Subscribe to our Newsletter
You did it! You hid the coolest, most creative geocache ever and followed all the necessary guidelines…right? Well, the fun doesn’t end there. As a geocache owner, you have a responsibility to maintain and manage your geocache after it is published. The hide itself is just the beginning of your geocache-owning journey.
May 1, 2000
President Clinton announces that Selective Availability (SA) will be turned off.
May 2, 2000 @ 12:00 AM
Selective Availability is turned off.The Great Stash Game!!
Dave Ulmer makes the first Usenet post about what will become Geocaching.
May 4, 2000
Global Positioning Stash Hunt (GPSH) The name of the Game!
Dave Ulmer is looking for help in putting together a FAQ and creating a web site for GPS Stashes.
Erhard Kraus makes a suggestion for a “code of conduct” and expiry date for stashes.Great GPS Stash Hunt – Stash #1 was Found!!
The first GPS Stash is found for the first time.
At the end of this message thread we find possibly the first suggestion of including an e-mail address in the cache so that the hider can be notified when the cache is found.
May 6, 2000
The Worlds ONLY GPS !!
Still only ONE GPS Stash in existence.The Geodesic Positioned Stash (GPS)
Dave Ulmer (tongue planted firmly in cheek) suggests a new meaning for the term GPS.GPS Stashes & stuff, opinions please
With only one GPS Stash in existence, TomTom is already looking for a way to make stash hunts more challenging.
May 7, 2000
GPS Stash #2 and #3
Mike Teague places the 2nd and 3rd GPS stashes.
Did you know that two of the first three stashes (caches) were located on Mt. St. Helens?GPS Stash Hunt: The Divine Stashes!
Dave Ulmer suggests the first “specialty” stash.
May 8, 2000
Worlds First Divine Stash now in place!!
Dave Ulmer hides the first “specialty” stash.GPS Stash Hunt Homepage
Mike Teague creates and posts the first GPS Stash Hunt web site (the precursor to Geocaching.com).
The web site no longer exists. The link above shows what the site looked like on June 21, 2000.
May 10, 2000
My First GPS Stash Hunt Adventure (gulp)!
Dave Ulmer posts the first GPS Stash “log entry”.
In this message thread we also find the first suggestion for a rating system for stashes.Southern California GPS stash
The first California GPS stash is announced (hidden on 5/9/2000).
May 11, 2000
GPS Stash Hunt – New Stashes in CA, KS.
Seven stashes have been hidden in four states (OR, WA, CA and KS).Stamped Offset Stashes (SOS)
Coordinor (aka Dave Ulmer) suggests a new stash type. Possibly the first mention of the “offset” cache (multi-cache) concept.Glueing a penny to a rock…
Coordinor (aka Dave Ulmer) expands on the idea of SOS.
May 12, 2000
Stash page/faq yet?
Coordinor (aka Dave Ulmer) posts an expanded version of the GPS Stash Hunt FAQ.
(Which combines the original FAQ, the Car Stash FAQ, the SOS concept and offers the first thoughts on the lifetime of stash.)
May 13, 2000
Re: GPS Stash Hunt – New Stashes in CA, KS. and IL
Illinois gets its first GPS stash.First New Zealand GPS Stash Hunt site
First stash placed outside the United States is hidden in New Zealand. (Hidden 5/12/2000)
May 15, 2000
First In Latin America
Chile becomes the third nation to join the game.Circular Offset Stashes (COS)
Looking to make GPS Stash Hunting more difficult and challenging, Coordinor (aka Dave Ulmer) comes up with an idea for a new type of cache.Billy Graham Memorial COS.
Coordinor (aka Dave Ulmer) announces the first Circular Offset Stash.GPS Stash group
James H. Coburn IV creates a GPS Stash e-mail group.
This group still exists as the gpsstash Yahoo! Group. You’ll have to join the group to be able to read the messages.
May 18, 2000
Australia gets its first GPS Stash.
May 20, 2000
Stashed on the edge of My Seat!
Coordinor (aka Dave Ulmer) discusses a pair of challenging caches.
May 26, 2000
New GPS Stashes
More new stashes, including the 2nd in New Zealand.In GPS Stash e-mail group message #8, Dave Ulmer is already thinking about the future of this new game and questions if the name “GPS Stash Hunt” is the best name for this activity and wonders if there is a better name . . .
