Texas Counties Challenge Resources

posted Feb 3, 2015, 6:39 AM by Greg Jewett   [ updated Mar 1, 2017, 9:55 AM ]

So I am put together the pieces for completing the Texas Counties Challenge (254 counties).  I thought I would share what I found.

Here are a list of image files that I found that found thus far that I am currently using:

(Click to view larger version)

(PDF Version)

Map and Positional Data Files

Google Earth layers just provides the boundaries. If you want the names then you'd have to find a KML source with that information.

Interactive Mapping websites (last checked 2015-02-03)

Resources that I am looking for:

  • Point of Interest that Geocaching and Muggle families and groups of friends can travel to — helping break up the monotony and worn out butts from all the traveling.
  • Map image files (large) that show detail of roads and counties together that allows for effective route planning.
  • Maps GPX and other positional data files that help making planning easier.
  • A website, list, or bookmarks listings of counties and caches that are good pairing for getting that county!
  • Apps for phones (any device) that make routing and finding points of interest easier!
If you have anything that you would like to contribute, please send to

Write a Log to Remember

posted Oct 28, 2013, 9:01 AM by Greg Jewett

This article is from the weekly newsletter (8/10/2012)

Some logs posted on offer only a snapshot into the geocaching adventure, but great logs produce a panoramic view of the geocaching quest. Great logs inform other geocachers of what they might expect on their caching adventure. They also reward cache owners, who enjoy reading about the experiences of those seeking their caches.

Share your experience beyond a TFTC (Thanks for the Cache) or TNLN (Took Nothing Left Nothing) log by following these 5 tips:
  1. See it and Say it - Describe what you saw and experienced on your way to the cache. Did you see a rare bird, a hidden waterfall, or George Clooney? Tell folks about it.
  2. Be a Superhero - If there are new conditions in the area, like a fallen tree, warn other cachers.
  3. Talk about Trades - Tell people what is in the cache container along with what you took and what you left.
  4. Shout Out for the Cache Owner - Thank the cache owner for placing the cache.
  5. Learn from Others - As part of the Lost and Found promotion in 2010, we asked people to nominate great geocaching logs. Read the nominations here.
Cache owners can reward those who write great logs by sending them a thank you email through their profile.

Are you ready to go geocaching now? Visit to find your next cache, and put your new log writing tips to use!

Advice to Geocache Hiders from Law Enforcement

posted Sep 11, 2013, 7:16 PM by Greg Jewett   [ updated Sep 11, 2013, 7:19 PM ]

Use a well marked. clear container whenever possible

Use a well marked container
The following article is being reposted with permission from Groundspeak from their monthly newsletter (edited).

Here are two words geocachers crave hearing when their geocache is published, “Found it.” And then there are two words all geocachers would prefer never to hear when talking about a geocache hide, “suspicious device.”

In an age of increased concern, geocachers must be increasingly diligent to follow the rules while hiding a geocache. Make sure to read and follow the Geocaching Listing Requirements/Guidelines. Also make sure to use common sense, and always keep in mind how your geocache container or the location of your container may be perceived by people who are not familiar with the game.

We asked law enforcement professionals and a bomb disposal tech with the U.S. Army to offer advice to geocachers. It’s easy to ensure your logs say “Found it” and your geocache hide never alarms authorities.

Here’s their advice.

Question: What are the do’s for geocachers when hiding containers?

Sgt. Kent Byrd answers this question. Sgt. Byrd has been featured in Geocaching videos, and is a Explosive Ordinance Disposal expert with the U.S. Army currently deployed to South Korea. He’s an avid geocacher with the username, JrBYRDMAN162.

Get permission: Sgt. Byrd says, “If you hide the container near a public building, make sure that you obtain permission from the business /property owner.”

Take pictures: “Also, try to give pictures of the geocache to the business/property owner. That way if the geocache gets called in, the owner has the option and ability to present those pictures to the personnel investigating/dealing with the geocache.”

Mark it clearly: The “Official Geocache” stickers are a huge help. Also, if the size of the geocache allows, write your phone number on the geocache itself in large numbers. This will give a law enforcement another option to deal with the geocache.

