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What is Geocaching – A Beginner’s Guide


Geocaching is a scavenger hunt-style game using a GPS receiver. It’s short for:

GEO: Geography for coordinate locations.
CACHE: Items stored in a hidden place.

When you put the two words together, geocaching is the idea of finding hidden items at specific locations.

How do you get started with geocaching?

Geocaching has become a worldwide treasure hunt. The best part? It takes you on an adventure, sometimes to the most obscure spots.

If you want access to millions of geocaches worldwide, the easiest way is through geocaching.com. It’s through this community website that members maintain geocaches. Anyone can hide their own too!

The only other alternative to geocaching.com that I can recommend is c:geo. This is great to accompany a handheld GPS for cache information and offline logs.

What can you find in geocaching?


Geocaches can contain anything from:

  • Foreign coins
  • Toy cars
  • Keychains
  • Rubber ducks
  • Marbles

When you find a geocache, it’s usually a container with items inside. Each container has a prize that you can swap in and out.

A geocache usually has a logbook that you can sign. By using the Geocaching app, you can also write virtual logs about your adventures.

There are also special “game pieces” that are “trackable”. These items have extra tracking information. Each one has a long history to them that you can learn how far it has traveled.

Caches are meaningful places that someone has hand-picked to become a hiding spot. For example, it could be a park, beach, or at the top of a mountain.

Where are geocaches?

Each cache has a difficulty rating. First, you’ll want to start with the easy ones. Once you get a hang of things, you can start searching the harder geocaches.

When you want to locate a geocache, enter its geographic coordinates in your GPS. Then, it’s time to go trekking by using your GPS for navigation.

But all GPS have accuracy issues so it won’t get you to the exact location. It’ll get you close though! Get clues by reading what other commenters say about how to find it.

READ MORE: How Do GPS Receivers Work?

How to find survey benchmark monuments

Geodetic survey benchmark

This is an example of a survey benchmark monument. It’s been nailed in the ground decades ago because surveyors tie them into their sets of measurements.

If you’re serious about geocaching, then you’ve probably heard of benchmark hunting. But just what is this type of geocaching?

Benchmark monuments are brass or metal disks in the ground. For decades, surveyors have used them as points of reference.

When you find a survey benchmark, you may be looking at a benchmark surveyed more than a century ago. There’s almost a hidden history behind them.

If you want to find survey benchmarks, you can try the NGS Data Explorer. But some benchmarks can be offset by several meters or feet.

Summary: What is geocaching?

Just like a modern-day treasure hunt, geocaching can take you on some amazing treks.

It’s a fun hobby for the family that people play worldwide.

Not only this, but it’s inexpensive and keeps you active.

Have you ever tried geocaching? Did you like it? Please let us know with a comment below.

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