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Discussion in 'Channel Zero' started by imported_El Mamerro, Apr 20, 2004.

  1. Über-Nerdomity.

    Is this old? Why the hell haven't I ever heard of this before? This is fucking awesome.

    Geocaching - A Brief (!) History

    When the GPS signal degradation called Select Availabilty (SA) was removed by the Clinton Administration May 1st, 2000 (statement), it opened up the possibility of games like this one.

    On May 3rd, a container of goodies was hidden by a someone outside of Portland, Oregon - in celebration of the removing of Selective Availability. By May 6th the cache was visited twice, and logged in the logbook once.

    Mike Teague was the first to find the container, and built his personal web page to document these containers and their locations that were posted to the sci.geo.satellite-nav newsgroup.

    In July of 2000, Jeremy Irish found Mike Teague's web site and found his first cache outside of Seattle, Washington. Recognizing the potential of the game (but never expected the growth), Jeremy approached Mike Teague with a new site design, used the name Geocaching, and developed a new web site adding virtual logs, maps, and a way to make it easier to maintain caches as the sport grew. The site was alive for a while, but the official torch was passed to Jeremy on September 6.

    Since the launch of the web site, the Geocaching sport has grown to caches in all 50 states and over 100 countries. There are now many variations of the game, including virtual caches, offset caches, puzzle caches, and multi-stage caches. New ideas and new great games crop up every day.

    From its inception, Geocaching.com has been developed and maintained by Jeremy, with the assistance of Geocachers around the world. Many thanks to the Geocaching community for making the game it is today. The official web site for Geocaching is Geocaching.com.

    What is Geocaching?

    Geocaching is an entertaining adventure game for gps users. Participating in a cache hunt is a good way to take advantage of the wonderful features and capability of a gps unit. The basic idea is to have individuals and organizations set up caches all over the world and share the locations of these caches on the internet. GPS users can then use the location coordinates to find the caches. Once found, a cache may provide the visitor with a wide variety of rewards. All the visitor is asked to do is if they get something they should try to leave something for the cache.

    How do you pronounce Geocaching?

    You pronounce it Geo-cashing, like cashing a check.

    Are there any other names for Geocaching?

    The GPS Stash Hunt, Global Positioning Stash hunt is interchangable. Geocaching has become the standard for the game, however.

    The word Geocaching broken out is GEO for geography, and CACHING for the process of hiding a cache. A cache in computer terms is information usually stored in memory to make it faster to retrieve, but the term is also used in hiking/camping as a hiding place for concealing and preserving provisions.

    So what's the big deal? You gave me the coordinates so I know where it is. Seems pretty easy.

    It is deceptively easy. It's one thing to see where an item is, it's a totally different story to actually get there.

    What is a GPS device?

    A GPS unit is a electronic device that can determine your approximate location (within around 6-20 feet) on the planet. Coordinates are normally given in Longitude and Latitude. You can use the unit to navigate from your current location to another location. Some units have their own maps, built-in electronic compasses, voice navigation, depending on the complexity of the device.

    You don't need to know all the technical mumbo jumbo about GPS units to play Geocaching. All you need to do is be able to enter what is called a "waypoint" where the geocache is hidden. We're working on a section to help you set up your own GPS unit to play. In the meantime, feel free to ask questions in our online forums.

    How do GPS devices work?

    If you're interested in finding more information about Global Positioning Systems, check out GPS: The New Navigation by PBS. They have an excellent Shockwave and/or web page that explains how GPS works!

    So if I have a GPS unit, someone can track where I am (and where I'm going)?

    No! GPS devices do not actually broadcast your location. The satellites using radio frequencies actually broadcast their own position. Your GPS unit takes that information to figure out where you are (triangulation).

    Unless you have a tracking system implanted by aliens, you should be safe from the satellites above. As an extra precaution, however, you can put aluminum foil on your head to deflect the "gamma" beams.

    Seriously, if you want to check out some neat technology that does do tracking (and uses GPS units), visit the SecuraTrak web site. They're designing systems to track Alzheimers patients, asset management, fleet management, etc.

    How much does a GPS unit cost, and where can I get one?

    GPS Units can range from $100 to $1000 depending on the kind of capabilities you are looking for. The author uses a Garmin eTrex, which runs for around $100, and can get you to within 20 feet of any geocache (depending on the location). The next step is one with a built-in electronic compass, has topographic maps, more memory, etc.

    For more information, check out our guide to purchasing a GPS unit for Geocaching.

    You can usually find GPS units at any boat supply store, and some camping stores keep GPS units on hand. You can also purchase them online through Amazon.com and camping supply companies.

    A good, basic GPS unit is the Garmin eTrex GPS, or Magellan GPS 315.

    How do I use a GPS unit for Geocaching?

    If you need to get a basic instruction on how to use a GPS unit, try the book GPS Made Easy : Using Global Positioning Systems in the Outdoors.

    To play, you'll need to know how to enter waypoints into your GPS unit. We're currently working on instructions for each particular GPS unit. In the meantime, your GPS should come with instructions on how to enter a waypoint. If you have any problems, try the online forums. There's always someone to help.

