How does the GPS worksheet work

Geocaching: how does it work?

Status: 07/15/2020 11:42 a.m.

Finding hidden treasures in nature with your smartphone or GPS device: that's geocaching. The hidden object game is popular with children and adults. A guide for beginners.

Many parents know the problem: the kids would rather play on their cell phones than go outside. The solution can be geocaching, because it combines both. The treasure hunt with the help of electronic devices is far more than child's play. There has long been a fan base worldwide that - regardless of age - is constantly creating new hiding spots. The language of geocachers is international, almost all terms related to the search game come from English.

What is geocaching about?

The aim of geocaching is to find a hiding place in unknown terrain. There is a "cache" there, usually a small container with a log book and often a small gift in it. If you like, you can make a note in the book and take the present with you as a souvenir. Among geocachers, leaving another gift is a point of honor.

How do you find the way?

Robust GPS devices are also suitable for searching in difficult terrain.

The most important requirement for the treasure hunt is a GPS-compatible mobile device. This can be a simple smartphone with a corresponding app. Professionals use special GPS receivers that are more robust, locate the desired position more precisely, but can also cost several hundred euros. GPS stands for Global Positioning System. It determines the location of the user with the help of satellite signals that were originally only intended for military use.

What is a position indication?

The devices indicate the location as so-called coordinates related to the longitude and latitude. This is how you can precisely describe every point on the globe. However, they work with different representations. The most common version is the GMS system (WGS84). A typical indication looks like this: N 52 ° 21.986 'E 09 ° 44.281' and is spoken: North 52 degrees 21.986 minutes, East 9 degrees 44.281 minutes. The location is therefore in the northern hemisphere between the 52nd and 53rd degrees of latitude and the 9th and 10th degrees of longitude to the east. Here it is a reference point at the New Town Hall of Hanover. In the decimal system (DG), which is also widespread, this corresponds to the specification 52.36643 °, 9.73803 °, spoken 52.36643 degrees (north), 9.73803 degrees (east). The various GPS data formats can be converted with free computers on the Internet so that they are compatible with the device used.

Where is a cache hidden?

Goal achieved: This geocache is hidden in a waterproof box.

Hidden caches can be found almost all over the world. Numerous websites and apps list them and provide tips for searching. The most common sites are from the USA (in German) and the German site Geocaching fans publish the coordinates of caches that they have hidden there and exchange information about the search. Some cities and regions, including Hanover and Hamburg, offer their own destinations and information for geocachers on their websites. Caches can be in the middle of the city, but mostly in nature or on striking structures such as bridges. The coordinates lead you close to the hiding place, but there is still a radius of several meters in which you have to search.

Are all caches the same?

Caches are classified and described in different categories. In this way, seekers can find out something in advance about the size, the terrain and the difficulty of finding it. There are also mostly tips for searching. The most common are traditional geocaches or "traditionals". They consist of only one station. In the case of "Multis" there are references to one or more other stations at the first station. With a puzzle or mystery cache, a puzzle has to be solved before the actual cache can be found. Night caches, where you follow marked routes with flashlights with reflectors, and "Lost Places", which stand for abandoned buildings or places, are also popular. Numerous other categories also have additional conditions.

AUDIO: E-karting and geocaching (3 min)

What are muggles?

Geocachers use the term from the books on Harry Potter for people who are not interested in this hobby. You should learn as little as possible about the search and the location of the caches so that they do not - accidentally or willfully - destroy or remove them.

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NDR 1 Lower Saxony | 07/14/2020 | 7:10 am