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Markwell's FAQ Update

Click on a topic to see the question and answer.Questions with an asterisk (*) are on a separate page.

  1. How do I convert a street address to latitude/longitude?
  2. Some of these sites show the coordinates in decimal format. How do I convert?
  3. Why WGS-84 and HDD(D)° MM.MMM datum and format?
  4. I enetered the coordinates into my GPS for a new cache, but the map doesn't match up with the actual location. What am I doing wrong?
  5. How many feet are in 0.001 minutes?
  6. How can I calculate the distance between two sets of coordinates?

Pocket Queries and Routes
  1. How do I find caches along a route?*
  2. What the heck are Pocket Queries? How do I use them?
  3. Why can't I get my Pocket Queries?
  4. I'm not getting ANY e-mail from
  5. I get what Pocket Queries are, but I still need a little help...*
  6. Can I get a list of Archived caches in my Pocket Queries?*

  1. I've run across a term in the discussion thread that I don't know. Is there a place that lists common terminology?
  2. What are “signature items?”
  3. What's a spoiler?
  4. How do I make the “°” symbol when typing?

Cache Data
  1. How are Waypoint Names Generated and What Do They Mean?
  2. What are "Additional Waypoints" and how do I use them?*
  3. What do the different ratings mean, and how should I rate the cache I placed?
  4. What are Attributes, and how are they used?
  5. How do Attributes work with Pocket Queries?*

GPS and Technology
  1. Which GPS unit should I buy?
  2. Should I set my unit for True or Magnetic North?
  3. What do I need a magnetic compass for?
    *I think I know how to use a compass now...

Travel Bugs
  1. I need help logging a bug. What do I do?
  2. How come my Travel Bug isn't showing up in the Bug Gallery?
  3. What are some of the common thoughts on Travel Bugs?


How do I convert a street address to latitude/longitude?
There are a couple of websites that do this - some better than others. Here's my experience:

WebsiteDisplays Coodinates as...Comments
GPS Visualizer Deg/Min/Sec
Decimal Degress
Multimap Deg, Decimal Minutes
Decimal Degress
Very Easy to Use
Maporama Decimal degrees
World-Wide addresses!
Geocode (US) Decimal degrees
It appears that Geocode Test Driving Eagle is now enforcing the upper limit of 50 requests without purchasing their product.
The one big problem with these programs is accuracy. None of them precisely "nailed" my house, but some came closer than others. Take a look at these results. There are several other ones out there that people have brought up from time to time, but those listed above seem to meet my meager needs quite well. I also use MS Streets and Trips which has the function of finding an address and a location sensor (hold the mouse over the map and get the lat/lon).

One final note: If you're in the US and you are familiar with the area, you can get a close approximation of the coordinates using the websites above, and plug the information into the GeocachingAdmin's Terraserver Viewer. You should then see a nice combined area of ariel photos of the coordinates. If you know the particular building or house you're looking for, if you click on the image, the viewer will provide you with the precise coordinates of where you clicked.

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Some of these sites show the coordinates in decimal format. How do I convert?
Take the integer (whole number) - positive is North and East, negative is South and West - and set it aside. The remaining decimals would be multiplied times sixty to get minutes. Example: the Sears Tower in Chicago is located at 41.878928° -87.636415°. For the latitude...
Start with the number in decimal degrees Positive is north, and take the whole numberThen take the remainder times 60Round to three decimalsTherefore the latitude for the Sears Tower in Chicago is
41.878928 41.xxxxxx = N41°0.878928 x 60 = 52.7356852.736N41° 52.736
Now try the math on your own: Longitude -87.636415° will convert to W087° 38.185.

To reverse the process, take the minutes portion and divide by 60, then tag it on to the degrees.
W 087° 38.185
38.185 ÷ 60 = 0.636417
tag it onto the degrees to get 87.636417°
“West” is negative: -87.636417°

Fizzy Magic has a nice converter here called FizzyCalc, which will not only change coordinate units, but also calculate distance between two sets of coordinates and project a coordinate from bearing and distance from a known coordinate.

