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7 Souvenirs of August

Glossary of Terms

The Geocaching.com glossary is always changing. If you have suggestions for future additions, please contact us.

Archive
Archiving a cache removes the listing from public view on Geocaching.com. This action is usually taken when a cache owner does not intend to replace a cache after it has been removed. As an alternative to archiving, the cache owner can temporarily disable their cache if they plan to provide maintenance on the cache or replace the container within one month.
Attribute
These are icons on a cache detail intended to provide helpful information to geocachers who wish to find specific types of caches. These icons represent unique cache characteristics, including size, whether the cache is kid friendly, if it is available 24 hours a day, if you need special equipment and more. Attributes are also a tool to help you filter the types of caches you would like to search for when building a Pocket Query (see Pocket Query). Learn more about Attributes.
Benchmark
Using your GPS unit and/or written directions provided by NOAA's National Geodetic Survey (NGS), you can seek out NGS survey markers and other items that have been marked in the USA. See benchmark hunting for more details.
Bookmark List
A Premium Member feature that can be used to group cache listings in whatever way you like. You may want a bookmark list of caches you intend to find this weekend, or perhaps an "all-time favorite" list you can share with friends.
BYOP
Bring Your Own Pen/Pencil. An acronym often used by cache owners to communicate to other geocachers that you will need to bring your writing utensil in order to sign the cache logbook.
Bureau of Land Management (BLM)
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM), an agency within the U.S. Department of the Interior, administers millions of acres of America's public lands, located primarily in 12 Western States. The BLM sustains the health, diversity, and productivity of the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. Learn more at www.blm.gov.
Cache
A shortened version of the word geocache. (See Geocache).
Caches along a Route
A Premium Member feature that allows you to identify caches along a specific route for quick and easy geocaching. You can choose from routes already created by other geocachers or use Google Earth to build your own unique trip.
Charter Member
During the very early years of Geocaching.com when Premium Memberships were first offered, they were called Charter Memberships to thank those who supported the web site. Be sure to thank the Charter Members you meet on the trail since the site would not be here today without them.
CITO
Cache In Trash Out is an ongoing environmental initiative supported by the worldwide geocaching community. Since 2002, geocachers have been dedicated to cleaning up parks and other cache-friendly places around the world. Learn more at www.geocaching.com/cito.
Datum
A datum is something used as a basis for calculating and measuring. In the case of GPS, datums are different calculations for determining longitude and latitude for a given location.
Currently, Geocaching uses the WGS84 datum for all caches. Many maps still use NAD27, which can cause confusion if your GPS unit is set to NAD27. Always check your GPS to ensure that WGS84 is the datum before entering a cache coordinate into your unit.
DNF
Did Not Find. An acronym used by geocachers to state that they did not find a cache. This is also a type of online log on Geocaching.com and is useful for alerting cache owners of potential issues. Cache owners who repeatedly receive "Did Not Find" logs should check to see that there cache has not been removed.
D/T
Geocaches are rated in two categories, each designated on a 5-point scale. Difficulty relates to the mental challenge of finding a cache and terrain describes the physical environment. A 1/1 difficulty/terrain rating would the easiest cache to find, while a 5/5 difficulty/terrain rating would be the most difficult.
EarthCache
An EarthCache is a special place that people can visit to learn about a unique geoscience feature of our Earth. EarthCache pages include a set of educational notes along with cache coordinates. Visitors to EarthCaches can see how our planet has been shaped by geological processes, how we manage its resources and how scientists gather evidence to learn about the Earth. For more information about EarthCaches, visit http://www.earthcache.org/.
Event Cache
An Event Cache is a gathering of local geocachers or geocaching organizations to discuss geocaching. The Event Cache page specifies a time for the event and provides coordinates to its location. After the event, the cache is archived.
FTF
First to Find. An acronym written by geocachers in physical cache logbooks or online when logging cache finds to denote being the first to find a new geocache.
GC Code
A unique identifier associated with every geocache listing. The GC Code starts with the letters "GC" and is followed by other alphanumeric characters.
Geocache
A container hidden that includes, at minimum, a logbook for geocachers to sign.
Geocaching
Geocaching is a worldwide game of hiding and seeking treasure. A geocacher can place a geocache in the world, pinpoint its location using GPS technology and then share the geocache’s existence and location online. Anyone with a GPS unit can then try to locate the geocache.
Geocoin
