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Dig into this fast-growing detective sport that's fun for all ages
Once you get your coordinates, your GPS receiver, maps, compass, and this book, you're ...
Dig into this fast-growing detective sport that's fun for all ages
Once you get your coordinates, your GPS receiver, maps, compass, and this book, you're ready for adventure! Seek out containers of goodies hidden around the world by other geocachers, hide a cache of your own, see new places, and get a little exercise to boot. Here's where to start!
The Dummies Way
* Explanations in plain English
* "Get in, get out" information
* Icons and other navigational aids
* Tear-out cheat sheet
* Top ten lists
* A dash of humor and fun
Discover how to:
* Choose and use a GPS receiver
* Find and download coordinates
* Pack the right gear
* Share experiences with the geocaching community
* Search for benchmarks
* Use geocaching as a teaching tool
Part I: Getting Ready to Geocache.
Chapter 1: An Introduction to Geocaching.
Chapter 2: Selecting a GPS Receiver.
Chapter 3: Using a GPS Receiver.
Chapter 4: Using a Map and Compass.
Part II: Let’s Go Geocaching.
Chapter 5: Selecting Geocaches to Find.
Chapter 6: Searching for a Geocache.
Chapter 7: Discovering a Geocache.
Chapter 8: Hiding Geocaches.
Part III: Advanced Geocaching.
Chapter 9: Searching for Benchmarks.
Chapter 10: Organized Geocaching Clubs and Competitions.
Chapter 11: GPS and Geocaching in Education.
Part IV: The Part of Tens.
Chapter 12: Ten Internet Geocaching Resources.
Chapter 13: Ten Geocaching Programs.
In This Chapter
* Understanding geoaching
* Finding out how geocaching works
* Discovering the benefits of geocaching
* Minimum requirements for geocaching
Geocaching is a new, popular sport that relies on using a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver, the Internet, and your powers of observation. In a nutshell, you find some stuff, take some stuff, leave some stuff, record it all in a logbook, and have fun!
To elaborate a little more, someone, somewhere, hides a container filled with goodies (toys, travel memorabilia, costume jewelry, you name it). He or she then posts the location coordinates on the Internet along with a few clues. You visit a Web site database, get the coordinates, and use your GPS receiver to zero in on the geocache location. (Your GPS receiver usually won't lead you directly to the cache, and this is where your powers of observation come into play in locating the cache's hiding place.)
Geocaching is pronounced GEE-oh-cash-ing. It's not appropriate to pronounce cache as ca-SHAY, even if you are French. So unless you want some funny looks, stick with good ol' cash.
In a few short years, geocaching has grown incredibly popular. Relatively cheap and accurate GPS receivers and widespread access to the Internet have helped the sport flourish throughout the world. As of April 2004, the Geocaching.com site ( geocaching.com; one of the first Web sites devoted to the sport and currently the largest geocaching site on the 'Net) had over 91,000 active geocaches listed in its database, spread out among 201 countries. And that number continues to grow each day. That's a lot of caches out there to find!
Although geocaching is based on a fairly simple idea, you need to understand a number of basic things - or at least be aware of them - before you get started. That's what this chapter is all about. I show you exactly what geocaching is, how the sport got started, why you should geocache, and what you'll need to get started with the sport.
What Is Geocaching?
If you're reading this book, there's a good chance you've heard about geocaching (or saw the title on a bookstore shelf, wondered what the heck it was, and started flipping through pages). The rising popularity of the sport has gotten a fair amount of media attention. Maybe you read a newspaper or magazine article about it or perhaps heard friends talking about some of their geocaching adventures.
Geocaching relies on two technologies:
People use these two technologies together for finding and hiding goodie-filled containers that, by now, you've probably guessed are called geocaches.
Take a more detailed look at the steps that are involved in geocaching:
1. Someone hides a geocache.
The cache consists of a waterproof, element-resistant container, such as a surplus ammo can or plastic tub, that's filled with small trinkets such as costume jewelry, toys, flashlights, old coins, fossils, or just about anything else you could imagine. (Chapter 8 has everything you need to know about hiding caches.) The container also contains a logbook and a pen or pencil so whoever finds a cache can record their discovery. A sample geocache with its goodies is shown in Figure 1-1.
2. The geocache hider logs the GPS coordinates of the cache and a brief description on a Web site. Several different Web sites list the geocache coordinates. The largest and most popular site is geocaching.com. I primarily focus on this Web site throughout the book.
3. The prospective geocache finder (that's you) is interested in searching for geocaches in a particular area and queries the Geocaching.com database.
You can do this by entering a ZIP code, state, country, or other search options. A list of all the geocaches in the general vicinity is displayed. (Read more about this in Chapter 5.) 4. Look through the list of geocaches, select a few that look interesting, and enter their coordinates in your GPS receiver.
5. Drive as close as you can to the geocache (unless you want some additional exercise by walking or hiking a bit farther) and start your search on foot, using the GPS receiver to guide you to the cache location.
The GPS receiver won't take you directly to the geocache - that would be too simple. Your GPS receiver will typically get you within 50 feet or so, and then you need to use your Sherlock Holmes powers of observation and deduction to locate the hidden cache.
6. Find the hidden container.
If the cache is more deviously hidden, I give you some strategies in Chapter 7.
7. Open it up and see what's inside.
Whee! It's Christmas morning, and you get to pick your present.
8. Exchange a trinket in the container that catches your eye with something you brought with you to trade.
9. Sign and date the logbook and carefully place the container back in its hiding place for the next geocacher to discover.
10. When you get home, log on to the Geocaching.com Web site, record your find, and write up a brief account of your adventures. (This is optional, but most geocachers do it.)
That's how geocaching works. Repeat the above steps over and over again, having as much fun as possible each time you go out looking for geocaches. (I go into a lot more detail with each of these steps throughout the book.)
Deciding to Geocache
Why should you geocache? That's a fair question, and I'm going to give you a number of reasons why you should get involved in the sport. (If you're already an experienced geocacher, feel free to use some of these reasons to convince your friends and family members that they should give geocaching a try.)
* The Internet: To find geocaches you'd like to search for
* Your GPS receiver: To get to the general vicinity of a cache
* Your brain: To figure out just where the cache is hidden
One of the nice things about geocaching is that just about anyone can do it; your gender, age, or economic status don't much matter. (Geocaching is a relatively inexpensive sport when it comes to required equipment.) The main requirements are a spirit of adventure, a love of puzzles and mysteries, and a good sense of fun. Here are some of the people you'll encounter in the sport:
What You Need to Geocache
The requirements for geocaching are fairly minimal. In fact, from a bare-bones standpoint, you need only two things:
You can go geocaching without a GPS receiver and use only a map and compass. (My adventure racing team does this to practice our navigation skills.) This is more challenging and makes the sport more like orienteering, where you run around the woods trying to find control points as fast as you can, using a map and compass.
Although the geocache coordinates and a GPS receiver are the two basic requirements for geocaching, I won't kid you and say that's all you need. Geocachers also tend to carry things like maps and compasses (which you can read how to use in Chapter 4), cellphones, food and water, and other pieces of gear. In Chapter 6, I give you a comprehensive and detailed list of other essentials that are commonly used when geocaching.
Excerpted from Geocaching For Dummies by Joel McNamara Excerpted by permission.
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Posted December 26, 2011