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Sunday, March 18, 2012

Creating Pocket Queries Along A Route

pq1

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

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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Geocaching: Traveling Items Guide

travel bugPart of what makes geocaching so fun is getting to explore the world around you and experiencing that thrill when you find the hidden cache. A lot of times, the treasures inside aren’t really anything super exciting—just trinkets and little items. Occasionally, though, you’ll come across a traveling item.

In my opinion, these traveling items are probably one of the cooler parts of geocaching. A traveling item is exactly what it sounds like: an item that has a goal or destination which generally involves traveling (duh). A geocacher’s job when they find a traveling item is to try and help it reach its goal–which might be as vague as traveling “as far as possible” to extremely specific, detailing a certain place it wants to be or even just a set of parameters such as “stay near water.”

But there are at least three different kinds of traveling items and etiquette that geocachers need to be aware of before removing them. read more

Creating Pocket Queries With GSAK

 

map

As regular readers will know, I’m a big fan of a piece of software called the Geocaching Swiss Army Knife (or GSAK) and recommend it to any serious geocacher.  At its most basic, it’s a database for geocaches which you can use to generate advanced find statistics.  But its flexibility means you can do a lot more with it, from speeding up your cache logging through the use of templates, to planning a day out.

One of the great things about GSAK is uncovering these really powerful, time-saving features that make geocaching less about administration and planning, and more about going out there and finding Tupperware.  read more

Waymarking for Beginners

waymarkingIf 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. read more

Exploring the World With GPS Games

Hikers-with-GPS-hiking_thumb.jpg

Part of the wonder of GPS is that you can go anywhere and never have to worry about getting back. But if getting there is the best part of the journey for you, then check out these GPS games you can play by yourself or with others. It’s a great excuse to get out and enjoy the beautiful summer weather and maybe discover something amazing! read more