To carry it further to seconds beyond minutes, you do the same thing with the minutes that you did with the degrees. Take the integer off of the minutes and multiply the remaining decimal times 60. That will give you seconds.

If you have Degrees, Minutes and Seconds...
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Why WGS-84 and HDD(D)° MM.MMM datum and format?

Because that's how most GPS receivers are set coming out of the box. Using this setting will be less likely to confuse new GPSR owners.
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I enetered the coordinates into my GPS for a new cache, but the map doesn't match up with the actual location. What am I doing wrong?
Most likely the coordinates are in the wrong format or datum. See above question on converting format and make sure your GPSR uses WGS-84. There is, however, a slight variation in the Topozone maps when linked from the Geocaching site. The Topozone website uses NAD-27, a different coordinate datum.

Another possibility is that the GPS may be set to "Lock to Roads." If this is the case, even when you're in the middle of the forest, the GPS will state that you're in the middle of the nearest highway. Be sure to turn off this feature if you have it.
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Caches on a Route
How do I find caches along a route?
There's a whole separate page devoted to this process. To find out the best possible ways to find caches along a route, CLICK HERE.

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What are "Additional Waypoints" and how do I use them?
This is a pretty lengthy topic, so I gave it a separate page. CLICK HERE.

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What are "signature items?"
Signature items are items that you personally put in every cache. It could be something quirky like a pin or a little cracker jack compass or even a silver dollar. It is a way of marking that you've been to that particular cache for the next person who sees it.
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What's a spoiler?
A spoiler is a person or comment that gives away too much information.
Example: “I found this cache easily once I walked around the tree with the blue paint on it. It was hiding under the large flat green rock on the northeast side.”

Both the person logging this find and the log itself would be deemed "spoilers."

If you had never seen the original Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back, would you want to know this?
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How are Waypoint Names Generated and What Do They Mean?
*Most of the time, the lower GC code number is, the earlier the cache was placed. However with the earliest geocaches there is not a direct correlation . Geocaches were first listed on other usenet groups and as they were entered into the system, they were not sequentially entered until sometime later in 2000 when users started submitting them directly.

For example, as of this writing (August 26 2009) GC30 - Mingo is the oldest existing cache. It was placed on May 11, 2000 and GC30 is #48 in the system. However, Beverly (GC28), the oldest cache in Illinois, was palced May 13, 2000, and is #40 in the database.
Each cache is assigned a number based on the order in which it is posted* - e.g. Beverly, one of the oldest caches, is number 40. Originally, the database translated this number into a hexadecimal code (1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,A,B,C,D,E,F,10) with a "GC" tagged onto the front (GC28 for Beverly).

Somewhere around April of 2003, the database reached ID=65535 or GCFFFF - the maximum of four digit hexadecimal. The programmer's used the solution of changing to a base 31 code (0-9, A-Z with some characters left out). The waypoints were originally limited to six characters because most GPSRs only allow six characters per waypoint. In December of 2006, the database hit 512401 cache records, which meant that they had already had GCZZZZ, the maximum cache under the base 31 method. The programmer's solution was that next cache would be GC10000 (seven digits). That cache is a "memorial" to the rollover.

All that is pretty much fluff, as all you really need to know is that the GC***** waypoint is a unique code: another way of identifying the individual caches. It has absolutely nothing to do with the location.

Now I know how they're produced. Do I have to use these numbers?
It is not required that you use this number for anything. EasyGPS and its big brother ExpertGPS and programs like GSAK can download directly from the Geocaching site and then into your GPS through a connecting cable. When that happens, the Geocaches will have the GC***** code for its name.

