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Getting Started Geocaching
Please refer to the Getting Started page for helpful tips and advice.
Geocaching is an outdoor sport or activity in which cachers use a GPS receiver to find a "treasure" hidden by other participants. Caches are secured in watertight containers, containing trinkets and/or a logbook in which they record their discovery of the cache. The coordinates of the location of the caches are stored in online databases along with descriptions and instructions necessary to find them.
What is OpenCaching?
OpenCaching is a term for geocaching that refers specifically to websites and services that offer a free and open portal for all of those who are interested in the activity, or sport, of geocaching. The goal is to provide a higher quality cache listing service in a user friendly format with features that members of the geocaching community have requested.
Geocaching is an outdoor sport or activity in which cachers use a GPS receiver to find a "treasure" hidden by other participants. OpenCaching has several websites that are specific to different countries, plus a portal site that indexes and provides links to these various country website locations.
Countries with OpenCaching websites include the United States/Canada/Mexico, Germany/Austria/Switzerland/Italy/Spain, Poland, Czech Republic, Norway/Sweden, The Netherlands and The United Kingdom. There are competing sites that list other geocaches as well, but there are often fees and/or usage restrictions associated with those sites. As the hobby continues to grow, it is likely that OpenCaching sites will be available in more countries.
The main difference between OpenCaching and traditional listing sites is that all services are open to the users at no cost. Generally, most geocaching services or websites offer some basic information for free, but users may have to pay for premium information or advanced searching capabilities. This is not the case with OpenCaching ; every geocache is listed and accessible to everyone for free.
Additionally, OpenCaching sites allow users to rate and report on existing geocaches. This allows users to see what other cachers think of the cache and it encourages participants to place higher quality caches. The rating system also greatly reduces the problem of abandoned or unsatisfactory caches still being listed after repeated negative comments or posts in the cache logs.
Anyone can register and use the various OpenCaching sites for free and there are benefits of registering. One of the main benefits is that registrants can post geocaches of their own and advertise their locations to others. Those who have placed geocaches are responsible for maintaining them and taking care of any issues that may arise. Another benefit to registering is that users are able to log all their finds in one specific location.
Despite the advantages of the OpenCaching system, participants will still need to invest at least some amount of money in the hobby. The websites may provide coordinates to geocache locations, but can do very little to actually help you find it without a handheld GPS system. Basic systems are relatively inexpensive, but additional features will raise the price. Some cell phones also work as GPS devices.
Original Source: wisegeek