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Glossary of Terms

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

ALR
"Additional Logging Requirement". Logging requirements beyond finding the geocache and signing the log. All ALRs must be optional for finders of a geocache.
Ammo Can
Ammunition boxes or ammo cans are containers originally designed for safe transport and storage of ammunition. Ammo cans are popular containers for regular or large geocaches.
APE Cache or 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 geocache represented a fictional story in which scientists revealed an Alternative Primate Evolution. These geocaches were made using specially marked ammo cans and contained an original prop from the movie. Only one Project A.P.E. cache still exists today.
Archive
Archiving permanently removes a geocache listing from search results. A geocache owner can archive their own listing. A geocache owner cannot unarchive it. As an alternative to archiving, the geocache can be temporarily disabled if maintenance is going to be performed or the container will be replaced in the near future.
Attributes
Icons featured on a details page for geocaches that describe specific characteristics of a geocache. There are several classes of attributes, such as whether or not you need special equipment, possible hazards along the way, or unique conditions one should be aware of. Attributes can show whether or not a cache is wheelchair accessible, dog friendly, requires a flashlight, and more. Attributes are also a tool to help you filter the types of geocaches you would like to search for when building a Pocket Query. More about Attributes here.
Basic Member
The introductory membership type for Geocaching.com. There are two types of membership, Basic and Premium. Geocaching Premium Membership offers additional features that Basic membership does not provide.
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 United States. Check out our page about Benchmark Hunting for more details.
Bison
Also known as a "Bison tube". A small, metal, water-tight cylindrical container that can be used for micro caches. Its name comes from the original manufacturer, but there are now several other brands on the market.
Bookmark List
A Geocaching Premium Membership feature that can be used to group geocache 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 to share with friends.
Bug
Also known as a Travel Bug®. A trackable tag with a unique code that can be attached to an item. The trackable is then carried from cache to cache (or person to person) in the real world, and its progress can be followed on Geocaching.com. More about Travel Bugs and trackables.
BYOP
"Bring Your Own Pen/Pencil". An acronym often used by geocache owners to communicate to other geocachers that you will need to bring your writing utensil in order to sign the cache logbook.
Cache
A shortened version of the word geocache.
Caches Along a Route
A Geocaching Premium Membership feature that allows you to identify geocaches along a specific route for convenient geocaching.
Cacher
Also known as Geocacher. One who participates in geocaching.
Challenge Cache
A type of geocache that requires geocachers meet a geocaching-related qualification or series of tasks before the Challenge Cache can be logged online. Waymarking, Benchmark Hunting, and Wherigo-related qualifications or series of tasks also qualify.
Charter Member
Geocachers who bought a Geocaching Premium Membership the first year it was offered and every year since. Please thank any 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.
Collectible
A status assigned to any trackable item that people can keep it in their possession, and do not have to physically move it to another geocache. Conversely, non-collectible trackable items can be easily grabbed, dropped, discovered, etc. More about trackables here.
Collection
A grouping or list of collectible trackable items that can be seen only by the owner. Trackables in a collection can only be discovered, and cannot be grabbed, dropped or dipped. Conversely, items in an Inventory can be seen by other geocachers and can be grabbed, dropped, discovered, etc. More about trackables here.
Coordinates
A pair of numbers (latitude and longitude) that pinpoint an exact position, or waypoint, on the Earth. Latitudes are horizontal lines on the globe that run parallel to the Equator (similar to rungs on a ladder). Latitudes never intersect, and one degree of latitude equals approximately 69 miles (111 kilometers). Longitudes (also called meridians) are vertical lines on the globe that converge at the North and South Poles. They are widest apart from each other at the Equator. The Prime Meridian runs through Greenwich, England near zero degrees longitude.
Creed, The
Also known as the "Geocachers' Creed". Designed to help orient new players to the ethos of the geocaching community and to guide experienced players in questionable situations, so that everyone can enjoy geocaching.