A Final Note: Travel Bugs are numbered the same way, but with a “TB” instead of a “GC”. If you have the TB#### number, you can enter it in the code box underneath the scarab icon, and you will be magically transported to the bug's website.
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How do I make the ° symbol when typing?
On PCs - hold down the Alt key and on the numeric keypad on the right of the keyboard, type 0176. When you release the Alt Key, a ° should be there.
On Macs - option shift 8
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Which GPS unit should I buy?
Best thing to do is browse the topics in GPS Units and Software Discussion. If you don't find your question, post it - and you'll be deluged with responses. Also there is a side-by-side comparison at this website.
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Should I set my GPS for True or Magnetic North?
Magnetic North is only really required when you're following a magnetic compass. If your GPS is set to True North, and it says to go 15°, and you pull out your magnetic compass and shoot a bearing of 15° - you may be in trouble based on your position on the type of map to the right (this is an old one). However, if your GPS tells you to go 15° and you follow the arrow on the GPS (and the numbers get smaller) you'll be fine.

Two scenarios:
Scenario 1: simple, short distance
Here in Chicago, I have a cache 750 feet away. My GPS is set to True North, and the GPS says that the cache is 45°. So I take out my trusty compass and shoot a bearing of 45° and walk for 750 feet. BUT WAIT, I didn't take into account the magnetic declination, which around here is somewhere between 2 and 3 degrees (let's say 3). According to my calculations, after traveling 750 feet, I'll be off 41 feet. It's not a huge deal - many GPS units are off by that much.
Scenario 2: bigger declination and longer distance...
I'm hiking on Cape Cod, and there's a cache 3 miles away. My GPS is set to True North, and the GPS says that the cache is 45°. So I take out my trusty compass and shoot a bearing of 45° and walk for 3 miles. BUT WAIT, I didn't take into account the magnetic declination, which around Cape Cod is somewhere around -16 degrees. With that much difference in the declination and traveling that far, I'd be off by 0.78 miles.
But here's the question: Why wouldn't I take out my GPS in the 3 mile hike?

So - magnetic declination doesn't really enter into it. Follow the arrow on your GPS and watch the numbers go down.
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What do I need a magnetic compass for?
Forget for the moment that your GPS is only as good as the satellite lock and batteries. Both of these can go out in a moments notice leaving you stranded in the middle of the forest. It's a good idea to take a compass just for safety reasons. However...

Even when there is a fabulous lock on the satelittes, you can get loose bearings where your slowing speed causes the directional finder on your GPS to lose touch with reality. Think of it this way: the GPS tries to rotate that "arrow" screen (the cache is THIS way) to accommodate the direction you're traveling. When you slow down to below a certain speed, the GPS gets a little confused as to exactly which direction you're traveling. The GPS still says that the cache is northwest about 100 feet, but the arrow could be pointing southeast (especially if you walked backward for a while).

With that in mind, when you get to within 150 feet of the cache, you might flip through the screens on your GPS and see what the bearing to the coordinates is. You could then use your sighted compass to look and see what is in that particular direction (a big hollow tree, on outclustering of rocks). Hopefully, as you walk close to the landmark you've sighted, your GPS should get lower and lower in distance. You could also do the same thing from another spot 150 feet away and triangulate on the sucker.
Here's an illustrated step by step for triangulation...

Step 1

Step 2

Step 3

I think I know how to use a compass now: 1) use gps to guide you to the general location of the cache, 2) retrieve bearing from gps, 3) set compass to bearing and follow the arrow?
Quoted from "Clay" from Pontiac, MI
That's it! After you've walked the aprox. distance your gpsr said, you should be in the location of the cache. If you have trouble finding it, walk a way, take another bearing, and try it again. Once you get to the spot, think,"OK, if I was going to hide something 'here', where would I put it." That's where you will usually find it.
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How many feet are in 0.001 minutes?
It depends. The answers are different for Latitude and Longitude. Latitude lines are also called "Parallels." The circle the globe at a constant distance from each other. Therefore, the answer for Latitudes is constant: 6.074 feet.

However, the lines of Longitude all run from pole to pole, converging as you get closer to the poles. At the North Pole, the distance between E/W 0° and E/W 180° could be a matter of inches depending on how far away from the actual pole you are. At the equator, it's halfway around the world - about 12,500 miles.

