December 7, 2013

Locus Map - Android GPS App.

I had recently read a raving review about an Android mapping application called, Locus Map, and decided to check it out. It comes in two versions: Free and Pro. The Pro version costs $8.27 (as of this writing), and offers a wealth of features not available in the free version. What I found really impressive was the number of background maps that are available, both for online and offline use - over 20; although most of them are eastern European maps. But the one map I really liked was the USGS topo map, as it, of course, includes trails.

Even though this app. is primarily built as a GPS navigation tool, I was really only interested in testing out the geocaching features. The app. did a great job of pulling caches live from and displaying them over the topo map background. It also allows you to save the geocache information to your device's memory, either from the live screen, or even from your downloaded pocket queries; which is handy in case you find yourself outside of cell range.

My only complaint is that the free version does not allow you to upload your field notes to - you have to fork out the money for the Pro version in order to enable that feature. And since that is primarily what I use my device for when I'm caching (since I have a separate Garmin GPS device for cache navigation), I find myself sticking with c:geo for most of my geocaching adventures. But for people who hunt caches primarily with their Android phones, this may be the ideal app.

Cache On!

October 26, 2013

Where Has The Time Gone?

Today marks the 10th anniversary of my very first cache find. It seems like it was just yesterday when I loaded that cache's coordinates into my Garmin GPS 12 and headed out with my daughters on our bikes in search of our first cache.

But at the same time, it's amazing how much has changed in the geocaching world since then. The biggest change, of course, being the smartphone revolution with their built-in GPS's, and the development of various geocaching iOS and Android apps that can show you which caches are near you anytime, anywhere.

Back in the day, I used a program called, "EasyGPS" to load waypoints downloaded from into my Garmin device. And I used "Cachemate" to load the cache information into my Palm Pilot (remember those?). How archaic was that?

Not only has the technology changed dramatically in 10 years, but so have my caching habits. I started out caching with my kids, who loved geocaching at first, but as they got older, decided it was too dorky. See photo above, taken at our first find. Now they are young adults, and rarely have time to go caching with their old man.

So for several years after my daughters stopped caching, I did a lot of solo caching, cleaning out all the caches in and around my home base. More recently, my habits changed again, and I've been caching regularly with friends I've made along the way, and now rarely cache alone. We've also expanded our search radius, so to speak, covering thousands of miles on numerous road trips in attempts to complete various challenge caches (Quads, Counties, DeLormes, etc.).

In all this time, I've found 3,237 caches, which amounts to close to an average of one find per day. And the good news is, I still find caching as fun and enjoyable now as I did 10 years ago.

Cache On!

October 19, 2013

Tread Lightly

At the risk of sounding a little preachy, I thought it was worth sharing these excellent tips for responsible geocaching from the good folks at

A lot of this is just common sense, but there are some good tips to help geocachers leave minimal impact out on the trails and in the wilderness, as well as some useful personal safety tips. Of course, these tips don't necessarily apply to urban caching, so go nuts when looking for those LPC's.

Cache On!

October 5, 2013

Garmin Oregon 650t GPS Review

People often ask, "Why can't my GPS receiver be more like my smartphone?". Well, according to Sportsman's News Television, now it can; with the new Garmin Oregon 650t GPS:

Just be aware that when the reviewer talks about downloading caches directly from the internet, he is most likely referring to Garmin's "OpenCaching" site rather than

Cache On!

August 24, 2013

Geocaching Day on NPR

You know your once-obscure hobby has hit the big time when this happens:

Cache On!

August 10, 2013

No-Touching Zone

Here's an opportunity to take a 5 minute break from trying to find a cache every day this month, and take some comfort in just just how difficult it was to navigate in the 1800's without a GPS; compared to how easy we've got it now:

Cache On!

August 3, 2013

July 20, 2013

News You Can Use

AR GPS Compass Map 3D
This interesting android app sports a 3D Compass and Waypoint Finder with Map and Augmented Reality Display.

The Rand McNally Foris
Everyone recognizes the Rand McNally brand for their maps and atlases. But did you know they also have their own line of GPS devices? Neither did I.

And Speaking of Rand McNally...
They've teamed up with and Good Sam in search of the best small towns in America. This year's event features a new category: Best Town for Gecoaching. Read more about it here.

That's it for this week. Cache On!

July 6, 2013

Geocaching With Kids

There are plenty of good resources out there for beginning geocachers; especially now that our little hobby has become so popular. But one of my favorite go-to sites, not just for geocaching, but to learn about anything outdoors-related, is REI. Their "Expert Advice" section is excellent. And this post on "Geocaching with Kids" is no exception. Here's an excerpt:

This brief but helpful write-up contains all the essential information for parents wanting to start enjoying time outdoors with their kids.

 Cache On!

