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Beginner asking for help

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Hi everyone. I have read the forums and have a question for someone who can help. We are beginners and the kids love finding and exchanging geocaches. Problem is I do not have a GPS, and honestly do not have money to purchase one. Do I need a GPS? If I download the app on my adroid phone will that help give me GPS directions? Looking for any information you could give me, and is greatly appreciated.



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For one thing, you do not 'exchange' caches. You leave them where and as you found them.

You exchange, that is... trade, items from within the cache. Generally these items are referred to as SWAG.

Not everything in the cache is SWAG. The logbook or sheet stays.

Travel Bugs and/or geocoins are not trade items, but are meant to be taken (logging that action) and moved along to another cache and that movement/placement also being logged. These items are not meant to be kept.


Your android phone would work fine, with the downloaded appropriate app, either the Official Groundspeak app(s) or other "partnered" apps.

The app will function as a means of directing you to a cache, by interpreting the GPS signal(s).

GPS however, is not 'directions'. It is a reference to the Global Positioning System, a combination of transmitting satellites and a device which receives those transmitted signals -- be it a dedicated GPSr device or phone equipped with a GPS chip.


You do not necessarily need a GPSr or a phone + app to FIND caches and play the 'game'. There is no requirement along those lines.


A GPSr device is required to HIDE a cache as a means of obtaining accurate coordinates of the hiding spot.


For starters, you should read everything you can. Clicking each and every link located throughout the geocaching.com website.

This link to the Groundspeak Help Center can answer a lot if not most of your question. It will also make you ask more questions -- and that is a good thing.



Edited by Gitchee-Gummee
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Curious, what have you been using so far to find caches?

Link for reference:


Finding a Geocache without a GPS


A phone should work fine for what you want to accomplish. However, if you get to the point where you and the family want to Hide caches, a handheld GPS is STRONGLY recommended, due to the increased accuracy (+/- 30 feet rather than +/- 100 feet).


Have fun and Welcome!

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After finding over 100 caches with a GPS, I had a phase of seeking several geocaches without a GPS [no longer have access to a shared GPS] or a smartphone [haven't got one]. I plotted grid references onto OS maps, plus carried print out of cache page, plus any potentially useful photos eg which tree, which pile of stones. Only got my own GPS this week, so hoping to find a few this weekend, if I have time between work and other commitments. Taking a few print outs of cache pages and a couple of OS maps, too.

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Thank you everyone for all your help. I guess I phrased my exchange caches wrong. I meant the ones that have items to exchange in them. So far I have been using my laptop and google earth to help. Then just head for the area and let the kids go. Sometimes we find caches, sometime not. Just wanted to know if downloading the official app would help. On disability with kids, so really can't even afford a used GPS right now. But if the app helps get me close, will try that.


Thanks again for all your help! Good luck and Happy Hunting Everyone!

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Curious, what have you been using so far to find caches?


Google maps, the pictures on the website and just hunting for them.


Well done! When you get an app for the phone you will likely find it a lot more fun except when the kids fight over who gets to hold the phone to navigate to the next cache (depending on the the age of the kids). :D


Have fun!

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The app will help, it will get you close, especially if there's a landmark you can get visual on when you get there. I discovered today though, my phone wasn't very helpful out in the woods. It got me close, sort of, but its accuracy limitations meant GZ was HUGE. If there wasn't some sort of landmark, it was pretty hopeless. I'm shopping for a proper GPS now lol.

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