allow letterboxing.

How do I add a bonus box name to be logged but not give the clue to the public?

Last Updated: August 1, 2018 12:26:57 PM
When you list a letterbox, you have the option to mark the clue's location as being hosted on Atlas Quest, letterboxing.org, some other remote website or.... "none." Select "none."

Or use the dependency feature on the restrictions page when setting up the letterbox on Atlas Quest. When the dependency feature is used the clue will only appear for those who have registered finding the parent box.

How do I join a 'limited' status tracker?

Last Updated: July 27, 2018 08:36:44 AM
You must contact the owner of the tracker and ask to join.

How do I find postals that are open for signups?!

Last Updated: July 27, 2018 08:36:18 AM
Besides watching the Postals message board closely for new announcements, the Advanced Search page for trackers will get you everywhere. A tracker is Atlas Quest's way of keeping track of postals (among other options) sent among a group of people. Narrow down your search so only open and limited postal trackers that are still available show up. Currently available postal trackers

The results page will display the status of the tracker. Those marked as open are available for anyone to sign themselves up, and those listed as limited means that spots are open, but you must contact the owner of the tracker to be included. Closed trackers are still active but no longer accepting new participants, and retired trackers are already over.

Gwinnett County Parks

Last Updated: July 27, 2018 08:34:43 AM
Gwinnett County regulations and application for letterbox or geocache (effective 04/2013) can be found at: http://www.gwinnettcounty.com/static/departments/parks_rec/pdf/PermitApplication.pdf

Caches are limited to conservation parks and must be labeled with their permit number.

What printer/toner combinations work with which transfer methods?

Last Updated: July 7, 2018 05:25:57 PM
Printer/CopierToner Cartridge/ManufacturerHeatAcetoneXyleneTransparency/Direct Transfer
HP Laserjet 4200 SeriesOfficeMax OM9881Great on PZ White and pink stuff, workable on PZ orange Mixed results on all tested blocks ?Can work with just rubbing, but better with heat
HP Laserjet 4 PlusHP 98A (92298A)??works great on the pink stuff?
HP Laserjet 5PHP 03A Toner Cartridge, HP C3903A?Produces very good image on Safety Kut and dollar store erasers (haven't tried other blocks)??
HP Laserjet 4300dtnHP 39Aworks on PZ Kut White and Orange, though heat setting should be lower with the orange???
Xerox Workcenter 5645Produces good images on pink stuff and PZ Kut white; faint but usable images on PZ Kut orange???
HP Laserjet 1022n?works fineyes??
Xerox XC356"old"Yes??Yes, when set on dark
ALPS Micro-Dry 1300 (no longer produced)ALPS dye sublimation ribbon cartridgesAbso-freakin-lutely amazing clarity on pink stuff; haven't tried anything else.n/an/an/a
Samsung ML-2010SamsungTransfer is always dark and crisp!???
HP Laserjet 2100HP?Works extremely well on white PZ Kut, and almost as well with orange PZ Kut??
HP Laserjet 2100M???worked very good on the pink stuff (clear, crisp transfer)?
HP Color Laserjet 4600dn *?Works very well on the pink stuff?worked okay on the pink stuff (transfer needs minor touchups before carving)?
HP Color LaserJet 1518 *HPworks on PZ Kut white and pink stuffworks on PZ Kut white??
HP Color LaserJet 2320 MFP *HPworks on PZ Kut white and pink stuffworks on PZ Kut white??
Xerox Docucolor 250 (Kinkos)???Amazing on the orange, ok on pink?
Toshiba e-Studio 45Produces good images on pink stuff and PZ Kut white; faint but usable images on PZ Kut orange???
Canon MF5850 dnCanonTransfers very well onto the pink stuff???
Canon NP2020Transfers clear, dark image well on all materials???
Dell 1710nTransfers clearly on white and orange PZ Kut??
Brother HL-L2360DWBrother DR-630Clear, crisp iron/heat B/W transfers onto pink stuff and white PZ Kut; OZ dark, but not quite as crisp due to sheen???
Brother HL-2170WV4INK?Crisp transfer onto pink stuff; haven't tried others yet??

*Before printing on a color LaserJet, configure the printer driver to "Print in Grayscale" to ensure that the printer only prints with black toner. In the printer Properties, click on the "Color" tab to find the "Print in Grayscale" checkbox.

There has also been discussion about using solvent cocktails with both inkjet and toner based printers, with some success. The most common of these are various carburetor cleaners containing methanol, sometimes referred to as the "napalm" option. There has not been sufficient data submitted to suggest specific a specific combination to try or to avoid.

How does the Basic Search work?

Last Updated: May 13, 2018 07:53:06 AM
Stopwords are common words that usually aren't very useful for searching—words such as 'the' or 'and'. Those words will be stripped from your search, and the rest of the words that are left will be used as part of the search. The search will return all letterboxes that match any one of the terms you specify, however, they will be sorted with the best matches listed first—usually the boxes that match all of your search terms.

A word in one's search term is more-or-less any sequence of characters that are letters and numbers. Two exceptions are the underscore (_) and apostrophe (') which will count as part of the word. So a search for "self-help" would actually perform a search for the words "self" and "help" rather than the one word "self-help." Searches for "turtle's," however, will count as a single word. Additionally, a search for "turtles" and a search for "turtle's" are two completely different searches with no overlap. (This is how the database works, but for box names, tracker names, and other "titles," AQ internally strips the apostrophes when it's stored in the database so that the database will appear to find the match in those types of searches, but that's actually an AQ feature, not a database one, and you shouldn't always rely on it.)

If you want to search for only boxes that include all of the words then precede each of the words with a plus sign. So, to search for any boxes that include both "self" and "help" you would enter "+self +help". If you want to search for exactly "self help" that occur in that order then put "self help" in the search box, including the quotation marks.

And finally, sometimes you may want to search for the exact name of a letterbox—especially when the name of a box is a single word that would otherwise match a lot of other boxes. You can do this—sort of—by starting your search with the ^ symbol which tells AQ that it must match the beginning of the name. For instance, a search for "honor" would match a box named Badge of Honor but a search for "^honor" would not since Badge of Honor doesn't begin with the word "honor". And on the other side of the coin, a search for "honor" would not match Honorary Mayor since the word "honor" does not show up in it all, but it would match a search for "^honor" since the name of the box does start with "honor". Even in this type of search, the words THE, A, and AN are still ignored, however, so a search for "^honor" would still match a box called An honor.

