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geocaching (GPS stash hunting)

Geocaching, also referred to as GPS stash hunting, is a recreational activity in which someone "buries" something for others to try to find using a Global Positioning System ( GPS ) receiver. The pursuit can be thought of as a GPS-enabled treasure hunt. Usually, a geocache consists of a small, waterproof container that holds a logbook and inexpensive trinkets. Participants are called geocachers.

Participants in a geocaching adventure use the features and capability of a GPS unit to find the cache. Geocaching enthusiasts hope to have individuals and groups all over the world secrete caches in a wide variety of locations and post the caches' coordinates on the Internet. GPS users then follow the location coordinates to find the caches.

Here's one typical geocache hunt: The geographic coordinates of a geocache were described on a Web site, which the users followed to the cache. The geocache consisted of a plastic Tupperware box containing a little notebook, a disposable camera, a printed informational sheet about the location, and several trinkets (a pen, postage stamps, a rubber ball, and a local postcard). The finders were encouraged to write a short note in the notebook, including the weather that day, who was involved on the hunt, whether the cache was easy or hard to find, and any other information they wanted to include. One finder took out the rubber ball and left a little toy car in its place. The finder left a photo of her husband and son in the camera and then placed everything back in the box and rehid it for future geocachers to find. Back home, the finders sent a note to the Web site describing their experience.

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This was last updated in March 2011

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