Geocaching is an outdoor recreational activity, in which participants use a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver or mobile device and other navigational techniques to hide and seek containers, called “geocaches” or “caches”, at specific locations marked by coordinates all over the world.

A typical cache is a small waterproof container containing a logbook and sometimes a pen or pencil. The geocacher signs the log with their established code name and dates it, in order to prove that they found the cache. After signing the log, the cache must be placed back exactly where the person found it. Larger containers such as plastic storage containers (Tupperware or similar) or ammunition boxes can also contain items for trading, such as toys or trinkets, usually of more sentimental worth than financial. Geocaching shares many aspects with benchmarking, trigpointing, orienteering, treasure-hunting, letterboxing, waymarking and Munzee.

Geocaching was originally similar to the 160-year-old game letterboxing, which uses clues and references to landmarks embedded in stories. Geocaching was conceived shortly after the removal of Selective Availability from the Global Positioning System on May 2, 2000, because the improved accuracy of the system allowed for a small container to be specifically placed and located. The first documented placement of a GPS-located cache took place on May 3, 2000, by Dave Ulmer of Beavercreek, Oregon. The location was posted on the Usenet newsgroup sci.geo.satellite-nav at 45°17.460′N 122°24.800′W. By May 6, 2000, it had been found twice and logged once (by Mike Teague of Vancouver, Washington). According to Dave Ulmer’s message, this cache was a black plastic bucket that was partially buried and contained software, videos, books, money, a can of beans, and a slingshot. The geocache and most of its contents were eventually destroyed by a lawn mower; the can of beans was the only item salvaged and was turned into a trackable item called the “Original Can of Beans”. Another geocache and plaque called the Original Stash Tribute Plaque now sit at the site.

The activity was originally referred to as the GPS stash hunt or gpsstashing. This was changed shortly after the original hide when it was suggested in the gpsstash eGroup that “stash” could have negative connotations and the term geocaching was adopted.

Over time, a variety of different hide-and-seek-type activities have been created or abandoned, so that “geocaching” may now refer to hiding and seeking containers, or locations or information without containers.

An independent accounting of the early history documents several controversial actions taken by Irish and Grounded, Inc., a predecessor to Groundspeak, to increase “commercialization and monopolistic control over the hobby”. More recently, other similar hobbies such as Munzee have attracted some geocachers by rapidly adopting smart-phone technology, which has caused “some resistance from geocaching organizers about placing caches along with munzees”.

For the traditional geocache, a geocacher will place a waterproof container containing a log book (with pen and/or pencil) and trade items or trackables, then record the cache’s coordinates. These coordinates, along with other details of the location, are posted on a listing site (see list of some sites below). Other geocachers obtain the coordinates from that listing site and seek out the cache using their handheld GPS receivers. The finding geocachers record their exploits in the logbook and online, but then must return the cache to the same coordinates so that other geocachers may find it. Geocachers are free to take objects (except the logbook, pencil, or stamp) from the cache in exchange for leaving something of similar or higher value.

Typical cache “treasures”, also known in the geocaching world as swag, are not high in monetary value but may hold personal value to the finder. Aside from the logbook, common cache contents are unusual coins or currency, small toys, ornamental buttons, CDs, or books. Although not required, many geocachers decide to leave behind signature items, such as personal Geocoins, pins, or craft items, to mark their presence at the cache location. Disposable cameras are popular as they allow for anyone who found the cache to take a picture which can be developed and uploaded to a Geocaching web site listed below. Also common are objects that are moved from cache to cache called “hitchhikers”, such as Travel Bugs or Geocoins, whose travels may be logged and followed online. Cachers who initially place a Travel Bug or Geocoins often assign specific goals for their trackable items. Examples of goals are to be placed in a certain cache a long distance from home, or to travel to a certain country, or to travel faster and farther than other hitchhikers in a race. Less common trends are site-specific information pages about the historic significance of the site, types of trees, birds in the area or other such information. Higher-value items are occasionally included in geocaches as a reward for the First to Find (called “FTF”), or in locations which are harder to reach.