Datum
In the case of GPS, datums are different calculations for determining longitude and latitude for a given location. A datum is chosen to give the best fit given the true shape of the Earth. Currently, Geocaching.com uses the WGS84 datum for all caches.
Difficulty and Terrain or D/T
Geocaches are rated in two categories, each designated on a 5-point scale (in half-point increments). Difficulty relates to the mental challenge of finding a geocache, while Terrain describes the physical environment. Therefore, a D1/T1 rating would be the easiest geocache to find, while a D5/T5 difficulty/terrain rating would be the most difficult. Our Geocache Rating System can be used to help set the rating for your geocache.
Dipping
The act of logging a trackable into a geocache, and immediately logging it back into one's possession. This registers miles traveled on a trackable. You can also achieve the same goal with a "Visit" log. More about Travel Bugs and trackables.
Disable
A status used to mark a geocache as temporarily inactive. A disabled geocache may need repairs or could be in an inaccessible area (construction, hunting, winter closures, etc...). This status is meant to be temporary and should be resolved within a reasonable amount of time.
DNF
"Did Not Find". An acronym used by geocachers to state that they did not find a cache.
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 geological processes have shaped our planet, how we manage its resources and how scientists gather evidence to learn about the Earth. Learn more at www.earthcache.org.
Event Cache
An Event Cache is a gathering of geocachers or geocaching organizations. The Event Cache page specifies a time for the event and provides coordinates to its location. Attending and logging an Event Cache increases your find count. See the full list of Geocache Types.
Find Count
The number of geocaches a player has found.
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, such as GCK25B.
Geocache
A hidden container that usually includes a logbook for geocachers to sign. Also known as a cache. However, there are currently over a dozen geocache types, each type being a different variation of the game. See the full list of Geocache Types.
Geocacher
One who participates in geocaching.
Geocaching
A real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices. Participants navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache hidden at that location.
Geocaching HQ
World headquarters of Geocaching.com, Waymarking.com, Wherigo.com, and Groundspeak. Located in Seattle, Washington, USA.
Geocoin
Geocoins work similarly to Travel Bugs®. They are coins with a unique code that can be attached to an item. The geocoin is then carried from cache to cache (or person to person) in the real world, and its progress can be followed on Geocaching.com. Geocoins are often created as signature items by geocachers and can also be used as collectibles. More about Travel Bugs and trackables.
Giga-Event
An Event Cache that is attended by 5,000+ people. These large events attract geocachers from all over the world and are often held annually. Note: A Mega-Event cache is attended by 500+ people.
GPS
"Global Positioning System". A system of satellites working with a GPS receiver to determine a person’s location on Earth. More about geocaching with a GPS.
GPS Adventures Maze Exhibit
The GPS Adventures Maze is a traveling educational exhibit developed to teach people of all ages about navigation, GPS technology and geocaching. A hands-on experience that features GPS technology (its history, current uses and future possibilities), it simulates geocaching by leading visitors through a 2,500 square foot maze rich with interactive science experiences. While the GPS Adventures Maze has ended its run in the United States, geocachers wishing to experience this exhibit will still have the opportunity to do so in Canada and at Mega-Events throughout Europe.
GPSr
Slang for a GPS receiver. Equipment to receive GPS signals for use in navigation.
GPX (GPS eXchange Format)
A common GPS data format used to describe waypoints, tracks, and routes that can be interchanged between GPS devices and software.
Ground Zero (GZ)
The point where your GPS device shows that you have reached the geocache location. At ground zero, you are zero feet (or zero meters) away from your destination.
Groundspeak
Groundspeak, Inc. is the company that owns and operates Geocaching.com, Waymarking.com, and Wherigo.com. Groundspeak was launched in 2000 by Jeremy Irish, Elias Alvord, and Bryan Roth. The Groundspeak headquarters is located in Seattle, Washington, USA, and is referred to as Geocaching HQ.
Inventory
A grouping or list of non-collectible trackable items that can be seen by other geocachers. Trackables in an inventory can be grabbed, dropped, discovered, etc. Conversely, items in a collection can only be seen by the owner and can only be discovered (not grabbed, dropped or dipped). More about trackables.
