Presentation on theme: "Introduction to Geocaching"— Presentation transcript:
1 Introduction to Geocaching Doug Earl(D of “ABCDMCachers”)Tonight you are going to learn why I haven’t golfed in over 3 ½ years and why my lawn looks terrible. It’s all due to Geocaching! Hopefully after tonight you will be as excited as I was about geocaching when I first heard about it so you won’t want to spend time golfing or taking care of your lawn either! Before we get started, I have a few questions for you:How did people hear about it?Have you visited geocaching.com?How many have done Geocaching?How many have a GPSr? How many have it with them tonight?
2 Agenda What When Where Who Why How Travel Bugs Resources Tonight we ask and answer some of the fundamental questions about geocaching. If you’re on the fence about whether you want to get started with geocaching, or whether you want to make an investment into a GPS unit, tonight should help you make that decision.
3 WhatMany of you are somewhat familiar with geocaching, but let’s take some time to explore what geocaching is all about.
4 Geocaching – What is it?An outdoor adventure game for GPS users of all agesGPS = Global Positioning SystemGame? Sport? Hobby? Outdoor adventure? Made possible by the global positioning system, a system of 24 satellites. Once the GPS system was made available, someone had the bright idea, “Hey let’s hide a bucket in the woods, fill it with some stuff, and see if anyone can find it!”. People did find it, and they had a good time doing it, and a short time later, geocaching was born.
5 What – In a Nutshell Someone hides a weatherproof box in the woods. The latitude and longitude of the box is published on the Internet.Others go out and find the box using their portable GPSr.Finders sign the log, trade trinkets.When they get home, they log the find on the Internet.Geocaching today hasn’t changed much from that original idea.GPSr: r = receiver. GPS units only receive signals, they don’t transmitThat’s it in a nutshell, but we can boil it down even further…
6 What – Boiling it Down“I use multi-billion dollar military satellites to find Tupperware hidden in the woods.”I like to use this explanation when describing geocaching to people who have never heard of it before. Their first reaction is, “why?”. That’s one of the questions we’ll be answering tonight.
7 Usually What Is a Geocache? A weather-resistant container such as Tupperware, Rubbermaid, or surplus ammo boxUsuallyAmmo-boxes must be clearly marked, otherwise bomb squads tend to blow them up!
8 What Else Can it Be? Micro Caches Camouflaged 35mm film canisters Magnetic key holdersOr smaller! (Nano caches)CamouflagedFake doggie dooHide-a-key rocksHollowed out rocksPine conesPlastic spiders
9 What Else Can it Be? - 2Many cachers try to be as devious as possible.
10 What Else Can it Be? - 3Others like to show off their creativity or warped sense of humor.Be careful, it might be a real bird!
11 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.Often, the reward is in the hunt so people will only sign the logBut if you do trade: leave something of equal or greater value
12 WhenA lot of people ask “how long has geocaching been around?”
13 Timeline Accuracy before: Accuracy after: May 1, 2000 Selective Availability RemovedMay 3, 2000“Stash” hidden in OregonSept 2, 2000Geocaching.com started with 75 cachesAccuracy before:Accuracy after:100 meters10 meters or betterSelective Availability encrypted the signal so only military had access to it. Signal for civilians had random errors of up to 100m.“Stash” changed to “geocache” because stash has negative connotations.Cache at the original stash - GCGV0P – Original Stash Tribute Plaque, placed 9/7/2003
15 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 areaThe sport is growing. Just to give you an idea: 320,876 active caches as of 10/9/2006500 caches in an 11 mile radius of Brookfield
16 The WorldMaps are old since they aren’t being made anymore, but you get the idea.
19 MilwaukeeMap from 11/4/ caches shown here. Smiley’s are those found by abcdmCachers.
20 Where – Kinds of Places Places with natural beauty Parks – state, county, cityHiking and biking trailsAreas with historical significanceUrban areasPark and rides, waysidesInteresting places you didn’t know existed even in your own backyardAlmost every park and ride and highway wayside (aka park and grabs)Often read logs that say “I drive by here every day and I had no idea that this was here”.