A Geocoin works similarly to a Groundspeak Travel Bug® (see Travel Bug) in that they are trackable and can travel the world, picking up stories from geocache to geocache. Geocoins are often created as signature items by geocachers and can also be used as collectibles.
GPS
GPS stands for Global Positioning System. It is a system of satellites that work with a GPS receiver to determine your location on the planet. For more information on GPS, FAQs.
GPS Adventures Maze Exhibit
A GPS Adventures Maze Cache represents attendance at the GPS Adventures Maze Exhibit or a regional variation of this Exhibit. GPS Adventures Mazes are designed to teach people of all ages about GPS technology and geocaching through interactive science experiences.
GPSr
Slang for a GPS receiver. Equipment to receive GPS signals for use in navigation.
GPX (GPS eXchange Format)
A specific file format available when creating a Pocket Query. A Premium Member feature, the GPX file format has specific geocaching information that can be used by supporting applications.
Ground Zero (GZ)
The point where your GPS device shows that you have reached the cache location. At Ground Zero, you are zero feet (or zero meters) away from your destination.
Hitchhiker
A hitchhiker is an item that is placed in a cache, and has instructions to travel to other caches. Sometimes they have logbooks attached so you can log their travels. A Travel Bug is an example of a hitchhiker.
Latitude
Latitude and longitude create a waypoint. Latitude is the angular distance north or south from the earth's equator measured through 90 degrees. Think of latitude as rungs on a ladder.
Letterbox(ing)
Letterboxing is another form of treasure hunting using clues instead of coordinates. In some cases, the letterbox owner has made their container both a letterbox and a geocache and posted its coordinates on Geocaching.com. If there is a stamp inside a Letterbox Hybrid, it is not an item intended for trade; the stamp is meant to remain in the box so that visitors can use it to record their visit. To read more about letterboxing, visit the Letterboxing North America web site.
LOC
The original download format for the search results page on Geocaching.com.
Locationless (Reverse) Cache
A Locationless Cache could be considered the opposite of a Traditional Cache. Instead of finding a hidden container, you locate a specific object and log its coordinates.
Locationless Caches have evolved into Waymarking.
Lock & Lock
Lock & Lock (also seen as Lock 'n Lock or Locknlock) is a type of container that uses four snaps on the lid to create a seal. While used colloquially by geocachers, "Lock & Lock" is actually a specific brand of this kind of container.
Longitude
Latitude and longitude create a waypoint. Longitude is the angular distance measured on a great circle of reference from the intersection of the adopted zero meridian with this reference circle to the similar intersection of the meridian passing through the object. Think of the long lines running north and south.
Markwelled
When a response to a new post in the forums points you to a similar topic in the past. Based on the user Markwell.
Mega-Event Cache
A Mega-Event cache is an Event Cache that is attended by 500+ people. Mega-Events offer geocachers a day of planned activities. There are often several days of additional activities surrounding a Mega-Event. These large events attract geocachers from all over the world and are often held annually.
Muggle
A non-geocacher. Based on "Muggle" from the Harry Potter series, which is a non-magical person. Usually this term is used after a non geocacher looks puzzled after befriending a geocacher searching for a cache, or when a non-geocacher accidentally finds a cache. Geomuggles are mostly harmless.
Multi-Cache (offset Cache)
A Multi-Cache ("multiple") involves two or more locations. The final location is a physical container. There are many variations, but most Multi-Caches have a hint to find the second cache, and the second cache has a hint to the third, and so on. An offset cache (where you go to a location and get hints to the actual cache) is considered a Multi-Cache.
Mystery or Puzzle Caches
The "catch-all" of cache types, this form of geocache may involve complicated puzzles that you will first need to solve to determine the coordinates. Mystery/Puzzle Caches often become the staging ground for new and unique geocaches that do not fit in another category.
NAD27
Stands for North American Datum 1927. The precursor to WGS84. Many maps still use the NAD27 datum , so always check before using a GPS unit with a map.
Pocket Query (PQ)
A Premium Member feature, a Pocket Query is a custom geocache search that you can create and download on a daily or weekly basis. Pocket Queries give you the ability to filter your searches so you only receive information on the caches you want to search for in either a GPX or LOC format. This feature lets you download up to 1000 caches at one time.
Project A.P.E. Cache
In 2001, fourteen geocaches were placed in conjunction with 20th Century Fox to support the movie Planet of the Apes. Each cache represented a fictional story in which scientists revealed an Alternative Primate Evolution. These caches were made using specially marked ammo containers. Each cache had an original prop from the movie. Only a few Project A.P.E. caches exist today.
Reviewer
Volunteers from all over the world who publish the cache listings on geocaching.com.
ROT13
Hints for geocaches are encrypted using a simple format where each of the letters are rotated 13 characters up or down in the alphabet.

