If you are a geocacher, you have probably heard of virtual caches or webcam caches whilst tromping through geocaching.com’s extensive list of options. If you have, you will know that they’re not logging any more on that website and the reason is because the company behind geocaching.com, Groundspeak, has a better platform for this type of thing—waymarking.com.
What is Waymarking?
While geocaching is about treasure hunting for containers in unique locations, waymarking is all about visiting new places and just exploring what is there. Many of the waymarks are in cities and they point out interesting locations, fun activities, good food or just plan old weird stuff. For waymarkers, it’s all about discovering a new location and exploring places you otherwise might not have known existed.
Do I need a GPS?
Well, it’s preferable that you have one. Much like geocaching, waymarking uses GPS technology to pinpoint locations like you would a POI and tag it for other waymarkers to visit, along with pictures and instructions on what to do to prove you were there. Many waymarkers take photos at their locations and post them with their visit. Waymarks don’t have any type of log—it is completely virtual in that sense, so everything is instead logged online. You don’t HAVE to have GPS unit to visit most waymarks—it is possible to use a computer to find coordinates and then travel there yourself, or use your phone—but it is recommended.
How do I get started?
To get started, you need to either make an account or log in using your geocaching.com account (don’t worry, it isn’t going to effect your geocaching.com statistics or anything). Once you are in, then you can search for a waymark in the appropriate tab. You can search within your postal code or broaden the search to include your state or region or even use a keyword and search for a particular type of waymark. Once you have found a waymark that looks interesting, scroll down and be sure to read the Visit Instructions. Once you know what you’re looking for, type in the coordinates on your GPS and explore! Be sure to take your camera and anything else necessary to complete the visit.
Once you have visited the waymark, log your visit on the page for that waymark along with any pictures and a short description of your adventure. Be creative and be sure to include anything that might be useful for future visitors.
What are Categories and Groups?
Categories are basically an index of the different types of waymarks and can make it simpler to narrow down your search. If you’re an art guru, then you can click that category and not have to wade through dozens of cemetery or historical waymarks to find something interesting. New categories are being added all the time, as are waymarks, to be sure to keep checking back.
Groups are a premium membership option where several waymarkers can band together to create and then manage a category of their choosing. This includes approving new waymarks other similar functions. For most members, this isn’t going to really be something you’ll have to be concerned with up front, but it is nice to know how it works.
How do I make a Waymark?
Once you have an account, you can submit a waymark using this form. You will have to select a category, input the exact GPS coordinates, select country and state and then write a description of the waypoint so that others know whether or not they want to check it out. There is also a section where you can write a private message to the group that will be approving your waypoint, explaining anything additional.
When you submit a new waymark, the site will do a search and show you any waymarks within one mile radius of the one you are trying to create. If your spot has already been marked, you may still submit it, but the category manager will be able to deny your waymark.
Once your waymark has been approved, congrats! Don’t forget to check back occasionally to update and make sure there aren’t any issues with your waymark. Be sure to check out the AQ for additional information.
The site talks about a Premium Membership. Do I have to pay to Waymark?
Groundspeak does have a paid membership option, which unlocks certain features on the waymarking and geocaching websites. With just a basic free membership, however, you can still visit waymarks, log the visit, create new waymarks and explore the website to your heart’s content, so it is definitely not required to waymark. If you find that you really enjoy it and want to be more serious about your waymarking, it is probably something to consider.
A Premium membership costs $30/year or $10/3 months. While membership isn’t required, it will give you access to a lot of useful additions, such as the ability to download locations of waymarks, rate your visits to waymarks, save searches, create categories and manage them with a group of friends, participate in peer review of new waymarks and categories and create a favorites list and an ignore list of waymarks.