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The Joy of Geocaching
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The Joy of Geocaching


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Geocaching is a healthy and inexpensive way to get the whole family outdoors, energized and pulling together toward a common goal. There are more than three million active geocachers worldwide and …

Geocaching is a healthy and inexpensive way to get the whole family outdoors, energized and pulling together toward a common goal. There are more than three million active geocachers worldwide and more than one million geocaches hidden around the globe. This presentation by the co-author of the 2010 book The Joy of Geocaching explains the fundamentals of the game and shows why it inspires such enthusiasm among its players.

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  • The California county of Amador organized a fund-raising event around geocaching in March, 2009. Participants paid $10 to get a list of clues that took them through historic downtown districts and nearby attractions like the Preston Castle in Ione and the Kennedy Mine in Jackson. Each downtown selected a theme and prepared appropriate clues around it. Players mingled with locals dressed in period costumes. In one town, they took part in a murder mystery.The state of Maryland created the Maryland Municipal League Geocache Trail, which is comprised of 78 caches located in the league’s 11 districts regions throughout the state. Geocachers have to pick up or download a “passport” to carry with them on their journey and stamp each page with a unique rubber stamp at locations along the trail. Each location also houses a code word. The first 500 geocachers who logged at least 22 finds got a special geocoin.PPL Corp. (PPLPreserves), a PA-based utility, has had geocaches on its properties in Pennsylvania, Maine, and Montana since 2001. The treasure entices people to come visit the company’s wildlife refuges. “This is part of getting across the message about generating electricity in a safe and environmentally responsible way,” says Meg Welker, Education Relations Director. ”Commitment to the environment is part of our philosophy.”PPL currently has six containers stashed, one on each of its six preserves. About 2,500 finds have been logged in the last two years, says Welker. “It’s been pretty successful.”
  • Transcript

