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Geocaching

This is the first of me getting round to doing some geocaching even though I’ve known about it for years. I first had a go at using GPS devices when at the Adobe Education Leaders institute in San Francisco, and although a number of my fellow AEL’s are avid geocachers I’d never gotten round to having a go until now.

Partly because of my new phone’s built in GPS and also because a number of my friends have been talking about geocaching recently, I decided to try it out during our family holiday to the Trossachs. If you’ve no idea what Geocaching is, then watch this video –

I have a HTC Wildfire smartphone and downloaded an app called C:GEO, which I’d read was good for geocaching. I also signed up with geocaching.com to get access to a huge list (over 1 million) of geocache’s worldwide. Before going on holiday I used the c:geo app to access geocaching.com and searched for caches in the Trossachs area. I was able to use the app to store details of the caches so that I didn’t need to be online when searching for them (access couldn’t be guaranteed in the wilds of Scotland). With the information stored in the phone, switching to compass mode in the app brings up a compass which points you in the direction of the cache and also shows how far away it is.

My kids had great fun searching for the caches, and my family also enjoyed the walks and views along the way. My kids were particularly excited by the caches that contained swap items such as toys. My son took a parachute soldier from one cache, whilst my daughter picked up a squeezy puffer fish. In return we dropped other items into the caches for future visitors. Over the course of the week we visited five caches in the area and found four of them. It was disappointing not to find one, but it was particularly bad weather, and apparently mobile phone GPS doesn’t work too well in cloudy, wet weather compared to a specific GPS device.

Geocaching was good fun, and searching for the caches took us to places we would never normally have visited, with some great walks and viewpoints. With GPS enable phones becoming more common I am considering setting up some kind of GPS challenge to use during student induction next academic year. I may also look at creating Android apps with Google App Inventor and make some kind of custom GPS app for a localised treasure hunt or game. I also think It would be a great tool for tourism – offering waypoints for scenic tours or locations of great photography viewpoints. I’m sure these things exist already, but I think it would be great to get students involved in creating their own.

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Gillian
    April 17, 2011 at 12:22 pm

    Thought about doing this for Fife Coastal Path walk

    • Leona
      April 17, 2011 at 7:03 pm

      Hi Colin, since TMFife I have become addicted and we did the same as you last week when over on the West Coast – we saw so many beauty spots that you wouldn’t normally see.

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