From: "David J. Ulmer" Date: Fri May 26, 2000 4:58 am Subject: Second Thoughts Greetings, I've been having some second thoughts about the GPS Stash Hunt project especially since things have slowed down a bit. I'm thinking we got the right game but the wrong name! Reluctantly, I put on my spandex, buy some bottled water, and load up my walkman with Barbara Streisand and take a new look at stash hunting.... It appears that the word Stash has some negative connotations, maybe illegal, maybe subversive, maybe just too related to the hippies and drugs. Doesn't seem to fit in todays spandex, natural, eco tourist world we now live in. Hunt also has problems, it takes us back to our hunter gather roots and certainly doesn't relate to our environmentalist, pro-sumer consumer reality of today. If the idea is going to sell in todays market, it may need a name that garners fuzzy feelings of respect and admiration of our fragile environment. Something the do-gooder of today would be proud of. Something the school teacher and Boy Scout leader could have pride in teaching their children. Something that makes your wife "feel good" about you after a long day of searching. So should we change the name? To what? Should we change the game? Second Thoughts? Dave...
This touches off a flurry of messages and ideas including Planeteering, Geosatplaneteering and the early front runner for a new name:Geostash. Mike Teague, among others, seems to feel it’s too early in the life of the game to worry about the name and argues against a name change.
May 30, 2000
Matt Stum (in e-mail group Msg #62) coins a new term – Geocache – and offers it in place of the term Geostash. This looks to be the first use of the term Geocache:
From: Matt Stum Date: Tue May 30, 2000 8:04 am Subject: Cache vs. Stash Regardless of the final name, can we please replace the word "stash" with "cache"? "GPS Cache Hunt" and "Geocache" still sound find. I believe it still works with all of the variations that David came up with (Geocaching, geocacher, etc). Here's my reasoning: 1) Several people have already stated their dislike for the term "stash" on the basis that it sounds illegal. To my ears, "stash" sounds a little immature, but that's a personal feeling. 2) "Back in the old days", especially in the Yukon and northern climes, explorers would leave caches of food and supplies at known locations so that they'd have them on their return trip. Some caches were "community property" and known by all who took a particular trail. If they needed something, they took it, and if they had extras of something, they left it. Sound familiar? 3) The word "cache" both brings forth feelings of nostalgia for the days of exploring, as well as a "techie" feeling for those that associate it with computer memory. Personally, when I get a chance to check on my cache's again (they're 6 hrs from where I live) I'll remove all references to any particular game. I'll probably add a custom rubber stamp and register the cache with the letterboxing folks as well. Might as well double the fun. My "clue" for the letterboxing folks will simply be the lat/lon coordinates. I believe their game is flexible enough to allow that. Matt
Soon afterward, Dave Ulmer says he likes the new term (Msg #63):
From: "David J. Ulmer" <daveulmer@c...> Date: Tue May 30, 2000 8:27 am Subject: Re: [gpsstash] Cache vs. Stash Matt, your right ! Cache is better than Stash ! Stash does have that illegal tinge to it that has bothered me all along.. OK, I'm game to go geocaching and change my stashes to geochaches. All I need to do now is remember how to spell it and type it :) Dave...
May 31, 2000
In Msg #75 Dave Ulmer makes the name change “official”:
From: "David J. Ulmer" Date: Wed May 31, 2000 6:50 am Subject: Just Formalities my friends! The results of the Name the Game is wonderful, we now have a Formal name for the game! Stash and GPS Stash Hunt are informal names. Geocache and Geocaching can be the formal name. We can have various informal names for the game, whatever a webmaster wants is ok but we do need a formal name for the black-tie affairs. Formal names are usually boring but can be useful for getting financing and the like. There can now be both formal Geocache sites and informal Stash sites and it can all be fun. Even formalities can enrich the game! Dave...
June 1, 2000
Geocache, a new word for your dictionary !
Geocaching is born!INTRODUCTION TO RECREATIONAL GEOCACHING
An article by Dave Ulmer. (From the GPS Stash Hunt web site)Geocache Distance Table
Matt Stum announces a new web site.
