Treasure Hunting With A GPS

If you ever enjoyed treasure hunts or scavenger hunts as a youth, you'll love this new twist on an old game: geocaching. Geocaching is an adventure game for GPS users. Individuals and organizations set up "caches" all over the world and enter the coordinates onto a web site. Armed with your GPS (Global Positioning System) device and coordinates from the web site, you are off on your adventure: to find "buried treasure" somewhere in your locality. Join thousands of participants world-wide who have discovered a new way to have fun using the latest technology without sitting in front of their computers or TV screens. We'll tell you what you need to know to get started.

Read on!

What Do I Need to Play?

The first thing you'll need is a GPS (Global Positioning System) unit. This is an electronic device that can pinpoint your location anywhere on the planet within 6 to 20 feet. Coordinates are given in longitude and latitude; you can use your device to take you from your current location to another one. We'll give you some sources for GPS units later on. Price ranges are from $100 on up.

The next thing you'll need is the coordinates (longitude & latitude) of the geocache you are trying to find. And of course you should know the basic rules, which you can also find on the geocaching web site you are using. is the official geocaching web site, and has hints and helps for you, as well as cache locations, etc.

Game Rules

There aren't too many rules, the basic rules are
  • Take something from the cache
  • Leave something in the cache
  • Write about it in the Logbook.

Caches are usually found in containers. There is usually a logbook with further instructions and for cache finders to write about finding the cache. Some caches don't want you to remove the "treasure," but to write about it instead. Leave your name, date and time you found the cache, and any other details asked about in the logbook. Other caches have small items such as trinkets, tokens, coins, jewelry, cd's etc, for you to take. The general rule for taking something from the cache is to leave something in return, so be sure to plan accordingly before you go. This information should also be available on the web site.

What if I Want to Leave a Cache?

Once you've found a few caches, you may be anxious to leave one of your own. Everything you'll need to know to leave a cache can be found on You'll need to research a location for your cache, making sure it's difficult enough to be a fun challenge, but not TOO difficult. has a link to requirements for leaving a cache on their web site. You'll need a container that will keep your cache safe and dry. It should be large enough for a log book and pencil so other geocachers can record their findings. An explanation of what this is should also be included, in case your cache is accidentally found by a non-geocacher. NEVER PUT FOOD IN YOUR GEOCACHE! Animals will find it before any human does. You'll need to report your cache to the web site so it can be listed as a playable cache. Getting it listed may take a day or two, so be patient.

Sources, Web Sites, and Other Advice is the offical geocaching web site. Find locations, post your own cache, and get general information here. There is a search site so you can enter in the area you want to search in for geocaches. offers a free 5-day mini-lesson course by email to get you on your started. And if you are looking for unique geocache gifts, stop by to see what they have to offer.

Online sources for GPS units include They feature automotive units as well as the hand-held units you'll need to enjoy geocaching. The better known names for GPS units are Garmin, Magellan, and TomTom. These brands and more are available at your local and online Best Buy, Circuit City, and Walmart, to name a few sources.

Look for more basic information on GPS units in another article on our web site.

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