    What are the rules in Geocaching?

    Geocaching is a relatively new phenomenon. Therefore, the rules are very simple:

    1. Take something from the cache

    2. Leave something in the cache

    3. Write about it in the logbook

    Where you place a cache is up to you.

    This is neat! How do I hide a cache?

    Click here to read a brief tutorial on how to place your first cache.

    What is usually in a cache?

    A cache can come in many forms but the first item should always be the logbook. In its simplest form a cache can be just a logbook and nothing else. The logbook contains information from the founder of the cache and notes from the cache's visitors. The logbook can contain much valuable, rewarding, and entertaining information. A logbook might contain information about nearby attractions, coordinates to other unpublished caches, and even jokes written by visitors. If you get some information from a logbook you should give some back. At the very least you can leave the date and time you visited the cache.

    Larger caches may consist of a waterproof plastic bucket placed tastefully within the local terrain. The bucket will contain the logbook and any number of more or less valuable items. These items turn the cache into a true treasure hunt. You never know what the founder or other visitors of the cache may have left there for you to enjoy. Remember, if you take something, its only fair for you to leave something in return. Items in a bucket cache could be: Maps, books, software, hardware, CD's, videos, pictures, money, jewelry, tickets, antiques, tools, games, etc. It is recommended that items in a bucket cache be individually packaged in a clear zipped plastic bag to protect them.

    What shouldn't be in a cache?

    Use your common sense in most cases. Explosives, ammo, knives, drugs, and alcohol shouldn't be placed in a cache. Respect the local laws. All ages of people hide and seek caches, so use some thought before placing an item into a cache.

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

    Where are caches found?

    The location of a cache can be very entertaining indeed. As many say, location, location, location! The location of a cache demonstrates the founder's skill and possibly even daring. A cache located on the side of a rocky cliff accessible only by rock climbing equipment may be hard to find. An underwater cache may only be accessed by scuba. Other caches may require long difficult hiking, orienteering, and special equipment to get to. Caches may be located in cities both above and below ground, inside and outside buildings. The skillful placement of a small logbook in an urban environment may be quite challenging to find even with the accuracy of a gps. That little logbook may have a hundred dollar bill in it or a map to greater treasure. It could even contain clues or riddles to solve that may lead to other caches. Rich people could have fun with their money by making lucrative caches that could be better than winning the lottery when you find it. Just hope that the person that found the cache just before you left a real big prize!

    Can I move a cache once I find it?

    Unless there's a note in the cache containing instructions on moving it to a new location, don't move the cache! Responsible cache owners check on their caches occasionally and would be alarmed to find theirs missing.

    An alternative would be to have a hitchiker, which is an item that you can move from cache to cache. An example of this is a candle that has travelled from Australia to Arizona, and a Mr. Potato head that leaps from cache to cache. All you need to do to create a hitchiker is to attach a note to it for folks to move it to a new place.

    You can also purchase a Groundspeak Travel Bug, which is a hitchiker you can track through this web site.

    Are there any variations in the game?

    YES! We strongly encourage it, actually. Geocaching is a game that constantly reinvents itself, and the rules are very flexible. If you have a new idea on how to place a cache, or a new game using GPS units, we'd love to hear about it.

    Some examples -
    • Offset Caches - They're not found by simply going to some coordinates and finding a cache there. With the Offset Cache the published coordinates are that of an existing historical monument, plaque, or even a benchmark that you would like to have your cache hunter visit. From this site the cache hunter must look around and find offset numbers stamped/written in or on some part of the marker site, or continue based on instructions posted to geocaching.com
    • Multi-caches - The first cache gives coordinates (or partial coordinates) to the next location, or multiple caches have hints to the final cache.
    • Virtual caches - A cache is actually an existing landmark, such as a tombstone or statue. You have to answer a question from the landmark and let the "cache" owner know as proof that you were there.

    How long do caches exist?

    It all depends on the location of the cache and its impact on the environment and the surrounding areas. Caches could be permanent, or temporary. It's up to the cache owner to periodically inspect the cache and the area to ensure that impact is minimal, if not nonexistant. When you find a cache, it's always a good idea to let the cache owner know the condition as well.

    Periodically, Geocaching.com will review each cache to ensure that everything is still current. We cannot guarantee that a cache will exist at any given time, but we'll do our best to ensure the list is as current as possible.

    If you do find that a cache is missing/defaced, please let the cache owner know as soon as possible!

    If I post a new cache, how long does it take to be listed on the web site?

    Because each cache is reviewed by a volunteer, it may take up to 2 days to have your cache posted to the web site. Usually it takes much much less time - but be patient! Someone will approve your cache shortly. It does take longer on the weekends since we receive a larger volume of caches during this time.

    Does Geocaching.com (or a volunteer) physically check the cache before approving it?

    We wish! We'd love to head out to all those countries and states to check on each and every cache to ensure that they are placed properly. Based on the growth of the sport, however, this would be impossible. If you're not sure about a cache, wait for someone else to check on it and report back to the site.

