Coordinates, waypoints, trackables and hints

Our first geocache has been planted and submitted! It has already been reviewed and approved on so for the very keen ones out there, you can go and look for it immediately. This one is a teaser cache, giving some background information to the story, and also has been a test process for us as it’s the first cache we have hidden.


I’ve only been geocaching since the beginning of this year, and introduced the rest of the team to it during our June production lab. Since January, I’ve found caches in Brisbane, Melbourne, Munich, London, Farnham, Southend-on-Sea, Manchester, Llangrannog, Allgäu, Porto and maybe somewhere else I’ve forgotten … but this is the first one that I’ve hidden. And as I learned, it is not something that can be done lightly.

There is the container and contents to consider, and the task of finding a good location. A new cache should be at least 161 metres away from any existing caches to avoid saturation, and for our project we also need narrative-appropriate places. Maya investigated locations, found hiding places, and asked for permission if necessary, while Michelle crafted the containers and we all contributed to writing the contents. Once the cache was in place, I submitted it to both and – but before I could do this, Maya had to provide accurate coordinates for the cache’s location. This is not as easy as it sounds – GPS devices have a margin of error, and many things from the weather to satellite movement to nearby buildings can affect the reading.

There’s also quite a bit of new lingo to learn in the geocaching business. OK, coordinates I understand, but waypoints? I know what a hint is, but coming up with a clever one is a fun challenge. What about all those acronyms – TFTC, DNF, CITO and more? The first two might be guessable once you start hunting for caches – “thanks for the cache” and “did not find” are common acronyms to see in the logs. CITO stands for “cache in trash out” which is part of the environmentally-friendly philosophy of geocaching. Happily, there is a glossary of geocaching terms for newbies so if you stumble upon a travel-bug, as I did recently in Llangrannog, Wales, you can find out all about it.


The travel-bug was my first trackable; the idea is to move them from one cache to another, logging the journey on the web with comments and photos so that others can follow the journey of the trackable.

We haven’t included physical trackables in our caches for Tales from the Towpath, however the story itself is a sort of trackable that moves from one cache to another all by itself – it’s up to you to track it as you go. Have fun!


Cache construction ahead

I spent the weekend making caches for the geocaching element of our story trail and have discovered that what was once a familiar part of my life has now become a relic: film canisters. I managed to root out three of them between Maya’s house and mine, and am at a loss as to where all the others have gone. Ten years ago they were commonplace, and now they sell on ebay in listings marked specifically for geocaching. I’m glad that these handy little containers are finding a new niche in a digital world.


Little pieces of the towpath story will go in each cache. Follow the breadcrumbs for more...

Little pieces of the towpath story will go in each cache. Follow the breadcrumbs for more…