Stopwords

There is a list of words, called stopwords, that are not indexed as being too common and generally useless as far as searches go. If one is used in a search, it will be ignored. The latest version of the stoplist Atlas Quest uses is: a, a's, ain't, all, am, an, and, any, aq, are, aren't, as, at, be, became, because, been, being, box, boxed, boxes, boxing, but, by, c's, came, can, can't, cannot, cant, co, com, could, couldn't, did, didn't, do, does, doesn't, doing, don't, each, edu, eg, either, else, et, etc, even, ever, every, ex, far, few, for, further, get, gets, getting, given, gives, go, goes, got, had, hadn't, has, hasn't, have, haven't, having, he, he's, her, here, here's, hers, herself, hi, him, himself, his, how, however, i, i'd, i'll, i'm, i've, ie, if, in, inc, into, is, isn't, it, it'd, it'll, it's, its, let, let's, letterbox, letterboxed, letterboxes, letterboxing, letterboxer, many, may, maybe, me, mean, might, much, must, my, myself, nd, no, non, none, nor, not, now, of, oh, ok, okay, old, on, only, onto, or, our, ours, park, per, rd, re, really, seem, seemed, seeming, seems, seen, she, should, shouldn't, since, so, sub, sup, t's, th, than, thank, thanks, thanx, that, that's, thats, the, their, theirs, them, then, there, there's, theres, these, they, they'd, they'll, they're, they've, this, those, though, thus, to, too, un, up, us, value, very, via, viz, vs, was, wasn't, way, we, we'd, we'll, we're, we've, were, weren't, whether, which, while, why, with, won't, would, wouldn't, yes, yet, you, you'd, you'll, you're, you've, your, yours, yourself, yourselves

Some examples might make this more clear:
Search Term Search For Will Match Results Will Not Match Results
h Will search for all boxes whose name begins with h. Will match boxes with names such as Hi!, High Top Letterbox, or Hit the Ball Will not match 'ello or I Just Wanted To Say Hi.
flowers Will search for all boxes that have the word flowers in it. Will find Flowers for Algernon, Pick Some Flowers, and The Flowers Wrath Will not match The Flower or Baking Flour.
War and Peace Will find all boxes that have the words war or peace in it. It will ignore the word and since that is a stopword. Will match War and Peace, Make Peace, Not War, and Peace Monument Will not match Buy an AQ Patch today.
Georgia on my Mind Will search for boxes with the words Georgia and Mind. The words on and my will be ignored since they are stopwords. Will find Georgia on my Mind, Georgia Peaches, Mind Your Manners, and Mind Over Matter. Box names that use both words will rank higher than names that use one word or the other. Will not find Maine on my Brain or The Oregon Files.
turtle's Will search for all boxes that have the word turtle's in it. Will find A Turtle's Shell. Will not match The turtles are a menace!
the least of your worries Will search for boxes the word worries in the name. The words least and your are stopwords and are therefore ignored. Will find My Worries and Don't Worry. Will not find Least of All or Your Birthday Present.
^honor Will search for boxes that begin with the word honor—after ignoring words like THE, A, and AN. Will find An Honor and Honorable Man. Will not find Badge of Honor or On my Honor.

The author search requires an exact match to the trail name of the person who carved, authored, planted, or owns the letterbox, or leave it blank if you do not wish to search by author.

The box type is self explanatory, but for search results with the most detailed information, it helps to be specific about what type of letterbox you are looking for. The default "all" type strips out many useful details from the search results since it displays for the lowest common denominator.

Special Cases

If you type in a number and only a number, AQ will return the box with that box ID. Everything else will be ignored. So, for instance, if you search for a box with the "name" 181707, AQ will direct you immediately to The Skateboard Kid letterbox.

Additionally, if you know a box is listed on AQ but the clue is hosted on LbNA and so you only printed the LbNA ID number, you can look up a box based on the LbNA ID number by typing the name as "LbNA ID" (where ID is the ID number assigned by LbNA). For example, searching with the "name" as LbNA 4311 will automatically redirect you to Snoopy, which has an AQ ID of 127, but an LbNA ID of 4311.

How do I send AQ mail to a mailing list?

Last Updated: May 10, 2018 05:59:46 PM
To send AQ mail to everyone in your mailing list, type the @ symbol followed by the name of the list. For example, if you created a mailing list for "My Friends" and need to send a message to all of them, write AQ mail like you normally would, except send it to "@My Friends" (without the quotes).

How do historical events, birthdays, and anniversaries get added or updated?

Last Updated: May 10, 2018 05:57:56 PM
AQ administrators and hand-picked volunteers can add, edit, and remove historical events and birthdays for the This Day In History widget. Most often, it's the Green Tortuga and Trekkie Gal who make most of the updates, but there are others as well.

The list of AQ anniversaries can be custom set to use your own list of friends if you edit the widget. Create a mailing list with the folks whose anniversaries you want to be notified of, then set the widget to use that mailing list.

If no mailing list is specified, Atlas Quest will automatically list noteworthy members who have an anniversary. Given the sheer numbers of people signing up every day, it's not really practical to display every anniversary. So the widget will only include members who have signed in within the past year and have large numbers of plants, finds or are active message board participants whose names you're likely to recognize.

What are whitelists?

Last Updated: May 10, 2018 05:54:56 PM
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 mailing lists. The primary purpose of mailing lists 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 because Atlas Quest needs 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 mailing list if you haven't already. You'll probably want to 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 mailing lists (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 mailing list 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.

What are exceptions?

Last Updated: May 10, 2018 05:52:56 PM
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 mailing lists. The primary purpose of mailing lists are 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 mailing list if you don't have one already. You'll probably want to 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 mailing lists (which you should now, if you did step #1), they'll all be listed as options for exceptions. Select the mailing list you created in step #1.
  3. Save the box. You're done!

To add or remove someone from an exception, edit the mailing list 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.

What is a whitelist?

Last Updated: May 10, 2018 05:47:52 PM
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 linked to mailing lists. The primary purpose of mailing lists 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 since Atlas Quest needs 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 mailing list if you don't have one already. You'll probably want to 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 mailing lists (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 mailing list 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.

What is good to use for a mailbox?

Last Updated: May 6, 2018 01:33:02 PM
Not really clear what is being asked. I think you mean what would be to use for a container for a letterbox. Lock n Lock plastic food containers about 4 x 6"" make good containers for letterboxes. Some people like to use plastic peanut-butter jars with screw-on lids.

How do I post my own letter box online?

Last Updated: May 6, 2018 01:28:53 PM
Register on Atlas Quest. Go to the toolbar and select Add Letterbox. Fill in the pages and choose Next Page up through the Restrictions Page. Save.
Voila

How do I formally request a new letterbox hide? Do I fill a form out and wait for reviewer to approve like geocaching?

Last Updated: April 30, 2018 07:56:21 AM
Register on Atlas Quest. Go to the toolbar and select Add Letterbox. Fill in the pages and choose Next Page up through the Restrictions Page. Save.
Voila

Why can't I delete mail in my Sent box?

Last Updated: April 29, 2018 04:55:39 PM
It's mostly a matter of how the software was developed. The sent folder doesn't actually exist as such, but rather is a virtual folder created by looking through everyone's mail for anything sent by you then collected into a display to show you the results. Allowing an individual to delete an AQ mail they sent would effectively delete it out of the recipient's mailbox! That's probably not what most people intend to do when they want to delete their sent mail.

Not to worry, though, Atlas Quest will delete the messages after the recipient sends it to their trash folder, and it'll only show up in your sent folder for two weeks. (Premium members can access up to five weeks of sent mail.)

What does status retired mean?

Last Updated: April 26, 2018 07:16:11 AM
There is a very helpful glossary under the Home category on the Atlasquest toolbar. Here is what it says:
https://www.atlasquest.com/about/glossary/r/#retired

retired
A retired letterbox is one that is no longer available and will not be replaced—at least not for the foreseeable future. Any letterbox listed as unavailable will automatically be changed to retired if it hasn't been replaced within one year.

