Rural System's

GPSence
developing GPS sales and service, the new sport of geocashing, and related activities



GPSence (pronounces "G - P - essence") is a business related to all aspects of global-positioning satellites (GPS).

GPS stands for Global Positioning System and is involved (in 2004) with 24 satellites that weigh 2 tons each,orbit Earth twice daily at an altitude of 12,000 miles. The users receiver at some point is triangulated from three satellites to give exact location.

Sample Cache: You read somewhere ... usually on the Internet
Three stages starting at Coordinates: N xxxx W xxxx, Clue: yyyyyyyy ... then the race is on to find the cache, record your number or otherwise indicate a find.

GPSence is a new organization involved in all aspects of geocashing. It combines excitement, adventure, knowledge, and strategy. Typically each person is given a GPS unit (or use their own) with vital coordinates of a cache. The location is very precise. The individuals or team collaborate to find the cashes (hidden boxes, metal stakes, marked trees, etc.) The game may be played ...

History

When the GPS signal degradation called Select Availability (SA) was removed by the Clinton Administration May 1st, 2000 , it opened up the possibility of games like geocashing. On May 3rd, a container of goodies was hidden by a someone outside of Portland, Oregon - in celebration of the removing of Selective Availability. By May 6th the cache was visited twice, and logged in the logbook once.

Mike Teague was the first to find the container, and built the first web site to document these containers and their locations that were posted to the sci.geo.satellite-nav newsgroup.

In July of 2000, Jeremy Irish found Mike Teague's web site and found his first cache outside of Seattle, Washington. Recognizing the potential of the game (but never expected the growth), Jeremy approached Mike Teague with a new site design, used the name Geocaching, and developed a new web site adding virtual logs, maps, and a way to make it easier to maintain caches as the sport grows. The site was alive for a while, but the official torch was passed to Jeremy on September 6.

Since the launch of the web site, the Geocaching sport has grown to caches in all 50 states and over 100 countries. There are now many variations of the game, including virtual caches, offset caches, puzzle caches, and multi-stage caches. New ideas and new games crop up every day. From its inception, Geocaching.com has been developed and maintained by Jeremy, with the assistance of Geocachers around the world. Many thanks to the Geocaching community for making the game it is today. The official web site is www.Geocashing.com.

GPSence is an organization and an activity using GPS units to find "treasures." Sites are specified with exact coordinates and members seek out these sites using the GPS to discover the treasure there. It may be physical, a code, a piece of a puzzle, a direction to another location, or instructions about activities at or nearby the site. It provides a web site for members and introductions and education for new members. It starts with activities within western Virginia, then expands as much as possible,even internationally, especially within the interests of geocashing generally.

It sells and rents GPS units. Official games use units provided by the organization. It sells and rents various equipment, clothing, bandannas, and supplies for treasure hunting and the pleasure of group membership.

It has sub-groups of people with various interests ...

There are many projects available to members ...
Centurions
One hundred permanent numbered markers are placed within the County. Members may hunt these at any time and it may take years to visit them all. It can become a contest for some, a pastime for others. With honesty rules (as in golf) there is no overview, simply the rule that to gain credit for a code number or name at each location provided by the organization, a person (a member) must have personally (or in a team) found the site using a GPS unit. Scenes from each site are available so that choices can be made. A list of successful members (with number of treasures found) will be posted on the web site.

Rabbit Rescue
An announced, planned team-event, a domestic rabbit in a cage is the treasure.


In connection with The Rabbits Group ...

With The Stables Group...

The Electronic Trail
A strategy for finding a site, even if it is precisely known (using precise equipment ... but field work involves using only hand-held relatively inexpensive units of limited accuracy), is part of treasure hunting. This becomes very interesting and challenging if the trip includes only members on horseback.

Some programs require that a digital camera be used to photograph the site and that is returned before a stated time as evidence of having reached the treasure. Prizes are given in such events ... real treasure.

