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Geocaching introduction

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Introduction to geocaching.


Access to the internet if possible to be able so show the geocaching.com website
A smart phone (if android you can download c:geo app as it is free at time of publishing) or GPS unit. If using a phone check the data limit on the contract so that you don't run up a big phone bill.
Check the website for local caches so you can get the group to find some caches. Some GPS units you need to input the coordinates so a print out of the caches to include size. hint difficulty level and terrain level
Map of the area incase the GPS does not have maps installed on it (we don't want to get lost on our first trip out)
Some geoswag(low value items so the group can swap from the cache)
The rules of the game
A membership at geocacing.com. This is free for a basic member


At the start of the meeting ask if anyone knows about geocaching and if they would like to tell the group about geocaching and their experiences they have had. (On geocaching.com there is a quick video on the guide to geocaching which lasts about 2 minutes.)

After this it would be good to watch the next video about the caches (again this is about 2minutes long)
if you are unable to get the inernet then is is a quick guide

The Game

What is geocaching?

Geocaching is a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices. Participants navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache (container) hidden at that location.

I have heard it discribed as" The use of multi-million pound satelites to look for plastic containers hidden in hedgerows" and "Hi-tec hide and seek"

At its simplest level, geocaching requires these 8 steps:

1.Register for a free Basic Membership.
2.Visit the "Hide & Seek a Cache" page.
3.Enter your postal code and click "search."
4.Choose any geocache from the list and click on its name.
5.Enter the coordinates of the geocache into your GPS Device.
6.Use your GPS device to assist you in finding the hidden geocache.
7.Sign the logbook and return the geocache to its original location.
8.Share your geocaching stories and photos online.

There are many other levels to the game. Keep reading the guide to learn more!

What are the rules of geocaching?

If you take something from the geocache (or "cache"), leave something of equal or greater value.
Write about your find in the cache logbook.
Log your experience at www.geocaching.com.

What do I need to go geocaching?

The only necessities are a GPS device or a GPS-enabled mobile phone so that you can navigate to the cache, and a Geocaching.com Membership.

If this is your first time cache huning them look for easy level caches and easy terain. idealy small or regular caches if possible.

All caches have been placed with the landowners permission and asessed by volenters so they comply with the GAGB (Geocaching Association of Great Britain) regulations. these are found at www.gagb.co.uk

Caches sizes
Tiny magnetic containers about 10mm long and about 10 mm across(these are called nano's). These contain just a log and tweesers can be required to remove the log.
Micro are around a 35mm camera film case.
Small is the next size and they are around 50mm x 50mm containers.
Regular this size is normally found in woods and can be a old ammo container. about 300mm x 300mm
large are the biggest ones and sometimes they can be just as hard to find as the small ones. Any size above regular

There are several different caches. This is a brief discription of some common caches

shows on the map as a green box
These caches are straight forward to do and you are looking for the cache container. Some can disguised as frogs. fake rocks. camo covered containers.

shows up as two yellow boxes
These caches require you to go to several waypoints to collect the information to work out the final coordiates to find the cache.

Puzzle caches
shows as a blue question mark
these caches require you to find out information about a subject and answer some questions and arrive at some numbers to calulate the coordiates. On most puzzle caches their is a geo-checker to see if you have the right answer.

Earth caches
shows as a planet earth
these are set by the cache owner and you have to the coordiates and answer the questions set. They are normally something about geographic area. Once you have the answer you E-mail the owner and wait for a reply before logging your visit.

Letterbox caches
shows as a envolope
this is an old form of geocaching which used OS grid references to find a cache. When you found the cache you stamped the book with your stamp. Some have been turned into hybrid caches which allow you the sign a log book as well as put your stamp in the other log provded.

Again this is just a discription of the most common cache types

Trackables,Another twist on the game.

A Trackable is a sort of physical geocaching "game piece." You will often find them in geocaches or see them at geocaching gatherings. Each Trackable is etched with a unique code that can be used to log its movements on Geocaching.com as it travels in the real world. Some of these items have traveled hundreds of thousands of miles thanks to geocachers who move them from cache to cache!

There are three main types of Trackables: Travel Bug® Trackables, Geocoins and other Trackables.

A Travel Bug is a trackable tag attached to an item that geocachers call a "hitchhiker." Each Travel Bug has a goal set by its owner. Goals are typically travel-related, such as to visit every country in Europe or travel from coast to coast. Travel Bug Trackables move from cache to cache with the help of geocachers like you.

Geocoins are customizable coins created by individuals or groups of geocachers as a kind of signature item or calling card. They function exactly like Travel Bug Trackables and should be moved to another cache, unless otherwise specified by their owners.

Other Trackable items come in various forms including patches, key rings and more. A common feature of Trackable items is that they bear a unique ID code and text noting that they are trackable at Geocaching.com

If you are moving a Trackable in the real world, it is important that you also log this movement online. The steps for logging Travel Bug Trackables, Geocoins and other Trackables are the same.

Note that you should not show Tracking Codes to others or upload any photos displaying a Tracking Code. This code is only meant to be seen by those who have actually had the Trackable in their hands. If you would like to direct others to the Trackable's page, use the Reference Code on the Trackable page (it starts with TB or GC).

Once you have been hunting its time to log on to geocaching.com to log your finds. It is good ettiquette to write a couple of sentences about your find because the owner gets E-mailed a copy of your log and if there are any problems the can be resolved,or if the hint was not quite right then this can be changed. Try not to leave any hints in your log as well because this could spoil the fun for the next geocacher in finding the cache. If you take a item of treasure(geo-swag) it is good pratice to change only one item and of the same value or greater. Ask the group to have a look at home for any small toys (E.G MacDonald happy meal toys) I personally brought some keyrings from a well known auction site which cost me 50p each (this is only a suggestion0. I would not recommend putiing sweets in because these can attract the wildlife to find the cache and distory the container. I find that some caches are harder to find at different times of the year. if a cache is in a dangerous place it will be reflected it the dificulty level/terrain and please remember all because a cache is there it DOESN'T MEAN YO GOT TO PUT YOURSELF IN DANGER/RISK OF HARM FOR A PEICE OF PAPER TO SIGN YOUR NAME ON!!!!!!!
It is fun is fun to be out in the countryside so remember the country code at all times.

I estimate that the briefing should take about 15 to 20 minutes so the rest of the evening can be spent hunting

Geocaching lingo

Cache = the container itself
Geosawg = treasure found in the cache
MMT = Multi-trunked tree
ICT = Ivy covered tree
Travel bug = trackables which move from cache to cache and has a goal
Geo coin = a coin that represents an event that travels from cache to cache
GZ = ground zero or the area where the cache is located
TFTC = Thanks for the cache
Muggles = non-geocaching folk
Barkoflarge = cache hiden under tree bark
Stickoflarge = cache hidden under some sticks
B.Y.O.P = Bring your own pen.
TB = travel bug
TB hotel = A cache specially for travel bugs
FTF = First to find
DNF = Did not find

This was put together with using information from geocaching.com and personal experience
Also check out "how GPS works" for basic information on GPS


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