Latitude
Latitudes are horizontal lines on the globe that run parallel to the Equator. Latitudes never intersect, and one degree of latitude equals approximately 69 miles (111 kilometers). The Equator is at 0 degrees Latitude and divides the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. 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 visitors can use it to record their visit. More about Letterboxing.
LN
"Left Nothing". A common term used when a geocacher leaves nothing in the geocache and simply signs the logbook.
LOC
The original download format for the search results page on Geocaching.com.
Locationless (Reverse) Cache
A grandfathered cache type considered the opposite of a Traditional Cache. Instead of finding a hidden container, geocachers locate a specific object and log its coordinates. Locationless Caches are no longer supported on Geocaching.com, but 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.
Log
The physical record of everyone who has signed/interacted with a geocache.
Also, The online record of everyone who has interacted with a geocache.
Also, the online record of anyone who has interacted with a trackable.
Also, the physical logbook inside a cache is often referred to as a log.
Also, the act of recording a find, as in, “I am going to log this cache”.
Additionally, online cache logs can record finds, DNFs, notes, suggest a cache needs maintenance, etc.
Logbook
A physical record of everyone who has found a geocache. Usually made of paper, logbooks come in many different sizes, shapes, and formats.
Longitude
Longitudes (also called meridians) are vertical lines on the globe that converge at the North and South Poles. They are widest apart from each other at the Equator. The Prime Meridian runs through Greenwich, England near zero degrees longitude.
LPC
"Lamp Post Cache". A common type of geocache hidden under an unsecured lamp post base.
Mega-Event Cache
An Event Cache that is attended by 500+ people. These large events attract geocachers from all over the world and are often held annually. Note: A Giga-Event cache is attended by 5,000+ people.
Micro
The smallest geocache size. Micros are about the size of a film canister, and sometimes smaller. Nanos (about the size of a pencil eraser) are a subset of Micros.
Muggle
A non geocacher. Based on "Muggle" from the Harry Potter series, which is a non-magical person.
Muggled
The discovery of a geocache by a non geocacher. When a cache has been "muggled", it usually means it was dismantled or removed by an unsuspecting non-player.
Multi-Cache
A Multi-Cache involves two or more locations. The final location is a physical container. There are many variations, but most Multi-Caches have a first stage with a hint to find the second stage, and the second stage has a hint to the third, and so on. See the full list of Geocache Types.
Mystery Cache
A non-Traditional Cache type that doesn't fit into the other categories. Coordinates listed on the cache page are often bogus, and the final coordinates must be solved for through a series of steps or instructions. Also known as a Puzzle Cache. See the full list of Geocache Types.
Nano
The tiniest of all Micros—the smallest unofficial geocache size. Nanos are about the size of a pencil eraser.
Non-collectible
A status assigned to any trackable item that can be easily grabbed, dropped, discovered, etc. Conversely, collectible trackables are items that people can keep it in their possession, and do not have to physically move it to another geocache. More about trackables here.
Pocket Query (PQ)
A Geocaching Premium Membership feature, a Pocket Query is a custom geocache search that you can create and download on a daily or weekly basis. PQs give you the ability to filter your searches so you only receive information on the geocaches you want to search for in either a GPX or LOC format. This feature lets you download up to 1,000 caches at a time.
Power Trail
A path with a large number of caches placed within close proximity to each other. Promotes players' ability to easily increase their find count.
Preform
A plastic container similar in appearance to a test tube, but with a threaded neck. Normally formed into containers such as soda bottles by securing them into a mold then injecting them with compressed air. Preforms are durable and water tight, which makes them excellent geocache containers.
Premium Member
Geocaching.com members with a paid Geocaching Premium Membership. Premium members have more features available to them than Basic members.
Puzzle Cache
A type of Mystery Cache involving puzzles to be solved to determine the final coordinates. The puzzle should be solvable from the information provided on the cache page. See the full list of Geocache Types.
