Geocoin FAQ

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Having your own customized Geocoins minted can be an exciting process. With hundreds of different design options available, you should have no trouble coming up with a Geocoin that will showcase you or your group’s personality in a unique way. Browse the Geocoin gallery for inspiration, and then contact one of the approved Geocoin manufacturers listed here.

What is a Geocoin?

A Geocoin is a special coin created by individuals or groups of geocachers as a kind of signature item or calling card. Like Travel Bug® Trackables, each Geocoin is assigned a unique tracking ID which allows them to travel from geocache to geocache or to be passed amongst friends, picking up stories along the way.

 

How do Geocoins work?

Because each Geocoin is assigned a unique tracking number, its progress can be tracked online through logs posted by the finders. There are different types of logs that can be made on a Geocoin’s personal home page, including picking up or dropping off the coin, and “discovering” the coin. When you log, you’ll have the opportunity to share your thoughts on the Geocoin page and to upload any photos associated with it. In addition, by logging a Geocoin your online collection will reflect that you found that particular coin.

 

What do I do if I find a Geocoin?

Don’t panic! You have already made the first step by visiting this web site, where you can log that you found it. We have a How to Use a Geocoin page that explains in more detail how to pick up and drop off geocoins.

 

What do I do if I find an unactivated Geocoin?

Oftentimes, geocachers will place unactivated Geocoins in a cache for others to have. In some cases, the activation code has not been included. If you need to obtain an activation code for your Geocoin, please visit the Geocoin manufacturer’s website. Visit this Help Center article for information on locating manufacturers.

 

Where do I find the printable info sheet for my Geocoin or other Trackable?

To help your Geocoin or other Trackable reach its goal, custom information sheets can be printed and sent out with the coin. To print this out, visit your Trackable’s reference page and click on “print info sheet.”I found a Geocoin but the website doesn’t recognize the tracking number!

To log a geocoin on the website you need to know the tracking number stamped on the coin itself. However, not all geocoins are trackable here, so be sure to check the coin to see if another website URL is stamped on it, or ask around to find out more information. All trackable geocoins on Geocaching.com will contain the phrase “Trackable at Geocaching.com”. Take care not to confuse a series number like “302” with the tracking number, which will typically be a combination of letters and numbers.

 

Is there any Geocoin etiquette?

The most common question on etiquette relates to what to do if you find a Geocoin. Keep it? Move it to another geocache? The answer always depends on the goal that its owner has set for it. Usually the best way to find the answer to these questions is to visit the Geocoin’s personal home page and read the description there. If there is a theme or special instructions from the owner, you should do your best to adhere to the Geocoin’s goal, or send an email to the owner for more clarification. Selling a coin that doesn’t belong to you is generally frowned upon unless you have received express permission from its owner. If you create your own series of geocoins and wish to prevent people from selling them, it is recommended you activate all of your coins on Geocaching.com before they leave your possession. This gives you a claim to ownership and, once reported, allows us to deactivate the coin at your request. If you have given any geocoins away which have not been activated, we consider it to be a transfer of ownership and cannot intervene. Think ahead!

Owner Questions

I received my Geocoins. What do I do next?
You will first need to activate each Geocoin you own. Visit the Geocoin Activation Wizard to start activating your new Geocoins. Once you activate them you can place them in caches or trade them with friends.
Where can I find my activation code?
There are different locations for retrieving coin activation codes depending on where they were minted. Check the manufacturer’s website for this information. Some commonly used activation code websites are: www.coincodes.com, and www.oakcoins.com/activate.

 

How do I drop a Geocoin in my own cache?

Once you have reported your new cache listing, revisit the listing page and click on the link to post a new log. Write a note for your cache listing and select the Geocoin that you wish to drop off in your cache.

