Geocaching: A Safe Weekend Activity During Lockdown
The outdoor treasure-hunt game of Geocaching is one great way to get away from the problems in the world while remaining in your district. Brno Daily’s Kim Bingel takes a look at the history and appeal of this increasingly popular new hobby. Photo credit: Freepik
Brno, March 14 (BD) – The Czech Republic has been under strict lockdown measures for a long time now, including restrictions on movement, which has created a gap in people’s lives. As the weather slowly improves, a lot of us can’t help feeling the need to get some sunlight and fresh air. As shops, restaurants, cafes, and bars remain closed, and traveling between districts is currently not permitted, one turns to other alternative ways to have fun outdoors and stay safe at the same time. The growing pastime of Geocaching is one great way to get away from the problems in the world while remaining in your district. According to the website, the word ‘Geocaching’ refers to GEO for geography, and to CACHING, the process of hiding a cache. The term is also used in hiking/camping to refer to a hiding place for concealing and preserving provisions.
Geocaching is an outdoor treasure hunt game played using GPS-enabled devices, that is becoming more and more popular around the world. Players travel to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then try to find the geocache (a waterproof container) hidden at that location. After creating a free profile on the Geocaching website, you will see the geocaches hidden all around Brno, or in any city in the Czech Republic, as well as anywhere else the game is active.
The map on the Geocaching app or website shows where the waterproof containers are located, and as you click on any geocache on the map, you can follow the directions of your GPS to reach it. Most of the time, you find a tiny notebook inside the geocache with the names or nicknames of people who have found the geocache before you, along with any other items they may have left inside the container. You never know what the cache owner or previous visitors may have left for you to enjoy! Some containers include instructions to find other geocaches in the city, so why not follow them and continue your treasure hunt, discovering Brno and spending an engaging time in the city. The first caches you find will most likely be as small as a pickle jar. As you keep on playing and discovering more and more geocaches, you may level up your game and look for bigger containers, which can be as big as a 20-litre bucket.
Geocaching dates back to the year 2000, born from an attempt to test the effectiveness of then-emerging GPS technology. Computer consultant Dave Ulmer wanted to test the accuracy of GPS by hiding a navigational target in the woods. He named it the ‘Great American GPS Stash Hunt’ and shared it in an internet GPS users’ group. His idea was simple: to hide a container out in the woods and note the coordinates with a GPS unit. The searcher would then have to find the container with only the use of their GPS. The initiative later developed into a game and has been transformed into a treasure hunt played around the world. You can find out more about the rules, guidelines, history, and details of the game here.
Please make sure that you follow all current anti-epidemic measures at all times when you are outside, including wearing a respirator and maintaining a safe distance from others.