View Full Version : RE: Looking for some input

08-10-2005, 02:58 PM
As some of you may know I've interviewed both Bearfirefighter and Nor'eastar and I've started writing up the feature story. I hope to make this a big story and as such have a few sidebars. One sidebar on the necessary equipment to get into geo-caching and another sidebar on the lingo of geo-caching. Looking for some input here on these sidebars . . . I'm trying to keep things on the simple side (hence not explaining about WAAS, lat and long, etc. If there is anything you can think of that may be worth adding . . . .

GPS: Learning the Lingo

Cache: Pronounced "cash", this is the hidden container with a logbook and often small trinkets available to trade.

CITO: Cache In, Trash Out – many Geo-cachers practice a philosophy of leaving a cache site in a better condition than they found it. At one site in Jackson a geo-cacher filled up three bags of trash and over 100 returnable bottles.

Coords: Short for coordinates, the latitude and longitude location of the cache site.

FTF: First To Find, this is often recorded in logbooks and on-line whenever the first geo-cacher finds the site.

Geo-muggle: A non-geo-cacher. This term, also known as "Muggles" comes from the Harry Potter books and refers to someone who may either wonder why a geo-cacher is wandering around in circles or to someone who accidentally finds a cache.

GPS: Global Positioning Satellite, a system of satellites which work with a hand-held receiver to allow the user to figure out their location on the planet and to find caches.

Signature Items: These are trinkets which are unique to a certain geo-cacher. Some signature items include a John Deere tractor on a key ring with information about the geo-cacher, a photo marble with photos taken from around the State of Maine and a cardinal sitting on a stone.

TFTC: Thanks For The Cache, a simple log entry indicating one’s appreciation to the person who hid the cache

TNLN: Took Nothing, Left Nothing, a log entry made when someone decides not to trade for anything in the cache

Travel Bug: A tagged item that moves from cache to cache. Some Travel Bugs have specific goals (i.e. to go to California, to head south, etc.) Travel Bug travels can be tracked on-line.

Virtual Cache: A location where there is no actual cache container. Sometimes used for sensitive areas or in places where hiding a cache is nearly impossible or not advised. In some cases the person who created the virtual cache may require the geo-cacher to answer a question with information that they could only get by finding the site or to take a picture of them at the site.

08-10-2005, 03:04 PM
And a second sidebar . . .

Want to geo-cache? What do you need?

Get ready, Get set, G(e)o!

GPS receiver

GPS receivers range in price from $100 (Garmin eTREX) up to $450 (Magellan Meridian Color) and $535 (Garmin 60CS) and can be purchased at businesses such as Hamilton Marine in Searsport. While any unit can be used in geo-caching the more expensive models frequently include mapping software and extra features such as electronic compasses, barometers, etc.


Many geo-cachers use a compass ($2-$10) to aid them during their search . . . and in case the batteries of the GPSr go dead on them.

Cache Bag

A bag ($5-$75) containing water, trinkets to trade, first aid supplies, etc. Bags may range in size from a belt-mounted bag to a full-sized backpack.

Palm Pilot

While not totally necessary some geo-cachers such as Nor’eastar use their Palm Pilot ($250-$350) to keep track of new and found caches without having to resort to printing off all of the information from the website.

Internet Access

In order to find out where the geo-caches are located you need to be able to log on to which offers a description of the cache, clues, past logs recorded by geo-cachers and the all-important coordinates. The site is free, but you will need internet access ($10-$50.)


If you plan to trade an item the rule is you should always place an item back in the cache that is equal or worth more than the item you took. Trade items ($10-$30 total) may include toys, compasses, maps, books, CDs, etc. Items not acceptable for trade items include knives, alcohol, tobacco, food, etc.


After you’ve found a few caches many geo-cachers decide to hide one or more of their own caches. To do this you’ll need a container (usually a tupperware container or ammo box bought at an Army-Navy surplus store for $5), notebook and pencil/pen for the log and some trinkets. Most caches also contain a note explaining what geo-caching is about in case a "muggle" finds the cache.

Miscellaneous Items

Geo-cache sites can be found right in middle of cities such as Belfast, Bangor and Waterville or may be found in areas such as Moxie Falls or Coburn Gore. Good footwear is almost a necessity. Other items frequently used by geo-cachers include hiking staffs, bug spray, spare batteries, pencil or pen to mark the cache log and snacks for those longer hikes.

08-10-2005, 04:21 PM
Palm Pilot

While not totally necessary some geo-cachers such as Nor’eastar use their Palm Pilot ($250-$350) to keep track of new and found caches without having to resort to printing off all of the information from the website.

Just a comment...

Instead of "Palm Pilot" (which is a specific model by a specific manufacturer), I'd say "PDA (Personal Digital Assistant)" - which includes all operating systems and brands.

FWIW... :D :D

08-10-2005, 04:30 PM
And if you're writing a piece for publication, somewhere in the forums is a thread about all the articles written about Maine cachers and Maine caching (including, I must add, one well written article about RULOST2? and me by my niece for the Boothbay Register.) But there are also good articles about BRDAD, The GeoTwins, and a couple of others.

