Geocaching Background - Explore! Geocaching Background - Explore!

Geocaching Background

Geocaching

Orienteering, the predecessor of geocaching,  is the skill of navigating from place to place, typically on land, using only a map and a compass. This skill has been practiced for centuries.  More recently it has evolved into a sport that requires the participant to race against time – and competitors – to complete a specific mapped journey.  The many variations of the sport are related to the method of travel – foot, horse, bicycle, canoe and others.  Orienteering was added to the World Games in 2001 and is supported in the United States by the U.S. Orienteering Federation.

Like orienteering, geocaching involves navigation, but it is only recently that the tools for this new type of navigation became available.  In 1993 the United States completed the placement of 24 satellites in orbit to create a highly accurate navigation system for military operations.  These satellites are known as the Global Positioning System or GPS.  Initially the system was scrambled in a manner that allowed the military to have great accuracy while limiting accuracy that could be achieved by the general public.  The scrambling ended on May 1, 2000 on the orders of then President Clinton.  Two days later, geocaching was invented by Dave Ulmer and described by him in a posting on sci.geo.satellite-nav, a USENET Newsgroup. Within days ‘stashes’ were being planted around the world. On May 30, Matt Stum suggested ‘geocaching’ as a name for the activity.  Within a month the idea was born and implemented.  Since then, the sophistication of support systems has grown exponentially to give us geocaching as we know it today, but the basic operations of the sport remain as Ulmer described them in 2000.

To get started, check our store for a wide variety of GPS units.  Then, sign up for a free membership at www.geocaching.com and go to the Hide & Seek page where you can search for a cache near you.   Enter the coordinates of the cache into your GPS unit according to the instructions that came with it.  Set the unit to lead you to the cache, and off you go.  Some geocaches are easily found adjacent to roads and others may require miles of hiking through difficult terrain.  The information at geocaching.com will help you determine the difficulty associated with finding any cache.  Be sure to  take a trinket to put in the cache – especially if you take something from the cache.

Our explorers have placed a few caches that may be of interest to you.  Look for “Explorer!” at geocaching.com and see the following pages for more information about the places the caches are hidden:

Remember that the journey is what exploration is all about.  Feel free to explore the countryside on the way to the cache.  Have a great time!

Author/Photographer: Jerry Haugen
©2010, Global Creations – All rights reserved.

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