21 Where - Specifically Hollow trees and logs Handrails, fence posts Hanging in treesUsually under or behind something, but never buriedCommon misconception they are buried – media often refers to buried treasure.
22 Where Won’t They Be? National Parks Private property unless owner gives permissionUnder bridgesLess than .1 mile from another cacheLess than 150 feet from railroadEach new caches must be reviewed to make sure they meet certain guidelines.
24 Who Participates? All ages, walks of life Singles, Couples, Families, RetireesPeople who enjoy the outdoorsPeople who like technologyGeocaching appeals to a wide range of people.
25 Who Hides Them? Anyone who has a geocaching.com account All caches must be approvedMaybe you?Get experience finding before hiding your own - find at least 20
26 WhyThis is the big question. What’s the appeal of finding Tupperware in the woods anyway? There are a lot of reasons – everyone has their own personal reasons since it appeals to people in different ways. Here are 6 of my personal reasons.
27 Why Geocache? #1The journey to the cache – beautiful areas and interesting placesEspecially when on vacations, geocaching brings you to interesting places.
28 Why Geocache? #2 Family activity Kids love it. Don’t mind hiking when they know there’s a goal. Fun to see their enthusiasm.Allison and her friend pondering over an anagram puzzle in order to find the next waypoint. Hiking in West Virginia – way steeper than it looks.
29 Why Geocache? #3 The challenge of the find, the thrill of the hunt Remember, GPS doesn’t pinpoint the location – sometimes have more than 30 or 40 foot radius to search, especially if the hider’s coordinates were off when hiding and your coordinates are off in a different direction while searching.Finding in summer is a challenge - tree cover affects GPS signal, growth may be more than hider expected if hidden in spring.L: in a crevice under the roots of a tree off the edge of the Bluffs of Lake Michigan in MilwaukeeC: a typical hideR: hides can be extremely devious.
30 Why Geocache? #4 The numbers game 502 in 3 ½ years, over 100 a year – seems like a lot until you take a look at EcoRangers.World leaders on 10/11/06 and 10/31/2007:Team Alamo: / 24823CCCooperAgency: / 21632Ecorangers are 4th in the world
31 Why Geocache? #5 Read about others’ adventures Note: When you log a find you collect a “smiley”. Each person’s number of finds are tracked and shown.These are relatively short logs, but some are paragraphs long, sometimes very funny, detailing experiences and mishaps.
32 OK, no caching Sunday afternoons Why Geocache? #6Turn off the TV and enjoy the outdoors! Get some exercise while you’re at it.The Packers: 8-1OK, no caching Sunday afternoonsPresentation from last year: The Packers: 1-4, Need I say more?Don’t have to go cold turkey when you turn off the indoor electronics – still get to use GPSr!
33 Why Geocache - Different Ways to Enjoy Traditional Caches – Most commonLike hikes? – Multi-cachesLike puzzles? – Mystery cachesLike socializing? – Event cachesThere are a lot of different types of caches that appeal to different people.Virtual examples:- Soldier of the American Revolution- Joan of Arc Chapel on Marquette campus- First Baby of BrookfieldLike history? – VirtualsLike challenges? – Try higher difficultyLike traveling? – Try county or Delorme challenge
34 Mystery/Puzzle Caches Before finding the cache, you need to solve a puzzle, sometimes on the cache webpage, sometimes at the cache siteMost have a love/hate relationship with mystery caches – love ‘em when you finally solve them, hate them until then.
35 Mystery/Puzzle Caches (2) Old Jersey (GCPCE1). No, they’re not computer punch cards.
36 HowWe’ve looked at a lot of the elements of geocaching and I bet some of you are saying “I’d like to do this”. Let’s look at how you get started.
37 First Steps Create a geocaching.com account Buy or borrow a GPS receiverGeocaching.com account is free, you won’t get spammed by giving your address. Required because they don’t show the coordinates unless you are a member.Considerations: maps, color, compass, USB connection – highly recommended to get one that connects with your computer.11/1/07: 60cx $ amazon.com + $50 rebate
38 Find Nearby Caches Search by zipcode or latitude/longitude Geocaching.com makes finding nearby caches very easy – just type in your zipcode on the home page.
