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Sunday, March 18, 2012

Geocaching Souvenirs

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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.

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Creating Pocket Queries Along A Route

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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.

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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

Underground Railroad Geotour Looking For Funding

geotour

Geocaching is a rapidly expanding activity with more than 6 million active geocachers around the world searching for hidden objects. But what if those caches were strung together to tell a story or the history of something like the Underground Railroad? Well, that’s what geotourism is all about, and there is a kickstarter project currently looking for backers to fund the creation of a geotour for just that purpose.

Gary Jenkins, creator of the documentary film  Freedom Seekers: Stories From the Western Underground Railroad, and a geocaching expert Melissa Gard are looking create a historical geotour of the railroad consisting of 8-10 caches along the path that John Brown and the 13 Freedom Seekers took. The trip will go from Bates County, Missouri north to Nebraska City, Nebraska. The project is looking to raise $5,000 by August 27. As of this publishing date, the kickstarter currently only has $135 pledged with 27 days to go. To take a look at the kickstarter page for the underground railroad geotour, click here. read more

New Study Reveals Health Benefits of Geocaching

Geocaching_LogoTexas A&M and the CDC have released a study showing that geocaching is healthier than not geocaching. Of course, I doubt that anyone thought geocaching was really bad for your health, but it’s always nice to know something you do is good for you! In this study, they tracked 1,000 geocachers throughout the U.S. aged 18-77 who geocached at least once a week. The study lasted for a year.

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