What is Geocaching?
Geocaching is an entertaining adventure game for gps users. Participating in a cache hunt is a good way to take advantage of the wonderful features and capability of a gps unit. It's also a GREAT way to enjoy the outdoors and our beautiful Olathe parks! The basic idea is to have individuals and organizations set up caches all over the world and share the locations of these caches on the internet (www.geocaching.com
). GPS users can then use the location coordinates to find the caches. Once found, a cache may provide the visitor with a wide variety of rewards. All the visitor is asked to do is if they take something they should try to leave something equally as valuable for the cache.
What is a GPS device?
A GPS unit is a electronic device that can determine your approximate location (within around 6-20 feet) on the planet. Coordinates are normally given in Longitude and Latitude. You can use the unit to navigate from your current location to another location. Some units have their own maps, built-in electronic compasses, or even voice navigation depending on the complexity of the device. You don't need to know all the technical mumbo jumbo about GPS units to play Geocaching. All you need to do is be able to enter what is called a "waypoint", which is where the geocache is hidden.
How do GPS devices work?
If you're interested in finding more information about Global Positioning Systems, check out GPS: The New Navigation
by PBS. They have an excellent Shockwave and/or web page that explains how GPS works!
How much does a GPS unit cost, and where can I get one?
GPS Units can range from $100 to $1000 depending on the kind of capabilities you are looking for. For more information, check out Geocaching.com's guide to purchasing a GPS unit for Geocaching. You can usually find GPS units at any outdoor sporting store, boat supply store, and some camping stores. You can also purchase them online.
What are the rules in Geocaching?
The rules are very simple:
What is usually in a cache?
Take something from the cache
Leave something in the cache
Write about it in the logbook
A cache can come in many forms but the first item should always be the logbook. In its simplest form a cache can be just a logbook and nothing else. The logbook contains information from the founder of the cache and notes from the cache's visitors. The logbook can contain much valuable, rewarding, and entertaining information. A logbook might contain information about nearby attractions, coordinates to other unpublished caches, and even jokes written by visitors. If you get some information from a logbook you should give some back. At the very least you can leave the date and time you visited the cache.
Larger caches may consist of a waterproof plastic bucket placed tastefully within the local terrain. The bucket will contain the logbook and any number of more or less valuable items. These items turn the cache into a true treasure hunt. You never know what the founder or other visitors of the cache may have left there for you to enjoy. Remember, if you take something, its only fair for you to leave something, equal or greater, in value in return. Items in a bucket cache could be: Maps, books, software, hardware, CD's, videos, pictures, money, jewelry, tickets, antiques, tools, games, etc. It is recommended that items in a bucket cache be individually packaged in a clear zipped plastic bag to protect them.
Where are caches found?
The location of a cache can be very entertaining indeed. As many say, location, location, location! The location of a cache demonstrates the founder's skill and possibly even daring. A cache located on the side of a rocky cliff accessible only by rock climbing equipment may be hard to find. An underwater cache may only be accessed by scuba. Other caches may require long difficult hiking, orienteering, and special equipment to get to. Caches may be located in cities both above and below ground, inside and outside buildings. The skillful placement of a small logbook in an urban environment may be quite challenging to find even with the accuracy of a gps. That little logbook may have a hundred dollar bill in it or a map to greater treasure. It could even contain clues or riddles to solve that may lead to other caches. Rich people could have fun with their money by making lucrative caches that could be better than winning the lottery when you find it. Just hope that the person that found the cache just before you left a real big prize!
Caching in Olathe
As of October 1, 2007, you don't need a permit to hide a cache in an Olathe city park; we do monitor Geocaching.com, though, and reserve the right to remove any cache we feel inappropriate, for any reason. If you'd like to ask permission before placing a cache, just send us an email and we'll respond promptly. Geocaching is definitely catching on; in 2007 there were approximately 69 caches located in Olathe; in 2011 there are over 140. More than enough to keep you occupied for a day or two! For the full scoop on Geocaching, please visit www.geocaching.com