Plant Collection
Widespread plant collection is needed. Points are selected using GIS to locate places where there is unknown plant life. Members find the site and collect plant samples and return them for identification and permanent storage.

Ecological communities need to be described. Members go to a site and record tree species and their sizes and make other observations.

Pond Peering
Markers are placed on buoys (on anchors) under water. With the user in a boat, the GPS unit is used to find the spot and read the number or word just under the surface. Nearby incorrect markers can be distracting.
With The Ponds Group
of The Fishery
and planning documents ofThe Trevey
With The Wilderness Group of
Nature Folks ...
Into the Wilderness
Members of The Wilderness Group make special outings to ancient forests including Trip Reports on the web site.

Silver Waters Work
Hidden under water in mountain streams on special days, there are treasure boxes. There is also a set of other underwater or near-surface treasure points in the stream or at stream edge. People interested in the beauty and complexity of trout waters like to seek out these sites for beauty, finding good fishing spots, as well as for the extra treasures at the spots (on special days).
It works with "Silver Waters" of
The Fishery

An affiliate of Trimble gps products, Earth Vector Systems, and GPSOutfitters have been contacted to begin exploring potentials. Early thought is for using Garman or Magellan GPS units for field work (and accuracies to within about 30 feet), renting a major unit for short periods to get precise locations for major or permanent points, then to purchase major units (high accuracy) for future uses.

Robert H. Giles, Jr., August 24, 2002 based on ideas from Mr. Brad Rimbey of Tampa, Florida, and Mr. York Grow, Charlottesville, Virginia.


See Virginia Cashing and Letterboxing in Virginia Tourism

See also Letterboxing


Forest Service proposing limits on geocaches, metal detectors in national forests staff reports • February 18, 2010 * * Facebook * ASHEVILLE — The National Forests in NC wants to prohibit leaving geocaches in Wildernesses, Experimental Forests or Wild and Scenic River corridors, and limiting the possession or use of metal detectors on National Forest lands. Under the proposal, geocachers, which use GPS devices to locate caches as part of a scavenger hunt, would be still allowed to advertise and seek out “virtual” caches in these areas, which reference already existing features such as waterfalls and scenic vistas. One popular area that would be affected by this rule is the Bent Creek Experimental Forest near Asheville. A list of all affected areas is posted on the forest website (www.cs/unca/nfsnc). The agency said the order will protect the wild values found in the wildnerness and on Designated rivers and will avoid items conflicting with research activities. Federal regulations already require geocachers get permission from the local ranger district office prior to leaving a cache anywhere on the forest. The agency said in one recent incident, an unmarked and unapproved geocache was left in an ammunition box not far from Asheville. The geocache appeared to be a threat to public safety and cost law enforcement personnel a lot of time investigating it, the forest service said. Detailed information on geocaching requirements can also be found on the forest website. The second rule would prohibit possession or use of metal detectors outside of Designated areas. The agency said that many archaeological sites on the forest have been significantly damaged from treasure hunting, by those who loot sites to sell artifacts, and by others who are unaware that it’s illegal to disturb and remove artifacts from federal land without a research permit. Several forest areas have been identified that would remain open to recreational metal detecting for modern items like coins ­ primarily swimming beaches. These include Lake Powhatan Swim Beach, Jackrabbit Swim beach, Cheoah Point Swim Beach, Flanners Beach (Croatan NF) and Kings Mountain Point Beach (Uwharrie NF). Permission for one-time use of metal detectors to help find lost personal property could still be granted by Forest Officers.Additional information on these closures can be found on the forest website (www.cs/unca/nfsnc). Comments on this proposal should be mailed before March 15 to the National Forests in North Carolina, 160A Zillicoa Street, Asheville, 28801, or sent to “comments-southern-north-carolina@fs.fed.us” http://www.citizen-times.com/article/20100218/NEWS01/100218038/1009

Perhaps you will share ideas with me about some of the topic(s) above .

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Robert H. Giles, Jr.
July 7, 2005