Dangerous or illegal items, weapons, food and drugs are not allowed and are specifically against the rules of most geocache listing sites.

If a geocache has been vandalized or stolen, it is said to have been “muggled”. The former term plays off the fact that those not familiar with geocaching are called muggles, a term borrowed from the Harry Potter series of books which was rising in popularity at the same time geocaching got its start.

Tiny container, diameter usually less than 1 cm, which contains only a small piece of paper as a logbook. Often magnetic, so that it can be hidden unobtrusively at monuments or the like. According to, nanos are a subset of micro-geocaches. Nevertheless, some geocache owners choose the size designation “Other” for Nanos and then give the details of the size in the listing.
Micro or Mini
Very small containers, often containing only a piece of paper and a pen. Often film cans or PET blanks (“PETlinge”) are used.
Small containers that provide space for smaller items in addition to a logbook.
Regular or medium
Medium sized geocache that can accommodate multiple trackables or swap items. Containers of this size can hold from one to several liters of content.
Large containers that offer maximum space and thus can hold extraordinary exchange objects.
Except for the nano size, owners can specify the size of their geocaches when creating the listing. When looking for the geocaches, it is helpful to know the size of the geocache, because depending on the specified size, any hiding places can be excluded.

In addition to the log book, the container usually contains items for exchange. If a geocache has been found, the finder can remove one or more of the items contained in it and place something else in exchange. This barter (Trading) is then noted in the logbook and on the associated website. There is no compulsion to exchange; for some geocaches (for example, the size micro) there is no possibility for reasons of space. However, exchanges always follow the principle of trade up, trade equal, or do not trade; that is, the removed and introduced items should have a similar value relationship. If the value of the removed objects clearly exceeds that of the survivors, this is considered asDowntrade or Downtrading refers to and is largely frowned upon – in contrast to Uptrade or Uptrading, so the leaving a higher-quality exchange object. If you have nothing suitable to swap, it makes sense to do without a barter. Likewise, it does not make sense to leave food, other perishable goods, or, for example, time-limited coupons, as some caches are rarely found and food attracts animals. Since families with children go on “treasure hunt”, items without release of youth are also taboo.

Every geocache should be considered as standard equipment a kind of ” Instructions ” (Stash note) include so that any random page to know what it is in the container and therefore does not consider it a waste or threat.

In addition to everyday objects of exchange, there are so-called trackables. These are taken from geocache to geocache by geocachers. In geocaching events, trackables are also passed from one geocacher to another. Trackables usually track a specific destination. For example, a trackable should only be in a certain country, reach a certain destination, preferably only be stored in certain locations or travel as far as possible.

Based on the geocaches in which a trackable is stored, the distance calculated by the trackable is the distance calculated.

Each trackable is identifiable by a unique number or number combination.

Travel Bug
The Travel Bug (“beg by the travel bug” in English) was the first type of trackable. The most common variant is similar to the shape of a military “dog tags” (dog tag). This is chained by the owner of the trackable to any object; Travel bugs are now also available as stickers (for example, for vehicles) or as patches for garments or backpacks.

Geocoins are medals in different sizes and designs. Although Geocoins are often sent on the journey, they are mainly to be found as collectibles and trophies. Most geocoins are in the owner’s inventory and can be logged by other geocachers at sighting, such as events, with a specific log entry (Discovered).

Geocoins are also popular gifts between geocachers for specific, achieved goals, such as the milestone “1000 geocaching finds” or a birthday. Often they are also personal memorabilia for participation in special events such as mega or giga events.

Other variants
Since trackables of can be registered only by the paid acquisition, also emerged free alternatives such as Geokretys (from the Greek γη, [ geographical ] “Earth” and Polish -krety for “mole”) in which any user who Can create identification number itself. However, due to the lack of support from, these alternatives are few and far between.