So, what's the distance between 0.001 minutes at my latitude? The following table was taken from an answer in the General Forums. The Degrees are the farthest column to the left, and the minutes go across the top. Find your degree/minute combination, and the number in that cell is the distance between 0.001 minutes in feet.
Vdeg min>0510152025303540455055
50° 3.99 3.98 3.96 3.94 3.96 3.94 3.93 3.94 3.93 3.92 3.94 3.92
51° 3.89 3.89 3.89 3.87 3.88 3.87 3.87 3.84 3.84 3.85 3.84 3.83
52° 3.80 3.81 3.81 3.79 3.80 3.79 3.79 3.76 3.76 3.75 3.74 3.74
53° 3.74 3.74 3.71 3.71 3.69 3.69 3.70 3.66 3.66 3.67 3.66 3.66
54° 3.63 3.65 3.62 3.63 3.61 3.61 3.59 3.59 3.58 3.58 3.55 3.55
55° 3.58 3.52 3.52 3.52 3.52 3.52 3.51 3.50 3.51 3.50 3.48 3.47
56° 3.45 3.44 3.44 3.44 3.43 3.43 3.41 3.41 3.38 3.41 3.38 3.38
57° 3.38 3.35 3.37 3.34 3.35 3.33 3.33 3.33 3.33 3.30 3.30 3.28
58° 3.28 3.27 3.27 3.27 3.24 3.25 3.24 3.24 3.24 3.21 3.24 3.21
59° 3.21 3.18 3.18 3.16 3.18 3.15 3.15 3.15 3.15 3.13 3.11 3.11
60° 3.10 3.08 3.08 3.08 3.05 3.07 3.05 3.05 3.02 3.04 3.02 3.02
61° 3.02 2.99 2.99 2.97 2.99 2.96 2.97 2.97 2.96 2.96 2.91 2.92
62° 2.91 2.91 2.91 2.87 2.91 2.85 2.85 2.84 2.85 2.82 2.82 2.82
63° 2.80 2.80 2.80 2.79 2.79 2.75 2.75 2.77 2.75 2.75 2.75 2.75
64° 2.72 2.72 2.70 2.68 2.70 2.68 2.66 2.68 2.66 2.64 2.62 2.61
65° 2.62 2.62 2.61 2.61 2.57 2.59 2.59 2.55 2.57 2.57 2.53 2.51

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How can I calculate the distance between two sets of coordinates?
There are two methods, the Pythagorean Theorem and the Great Circle Calculation. The easier of the two - Pythagorean - can be done by someone with a basic calculator with square roots (or an Excel Spreadsheet). The Great Circle can also be done with a spreadsheet utility, but there are several online calculators to do the calculations (Calculator 1, Calculator 2, Calculator 3 - and there are more).

So - how do I use the Pythagorean Theorem to calculate distances?
First, both sets of coordinates need to be in UTM. Existing Geocaches have them on the cache detail page. Your personally retrieved coordinates in your GPS can be converted by changing the setting on the GPS to UTM. Finally, you can convert them using the online calculator at conversion page .

Once both sets of coordinates are in are in UTM, let's assume the following:
Northing 1="N1" Easting 1="E1" Northing 2="N2" Easting 2="E2"

Sqrt((N1-N2)²+(E1-E2)²)/1000=Distance in Kilometers
To get it in miles: divide your answer by 1.6093

UTM uses meters from reference points, so the positions are already metric.
Subtracting the northings gives you the distance in meters north-to-south (a).
Subtracting the eastings gives you the distance in meters east-to-west (b).
Since a²+b²=c², that translates into sqrt(a²+b²)=c.
C is the distance in meters. Divide by 1000 to get kilometers.

So why use the Great Circle Calculation?
The Pythagorean calculation works OK for short distances - namely trying to figure out if a cache is less than 0.10 miles from another. Over longer distances, the numbers become more skewed because of the curve of the earth's surface. In those instances, you need some trig skills to be able to accurately reflect the distance.