The web site gives the distance of each cache from a given coordinate pair (by default the position of the first cache). The list can be sorted by date placed as well. The page indicates that as of 8/17/2000 there were sixty-four (64) caches hidden world wide.
The site is inactive now. The link points to the page as of August 17, 2000.
Thanks to the The Internet Archive Wayback Machine, most of the links (to the photos, etc.) still work.
June 3, 2000
First Irish GPS Stash
Ireland joins the Geocaching community.
And so ends the first month in the history of Geocaching. By the end of May 2000, twenty-one (21) caches (five outside the U.S.) have been hidden world-wide.
Other Dates of Historical Geocaching Interest:
September 2, 2000
The first(?) mention of a new web site, Geocaching.com, is mentioned in the e-mail group (Msg #359:
From: "Jeremy Irish" Date: Sat Sep 2, 2000 8:12 pm Subject: RE: [gpsstash] GPS Stash home page Yesterday it looked like the site had gone down, so I sent Mike an email. I also noticed that the root of the site looks like the machine went through a reinstall. Haven't heard anything more. I was hoping to wait until there was more functionality available, but I might as well plug Geocaching.com - All the stashes are available on the site (and hopefully current), and I added some new capabilities to help you find each stash. Some of the stuff works (like you can log a find online) but some of the administration of your own stashes doesn't work quite yet. Any input would be appreciated. The geocaching phenomenon is starting to get too big to maintain on multiple sites - hopefully I can add some functionality to take it to the next level and make it easier to grow. I already talked to Mike Teague via e-mail and he likes the direction so far. Let me know what you think! New capabilities: Nearest placenames (US only - trying to get other country data) to caches Closest caches by zip code (US only again) All caches have their own page with mapping data. You can log a cache online (owners of caches will be able to remove bogus logs) Will be adding the ability to add your own stashes, update content, add pictures of your visits, etc. http://www.geocaching.com (it also works at www.geocashing.com - the way it sounds) Cheers, Jeremy
September 8, 2000
Geocaching – web site?.
Possibly the first mention of Geocaching.com in the Newsgroup.
April 22, 2001
The author (Kimbo) finds his first cache, Cache for Kids (CacheID# 799).
June 26, 2001
The major Sacramento newspaper, The Sacramento Bee, prints an article on Geocaching. Many members of the RCGDS are introduced to Geocaching by this article.
GPS, or Global Positioning System, was developed by the US Department of Defense. This satellite navigation system was intended for military use and therefore the signals were scrambled, limiting accuracy for civilian use to about 100 meters. On May 1, 2000, President Clinton announced that this scrambling, known as Selective Availability (SA), would be turned off. Civilians were then able to enjoy accuracy on the order of 10 meters.
On May 3, 2000, Dave Ulmer proposed a way to celebrate the demise of SA. He hid a bucket of trinkets in the woods outside Portland, Oregon and announced its location in a posting made to the USENET newsgroup sci.geo.satellite-nav. This announcement is remarkable for laying out the essence of the hobby that is still in place today. It’s all there. The container. The trinkets. The log book. The rule of take something, leave something, sign the logbook. Dave Ulmer invented geocaching in one fell swoop in that newsgroup posting.
Within a day, the original stash had been found. Within days, more stashes had been hidden in California, Kansas, and Illinois. Within a month, a stash had been hidden as far away as Australia. The hobby was fast on its way to being a worldwide phenomenon.
On May 8, Mike Teague announced a Web site for collecting the locations of caches. The original Web page is gone, but thanks to the Wayback Machine, a copy of the GPS Stash Hunt Homepage still exists.
On May 15, James Coburn set up a mailing list on eGroups (now Yahoo!) for discussion of geocaching. The list is still in existence. Its archives contain the best record of the early days of the hobby.
On May 30, a new name was coined for the hobby. Matt Stum suggested “geocaching” to avoid the negative connotations of the word “stash”.
So, within a month, the hobby had in place the rules, its first hides and finds, a mailing list and a home page. And the number of caches was growing fast.
On September 2, 2000, Jeremy Irish emailed the gpsstash mailing list that he had registered the domain name geocaching.com and had setup his own Web site. He copied the caches from Mike Teague’s database into his own. On September 6, Mike Teagueannounced that Jeremy Irish was taking over cache listings.
