AY Honor Geocaching Answer Key used by North American Division

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Skill Level






Approval authority

North American Division

Geocaching AY Honor.png
Skill Level
Approval authority
North American Division
Year of Introduction
See also


Define Geocaching.

Geocaching is an entertaining outdoor 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.


Identify the technological tools necessary for geocaching.

  • Geocache membership
  • A GPS device or a mobile phone
  • The geocaching app and access to the app
  • Other non-technological tools you may take, including:
    • Extra logbooks
    • Pen/Pencils
    • Torch/head torch
    • Spare batteries
    • Sunscreen
    • Hat
    • Rain poncho
    • Water
    • Multi-tool
    • Swag
    • Grabbing tool
    • Retractable mirror


Define or identify the following geocaching terms:



The container is what contains the geocache. Your container should be waterproof to protect cache contents from rain, snow, ice, and condensation. If you place your cache in direct sunlight, choose a container that won’t degrade quickly from exposure. The lid and base should be made from the same material. If they are made from different materials, the seal will degrade faster.


Log book

In each cache at the final location the container has a log. consisting of paper, a little book, a scroll of paper where the cacher writes their trail name, caching name and date found. These would normally be inside a plastic bag within the container. Remember to replace it and seal the container well. Virtual, earthcaches, and several more types have no actual container.


Cache Owner (CO)

The person who creates the cache and submits it to the reviewers for publication. They have control of cachers online logs they can delete is needed. It is their responsibility to maintain their cache.



This is the GPS location of the cache, stages, listed location. Here is an example S46 22.325 E168 20.985 The S= South E=East N= North W- West. In other countries the coordinates could be N88 33.561 E168 20.665. There are different datums used but the example is the most commonly used.



This term is from the Harry Potter book series. Literally means someone who is not a cacher.



Once you have logged as found the cache on the online page the green box or ? etc. on the map changes to a smilie. A yellow circle with the smiling face meaning that you have found it. On your online profile your finds are collated. So beside your caching name will be a smilie with your total number of finds.


Caching Name/geonic/username (Login)

Most cachers do not use their own name for their user name. This is to keep you a little more private. So be creative and have your own that means something to you.


Travel Bug/Travel Coin

Travel bugs and coins can be purchased on ground speak and other merchant sites. Once you have receiver yours you can name it, set targets, attach items to it. They usually come in the form of Dog Tags. These have a code stamped on them. Once you have set them up online you release them and log them into a cache for other finders to either log as discovered or log as taken from a cache. Then these TB's travel to another cache. The person that now has it can log it a visiting a cache or leaving it in a cache. Then others can do similar. The CO gets notification when your TB has been shifted from a cache and where it gets left in a cache. The TB accumulates a travel distance.

Coins are similar. They are a specially designed coin with a number on it. They are treated like normal TBs.

Finders should log it out of a cache and log it into another faithfully. In this way they don't get lost and the CO knows where they are. It is fun to see where your TBs are around the world and learn of other cuntries. Google earth and street view are handy in this.


Define and give examples of the different sizes of caches.

Geocaches come in all sizes from those the size of a large pencil eraser and as large as a school locker or building! What is important is that the container be waterproof and weather proof, can be opened and closed, and can hold at least a paper log for geocachers to sign when they find the geocache.


Extra Small/Micro/Nano

Small/micro containers are used a lot in urban geocaching. They range in size from a "nano" container the size of a large pencil eraser, and include bison tubes, film canisters, key magnet containers and similar sized containers. They are all smaller than a man's billfold.



Small containers are used in some urban, many suburban, and even country geocaching settings. These containers are similar in size to a man's billfold. Small lock-n-lock and rubber-maid containers or larger recycled pill bottles make great small sized containers.



Medium/regular sized containers are most often used in rural or park geocaching. They are the size of lock-n-lock containers and include the classic ammo-box container. This type is the traditional "old fashioned" type of container that MOST geocaches used to be. Kids really enjoy this size of cache, because it often contains toys to be traded. Be sure to trade even, trade up, or don't trade!



The original geocache was a large container geocache, a 5-gallon bucket in the woods near Portland Oregon. 5-gallon "paint buckets," old coolers, treasure chests, and even storage lockers all fall into this category. These are relatively rare, and can be very unique hides.



Any container that is unusually shaped or sized fits in this category. Camouflaged zip-locks, long PVC-pipe hides, as well as earthcaches and virtuals display this size of hide.


Define and identify on a caching map the following types of geocaches:



This is the original cache type consisting, at a bare minimum, a container and a logbook. Normally you'll find a Tupperware container, ammo box, or bucket filled with goodies. The coordinates listed on the traditional cache page is the exact location for the cache. The general rule of thumb is, "If you take an item, leave an item of equal or greater value, and write in the logbook." Some caches are themed, so make sure to read the description before going on a hunt.



This is a cache where you may have to visit multiple locations close within 8 km of the listed coordinates. At each of these stages you will need to gather the information required and work out using instructions on the cache page the coordinates for the final. The container at the final will usually hold the log to record your visit and swaps and possibly a pen or pencil. Some multi caches are a simple 2 stage but some may have 10 or more stages increasing the skill level and of course enjoyment.



