Friday, February 11, 2011

Geocaching definitions

Geocaching, like many other hobbies, has it's own set of slang words.  These words are often used when describing caches and might be confusing at first.  Here is a quick list of some of the commonly used words that you may not know.  I will try to update the list if I notice anything missing, or if anyone has any suggestions.

Micro Cache in a Fake Rock
BenchmarkA benchmark is a physical marker placed by NOAA's National Geodetic Survey (NGS).  These are typically used for surveys and provide a known reference point.  While they do not typically contain a log or items for trade, many cachers still seek these out.
.  This means that the cache that you are looking at does not include a writing utensil, so make sure you bring one with you (which is a good idea anyway).

Cache-  Shortened version of the word Geocache

DNF- Short for Did Not Find.  Often marked on online logs to indicate that the person looked for a cache, but did not find it.

Difficulty-  A rating given to the cache to give you an idea of how hard the cache is to find once you arrive at the destination given by your GPS.  Higher ratings may mean that even though you are five feet from the cache it may be so well hidden that you have a hard time finding it.

FTF-  First To Find.  Often written in log books and on online logs to indicate that the person signing was the first person to locate a new cache.

GC Code- A unique code that identifies each and every geocache associated with  Starts with GC followed by additional letter or numbers.

Geocache-  A hidden container that contains at least a log book to sign, but can also include items to trade.

GeocacherA term for someone who looks for a Geocache

GeocachingA world wide game of hiding and seeking treasure.  Anyone in the world can hide a geocache, then using GPS mark the location of the cache.  Then by sharing the GPS coordinates online anyone with a GPS can try to locate the cache.

Geocoin-  An item that can be purchased through that has a unique identifying code.  When you enter this code on their website it allows you to see what caches the coin has visited and a description of the coin by the owner.

GPS- Global Positioning System.  A series of satellites that works with a handheld receiver to triangulate a location on earth.  See Garmin's illustrated explanation of how their GPS units work.

GPSr- Slang for GPS Receiver.

GPX- GPS eXchange format.  A file format that allows you to download coordinates and even cache descriptions to compatible GPS receivers.

HitchhikerGeneral term for an item that is placed in a cache that has instructions to travel to other caches.  Examples of hitchhikers are Geocoins and Travel Bugs.

Latitude- Latitude is the angular distance north or south from the earth's equator measured through 90 degrees.  The intersection of Latitude and Longitude create a waypoint.

Longitude- Longitude is the angular distance measured on a great circle of reference from the intersection of the adopted zero meridian with this reference circle to the similar intersection of the meridian passing through the object.  The intersection of Lattitude and Longitude create a waypoint.

MuggleAnyone who is not a geocacher.  Based on "Muggle" from the Harry Potter books, meaning someone that is not magical.  Many caches warn to be mindful of muggles who might misinterpret a cacher's search as something more suspicious.

Multi CacheA multi cache consists of two or more caches that are found as a series.  Typically the coordinates first received by a cacher lead to a location that gives them a new set of coordinates.  The final coordinates typically lead to a container.

Puzzle/Mystery Cache-  These typically require the solving of a puzzle, riddle, cypher or substitution to learn the coordinates for the cache.

Signature ItemA unique item that is left behind to indicate that a specific cacher has been to that cache.

SizeGeocaches come in a variety of physical sizes.
          MicroThese caches are very small.  They typically do not include a writing utensil and may require that the log is tightly rolled up to fit right.
          Small-  These tend to be the size of a film canister or a magnetic key holder.  They may include a small golf pencil and could have small tradeable items.
          MediumThese tend to be Tupperware type containers that can contain a small notebook for a log and typically accommodate a fair amount of SWAG.
          LargeLarge caches are often in surplus ammo cans or larger Tupperware containers.  These have lots of room for SWAG and may contain much larger items for trade.

SpoilerA spoiler is a piece of information that may make a cache easier to find, but may also take away some of the fun of searching for it.

SLSigned Log.  Often left on online logs to indicate that the physical logbook was signed.

SWAG-  Stuff We All Get.  A general term for any and all trade items located in a cache.

TFTC-  Thanks For The Cache.  Abbreviated thanks to the person that placed the cache.

TNLNTook Nothing, Left Nothing.  Indicates that the cacher did not trade any items, but merely signed the logbook.

Travel Bug
 Travel BugA dog tag like item that was purchased through  Like a Geocoin it has a unique identifying number that links to a website showing where it has been and where the owner would like it to go.

WAASWide Area Augmentation System.  Used to improve the accuracy of GPS receivers.  See Garmin's excellent description.

WaypointA waypoint are the coordinates for a physical location as described by the latitude and longitude.

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