:o :o :o

08-10-2005, 05:16 PM
Since we are talking about the Palm Pilot or in general paperless caching using a PDA ,then there are a slew of applications that can make life a lot easier also.

Pocket Queries: Becoming a Premium member of which costs $20.00 yearly allows you to get as many as 5 queries daily in any category or area of interest that you choose.

Cachemate: Software program put out by Smittyware at which is a cache management tool which allows you to download all caches in the state and keep a log of them,including all the descriptions,past logs etc.etc.The same info that is included on the page. Cost is $8.00 and worth every cent. This is for Palm based PDA's and there are others that are made to work with Pocket PC's as well. GPXSonar is one that comes to mind.

GSAK: Geocaching Swiss Army Knife: A very comprehensive management tool which allows just about any type of filtering with numerous databases. Ability to download waypoints directly from it. Many options too numerous to mention here. It is shareware for 21 days and then the author requests $20.00 but is not necessary but well worth every cent as well. After 21 days you get nag screens but I used it for almost a year before feeling guilty and then I finally sent in the money. One very powerful tool that I havent even scratched the surface with it's uses but it's not very user friendly at least from my standpoint. Does what I want it to do and much more.

I know there a lot of other software programs out there but these are the ones I use. Maybe that will be of some help. :)

08-10-2005, 05:30 PM
Gee thanks, I have learned a lot myself just by reviewing what you have thus far.

08-10-2005, 05:34 PM
Pocket Queries: Becoming a Premium member of which costs $20.00 yearly allows you to get as many as 5 queries daily in any category or area of interest that you choose.

Actually - $3 a month or $30 per year - but definitely worth it. :p :p

08-10-2005, 05:42 PM
I don't really understand pocket queries. I have read the description, but....I don't get it. Can someone explain? Please and thank-you.

08-10-2005, 05:52 PM
Oops!!!! I knew that Bruce,thanks for correcting me on that. $30.00 yearly,I must have had 20 bux on my mind I guess. :o

The G Team
08-10-2005, 06:35 PM
Many (most?) libraries have free Internet.

Used GPSrs and PDA are available on eBay for less $.

It might be a good idea to find an experienced cacher to go with for a find or two--I know lots of folks here are more than willing to help out a new cacher.

Instead of dollar store items, many folks trade hand-made signature items, and many others collect them.

Other necessities:
Bug spray
Walking stick (for rough trails and poking around for hidden caches)
Sun Block
Bug spray
TP (for the longer hikes)
Bug spray

Nice to have:
Camera (for those awesome views).
Water bottle

You might also mention the events--those are my favorites.

Just my two cents!


Beach Comber
08-10-2005, 07:11 PM
Some people are using laptops while on the road to ensure up-to-date information and allow for more "real-time" posting of finds. I saw a log recently where someone posted their log using a PSP!!

In case Steve doesn't see this before you send it to print......Nor’eastar is actually Noreasta.

Are you planning to include the the ( site in the article? A great way to meet fellow cachers and learn about local caching, activities, etc.

I look forward to seeing the article!! Please let us know when it is available.

08-11-2005, 08:21 AM
Thanks for the input. Based on your suggestions I will . . .

-- add in the fact that internet access may be as little as zero dollars if you can access it free at a library

-- Add in PDA/Palm Pilot

-- Mention that used GPSrs can be bought for even less

-- Mention both and in the article

-- And yes I will get Steve's knickname right eventually . . . so far I've spelled it every which way but the right way

I probably won't mention the laptops that some folks use . . . don't want to complicate things too much . . . ditto on GSAK, cachemate and pocket queries.

08-11-2005, 08:25 AM
Don't forget the maps, either printing them from the geocaching site or a good old Delormes Maine Atlas for those of us caching here as an inexpensive means of getting around the State all the way up to Mapping software for PDA or Mapping Software for the more complex GPSr's.

Mapping has proved to be my biggest concerns as I exhaust local caches and move farther away from home base.

Great Article and I look forward to seeing the final print.

08-11-2005, 09:48 AM
I don't really understand pocket queries. I have read the description, but....I don't get it. Can someone explain? Please and thank-you.

Pocket queries allow you to get specific information on a group of caches from It comes in a file format that can be used by the usual cache managers - GSAK, EasyGPS, etc., - and makes cache management much easier.

Say for example you're making a business trip to Boston, and want to do a little geocaching while you're in the area. You can set up a pocket query to create a list of caches within a specific radius of Boston, of specific types of caches (regular/virtual/etc.), specific difficulty levels (i.e., nothing more than a 2 1/2), etc.

The pocket queries are even better if you have mapping software on your GPS (Garmin's Mapsource, for example ), on your computer (Delorme's Street Atlas, for example), or on your PDA (Street Atlas Handheld and Cachemate). Loading a pocket query into GSAK will allow you to export information to any of these other applications.

If you're not yet a permier member of, and can't get to the pocket query page to check it out, email me and I'll send you a text file showing you what the page looks like.

:D :D :D