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Geocaching: A GPS-based game

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Geocaching: A GPS-based game

Have you ever wished you could be like Indiana Jones and travel to exotic locations around the world on the quest for hidden treasure? Do you enjoy solving puzzles and piecing together clues? Or would you rather hide treasure and clues for others to find? If any of these things appeal to your sense of adventure, then geocaching may be for you.

What is Geocaching?

Geocaching is a game played around the world using global positioning satellites and a handheld gps for hunting unit. First, a cache, which is a container filled with a log book and various items often referred to as “swag,” is hidden. Then, using global positioning, the coordinates are logged. Next, the owner of the cache will post the coordinates, usually on a website where users can access them manually or by downloading them to their handheld gps for hunting unit, and then the hunt begins.

But don’t think it’s that easy. The coordinates may get you to the general vicinity of the cache, but some cache owners are very clever at hiding their treasure. Caches can be any type of container, from the traditional ammo box to the “micro,” a very small canister that can be easily hidden. It’s common for caches to be camouflaged in some very interesting ways, for instance, fake pine combs, fake utility boxes, and even fake bricks just to name a few.

What Kind of Treasure?

Just as there are different types of containers for caches, there are also different types of geocache hunts. Traditional, where you just have to find the coordinates and then the cache, Multi-Cache, where the coordinates are only to the first set of coordinates and from there you get the next set, Event Caches, where you can meet up with other geocachers, and Puzzle or Mystery Caches, where you have to solve a puzzle in order to get the coordinates.

Geocaching is designed to be family friendly, and you’ll often find beads or toys in the cache for the little ones. Occasionally you may score it big and find something really nice, like cash or gift cards, especially if you are lucky enough to get the “FTF,” short for “First to Find,” on a new cache. There are also much sought after items like “travel bugs” and “geocoins.” Both items are specially numbered so they can be tracked online as to who owns them and where they’ve been.

Some geocachers make it a mission to see who can find and log the most travel bugs and geocoins. Although a geocoin is usually just a numbered trackable coin, a travel bug can be attached to almost any item and it makes it much for fun for the person “releasing” the travel bug.

How to Get Started?

So how do you get started and feed your inner adventurer? First you’ll need to get a handheld gps unit. These can be fairly inexpensive, especially if purchased online or at your local pawn shop. Then just log onto one of the geocaching websites and look for geocaches in your area. Most allow you to search by zip code. Once you’ve found a few geocaches, you’ll probably be hooked!

Geocaching GPS: High Tech Treasure Hunt

Geocaching is the activity that involves using a global positioning system (GPS) device to find tokens or trinkets place in hidden containers in latitude and longitudes around the word.

Family Fun with Handheld GPS for Hunting Unit

Handheld GPS for hunting devices are used to find hidden containers called geocaches that are placed by individuals. Others can go on line and learn of the location of the container and then the people that find the geocaches can go on line and plug in the locations and mark their finds. Tracking the finds are a type of hobby or entertaining game that can be a family fun activity with relatively small costs.

Geocaching Encourages Healthy Activity

Some geocaches are located high on trails. Geocaching encourages hiking and exploring of local and faraway places. The caches usually contain some small trinket also, so there is adventure in the finding. Once a geocache is found, the person that found it is supposed to leave something for the next adventurer. Geochaching can be intriguing and fun. Not only may geocaching be a fun, outdoor hobby, but it can be used to teach science, orienting, cartography, and geography. This modern day orienteering exercise can encourage exploring on many levels.

Modern Day Orienteering

Geocaching is a tool of science as well and can be used to encourage children to explore orienteering and cartography. They may also learn about different terrains and latitude and longitude, as well as degrees and slants. This lesson could encourage more curiosity in math. Geocaching also encourages online social networking and sharing stories. Trinkets have become high tech to involve geocoins and travel bugs which have codeable numbers that can be tracked on line so that a “bug” may be passed from one geocacher to another and tracked around the world. While using a travel bug, children can learn about geography and discuss locations on the map and the surrounding social environment at reported locations of travel bugs.

How to Get Involved in Geocaching

Geocaching clubs are becoming more popular. There are plenty of geocaching websites. Also, there are competitions put on by Jeep and Garmin to encourage new adventures. Garmin is a top GPS manufacturer. Garmin produces devices that can be used in running, hiking, cycling, boating, and fishing. Garmin manufactures handheld GPS devices and car devices. Garmin sponsors marathons and competitions and has one of the most highly respected GPS software packages. Devices range from $120 to $1000 depending on the application of the device. Magellan is a competitor with comparable prices.

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