Adventist Youth Honors Answer Book/Recreation/Geocaching - Advanced (North American Division)

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Geocaching - Advanced (North American Division)
North American Division


Skill Level 2
Year of Introduction: 2005



Earning this honor meets a requirement for:

1. Have the Geocaching Honor

This Wiki has a page with instructions and tips for earning the Geocaching honor.

2. Define the following terms:

a. Attributes

b. Favorite points

c. Message center

d. Souvenir badges

e. Lists or Pocket Queries

f. Reviewer

3. Define latitude and longitude. What is meant by degrees, minutes, seconds? Demonstrate how to find the latitude and longitude on a geocache listing. Show how to enter latitude and longitude in a GPS receiver/app.

Latitude describes the north-south position on the globe and is measured in degrees, minutes, and seconds. The 0° line is a circle around the Earth's equator. Latitude changes as one moves north to south, or south to north. It does not change as one moves from east to west or west to east.
Longitude describes the east-west position on the globe, and like latitude, is also measured in degrees, minutes, and seconds. All longitude lines begin and end at the North and South Poles. The 0° longitude line begins at the North Pole, passes through Greenwich, England, and then continues to the South Pole. Longitude changes as one moves east to west, or west to east. It does not change as one moves from north to south or south to west.
Most people become familiar with the angular measurement of a degree in a mathematics class when they are introduced to the protractor. The degree used in geocaching is this very same measurement. Latitude measures the angle made by two lines which both originate at the very center of the Earth. The first line extends from the center of the Earth to the equator, and the second line extends from the center of the Earth to the position being described. Longitude is similar, measuring the angle formed by two lines - one extending from the center of the Earth to the equator directly south of Greenwich, England, and the other extending from the center of the Earth to a position on the equator directly north or south of the measured position.
A degree is not a very precise measurement of an angle when considering something as large as the planet Earth. If only degrees were used to specify a person's position, we could only get within about 100km62 miles of the person's position. Therefore, a degree is divided into 60 finer measurements called minutes. Minutes in Geocaching has little to do with time.
Even with the finer angular resolution of minutes, we can still only get to within about 1670 metersone mile of a person's position, so the minute is divided into seconds. One second can get us to within about 28 meters92 feet of a position, so they are typically specified to a couple of decimal places, as in "25.65 seconds".

Latitude and longitude are specified in degrees, minutes, and seconds, as in 43°22'54.31". Here the number preceding the ° symbol (43) is the number of degrees, the number preceding the ' (22) is the number of minutes, and the number before the " (54.31) is the number of seconds. When we go down to one hundredth of a second, we can specify a location to within about 28 cm11 inches.

4. Give the history of the following:

a. The origins of global positioning satellites

b. When and how geocaching started

c. The basics of the first geocache (stash)

5. What are the laws/rules/guidelines for placing caches in the following locations in your region?

a. City, regional, or county parks

b. State parks/provincial parks

c. National parks, WMAs

The U.S. National Park Service prohibits geocaches on land it manages.

d. Limited access highways and railroad right-of-ways

It is a federal offense in the United States to trespass on an active railroad right-of-way. Geocaches should be located a minimum of 45 meters150 feet from any active rail line.

e. Placing physical caches while traveling

A person who places a cache is responsible for maintaining it. This means it must be physically visited on a regular basis. Unless the cache placer is able to pay frequent visits to the cache site, the cache should not be placed.

f. Other public lands or areas in your area with permitting guidelines

6. Complete two or more of the following:

a. Establish and maintain a new geocache in your area for at least six months

Be sure to read these guidelines for hiding a geocache. In short:

  • Choose an area to hide your geocache
    • Make sure it's legal, and that you have permission.
    • Make sure that the added attention of geocachers will not damage a sensitive site (historic or natural)
    • Hide it out of sight of casual passersby.
  • Prepare your cache
    • Choose a container. Popular choices include plastic food-storing containers such as Tupperware, ammo boxes, and water-proof boxes used on boats. The container should be waterproof and be able to withstand the rigors of the weather.
    • Add a logbook and (optionally), a pencil. Ink freezes.
    • Write a note to the geocachers who find your cache.
    • Add a small gift (optional)
    • Add a Travel Bug (optional)
  • Get the GPS coordinates
    • Make sure they are accurate.
    • Take several readings and average them.
    • Follow your GPS to the site from different directions.
    • Write the coordinates on the container and in the logbook.
  • Register your cache
    • Find the form at
    • Write up a good description of the area, including notes of interest (history, etc.)
    • Double-check for accuracy
  • Maintenance
    • Check that the container is still water-tight and seals properly
    • Check that the logbook is still there
    • Assess the area for damage caused by cachers and make adjustments if necessary

b. Attend a geocache meeting or event

Check the geocaching calendar to find an event near you. If there is not one, you could always host one yourself. If you host it at your church you will raise your community's awareness of your church. However, do not try to make this an evangelistic meeting, as this would be frowned upon by the geocaching community and would give you and your church a bad name. It is enough that people learn where your church is.

c. Complete a geotour, geotrail, geoarts or its equivalent (minimum of 6 geocaches found)

d. Find two travel bugs or geocoins and place them in another cache.

Though travel bugs are not expensive, it's even cheaper to find them and track them than it is to buy one and send it out. Watch the geocaches in your area and look for TB's to be dropped off in them. Then pick them up and help them meet their goals.

e. Hike five or more miles while geocaching.

f. Find the two oldest caches hidden in your state or region.

7. Find and record at least 18 geocaches and include:

You can record your finds on the geocaching website, so don't worry about setting up some sort of elaborate system. Getting each of these types of cache will most likely come naturally, so you don't really need to pay particular attention to that when you get started. As you near your 18th cache, check them over and see how many of these four types you already got "automatically" - then work on getting the rest. By the time you log your 18th, you will likely have found a new hobby, and more will come.

a.One traditional cache with three-star (or greater) difficulty and/or terrain rating*

b. One multi-level cache or Mystery (Puzzle) cache

c. One virtual or earthcache

Virtual caches were discontinued and only a few remain grandfathered. Earthcaches, however, are a form of virtual cache.

d. One cache with at least ten favorite points

8. Write about your geocache find in your logbook on a geocache website.

From the Main Page of at the top right, click on “Create a Membership!”, for a free account choose “Get a Basic Membership”. This is a family friendly, kid-safe website. No personal information is available from this site. Emails are safe and password protected through this system. When you are a member you can post into the logbooks your cache finds.

Note to instructors: Notice that these requirements do leave the opportunity for a GROUP to go find a cache and use a pre-existing Geocaching account to write the log on the geocache website. Each individual Pathfinder does NOT need to write a log.

*The free geocaching app limits to five finds per day of caches with a D/T rating of 2 or less. Thus, a paid quarterly or annual membership would be necessary for this requirement if using a geocaching app.