Sunday, March 18, 2012

Your 2015 Geocaching Resolutions


It’s that time of year when we can’t help but look back and review what we’ve accomplished in the past year.  Accompanying it is the inevitable list of resolutions for the year ahead and it’s a safe bet to assume that at least some of them will include aims along the lines of “eat less” and “exercise more”.

This is where Geocaching can help.  Not only is walking along trails, clambering up embankments and battling undergrowth considered good exercise, the fresh air brings its own health benefits as well.  As a result, to “Geocache more” is a good resolution to have.

But what if you’re trying to find some motivation to encourage you to get out geocaching more regularly?  Well, here are some ideas for geocaching challenges that can make perfect resolutions for the year ahead. read more

5 Things They Never Tell Newbies About Geocaching Trackables

An assortment of geocaching trackables

An assortment of trackables

Becoming a geocacher can be slightly overwhelming.  Not only do you have to learn how to use a GPSr to get to your location and then hunt for a geocache, but there’s also a wealth of information, acronyms and unwritten do’s and don’ts  to contend with.

One of the areas that is a constant source of confusion are trackables.  I wrote an article last year introducing what trackables were and how you went about logging them but there are a number of unwritten rules that a lot of newbies get wrong.  So here to help them out are five things they never tell newbie geocachers about geocoins and travel bugs. read more

Geocaching Souvenirs


It’s natural for geocachers to want to showcase their accomplishments but all too often that can boil down to simple numbers or statistics.  Some geocachers aren’t interested in the number of caches they find but just want to showcase that they attended a special event or found a cache in a different location.

For a number of years, cache owners have created online virtual badges for attendees or finders to display on their profile page.  These can range from showcasing attendance of a specific geocaching event to having completed a series of caches.  The problem with these is severalfold.  They are arbitrary and depend on the cache owner taking the time to create the graphic and provide the code for you to add to your profile.  You then need to go in and manually add them, meaning that if you’re not familiar with HTML or web programming languages you can easily get yourself into a mess. read more

Omaha Police Confuse Geocache with Pipe Bomb

bomb cache scare

This geocache was mistaken as a bomb and reported to authorities last week

It might seem like something pretty common sense, but making a geocache look like a pipe bomb is probably not the brightest idea if you intend to have a long lasting cache. In Omaha last week, a geocache was spotted by park goers and reported immediately to the police, who promptly cordoned off the entire northern part of the Memorial Park. The bomb squad was called in to investigate only to find the ‘bomb’ was simply a harmless geocaching container covered in camouflage duct tape. read more

Enhancing Geocaching.com with Greasemonkey & Tampermonkey Scripts

Back at the start of the year we saw some historic rainfall here in the United Kingdom.  Rivers burst their banks and huge swathes of the countryside were under several feet of water.  It made planning the weekly geocaching trip even more difficult – I didn’t want to do a twenty mile circular walk only to find the final mile back to the car blocked by floodwater.

It was in my frustration of consulting governmental flood maps and correlating them with geocaching maps that I discovered the wonderful world of the Greasemonkey or Tampermonkey script.

Greasemonkey and Tampermonkey are plugins (for Firefox and Google Chrome respectively) that allow you to install scripts to modify your favorite web pages.  It all sounds a bit complicated but in essence they allow you to do things such as get Google Search results to appear in two columns rather than just one, or show the buffer speed of the YouTube video you are watching. read more

Michelin Geocaching Contest

michelin questBibendum, better known as the Michelin Man, has made his way inside of geocaches all over the country as part of a new Michelin Geocaching Contest launched last week. Now through December 31, 2014, the sight of the cheerful little white tire man could mean you score free tires, or even a vacation!

The contest started last week, when Michelin released 20 – 30 free trackable little Michelin men figurines to be stashed in geocaches across the country and challenged geocachers to find them. You can follow the Michelin Men latest movements on this page.

read more

Creating Pocket Queries Along A Route


Most geocachers will be familiar with the concept of pocket queries.  This feature on the Geocaching website allows premium members of the site to download a large number of caches based on certain criteria (location, type, difficulty, etc.).  If you have been geocaching for some time and have premium membership it’s likely you will be well-versed in creating them.  However,  they are more flexible than you might initially imagine.

When you create a pocket query you will, most likely, do a search radiating out from a particular cache or location.  That’s usually good enough to ensure that it captures all the caches you intend to do for the day.  But what happens if you‘re intending to travel from A to B grabbing all the caches along the way?  What if the distance between those two points means that creating a radius big enough for the pocket query to contain all those caches gives more results than a pocket query allows or your GPS will hold? read more

History of Geocaching

This is the international geocaching symbol recognized around the world

This is the international geocaching symbol recognized around the world

International Geocaching Day is today—the third Saturday of every August—and this year I wanted to celebrate the event with a look at the history of Geocaching. It isn’t as old as you might think and was created here in the U.S. But first, we’ll have to take a moment to look at why this modern-day treasure hunt is even possible.

GPS Selective Availability Ends

When GPS was developed by the U.S. Department of Defense and deployed in 1995, it was originally intended for military use. Because of this, the civilian sector only could receive scrambled signals, known as Selective Availability. What this meant was the signals that non military personnel could pick up were only accurate to within 100 meters–not enough to accurately use for, well, anything.

read more

Introducing Muggles to Geocaching

geocaching-200If you are an avid geocacher, it can sometimes be hard to explain to others exactly what it is about the activity that is so appealing. It’s easy to lose a muggle’s interest in the hobby somewhere between trinkets and Tupperware. So if you have someone that you’re trying to convert to geocaching, then I have a few tips for you! read more

Geocaching’s Seven Souvenirs of August

geocaching-200Today is August first, which means that today is your first day to start working towards the coveted Achiever Souvenir at Geocaching.com by participating in the 7 Souvenirs of August! This month’s theme is exploring the geocaching universe by finding six different types of geocaches. So break out of your comfort zone and go and find those caches! It is going to take some planning on your part though, so don’t procrastinate until the last week! Besides, you don’t want to be the last one to log it, do you? Didn’t think so.

So, on to the challenges! Here are the six souvenirs needed to unlock the seventh: read more