Steve-e-b's Geocaching Homepage
Geocaching could be described as "treasure hunting with technology".
The game involves somebody hiding a container and recording its location
(latitude and longitude co-ordinates) using a GPS receiver.
They then publish the co-ordinates on the internet so that other people can find it.
The container holds a log book and pen for visitors to sign to show they have found the treasure.
Owners may also place trinkets of token value in the container,
which visitors can swap for other items if they so wish.
A set of guidelines has been defined
by Groundspeak Inc. (the un-official home of Geocaching)
that protect geocachers and the land on which the treasures are hidden.
My wife and I have been geocaching since June 2004.
We were introduced to the game by a friend who knew we enjoyed country walks and thought we would appreciate the geocaching challenge.
How right she was!
We now organise nearly all our walks around geocaches,
using the information provided by the person who has hidden the cache to plan our trip.
What better way to spend a sunny afternoon is there than marching out into fields and confusing
the cows and sheep as we search for hidden treasure?
Austin Seven - Panoramic Guide
(12th February 2006)
A guide to the panoramic view you can see from the Austin Seven (Drive By) cache,
with notes on the various places of interest visible from up to 6½ miles away.
Alchemy Quest Planner Map
(4th June 2006)
A simple map showing the location of all the caches in the Alchemy Quest.
Before you get too excited, it doesn't reveal the exact locations of the higher level caches.
The map should help you plan your journey and decide in which order to tackle the caches.
Birmingham Geocaching Rail Map
(4th October 2008)
(Based on the NetworkWestMidlands rail map and inspired by Chris & Maria's tube map.)
A clickable map that helps you plan geocaching trips by train using the West Midland's rail network.
The map provides links to the geocaching website to find caches close to stations
and links to the local rail website for train times and station information.
MyFinds (GPX Processor)
(19th June 2010)
A mini-app to process the MyFinds GPX file from geocaching.com.
The resultant KML file allows you to use the timeline feature in Google Earth to watch your finds build up over time
and use the tour feature to play through your finds in chronological order.
Grid Reference Converter
(13th August 2011)
A simple web tool to convert OS grid references to Lat-Long coordinates.
I created this for my Searching Geometry geocache (see below) but it comes in useful for all sorts of situations.
(9th July 2005)
This was our first cache.
We wanted to keep it simple so used the nature reserve a mere hundred yards down the road from our house.
Originally we planned to hide the cache within the reserve but we couldn't find anywhere appropriate
that would ensure the footprints of cachers wouldn't disturb the wildlife.
So we took the decision to place the cache just outside the reserve, making this an offset-cache.
It has come to our attention that this is now the oldest physical geocache in Birmingham.
Only the two virtuals in the city-centre are older and still active.
BHX TB Lounge
(7th November 2005)
I have always liked the idea of travel bug hotels
and couldn't find one near to Birmingham airport so thought I'd set one up myself.
I originally placed the container conveniently close to the terminal,
just a 5 minute walk along the footpath that runs beside the runway.
However I couldn't get the location approved so it had to be moved further away.
This is not a particularly interesting cache, but it serves a purpose.
(16th January 2006)
We had been planning a virtual cache outside the Ikon Gallery, in Brindley Place, for a few weeks.
I decided not to publish the cache until we got back from our Christmas hols, only then to find virtuals were no longer being accepted.
Not to be deterred we scouted the area for somewhere to hide a container.
Since this meant another offset-cache (which would be marked as a multi-cache)
we did some research and set-up a full multi-cache, incorporating all the nearby art galleries.
(20th July 2006)
Despite growing up in south Birmingham and living in the city for some 22 years
I had not discovered the charm and beauty of Bournville until very recently.
Many people visit Cadbury World but few take time to wander around the village that George Cadbury
created, which is a shame considering the village is more interesting than the factory.
I hope this cache will help others uncover the hidden gems
that exist just yards from one of the country's most popular tourist attractions.
(20th May 2007)
This cache took almost 2 years to create.
I had the idea for a treasure trail based on historical records back in September 2005,
though it took several revisions to make the story simple enough to follow and solve.
Having mulled over the best location for the cache
(and reluctantly concluding my preferred location wasn't the best location)
we went to scout out the route in October 2006.
We held off placing the cache until the following spring, in the hope that the cache would be more pleasant in the light and warm evenings.
Despite placing and submitting the cache in May a lightning strike on my home PC meant the cache wasn't published until July 2007.
A Cut Above
(8th March 2008)
I always ask Marina to review my cache listings before I publish them.
The most common comment that comes back is that the listing is too long:
too much detail in the description leaves little to the imagination and initiative of the finder.
So I created this cache to be different.
Something deliberately simple.
The lateral thinking puzzle is made more challenging by the absence of any instruction or hint.
All Else Being Equal
(23rd March 2008)
The idea for this puzzle occurred to me while attempting a 'broken' multi-cache.
The information needed for two of the answers was missing,
but because of the way the coordinates were calculated it looked like it might be possible to deduce the two missing values using a bit of Maths.
That led me to come up with this - a multi cache with no questions.
| Alcott Approach
| Traffic Hum
(26th April 2010)
Despite a number of additional caches popping up around Weatheroak my Stagecoach Stash cache remains relatively unvisited.
The conclusion: cachers don't know they can do Stagecoach Stash, effectively for free, while picking up the new caches.
Earlier in the year I plotted a circular walk around Weatheroak to visit the new caches.
It was a small step to add a handful of extra caches on this route to make a short circular walk that includes the original 6 caches.
(9th October 2010)
At the time of creating All Else Being Equal I had the idea of placing a series of mystery caches with puzzles from different branches of mathematics.
Geometry was the next obvious discipline to use.
Creating the basis of the puzzle was easy enough; getting the right level of difficulty was harder
as it will always be too easy for some and too difficult for others.
(8th March 2011)
On a foraging trip through Priory Fields last autumn Marina noted what a good place for food Priory Fields is.
We got some good jam and crumble out of our harvest.
The walk led me to think of creating a Wherigo with zones at places where you can find food.
Initially intended to be a purely educational cartridge, Marina had the idea of a virtual baking competition.
And so this developed into a game of who can collect the most food.
Solar System Stroll
(17th January 2010)
For my first cartridge I wanted to create something simple - something with very little functionality.
This idea came from an exercise I did during an astronomy course.
We paced out the distances between the planets in a nearby park.
The purpose of the exercise being to show how close the inner planets are compared to the gas giants.
This cartridge combines that exercise with information on each planet.
For Garmin users there are some cut-down (lite) editions of the cartridge available to download here.