Have you ever watched your favorite action/adventure film, like Indiana Jones or National Treasure, where the heroes hop around the globe, following clues and eventually finding the hidden prize?
What if we told you could do that same thing with just your smartphone and a willingness to travel?
Most people think of their smartphone as a gateway to digital entertainment, and with good reason. You’re only ever a tap away from a host of games, like the latest VR experiences, a rapid-fire game of Zoom Poker, or enjoying your favorite shows on one of the top streaming services.
However, just because these are all activities that can be enjoyed from your favorite comfy chair, doesn’t mean your smartphone can’t help you indulge you love of adventure, exploration, and travel.
Geocaching 101: How to Join the World’s Largest Treasure Hunt
What is Geocaching?
At its most basic, Geocaching is a global treasure hunt that uses the advances in modern mapping and GPS technology to guide players to the prize.
GPS, or the Global Positioning System, is a huge satellite-based radio navigation system that can accurately guide anyone with a receiver to anywhere around the globe with startling accuracy.
Since positional data is important to a number of smartphone utilities, from exercise tracking to ordering a takeaway, most smartphones have a GPS receiver built-in. This means anyone with a GPS enabled smartphone can participate in Geocaching.
How Do You Play?
One of the joys of Geocaching is that it is a simple game to participate in. All you need to do is register with the official Geocaching website, navigate to the Hide & Seek a Cache page, then put in the postcode of your local area and pick a cache to go hunt.
You could just look for caches around the area you live, but global Geocaching is huge and there are Geocaches all over the world. There might be one in your neighborhood, but there is just as likely to be one you can find if you’re off hiking the Inca Trail.
What Are the Rules of Geocaching?
Because of its simplicity, Geocaching doesn’t have much in the way of rules and regulations. There are only really three rules:
1 – When you find a cache, make sure you write in the logbook and then replace the cache exactly where you found it.
2 – Log where you found the cache on the official Geocaching website.
3 – Some people like to leave small gifts in their caches. If you decide to take the gift, replace it with something of equal value.
How Did Geocaching Start?
When the existing GPS system was upgraded on the second of May 2000, the press release from the White House stated that anyone with the receiver could “precisely pinpoint their location or the location of items (such as game) left behind for later recovery.”
Wanting to test this, a GPS enthusiast called Dave Ulmer began hiding GPS targets in the woods around his home. He then put the locations on websites for people interested in navigating using the new GPS system.
Initially, the idea of Geocaching was restricted to members of these GPS fan sites, but one member, Jeremy Irish, who had recently developed a passion for Geocaching, decided to create a specific website for this new and growing hobby.
The website was then featured in the popular tech magazine Slashdot and the story was further circulated by The New York Times, increasing the visibility of Geocaching.
Since the popularity of Geocaching had outgrown Jeremy Irish’s ability to host it on his own computer, he partnered with Elias Alvord and Bryan Roth and created the company Groundspeak Inc, which was initially funded through the sale of Geocaching t-shirts.
From there the website grew to become a full-time job for the three men and has gone on to become the epicenter for a global community of Geocaching enthusiasts.
Want to join the world’s largest treasure hunt?
Jump over to www.geocaching.com or download the app from the App Store, or Google Play.