Editorials and Reviews

Do you have a review or editorial for a product, cache, location, or even a geocacher?  Send your review or editorial to the Ammocan for it to be posted to the website.  Will reserve the right to refuse to post any articles or statements that are the defamation of character, rude or negative, contain explicit or sexual content, and in general is not family friendly. 

You might be a Geocacher

posted Jan 24, 2012, 7:22 PM by Greg Jewett   [ updated Jan 24, 2012, 8:01 PM ]

The local Central Texas Geocachers put together an impromptu list of funny (and very true) things that would indicate you are a Geocacher
  • When you can call out the brand of the GPSes appearing in a TV show. [Tygress]
  • You carry more swag in your hiking bag than water.  [Bicycle_Junkie]
  • Your muggle friends on Facebook are posting pictures of various outdoorsy places they have just been and all you can think is where the cache would be in the photo and they don't even know it. [ZionZR2]
  • You buy stuff you don't use because the container will make a cool cache! [Esther/BGTx]
  • You rate the cache worthiness of every container see. [Jay - BingOGT]
  • You know you've been caching when you wash your hands BEFORE you use the bathroom! [Esther/BGTx]
  • When you open your favorite caching app on your phone—out of habit—and just stare at the screen for a while before remembering you were about to call someone.  (Much like opening the fridge for no reason and standing there for a minute before finally closing it.) [Matt / Kemis]
  • When you think of funny names for a cache while driving, then spend the rest of your drive trying your best to actually find a place that would match the crazy name.  (I haven’t found many that actually match my funny name yet.) [Matt / Kemis]
  • When you buy erasers shaped like cupcakes, hamburgers, skulls, and hands making the sign for "I love you" and you don't even have children! [Holly/earthenborn]
  • When you're a white woman sitting in your car in the parking lot of an African American church on Wednesday evening when the service lets out, and you're still trying to convince yourself that it's not too conspicuous to get out and walk around in that cemetery (GC1PHX9).  [Holly/earthenborn]
  • When you get an ammo can filled with trinkets, a golf pencil, and a mini notebook qualify as a GREAT gift from your family!!! [Esther/BGTx]
  • You see someone pulled over to the side of the road and wonder what they're doing, because there isn't a cache there. [Russ the Waterweasel]
  • OR you wonder if they're there on the side of the road PLACING a new cache that you can be FTF on! [Mrs. Captain Picard]
  • You see someone walking out of a field and know that they are geocaching because there is a cache there. [Jay - BingOGT]
  • When you know all the local noxious weeds on sight, but couldn't name your grandma's prize hydrangea without a field guide. [Tygress]
  • People ask you why you have leaves in your hair, after coming back from a lunch break. [ckpetrus]

So what is this GeoCaching thing that you're doing?

posted Jan 14, 2012, 12:39 PM by Geocaching Austin Group Admin   [ updated Jan 21, 2012, 8:59 AM by Greg Jewett ]

Many have posted the following question to me, ..."So what is this GeoCaching thing that you're doing?"
There are actually people that have never heard of this hobby...

Back in the 1950's, when the Soviet Union launched Sputnik, scientists found that the satellite could be pretty easily tracked by beaming a signal from the ground up to the satellite and bouncing the signal back to earth. As the signal was returned, the position was pretty easy to figure out.

As time went on, more and more satellites were launched which as it turned out could paint a pretty clear picture of the earth to help follow ships as they navigated the globe. This also was a pretty key move for planning battle locations. With this network of satellites around the globe, it became pretty easy to tell where things were located.

Throughout the next two decades however, the application was fairly well used for military strategy only.

In 1983, then President Ronald Reagan declassified GPS technology and it became available for public use as a result of a number of tragic events including the shooting down of a passenger airliner. Although the technology was made available to the public, it was still new and was sketchy at best. For a short time in the mid 80's, GPS was once again limited to military applications due to the Gulf War, but shortly after was once again allowed for public usage.

Over the years, more and more satellites have been launched further refining the ability of the system. The technology has improved and GPS units have gotten better and better at narrowing down the locations. What was once a general location of several hundred yards has been brought down to feet.

Finally, on May 2, 2000, the decision had been made to completely deregulate GPS technology and make it completely available for everyone. At midnight, the 24 satellites managing the program all processed their new codes and immediately, millions of GPS units were updated and able to pinpoint the position by an improvement level 10 times more accurate. For the scant few public GPS enthusiasts, this was a completely new era!

