Saturday, April 04, 2009

Geocache Fun Using My iPhone

I've been using a GPS since the dark ages when they didn't have built-in maps, and I love them, but there's a new game for me, using my iPhone 3G with its built-in GPS. Geocaching has been around for some time. I've read about it and thought it would be fun, but I never took the time to track down the website and actually give it a try.

Well, things changed when I saw the Geocaching iPhone App. Yes, it's $10, but something clicked and I had to have it. The combination of GPS, mapping, and automatic download of the geocache information makes it so easy. Well as easy as a treasure hunt ever it.

You see, geocaching is exactly that, a treasure hunt, only with a bit of high-tech thrown in. Someone takes a container (hopefully waterproof) and puts in it a logbook and a few trinkets, hides it and posts the GPS coordinates and a few hints onto the central website. The hunter (you), downloads that info and tries to find it. Classically, you track it down, take one item from the stash and replace it with something else and enter your name onto the log.

Well, after several years, there have come variations. Some, like this one I located after lunch today, are very tiny, a film canister (can you see it under the rock?), and there's room for nothing inside but the logbook. Most of the ones I see locally are listed as small. But that's okay. Finding the geocache is the game, not getting goodies.

There are other variations. The one that fascinates me the most are the trackables. Those are tagged coins or tokens that you find in one cache and leave in another, entering their movement in the central database. I haven't found one of those yet.

You can do all of this without the iPhone App, of course. You can even do it without a GPS, but it would be very hard. Go to the website at https://www.geocaching.com/ and take a look, with nearly 800,000 caches out there, the chances are good there are some very close to where you are right now. And it's fun.

1 comment:

Chris said...

I use Trimble's Geocache Navigator on my Blackberry. Isn't it great using your phone to geocache? I just keep my GPSr around in case I don't have Sprint coverage.