International Geocaching Day – August 18, 2012

I’ve been hooked on geocaching for the last couple years thanks to a friend who got me started on what can be best described as a worldwide scavenger hunt. I’ve lapsed recently on my cache count, but August 18 is a great way to reignite my obsession as it marks International Geocaching Day.

Around since 2000, geocaching now has 5 million devotees who navigate via a set of GPS coordinates to find caches hidden in a variety of places from parks and natural landmarks to malls and city streets. (Read about my experience as a geocacher.)

Geocaching.com – the official global GPS cache hunt site – says it expects thousands of adventurers to attend one of the more than 100 events globally, including mega-events in the United States, Germany and Hungary. The website’s parent Groundspeak will host a Geocaching Block Party at its headquarters in Seattle, Washington (coordinates: 47 degrees North latitude, 122 degrees West longitude), on August 18 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Geocaching.com has event listings here, so check to see if there’s one in your area. Geocachers who log certain cache types on International Geocaching Day can earn a “digital” souvenir for their Geocaching.com profile page.

What’s new in geocaching?

Magellan’s eXplorist series of GPS units starts with basic navigation capabilities in the 110 model and bumps up each subsequent unit in the series with more bells and whistles: the 310 comes with map customization; the 510 has a built-in camera and microphone for geotagging; the 610 includes a compass and barometer; and the 710 is loaded with advanced navigation tools. The eXplorist GC unit has a seamless connection to geocaching.com and is pre-loaded with the world’s most popular geocaches.

Garmin's Fenix Wristwatch GPS

DeLorme has an updated free download of its Cache Register desktop widget for Mac and Windows. It allows geocaching.com advanced users to sync all caches and field notes with one click and also send pocket queries to any of its Earthmate PN-Series GPS units.

Go hands free with Garmin’s new Fenix wristwatch GPS that provides navigation and tracking functions as well as trip info. Users can navigate to coordinates, along a track or route, toward waypoints, geocaches or other selected bearings. This little marvel also comes with an altimeter, barometer and compass…oh, and it has a watch, too.

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