Look at the difference in the calculations in distances between three of my caches:
Point A: N 41° 36.455 W 088° 12.221
Point B: N 41° 39.040 W 088° 15.328
These two are exactly 4.00 miles apart, using both the Great Circle Calculation and the Pythagorean Calculation.
Point A: N 41° 36.455 W 088° 12.221
Point C: N 35° 08.073 W 085° 21.505
Great Circle Distance: 473.01 miles
Pythagorean Distance: 472.23 miles
I guess it's not a huge difference, but when you're dealing with distance across a continent, the error is even greater. Besides, it's nice to be "correct."
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What do the different ratings mean, and how should I rate the cache I placed?
First, this is NOT a "be all - end all" of the cache ratings. Quite a few people came up with explanations of the rating system over a great deal of time. But in the end, we came to a consensus of suggested definitions of ratings, which is the best we could do. In the end, you alone are the best judge for rating your cache.

To that end, here are the definitions that came as a result of several discussion threads in June and July of 2001. The final product was put up by ClayJar on his website. He came up with the Geocaching Rating System, a short online form to fill out to give people some guidelines as to how to rate a cache they've hidden.

Below is the text of the results of the various ratings, once you've entered the information.
In plain sight or can be found in a few minutes of searching.
Handicapped accessible
Terrain is likely to be paved, is relatively flat, and less than a ½ mile hike is required.
The average cache hunter would be able to find this in less than 30 minutes of hunting.
Suitable for small children
Terrain is generally along marked trails, there are no steep elevation changes or heavy overgrowth. Less than a 2 mile hike required.
An experienced cache hunter will find this challenging, and it could take up a good portion of an afternoon.
Not suitable for small children
The average adult or older child should be OK depending on physical condition. Terrain is likely off-trail. May have one or more of the following: some overgrowth, some steep elevation changes, or more than a 2 mile hike.
A real challenge for the experienced cache hunter - may require special skills or knowledge, or in-depth preparation to find. May require multiple days / trips to complete.
Experienced outdoor enthusiasts only
Terrain is probably off-trail. Will have one or more of the following: very heavy overgrowth, very steep elevation (requiring use of hands), or more than a 10 mile hike. May require an overnight stay.
A serious mental or physical challenge. Requires specialized knowledge, skills, or equipment to find cache.
Requires specialized equipment and knowledge or experience, (boat, 4WD, rock climbing, SCUBA, etc) or is otherwise extremely difficult.
What about the half stars?
As indicated, these are just suggested ratings. We are all human and can make decisions about the final ratings of our caches. So if you've hidden a cache that gives a result of 4 stars for terrain, but your know that it doesn't seem THAT difficult, you could rate it at 3½.
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What the heck are Pocket Queries? How do I use them?
Pocket Queries are just one example of the benefits of subscribing as a premium member of Becoming a premium member helps defray the cost of the servers and maintenance (and development) for the database, but there are perks to being a premium member as well as listed on that page. But here's what the subscription page says about Pocket Queries:
Pocket Queries
Hand-entering geocache coordinates is tedious, and you run the risk of developing repetitive motion injuries if you hunt more than a few caches in a day. With a Pocket Query you can download up to 1,000 specifically defined geocache waypoints directly to your GPS in a flash!

So - Pocket Queries allow you to get a subset of caches e-mailed directly to you. For example, do you like only traditional caches and don't really care about multi-stage caches? Pocket queries can e-mail you you a set of traditional caches that you haven't found within 100 miles from your home coordinates in one of two formats readable by EasyGPS or ExpertGPS or various other home grown software. These computer files can then be loaded directly into your GPS via a connecting cable. You can search by proximity to a set of coordinates (your home?) or for caches within a geographical boundary (your state/country).

You mention various formats? What formats can I receive this data in?
Do I need a Palm device to use this feature?
Definitely not. The only aspect of pocket queries that rely on a palm-type device is receiving the eBook version of the cache pages. The other formats (GPX and LOC) are for use with software and your GPS. There's also a version of eBook reader for PCs that can read these type of files on your local computer - although that seems kind of redundant since you can look at the webpage.

