Catching The Geocache

By: James Brown

Geocaching is the new craze fuelling the choice of places to visit of many tourists now. Geocaching employs Global positioning system (GPS) technology; small items of low value are hidden by tourists and then it is the turn of another group or tourist to find it. http://Geocaching.com is the website that geocachers use to communicate, when one makes a cache s/he records it there for others to find. Whoever finds it leaves something in turn. Items are simple and housed in a waterproof usually plastic container. It could be anything a CD, some trinkets, computer games key chains or books.

Getting into geocaching is not difficult; one gets registered on http://geocaching.com, buys a GPS system, buys a ticket or willing to drive and gets started. The GPS system which uses satellite signals to place the user at location anyway in the world to a few meters accuracy on a screen as well as how to arrive at other locations using their latitude and altitude measurements. By getting information about hidden caches from http://geocaching.com the player can then enter the coordinates for the hidden treasures around the area he is at and determines how to locate; once located he leaves something behind something and makes a record on the website.

A GPS system can be bought form any store that deals in open air equipment. GPS systems need not be expensive, but the more sophisticated ones are. Geo-caching needs tact and care need to be taken by cachers. Some cachers have been stopped by police for acting suspiciously in an attempt to hide their cache. They also need to take care not to be noticed by the public as caches have been "muggled', meaning vandalised or stolen by those who do not understand the game. When a geo-cache hunter finds a vandalised or stolen cache they make a record on the cachers' website and the original owner is alerted by email that then can replace, repair or delete the cache.

Other interesting ways to p-lay this game do not include a physical cache to be found but the players have to use the coordinates offered of the location and email back details of the place. A virtual cache requires a player to email back a name or date on a plaque or a picture of self at location, earth-cache needs details of the fossils or geology at the place and a webcam cache needs the player to take a picture of self using a public webcam at location.

Some geo-cachers travel overseas for cache hunting but some keep it local. It is an interesting activity that can be built into any holiday or adventure. It just makes it more interesting and is motivating.

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