Moleskine GPS

I like gadgets. It’s a weakness. If it has buttons, or even better
lights – then I’m hooked.

Mrk2

I’ve wanted a GPS for some time, mostly for the geek value – it’s true.
So, I began to look for ways to justify the cost, and I discovered
Geocaching. Geocaching started just a few years ago (when Bill Clinton
switched off the ‘Selective Availability’ which meant that GPS systems
had accuracy of a few hundred metres), and has since grown into a
worldwide sport. With a good GPS signal, your location on Earth can be
known to within a few metres.

In the simplest form, someone hides a geocache. Someone else finds them.
The caches could be hidden out in the  countryside, or hidden
(discretely) in a city centre. Just the other day I went into London and
found 13 caches, some in very well trafficked areas.

Caches can be more complex, in a multistage cache a series of clues need
to be solved to discover the final location – and in a mystery cache
research may be needed before you even walk out of the door!

Examples:
Simple Cache:
http://www.geocaching.com/seek/cache_details.aspx?guid=ec111914-a5a0-450c-b7bd-88a375b07839
MultiStage:
http://www.geocaching.com/seek/cache_details.aspx?guid=f6de9ea4-dacb-45aa-8e74-86ad491ecf5a
Mystery:
http://www.geocaching.com/seek/cache_details.aspx?guid=8da80cc0-249e-4ac2-8e06-eac18ad66d61

When a cache is found, the finder writes in the log to claim a visit,
replaces the cache and moves on. As caches are often (but not always)
placed in interesting spots, I’ve found that since starting to cache
I’ve discovered places locally that I never knew existed. Geocaching
provides me with a ‘purpose’ to a walk – a definite target, and it helps
to keep each walk unique.

Where do the moleskines come in? When I started I decided to keep a
personal log. In the log I record the cache name, coordinates, and any
other piece of information. This may be a hint to the location, so that
I can help anyone who gets stuck that follows, it might be a note about
the weather. When I get home I log my finds on the geocaching website.

Geocaching website:
http://www.geocaching.com/

Another feature of geocaching is the gift. Many caches contain ‘goodies’
– these are usually small items. The rule of thumb is that for
everything taken out, something else goes in. One common type of item is
the travelbug. A travelbug is a trackable item with a unique serial
number. When at a computer, the item can be logged independently and it
can be tracked in it’s travels. The number should not be revealed
online, as it is evidence that the bug has been found. Travelbugs should
be placed in a new cache within 2 weeks, and not taken unless this can
be done.

Of course, if I take anything from a cache, this is recorded in my
notes. I make special care to record the ID number on a travelbug, so
that I can put it into a new cache the same day if I wish. (The danger
here is that someone else may find it and log it before I do – this
messes up the chronology of the bug, if late in the day, I don’t worry
about this. If early in the day I attach a note to say I’ll be logging
the find by the end of (date), and for the finder not to log themselves
until after that time  )

I wanted to launch a travelbug (I now have seven out in the wilds) – and

",1] ); //-->my first travelbug? A moleskine, my own ‘wandering art project’.

I launched it by putting it in a newly placed local cache, after
preparing it well. Inside the cover are instructions about what the
travelbug is, and about it’s mission.

Mrk1

The bug itself can be tracked here:
http://www.geocaching.com/track/details.aspx?guid=de4bac1b-9083-4385-becc-4f63aff30727

The idea is that each finder makes their own piece of art in the book,
and scans it, before placing it in a new cache (hopefully well protected
from moisture!)

The future?
I’ve found 65 caches in total, and am heading for 100. I’m currently
looking into paperless caching (so there is less printing out before I
head off on a walk, I could take the gps and pda, and off I go). Even if
I do make the leap to paperless caching, my moleskine log will stay with
me to record the results of my finds.

Mark
murky.org

© 2006

Related links:
Page for Travelbug
Link for ‘Geocaching
Geocaching in the UK