Geocaching FAQ's

What is Geocaching?
Geocaching is a worldwide game of hiding and seeking treasure. A geocacher can place a geocache in the world, pinpoint its location using GPS technology and then share the geocache’s existence and location online. Anyone with a GPS unit can then try to locate the geocache.
How do you pronounce Geocaching?
You pronounce it Geo-cashing, like cashing a check.
What is the meaning of the word Geocaching?
The word Geocaching refers to GEO for geography, and to CACHING, the process of hiding a cache. A cache in computer terms is information usually stored in memory to make it faster to retrieve, but the term is also used in hiking/camping as a hiding place for concealing and preserving provisions.
Is there a list of common words and acronyms?
Yes, we have a geocaching glossary page. Hopefully it will help you understand what you read in cache logs ands in the geocaching forums.
What is a GPS device?
A GPS unit is an electronic device that can determine your approximate location (within around 6 - 20 feet) on the planet. Coordinates are normally given in Latitude and Longitude. You can use the device to navigate from your current location to another location. Some devices have their own maps, built-in electronic compasses, and voice navigation, depending on the complexity of the device.
How does GPS work?
Each GPS receiver is a computer that receives signals broadcast from GPS satellites. A receiver needs to read signals from at least three satellites at a time to calculate its general location by a process called trilateration.
With signals from four satellites, a GPS receiver can get a more accurate fix that includes altitude and the exact time, as well as latitude and longitude. The more satellite signals the receiver reads, the more accurate the position it reports to you.
If I use a GPS unit can someone track where I am going?
No! GPS devices do not actually broadcast your location. The satellites using radio frequencies actually broadcast their own position. Your GPS unit takes that information to figure out where you are (trilateration).
What are the rules in Geocaching?
1. If you take something from the cache, leave something of equal or greater value.
2. Write about your find in the cache logbook.
3. Log your experience at www.geocaching.com.
What is usually in a cache?
In its simplest form, a cache always contains a logbook. The logbook contains information from the owner of the cache, notes from visitors and can contain much valuable, rewarding, and entertaining information. In smaller caches, a logsheet may be used.
Larger caches may contain a 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 owner or other visitors of the cache may have left there for you to enjoy. Remember, if you take something, it is only fair for you to leave something in return. It is recommended that items in a cache be individually packaged in a clear, zipped plastic bag to protect them from the elements.
Quite often you may also find a trackable item. Groundspeak Trackables come in two types: Groundspeak Travel Bugs®, and official Geocoins.
A Groundspeak Travel Bug is a trackable tag that you attach to an item, and which travels from cache to cache with the help of people like you. Each tag is etched with a unique code which the finder can use to log its travels on this website. Every Travel Bug has a goal given by its owner, so if you think you can help it along on its journey feel free to take it with you.
Geocoins are special trackable coins created by other Geocachers to commemorate special events or as a signature item to leave in caches. They function exactly like Travel Bugs and should be moved to another cache unless otherwise specified by their owners. The variety of different geocoins is staggering! More information about Travel Bugs and Geocoins can be found on the geocaching trackables page.
What should not be placed in a cache?
People of all ages hide and seek caches, so think carefully before placing an item into a cache. Explosives, ammunition, knives, drugs and alcohol should not be placed in a cache. Respect the local laws.
Food items are always a bad idea. Animals have better noses than humans, and in some cases caches have been chewed through and destroyed because of food items in a cache. Please do not put food in a cache.
Where are caches found?
It is common for geocachers to hide caches in locations that are important to them, reflecting a special interest or skill of the cache owner. These unique locations on the planet can be quite diverse. Make sure to read the cache descriptions carefully, especially the difficulty and terrain ratings as some cache finds can be technical and physically challenging.
For instance, 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. Caches may be located in cities both above and below ground, and outside of buildings. Even the skillful placement of a small logbook in an urban environment may be quite challenging to find even with the accuracy of a GPS.
Can I move a cache once I find it?
Do not move a cache from its original location. If you feel that the cache may not be located in the correct location, please email the cache owner directly or post a log on the cache detail page, notifying the owner of your concern. It is an owner's responsibility to maintain cache placement.
Are there any variations in the game?
Yes! Geocaching is an activity that continues to evolve and mature with community commitment and participation. If you have a new idea that incorporates the use of GPS, we would love to hear about it. View the list of Geocache Types to see how the activity has evolved from the original, traditional geocache.
How do I hide a cache?
Before considering your first geocache hide, find a variety of caches in your area to familiarise yourself with the activity. Then, review the Guide to Hiding a Cache and the Geocache Listing Guidelines before submitting a cache for review.
When I submit a new cache for publication, how long will it take to be listed?
Each cache that is submitted to Geocaching.com is reviewed by a volunteer, to ensure that the cache meets the Geocaching Listing Guidelines. This process may take up to 72 hours to have your cache posted to the web site.
What do I do if I find out that a cache has gone missing?
If you visit a cache location and the cache is missing, make sure to log the cache as one that you "Did Not Find" so the cache owner is notified. Cache owners who repeatedly receive "Did Not Find" logs should check to see that their cache has not been removed.

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