How often can I get the cache lists e-mailed to me?
Once daily, and up to every day of the week if you so desire (or only on specific days). This reduces the load on the servers, especially since the program to create these files is run in the middle of the night in the US, when the servers see their least amount of traffic.

How many different queries can I have?
You can save 40 separate sets of criteria, but you can only set 5 of them to be mailed to you on each calendar day (per premium membership).

Is there a maximum number of caches on the list, or could I just query the entire US?
Each query will return a maximum number of 500 1,000 caches. The Pocket Query implementation and delivery system was updated on the weekend before the 10th anniversary of (May 3, 2010). Now, Pocket Queries can return up to 1,000 caches per query. HOWEVER, if the query returns over 500 caches, the query will have to be manually downloaded from the page, under the "Download" tab. See the Pocket Query details page for screen shots and further information.

Examples of Uses of Pocket Queries
  • Providing a list of caches that you have not found within 100 miles of home.
  • Providing a list of inactive caches near you (not archived, but temporarily disabled)
  • Providing a list of caches in your state that have never been found.
  • Providing a list of caches near you (found or not) that have Travel Bugs in them.
  • Having separate pocket queries for Traditional and Multi-Stage caches so that you can change the waypoint on Multi-Stage to MC#### instead of GC#### before they go into your GPS
  • Providing a list of caches near where you'll be staying for a business trip.
  • Providing a list of caches along a route while you're traveling
  • the list goes on and on and on...
Where can I get a list of the various "home grown" computer programs that extract the data from GPX or LOC files?
You can start off with's list of software. On that page are links to several pieces of software that will manage and assist you in using GPX and LOC files. My favorite is GSAK (Geocaching Swiss Army Knife). Another great one is ClayJar's program - Watcher. It is available at ClayJar's website (look for the largest number). If neither of those suit your fancy, ask for suggestions in the GPS Units and Software forum.
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Why can't I get my Pocket Queries?
There are a couple of things to check.
  1. Are you not receiving the attachment or are you not receiving it at all? Since the implementation of the May 2010 upgrades, if your pocket query results in more the 500 caches, you will have to download them directly from the page on the downloads tab.
  2. Make sure your results are set to "Zip". Overzealous virus filters may kick out .gpx files, even though they cannot execute (they're just actually text files).
  3. Did you select a day to run? Even if you tell the query "run once then delete" you HAVE to select a day of the week ("Monday") for the PQ to run.
  4. Did you mistakenly click "Add to queue"? The "Add to Queue" button on the pocket query page is ONLY for getting a pocket query of all of YOUR finds.
  5. Did the query generate yet? On the Pocket Query Page in the grid, if the query has generated in the last 24 hours, it will be bold with a date. If it hasn't generated yet, it may just be waiting its turn. See the note on "priorities" below.
  6. Check your spam folder. With a subject line that looks automated and an attachment that is likely in the format of, some overzealous spam filters may place it there. instituted a priority for when PQs would run. It is based on the last time the request has run. Queries that have NEVER run get first in line. Queries that ran a long time ago are next, and queries that ran just the previous day are last. If you desparately need them, the suggestion until they get a fix is to copy the query to a new one and let it run. You should get the results almost instantly.
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I'm not getting ANY e-mail from - or - I'm not getting my Pocket Query results
There's a couple of things to check:
  • First, if it's a Pocket Query result, make sure that your pocket query is set to ZIP.
  • Check your "spam" folder. Automated messages can look a lot like spam
  • Check your virus protection on e-mail and your machine and make sure that you can receive zipped files
But the biggest problem after everything else is that e-mail can sometimes get throttled by e-mail service providers. AOL is notorious for this problem. There was a rash of this in mid-July 2006, and I found references in the forums in April 2006, March 2006, February 2006, September 2005, October 2003, etc., etc., etc. There is NOTHING can do to get this problem fixed immediately. To quote Jeremy: It never ceases to amaze me how AOL causes a problem but relies on us to contact them instead of trusting their own users to resolve the issue.
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I get what Pocket Queries are, but I still need a little help...
After numerous requests on the Getting Started and discussion forums, I've finally come up with a more detailed version of the Pocket Query explanation. This is a complete tutorial with step-by-step instructions and examples for setting up pocket queries.