 

The distance traveled is calculated wrong. How do I fix it?
Distance is calculated for each Geocoin in the logs’ date order. Sometimes users log a Geocoin with the wrong date so the order of the logs is incorrect. This will often create a wrong distance total.
To correct this you can delete the logs that are incorrect and have the user re-enter them, but you’ll have to address issues on a case-by-case basis.
The Geocoin is no longer in [a cache]. How do I remove it?
Occasionally a Geocoin is picked up but for whatever reason the person who picked it up does not log the find. If this happens, users visiting the cache will often let you know that the Geocoin is no longer there. As the Geocoin owner, you have the ability to move your coin to an unknown location until it is found again. Visit your Geocoin’s listing on Geocaching.com and choose the option to move your coin to an unknown location. This will not affect your overall travels and distance calculation. Cache owners also have the ability to move the Geocoin listed on their cache page to an unknown location.
How do I transfer ownership of my Geocoin to another geocacher?
Visit the Trackable adoption tool and enter the tracking ID for your Geocoin. Then enter the username of the person to whom you would like to transfer the coin. This is a handy utility for sending and receiving adoption requests and a way to help make the transition go smoothly for the new listing owner.

Trackables

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What are trackables?

A Trackable is a sort of physical geocaching “game piece.” You will often find them in geocaches or see them at geocaching gatherings. Each Trackable is etched with a unique code that can be used to log its movements on Geocaching.com as it travels in the real world. Some of these items have traveled hundreds of thousands of miles thanks to geocachers who move them from cache to cache!

There are three main types of Trackables: Travel Bug® Trackables, Geocoins and other Trackables.

A Travel Bug is a trackable tag attached to an item that geocachers call a “hitchhiker.” Each Travel Bug has a goal set by its owner. Goals are typically travel-related, such as to visit every country in Europe or travel from coast to coast. Travel Bug Trackables move from cache to cache with the help of geocachers like you. See the “What do I do when I find a Trackable?” section of the guide for information on how you can help Trackables move.

Geocoins are customizable coins created by individuals or groups of geocachers as a kind of signature item or calling card. They function exactly like Travel Bug Trackables and should be moved to another cache, unless otherwise specified by their owners.

Other Trackable items come in various forms including patches, key rings and more. A common feature of Trackable items is that they bear a unique ID code and text noting that they are trackable at Geocaching.com. More information about Trackables can be found here.

 

What should I do when I find a trackable?

You are not required to do anything with the Trackable, but if you would like to interact with it, you have two options.

  1. Move the Trackable
    If you would like to move the Trackable to another cache, take it with you. You do not need to leave anything in its place as long as you are willing to help it on its journey. You can look up the Trackable’s goal by entering its unique Tracking Code at www.geocaching.com/track or searching for the Tracking Code on Groundspeak’s Geocaching Application.When you take a Trackable from one cache and drop it into another, it is important to log the Trackable’s movements.
  2. “Discover” the Trackable
    When you have seen a Trackable in person, but have not moved it, you can log that you have “discovered” it. To do so, you will need to write down the Trackable’s Tracking Code (the unique series of letters and numbers etched on the item).See “How do I log a Trackable?” for logging instructions.

 

How do I log a trackable?

Instructions on logging a Trackable can be found here. If you are moving a Trackable in the real world, it is important that you also log this movement online. The steps for logging Travel Bug Trackables, Geocoins and other Trackables are the same.

Note that you should not show Tracking Codes to others or upload any photos displaying a Tracking Code. This code is only meant to be seen by those who have actually had the Trackable in their hands. If you would like to direct others to the Trackable’s page, use the Reference Code on the Trackable page (it starts with TB or GC).

 

How do I activate a trackable?

To activate a Trackable, visit the Activation Wizard and enter the Trackable’s Tracking and Activation Codes. The Tracking Code is the unique series of letters and numbers etched on the item. The Activation Code is typically found on an insert in the Trackable packaging.

 

Hiding a Geocache

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Who hides geocaches?

Members of the geocaching community hide and maintain all of the geocaches listed on Geocaching.com. You can hide one too!

 

How do I hide a geocache?

Before considering your first geocache hide, we suggest that you find a variety of caches in your area. Seeing caches in a variety of locations, in different containers and hidden by a variety of users will help you understand what makes a great cache hide. This makes it more likely that you too will hide an interesting cache that everyone will enjoy!

