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Newbies Guide To Geo Caching
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Newbies Guide To Geo Caching


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My presentation given at BarCampSheffieldII, 29th November 2008.

My presentation given at BarCampSheffieldII, 29th November 2008.

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  • 1. Newbies’ Guide To Geo-Caching Caz Mockett BarCampSheffield2 November 2008
  • 2. What is Geo-Caching?
    • Geocaching is a sport which started in 2000
    • It’s basically high-tech treasure hunting
    • Users log in to to find the location of hidden caches around the world
    • Once they know the co-ordinates, they must go out and find the box
    • Once found, you sign the logbook in the box
    • And log your find on
  • 3.
    • You must have an account on in order to find out information about the caches
    • It’s free for basic membership
    • Premium membership costs $30/year which gives you extra features
    • Each cache has a reference Waypoint such as GC1H6HY
  • 4. Seek A Cache
    • To find a cache, enter your location/post code:
  • 5. Seek A Cache
    • Search Results come up as a list:
  • 6. Seek A Cache
    • Or you can view them on a map:
    Click on the Cache Name for more details
  • 7. Seek A Cache
    • If you aren’t logged in, you get:
  • 8. Seek A Cache
    • If you are logged in, you get:
  • 9. Types of Cache
    • There are quite a few different cache types:
  • 10. Common Types of Cache
    • The most common is a Traditional Cache
      • Full co-ordinates are supplied
      • It’s one box to find and log
    • Multi-caches
      • These specify the co-ordinates for the first cache
      • Find the first, and co-ordinates for the next cache can be found in the box, and so on
    • Mystery Caches
      • Solve a riddle or look for specific clues
      • These give you the cache co-ordinates
  • 11. Common Types of Cache
    • Event Cache
  • 12. Cache Sizes
    • There are five sizes of cache. The most common is Regular (eg Ammo can):
  • 13. Cache Sizes
    • Good sized sandwich/lock & lock boxes are also classed as Regular :
  • 14. Cache Sizes
    • Smaller sized sandwich/lock & lock boxes are classed as Small :
  • 15. Cache Sizes
    • There are also a lot of Micros about (eg 35mm film pot):
  • 16. Cache Sizes
    • And then there’s the evil little Nano – usually magnetic – and very well hidden:
  • 17. Cache Sizes
    • Here’s a Nano from the wild, showing its log book wound in the lid:
  • 18. Hiding Places
    • Caches can be hidden in many places, but some of the most common are:
    • In bushes
  • 19. Hiding Places
    • In trees – can you spot this one?:
  • 20. Hiding Places
    • Under bridges – watch out for Trolls:
  • 21. Cache Location Hints
    • You often get an extra clue to help
    • Could this be the crock of gold at the rainbows end?
  • 22. Cache Location Hints
    • Dave may be down the drain, but the cache isn't!
  • 23. Logging Your Find
    • So you’ve found a cache – what next?
    • Sign the logbook you find inside the cache
    • Make a note of the cache Waypoint
    • Log your visit online at
  • 24. Understanding The Logs
    • Each log entry has a little icon next to it
    • Found The Cache
    • Did Not Find (DNF)
    • Note – eg dropping off a Geocoin
    • Needs maintenance – if the log is full, etc
    • There are other acronyms which you will see:
      • TNLN = Took Nothing, Left Nothing
      • SL = Signed Log
      • TFTC = Thanks For The Cache
      • FTF = First To Find
  • 25. Trackable Items
    • As well as regular swap items, you may also find special trackable items in a cache
    • If you find one, you can remove it – but they are not for keeps – you must put it in another cache as soon as you can
    • There are several types of trackable items that you can log on
      • Geocoins (GCs)
      • Travel Bugs (TBs)
      • Trackabulldog – a kind of hybrid between the two
  • 26. Trackables - Geocoins
    • Geocoins (GCs) each have their own unique tracking number engraved on one side
    • They are often issued to commemorate an event
    • The owner can give the coin a specific “mission” – ie visit caches near rivers
  • 27. Trackables – Travel Bugs
    • Travel Bugs (TBs) are tags which can be attached to another item