From the outset, Jeremy Irish considered ways to make money from geocaching. Geocaching.com was setup as a .com site, not .org. He sold banner ads to GPS manufacturers and retailers. He soon gave up on banner ads, which he discovered did not make that much in revenue. He accepted direct donations via PayPal and arranged commissions from GPS retailers through Web site referrals. He also turned to clothing sales. He claimed to have coined the word geocaching and applied for a trademark on the word, despite it being in common use as descriptive of the hobby since the month geocaching was invented. He incorporated as Grounded, Inc.
Some moves were immediately controversial. Early on, when geocaching was still smaller than the older hobby of Letterboxing, Irish made an attempt to absorb Letterboxing into the geocaching.com Web site. The move was resisted by other members of the gpsstash mailing list. Eventually, Irish gave up trying to take over Web services for Letterboxing.
Another controversial move was the monopoly control Irish unilaterally imposed over the database of cache locations, refusing to provide the full list to anyone. Criticisms of his actions on the original gpsstash mailing list were met with the establishment of his own mailing list hosted on his own geocaching.com site. Ironically, Irish cited “moderation” of his own posts as a reason why he would no longer participate in geocaching discussions on the only geocaching mailing list at that time. Censorship of posts would soon become a controversial matter on Irish’s own Web site.
In the meantime, of course, geocachers were busy hiding and finding geocaches in an ever growing number of countries. That brings us to the end of 2000, just a short 8 months after the invention of the hobby. The great controversies still lay in the future: pin maps and copyright and the Planet of the Apes commercial caches and censorship of the Creator of Geocaching and pay-to-play members-only caches. And how Dave Ulmer and Navicache and Robin Lovelock became words that you dare not utter on geocaching.com.
The first recorded instance of a geocaching get-together (now known as an event cache) was held in Austin, Texas, on March 24, 2001. It was hosted by Eoghan and Pumpkin Princess. The “hide” date was set as the actual date of the event (which became standard practice) and the meeting location coordinates were used for the “cache coordinates”.
About this time, a geocacher in New York state by the name of Quinn set up a regional geocaching Web site named Navicache. Reportedly, Jeremy Irish threatened a lawsuit unless Quinn’s site delete use of the word geocaching, presumably because of Irish’s trademark application. Quinn resisted and instead turned Navicache.com into a full-fledged geocaching resource, adding cache listings. Navicache.com became the largest alternative database of cache listings.
A geocacher in California named Ed Hall (aka Buxley) created online maps showing the locations of geocaches. Rather than welcome Buxley’s contribution towards promoting the new sport of geocaching, in May, 2001, Jeremy Irish threatened legal actionunless Buxley add a copyright notice to his maps stating “Geocaching Data Copyright 2001 Grounded, Inc.” Irish also removed the link to Buxley’s Web pages from geocaching.com and announced the release of his own basic mapping capability. The incident received widespread attention when it was reported in a Slashdot article.
In May, 2001, Irish extended geocaching.com’s business model more directly into the pay-to-play world, despite a pledge to keep the game “free” and “non-commercial.” Besides the banner ads, clothing sales, and sales of geocaching log books, bumper stickers, decals, etc., he now introduced “members-only caches” and fee-based hitchhiker logging. The members-only caches were accessible only to those who paid a $30/year membership fee. Likewise, the ability to track the movements of hitchhikers, aka Travel Bugs (TM), using the site’s own logging system, was available only to those who paid Irish $5.95 per hitchhiker (informal, home-grown methods of tracking one’s hitchhikers remained free, of course). These moves upset some geocachers, but others defended Irish and the new pay-to-play schemes became firmly established. By mid-2003, geocaching.com had over 150,000 registered users, including an estimated 7,200 paid subscribers at $30 per year.
Besides the earlier established Navicache.com, another full-featured geocaching site emerged in reaction to geocaching.com’s increased commercialization and monopolistic control over the hobby. GeocachingWorldwide was developed by an Australian geocacher, Jeremy Hurst, interested in developing a system whereby multiple Web sites would share data about geocache coordinates. Sites would be free to compete on features, not the geocache data contributed by geocachers themselves. Despite a promising beginning, demands on the Webmaster’s time by work and family prevented continued development and activity at GeocachingWorldwide ceased in late 2001.