Decryption Key

A|B|C|D|E|F|G|H|I|J|K|L|M
-------------------------
N|O|P|Q|R|S|T|U|V|W|X|Y|Z

(letter above equals below, and vice versa)

Signature Item
An item unique to a specific geocacher that is left behind in caches to signify that they visited that cache. These often include personal geocoins, tokens, pins, craft items or calling cards.
Spoiler
A spoiler is information that can give details away and ruin the experience of something. For example, telling someone the end of a movie before they see it. In geocaching, a spoiler gives away details of a cache location and can ruin the experience of the find.
SWAG
An acronym often referred to as standing for 'Stuff We All Get." It includes the trade items left in caches by geocachers.
TFTC
Thanks For The Cache. An acronym written by geocachers in physical cache logbooks or online when logging cache finds.
TFTH
Thanks For The Hide
TNLN
Took Nothing. Left Nothing. Usually written in cache logbooks by geocachers who do not trade for material contents in a cache.
TNLNSL / TNSL
Took Nothing. Left Nothing. Signed Logbook / Took Nothing. Signed Logbook.
TOTT
Tools of the Trade. An acronym used for any of the tools that might be used to search for/retrieve/find/log a geocache.
Traditional Cache
This is the original geocache type consisting of, at minimum, a container and a log book or logsheet. Larger containers generally include items for trade. “Nano” or “micro” caches are tiny containers that only hold a logsheet. The coordinates listed on the traditional cache page provide the geocache’s exact location.
Travel Bug®
A Groundspeak Travel Bug is a trackable tag that you attach to an item. This allows you to track your item on Geocaching.com. The item becomes a hitchhiker that is carried from cache to cache (or person to person) in the real world and you can follow its progress online. Learn more at http://www.geocaching.com/track/travelbugfaq.aspx.
USDA Forest Service (USFS)
The U.S. Forest Service, an agency within the Department of Agriculture, administers 191 million acres (77.3 million hectares) of National Forests, Grasslands, and Prairies. These public lands are generally geocaching-friendly, with exceptions of designated Wilderness Areas, and other specially designated botanical, wildlife, and archaeological sites. The phrase "Caring for the land and serving people" captures the Forest Service mission of achieving quality land management under the sustainable multiple-use concept to meet the diverse needs of people. The Information Center in the agency's national headquarters has been a Washington D.C. Virtual Geocache since August 12, 2001.
UTM
"Universal Transverse Mercator" coordinate system. This is an alternative to the standard WGS84.UTM uses grids overlaying specific areas of the Earth’s surface and divides the Earth into 60 zones.
Virtual (cache)
A Virtual Cache is about discovering a location rather than a container. The requirements for logging a Virtual Cache vary—you may be required to answer a question about the location, take a picture, complete a task, etc. In any case, you must visit the coordinates before you can post your log.
Although many locations are interesting, a Virtual Cache should be out of the ordinary enough to warrant logging a visit.
Virtuals are now considered waymarks on Waymarking.com.
WAAS
WAAS stands for Wide Area Augmentation System, but that doesn't really describe what it is. Garmin has an excellent description on WAAS.
Watch List
A watchlist is a list of users that are watching a specific Travel Bug or cache. Each user receives a copy of each posted log via email.
Waypoint
A waypoint is a reference point for a physical location on Earth. Waypoints are defined by a set of coordinates that typically include longitude, latitude and sometimes altitude.
Every geocache listed on our website is a waypoint. Geocaching.com generates a unique "GC Code" associated with every geocache listing.
Webcam Cache
These are caches that use existing web cameras placed by individuals or agencies that monitor various areas like parks or business complexes. The idea is to get yourself in front of the camera to log your visit. The challenging part is that you need to call a friend to look up the web site that displays the camera shot. You will need to have them to save the picture in order to log the cache. If you’re a tech-head you could save the image yourself by using a wireless modem and a laptop.
Webcam caches are now in the Web Camera category on Waymarking.com.
WGS84
The most current geodetic datum used for GPS is the World Geodetic System of 1984 (WGS84). The significance of WGS84 comes about because GPS receivers rely on WGS84.
Geocaching uses the WGS84 datum by default. We also use the format HDDD MM.MM, which is a standard for GPS receivers (like the eTrex).
HDD means Hemisphere and degrees. MM.MM are minutes in decimal format. If you have any questions, you can either visit the forums or contact us directly.
It is critical that the format be correct, otherwise geocachers will be unable to find your cache!
Wherigo™ Cache
Wherigo is a toolset for creating and playing GPS-enabled adventures in the real world. By integrating a Wherigo experience, called a cartridge, with finding a cache, the geocaching hunt can be an even richer experience. Among other uses, Wherigo allows geocachers to interact with physical and virtual elements such as objects or characters while still finding a physical geocache container. A Wherigo-enabled GPS device is required to play a cartridge. Learn more at Wherigo.com.

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