Hiding places and variants
Out of respect for nature, burying geocaches is undesirable and in in the game rulesexpressly prohibited. Even the burying of pipes whose disguised cover can be removed by the Finder then without digging tools is prohibited by Therefore, existing natural or artificial cavities are used as a hiding place: Small caves, niches between rocks or tree roots, wall cracks, old buildings and the like. In order to reduce the risk of chance finds and to make the search more difficult, especially near-ground hiding places are usually camouflaged with leaves, bark, moss, stones or twigs. Particularly clever hiding places include, among other things, film cans buried in specially made holes, labeled magnetic foils, information on walls, rocks, under park benches and in cracks in display boards. Even in former control boxes, fishing rods,

Geocaches are usually on the difficulty of the route and the terrain (terrain) and the difficulty of the tasks (Difficulty) rated to indicate the approximate cost of the search. Geocaches may require carrying special equipment (from simple flashlights to climbing, mountaineering or scuba diving equipment or a boat), solving puzzle or arithmetic tasks, climbing trees or exploring caves and caves.

Geocaches can be subdivided according to their task into different categories, the most important are:

The “simple” Geocache (Traditional geocaches) in the right position of the hiding is specified.
Multilevel geocaches (multi-caches or offset caches) that require you to visit multiple locations with pointers to the nearest location or hiding place.
Mystery caches (Mystery caches) that require in advance a search or Knobelei.
Virtual caches (Virtual Cache) in which neither container nor a logbook are present, the most widely used here are the Earth caches that indicate specific geological phenomena.

Traditional Geocache
The first geocaches belonged to this category, hence the name Traditional Geocache. They were initially hidden in special places, but nowadays they are practically everywhere, even in urban areas. It is the most common geocache species.

In this geocache style, the coordinates of the hiding place are published directly. However, finding it can be difficult, because there is good camouflage, the final is difficult to reach and requires, for example, mountaineering or diving, special skill for salvaging is necessary or the place is smuggled.

Auto-accessible and easy-to-find Traditional Geocaches are referred to as Drive-in or Park and Grab geocaches.

In a multi-cache are several “stations” (Stages) to complete to find the hiding place. The coordinates of the finals usually result from clues that the geocacher finds at the individual stations. The hints may have been applied specifically for the geocache, for example, by gluing the backs of traffic signs, or arise by incorporating things that are already out there.

The difficulty depends on the tasks to be solved, on the hints to be found, and on the final itself. Length and nature of the route determine the terrain rating.

Puzzle Cache
In a puzzle cache (also called puzzle cache or mystery cache), a puzzle must first be solved before the search for the final can be started. The coordinates published on the internet therefore do not correspond to the actual data, but point to an arbitrary point, which is meaningless for the search and serves only for illustration on the map. This should however be located nearby (maximum of three kilometers), in order to be able to correctly assign the geocache regionally.

The puzzles can be of very different nature and difficulty (mathematical puzzles, trigonometric tasks, literary tasks, Internet research, sudokus, puzzles, decoding, etc.). The coordinates determined are either the final itself (as in traditional geocache) or the beginning of a multi-cache.

A bonus cache is a puzzle cache where the groundwork is to find one or more other geocaches that get the information to get started, or parts of the final coordinates in various other geocaches. In contrast to a regular mystery, he can be searched without any preliminary work after finding the submitted geocaches. Again, the published coordinates only point to an illustrative point in the environment.

Challenge Cache
The challenge cache is a special form of puzzle cache where a geocacher must fulfill one or more geocaching qualifications before the geocache can be logged. When creating such a geocache special conditions apply.

Find four different geocache species in four different countries.
Find one geocache in each state.
Find at least five different geocache species in one day.
Challenge caches can be recognized by the addition “[Challenge]” in the title of the listing.

