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Geocaching Without A Gps


Erissa
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Many have done it. I've personally found two of my 300 finds without a GPS. Two who come to mind who do it consistently are Web-ling and Walden Run. Both have hundreds of finds sans GPS. As far as I know, Web-ling has a GPS and just prefers not to use it if possible. Walden Run has been known to follow caching partner'ssGPSs on occasion but generally prefers to go without. Don't know if he actually owns a GPS or not though.

Edited by briansnat
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If I were you I would investigate GPS's more before I settled on the unit you are planning on buying

 

Agreed. First off its not available in the US. Second, when you get integrated electronics like that, generally each component will have compromises and not be as good as a dedicated device. Also, if one component breaks, you lose all of them while its getting repaired.

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My first seven finds (I just checked, thought it was six) were without a GPS unit. I used the topo maps available on the cache pages and a knowledge of the area. Five were actual caches, two were virtuals. Brian's advice is correct; look into a GPS only unit as it will be more accurate than a combo device.

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My husband will be sharing my gps with me; so we will both be able to enjoy our investment. He is a hunter.

 

But I am glad to hear that I am not the lone ranger out there.

What surprises me is the places where caches would be great and there are none hidden there.

 

A good opportunity for me when I am confident enough to hide my own.

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What surprises me is the places where caches would be great and there are none hidden there.

 

There could be reasons. NC has some pretty restrictive geocaching rules in their state parks, unless they've changed recently. Check with your fellow locals before placing a cache. The Southeast forum would be a good place to start. Good luck!

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You can get by without a GPS. Go to Google.com, click on "more", and downlaod a trial version of Keyhole. After 15 days you have to pay them $29 for a year.

with keyhole, you can locate the coordinates of any point on the earth within a few feet. In some instances it is better than a GPS as you are not hampered by weather or trees.

After you find a picture of the topography of your coordinates, just walk over there and pick up the Cache.

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I live in France and have done all the GPS type caches in the area.

However the French have a system called "cistes" is almost the same but without the use of a GPS, only clues. On their forum there are regularly a 100th find logged. So if I can do it in a foreign language without the use of technology I'm sure you will have great success without the use of a GPS until such times as you get one, but beware take your time and get the one you feel comfortable with.

Good Luck and enjoy.

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Long as it's a letterbox cache.. sure, you could hide one without a GPS.

 

I've found 3 without a GPS myself. First one took me an hour and a half (on an easy hide), second one took me 15 minutes (just followed another cacher's footprints in the snow) and the third one was a multi stage that I was having problems with fisher muggles on the 1st stage, basically I did my homework on that one and the cache description was good enough to clue me in on the location of the final.

 

Having said all that, I think I could probably cache without a GPS much better now with 500 finds under my belt than I ever could have when I had first started. It's just getting to know what a good hiding spot would be.

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But is anyone good enough to HIDE a cache without a GPS? :)

Actually - (even though you said it in jest) - there was a topic before about the necessity of a GPS for Geocaching. The general consensus was, of course, that you didn't need a GPS for finding a cache.

 

However, it came down HARD on the fact that you DO need one for hiding a cache. Evidently some people were using topo maps and online tools to approximate the cache's position, and asking people with their GPS units to come out and find the cache, and post any corrected coordinates in their logs. Using that method, they could get other people to give more accurate coordinates than they possibly could without a GPS.

 

This is generally considered Bad Form, although not STRICTLY against the rules. I notice that there's a thread on Geocachers Code Of Ethics, Revisited. I just suggested the addition.

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Long as it's a letterbox cache.. sure, you could hide one without a GPS.

Actually - the definition of "Letterbox Cache" appears to have been undergoing some scrutiny as well.

 

I just looked up the guidelines on Letterboxes.

Letterboxing is another form of treasure hunting that uses clues to direct hunters to a hidden container.  Each letterbox contains a stamp which is the signature for that box.  Most letterboxers have their own personal stamps and personal logbooks.  They stamp the letterbox logbook with their personal stamp, and use the stamp contained in the letterbox to “sign” their personal logbook.

 

Letterbox hybrids are a mixture of letterbox and geocache.  They should contain a signature stamp that stays with the box, and they must conform to the guidelines for traditional caches and therefore must contain a logbook.  They must be referenced by latitude and longitude, not just clues.  Whether or not the letterbox hybrid contains trade items is up to the owner. In most cases personal stamp and personal logbook are not necessary to be a seeker of a letterbox hybrid.

 

color and bolding added for emphasis

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Man, this discussion has gone a good long ways before Letterboxing was described -- and even then, only as a hybrid with geocaching. Letterboxing is a completely separate activity with its own web site, LetterboxingUSA. No GPSr required.