What do the icons stand for in a traditional letterbox?

Last Updated: February 26, 2018 11:07:04 AM

Stamp Types

AttributeDescription
The creator promises you'll find a genuine, 100% hand-carved stamp in the letterbox and not a store-bought or custom-made stamp.
The letterbox contains a unique, custom-made stamp.
The letterbox contains a store-bought stamp rather than a hand-carved or custom-made stamp.

Attributes

AttributeDescription
The creator does not specify the location of the nearest city for this letterbox. They may have specified the state or country of its location, but you're expected to discover the actual starting point for the hunt yourself. From a technical standpoint, a location is considered a mystery box if the location has no name, address, and city. If the location spans less than one mile, it is not a mystery. And if a location is "somewhere within a city," the owner of the box can specify if it's a mystery location or not. And finally, just because you solve a mystery and add a custom location, the letterbox is still considered a mystery box-adding a specific custom location will not remove this icon.
This picture represents a bonus box, where the clue for the box will be found (usually) in a pre-existing nearby letterbox. Premium Member Perk!
A Word of Mouth (WOM) box. The clues are distributed somewhere other than online, such as via e-mail, postal mail, or delivered in person. Premium Member Perk!
Premium members might see this icon, which means you've done an exchange with the owner of this letterbox. Premium Member Perk!
An urban letterbox, as defined here, is located in an area where one is unlikely to experience "The Great Outdoors". Like in a big city, such as New York city. A rest area in the middle of nowhere is an urban box. A large city park with trees and hiking trails is not an urban box. The 'setting' for the letterbox is urban, not necessarily the location, if that makes any sense.
A snow friendly box is rather a squishy concept. Some people might consider a box that requires several miles of cross-country travel using snow shoes or skies as snow 'friendly,' while other may not. Other boxes might be quite findable if there's an inch or two of snow on the ground but may no longer be easily found if there's a foot or two of snow on the ground. In theory, though, a snow friendly box is one in which important landmarks in the clue would not be covered, nor will digging through layers of snow be required to find the box.
A pet friendly letterbox is located in an area that allows pets to roam, usually with a leash requirement.
This letterbox is available only for a limited time. A limited time letterbox is either a box that is planted for only part of the year or a box that you intend to retire within the next three months. Letterboxes planted in regions that are covered in snow for nine months of the year or in stores that require a visit during store hours do not count as limited time boxes.
A bike friendly letterbox is located in an area where bicycles or mountain bikes are permitted and have plenty of room to roam. For instance, while it is legal to ride ones bicycle on busy city streets, it is not considered bike friendly if there are no designated bike lanes available for use near the letterbox. And while many trails may be accessible to mountain bike, it is not considered bike friendly if the trail is for hikers only.
The trail or path to the letterbox should be accessible by wheelchairs or strollers the entire way. However, the letterbox itself may not be reachable from a wheelchair or stroller, and those using them may need assistance from others to actually acquire the box. The letterbox may be planted too high or low for someone in a wheelchair to physically reach, or too far off from the main trail for a wheelchair, but as long as an assistant can retrieve the box and bring it back for the wheelchair-bound person, it's considered wheelchair accessible.
You'll be expected to use your head on this one in order to decipher the clue. The code might be easy or hard-this image promises nothing on that count-the only thing it does promise is that the clue won't be straight-forward as most.
A box that requires some sort of special or unusual equipment like for scuba diving or rock climbing, or even something as simple as a ladder. A compass is not considered "special" equipment for letterboxers! Premium Member Perk!
This image marks letterboxes that require a compass in order to find. The lack of this picture means the clue doesn't require a compass OR that the creator of the letterbox did not specify a compass requirement. It's generally a good idea to always carry a compass in your letterboxing kit, though, so you'll always be prepared.
Premium members can search for boxes that do not have the compass attribute. Premium Member Perk!
This letterbox requires payment of some sort of fee-probably a parking or entrance fee-in order to find. The lack of this picture does not necessarily mean no fees are required. The creator may not have specified fees, or perhaps fees were added since the box was planted. It's always a good idea to carry a few extra dollars in case of an unexpected fee or two.
Premium members can search for boxes that do not have the fee-area icon. Premium Member Perk!
Those who plant letterboxes are able to point out their favorite plants by assigning them the Planter's Choice Award. They might do this because they consider it one of their best boxes, or perhaps it has sentimental value. Whatever the reason, the planter wants you to notice this box. Premium Member Perk!
The blue diamond marks letterboxes that are highly recommended by other letterboxers. If your time is limited, you might want to focus on finding a Blue Diamond letterbox. Premium Member Perk!
Each week, the highest rated box on Atlas Quest is designated the Box of the Week. Use this to search for boxes that have reached such lofty heights. Premium Member Perk!
Some people like to find boxes that are 'historic,' and using this option in one's search can help narrow down the possibilities. A historic box, in this case, is any letterbox that was planted at least ten years ago and has been listed on Atlas Quest for at least five years. Premium Member Perk!
Some letterboxers want to find that elusive box few people ever find or even search for. Searching for 'rare finds,' in this case, will return all boxes that have not had a recorded find for at least one full year. Premium Member Perk!

Premium Member Perk! = Search options that are only available to premium members.

Hike Types

AttributeDescription
This letterbox is located indoors -- perfect for those cold, wet days when you really do not want to go outside.
A drive-by letterbox, as defined on this website, is a letterbox that requires perhaps 5 to 10 minutes to nab from the time you park your car. A drive-by letterbox will be hidden within eyesight of where one parks, or at least so close that if it were raining, the person would take the box to their car to stamp in.
A stroll is something that's less than a mile round-trip of walking, which would take most people less than 30 minutes to complete (find and return to their starting point) but still too far out to be considered a drive by.
A walk is something that requires 1 to 2 miles round-trip of walking/hiking, which would take most people between 30 to 60 minutes to complete.
A hike is a box that requires 2 to 4 miles round-trip of hiking, which would take most people between 1 to 2 hours to complete.
A trek is 4 to 8 miles round-trip of hiking, and will typically take most people anywhere from 2 to 4 hours to complete.
A backpack is 8 to 15 miles round-trip of hiking, and will typically take most people anywhere from 4 to 8 hours to complete.
A thru-hike requires 15 or more miles round-trip of hiking, and will typically take most people a minimum of 8 hours to complete.

Note: Use a little common sense with these icons. A flat, paved, 1-mile trail would be a stroll. A rugged 1-mile trail that climbs 1,000 feet in elevation gain would be a walk. Even though both trails are one mile long, they would each fall into different categories since the difficulty level is very different. There are no hard or fast rules regarding this-just use a little common sense. A typical hiking trail that's two miles long would normally be a walk, but if the walk requires an extreme climb going up thousands of feet on a rarely maintained trail, mark it as a hike.

Emoticons

AttributeDescription
This is a happy letterbox—there are no reported issues with the box and no known repairs are needed.
This is a sad letterbox—it needs some help. Maybe there's a torn ziploc bag or maybe there's been a catastrophic box failure and the logbook is unusable or stamp severely damaged. If you wish to help, by all means, please do!