As you prepare to place your cache, review our Guide to Hiding a Cache and the Geocache Listing Guidelines. It is important that you understand these guidelines before submitting a cache for review.

 

When I submit a cache for review how long does it take for it to be published?

Each cache that is submitted to Geocaching.com is reviewed by a volunteer to ensure that the cache meets the Geocaching Listing Guidelines. It may take up to three days for the volunteer to contact you and make your cache live on the web site. Sometimes the volunteer will need to work with you to fine-tune the listing so it can be published. We kindly ask for your patience during this review process, especially on weekends when site traffic can be high.

 

 

Finding Geocaches

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What does a geocache look like?

Geocaches vary greatly in size and appearance. In the field you will see everything from large, clear plastic containers to film canisters to a fake rock with a secret compartment. So, how do you find the cache?

The first step is to get a general idea of the cache’s size. The size is shown on each cache page. A general overview of the cache size graphic is found below. Please note that these are just examples; sizes can vary.

Micro Cache Size Icon Micro – Less than 100ml. Examples: a 35 mm film canister or a tiny storage box typically containing only a logbook or a logsheet. A nano cache is a common sub-type of a micro cache that is less than 10ml and can only hold a small logsheet.
Small Cache Size Icon Small – 100ml or larger, but less than 1L. Example: A sandwich-sized plastic container or similar.
Regular Cache Size Icon Regular – 1L or larger, but less than 20L. Examples: a plastic container or ammo can about the size of a shoebox.
Large Cache Size Icon Large – 20L or larger. Example: A large bucket.
Other Cache Size Icon Other – See the cache description for information.

Small, Regular and Large containers typically contain trade items.

To learn more about what to look for on the cache page and in the field, check out our video 5 Geocaches in 30 Seconds, these cache container photos, and read our guide.

 

What’s usually in a cache?

In its simplest form, a cache always contains a logbook or logsheet for you to log your find. Larger caches may contain a logbook and any number of items. These items turn the adventure into a true treasure hunt. You never know what the cache owner or visitors to the cache may have left for you to enjoy. Remember, if you take something, leave something of equal or greater value in return. It is recommended that items in a cache be individually packaged in a clear, zipped plastic bag to protect them from the elements.

Quite often you may also find a Trackable, a sort of geocaching “game piece” that you can learn more about here.

 

What should not be placed in a cache?

People of all ages hide and seek geocaches, so think carefully before placing an item into a cache. Explosives, ammunition, knives, drugs and alcohol should not be placed in a cache. Respect local laws at all times.

Please do not put food or heavily scented items in a cache. Animals have better noses than humans, and in some cases caches have been chewed through and destroyed because of food items in a cache.

 

How do I find the cache and what do I do once I’ve found it?

There are many things to know about searching for a cache. For instance, did you know that there is a slight “error” to every GPS device due to technological limitations? Your device can get you close to the cache, but there are a number of things to consider as you get closer to the cache location.

When you find the cache, sign the logbook and return it to the cache. You can take an item from the cache if you like – just make sure to leave something of equal or greater value in its place. When you are finished, put the cache back exactly as you found it, even if you think you see a better spot for it. Finally, visit the cache page to log your find and share your experience with others.

 

Can I move a cache once I find it?

Please do not move a cache from its original location. If you feel that the cache may not be located in the correct location, please email the cache owner directly or post a log on the cache listing page, notifying the owner of your concern. Cache owners are responsible for maintaining their cache placements.

 

What should I do if I discover a cache has gone missing?

If you visit a cache location and the cache is missing, make sure to log the cache with a “Didn’t find it” log so that the cache owner is notified. Cache owners who repeatedly receive “Didn’t find it” logs should check to see that their cache has not been removed.

As a geocacher, if you notice that a cache page has an unusual number of “Didn’t find it” logs, please let the local reviewer know or contact us. We rely on the geocaching community to let us know the status of caches in their area.

 

How do I log my find?

Instructions for logging a “Found It” are located here. If you need to post another type of log, such as a “Didn’t find it” or a Note, the same instructions apply, with one small change; instead of choosing “Found It” in the drop-down menu, you would choose the applicable log type.

