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The Joy of Geocaching
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The Joy of Geocaching


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.”


  • 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