Forensic Science Geocaching Activity

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Forensic Science Geocaching Activity
CSI Adventure Forensic Science Geocaching Activity Developed by Tracy Trimpe for the 2009 Smithsonian Summer Camp

What is GPS? GPS stands for Global Positioning System.
It uses 24 satellites positioned around the globe. The satellites are 12,000 miles from Earth’s surface. We use GPS receivers to connect with the satellites to learn our position on Earth’s surface, which are based on latitude and longitude. Havana Junior High Latitude = N Longitude = W How Stuff Works: GPS Explained Images: and

How accurate is a GPS receiver?
Satellite 2 With today’s GPS receivers we can get as close as 3 meters or 9 feet. Satellite 1 To determine our position, the receiver measures the time it takes to receive a signal from a satellite and converts it to a distance. Satellite 3 We need a total of 3 satellites to get an accurate reading.

How is GPS used in investigations?
Provide coordinates (locations) for emergency responders Document the layout of a crime scene or accident site Document the locations of specific pieces of evidence, vehicles, etc. Determine distance between locations (i.e. primary/secondary crime scene) Track victims or suspects to identify their location or determine where they have traveled In one case in California, a suspect of several convenience store holdups was being monitored with a vehicle tracking device. When he held up another convenience store, the tracker proved that he had parked two blocks away from the store around the time of the holdup and left a few minutes after. This information from the tracker was used along with DNA evidence and a search warrant to make an arrest. One of the many kinds of GPS systems also helped in the convicting of a man in New York, changing the charge from reckless endangerment to murder. This information was used to prove that George Ford purposefully murdered the babysitter that he had hired instead of accidently as he claimed. This tracking device, which had been planted by the man’s suspicious wife, provided information that contradicted what the man claimed had happened. FROM THE NEWS … Source:

As of July 2, 2009, there were 839,756 geocaches around the world!
What is geocaching? Geocaching - An outdoor treasure-hunting game in which the participants use a GPS receiver to hide and seek containers called "geocaches“ (Wikipedia, 2009) Cache - A typical cache is a small waterproof container (usually a tupperware or ammo box) containing a logbook and "treasure," usually toys or trinkets of little value. Microcache – A small container (i.e. film canister) containing only a logbook. Waypoints – Locations where a cache is hidden; identified by latitude and longitude. Travel Bugs & Geocoins – Items that geocachers place in caches and track their locations as other geocaches move them to another cache. Muggles – Refers to people who do not geocache. Geocaching.com – Website devoted to geocaching and provides information on all the caches around the world. Cafepress.com Shirt As of July 2, 2009, there were 839,756 geocaches around the world!

Each GPS receiver has many buttons with different functions.
GPS Receivers Each GPS receiver has many buttons with different functions. Thumbstick – A “joystick” that moves up, down, left, and right to help you select options. Push it in to choose an option. Find Button – Use to find a waypoint. Antenna – Keep the unit flat in your hand so that the antenna is pointed up at the sky. Page Button – Press this button to change screens Power Button – Use this button to turn the unit on and off Images:

What does a GPS receiver tell you?
Each GPS receiver has different screens or pages that will provide your coordinates, show you a map, and much more! Press the PAGE button on the top right to move each screen or page one at a time. Images:

Images: http://www8.garmin.com/manuals/eTrexLegend_OwnersManual.pdf
Satellite Screen The black bars indicate the satellites your receiver is recognizing. The SATELLITE PAGE will be the first page you see when you start up the unit. You will need at least THREE black bars to start using the unit. Images:

Images: http://www8.garmin.com/manuals/eTrexLegend_OwnersManual.pdf
Map Screen The MAP PAGE will show you where you are located in relation to the main roads in the area. Use the buttons on the top left to zoom in or out. Images:

Images: http://www8.garmin.com/manuals/eTrexLegend_OwnersManual.pdf
Navigation Screen The NAVIGATION PAGE will provide an arrow to help you find a waypoint or location. You must be moving in order for it to work! Images:

Images: http://www8.garmin.com/manuals/eTrexLegend_OwnersManual.pdf
Trip Computer Screen The TRIP COMPUTER PAGE provides information on how fast you are moving and other data. Images:

Images: http://www8.garmin.com/manuals/eTrexLegend_OwnersManual.pdf

CSI Adventure Rules Earth Quest Tips
Safety first! Caches have been placed in areas that should be easy to access. Keep your eyes open for trees, puddles, uneven ground, vehicles, and other hazards. Play fair! Teams are not allowed to sabotage other teams by moving caches or stealing cache cards and materials Good sportsman ship is required! ALL CACHE CARDS OR CONTAINERS MUST BE PUT BACK IN THE EXACT SPOT IN WHICH THEY WERE FOUND! The waypoint # is written on the cache card and container (if there is one). If you find a cache, but it is not the correct number you are in the wrong spot! Keep the GPS unit flat in your hand to make sure you are getting good reception from the satellites and keep moving in order for the unit to “know” where you are located! Remember that the GPS will get you close – within 9 feet – you will have to search the area to find the cache. Try walking away from the area and back towards it to make sure you are in the right spot. Earth Quest Tips

Image #7: http://www8.garmin.com/manuals/eTrexLegend_OwnersManual.pdf
How do I find a cache? Waypoint = A specific location that has been marked using the receiver. #1 #4 4 - Push the PAGE BUTTON on the upper-right hand side to get rid of the keyboard. #5 5 - Select the waypoint you want using the THUMB STICK button to move down the list. #3 3 – Push in the THUMB STICK to choose NAME on the next menu. #7 7 - START MOVING and use the ARROW on the navigation screen to help you locate your destination. You need to move in the direction of the large arrow. When you get close to your destination, an “Arriving at Destination” message will be displayed and you may notice the arrow “jumping” around. 2 – Push in the THUMB STICK to select WAYPOINTS. #2 #6 6 – Push in the THUMB STICK button to select GOTO at the bottom of the screen. 1 - Press the FIND button on the left hand side of the receiver – third button from the top. Image #7:

What does your team need to do?
It’s time for an adventure! What does your team need to do? Grab a clipboard, answer sheet, pen, and 2 GPS units for your group. Get a clue card from the instructor to determine your first waypoint and write it on your worksheet. Have your answer checked to make sure you are going to the correct location. Head outside and meet near the entry way. Wait for final instructions! Everyone will start at the same time! Questions?

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