How do I manage tags?

Last Updated: February 5, 2018 05:07:42 PM
First, make sure you are logged into your Atlas Quest account. You can't manage anything if AQ doesn't know who you are!

Then, when you view a letterbox, tracker or event—you'll see a set of checkboxes for each of the available tags. Check or uncheck as necessary, then click the "Save Changes" button to make them stick.

To change the name of a tag, click the pencil next to the "Save Changes" button. The pencil represents the 'edit' link, and it'll let you edit the names of the tags.

Do I print out clues or is there an app to save them to an electronic device?

Last Updated: December 30, 2017 09:17:47 AM
It's up to you. Many people print out clues while others prefer to go paperless and use their smartphones or tablets.

Android apps
iPhone apps

Is there a BlackBerry app for Atlas Quest?

Last Updated: December 30, 2017 09:16:46 AM
Sorry, but no, there are current no native BlackBerry apps for Atlas Quest at this time. If you are interested in developing one or know someone who is, please have them contact Green Tortuga to access that AQ API.

It's been reported that BlackBerry devices running 10.2.1 and later can install and run the Box Radar app for Android.

Who is the webmaster here?

Last Updated: December 30, 2017 08:23:40 AM
The Green Tortuga, a.k.a. Ryan Carpenter. While he might be the mastermind behind the operation, however, there are a lot of supporting actors and actresses who've helped contribute ideas, comments, and tested various features. For technical help, Wes—a former mastermind behind letterboxing.org—has been invaluable. For ideas and suggestions, Amanda from Seattle has been a driving force of inspiration. But ultimately, it's the Tortuga that makes the final call on features and changes.

What kind of prizes should I leave for first finders?

Last Updated: December 29, 2017 12:36:19 PM
Although you are not required to leave a prize, many letterboxers enjoy being the first finder and having a token of this accomplishment. From a thread on the boards letterboxers have suggested the following: leave a hitchhiker for the taking, a patch commemorating their find, a first finder sticker, first finder certificates, lino cutters or other boxing supplies, an blank log book, first finder magnets, key chain, Shrinky Dink awards, first finder custom buttons, or even gift certificates. Just be creative. Some suggest that the first finder prize either be related to the box, the planter, or the location. Others say that just finding the box is award enough.

Do not put explosives, ammo, knives, drugs, and alcohol in a Letterbox. Respect the local laws. All ages of people hide and seek letterboxes, so use some thought before placing a first finder.

Food items are ALWAYS a BAD IDEA. Animals have better noses than humans, and in some cases boxes have been chewed through and destroyed because of food items. Please do not put food or fragrant items in a Letterbox.

You may also be interested in this discussion on the Atlas Quest boards regarding first finders.

Is it possible to change the theme displayed on Atlas Quest?

Last Updated: December 29, 2017 12:34:57 PM
The theme is often set to reflect an upcoming holiday or date of significance. The theme may change several times a month. If you would prefer to pick your own theme, you can change that from your Theme Preferences page. If you have manually changed the theme and you want to revert back to the automatically-changes-randomly default, you must return to your theme preferences and unselect it.

Members can also create their own themes to use and share with others. Ryan wrote a tutorial for creating websites that includes tips on how to create your own themes.

How do I search the help pages?

Last Updated: December 29, 2017 12:25:42 PM
From the main Help page, you can use the search box on the right side of the page. Type in the terms you want to search for. By default, it will search for those terms only in the questions in the help. If you check the indicated box, it will also include answers that match your search terms. Also, words that are three letters or less are generally ignored by the search engine as being too common. Think of search terms that are four letters or longer. Only the first 100 matching results are listed.

Without any qualifiers, the search will assume you want to find entries that have any of your keywords in them. So if you search for National Park Service, it will return entries that have the words national, park, or service. An entry only needs to have any one of those three words to match. If you want to search for entries that have all three words, you should include the phrase in quotes (e.g. "National Park Service") which returns all posts with that entire phrase.

Additional qualifiers can help you narrow down your search further:
+ A leading plus sign requires that the word be in the search results.
- A leading minus sign requires that the word not be in the search results.
( ) Parenthesis are used to group words into sub-groups
* An asterisk added to the end of a word will match all words that start with the same word it has been added to
" A phrase in double quotes will only match entries that have the entire phrase in it

Examples
apple banana find entries that contain at least one of these words
+apple +juice find entries that contain both of these words
+apple -macintosh find entries that contain the word "apple" but not "macintosh"
+(apple banana) -macintosh find entries that contain "apple" or "banana", but not "macintosh"
letterbox* find entires that contain "letterbox", "letterboxer", "letterboxers", "letterboxing", etc.
"some words" find entires that contain "some words of wisdom", but not "some noise words"

What browsers are supported by Atlas Quest?

Last Updated: December 29, 2017 12:24:18 PM
Firefox is the recommended browser. It's a solid browser that works on almost all types of systems including PCs and Macs with an extensive source of extensions to customize your needs. It's also the main browser the webmaster, Ryan, develops the site with so is the most unlikely to experience problems.

But any modern browser installed or updated since about March of 2017 will work well. This includes Firefox, Chrome, Safari and Microsoft Edge. Note that Internet Explorer is no longer supported—Microsoft is pushing people to their Edge browser so that's the one we will support.

To log into Atlas Quest, you must have cookies on your browser enabled. Most of the website should work fine if JavaScript is disabled, but there are a couple of features that rely heavily on JavaScript so it is recommended that you leave it enabled.

What's up with the chick logo?

Last Updated: December 29, 2017 12:18:33 PM
You mean Marjorie? Back in the early days while developing Atlas Quest, Amanda started taking amusing pictures of the chicks in common letterboxing situations. Just for kicks, mind you, but when Ryan saw them, he realized that a couple of the pictures could fit with the tutorials on the site. They were so popular, Amanda and Ryan looked for other places to put the chick—now named Marjorie since she's yellow like margarine. It became a theme of sorts. After deciding on the name Atlas Quest for the website, Amanda and Ryan thought it would be funny to have the chick holding the world on its back—just like the Greek legend of Atlas. Next thing you know, Marjorie had a full-time job on Atlas Quest as a mascot.

Marjorie

What do all the options for printing multiple clues mean?

Last Updated: December 27, 2017 08:25:41 AM
Include table of contents?
If you're printing clues for a lot of letterboxes, it might help to also print a table of contents showing you the order the boxes. If you're just printing a few clues, you might consider that a waste of paper and ink and choose to skip it. The choice is yours!

One clue per page?
Some people prefer to cram as many clues as possible into a single page to save paper while others prefer to print each clue on a separate page so they can change the order easily. If you select this option, we'll try to print no more than one clue per page. Otherwise, we'll try to fit as many clues as possible on each page.

Allow split clues?
Sometimes a clue will spill off the end of a printed page and continue onto the next page. That's called a 'split clue' for our purposes, and requires that pages stay in the printed order so you can follow the clue from one page to the next and can be a hassle to deal with. If you don't allow split clues, we'll start the clue on a new page if it won't completely fit on the current page. (If the clue is so large that it can't fit on a page entirely by itself, it will still start on a new page, but split anyhow onto subsequent pages.) If you've selected the previous option to print only one clue per page, this option won't have any effect since one clue per page already prevents split clues.