 

Besides the lack of GPS, perhaps the most notable difference is the rubberstamps. When you find a letterbox, it contains a logbook of unlined paper and a rubberstamp. You are carrying around your own logbook and your own rubberstamp. You open the letterbox, stamp its logbook with your rubberstamp and stamp your logbook with its rubberstamp and close it up. No trinkets involved, and no Travel Bugs as far as I know. And, apparently, no logging your finds online.

 

An off-the-shelf rubberstamp is too passe, and paying Kinko's to custom-make you a rubberstamp is too expensive. Everybody just glues a rectangular eraser to a block of wood and then carves out a design with an Xacto knife. Many of the enthusiasts claim the rubberstamp artistry is a large part of the appeal of the activity -- and, having carved my own and used it exactly once, I can see that.

 

The biggest drawback to Letterboxing is the relative dearth of letterboxes, less than 1/10 as many as there are geocaches out there. The letterboxes seem to be better quality, though, all located in really interesting places that are fun to get to rather than just in a Wal-Mart parking lot or whatever.

 

Looking into both activities, I decided on both. I have rubberstamp and eTrex at the ready, and am more than happy searching for either!

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I've not got a gps unit yet; I am looking at a Garmin Navtalk gps/cellphone unit.

 

But until then I am sticking to caches that I am familiar with the physical terrain, landmarks, etc...

 

How many folks NEVER get a GPS and still geocache? :)

It can be done. Look up the profile for WaldenRun and check his stats. He has done (I think) over a thousand w/o a GPS.

 

Even hiding can be done if you can find a landmark (such as a benchmark) whose lat/lon coordinates are known, and make it the first stage of an offset cache.

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A group I worked for back in the seventies and eighties did it (geocaching) all the time. There was no such thing as a hand held GPS back then. Sextants and Logs, compasses, straight edge rulers and maps. A chronograph (often an expensive watch) really aided accuracy. The big difference between today and then is speed and the lack of uncertainty. You know now when you have crossed into WV because the GPS says so. In the old days you had to determine your rate and direction of walking (or driving) multiply by so many minutes, make the map plot, then continue. A cloudy day when there was no sun to take a bearing on could really mess you up as could rough terrain forcing deviations from planned routes. The urbanization of rural areas really took off in the eighties and forced the availability of street and area maps in areas that previously had no houses, no roads, and were previously covered only by USGS topo maps. Publications from the forties discuss areas where a person was the only person for seventy five miles. When I was a kid there were many places you could be and probably be the only person for fifty miles and cougars allegedly still roamed upstate New York. If that was you in that remote place and you had a medical emergency it was a potential killer. There was no medical response because there were no hospitals in those areas. Penicillin was new and when a state hospital got an X Ray machine it was considered a big deal. No one went to such a rural place and climbed a cliff by themself for fun in those days unless they wanted to be found there a year or five later if a piton failed or a rope broke. You always brought a gun capable of downing a bear with you when you went to a place like that. You brought bandages, splint material and a needle and thread with you and you (and those with you) had advanced First Aid knowledge. Phone lines, a growing population and urbanization changed everything. By the eighties it was speculated there were still places in the mainland US so rural you could go there and possibly be the only person for twenty five miles in any direction, but they were considered rare and you would have to hunt for them. I went hunting in one such place often in those days. That was rural. You parked the car and got on a horse to continue. Then you traveled and struggled for a few days to get to your spot. Emergency services had by then advanced to the stage when a twenty minute response time to a scene in urban areas was the standard, if you could find a house that had a phone, which most did by then. All of that is gone today. Every house has electricity now and everyone has a cell phone and it is no longer a 10 pound box the size of a .50 caliber ammo can. The pocket cell phone works almost everywhere. There are heavily traveled roads and developments in places that were just white splotches on a map a few decades ago. You would be hard pressed, even in Alaska or the SouthWest to find a spot thesedays where you know you will be the only person in just five miles. In the mainland US our average medical response time once you make the cell phone call is probably less than fifteen minutes. The ambulance attendant has a portable Xray machine with him/her. We consider a cache these days to be a rural cache if it is 30 feet off a paved jogging trail and more than 10 minutes walk from the parking lot.

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After talking to military officers of many nations, they all agree that the US Marine Corps' land navigation course given to all new 2ndLt's is the best. The Corps has placed ammo cans on metal stakes all over their training areas in Quantico, VA. Each box has a unique number stenciled on it. The new officers are armed with a good map, mapping protractor, compass, pace count, list of coordinates, plenty of water, and barely enough time. The boxes are placed close enough together that if you're off by a little bit (azimuth or pace count) and don't use good terrain association, then you might still find a box, just not the right one. The boxes are also spaced far enough apart that you can end up where you think it should be and search and search and never find it.