You can find the Pocket Query Tutorial Here

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Can I get a list of Archived caches in my Pocket Queries?
Such a good question it deserves its own separate page.

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What are Attributes, and how are they used?
Attributes are characteristics of a cache. The owner of a cache can set up to 10 attributes on their cache, and these can take the form of YES or NO. For example, if the cache is not recommended for kids, the owner can choose the Kid Friendly icon, and select NO. The result is an icon on the cache page that looks like the icon to the right. At the same time, it the cache could be best done at night to take in the fabulous view of the Aurora Borealis. That cache would need Recommended at Night attribute.

But these attributes are more than just informational icons on a cache. They are available as criteria on Pocket Queries as well. If you're looking for caches in the Midwest that need scuba equipment, you can select the Scuba Yes icon in the pocket query and select every state (which would include the whole world) and you could get the results in a PQ of the Scuba caches (I tried it on this writing of Jan 5 2006, and there have not been ANY caches listed with that attribute...yet).

There are other methods of getting these informational icons on to the page - mainly a website called The Selector. The benefit of using's attributes is that they are integrated into the Pocket Query system.

What are the attributes?
(Yes, No)
(Yes, No)
(Present, Not Present)
(Allowed, Not Allowed)
Special Equipment
(Required, Not Required)
Special Attribute
availableAvailable at all times

climbing Difficult climbing

hiking Significant hike

kids Recommended for kids

night Recommended at night

onehour Takes less than an hour

scenic Scenic view

stealth Stealth required

swimming May require swimming

wading May require wading

winter Available during winter
camping Camping available

parking Parking available

phone Telephone nearby

picnic Picnic tables nearby

public Public transportation

restrooms Public restrooms nearby

water Drinking water nearby

wheelchair Wheelchair accessible

stroller Stroller accessible
cliff Cliff / falling rocks

danger Dangerous area

hunting Hunting

mine Abandoned mines

poisonoak Poison plants

snakes Snakes

thorn Thorns

ticks Ticks

livestock Livestock
bicycles Bicycles

campfires Campfires

dogs Dogs

horses Horses

jeeps Off-road vehicles

motorcycles Motorcycles

quads Quads

snowmobiles Snowmobiles
boat Boat

fee Access or parking fee

flashlight Flashlight Required

rappelling Climbing gear

scuba Scuba gear
Needs Maintenance Needs Maintenance
This special attribute is automatically assigned to the cache when a cacher posts a "Needs Maintenance" log type. Cache owners can remove it by either posting a "Maintenance" log or by editing the cache's attributes to turn off the Needs Maintenance attribute.

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How do Attributes work with Pocket Queries? - See the answer on PQ page.

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I need help logging a Travel Bug. What do I do?
People used to get a toy from a cache and place it in another cache.
Then cachers started asking for these hitch-hikers to move from cache to cache.
Then people started trying to track the movements of these hitch-hikers.
Then Jeremy came up with Travel Bugs: Dog tags with a specific code in the Geocaching database that will automatically track movements of hitch-hikers from cache to cache (or person to person). They are usually attached to some character or action figure and have some elaborate history or story surrounding them.

Travel Bugs are a whole lot of fun when they are done correctly. So, to cut down on mistakes, here's the illustrated step by step on logging Travel Bugs.

Step OneLog the cache that you found the bug in. It would be nice if you also mentioned on the cache page that you found the bug and grabbed it, but it is not necessary. 
Step TwoTrack Travel Bugs Go to the Groundspeak website at, or click the "Track Travel Bugs" icon on the left side of the screen. There you will see a scarab with a entry field. Enter the bug's 6 digit code in that field and click the arrow.