Show QR codes to record finds?
If you use a smartphone to record your finds and attempts (but prefer paper clues for searches), you can choose to print QR codes that will take you directly to the record find/attempt page for the given box or series. If you don't use a smartphone or prefer to record your finds on a desktop when you get home, you'd have no reason to print such QR codes.

Use single-column layout?
Studies have shown that it's more difficult for people to read long lines of text than shorter lines of text. Thus, the reason that newspaper columns are that—columns. Some people don't like columns in their printed clues, however, and here you can choose if you want your clues to show up as multiple columns or just a single column. If you view/print clues to a small device like a smartphone, you won't see columns regardless of this selection—there's just not enough room for columns. But on a large desktop or most printed materials, you'll see two columns. Two columns can also save space on printed pages if the information on it is particularly narrow—it'll ensure that both sides of your page are printed on rather than just a single column with a lot of white space on the right half of the page.

Hide box details?
Some people feel that a lot of the stuff provided with clues is fluff because it's not needed to actually find the boxes. The owner of the box, the carvers, the plant date, the find summaries, etc. All fluff! Most people like seeing this fluff, however, and if you do, make sure not to check this option which will hide the fluff.

A note about older browsers

Some of these options won't work at all with older browsers. If you're using the most recent versions of Firefox, Chrome, Safari or IE, no problem! Most people have relatively current versions of Firefox, Chrome and Safari and all features will work fine. Internet Explorer often cannot be updated on older operating systems, however, so if you're on an older computer with Internet Explorer, many of these options simply won't work. The table of contents, QR codes, and hide box details options should work with all browsers on all computers since they don't rely on new CSS constructs to work correctly.

What happened to print-friendly clues?

Last Updated: December 27, 2017 08:24:36 AM
There used to be a button explicitly for "print-friendly clues." The print-friendly page used black text on a white background, removed decorative images, and removed any information not required to find a letterbox such as the planter's name or the last found date of a box.

Breaking this down into two issues: People liked the black text on a white background and removal of decorative images. People did not like the removed information such as the planter's name or last found date of the box. So it was recommended that you just print the clue page. It was always print friendly, regardless of the horrible colors you might see on the screen. The only difference between printing the clue page and printing the print-friendly was the lack of additional information not needed to find a letterbox. But since pretty much everyone wanted that extra information, it made the print-friendly page completely useless. Nobody actually wanted to print it! So it was removed.

When that happened, a lot of people spoke up to complain that they used the page to read otherwise difficult-to-read clues. They didn't want to print the page, but they still wanted to see it since it got rid of all those ugly or difficult-to-read color combinations that people used in their clues. It turns out that the print-friendly page was more often used as a screen-friendly page, and the screen-friendly page was more often used as a print-friendly page!

Rather than create a "screen friendly" link, however, a new Miscellaneous Preference was added so you could ignore color choices by planters completely. Use that option, and the clue page will look much like the old print-friendly page did. Regardless of whether or not that option is selected, the printed view should still look good with black text on a white background.

How do I switch between metric and imperial measurement units?

Last Updated: December 27, 2017 08:21:47 AM
You can switch between metric and imperial (standard) measurement units in your Letterbox & Search Preferences.

What do the icons next to a member's trailname mean?

Last Updated: December 20, 2017 07:28:07 PM
IconMeaning
View Profile Allows you to view this member's profile.
Contact Member Allows you to contact this member.
View Logbook Allows you to view this member's online logbook.
Add Note Read Note View and/or edit any notes you've taken about this member. If the notepad is blank, you haven't added any notes for this member yet. If the notepad has writing on it, then there are notes to read.
Planted 1 letterbox Planted 20-39 letterboxes Planted 300-399 letterboxes Trophies represent the number of planted letterboxes. Bronze trophies display your exact number of plants from 1 to 9. Silver trophies represent between 10 and 99 planted boxes (the number on the trophy is rounded down to the nearest 10), while gold trophies represent between 100 and 999 plants (the number on the trophy is rounded down to the nearest 100).
Found 1 letterbox Found 20-29 letterboxes Found 300-399 letterboxes Found 4,000-4,999 letterboxes Found 50,000-59,999 letterboxes Ribbons represent the number of found letterboxes. The ribbon gets an extra "point" at the bottom for every zero that follows the first digit. The ribbons are color-coded to the first digit roughly in a rainbow pattern from 1 to 9: 1 = red, 2 = orange, 3 = yellow, 4 = green, 5 = cyan, 6 = blue, 7 = magenta, 8 = purple and 9 = silver/grey.
1 message posted 20-29 messages posted 300-399 messages posted 4,000-4,999 messages posted 50,000-59,999 messages posted 600,000-699,999 message posted Stars represent the number of messages the member has posted to the Atlas Quest message boards. The number of stars or the size of the star increases as the count number increases. Each small star is worth one digit, and each big star is worth three digits. For example, two small stars = 10-99. One large star and one small star = 3 + 1 = 1,000-9,999. The biggest stars are color-coded to the first digit in roughly a rainbow pattern: 1 = red, 2 = orange, 3 = yellow, 4 = green, 5 = cyan, 6 = blue, 7 = magenta, 8 = purple and 9 = silver/grey. (If there are small and large stars, the color on the small star means nothing.)
New member since November 11, 2011 The stroller indicates that the user is new to Atlas Quest and will appear for the first two weeks from the time they signed up.
Profile updated November 11, 2011 Means that member has updated their profile within the last seven days. It may be nothing more exciting than adding a favorite food to the profile, or it may be they have filled out their interview!
Last Login: > 1 month Last Login: > 3 month Last Login: > 1 year The green, yellow and red battery indicators represent the last time the member logged into Atlas Quest. Green and still mostly full means they haven't logged in for at least 1 month. Yellow and half empty means that they haven't logged in for at least 1 quarter (3 months). Red and empty means that they haven't logged in for at least 1 full year.
Happy Anniversary! The picture of a cake means this user is celebrating an anniversary—the anniversary of the date they signed up on Atlas Quest!
Resting in Peace This is one icon you will never see next to your name, and you would probably prefer if others did not see it next to your name either since it means you have died. We won't delete your account if we find out about your death, but it lets other people know why you are no longer replying to AQ mail or maintaining your letterboxes. It also means there is a tribute section for you in the letterboxer obituaries.
Those with premium memberships at Atlas Quest get a feather in the cap to recognize their important contribution in helping to fund Atlas Quest. There are a few dozen hats available for premium members to choose, but you'll see a red or yellow feather in their hat regardless of the type they've selected. Additionally, as premium members, they get access to special features not accessible with a free membership. Learn more about the benefits of premium membership and how you can become one too!
Coffee Cup This icon is a premium member perk that indicates you've done an exchange with the person.