Night Cache (NC)
A night cache is not a geocache type of its own, but a special form of the above categories. An NC is usually designed as a multi-cache or (multi) puzzle cache, but can also be designed in the respective traditional form. This type of geocache is often identified by a “” in the title of the listing. A night cache is usually only found in the dark. The stations or the final have reflectors, flashing LEDs, sounders, photocells, alarm clocks or other technical gadgets. Some night caches require special equipment such as a night vision device, metal detectors, radios or a UV-Light to find the clues.

Geocaches without containers
Geocaches without bin and logbook are Virtual Geocaches, Webcam Caches, Backward Caches and EarthCaches. There is some controversy in the geocacher community as to whether hiding and searching for such geocaches really is part of this hobby. With the exception of EarthCaches, these geocaches are generally no longer enabled on, but they are permitted on In 2017, 4000 selected geocachers worldwide were given the opportunity by Groundspeak to publish a new Virtual Geocache on Such virtual geocachesThose who do not need a GPS device and can be completed “from home” have nothing to do with the original idea of geocaching and are therefore not viewed by many as geocaching.

For webcam caches, the find is documented by a webcam photo of the finder. Occasionally additional tasks are required or utensils are required for the finder to be visible on the screenshot.

In reverse geocaches (German: “backward geocaches”) you did not have to search a container in a place for which you had the coordinates, but in reverse post the coordinates of a place for a given topic, such as the grave of a known personality. This geocache species was abolished in 2005 by Groundspeak and not placed under grandfathering; all listings of this kind are blocked. However, logged backward geocaches remain in the statistics. A similar type of cache exists at under the term Safari cache.

EarthCaches take the geocachers to geologically interesting locations where they can learn about the formation, construction and shapes of the Earth’s crust and its different types of rocks. At, they are a stand-alone geocache species that can be designed as a traditional geocache with unique coordinates or a multi. The concept of EarthCaches was developed by Gary Lewis of the Geological Society of America. The first EarthCache was launched on January 10, 2004 in Australia. EarthCaches will be released by special reviewers, the GeoWares, checked. Abbreviations in their names such as “GeoawareUSA” reveal the area of responsibility of the reviewer. The reviewers responsible for the German language area are numbered “GeoawareDE”. To log an EarthCache, the geocacher must answer various questions about the presented geological topic and send it to the owner.

Event Cache
An event cache (short form: event) is an event that starts at a certain point in time and represents the social aspect of geocaching. It is a meeting of geocachers who share their common hobby. Frequently, event caches are also meetings of geocachers with regulars.

Groundspeak as operator of the biggest geocaching platform defined an event cache with more than 500 participants as Mega-Event cache. These events usually take place annually and attract international visitors. In 2014, Groundspeak introduced the new Geocache-Art giga event on the occasion of the huge number of applicants to the “Mia san Mega” event in Munich, after which the event was renamed “Mia san Giga”. It is defined by a number of participants of more than 5000 people. The world’s largest geocaching event so far was the giga event in Xanten 2015 with almost 13,000 participants.

A special form of event cache is the cache in – Trash out (CITO). It collects and removes waste in a specific area. Mostly in this context, a new geocache is designed. CITOs are often held in spring or autumn.

Event caches often generate ideas for new, demanding geocaches, as geocachers from the region meet and discuss together. Even beginners can familiarize themselves with the topic at event caches and benefit from tips from the attendees. Geocachers can get to know each other personally and exchange contact data in order to later be able to contact a finder or the owner himself during geocaching tours by mobile phone (“telephone joker”). To what extent this is in the sense of the game, is discussed controversially in the community.

Wherigo cache (derived from English where I go) is a platform for GPS-based adventures in reality and since spring 2008 a new cache type on The GPS guides players who load a corresponding so-called cartridge onto their GPS device – for example, a PDA, older models of the Garmin Oregon series, or even Android, iOS, or Symbian devices – to a desired location, from the they can then interact with virtual objects and characters. The possibilities of Wherigosare very extensive. For example, when approaching individual places, you can view certain pictures or texts with tasks or play sounds. Particularly attractive is a Wherigo in the cases in which not only linear processes are presented, but the user can decide for himself, in which order he visits individual stations. The essential work of Wherigos is to program the cartridge. The creation takes place on the PC. This requires special software that also offers a simulation environment.