 

So the answer is yes - not only is it possible, but it's also a lot of fun. As for Superc 53's sextant, they are indeed useful, but I've only used them on the water.

 

With a good map, calibrated compass, and accurate pace count you should be able to hide a cache with at least as much accuracy as a non-WAAS capable GPSr. And in some cases, where you have good terrain and/or line of sight to one or more known points (water tower, NAVAID, benchmark etc) you should be able to achieve better accuracy.

 

Semper Fidelis,

Culprit99

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I'm at 252 without a GPS. A few other orienteers are doing this without a GPS too. It's not that rare.

 

But is anyone good enough to HIDE a cache without a GPS?

 

However, it came down HARD on the fact that you DO need one for hiding a cache. Evidently some people were using topo maps and online tools to approximate the cache's position, and asking people with their GPS units to come out and find the cache, and post any corrected coordinates in their logs. Using that method, they could get other people to give more accurate coordinates than they possibly could without a GPS.

 

Walden Run is placing caches with no complaints so it looks like it's possible. I'm guilty of what was suggested above, but that's because I set my first one before I had enough experience in caching to do it right. The online resources such as lostoutdoors.com and terrafly.com make finding exact spots a lot easier, so it shouldn't be any trouble now to get coordinates right the first time. We'll find out in the next few weeks.

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After talking to military officers of many nations, they all agree that the US Marine Corps' land navigation course given to all new 2ndLt's is the best. The Corps has placed ammo cans on metal stakes all over their training areas in Quantico, VA.

 

For those who want to see this area, Quantico Orienteering Club (a civilan club with historic ties to the base) will have a meet in this same area on December 12. QOC's website has the details. We will hang our own controls (not the ammo box stands described), and unfortunately not offer GPS coordinates for this meet. We will also use our own five-color map. But it will be navigating in the same area, and anyone who tries the intermediate course should still a couple of examples of these. Cost and times are on the website.

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Back in the day sextants cost thousands. Grampa's WWI Navy sextant was therefore an heirloom. The situation has changed. China makes some excellent, but low cost, ones that give the same results as the more expensive German ones. Look up Astra III B as a for instance. There are also plastic sextants on the market these days. There is some debate as to their continued accuracy as they wear, and speculation they would warp if left in the sun, but why someone would leave a sextant to bake in the sun, or if such warping has ever happened to a sextant has never been addressed. One instructor wrote he tells his students to take the box the $100 plastic sextant came in and write $600 on the box and treat it accordingly and thereafter the plastic ones are handled with the proper care and work fine. For land navigation you need a sextant with an offset bubble and you use a pan of water as your artificial horizon. The trick works. Most of Canada was first mapped by a guy named Thompson using a sextant and he was very accurate (like within three feet) in many places. Lewis and Clark used sextants, but they had a timekeeping problem. None of their chronometers survived the trip and by the end of the trip Lewis was shooting the moon to determine the time. Still good results followed. There are several schools of navigation available online that teach how to use a sextant for land navigation, and also have links to online logbooks and almanacs you can download or even order.

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With a good map, calibrated compass, and accurate pace count you should be able to hide a cache with at least as much accuracy as a non-WAAS capable GPSr. And in some cases, where you have good terrain and/or line of sight to one or more known points (water tower, NAVAID, benchmark etc) you should be able to achieve better accuracy.

 

Actually, with a good line of sight of two or more known points, you can get better accuracy than even WAAS enabled GPSr. I did exactly this with my cache. The best WAAS enabled lat/long was still only within 10 feet, but a resection of three points shot by compass got my cache dead on (cache on a big lake, making this easy).

 

Expand your horizons. The marines are not the only ones who teach land navigation well. :lol:

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It may have been mentioned before, but either with or without GPS a good tool to use is www.lostoutdoors.com web site. Punch in the coords and you can get a topo or a photo of the area where a cache is hidden. I've used this to help find a cache when a river or other waterway is involved so as to be sure I am on the right side of the river or lake. Saves a lot of going back around to the other side.

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Everyone that's mentioned not using a GPS to hide a cache (except my original post on the topic) has talked about methods of deriving the coordinates by intentionally finding the best possible ones. I personally wouldn't have a problem if an orienteer or someone who is versed in using a sextant gave me reasonably accurate coordinates.

 

I once used lostoutdoors.com to correct some coordinates that were off by about 30 feet every time I took a reading. I used the "click" feature on lostoutdoors.com to get more accurate coordinates than I could with my GPS.

