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SpatialNews.com Feature
By Dave Ulmer - June 06, 2000


INTRODUCTION TO RECREATIONAL GEOCACHING
Geocaching is a new 21st century recreation that came about as a result of the improving accuracy of electronic Global Positioning System (GPS) devices. With improved positional accuracy, on the order of three meters, GPS's now allow unskilled users the ability to find geographic locations with precision and repeatability. With this new ability, people can now place geocaches in interesting places so that others can enjoy the challenge of finding them. This is Recreational Geocaching.

Geocache and Geocaching are new words developed to easily communicate the act of placing an object at a geographical location and recording its position numerically. Geocache can be used as a noun or a verb. A geocache is an item or group of items located at a recorded geographical position. To geocache, is to place the object and record its position. Geocaching, the act of placing or locating geocaches. Geocaching is also used to describe the sport or recreation of geocaching. A geocacher is a person involved in geocaching.

In the rapidly developing sport of Recreational Geocaching, the Internet is used as a medium for the distribution of geocache locations. Websites have now been set up to support this new activity. The Internet allows communication between the geocacher and those searching for the geocache. Posted on the Internet along with the geographic coordinates, are clues, pictures, and other information about the geocache. Even stories, from the people who have found a geocache, describe their adventure. Currently most geocaches consist of a small waterproof box or plastic bucket, placed at an interesting location. The geocaches contain a logbook for visitors to write in, and a variety of interesting treasures to trade. The simple rules: Take something, Leave something, and Write in the book. These are the basics of recreational geocaching.

The location of a geocache can be very entertaining indeed. As some say, location is everything! The location of a geocache demonstrates the geocacher's skill and possibly even daring. A geocache located on the side of a rocky cliff accessible only by rock climbing equipment may be hard to find. An underwater geocache may only be accessed by scuba. Other geocaches may require long difficult hiking, orienteering, and special equipment to find. Geocaches may be located in cities both above and below ground, inside and outside buildings. The skillful placement of a small logbook in an urban environment may be quite challenging to find even with the accuracy of a GPS. That little logbook may have a hundred-dollar bill in it or a map to greater treasure. It could even contain clues or riddles to solve that may lead to other geocaches.

Recreational geocaching can take on many forms. Like a high-tech Easter egg hunt, geocaching is a sport for all ages. Geocaching adds a new dimension to travel and hiking because you are taking advantage of the local knowledge of the geocacher and your own skill to find a geocache. Since every set of geographical coordinates can be approached from any direction, geocaching requires careful map reading skills in order to find the best approach. Once found a geocache can provide many rewards, from hidden treasure to spectacular views, and even a great campsite. As the sport evolves, we may see Geocache Racing where the object is to find geocaches fast. We may even develop high reward adventure games around the sport.

Geocaches are already located in many locations around the world. Many thanks go out to the geocachers that have placed geocaches. It's just as challenging to create a good geocache as it is to find one. If you find a good geocache and you enjoyed the adventure of the journey to find it, be sure to thank the geocacher by writing your comments in the logbook or sending them an email. Geocaching can be a fun and rewarding new sport that welcomes us to the 21st century with many new adventures.

The GPS Stash Hunt (Geocache) Homepage can be found at www.triax.com/yngwie/gps.html

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