39 Find Nearby Caches - 2Use Google Maps from geocaching.com or Google EarthThis screen shot is from a cache description. From there, it’s very easy to find other caches nearby.
40 Find Nearby Caches - 3Google maps and satellite images getting so good, sometimes you don’t even need a GPSr!
41 Read About the Cache Cache type, name, Who placed it Size Difficulty/TerrainUnique Identifying code (AKA waypoint)Latitude, LongitudeDistance from homeDownload Lat/Lon file (so don’t have to manually enter)AttributesIf you enter your lat/lon of your home when you create an account, you can get distance of each cache from your home as the crow flies.GC number factoid – cache placed on 10/11/2006 was GCYTJJ. When they get to GCZZZZ they will add a fifth letter.Hints!Travel Bugs / Geocoins
42 Enter the Coordinates into the GPSr Waypoint NameWaypoint Note (Optional)Latitude and Longitude (Coordinates)Programs such as GSAK and EasyGPS can download the coordinates directly to the GPSr so you don’t have to enter them by hand.Select “Go To” to start navigation mode.
43 Follow the Arrow How far you have to go When the arrow points straight up, you are going in the right direction.How far you have to goDirection you are going (Typically only works while moving)Direction you SHOULD go (bear right)Unless you have a high-end GPSr with a built-in compass, the display does NOT show you the direction you are facing when still, rather it shows the direction you are MOVING.
44 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 areaHeavy tree cover affects signalUse a compass – only high-end GPSr’s have a built-in compass
45 Woo Hoo! Found it! Sign the log book Trade items if you wish Family-friendly, no foodLeave something of equal or greater value compared to what you takeRe-hide the cache back in the same spotLog your experience on geocaching.com and “collect a smiley”
46 Hiding Your Own Show off a favorite area Show how sneaky and creative you can beGet permission from land managerDNR land - must fill out formBe mindful of environmentRemember 50 or 60 teams may visit your cache in a year. Make sure they don’t have to trample sensitive areas to get there.
48 Travel Bugs and Geocoins Travel from cache to cache (not collectible!)Usually have a goal, Examples:Visit all baseball parks, all capitolsHave picture taken with <fill in the blank>Final destination: Alaska, South PoleJourney is tracked on geocaching.comExample fill in the blank pictures: general places such as bakeries, libraries, etc.
49 TB ExamplesTB Tag has a unique ID#Attached to a small item
50 TB Examples - 2 From the “you gotta be kidding me” file Yes, people do cache in the winter!
51 TB web pageThis TB started in Michigan, then went to Texas, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia, back to Wisconsin. After all that, notice that PharmTeam recently picked it up and they live only 2 blocks away!
55 Important Terms FTF: First To Find Muggle: Non-geocacher TNLNSL: Took Nothing, Left Nothing, Signed LogDNF: Did Not FindCITO: Cache In Trash Out1/1: Referring to difficulty and terrainTB: Travel BugBeing FTF is a big honor – many cachers race to be FTF.
56 Wisconsin Geocaching Association Forums, event planning, work with DNR, cache of the monthAnnual picnic and campoutFree membershipnon-profit org with board of directors843 members as of 10/10/2006WGA Picnic EventMcKenzie Environmental Education Center, Poynette, WIAugust 21, 2004
57 Premium Membership $30/year Have “Pocket Queries” emailed to you Up to 500 caches centered on a pointEasy to transfer to your GPSrGSAKEasyGPSMember-only cachesnotification of new caches
58 Similar Sites Terracaching.com Waymarking.com Letterboxing.org Goal: higher quality cachesWaymarking.comUnique locations, but no cache to findMisspelled signs, funny mailboxes, waterfalls, water towers, etc.Letterboxing.orgNo GPSr requiredTerracaching.com – must be sponsored to join, but they say it’s very easy to find a sponsor.Waymarking.com - formerly “locationless” caches on geocaching.com