First and foremost you will need a GPS unit
. The usual type for geocaching is about the size of a mobile phone, and tells you exactly where you are and the direction and distance to the geocache you are seeking. Right to within a few feet of the cache! They also provide lots of other information like local sunset and sunrise, speed, and altitude. They also keep track of your journey so you can show it on a map when you get home, or even in the car with the more expensive GPS units!. There is plenty of choice and units to suit all budgets. I use a simple Garmin Etrex Venture unit that sells for around 100 euros (about £70). I have created a page of links to reviews and suppliers
to help you. However, a word of warning. Beware the very cheap offers you see on ebay and similar sites. They are usually shipped from the US and you may find yourself with a demand for VAT and duty, despite claims to the contrary. You might also have problems with warranty repairs. My advice is to buy from a reputable supplier within the EU.
Or an App for your smartphone. There are several geocaching Apps available for your mobile phone. The obvious one is called Geocaching® from Groundspeak Inc. and is available on Google Play for Android or on iTunes for iPhones. Another excellent App for Android users is c:geo and for iOS users there is Cachly.
Then you might add a digital camera
. You will probably want to record the beautiful countryside and views you are likely to encounter, to say nothing of the excitement of findng the cache! A digital camera records more than just the photo. Within each picture file is recorded (not visible on the photo) the exact time and date. It is very important thta you ensure your camera is set to the correct time and date. Remember your GPS unit is recording your journey, so you will be able to use the data from the GPS to show exactly
where the photo was taken. There are programs to do this which I explain in the section on GPS software
Good maps are useful
. A good map of the area is very helpful, especially for finding the best way to reach the geocache. Sain has excellent maps, both traditional paper maps and digital maps for use on your computer. For full details on the maps available see my Spanish maps
Learn more to have more fun
. There are lots of books, mobile phone apps and other add-ons to improve your geocaching expertise and have more fun. You can find lots of these items by clicking here
Geocaching software adds to the fun
. With some of the great free
geocaching software available you can turn your geocaching into a real adventure. For example, the way I do geocaching is as follows:
- Choose an area and use the maps on the geocaching.com site to find what geocaches are nearby.
- Check out the descriptions on the geocaching.com pages and download the coordinates.
- Look at the area using Google Earth and the links on this site.
- Find the relevant maps (either digital or scanned paper maps) and work out a route to the cache.
- Load the route automatically into my GPS.
- Go out and find the cache, taking lots of photos.
- Back home, transfer everything form my GPS and camera to my PC.
- Log my find on geocaching.com, adding my best photos.
- Produce an album with maps showing the exact route I took and showing where each photo was taken.
Sounds like a lot of work? Not at all because the programs discussed on my software page
do all the work! And the kids love the whole process!