Scavenger Hunts and Technology

I’m going to let you in on a new pastime that seems to be gathering some steam. Geocaching as defined by its website is:

“Geocaching is a high-tech treasure hunting game played throughout the world by adventure seekers equipped with GPS devices. The basic idea is to locate hidden containers, called geocaches, outdoors and then share your experiences online.”

What that means is fellow geocachers hide geocaches, which can be any type of container as long as it can hold a log book, outside where it can be legally accessed.  For instance, there is a statue memoralizing Robert Peary located near where I live.  Someone placed a geocache at this site as a way to bring in out-of-towners in to see it.  The container was a fake rock that contained a log book for successful cachers to sign.  Link to Geocache page.

The reason I enjoy this hobby so much is because it takes the good ol’ pastime of hiking and site seeing and mixes it with technology.


Technology


The GPSr (Global Positioning System Receiver) is the basic tool used for Geocaching. Although, it is not the only technological tool. Many popular companies are developing devices and software packages for Geocaching. For instance, Magellan and Garmin have been creating car and hiking GPSr’s, recently, to include modules for Geocaching. Also, software developers for both the iPhone and Android systems have been actively creating and updating helpful tools.


C:GEO

A popular software package that I, as well as the majority of Geocaching Android users, use is called C:Geo. Its a completely free tool that is built for both the casual and hardcore geocacher. C:Geo takes advantage of the Droid’s built in GPSr and allows the user to search for geocaches based on the phone’s location. For instance, say you’re in Washington DC and you suddenly have the urge to geocache. Simply open C:Geo and tell it to search for nearby geocaches, and it will display a list of geocaches base on their locations starting from nearest to farthest.

It also has a built in search function so that you can look up any geocache by name, location, GC numbers (unique number given to each geocache), or username.

Another function that C:Geo provides saves geocachers from a lot of headaches.

Finally, C:Geo allows you to post a “Found it” status on geocaching.com from where you are. No longer do you have to try and remember the names of all the geocaches you found during a long day of caching, you can simply log them as you go.

Where C:Geo comes up short is that it will only allow for live geocache searches while in 3G service. Once you drop signal, which happens frequently in the woods, C:Geo is basically useless.

Thankfully, C:Geo has released an update in which you can save geocaches onto your SD card for later use. This way if you know that you’re going after a certain geocache that won’t be in a 3G zone, you can cache it and pull it up in “offline” mode when needed.

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