Be PROACTIVE: Talk to your local law enforcement entities. Offer to do a short workshop on geocaching. Get them involved. All it takes is getting one Bomb Disposal Technician involved in the game and they will start to solve the problem in your area for you, because of their personal love for the game.

Question: What’s your one piece of advice for geocachers?

Karin Fechner with the Austrian Polizei answers this question. Her unit, like many police departments, utilizes a complimentary Premium Membership to help them identify geocaches.

Karen says, “Always carry an id-card, passport or other document to be able to show it in case of a control. Show the navigation item or mobile-app you use in case of a control. We already had cases, when suspects claimed being geocachers but actually weren´t.  So it is always a good advice to show your equipment to the officer in case of a control. There are still a lot of law enforcement-officers who don´t know geocaching – of course there are also a lot of geocaching police-officers – but be prepared to explain what geocaching means and what you are actually looking for.”
Question: What shouldn’t geocachers do?

Josh Nelson answers this question. He’s with the Department of Natural Resources at Wasatch Mountain State Park in Utah.

Josh says, “If you are geocaching in a State Park (Specifically speaking for Utah, but with my experience it’s universal) and are confronted by a park employee or law enforcement, don’t try to give some story of “I saw a cool bug” or the likes. These stories are great for other muggles, but just make you look suspicious to Rangers. Just tell them you are Geocaching, often they know the program and may even enjoy hanging out with you until you make the find.”

Question: What are the don’ts when hiding a geocache container?

According to Sgt. Byrd, “DO NOT put caution words on the outside of containers such as CAUTION, WARNING, DANGER, BEWARE, DO NOT OPEN, etc., regardless of what follows such words.”

Sgt. Byrd says, “Do remember, that some departments do have Standard Operating Procedure’s that require them to deal with all packages of a certain dimension in a destructive manner. Nano-caches, micro, and mini, caches are not only less likely to be spotted by a muggle, but are not of great concern to Bomb Squads… Use the common 9-volt battery as a reference. If it is smaller than a 9-volt battery, it is much LESS likely to be destroyed.  Use clear containers whenever possible.”

Sgt. Byrd reminds geocachers that law enforcement are doing their jobs and their best to protect the communities they serve, whether it’s in Austria, a State Park in the U.S. or military serving abroad.

If you’re a Law Enforcement representative or Parks Personnel we offer a complimentary and ongoing Premium Membership for the purpose of monitoring geocaching activity in your jurisdiction. Learn more here at the Law Enforcement & Parks Professional resource page. Simply create a free basic account on, choose a username that reflects your organization, and email us at for your upgrade.

County, Private and Highway Roads - Markings and Signs

posted Nov 22, 2012, 1:57 PM by Greg Jewett

The Question

From Mike Detlefsen (jmd65)
I've been roaming around to find some places for new caches the last few weeks, and I have seen more than a few gravel roads branching off paved routes that are marked as County Roads on my maps (phone/tablet apps from several sources), but they have gates that are closed and padlocked. I would have thought that county roads would have public access. Granted that the maps I'm using could be in error on some of these, but some have physical signs posted identifying them.


Huggy Bear Fbg (Luther)
I live Gillespie County where all the county roads are paved.  County roads are identified with a green background and white letters sign (meaning go).  Private roads are identified with a red background and white letters sign.

From: dirich92

A friend of a friend lives out in Mason county. There are a few gates on their road, even though it's a public road. That's to keep the cows in. The gates to their house are not locked. But they also told me of neighbors on other roads who do lock their gates, even though it's a public road.

Geocaching Movies and TV Shows

posted Nov 22, 2012, 9:09 AM by Greg Jewett   [ updated Sep 13, 2013, 9:15 AM by Geocaching Austin Group Admin ]

Geocaching has shown up in many Hollywood movies.  Some movies are based around Geocaching, or have Geocaching scenes.

The list below is what compilation from multiple sources came up with.  I have linked each title with a page on IMDB and movies pages (if found).  These movies actually have a Geocaching theme or have the sport of Geocaching found within the movie.

G.P.S. The MovieIMDB
Official Movie Website
Official Movie Website
Are You Scared 2IMDB
Rotten Tomatoes Review

Official Movie Website
Buried Treasure
Official Movie Website

Another set of movies for those movie watchers and cinema buffs that have an adventurous theme to them that falls in the realm of Geocaching.  Having told solve puzzles (Puzzle caches) before finding a prize or having to follow clues or gather clues to get to a final prize (much like Letterboxing and Multi-caches).