One enthusiast named Dave Ulmer decided he wanted to test this new accuracy, so he decided that he would hide a navigational target in the woods and note the coordinates on his GPS unit. He then went to a newsgroup and posted his idea which he called the "Great American GPS Stash Hunt". He posted the coordinates in the newsgroup. The idea was simple. The finder would have to locate the hidden container With only the use of their GPS unit. The rule was simple...take some stuff...leave some stuff. Within 3 days, 2 others shared on the newsgroup their excitement over looking for and finding the stashed container.

Soon, as the word spread, more and more people from the newsgroup got excited about hiding their own stashes and it all began. People began sharing their experiences with each other and logging their finds on the newsgroups.

Within a month, the first person to find Ulmers stash began compiling a listing of the people involved and began displaying the information on his own website. Throughout the conversations, several variations of the name were incorporated and the term "geocaching" was born. At this stage of the game, most of the people involved with this new hobby were somewhat versed in the use of GPS technology from previous activities such as hiking. The hobby was not really geared towards the everyday brand new GPS user.

One individual in the collective group was a web designer out of Seattle. He thought to develop a database to refine the way that the stashes...now commonly referred to as "Caches"...were entered and logged. Through dedication and hard work, the growing list of data was compiled and entered into a website built by these hobbyists and in September of 2000, the announcement was made and the website was launched as http://geocaching.com. At the time, there were 75 caches hidden around the world.

Once the site was launched, magazine started reporting on the activity, and more people were being exposed to geocaching. People from all over began to wonder if they hid things, would others come to find them? A mantra of "If You Hide It, They will come began circulating. The growth of geocaching has steadily risen over the years. The database of known hidden caches covers millions of caches from all over the world.

Geocachers can take several approaches. There are basic caches where you can simply pull the data from the http://geocaching.com website and drive your car to the coordinates, get out, look for a few minutes to find the nano cache with an earth magnet attaching it to a guard rail in the mall parking lot...or you can go on elaborate puzzle cache hunts where the cache gives a clue to the mystery. The clues are spread over a series of caches and the mystery is revealed at the conclusion of the last cache find.

There are outings where friends and family can get together on a mountaintop for a cookout and day of group caching together. Geocachers from all walks of life band together and share their stories in blogs like this, various websites and online stores.

You never know what you will find in a cache. Occasionally, if you are the First To Find (FTF) a cache, you might be surprised with the newest lottery ticket, or movie passes. You might find a really cool geocoin commemorating a special moment in history. You might find a travel bug with an active code that originated in Germany and has made it's way to the cache you have just discovered in Colorado with hundreds of stops along the way. You may find a toy for your son, or a bracelet for your daughter. On one of our first caches, my lovely wife found a wooden beaded necklace for herself.  Remember though... take some stuff... leave some stuff.  My wife left a wooden rosary bracelet in trade.

The things that are put into caches are too varied and too creative to mention...but it is always wishful that when a cache is found, it has nice swag. It is hopeful that it is well maintained and there is always a logbook for you to sign saying "I found it...TFTC (Thanks For The Cache)...

Central Texas Geocaching Site goes online!

posted Jan 13, 2012, 8:35 AM by Geocaching Austin Group Admin   [ updated Jan 27, 2012, 11:43 AM by Greg Jewett ]

I am bringing the Central Texas Geocaching Website online!

I need some content! 

Stories, news, links, pictures, statistics, ideas, milestones, cool caches, spoilers, cache hide announcements, video links to youtube, puzzle help, anything that is geocaching related!

I am working with SoaringEagle and we will be hosting the 2012 Geocaching Awards on the site! (Stay tuned!)

I am going to be the initial moderator and content publisher, see below if you want to help!

  • There is NO work on your end -- other than send me content, seriously!
  • If you have artwork to submit, let me know, else, if you have an idea of artwork, just don't have it, or want me to find something let me know.
  • If you have text, but it is not formatted - no big deal.  Just send it to me, even if it is a forward, of a reply, or a forward, etc..
  • If you have any article idea, but don't have time to write it, but can verbally speak it, let me know.
  • PLEASE DO NOT SUBMIT copyrighted information, unless you have a release, if you don't, let me know, and I will see if I can get one.
  • We can in most cases regurgitate news posts, aggregate new feeds, etc., and I will work on the permissions and contact information to get this taken care of.

I want to make this easy for everyone, so that content freely flows in!

You can email me or call me and coordinate with me:
The site will blossom, so long as I have stuff to feed it! :)

If you want to help with all, some, or just a section, please let me know.  I will give you an account and you can dig right in.
Don't worry - I will show you the ropes.   EVERYTHING IS WEB BASED, does not matter if you use a Mac, PC, Unix, or a typerwriter (j/k).

Thank you SoaringEagle and MDA_TAZ for the initial help!

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