Get Outside with GPS!
ibecame interested in geocaching while riding my bicycle on the Highland Trail in western Maryland. I came upon one of my former
college professors and his son, who
were looking for a small tin container
buried under a shallow layer of shale.
He explained that they were geocaching, and I was intrigued.
Geocaching is a global treasure
hunt where searchers look for containers—or caches—hidden outdoors.
Some caches are so small that they
contain only a log book for the finder
to initial. Other caches contain small
trinkets that finders may take, and in
return, they leave other items behind.
Geocachers have stashed nearly
a million caches around the world.
Searchers can acquire geocache
coordinates on a variety of websites
and then log their finds and discuss
their experiences online. All you
need is a computer and a GPS unit.
I decided that I had to try it, so I logged
on to http://geocaching.com and researched caches in my area. This site
allows you to search by address, zip
code, keyword, or Google Map.
After I signed on to the website, I
had to purchase a GPS unit. I chose the
Garmin e Trex, which is easy to operate. It allows me to name the cache
and enter the coordinates, and then it
points me in the right direction. I don’t
pretend to know all about the GPS
unit, but I can enter data and locate
caches. A lot of models are available to
choose from on the market, so shop
around. (See “Buyers Guide: Handheld
GPS Receivers,” L&L, November 2010,
ort Hill High School students: Jacie
airall and Colton Sibley (seated); Martika
imble, Haley Hoppert, and Jessica Cur-ence (standing, left to right)
Once I got the hang of geocaching, I
decided to introduce it to my science
students, who are juniors and seniors
at Fort Hill High School in Cumberland, Maryland. The activity was
new for them, though they quickly
grasped how to find coordinates and
Clockwise from top: a list of registered
geocaches in the 21502 zip code region
of Cumberland, Maryland; the geocaching
website ( www.geocaching.com); and a
Google Map of the area surrounding Fort
Hill High School.
By Carole Diehl