P-Count Icon Sequence

Bronze trophies (1-9 plants):
Silver trophies (10-99 plants):
Gold trophies (100-999 plants):
Winner's podium (1,000+ plants):

F-Count Icon Sequence

0-point ribbons (1-9 finds):
1-point ribbons (10-99 finds):
2-point ribbons (100-999 finds):
3-point ribbons (1,000-9,999 finds):
4-point ribbons (10,000-99,999 finds):

Message-Count Icon Sequence

1 small star (1-9 posts):
2 small stars (10-99 posts):
3 small stars (100-999 posts):
1 large star, 1 small star (1,000-9,999 posts):
1 large star, 2 small stars (10,000-99,999 posts):
1 large star, 3 small stars (100,000-999,999 posts):

What are Treasure Hikers?

Last Updated: December 4, 2017 06:40:47 PM
Yep. We're all treasure hikers in the general sense of the word... each little piece of art set free in the world is a treasure to plant and find.
But there is a larger game afoot to encourage more boxes on longer distance trails and paths, and that game is Treasure Hikers!
Mama Fox, of the Little Foxes, came up with the original idea and it wasn't long before other states wanted to kick up their hiking heels as well.


Treasure Hiking is a fun way to set hiking goals while letterboxing and earn cool pathtags or other accessories!

Guidelines

Here's the only rule: One point for each mile hiked while letterboxing, either finding or planting, on hikes of 1 mile or longer round trip.

If you have a question about whether something fits the Rule, use your own judgment, bearing in mind that we are operating on the honor system when you report your points. If you need clarification, read through the Suggestions and Footnotes below. The FAQ list is found below the table showing participating states and state coordinators. If you have questions about the program in one of the participating states, please contact the coordinator for that state.

Friendly Suggestions:
  • Each hike must be a minimum of one (1) mile in length round trip.
  • Maintenance should not count -- you will be doing maintenance anyway ;-))
  • Boxes and plants should only be counted once for the purposes of "hiking while letterboxing". So if you hike out to a box you have already found with a friend or for maintenance, enjoy the walk, but don't count the points. Or take a new box with you to plant.
  • The true Treasure Hiker Spirit is about hiking while letterboxing, and reporting is on the honor system, so let's all try to play fair and have fun. If you "cheat", you are only denying yourself boxes you haven't found, miles you haven't hiked, and beautiful places you haven't seen!

Other Footnotes:
  • Refer to your state's hiking motivator to find out when the start date for the program is.
  • Keep track of your hikes and boxes found, maybe like this or just add the Treasure Hiker Widget. When you earn enough points for a new pathtag, email your list to the state motivator and you will receive your tag!! List should include date, mileage, boxes found.
  • All hikes must be done IN the state you are requesting a tag from -- but ANY letterboxer is eligible- you don't have to be a resident of that state to participate. Trail miles earned in each participating state count toward that state's particular pathtag.
  • Refer to your state's hiking motivator for the cost of the tag (most are around $3 - $3.50). The cost is to recoup the upfront costs and shipping-- like state patches, no profit is made off of these.

If you are interested in starting a program for your state, contact one of the state representatives listed below:
Participating stateWho to contactHow to contactStarting DatePathtags Available
Alaska KnottyKnitterDirtMonkeyAQ Mail1/29/201425, 49
CaliforniaTurtlegirl 19AQ Mail4/1/2009
ColoradoThe3DTsAQ Mail1/1/2010
ConnecticutKit Kat 61 or The QuackersAQ Mail6/1/2009 25, 50, 75, 100, 250
FloridaMonkey Wrangler AQ Mail5/1/2009
Georgia Buttercup, Hawkeye AQ Mail3/20/2009
IllinoisNitrocatAQ Mail4/24/2009
KentuckyEeny Meany Miney MoeAQ Mail3/1/2009
MaineAiphidAQ Mail5/1/2009 25, 50, 100
MassachusettsMATreasureHiking (aka ladybugsmom)AQ Mail to MATreasureHiking4/25/2009 50, 100, 150, 200
Michiganthe hicks from the sticksAQ Mail5/22/2009
New HampshireBubbaloo MagooAQ Mail5/21/2009
North CarolinaThe Little Foxes, The Wolf family, Knit WitAQ Mail3/1/200925, 50, 100
Ohio Mn8X AQ Mail3/1/2009
OregonMystic DreamerAQ Mail3/20/2009
Rhode IslandSouthpawAQ Mail6/30/2012 25, 50
South CarolinaGreycrazyAQ Mail3/1/2009 25
TennesseeScouttrekkieAQ Mail3/4/200925
Virginiawee3AQ Mail6/1/2009
WashingtonCampFireLadyAQ Mail3/20/2009

There are other similar hiking incentive programs. Contact the organizer(s) listed for the program.
Program nameWho to contactHow to contactStarting Date
New York Letterbox Hiking ChallengeJackbear, Scout, or SahalieAQ e-mail4/2/09
NC Mountain ChallengeDixie or The Little FoxesAQ e-mailin planning stages

Frequently Asked Questions
Really the program is on the honor system, and we prefer that you have fun in the spirit of the game and count your points using your own conscience.
However, some questions get asked regularly so, for the sake of consistent answers (and the sanity of the moderators), this section was added.

What if the box is a one mile hike but I get lost and travel for 3 miles? How many points would that be? Only one. No extra points for being directionally challenged.
Can I go get 10 drivebys at .1 mile each and say that's one mile? No. None of these are qualifying boxes. A qualifying box must be a one mile hike (round trip).
Can I use a bike instead of hiking? No. The program is for hiking. There's nothing stopping you from making your own Treasure Biking program, though.
Do attempts count? No. They don't count as finds and they don't count toward points in this program either. However, if you take a box with you and plant it at one mile or more you could get a point for that.
What if I start a 6 mile hike but I don't finish it? I only do 3 miles one day, then next week I go back for the farthest boxes and do 6 miles? Do I count 9 miles total or only 6? You should count 9 miles total. You did 3 miles one day and 6 miles another day. Just because the boxes happened to be in a series does not change that you hiked 9 miles total on 2 separate days to qualifying boxes.
Can my dog get a pathtag? If your dog walked the distance with you, go ahead and order one for his collar too!
What if I walk a mile to get to a driveby box? Then can I count it? No. A qualifying box is one that is one mile in hike length for anyone to get to. You can't make it a qualifying box by just setting your own starting point.
If I am in a park where there are several separate letterboxes listed and I can find them all by stringing them together to make a hike greater than one mile, can I receive pathtag points? The Treasure Hikers program was originally envisioned as a way to encourage planting boxes on longer hikes in areas where the tendency seemed to be planting drivebys. While many of the coordinators still adhere to the idea that the box you are seeking should require a hike of one mile or more, we also recognize that there are some areas where finding a mile-long trail may be a challenge. Follow your conscience. If you live in such an area, consider planting an urban box that might incorporate a mile-long "sightseeing tour" of your city in the clues.
I heard New York was doing things a little different, what's the deal with that? The New York organizers were inspired by the original Treasure Hikers group, but being New Yorkers, wanted to put a little different spin on it. A Challenge Patch is available for different miles accomplished, 25,50, 75, and 100 instead of a pathtag. They also honor attempts and maintenance, and any other excuse you have to get out and letterbox. As with the Treasure Hikers, the New York Letterbox Hiking Challenge encourages participants to challenge themselves to go on longer hikes. For more information on the NY guidelines, go to:NY Letterbox Hiking Challenge Patch Guidelines
What about partial miles? If we hike 3.5 miles round trip can we round our points up to 4? Rounding up from the halfway point is technically taking credit for mileage that you didn't really hike. Most of the members are rounding down to the whole if the fraction is under a half and rounding down to the half if it is over the halfway point. The beauty of the tracking widget designed by Wassa is that you can input exact mileage without rounding at all. If you truly want credit for that partial mile, use the widget tracker. :-) In addition, as stated above, each individual hike must be at least one mile round trip to begin with. No hiking .7 miles one week and .3 the next and adding them together for one mile.

