Geocaching… it’s a game of high tech hide and seek for gadget freaks. Someone hides a container — a cache. Then they post its latitude & longitude on the internet, and other people go hunting for it. If they find it they sign a log to record their visit.
The minimum you have to have to play is a handheld GPSr (Global Positioning Satellite receiver). Global Positioning Satellites are used in all forms of navigation today. They send signals that these receivers use to figure out where on the surface of the earth they are. You can use some car sat nav’s but they really are only good for roadside caches as they aren’t really very good for navigation off road. You can use a phone with built in GPS, there are apps for the iphone, android, windows mobile and symbian phones. Or you can use a dedicated GPS designed for outdoor pursuits.
As the game has grown it’s developed a number of variations. There are micro caches that are only large enough to contain a rolled up, or maybe folded flat paper log for you to sign. There are puzzle caches, and other spin-offs.
Geocaching.com — also called Groundspeak. is the website that holds cache locations (there are now getting on for 1 million caches worldwide) You can also use Groundspeak to record your success or failure to find a cache.
The GPS gadget gets you close to a cache — typical accuracy is about 10-15 feet, but it’s not always easy to find a cache as they are hidden — either from geocachers to increase the challenge/fun, or to conceal it from muggles. (Muggles are the uninitiated — people who don’t know about geocaching, and may stumble on the cache and take it, ruin it, or throw it away.)
The caches at Groundspeak usually have a description of the cache which may contain clues as to it’s exact whereabouts, and often a coded hint, which will certainly give you a clue, though some clues are more cryptic than others !
The things I like about geocaching are
– it gives me an excuse to get out into the fresh air and do a bit of exercise
– it takes me to interesting places near where I live that you never knew were there.
– I can do it wherever I go, there are caches in urban areas, at motorway service stations, in supermarket car parks, at railway stations as well as out in the countryside… so even a long journey or shopping trip gives you a chance to grab a cache or two.
Travel bugs (and coins) are a side aspect of geocaching. Travel bugs are (usually) smallish objects with an identifying “dog tag” attached, that are moved from cache to cache. The dog tags are used to track/log their movements on geocaching.com. Geocoins are similar except they have the tracking number stamped on them rather than having an attached tag.
(this page will be updated one day !)