Introduction to Geocaching Doug Earl (D of “ABCDMCachers”) Agenda What When Where Who Why How Travel Bugs Resources What Geocaching – What is it? An outdoor adventure game for GPS users of all ages GPS = Global Positioning System What – In a Nutshell 1. Someone hides a weatherproof box in the woods. 2. The latitude and longitude of the box is published on the Internet. 3. Others go out and find the box using their portable GPSr. 4. Finders sign the log, trade trinkets. 5. When they get home, they log the find on the Internet. What – Boiling it Down “I use multi-billion dollar military satellites to find Tupperware hidden in the woods.” What Is a Geocache? A weather-resistant container such as Tupperware, Rubbermaid, or surplus ammo box What Else Can it Be? Micro Caches • 35mm film canisters • Magnetic key holders • Or smaller! (Nano caches) Camouflaged • Fake doggie doo • Hide-a-key rocks • Hollowed out rocks • Pine cones • Plastic spiders What Else Can it Be? - 2 What Else Can it Be? - 3 What’s in a Geocache? Logbook Trinkets to trade Examples: toys, books, coins, tools, games, etc. Information sheet that explains the container and has contact information. When Timeline May 1, 2000 May 3, 2000 Sept 2, 2000 Selective Availability “Stash” hidden in Geocaching.com started Removed Oregon with 75 caches Accuracy before: Accuracy after: 100 meters 10 meters or better Where Where are They Hidden? All over the world • 479,372 active caches in over 200 countries (as of 11/1/2007) Well over 500 in the metro- Milwaukee area The World United States Wisconsin Milwaukee Where – Kinds of Places Places with natural beauty Parks – state, county, city Hiking and biking trails Areas with historical significance Urban areas Park and rides, waysides Interesting places you didn’t know existed even in your own backyard Where - Specifically Hollow trees and logs Handrails, fence posts Hanging in trees Usually under or behind something, but never buried Where Won’t They Be? National Parks Private property unless owner gives permission Under bridges Less than .1 mile from another cache Less than 150 feet from railroad Who Who Participates? All ages, walks of life • Singles, Couples, Families, Retirees People who enjoy the outdoors People who like technology Who Hides Them? Anyone who has a geocaching.com account All caches must be approved Maybe you? • Get experience finding before hiding your own - find at least 20 Why Why Geocache? #1 The journey to the cache – beautiful areas and interesting places Why Geocache? #2 Family activity Why Geocache? #3 The challenge of the find, the thrill of the hunt Why Geocache? #4 The numbers game Why Geocache? #5 Read about others’ adventures Why Geocache? #6 Turn off the TV and enjoy the outdoors! Get some exercise while you’re at it. Why Geocache - Different Ways to Enjoy Traditional Caches – Most common Like hikes? – Multi-caches Like puzzles? – Mystery caches Like socializing? – Event caches Like history? – Virtuals Like challenges? – Try higher difficulty Like traveling? – Try county or Delorme challenge Mystery/Puzzle Caches Before finding the cache, you need to solve a puzzle, sometimes on the cache webpage, sometimes at the cache site Mystery/Puzzle Caches (2) How First Steps Create a geocaching.com account Buy or borrow a GPS receiver Find Nearby Caches Search by zipcode or latitude/longitude Find Nearby Caches - 2 Use Google Maps from geocaching.com or Google Earth Find Nearby Caches - 3 Read About the Cache Cache type, name, Who placed it Size Difficulty/Terrain Unique Identifying Latitude, Longitude code (AKA Distance from home waypoint) Download Lat/Lon file (so don’t have to manually enter) Attributes Hints! Travel Bugs / Geocoins Enter the Coordinates into the GPSr Waypoint Name Waypoint Note (Optional) Latitude and Longitude (Coordinates) Follow the Arrow When the arrow points straight up, you are going in the right direction. How far you have to go Direction you are going (Typically only works while moving) Direction you SHOULD go (bear right) Look Around Look for anything unusual or out of place. Look in places that YOU think would be good to place a cache. No luck? Enlarge your search area • Heavy tree cover affects signal • Use a compass – only high-end GPSr’s have a built-in compass Woo Hoo! Found it! Sign the log book Trade items if you wish • Family-friendly, no food • Leave something of equal or greater value compared to what you take Re-hide the cache back in the same spot Log your experience on geocaching.com and “collect a smiley” Hiding Your Own Show off a favorite area Show how sneaky and creative you can be Get permission from land manager • DNR land - must fill out form Be mindful of environment Travel Bugs Travel Bugs and Geocoins Travel from cache to cache (not collectible!) Usually have a goal, Examples: • Visit all baseball parks, all capitols • Have picture taken with <fill in the blank> • Final destination: Alaska, South Pole Journey is tracked on geocaching.com TB Examples TB Tag has a unique ID# Attached to a small item TB Examples - 2 From the “you gotta be kidding me” file TB web page Travel Bug Map Trackables Page Resources Important Terms FTF: First To Find Muggle: Non-geocacher TNLNSL: Took Nothing, Left Nothing, Signed Log DNF: Did Not Find CITO: Cache In Trash Out 1/1: Referring to difficulty and terrain TB: Travel Bug Wisconsin Geocaching Association http://www.wi-geocaching.com WGA Picnic Event McKenzie Environmental Education Center, Poynette, WI August 21, 2004 Premium Membership $30/year Have “Pocket Queries” emailed to you • Up to 500 caches centered on a point • Easy to transfer to your GPSr GSAK EasyGPS Member-only caches Email notification of new caches Similar Sites Terracaching.com • Goal: higher quality caches Waymarking.com • Unique locations, but no cache to find • Misspelled signs, funny mailboxes, waterfalls, water towers, etc. Letterboxing.org • No GPSr required Thanks for Attending Questions?
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