Types of Geocaches

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Traditional Geocache

This is the original type of geocache and the most straightforward. These geocaches will be a container at the given coordinates. The size may vary, but at minimum, all of these geocaches will have a logbook. Larger containers may contain items for trade and trackables.

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Mystery or Puzzle Caches

The “catch-all” of geocache types, this type may involve complicated puzzles that you will first need to solve to determine the correct coordinates. Mystery/Puzzle Caches often become the staging ground for new and unique geocaches that do not fit in another category.

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Multi-Cache

These geocaches involve two or more locations, with the final location being a physical container with a logbook inside. There are many variations, but typically once you’re at the first stage, you will receive a clue to the whereabouts of the second stage. The second stage will have a clue for the third, and so on.

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EarthCache

An EarthCache is a special geological location people can visit to learn about a unique feature of the Earth. EarthCache pages include a set of educational notes along with coordinates. Visitors to EarthCaches can see how our planet has been shaped by geological processes, how we manage its resources and how scientists gather evidence. Typically, to log an EarthCache, you will have to provide answers to questions by observing the geological location. For more information about EarthCaches visit http://www.earthcache.org/.

 

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Letterbox Hybrid

Letterboxing is another form of treasure hunting that uses clues instead of coordinates. In some cases, the letterbox owner has made their container both a letterbox and a geocache and posted its coordinates on Geocaching.com. These types of geocaches will contain a stamp that is meant to remain in the box and is used by letterboxers to record their visit. To read more about letterboxing, visit Letterboxing North America.

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Event Cache

An Event Cache is a gathering of local geocachers or geocaching organizations. The Event Cache page specifies a time for the event and provides coordinates to its location. After the event has ended, it is archived.

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Cache In Trash Out Event (CITO)

Cache In Trash Out is the environmental initiative supported by the geocaching community. The main aim of this program is to clean up and preserve the natural areas that we enjoy while geocaching. These events are larger gatherings of geocachers that focus on litter clean-up, removal of invasive species, planting trees and vegetation and trail building.

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Mega-Event Cache

A Mega-Event Cache is an Event Cache that is attended by 500+ people. Many Mega-Events offer geocachers a day of planned activities. There are often several days of additional activities surrounding a Mega-Event. These large events attract geocachers from all over the world and are often held annually.

 

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Giga-Event Cache

This is one of the rarest geocache types available. A Giga-Event Cache is an event that is attended by 5000+ people. These events are similar to Mega-Events and may include activities, could last several days and are usually held annually. Since Giga-Events are so rare, they attract geocachers from all over the world.

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Wherigo™ Cache

Wherigo is a toolset for creating and playing GPS-enabled adventures in the real world. By integrating a Wherigo experience, called a cartridge, with finding a geocache, the geocaching hunt can be an even richer experience. Among other uses, Wherigo allows geocachers to interact with physical and virtual elements such as objects or characters while still finding a physical geocache container. A Wherigo-enabled GPS device is required to play a cartridge. Learn more at Wherigo.com.

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Geocaching HQ Geocache

The Geocaching HQ Geocache is located at Geocaching HQ in Seattle, Washington. Geocachers interested in visiting HQ to log the geocache should make an appointment at least 48 hours in advance via hqvisits@geocaching.com. Appointments help us keep Geocaching HQ running smoothly. Visits are available Tuesday through Friday, from 2–3pm. For the ultimate HQ experience, we recommend scheduling your visit for Friday.

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GPS Adventures Maze Exhibit

A find of this type represents attendance at the GPS Adventures Maze Exhibit or a regional variation. GPS Adventures Mazes are designed to teach people of all ages about GPS technology and geocaching through interactive science experiences.

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Lab Caches

Welcome to Geocaching HQ Research & Development. A Lab Geocache is an experimental and extremely rare geocache type. These geocaches are a way for us to innovate and test—often at the molecular-level—new ideas to make geocaching even better. By finding a Lab Geocache, you’re helping shape the future of geocaching.