Usually called an Unknown cache and is displayed on the map with a ?. These can be puzzle caches where you may have to spend lots of time deciphering a code or puzzle before you go to find the container. The container usually is NOT at the listed coordinates. You can have lots of fun and frustration solving these. You can also message others who have found it or even the CO for some further hints. A useful web page to help solve these geocachingtoolbox.com. The final is usually within 5 km of given location.



This is not a physical cache, but rather a place of usually historical or local interest; that is, a commemorative plaque, sign, object, or building. Virtual caches are grandfathered on Geocaching.com. In 2020 a special release of more Virtual caches was given to a selection of CO in many countries. In most cases the finder has to provide some location explicit answer or upload a photo. This prevents armchair cachers logging these from their home without actually visiting the location. New virtual caches are now accepted only on waymarking.com.



Earthcaches are of a scientific nature. Needing observations, some experiments, and opinions given. Before you can log these you actually need to visit the site get information, see things, think about things. Then you need to send the CO the required information and get permission to log as found.

There is a separate honour for this type of cacheing. Scientific Geocaching. The name from memory.


Letterbox OR Whereigo

Letterbox hybrid caches
These are like traditional caches having a container with log book etc. But these also have a stamp and sometimes inkpad. When the finder finds these if they are a Letterbox finder they will have their own logging book to record their finds and their own personal stamp. They use the cache stamp to stamp their personal logbook and then stamp the cache logbook with their stamp and write the date found. This type of cache can be found by both Letterboxer and geocacher people. If the person is in both sports they log in the respective web site they are involved in.

The cache stamp must remain in the cache and is not counted as a swap. The cache must be available to both Geocachers and Letterboxers and not be just a cache with a stamp. Therefore should be listed in the various Letterboxing websites as well as geocaching sites. There is a separate honour called Letterboxing.

Whereigo caches
You need to download to your device the app so you can play. Then download the cartridge for the particular Wherigio then go to the location open the files follow instructions to you get to the end and that is where the container is. You do need phone service coverage for the game to load properly and this can be problematic in some locations.

There are more types available. Webcam caches, Event caches, Lab caches and several more.


What items may be left in a geocache? Which items may not?

Small swaps for children, little toys and other small objects. If the logbook getting full you can leave more paper. But put a note of this on your online log so the CO knows maintenance is needed. Travel bugs and coins

Things not to leave. Food including lollies. These get soft and gooey and then leak making a sticky mess. Advertising promotional material. Anything that is not family friendly.


What is meant by Cache In, Trash Out (CITO)?

An activity held sacred by Pathfinders everywhere, Trash Out simply means to take along a plastic trash bag while hunting Geocaches and picking up trash on the way.


Demonstrate two ways of finding the location of a geocache in your area on a caching website or caching app.

Have the student look on the website, www.geocaching.com. This is a family-friendly, kid-friendly website. Two methods of finding a location are:

  • From the Main Page at the top drop-down menu, click on "HIDE & SEEK A CACHE". Then enter a zip code in the "By Postal Code" box.
  • From the Main Page on the top drop-down menu, click on "Hide and Seek a Cache" then enter an address in the "Address" box.
  • From the Main Page at the top drop-down menu, click on "HIDE & SEEK A CACHE". Then choose a state in the "By State" box.

In the geocaching app, simply hit the load/refresh button or wait a moment to let the map load with nearby caches. If you wish to search for a specific type of geocache or location other than the one immediately around you, choose the magnifying glass, and add criterion.


Use the following features (or their equivalent) on a GPS receiver and website or caching app:


Find by GC Code


Find by location


Filter locations (choose just those with a Difficulty rating of 3 or lower and Terrain of 3 or lower, for example)




Map Directions




Previous logs




Find three geocaches in your area, at least one of which must be a regular (traditional) cache.

Why only three you may ask, and I have asked this. In some parts of the world there may not yet be many about, so to find three without having to travel 100s of km would be feasible. Of course in many places in the world people find 100 in a day. Not me though the most I have done is 34 in a day.


Read and discuss Matthew 6:19-21 and Jeremiah 29:13, and determine their relevance to geocaching.

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Matthew 6:19-21 (NKJV)

Sometimes geocaches succumb to the elements. The containers can get broken, or the cache could be found by someone who doesn't know what it is, and they throw it away or destroy it. Sometimes the log in the cache is too soaked to sign. When you find one of these, it would be good to think of this verse. We can depend on our treasure in heaven!

And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.
Jeremiah 29:13 (NKJV)

It is possible to visit some caches several times before finally finding it. Sometimes the cache owner can be exceedingly clever and hide a cache in plain sight. It is possible to look right at it and not recognize it for what it is, even though it is the one thing you are searching for! But persistence pays off. When you have trouble finding a cache, think about this verse, and take comfort in knowing that when you seek the Lord, you will always be repaid.


Discuss safety concerns you should consider when geocaching. View the attributes of a nearby cache to identify caching hazards identified by cache owners.

Dangers include heights, falls, traffic, rough terrain, poisonous plants (like poison ivy or poison oak), snakes, spiders, wild animals, strangers, etc. Do not geocache alone or at night in a remote area. Wear sturdy shoes as for hiking and make sure to take plenty of water when hiking to a remote area or for any distance. Let someone know what you are doing, where you are going, and when you expect to be back. Always get permission from land owners before going on to private property.


A major edit of this was done 10 May 2020. my caching name southlandicebergs