The six digit code is the "Secret Code" that allows only people who have actually handled the bug to make notes or create movement for the bug. Keep this code a secret - making sure that it's not in the log or in any photos. Unscrupulous cachers could potentially wreak havoc by grabbing a bug they never really had and moving it to a cache in India.

You also might want to write the bug's number down in case you want to write a note to the bug page. When you put the bug back into play, you don't get the opportunity to tell part of the story unless you make a note. You'll need that number to be able to make a note on the page.
Step ThreeOnce you click the arrow, you'll be taken to the bug's page. Take the time to read any goals that the bug might have. Click the "Found it? Log it!" link in the upper right hand corner.
Step FourOn the form, make sure the drop down says "I have it!", then you'll need to enter that 6 digit code AGAIN as a verification. You also have the opportunity to have the system notify you each time this bug moves, and make any and all comments you feel appropriate.

Once you complete this step, the bug is in your "inventory." You can have multiple bugs in your inventory.

If you just want to add to the story, or tell the portion of the story from when you picked up the bug to when you placed it, make sure the drop down says "Making a note". Sometimes, there is a quirk on the site that even when you're making a note, it will grab the bug. Just be away that this might happen.
Step FiveTake the bug out into the real world, photograph it, have fun, and eventually place it in a new cache - hopefully one that helps the bug on its mission. 
Step SixOnce the bug is placed in a real cache, go back to the site for that cache and log your visit as normal.
Step SevenAs you're filling out the form for logging the cache, you have a new drop down at the bottom of the screen (this won't appear if you don't have any bugs in your inventory). Choose the bug you're dropping off.

If you've been to the cache previously, you do not need to log this as a "Found it!" to drop off the bug. It can be done as a Post a Note or a Couldn't Find it! - although that doesn't make logical sense.

Once you click the button Click to log your visit!, the bug will appear as being in that cache. Your job is done!!!
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How come my Travel Bug isn't showing up in the Bug Gallery?
The Travel Bug Gallery shows the "official" picture assigned to each bug. After the bug owner has uploaded a picture, it still needs to be assigned as the official picture for that bug. Back to the top.
What are some of the common thoughts on Travel Bugs?
Stuff gleaned from the Travel Bug forum.

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ARCHIVED FAQs that no longer have a bearing:

The site limits uploaded pictures to 100K. How do I get my picture down to that size?
Note: will now accept file sizes larger than 100K, but the system will reduce them to something more web-friendly. The system also converts all image files to JPG instead of BMP, GIF or other image formats. But since this is a question I am constantly asked in other arenas, I'll leave it up here for posterity.

First off, in the main list of FAQs on the topic Read First! Geocaching Frequently Asked Questions, cacher Dru Morgan links to his website where he explains a method using a piece of software called Irfanview that does the job very nicely.

However, you can do something similar with cropping and resizing if you have a Windows PC (any version) with software already installed on your system. The program to use is the MS Paint, usually found under Programs, Accessories, Paint - or you can find it by going Start, Run, and typing pbrush in the run box.

Once you're in the program, you can actually open up your digital pictures (or scanned picture) with this program. Most of the cameras and scanners can save the file as a JPG format. When MS Paint is started, Click File, Open, and choose the file type JPG or JPEG. Then select the right folder. You'll see a huge version of your really big image.

Here's the important part!! Immediately do a File, Save As, and save it with a different name - so you don't lose your original pristine photo. Once you've saved it somewhere else, you can use this program's Stretch and Skew feature to shrink your image to within 100K. Go to Image, Stretch and Skew (or Ctrl-W), and change the percentages to some lower number for both the height and width (the same number). This will shrink the image to that percentage of the original size.

But wait! You don't have to shrink the image by 50% to get a 50% reduction in file size. MS Paint uses a higher than regular compression. Shrinking a file size to say 60-75% of its original dimensions will most likely shrink the file size to about between 40-50%. Try out a few variations and see what happens. You can check the file size by highlighting it through "My Computer." Remember - says 100K, but it really needs to be down below about 97K to work.
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Last Updated: May 11 2010