Reviewer
Community volunteers from all over the world who review geocaching listings for content and publish cache listings on Geocaching.com. Published geocaches must adhere to Geocache Listing Requirements / Guidelines.
ROT13
A simple letter substitution cipher, or code, where each of the letters are rotated 13 characters up or down in the alphabet. Hints for geocaches are encrypted using ROT13.

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)

Signal
Signal the Frog is the official mascot of Geocaching.com.
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.
SL
"Signed Log".
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 geocache location and can ruin the experience of the find.
STF
"Second To Find". The second person to find a geocache after it has been placed.
SWAG
"Stuff We All Get." Trade items left in caches by geocachers.
TB
"Travel Bug®". A tag with a unique code that can be attached to an item. The trackable is then carried from cache to cache (or person to person) in the real world, and its progress can be followed on Geocaching.com. Also known as Trackables and GeoCoins. More about Travel Bugs and trackables.
TB Hotel
"Travel Bug Hotel". A geocache with the intended purpose of acting as an exchange point for Travel Bugs. These are almost always regular or large sized containers. More about Travel Bugs and trackables.
TFTC
"Thanks For The Cache". An acronym written by geocachers in logbooks or online when logging cache finds. Occasionally written as T4TC. Side note: Please take time to write at least a few sentences when you log your find online. This how you say "thank you" to the cache owner for creating and placing the geocache.
TFTH
"Thanks For The Hide". Occasionally written as T4TH.
TNLN
"Took Nothing. Left Nothing". Usually written in geocache 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.
Trackable
A tag with a unique code that can be attached to an item. The trackable is then carried from cache to cache (or person to person) in the real world, and its progress can be followed on Geocaching.com. Also known as Travel Bugs, TBs, and GeoCoins. More about Travel Bugs and trackables.
Tracking Number
A unique number associated with a Travel Bug or trackable. Tracking numbers are used as proof that a geocacher physically came in contact with an item. Tracking numbers also double as a way for users to locate the personal web page for a Travel Bug. More about Travel Bugs and trackables.
Traditional Cache
The original geocache type. The coordinates listed on the Traditional Cache page provide its location. Geocache containers vary in size, but must include a logbook or logsheet. Large geocaches generally include SWAG or trackable items for trade, while small “micro” caches may only hold a logsheet. See the full list of Geocache Types.
Travel Bug®
A trackable tag with a unique code that can be attached to an item. The trackable is then carried from cache to cache (or person to person) in the real world, and its progress can be followed on Geocaching.com. More about Travel Bugs and trackables.
Virtual (cache)
A grandfathered geocache type where geocachers discover locations rather than containers. 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. These are still available to find, but no longer available for creation on Geocaching.com. See the full list of Geocache Types.
Watchlist
Lists that users maintain to receive notifications regarding specific geocaches and/or trackables. Users receive a copy of each posted log via email.
Waymarking
Waymarking.com offers a way to mark unique locations on the planet and give them a voice. While GPS technology allows us to pinpoint any location on the planet, mark the location, and share it with others, Waymarking is the toolset for categorizing and adding unique information for that location.
Waypoint
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
A grandfathered geocache type using existing web cameras placed by individuals or agencies that monitor various areas such as parks or business complexes. The idea is to get yourself in front of the camera to log your visit, then use a smartphone or ask a friend on a computer to look up the website displaying the camera shot. You or your friend must save the picture in order to log the cache. These are still available to find, but no longer available for creation on Geocaching.com. New Webcam caches are now in the Web Camera category on Waymarking.com. See the full list of Geocache Types.
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 coordinate format HDDD MM.MMM, which is a standard for handheld GPS receivers. HDDD means Hemisphere and degrees. MM.MMM are minutes in decimal format. It is critical that the format be correct, otherwise geocachers will be unable to find your geocache.
Wherigo™ Cache
Wherigo.com 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 or a smartphone running the Wherigo app is required to play a cartridge.

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