Challenges (not to be confused with challenge caches)
The basic idea of the Challenges available on from August 2011 was to “go somewhere and do something”. This was completely independent of the containers and logbooks hidden in the above types of caches. To launch this game variant, premium members could create two different types of challenges on In an action challenge, a specific task had to be performed at a particular location, such as singing a song in a large square or climbing the steps to the top of a tower. In a photo challenge, the participants had to take a photo of themselves in a special location, for example next to a monument or in front of a street sign.

The challenges published without review process could be accepted by geocachers and later logged as “completed”. You could look for existing challenges in the area or participate in worldwide challenges. The challenges were recorded separately in the statistics and did not count towards the total score of the caches.

In December 2012, Groundspeak announced that the challenges would be discontinued immediately. The entire function was not placed under grandfathering, but was completely removed from the system in 2012; today there are no indications online about challenges. As an alternative, the challenge cache, a subset of the puzzle cache with mandatory reference to geocaching targets, was introduced.

Geocaches on properties that are referred to in the community with the pseudo-angelic Lost Place (short: LP), do not represent their own geocache type, but refer to the specifics of the hiding place. Here, often in connection with background stories, unused buildings are included in the treasure hunt. So it may be that you are looking for something like Indiana Jones in ancient ruins or to enlighten a fictional murder in an abandoned factory. Some of these places are old bunkers in the forest or abandoned villages. Since in Germany also unused buildings and plots usually have an owner, the placement of a geocache there or the entering in each case a criminal offense according to § 123 StGB (Trespassing), provided that it is a pacified property and the owner has not previously agreed to this. For this reason, Lost Place geocaches are controversially discussed in the community.

A peculiarity of all types of geocache with a container as a final can be that it is secured with a lock that must be opened by lock picking.

The Hardcore caching (HCC) includes geocaches whose terrain and difficulty are ranked high (greater than or equal to “four out of five stars”). Achieving these geocaches places special demands on the geocacher, be it solving difficult puzzles such as decoding encrypted information or even physical challenges. Typically, finding a hardcore cache takes several hours to days and often requires special equipment such as climbing or diving.

A moving cache is a geocache that is taken away by the finder and hidden in another location. The coordinates of the old hide are replaced by those of the new one. Two rarer variants are on the one hand the wearing of a Moving-Caches, if one is on the way. There is the possibility to track the position of the geocache live on the internet, on the other hand there are moving caches, which can be found in other geocaches and taken with you and placed in another search in another geocache. The latter variant is similar to the principle of a trackable. Moving caches of any kind are not allowed on, but are possible with other providers. There are alsoMoving caches, which are designed as an open source project, so to speak. The owner places the identifier with which he has placed the moving cache into a geocache and sets rules by which a finder can seize the treasure and change it or move it to another location.

Another subspecies, also referred to as reverse geocache, is a mixture of a mystery cache and a wherigo (see above). In a reverse geocache, the player receives the geocache directly at the beginning of his search. The geocache, however, is locked and can not be opened until the player brings the cache to the previously determined destination. For this purpose, the reverse geocache independently determines its position with the aid of a built-in GPS receiver. The first reverse geocache was built in 2009 by Mikael Hart and given away for a wedding. With this project, the inventor achieved a great media response. Meanwhile, there are some replicas of Hart’s project, which extend the scope of his original geocache with additional functions and puzzles, which the player must first solve before the geocache reveals its contents. For example, the geocache named Captain Herrmano’s Mystery Box responds to temperature, carbon monoxide concentration, and player proximity.

Source from Wikipedia