Geocaching.com’s reaction to new geocaching Web sites was to censor the mention of their names in the geocaching.com forums. This censorship led to the establishment of a USENET newsgroup, alt.rec.geocaching, a forum uncensorable not only by Irish, but by any geocacher or geocaching organization.
A fourth full-featured geocaching Web site, GeoGamer.com (no longer in existence), emerged from nowhere in June, 2002. Its developers openly presented it as a commercial geocaching site, which ironically triggered critical postings in the geocaching.com forums against commercial geocaching Web sites. However, after a brief spate of messages to the GeoGamer forums, there was no further activity at GeoGamer.com.
Not all the controversies in geocaching were over the monopolistic practices of Irish and Grounded, Inc. Ironically, one of the most bitter dealt with a single geocacher and his use of the hobby to promote his own GPS-related business. Robin Lovelock, of the UK, created many caches near his own home, leaving his business card and a CD-ROM of his software in each. This combination of cache density and personal advertising irritated other geocachers to the point where some of Robin Lovelock’s caches were plundered and his name became unmentionable in the UK forums on geocaching.com.
As of early 2006, many Web sites had emerged that listed geocache listings. Some of these had short lives, some had staying power. The known sites (with the date they began accepting geocache listings):
- www.triax.com/yngwie/gps.html (started May, 2000; now dead)
- geocaching.com (Sep, 2000)
- geopeitus.ee (Feb, 2001)
- navicache.com (Mar, 2001)
- geocachingworldwide.com (Jun, 2001; now dead)
- geotreasures.com (mid-2001; now dead)
- geocaching.hu (?)
- geocaching.ru (?)
- geogamer.com (Jun, 2002; now dead)
- geocaching.gpsgames.org (May, 2004)
- terracaching.com (Oct, 2004)
- movingcache.com (Dec, 2004; now retired)
- geocaching.com.au (Jan, 2005)
- opencaching.de (Aug, 2005)
- opencaching.pl (Jun, 2006)
This May 2nd and 3rd, celebrate the history of geocaching by unlocking your mission for 2015. May 2nd and 3rd signal the beginning of geocaching, some 15 years ago. On May 2, 2000, GPS signals were descrambled, increasing the accuracy of GPS devices worldwide by ten times. The following day, what would become known as the first geocache was hidden.
Celebrate 15 Years of Geocaching on May 2nd and 3rd by finding any geocache or attending any geocaching event. You’ll earn a new digital souvenir for your geocaching profile.
Unlock details of your 2015 geocaching mission by reading the souvenir’s description. Join the conversation with your fellow geocachers on social media by tagging #Geocaching15 in your posts.
What has been the best Challenge Geocache you have found? (not the geocaching challenges that “replaced” virtuals)
How many pictures do you have in your Geocaching Gallery?
What “Distance from Home” category has the greatest number of geocache finds in your stats?
NCEES is partnering with Geocaching to launch #PSnoboundaries, a nationwide trackable geocaching contest.
Using a GPS unit and/or written directions provided by NOAA’s National Geodetic Survey, participants will seek out one of 2,500 NCEES-branded trackables placed in a geocache container at a NGS survey marker. Once located, the participants will take a picture holding the trackable next to the benchmark and post the photo to Facebook or Twitter using the hashtag #PSnoboundaries to be entered into the contest. The grand prize is a trip for two to the 2015 Geocaching Block party in Seattle. The contest ends June 1.
The trackables normally are removed and something else, at the discretion of the finder, is left in in the container. The trackable will likely be moved to another geocache container where its new location will be logged in to geocaching.com by the finder so the trackable’s movement can be monitored. In the past, trackables have been monitored traveling more than 40,000 miles.
For information on geocaching, visit geocaching.com. For more information on the contest, visit NCEES.org during National Surveying Week.
The paperwork for 11th Annual Florida Finders Fest has been submitted to Groudspeak for approval and publication. FFF will be held October 24 this year. We hope to have it published within 10 days. The website for registration and camping will be open soon.
FWC is requiring insurance this year and that cost may be passed on to all attendees. Would everyone be willing to pay a couple of dollars to continue using the youth camp? Leave us a comment and let us know your thoughts.
If you have a smartphone & use it as a GPS, which Geocaching App do you use to find caches?