National Treasure

There are some listed on the forums.  There is a ton of discussion.  Read it all here:

GreaseMonkey and

posted Sep 28, 2012, 3:16 PM by Greg Jewett   [ updated May 30, 2014, 1:58 PM ]

information from Jay Bingham

Greasemonkey is an extension for the Firefox web browser that allows users to customize the way webpages look and function by using JavaScript.

Scripts, for a wide variety of popular sites, are available on the internet, the User Script Hosting page on the Greasemonkey wiki contains a list of sites that host scripts. Unfortunately the User Scripts site listed on the page which has been in the past the most popular script hosting site, and contained most of the Geocaching related scripts, is not accessible at this time (30 May 2014) via the links to it that are posted through out the Greasemonkey site and on the Greasemonkey add-on page in the Firefox browser (it has been unreachable since before 14 Apr 2014). It is however available via the following link:
If you're the tinkerer sort or have programming skills, you can also write your own, see the Greasemonkey wiki to get started.
While Greasemonkey is specific to the Firefox browser, other browsers offer equivalent functionality, some are even capable of running the JavaScripts written for Greasemonkey, and some Greasemonkey scripts are written to run in other browsers as well.  The Opera, Chrome and Safari browsers all have JavaScript capabilities. Internet Explorer offers only limited JavaScript support. JavaScript must be enabled in any browser before scripts can be run.

I would like to recommend a great greasemonkey script for the website that I recently came across.
It is GC little helper ( by Torsten Amshove

It has long list of capabilities which enhance the cache pages and other pages at I have seen requests for many of these capabilities in the
feedback forum. Here a few the capabilities:
  • Create your own Navigation Linklist
  • Hide Social Links
  • Hide superfluous line breaks
  • Show "n/81" in cache matrix on the statistics page (this capability is not configurable)
  • Hide Avatars (Groundspeak has already implemented this capability, however this script is not cognizant of that, so if you have that already enabled in your profile you will have to enable it in the script configuration as well)
  • Mail-Link beside Username (Cache- and TB-Listings) - also adds
  • Cache-/TB-Name and GCcode to mail
  • Hide Disclaimer
  • Hide spoiler warning
  • Hide hint behind a link
  • Show percentage of favorite points in listing (while the percentage of favorite points is already available by clicking on the dropdown in the 'favorites' box, this script displays it in the 'favorites' box below the number of favorites, so no clicking is required)
  • Adds Map this Location and Route to this Location links to the coordinates box. (The Map this Location link performs a function similar to the View Map link and Route to this Location links performs a function similar to the Driving Directions link, so these seem redundant to me, but there is no way to disable them).
  • Displays Decimal and DMS conversions as well as the UTM conversion in the coordinates box.
  • Create a VIP-List which the script uses to show if they have already found the cache displayed on the page.
  • Search in Logs
  • Show day of week on event caches
  • Default-Log-Type for caches and TBs
  • Cache- & TB-Log-Signature
There are many other features/capabilities that this script provides and although it says that they are all configurable I have found that some are not.
I highly recommend this script even if you are not yet a greasemonkey user.

Mass logging Travelers (Trackables)

posted Sep 26, 2012, 6:30 PM by Greg Jewett   [ updated Sep 27, 2012, 10:54 AM ]

There has been some recent discussion regarding the task of logging all the trackables that one has discovered or picked up from an event.  The shear number of travelers or trackable from some of the large events can be stagging and hard to log them all.

For some time, people have use the tool "Log Them All" (by Michal Canecky aka Cano (c) 2009).  But it has started to become sluggish with many changes in the site and API.  There has been a plea/solicitation for anyone who might know of other sites or tools that can do this job.

More Tools for logging trackables:

GSAK Macro

by Hi_Dude98

DiscoverTB GSAK Macro

Click to Download


Start the macro and fill in the following values:

  1. The date you want for the log entry
  2. The log text you want in each discover log.
  3. A semicolon separated list of tracking codes, (e.g "11111;22222:33333")
  4. Click 'OK'

Requires GSAK v8.1 to run.

This macro is based heavily on code and an idea from DipTB.gsk by Kai Team.   This macro was created by "bjoff".

