So you want to go geocaching?

Quite a few people who have heard of Geocaching are entirely enthralled and romanticized by the idea, but are turned off because it seems a little frivolous to buy a handheld GPS just to find mostly useless hidden treasure. But thanks to the advent of a couple of new technologies, there are a variety of ways you can geocache without those expensive gizmos! Below I have listed just a few.

Paper Caching
What you need:

  • A computer (duh)
  • A Geocaching.com account
  • A printer – Not necessary, but handy
  • Access to Google Maps or Google Earth

This is probably the easiest of all the ways to cache without a GPS.

Step 1. Log on to GeoCaching.com and find a cache that you would like to look for.
Step 2. Take the coordinates and paste them into Google Maps.
Step 3. In Google Maps, click the ‘Satellite’ button on the top right of the map and zoom in as far as it will let you. This will give you some idea of where the cache is physically located.
Step 4. (optional) Print out this zoomed in satellite view
Step 5. On the upper left of the page click the link that says ‘Get Directions’. A dropdown will appear below it with a spot for you to enter your current location. Enter it and click Get directions
Step 6. Change the view of the map from ‘Satellite’ to ‘Map’
Step 7. (optional) Print out driving/walking directions to the area the cache is in
Step 8. Follow the maps and find the cache! It may be advisable to also print out the GeoCaching.com page.


iPhone Caching using ‘Geopher’
What you need:

  • An iPhone
  • A computer (optional)
  • Download of the free iPhone app ‘Geopher Lite’

Step 1. Fire up the app store on your iPhone
Step 2. Search for ‘Geopher Lite‘. This app currently costs $0.99. Download it
Step 3. In Safari (or optionally on your computer) browse to GeoCaching.com and find a cache to look for
Step 4. Open Geopher Lite, click Set Target and enter the coordinates. It will now point towards your coordinates
Step 5. Go out and find your cache!

ALTERNATIVE METHOD

Step 1. Fire up the app store on your iPhone
Step 2. Search for ‘Geopher Lite‘. This app currently costs $0.99. Download it
Step 3. Open Geopher Lite. Tap ‘Set Target’ and then click ‘New Search’. It will automatically list the geocaches closest to your current location. This is a great way to cache on the fly!

iPhone caching WITHOUT Geopher Lite
What you need:

  • iPhone
  • Computer
  • Some paper

This one is a tiny bit more complicated to start, but easier to use!

Step 1. On your computer, find a cache at GeoCaching.com
Step 2. Write down the coordinates of the cache on your piece of paper
Step 3. Here you have to convert the coordinates to a different style so they will work with Google Maps on the iPhone. Let me explain what I mean. Take for instance the coordinates N 52° 07.550 W 106° 40.051. If you simply keyed that into Google Maps on the phone, it would not work. Also, good luck finding the ° symbol. Instead, you have to strip out the N and the W, and replace the ° symbol with a space. Also, put a dash between the latitude and longitude. With the above example, the converted coordinates would be 52 07.550 – 106 40.051.
Step 4. Open the ‘Maps’ app on the iPhone and click ‘Directions’
Step 5. In the first space type ‘CU’ and select ‘Current Location’ from the dropdown list
Step 6. In the second spot enter your newly-converted coordinates
Step 7. The map should take you right to where you want to go! When you end up near the dot on the map, put the phone away and start digging around!

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  • Comments (4)
  1. hi! do you know where I can get the gremlins theme song (mp3)?, thanx! Mike.

  2. Thank you so much for this information. I am studying this topic for a term paper that I am writing for school and this will help very much.

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  4. Hi Bruce,You’ve asked a great question. The reosan for this guideline is to make sure that you actually visit a cache location with a GPS to obtain coordinates, rather than estimate them from Google Earth or an online map resource. Sometimes folks try to estimate the location if they are starting out and don’t own a GPS, and that can mean that their coordinates are 50-100 feet or metres off from the actual location. GPS accuracy can vary depending on cloud cover, overhead foliage, the alignment of satellites and other factors. It’s best to take several different readings, ideally on different days, or at least let your GPS sit at the cache spot for several minutes until it settles for optimum accuracy.Also keep in mind that the GPS component of most smart phones is really not accurate enough to be reliable for posting coordinates for a geocache, while it may work well enough to find a cache. If at all possible, please try to use a handheld GPS unit rather than relying on a smart phone device or an automobile GPS like a Nuvi or TomTom.wizard of ooze

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