Geocaching is becoming very popular nowadays as more and more people are getting hooked to this extremely interesting outdoor activity. However, the success and the ease with which you can locate a hidden treasure depend entirely on the accuracy of your GPS receiver. Technology has advanced at a very rapid pace in the past few decades and the functions of the GPS receivers have also improved manifold during this period.
Brief History Of Geocaching
The United States Department of Defense had placed 24 satellites around the globe for orbiting the earth in a low orbit, for defense purposes. However, they are free to be used for other civilian navigational purposes. The GPS signals being sent by these solar powered satellites were of a scrambled nature, prior to May 2, 2000 when the intentional modification of these signals was removed by the U.S. government. Because of this step, the accuracy of the signals improved by over 1000 percent.
In order to test the improvement of the accuracy of the signals David Ulmer, a computer consultant went to a forest in Oregon and concealed a container there. He then posted the co-ordinates on an online web site. Many people found this container and concealed their own to become a part of this new adventure that was named “Geocaching”.
How GPS Receivers Work
The GPS receivers are designed so that they can receive the signals from the satellites which are extremely accurate as they are less than 40 billionths of a second. These signals are then processed through a triangulation method in order to track the exact presence of the user. This will also enable the user to find out the distance traveled, speed and elevation that will prove to be very helpful.
What Is The Triangulation Process
Signals from three or more satellites are received and used by the GPS receiver to find out the location with the help of a trigonometric process. Since the distance between two satellites at any point of time is known, the position of the object on earth can easily be worked out by using the bearings to it from those two fixed points.
Geocaching As A Sport/Hobby
Geo means Earth and cache refers to a hidden treasure. Many people have started indulging in this adventurous activity as it is very simple and affords a high degree of adventure. All that you need is a GPS unit and your determination to enjoy this adventure. You can start by finding the co-ordinates of a hidden container by logging on to the official website of geocaching. The GPS unit will show you the way with an accuracy of about 25 meters. The real adventure will start when you start looking for the treasure at that location as the geocache might be anywhere in a tree stump or in between rocks.
Go for it! Geocaching will simply astound you…literally!