 

The difference between my original statement and the statements that followed regarding placement of a cache without a GPS lie in my specific examples - which are actual instances of things that have happened. The people that were posting these types of caches were using rough coordinates that were sometimes in excess of 150-200 feet away.

 

If someone were to use sextant and topo maps and could get the coordinates within 40 feet of the cache, I'd be happy.

Evidently some people were using topo maps and online tools to approximate the cache's position, and asking people with their GPS units to come out and find the cache, and post any corrected coordinates in their logs. Using that method, they could get other people to give more accurate coordinates than they possibly could without a GPS.
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:lol:

 

I don't see the fun in geocaching without a GPS.

I have one cache for which I give rough coordinates that get you to a playground. Thenn you follow instructions to identify landmarks, use compass bearings, and pace off distances to find part 1 of a multi. If you get this far you, you will find the GPS coordinates for the final, but I could have easily made this a "no GPS needed" cache. People who have done the cache seem to enjoy the change and the challenge.

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But is anyone good enough to HIDE a cache without a GPS?  <_<

Actually - (even though you said it in jest) - there was a topic before about the necessity of a GPS for Geocaching. The general consensus was, of course, that you didn't need a GPS for finding a cache.

 

However, it came down HARD on the fact that you DO need one for hiding a cache. Evidently some people were using topo maps and online tools to approximate the cache's position, and asking people with their GPS units to come out and find the cache, and post any corrected coordinates in their logs. Using that method, they could get other people to give more accurate coordinates than they possibly could without a GPS.

 

This is generally considered Bad Form, although not STRICTLY against the rules. I notice that there's a thread on Geocachers Code Of Ethics, Revisited. I just suggested the addition.

I actually hid two caches without using a GPS. Finders don't really need to use their GPS either since the given coordinates only point to the starting places for both caches.

 

Needlessly Complicated

and

Gösser Alpin

 

Feedback to both caches has been mostly positive. As long as you inform cachers about the lack of coords for the final cache, I really don't see how anybody can consider caches of this sort 'bad form'. Its just a different kind of caching.

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What about things(ie virtuals) you may have found prior to owning a GPSr and prior to joining up on the website???? Such as info on info on historical markers-I sort of "collect" photos of them, so if I already know the info needed for a virtual(no internet look up needed), is that ok to log?? Same with virtuals that ask about things on a certain tombstone-I've been to a good portion of the cemeteries in my area, and either know the info (in my head!) or have photos of those headstones also. Should I HAVE to go and revisit the cemetery or historical marker using my GPSr just to log it??

 

Just wondering!! <_<

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What about things(ie virtuals) you may have found prior to owning a GPSr and prior to joining up on the website????

((Taking off moderator hat))

If you visited it before the cache was actually placed, IMHO opinion, you didn't visit the cache. Is it possible that the marker may have been updated with more current information?

 

((Putting moderator hat back on))

I would ask the owner of the cache by e-mail if they would allow your find. If you've got the correct information, they may just allow it. But it's up to the owner.

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I actually hid two caches without using a GPS. Finders don't really need to use their GPS either since the given coordinates only point to the starting places for both caches.

 

((snip))

 

As long as you inform cachers about the lack of coords for the final cache, I really don't see how anybody can consider caches of this sort 'bad form'.

I'll stress this again - when I'm talking about "bad form" I'm talking about someone saying "I don't have a GPS. Here are the close coordinates. If the first finders would please post actual coordinates, I'll update them." or "Hmmmm... I'll make this cache extra tricky by intentionally giving bad coordinates. Then I'll just raise the difficulty an extra 2 stars." THAT'S what would be considered "bad form."

 

Regarding your two caches that you linked...

From the Geocaching.com FAQ

What is Geocaching?

 

Geocaching is an entertaining adventure game for gps users. Participating in a cache hunt is a good way to take advantage of the wonderful features and capability of a gps unit. The basic idea is to have individuals and organizations set up caches all over the world and share the locations of these caches on the internet. GPS users can then use the location coordinates to find the caches. Once found, a cache may provide the visitor with a wide variety of rewards. All the visitor is asked to do is if they get something they should try to leave something for the cache.

Obviously, people can find caches without a GPS. But if a coordinates are not needed for the placement or for the finding of the cache, isn't that letterboxing? Edited by Markwell
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((Taking off moderator hat))

If you visited it before the cache was actually placed, IMHO opinion, you didn't visit the cache.  Is it possible that the marker may have been updated with more current information?

Well, I suppose info on historical marker could change, but no doubt 100yr old tombstones haven't! <_<

 

((Putting moderator hat back on))

I would ask the owner of the cache by e-mail if they would allow your find.  If you've got the correct information, they may just allow it.  But it's up to the owner.

I will absolutely do that, thanks!

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