    • They still have a unique tracking number
    • The owner can give the TB a “mission” too
  • 28. Trackables – Trackabulldog
    • Trackabulldogs are geocoins which think they are Travel Bugs!
    • It’s still the same principle with them having a unique number on the back
    • It’s just a different name – just to add to the confusion!
  • 29. Trackables – Logging
    • Just like logging your visit to a cache, it’s important to record when you move a coin from one cache to another
    • lets you remove, place or discover a geocoin
      • Log a Remove when you take a coin out of a cache
      • It will then appear in your inventory
      • Log a Place when you put the coin in a new cache
      • If you don’t take a coin, you can log it as Discovered if you record the tracking number
  • 30. Trackables – Logging
    • Your Trackables page will look like this:
  • 31. Equipment - iPhone
    • You can get started with geocaching if you have an iPhone or other GPS-enabled mobile
    • Groundspeak have made a Geocaching App for the iPhone. It costs £5.99 from the App Store
    • You can just use the Maps application, but its much more long-winded
  • 32. Equipment - iPhone
    • The latest version of the App lets you log in to so you can find extra caches if you are a Premium Member
    • Future versions will let you log your finds directly from your phone
    • For the moment, it’s just an easy way for you to find caches close to your location
  • 33. Equipment - iPhone
    • If you have switched on Location Services in settings, you will get a list of caches close by [not indoors!]
    • Selecting the cache name will display more info about the cache
    • You get the location, hint & description, plus a button show you a rudimentary compass
  • 34. Equipment - iPhone
    • You can also use the Trackables tab to look for a specific Geocoin or Travel Bug
  • 35. Equipment - iPhone
    • Once you have selected a cache to find from the list, pressing the Map button will place a red map pin where the box is located
    • Your job is to get your blue “I am here” blob to coincide and then you are at the cache location
    • Now all you have to do is rummage about and find it!
  • 36. Equipment - iPhone
    • If you don’t have the Geocaching App, you can still find a cache by manually inputting its co-ordinates into the Mapping application
    • provides them in a different format to decimal, which is the easiest to type in
    • You may find the Waypoint Conversion page helpful
  • 37. Equipment - GPSr
    • If you have £150+ to spend, you might consider getting a handeld GPSr such as this Garmin eTrex Vista HCx
  • 38. Equipment – eTrex Vista HCx
    • Once your GPSr is warmed up, it will indicate how many satellites it has a fix from, and show you your current co-ordinates
    • You can walk about until the co-ordinates shown match the published of the cache
    • Or you can use some of the built-in caching features to help you out
  • 39. Equipment – eTrex Vista HCx
    • Select the Find > Geocache menu
    • It then displays a list of the nearest geocaches which you have previously saved to the unit
    • Selecting the Waypoint number provides more details:
  • 40. Equipment – eTrex Vista HCx
    • Pressing the Go To button will display a Compass for you to follow
    • Or if you select the Map option instead, you are given an arrow and path to the current cache
    • By default, the eTrex only ships with very basic maps
    • More detailed topgraphy can be bought on MicroSD
  • 41. So Why Bother Geocaching?
    • It gets you out and about – often visiting really interesting places you might not otherwise go to
  • 42. So Why Bother Geocaching?
    • It’s a lot of fun to do with friends, family etc – and can be combined with the daily dog walk too!
  • 43. But Be Prepared
    • For mud, nettles, brambles and creepy-crawlies!
  • 44. But Be Prepared
    • To get lost, frustrated and confused! Take a map!
  • 45. But Most of All
    • Have fun
    • Enjoy the outdoors, but respect the countryside code
    • Caches are usually placed on public land, but occasionally you may find one on private land (placed with the owner’s permission) – so respect their property too
    • Get the bug – it’s addictive 
  • 46. So What’s Hidden Locally?
    • There are one or two hidden in the city centre
    • Why not join us for a cache hunt later?