    • 1. Finding Happiness in an Ammo Can in the Woods
      Paul Gillin
      Co-author, The Joy of Geocaching
    • 2. What is Geocaching?
      Worldwide treasure hunt enabled by the Internet and global positioning satellites
      Simple rules with complex player-defined variations
      Containers must have log books
      Containers must be locatable by geographic coordinates
      Containers must not be buried
      That’s it!
    • 3. Navigation Basics
      The world is divided into 180 degrees of longitude and 180 degrees of latitude. Each degree is made up of 60 minutes and 360 seconds.
      That’s a total of 7,776,000 unique spots, or about one for every 10 square feet!
    • 4. “Caching is a great leveler...You can be caching with a bank president or a ditch digger... it doesn't matter." -- Don & Jacqi Liddiard (Rock & Crystal)
      “We've adopted a very large circle of friends through geocaching. Some we've never physically met." -- Paul & Karen Sandvick (Jug & Roon)
      “I can literally drive from Alabama to Kansas, pull up to some guys sitting around the campfire and within minutes I’m accepted” – Ed Manley (TheAlabamaRambler)
      “It stirs a passion in me that no other hobby has before. It has dimensions of camaraderie, competition, mental stimulation, fitness, and creativity that I’ve never found elsewhere." -- Dean Powell (J5 Crew)
      “I feel the weight of the world lifting from me when I'm tramping through the woods." -- billandlore
    • 5. Kyjen is at:
      N 39° 34.857
      W 104° 48.463
      There are 46 geocaches within a 2-mile radius and 5 within a 10-minute walk!
      You are here
    • 6. Fun Facts
      Date GPS network opened for public use: May 2, 2000
      Date first geocache placed: May 3, 2000
      # of geocaches, Jan., 2003: 41,000
      # of geocaches, Jan., 2005: 140,000
      # of geocaches, Jan., 2010: 1,010,000
      # of registered geocachers worldwide: 4,000,000
      # of geocaching organizations, N. America: 126
      Age of oldest known geocacher: 99
    • 7. More Fun Facts
      Most geocaches found by one person, lifetime: 39,265
      Most geocaches hidden by one person, lifetime: 2,285
      Most geocaches found by a team in 24 hours: 626
      Geocaches within 10-mile radius of DFW: 1,269
      Geocaches with 10-mile radius of Denver, CO: 1,824
      Highest geocache: Mt. Everest (Earthcache)
      Lowest geocache: 7,000 ft. below Atlantic Ocean surface
      Mt. Everest Earth cache
    • 8. Why On Earth??
      Appeal of geocaching is in the hunt and the accomplishment of discovery
      Most geocaches are hidden in places the owners consider special to them
      Many have historical significance or local importance
      A great way to explore new areas without a guidebook
      More than 70% of players regularly explore in groups
      Accessible to people of all ages and abilities
    • 9. Geowoodstock
    • 10. Cache Types
      Virtual cache
      Traditional cache
      Multi cache
      Earth cache
      Puzzle cache
      Letterbox hybrid
    • 11. Name (often a pun)
      Who and when
      Type & difficulty
      Download stuff
      Download stuff
      Miscellaneous stuff you need to know
      About (often misleading)
      Description (may be misleading!)
      Trackable items therein
      Encrypted hint
    • 12. Pay Attention to Logs
    • 13. Tools to Aid Your Search
      Geocaching Swiss Army Knife (GSAK)
      Geocaching GPSr
      Google Street View
      Microsoft Streets & Trips
    • 14. Planning Your Outing
      How Long?
      How Far?
      With Who?
      Quantity vs. Adventure
      Consider the Weather
      And Your Frustration Level!
      Stuff to Bring
      Spare Batteries
      Cell Phone
      Whistle or Horn
      Dry Clothing
      First Aid Kit
      Hiking Boots
      Bug Spray
      Walking Stick
      Todd Beal and the
      Amazing Caching Vest
    • 15. It’s Your Choice!
    • 16. Geocache Containers
      Bison Tube (Micro)
      Traditional Ammo Can
      Pill Bottle (Small)
      Range of Sizes
    • 17. Unusual Containers
      Hollow Rock
      Bottle Cap
      Sprinkler Head
      Light Bulb
      Rusty Bolt
      Spider on Rock
      Cinder Block
      Light Switch
      Cell Phone
    • 18. Typical Hiding Places
      Rock walls
      Light Skirts
      Inside trees
      Covered by sticks
    • 19. A Language All Its Own
      FTF – First To Find
      DNF – Did Not Find
      CITO – Cache In, Trash Out
      Skirt-lifter – Cache placed under the skirt of an outdoor light fixture
      Muggle – A non-geocacher
      Ground Zero – Point where GPSr coordinates exactly match cache coordinates
      P & G – Park and grab
      Virt – Virtual cache
      UPS – Unnatural Pile of Sticks
      TFTC – Thanks for the cache
      GeoSense -- Sixth sense gained from experience finding geocaches
      Travel Bug Hotel – Geocache placed principally to house trackableitems
      TNLN – Took nothing, left nothing
    • 20.
    • 21. Extreme Geocaching
    • 22. Why You Shouldn’t Trust Your GPSr Too Much
      At best, only accurate to within 10-ft radius (315 ft2)
      Satellite reception affected by objects, weather, visibility
      “Signal bounce” can seriously degrade accuracy
      Low batteries can make matters worse
      The person who hid the cache had the same limitations!
    • 23. When You Get Close, Look For:
      Unnatural piles of rocks or sticks
      Items that don’t seem natural
      Evidence of other humans
      Places where you would hide a cache
      Can You Spot the Cache?
      Can You Spot the Cache?
    • 24. Unwritten Rules
      Log your finds and leave a unique comment or story
      Log your “did not finds” – owners need to know
      Always hide just as you found – a small change can make a big difference in difficulty
      Never disturb nature
      If you take items, leave items of equal or greater value
      Notify owner if cache is compromised
      Pick up trash on your way out
    • 25. When to Quit? Depends…
      Joy of Geocaching Survey n=142
    • 26. Trackables Travel the World
    • 27. Unique Codes Are Logged Online
    • 28. And Inspire Commitment
    • 29. Geocaching in Business & Education
      Arkansas State Parks
      Amador County, CA
      State of Maryland
      PPL Corporation
      Geoteaming is one of several companies that organize geocaching events for team-building
    • 30. Favorite Stories
      A Fine Send-Off – Ben Johnson was hospitalized with terminal cancer just 33 caches short of the 1,000-find mark. Daughter Kathy tells what the members of his local caching organization did.
      Horse Sense – Brad Simmons and friends came up with a clever idea to distract a crowd of people while his wife replaced a cache in an awkward location
    • 31. Thanks!
      Linden Publishing, 2010