June 29, 2013

Hide a Cache, Win a Prize

Garmin is offering you a chance to win a new Oregon 650t device. The only catch is that you need to hide one or more caches and post them on during the months of June and July.

The Opencaching site has been around for a couple of years now, but it still doesn't seem to be gaining a lot of traction. In my neck of the woods, for example, there are about 30 total caches in about a 20-mile radius of my home; compared to the thousands of caches within the same area.

Who knows; maybe give-aways like this will help Garmin's fledgling caching site pick up some momentum.

Cache On!

June 23, 2013

Rogue Geocaching

Unfortunately, no, this post has nothing to do with caching along Oregon's beautiful Rogue River (although I did find a few hides there during a recent excursion up north). Instead, an apparent rogue geocaching website, called Muggled Dot Net, was recently shut down, as reported in this post on, It's Not About The Numbers. It's not clear if the site voluntarily went 404, or if it was due to certain legal pressure.

The site, before it was taken down, encouraged users to locate and OpenCaching hides, sign the logbooks, then steal the containers and their contents. MDN members were then encouraged to either (1) hide their own cache at the site in place of the original; (2) destroy the original cache and post photos of the cache's destruction; or (3) return the stolen cache after extorting $10 from the original cache owner. Pretty sleazy to say the least, and not surprising that the site has been taken off-line.

You'll also notice references to a seemingly-associated site in the post in the link above, called, Off The Grid Geocaching. This appears to be a home-made geocaching site that requires various levels of paid memberships to unlock certain features, where members can post hides and log finds. Currently, these OTGC caches are only available in Alabama, Florida and Georgia. The "Alamogul" of OTGC is someone named, barryd52, who has a total of six finds so far. 

As far as hiding geocaches, the only requirement is that the cache containers have the OTGC logo and website URL attached. Otherwise, "there are no basic rules", as stated on this page. You'll also notice this little contrast to the rules on the OTGC "Hiding Geocaches" page: "Feel free to partially bury geocaches, bury geocaches, sink geocaches, etc." So if you decide to become an OTGC member, be sure to add a shovel to your geocaching kit bag.

Suddenly, doesn't seem quite so rebellious any more.

Cache On!

June 2, 2013

Don't Be Afraid; It's Only Geocaching

Apologies for my blog posting tardiness, but I've spent the last couple of weeks (weekends, actually) grabbing the last few caches I needed to qualify for both the California DeLorme Challenge (Northern), and the Discovering & Logging California's 58 Counties challenge caches. This last trip took me in a big circle around the southern Sierra Nevada mountains, including my first time visiting the incredibly gorgeous Death Valley National Park. This is why geocaching never gets old, right?!

The Majestic Eastern Sierras
Speaking of Parks and Caching, if you have plans to be in or near Washoe Lake State Park in Nevada next Saturday, you may want to check out this introductory geocaching outing the State Parks Department is hosting. Now why can't more State Parks in California take this same approach to attract, instead of discourage, more visitors? After-all, it's only geocaching.

Cache On!

May 12, 2013

A Bandwidth of Gold

Well, the wireless startup, LightSquared, is back in the news again, and back from the dead apparently. After filing for bankruptcy a year ago following a losing battle against the GPS industry, which successfully lobbied to keep LightSquared from using part of the satellite spectrum, they're now testing the feasibility of sharing the spectrum with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).  According to Maggie Reardon of CNETthe FCC recently gave approval for LightSquared to begin testing the use of 5MHz of spectrum in the 1675-1680 MHz band.

While it appears that our precious GPS satellite spectrum is still safe for the time being, we'll have to see how the shared bandwidth testing, not to mention LightSquared's emergence from bankruptcy, plays out over time, and whether or not they try again at some point to utilize the satellite bandwidth they were originally granted permission to use.

Cache On!

April 27, 2013

Geocaching in Education

I'm not a teacher, but I come from a long line of them, and happen to be married to one as well. As such, I have the utmost respect for our educators and have always been troubled by how under-valued and under-appreciated they are, at least in American culture. But that's a rant for another day.

Switching gears slightly, I've been pleasantly surprised to see the growing use of geocaching as a teaching aid in the classroom. It doesn't take a brainiac to see the broad range of educational applications afforded by our little hobby - everything from math (geometry, algebra and trigonometry) to geography to history and more. Makes me wish I was back in school...

Following are some specific examples I found from educators describing how to integrate geocaching into the classroom:

I'm sure there are many more examples out there, which is pretty impressive considering no one had even heard of geocaching just a mere ten years ago.

Cache, and Educate, On!

April 20, 2013

More Resources

If you, or someone you know, is just getting started geocaching, make sure that you add this REI site to your list of great resources for beginning geocachers. While there is some very helpful information scattered throughout the website, the information provided by REI supplements's tutorials quite nicely. It covers just the right amount of detail on topics including geocaching basics, etiquette, what to bring, and even a brief history of the hobby.