It makes use of the API functionality and it seems to log around 25-30 travelers per minute. I've had no problems using it. Works great!


by ZionZR2 (Bill Ellis)
Windows OS tool for logging caches, trackables, attaching photos, etc..
This application will revolutionize the way you manage the logs online, the pictures in your logs and trackable.   You can make your logs quickly and easily, upload photos automatically to logs you have done in a quick and convenient way, and manage trackable, giving you the option to do "discovers" and "retrieves" from the cache, to move for the collection and inventory several trackables at once.


Log Them All!

Are you a geocoin icon collector? Did you just return from a great geocaching event with a list of TB and coins you discovered and now you are going to spend hours just to log them all? Well, you don't have to anymore. Just Log Them All at once!


Cache Owners: Clearing the "Needs Maintenance" Status/Icon

posted Jul 1, 2012, 4:03 PM by Greg Jewett

contributed by Semper Questio

It came to my attention recently that some folks around here don't know how to clear the Needs Maintenance (NM) icon from their caches, so I thought I'd come on here and address this for others who may not know about it.

Just to be clear on what I am talking about, the NM icon is that little icon that shows up on lists and your cache page attributes that is a white cross on a red background. It is placed there when someone posts a "Needs Maintenance" log on your cache.

When one of these logs is posted, the attribute is added to the cache listing and, of course, the posting is emailed to the cache owner (CO) and anyone watching hte cache either via the watchlist or bookmark features. The email is not sent to Groundspeak or a reviewer unless, of course, the reviewer is watching the cache.

OK. So why does this matter? Very simply, because many folks filter out caches that have this NM attribute. I have seen many cases where a problem has been fixed, but the NM attribute has never been cleared so the cache will still not be seen by those that do this. So if you want you cache to get maximum visibility, you need to clear this attribute as soon as you address whatever problem the cache may have.

Fortunately, clearing the attribute is VERY easy. All you, the CO, must do is go to your cache listing and write an "Owner Maintenance" log. You do this just like any other log. Go to the "Log you visit" link at the top of the right sidebar, click that, and post your log. This will remove the attribute.

Just to be clear, there is no other way to clear it. Writing a note, deleting the any NM logs, etc. will not get it done. You MUST post an OM log to clear the attribute.

That's all there is to it.
contributed by ZionZR2

Great Tip!!!

I'd like to offer a second way to clear it as well you can click on  "Edit Attributes" and remove the "Needs Maintenance" Icon.

More Information regarding this topic @

Check the UV Index!

posted May 29, 2012, 9:08 AM by Greg Jewett   [ updated Mar 29, 2014, 7:09 PM ]

Before you go out Geocaching this summer in Texas, you should definitely check the UV Index.  Somedays it is lower or higher than others and can really affect you both in the need to protect your skin, energy drain that some people experience during high UV exposure, and hydration!

Grabbers (picker-uppers, grab-nabbers, claws, etc..)

posted Apr 25, 2012, 1:52 PM by Greg Jewett   [ updated Apr 25, 2012, 2:02 PM ]

If you have ever attended a CITO event, then you know that you really do not ever want to pick up trash with your hands.  Some wear gloves, and others use a "grabber" to reduce the amount of contact you would have with the trash and also to save the up, down, and bend-all-around movements!

Here are some "grabbers" that have been found and some PROs and CONs of each.

Product Name
Where you can find it
Typical Cost
URL or website
Norpro 10200 Long Arm Grabber
(aka Gopher Grabber)
Online (see URL)
$5 - $9 ($16)
has suction cups that sometime come off, but can be re-secured with a threaded screw.
Unger 92134 36-Inch Nifty Nabber Pick-Up Tool with Aluminum Handle
Home Depot
$15 - $20 Sturdy and also has a magnet in the claw to help with metal objects.
Harbor Freight 24" 2-in-1 Pickup Tool
Harbor Freight Tools
South Austin (N 30 14.125 W 97 47.494)
North Austin (
 $2 - $4 Cheap

32 In. PikStik Pro Grabber
Home Depot
Strong and built to last.

Carex 32" Ultra Grabber Reacher
Online (see URL)
  has suction cups that sometime come off, but can be re-secured with a threaded screw.

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