How can I get a list of the LbNA events?

Last Updated: November 29, 2017 08:40:49 AM
There are no events listed on LbNA. The only major listing for letterboxing events is here on Atlas Quest. You can access events from the Event Calendar link in the Toolbox menubar option.

Actually, LbNA listed gatherings on the original chat list at Yahoo in the early years of letterboxing. The original chat list for Letterboxing North America is still active and now there is a link to it in the menu: Home > Yahoo! Letterbox-USA.

How do hitchhikers work?

Last Updated: October 9, 2017 02:17:26 AM
Hitchhikers are letterboxes that travel from box to box with no permanent home of their own. They're also known as parasites in some circles, though in the United States the term hitchhiker is the standard. A hitchhiker includes the same basic components as a letterbox: a rubber stamp and a logbook either in a very small container or bag. It is found inside a host letterbox.

Stamp your personal signature stamp and the stamp of the host letterbox in the hitchhiker's logbook. Stamp the hitchhiker in your logbook and the host letterbox's logbook. The finder typically takes the hitchhiker and plants it in another letterbox.

Hitchhiker Etiquette Tips
  • When planting a hitchhiker, make the stamp, container, and logbook small so it will fit well in a letterbox.
  • When moving a hitchhiker to another letterbox, don't cram it in the letterbox. Wait until you find a container big enough for it to fit.
  • When logging in to a small hitchhiker logbook, try to minimize the number of pages used. Consider stamping in only a portion of the stamps and try to squeeze images on as few pages as possible.
  • If you know you won't have an opportunity to replant the hitchhiker in another location, don't take it. Leave it for the next finder to move it along. The goal is to move the hitchhiker along, not to have it sit in someone's bag at home.

[Source: Silent Doug's articles on hitchhikers that had been at letterboxing.info.]

Added 10/2017: Some people who plant hitchhikers intend for them to be a pleasant surprise for the finder. Hence, it is considered bad form to disclose where you have dropped off a hitchhiker -- unless it's your own, which you can announce to the world if you so choose. It's also considered bad form to leave someone else's hitchhiker in a hitchhiker hostel (HHH) unless the owner stipulates that doing so is acceptable; there's no surprise to finding a hitchhiker in a hitchhiker hostel.

Added 12/2007: Hitchhikers have now started to travel in postals. As with all HHs, if you question if it is only to travel in one type of box, contact the owner prior to changing box types. Many postal HHs stay with the ring they start in (And sometimes do not have their own logbook), while others jump from postal box to postal box (These have separate logbooks). They may also jump from postals into traditional letterboxes if the owner allows this. A good rule of thumb, "When in doubt, ask the box owner." mff

If you're considering launching a hitchhiker, you may want to consider making it a flea instead. A flea is much like a hitchhiker except there are more possible ways to move it, including just slipping it into some other letterboxer's pocket while he's not looking.

What should I use for the actual boxes?

Last Updated: August 23, 2017 07:39:38 AM
There's no one right answer to this sort of question. Most people use some sort of Rubbermaid or Lock-n-Lock container, something sturdy and waterproof. If a letterbox is planted indoors, it may not need something that sturdy. If it's planted underwater, it might need something more sturdy. Your best bet is just to find several boxes and see the kinds of containers other people are using and check out how well they're holding up.

How do I view my uploaded photos?

Last Updated: August 12, 2017 04:05:48 AM
  1. Put your mouse cursor over the "My Page" link in the top navigation bar.
  2. Click on "My Logbook"
  3. In the "Letterbox Action" drop menu (click on the down arrow), click on "Photos Uploaded"

How can I rearrange my finds from the same day in my online logbook so they match the order in my physical logbook?

Last Updated: August 11, 2017 09:49:45 AM
You can't rearrange your finds, but Atlas Quest does track the order in which you record your finds so as long as you record your finds in the same order that you found them, they'll sort in the correct order (as long as you're sorting by date, of course).

If you record finding multiple boxes of a series at the same time, your finds will be sorted in the order that the boxes show up in the series.

If you record finding multiple series at the same time (such as multiple boxes at an event from the "Record Finds" from the event page), the finds may be displayed in any order because AQ cannot determine in what order you found the boxes.

If you've already recorded your finds in the incorrect order, you'll have to delete them and re-add the finds in the correct order to change the order.

What can I use as a trip name?

Last Updated: August 4, 2017 11:17:57 AM
A trip name can use pretty much any letter, number or symbol. The Trip Planner page will shorten your name to 25 characters if necessary to make it fit. Using common abbreviations such as Hwy instead of Highway or Fwy instead of Fwy can help keep the name short—in fact, AQ will automatically abbreviate the words for highway and freeway to Hwy and Fwy respectively. Interstates names are automatically filled out in full—I-5 will automatically be renamed into Interstate 5. This does conflict with the usual rule that short is good, but for technical reasons regarding database indexes, the word Interstate works better than the letter I.

Additionally, it's recommended that you be specific which road you might be talking about. Nearly every state has a Highway 17, for instance, so to make your route clear, include the state (if it's a state road) or county (if it's a county road). A name such as CA Hwy 17 works much better than Highway 17.

Also, don't use the words TO, FROM or ALONG as the name of a trip. These are reserved words that have very specific meanings for Atlas Quest and your trip planner searches will not work as expected if you include one of these words in the name of the trip.

How do you adopt a letterbox once you have the owner's permission?

Last Updated: July 22, 2017 08:21:07 AM
The owner of the letterbox is able to transfer the ownership to you by using the Edit Box option and changing the name of the owner. Only a registered owner or planter can change the owner of the box. The adopter does not need to do anything (and can't do anything) to transfer ownership.

How do I search by location?