REI could have easily turned this site into nothing more than an advertisement page for their GPS receiver products, but they've steered clear of that temptation and instead made this one of the best resources I've seen for new geocachers. Certainly bookmark-worthy.

Cache On!

April 14, 2013

Did Hell Freeze Over?

Not sure if I missed the pigs flying or the Earth opening up and swallowing me whole, but apparently I survived finding my first cache using only my smartphone, sans GPSr. I never thought I'd do it, but a situation came up where it made sense to just take along the smartphone: I was going on a walk/hike in a familiar area near my home, and there was only one cache left in the area that I hadn't found. I was pretty sure I knew where the cache was, but I saved the cache information to my Android phone's SD card before heading out, just in case there was no cell service at GZ.

I admit that it was really nice having music to listen to on the walk, a camera to snap a photo at GZ (see above), a phone in case of emergency, and a geocaching app. that pointed me to the cache; all on one device that I could carry in my pocket.

But I'm certainly not ready to throw my Garmin device up on eBay any time soon. I still prefer carrying a unit that only needs a clear view of the sky to accurately locate my position rather than having to rely on hit and miss cell service. And yes, I know that once you get within 10-20 feet of GZ you switch from using your device to using your geo-senses, but I sure do appreciate the Garmin's positioning accuracy compared to my phone's. I also like having the ability to load custom trail maps on my Garmin from sites like GPSFileDepot.

And until recently, the other big advantage my Garmin had over most cell phones was the ability to download  GPS tracks after a long, fun day of caching. But I recently discovered Google's "My Tracks" and loaded it on my Android phone. It's a great little tool that records your path, speed, distance, and elevation while you walk, run, bike, or do anything else outdoors. You can then store your tracks with Google Drive, Google Maps, Google Fusion Tables, or Google Spreadsheets, or export your tracks to external storage in different formats, including GPX. You can also share your tracks via most social networking sites such as Google+, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

It's a great little app., and definitely worth checking out.

Cache On!

April 6, 2013

Some Really Good Hikes

So you've been caching for a while now and you've become quite the avid hiker. And now you're looking for some more challenging hikes than what you've been doing so far. Well, fear not, my east bay area friends, because the East Bay Regional Parks District has just posted a list of ten challenging hikes. These are hikes with over 1,000 feet of elevation gain and range from 6 to 20 miles in length. In other words, plan on spending the day in your hiking boots.

There are some great hikes on this list (the Las Trampas hike into Devil's Hole is one of my favorites), so if you've never been on some of these, or it's been a while since you've done them, then now's the perfect time to get out there, as these areas are also chock full of quality caches.

Cache On!

March 16, 2013

Find a WWFMX Near You

The next World Wide Flash Mob (number 10) is scheduled to take place on May 4th, and there is sure to be one near you. But how can you find one? Well, you can do a search on for all caches with WWFM in the "cache name" (I leave off the "X" in the name, because different event hosts use different variations, which may limit your search results).

This search produces a list of 270 events (as of today), but unfortunately, you can not sort by location, making it difficult to find any in your neighborhood.

You can use the Podcacher's List, by State, but while it's nice to see the number of events planned for each state, there's still no easy way to see just the WWFMX's planned for your state.

The best thing I've found to do is generate a pocket query in which, under "Selected Types", you only select "Event"; and under "Placed During", you select May 4, 2013 as both the begin and end date. Then, just select your "Radius" within your "home location".  You'll get all the events planned for that day near your home - and they will all likely be WWFMX events.

Save your query, then go to the Your Pocket Queries page and select the "Preview in Geocaching Maps" icon; and there  you have it:

May the 4th be with you, and Cache On!

March 9, 2013

Dinosaur Train Geocaching Challenge

First, let me just apologize if this is old news to most of you, but I just ran across this information on the Dinosaur Train Geocaching Challenge, which began a couple years back. Since my children are grown now, I tend to be out of the loop on the latest PBS offerings for kids these days. My daughters were brought up on Barney, Arthur, and Blues Clues; which should give you an indication of how ancient I am.

Speaking of Dinosaurs, this themed challenge cache sounds like a great way to introduce your kids to geocaching, especially any kids that are fans of the show. Information on the site states, "The Jim Henson Company has enlisted the help of PBS stations, museums, zoos, and aquariums nationwide to hide Dinosaur Train themed geocaches." Each geocache features one of the dinosaurs found on the online Dinosaur Train Field Guide and contains educational information related to that dinosaur."

So any parents of young kids who are anxious to get their children out geocaching, I encourage you to use any means necessary to do so, as that window is only open for a very short period. Believe me, it's amazing how one day your kids love geocaching with you, and then suddenly the switched gets flipped and they think you are the biggest nerd and your hobby is totally lame. And there's no going back.

Cache On!

