Take your phone for a walk in the country
If you’d like to try a very positive and enjoyable use of modern IT and benefit from a healthy walk in the countryside, then download the app for your smartphone and try out Geocaching.
What is Geocaching?
Think of it as a type of treasure hunt. All over the world geocachers, like my wife and I, have placed small containers hidden in various locations for people to find. Mostly you will pass these by and have no idea they are there, but with the use of a smartphone and the satellite Global Positioning System (GPS) you can hunt out these ‘treasure’ boxes.
How does it work?
All you need is your mobile smartphone, a geocaching app and a free account at Geocaching.com.
Once you have those you can open the app (or go to the webpage) and search any location for hidden geocaches.
The illustration here shows the result for searching for Bourne. If you are unfamiliar with geocaching then you may well be surprised at how many are out there and it is the same around the globe.
If you search on a web browser you can click each geocache and get its reference, latitude and longtitude but today’s smartphone apps make life even easier.
Carry out the search on your phone app, select the geocache that you want to hunt down and click navigate to the geocache. The screen will now change on your phone and it will use GPS to lead you to within a couple of meters of the geocache location. After that it is up to you to find it, usually in the vegetation.
What do you do when you’ve found it?
The geocache could be anything from a small magnetic box on the back of a sign, to a large Tupperware container, from a fake branch to a dummy snail shell. Regardless of size, inside you will find a sheet of paper that you can sign to log your visit.
In some of the larger containers you will find swaps, small toys and souvenirs. The principle here is if you take something out then put something in. The kids love this element.
Logging your finds.
As well as signing the small sheet at the cache you can also log your find on the app, or on the geocaching website. This way you can track which caches you have visited, locally or overseas.
What are trackables?
Occasionally, when searching out caches you will find a trackable item in the box. These trackable items are tokens that carry a unique identifier. Your task with these is to remove the trackable from the cache, log that you have it on the website (using the unique id) and move it to another cache.
As the trackable has a unique identifier you can look up its ‘journey’ and see how many miles it has travelled around the world.
Where do I get more information?
You can download the geocaching app from your App Store on your smart phone and there is a stack of information available on the geocaching website at www.geocaching.com
Enjoy your caching adventures!