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Friday, November 03, 2006


Geocaching is an outdoor treasure-hunting game in which participants use a handheld Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver in combination with the internet to hide and locate containers (called "geocaches" or "caches") anywhere in the world. A GPS is a portable version of the "sat-nav" system popular in motor cars which makes use of geo-stationary sattelites to locate a position anywhere on Earth.

Popular are the handheld devices supplied by Garmin . The device can "lock on" to up to 12 satellites, and the accuracy depends on how clear a view can be obtained of the sky. Trees or buildings may restrict the accuracy. Typically, accuracy can be down to about 20 feet (6 metres) so a little searching for a hidden cache is usually required.

Popular hand- held GPS device supplied by Garmin

Caches are registered on an internet site which describes the location and general landmarks, fine-tuned by geographical coordinates, either in degrees latitude and longitude or the national Ordnance Survey grid reference. The coordinates are programmed into the GPS device which is used to locate the cache in the field.

A typical cache is a small waterproof container containing a logbook and "treasure", usually toys or trinkets of little monetary value. When a cache is found, the visitor records the visit by writing in the logbook and it is customary to exchange an item in the cache. On returning home, the discovery is recorded on the Geocaching website. An example of one of my own caches is described here . Today I located a cache here near my home in Askam.

Although geocaching may have overtones of nerdishness, trainspotting and anoraks, it does have positive aspects. It is harmless. It gets you out of doors, and exercising. It may lead you to locations you may never have envisaged visiting. And there is undoubtedly the satisfation of locating a cache (especially if a little effort is required) or to get an email message informing you that someone has located one of yours. Surely better to use the internet in combination with exercise, rather than using the internet alone?


Blogger simon said...

Sounds like a fantastic thing to do. I think i should get a GPS and give it a try. certainly would get my children involved and be a great excuse for a walk..outside of all the other things eg birding, kayaking and MTN bike riding.

It sure beats sitting at home watching the paint dry!

10:34 pm  
Anonymous Jill said...

Right. Next time you are here, please will you give me a lesson in GPSing. My brain cannot work out what I am doing. We have a Garmin which cost about £150 so it aint a cheapy.

3:24 pm  
Anonymous Ellee said...

I love gadgets like this, especially if it helps with navigating. I think a friend had one of these systems with us last week on a long walk in Norfolk and we did lose a signal in the forest - not the best place to be stuck when it's getting dark - but picked it up later.

5:20 pm  
Blogger simon said...

Jim used one whilst here in Aus. Amazing! You can lose the signal sometimes and they seem to chew through batteries, but they add a great deal of security to your location :o)
Elee:- you mentioned the Great Barrier Reef. Scientists are going to trial shade cloth on ponttons to shade the coral that is effected by global warming...

10:40 pm  
Anonymous Ellee said...

Simon, I had better get out there sooner rather than later then and refresh on my scuba skills. If only...

5:06 pm  
Blogger simon said...

no time like the "now" Ellee

9:47 pm  
Blogger tortoiseshell said...

Geocaching is fun!

4:50 pm  
Blogger simon said...

had the troopie serviced.. Wheel bearings re-packed. All is well. Tough truck for sure! :o)

8:26 am  
Anonymous Ellee said...

Looking forward to your next post Maalie, hope you are well.

12:53 pm  
Anonymous Plumpy said...

So... by "treasure" you mean food, don't you?

10:03 am  
Blogger Maalie said...

Ha! I seem to remember seeing a sugar mouse in one!

4:46 pm  
Blogger Mihai said...

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2:14 pm  

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