    Before a cache is posted, volunteers check the page for innacuracies, bad coordinates, and appropriateness before posting the cache to the site.

    What do I do if I find out that a cache has gone missing?

    If you visit a cache location and the cache is missing, always make sure to log the cache as "not found" on the web site so the cache owner knows. If you notice that the logs show an unusual number of "not found" logs, please inform this web site so we can check on the cache page. The cache can be temporarily disabled so the cache owner can check in on it. Sometimes, though rarely, when the cache owner cannot be contacted we can either allow folks to adopt the cache or have the cache removed completely from the site. We rely a lot on the geocaching community to let us know the status of caches in their area.

    Do you have an FRS/PMR channel to find out if other Geocachers are in the area?

    Yes. The community has decided on channel 2 as the primary for both FRS and PMR, and 12 as the alternate FRS (Family Radio Service) channel and 8 for the alternate PMR (Europe). FRS and PMR radios are longer distance walkie talkies, like the Motorola Talkabout.
  2. <KEY3>

    <KEY3> Veteran Member

    Joined: Mar 24, 2004 Messages: 6,878 Likes Received: 2
    that would be so much fun.
    I used to do 'orientering' when I was in the boy scouts which is similar.
    You get a map, a compas and you navigate from checkpoint to checkpoint.
    Certainly it was only a matter of time untill the hightechs got down.

    Imagine if you had to move with a notebook computer
    then plug into a 'Lan port' cache. Or you hit various wifi zones!
    That would be freaking fun....

    .... more so if beers were involved.
  3. Overtime

    Overtime Dirty Dozen Crew

    Joined: Apr 22, 2003 Messages: 13,989 Likes Received: 313
  4. DETO

    DETO Dirty Dozen Crew

    Joined: Apr 25, 2002 Messages: 11,348 Likes Received: 155
  5. Abracadabra

    Abracadabra Dirty Dozen Crew

    Joined: Dec 28, 2001 Messages: 22,906 Likes Received: 113


    "chillin, yo"
  6. Seriously, run a search for caches near your zipcode... there's a shitload of these things around!! I found nearly 25 in Puerto Rico alone...

    They also have these trackable dog tags called travel bugs that people move from cache to cache, and you can track your bug across the globe. Very Amelié.

    *I need to cop a GPS gadget.
  7. <KEY3>

    <KEY3> Veteran Member

    Joined: Mar 24, 2004 Messages: 6,878 Likes Received: 2
    and the nerds know what changed with GPS that made this possible right?

    well I'll tell you.
    Durring 'Select Availability' you could still get a GPS but
    A) they were mad expensive and B) they were only accurate to something like 100m.

    Basically they didnt want non-military people
    to have a targeting system that could shoot a
    missle at sensitive targets. That's why early GPS,
    like the one my pops used to have on the boats
    were never accurate to less than 100m.
    I guess they realised that was spoiling all the fun
    and usefullness of the products and cracked.
  8. villain

    villain Veteran Member

    Joined: Jul 12, 2002 Messages: 5,190 Likes Received: 2
    I've heard of this.... Sounds like good nerd fun.
    GPS to the 10 digit grid coordinates these days are so freakin accurate. I've been taking courses on the military version. Military is still more high speed.
  9. MrChupacabra

    MrChupacabra 12oz Loyalist

    Joined: Oct 10, 2001 Messages: 10,940 Likes Received: 683
    sounds quite awesome. if i owned or could borrow someones gps i might be interested in this.
  10. Vanity

    Vanity Veteran Member

    Joined: Apr 11, 2000 Messages: 7,673 Likes Received: 6
    why is it so hip to be a nerd these days?

    z-man - antinerd

    there's one a 5 min. walk from here.
  11. Dick Quickwood

    Dick Quickwood 12oz Loyalist

    Joined: Aug 25, 2002 Messages: 14,783 Likes Received: 14
    my brother found one of those accidentally a year ago, it had some stupid stuff in it like a pooh bear keychain, i can't remember what else.
  12. Abracadabra

    Abracadabra Dirty Dozen Crew

    Joined: Dec 28, 2001 Messages: 22,906 Likes Received: 113
    there's 25 pages worth of caches for my state.

    it's nerd hunting time
  13. KaBar2

    KaBar2 Senior Member

    Joined: Jun 27, 2003 Messages: 2,130 Likes Received: 66
    The militia movement has a version of this too, but of course, the stuff they are caching is more along the lines of cases of 7.62x39mm ammunition and used SKS rifles, LOL. And they don't publish the locations.
  14. GucciCondom

    GucciCondom Veteran Member

    Joined: Jul 29, 2003 Messages: 5,558 Likes Received: 168
    i saw somethin like this on insomniac.
  15. IHATEU

    IHATEU 12oz Loyalist

    Joined: Nov 30, 2000 Messages: 10,238 Likes Received: 330
    2004? hahah i just herd of this today. am i slow or just not a nerdy faggot?
    do people really do this shit? wtf
    hide and seak for the world of warcraft or 40 something crowd?