Last Updated: July 20, 2017 04:45:42 PM
The location-based search can take various forms:

  • Leave the option blank: (All Locations search) If you don't include any location information, all locations will be returned.
  • City, State/Country: (Location-Based search) If you search from a specific point such as a city, park, address, or zip code, all locations within the specified distance will be included in the search results. If the distance is zero, all boxes within the specified park, city, or specified address will be included and no others. This little trick does not work for zip codes, however--it will include all boxes within the city that the zip code matches instead. For more details about what sorts of locations can be used and the proper format for entering them, check out How does a location based search work?
  • Latitude, Longitude: (Location-Based search) If you use a GPS and want to search based on latitude and longitude coordinates, not a problem! Go for it!
  • City, County, State, or Country: (Area search) If your search radius is smaller than the location being searched, AQ will generate an "area" search that includes all locations within that area. For instance, a "10 mile search for all boxes in California" doesn't really make a lot of sense-California is HUGE!-so AQ assumes you want to run a search for all boxes in California. On the other hand, a "100 mile search for all boxes in Rhode Island" has its own paradox since Rhode Island has a much smaller radius than 100 miles. Atlas Quest perceives this request as a search for all boxes in Rhode Island along with neighboring boxes in bordering states. So specifically, it's the radius of your search compared to the radius of the location being search that determines if the search is a location-based search or an area search. If you keep the default search radius at 15 miles, any location larger than 15 miles becomes an area search while any location smaller than 15 miles becomes a location-based search.
  • BETWEEN Location AND Location: (Rectangle search) If you run a search for all objects (box, event, virtual, or whatever) between Point A and Point B, AQ will run a "rectangle search. The two points mark opposite corners of a rectangle, and any objects within that rectangle will be returned. The distance, if specified, will be ignored.
  • FROM Location TO Location: (Linear search) If you run a search that specifies a location to another location, AQ will run a linear search between those two points, and the distances will include both the distance along that path from the first location and the distance off the linear path that the object (box, event, virtual, etc.) is listed. The colons are required to distinguish it from locations that might actually use the word as part of a location.
  • ALONG Route FROM Location TO Location: (Trip planner search) This will run a search from Point A to Point B following one of the pre-defined routes-mostly Interstates and popular long-distance paths.

If you use the trip planner but Atlas Quest cannot find the requested route, the search will be converted into a linear search and the ALONG part will be ignored.

Search Options

  • Use Exact Locations: This option is particularly useful for area searches when you want to run a search for mystery boxes within a specified area.
  • Use Original Locations: Premium members can override the location of events, letterboxes, and such, and when AQ runs a search, it will use these custom locations by default if they're available. By checking this option, you can force AQ to use the original locations specified by the owner and ignore your custom locations. Since custom locations are a premium member perk, only premium members will see this option.
  • Directional Search: A location-based search, by default, returns boxes from all directions, but you can narrow your search even more by specifying what direction to include results for: N, NE, E, SE, S, SW, W, or NW. Only boxes within a 45° slice in that direction from your specified location will be included in the results. For all other types of searches (area, linear, rectangular, and trip), AQ marks an imaginary rectangle that fits completely around your search and using the center point of that imaginary rectangle, will only show matching boxes within the quadrant you specify. For example, if you ran a trip search for the length of I-5 and specified a "north" direction at the same time, it'll only include boxes in the northern half of I-5 in your search.

Advanced Search Option

The Use Exact Locations options seems relatively straight-forward, but it's actually trickier than you might expect. For instance, what if there's a mystery box whose location is listed as "somewhere in Northern California"? If you run a search for mystery boxes in California, even if you "use exact locations," you'll usually still want it to return boxes somewhere in "Northern California." People expect AQ to sort boxes into certain levels-address, city, county, state, and country. Any box that doesn't fit neatly into a category (such as "Northern California") can be problematic, and for searching purposes, AQ will "upgrade" Northern California into a "California" level, allowing it to show when you run an "exact" location for boxes in "California." Otherwise, you might miss such a letterbox completely.

Another example where "exact" can be a little fuzzy is park names and addresses. What if one person lists the location of their box as "Lincoln Park, 2323 Elm Gove Road" but you run an "exact" search for "Lincoln Park"? Most people would expect this to match even though, technically speaking, it's not really exact. Close enough, though!

So that Use Exact Locations option isn't accurate in the strictest sense of the word. It is possible, however, to force AQ to run an exact search in the very strictest sense of the word-set the radius of your search to 0. It's somewhat of a hack and for most people, you shouldn't ever want to use this option. But if you find yourself ever wanting to run a very strict exact location for your search, that's how you do it.

Jefferson County, Colorado

Last Updated: June 18, 2017 09:08:58 AM
Jefferson County in Colorado used to have a policy where you had to apply for a permit for 'boxes. They're one of the largest landholders along the Front Range (the part of the Rocky Mountains facing east and the largest area of population in the state)

Now, as long as 6 very basic guidelines are observed, it's letterboxing heaven. No permits, no muss, no fuss! You should also know that Jeffco (as it's known locally) have volunteers who regularly check on boxes and caches.

Here's the link with the specifics (geocaching and letterboxing):

http://jeffco.us/Open-Space/Documents/Activities-Documents/Geocache-Guidelines/

Can I record finds for boxes that are not listed on AQ?

Last Updated: April 3, 2017 08:12:04 AM
Since the day Atlas Quest went online, the number one feature request was the ability to list a letterbox as a find even if it isn't listed by the owner on Atlas Quest. Seeing as it's not a feature essential to the use of Atlas Quest, however, the option accessible only to Premium Members. If you are a premium member and try to record a find for an unlisted letterbox, Atlas Quest will show you a list of other unlisted boxes that people have recorded finding and allow you to add one of them or, if the box you found is not in that list, allow you to add a new one. The find will then be listed in your logbook and, if it's a traditional letterbox, count towards your F-count like any traditional letterbox.

For non-premium members, the answer is simple: You can't. You still have the option, however, of contacting the owner of the letterbox and ask to have his or her boxes listed. Often, the owner is more than happy to oblige. You can even offer to list the letterbox on the person's behalf—Atlas Quest does supported adopted letterboxes, and you can ensure the creator of the box still gets the appropriate credit. Do not list a letterbox without the author's permission. If someone is caught adding letterboxes that they do not have permission to add, the letterboxes will be deleted and the offending account suspended.

There is one exception to this rule: A few times each year, this premium member feature is opened for non-premium members to take advantage of. These days are variously called Free Listing Day or Hat Day since a theme featuring many of the premium member hats shows up on designated dates. What dates? It's random—it could happen on any day, and with absolutely no warning. Many non-premium members are valuable members of this community, and Free Listing Day is designed for them. Members who regularly check Atlas Quest and are active message board participants will likely be able to take advantage of Free Listing Day while those who log in infrequently will likely miss it.

If having an accurate found count is important to you, however, becoming a Premium Member is your best option. For just pennies a day—less than a pint of Ben & Jerry's best each month—you'll be able to record finds of unlisted letterboxes.

Can I get board messages sent directly to my email?

Last Updated: March 10, 2017 05:48:22 AM
Unfortunately, at this time, the answer is no.

What do I put into the letterbox?

Last Updated: February 27, 2017 11:00:02 AM
Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Use the stamp in the logbook in your own logbook, and sign the logbook in the letterbox. If a ZipLock bag is torn or has a hole in it or something, it's okay to replace the bag, but putting items into the box is a geocaching gimmick, not a letterboxing one.

If this question is asking what does a person who is making a letterbox put into a letterbox then the answer is go out and find some letterboxes and observe what is found: usually that will be a stamp, maybe a cloth cover for the stamp so that it doesn't get ink all over, and a logbook. Most letterboxers carry their own ink and pen so those are rarely included.

How do I carve small letters?

Last Updated: November 19, 2016 09:07:33 AM
Remember to carve the mirror image so that when stamped they come out correctly. Use lots of magnification, go slowly and breathe.