March 2, 2013

Bomb Squad Almost Finds 2,000,000th Cache

Here's a tip to local law enforcement: A simple check of the website before deploying the bomb squad could go a long way toward avoiding foolish, costly situations such as what just happened in Mansfield, Ohio.

Speaking of number two million, Overwatch #1 was hidden by rAMPant1 on February 28th in Alice Springs, Australia. The FTF was claimed by tttedzeins, who so far, is the only person who's found it. Although nearly 1,500 people have signed the log to congratulate the owner for hiding number two million.

Here's to two million more!

Cache On!

February 23, 2013

Stuck on 1,997K?

Lots made this week of the impending placement of the 2 millionth cache. See the latest Latitude 47 blog post for more on this topic. And check out the two, cool videos showing cache placements and travel bug movement over time. Not to be too morbid, but the TB video kind of looks like a terrible epidemic spreading across the globe. Or, to put a more positive spin on it, there have certainly been a lot of happy Travel Bug carriers making the trek to the Hawaiian Islands; all in the name of TB placement:

While the thought of there being two million active geocaches across the globe is pretty phenomenal, it sure seems like they've been stuck at or around 1,997,000 for a while now. Every time I check the main page, the total count hasn't made a lot of movement. I guess with so many caches around the world now, there are probably almost as many being archived as there are being hidden.

Regardless, now's your chance to get your 15 minutes of fame. I understand will post the Cacher's name and GC number of the two-millionth cache when it is hidden. So get out there and hide a cache this weekend to get your shot at making geocaching history. And if that's not enough incentive for you, then check out the 2-millionth cache contest going on at notaboutthenumbers.

Cache On!

February 16, 2013

iPhone Geocaching Update

Version 5.1 of the Geocaching for iPhone app. was just released. And while it doesn't take advantage of the new, bigger screen size of the iPhone 5, it does include new map controls, a refined search, and Trackable image support. You can read more about it here. No word on when we can expect the next update for the Android, however.

Speaking of cool apps., here's a nice, short tutorial on how to get the most out of my favorite app., Google Maps. Designed specifically for iPhone owners who've never had the pleasure:

Cache On!

February 9, 2013

Calling All Newbies

At least once a week, you can find a new article about geocaching in a paper or magazine written by someone who's never heard of our little hobby before and has trouble getting all the facts straight. Typically, these write-ups are chock-full of errors and inconsistencies that really do not help anyone thinking about taking up geocaching for the first time.

That's why I was pleased to come across this post on The Outdoor Hub website. It provides all the critical information and just enough detail to help anyone thinking of going geocaching for the first time. It also has links to helpful resources if you crave more detail. While the main focus of the Outdoor Hub site as a whole seems to be more geared toward hunting, they still manage to do a nice job with the geocaching section tucked away in the back of the site.

So for anyone just delving in to the geocaching world for the first time, I highly recommend checking out the post at the link above.

Cache On!

February 3, 2013

Historical Geocaching

A pretty cool way to learn about history, through geocaching:

To learn more about the Oshawa War of 1812 Project, check out the link.

Cache On!

January 26, 2013

Mystery Inspiration

I ran across this great post on Geocacher University discussing Mystery Caches. Need some inspiration on your next puzzle hide, or even some hints on how to solve that near-by mystery cache that's been haunting you for eons? Check out the article.

Cache On!

January 20, 2013

Slow and Steady

I'm happy to report that I just found my 3,000th cache last week. And while I'm not breaking any land speed records at this pace (I've been caching for over 9 years), I have to say that I've enjoyed every minute of it.  Looking forward to my next 3K.

Cache On!

January 12, 2013

It's Only About The Numbers

A friend of mine recently pointed me toward this site: Project Geocaching, which allows you to search's database to generate a plethora of statistical reports on not just your own caching numbers, but on every global caching statistic you can think of. For example, you can generate a list of caches in your state and/or country with the most logs, or the most favorite points, or the most favorite points per log. The site describes itself as follows:
"Project-GC is a website aiming to provide dynamic statistics for all geocachers in the world. Besides statistics there are several map tools that might be helpful. For example you can compare your finds with a friend or plot those D/T combinations you are missing. Some of the other things provided are statbars and overviews of your cache series."
You can map caches by elevation (no surprise the highest cache in the U.S. is at the top of Mt. Whitney), and calculate your "Caching Karma"; the ratio of cache finds logged on your caches to cache finds that you've logged, or see who has the highest Karma points in any given area. It also has a nice mapping feature that lets you see the caches that both you and your caching buddy have, or haven't, found in any given location; which is perfect for planning your next outing together.

Just one word of warning: if you're a numbers nerd like me, expect to spend hours exploring this site.

Cache On!

January 5, 2013

A Cache A Day

I don't set out each year with a goal of averaging one cache find a day, but for the past three years, it's just worked out that way.

Happy Cache Year, Everyone, and Cache On!