Looking for a fun outdoor activity, with or without kids, this summer? Then play geocaching! It is treasure hunting using a GPS unit!
Geocaching is most often described as a game of high-tech hide and seek, sharing many aspects with orienteering, treasure hunting, and waymarking. It is an outdoor activity in which participants use a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver – smartphone, handheld GPS, or navigational techniques to locate hide and seek containers called “geocaches” or “caches”. These could be hidden anywhere in the world. There are around 1,200 caches hidden in a 30 km radius of Geneva and 800 within the same radius of Lausanne!
Geocaches are currently placed in almost every country around the world, except N.Korea. They are on all seven continents, including Antarctica. More than 2.8 million geocaches waiting to be found in over 180 countries.
The game started on 2 May 2000 after the US military provided a better GPS signal to civilians around the world.
A typical cache is a small waterproof container (usually a film can or Tupperware container, but some caches are really creative containing a logbook. Larger containers also contain items for trading, usually toys or trinkets of little value.
Geocaching has become a global phenomenon and game that allows kids and adults of all abilities to engage in a fun outdoor activity in which they:
Learn how to read maps (important life skill!) and use GPS equipment.
Make their way into the countryside or city to seek out geocaches.
Bring a Pen. It’s like the first day of school. You need to be prepared. Always pack a pen to make sure you’re ready to sign your Geocaching username and the date.
Leave No Trace. Be kind to the geocaching game board, which happens to be the entire world. Pick up litter along the way and don’t leave anything behind.
Write a great “found it” or “didn’t find it” Log.
When you find a geocache, or even when you don’t find a geocache, make sure to share the spirit of adventure with the geocache owner and for other geocachers. Write a log detailing your journey.
Put the geocache back where and EXACTLY how you found it – the geocache owner placed the geocache at a specific location for a reason. Make sure he can find it again and that other geocachers can have the same experience you just had.
Move trackables along. If you remove a trackable, like a Travel-Bug ®, from a geocache make sure to post a “retrieved” log and move it to another geocache as soon as possible.
Geocaching offers a smartphone app where you can share your experience – see links below.
By Guillaume P. Boppe
Photographer, Compliance Manager and Geocacher