Geocaching is an increasingly popular outdoor activity for people with a global positioning system, or GPS, device or a GPS-enabled mobile phone, such as a BlackBerry. Using a GPS device and a set of longitudinal coordinates, you can embark on hunts for treasure boxes called geocaches. Since BlackBerrys come with internal GPS receivers, a number of geocachers use their BlackBerrys to locate coordinates rather than spending money on a new device. If your BlackBerry is equipped with a GPS, you can download and install geocaching software specifically designed to work with your phone.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Challenging
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Things you need
- BlackBerry with internal GPS
- geocaching software
Test your BlackBerry GPS. Since your device is not a dedicated GPS machine, there is the potential for interference from other phone or business software. Also, some cell phone GPS receivers are not of the same quality as those found in dedicated devices. Geocaching requires a GPS device that is accurate to within several feet, because some of the hidden containers are extremely small and placed with high degrees of stealth. Using a dedicated GPS unit, determine your current position and compare the listed longitude and latitude coordinates with those shown on your BlackBerry. Repeat this comparison several times in distant locations and make note of any discrepancies between the two devices. If your BlackBerry reports your position as more than a five or 10 feet away from what is listed on the dedicated device, reconsider using it for geocaching.
Download and install geocaching software. Compare and evaluate the available geocaching programs that will work on a BlackBerry and decide which one to use. After ensuring the software is designed to work with your particular BlackBerry, download the set-up files and install the program onto your phone.
Choose a geocache. From the geocaching website, search for nearby caches and enter their coordinates into your BlackBerry GPS software. Be sure to read the complete details of the geocache before attempting to locate it.
Begin your search. Using your BlackBerry's GPS receiver and the new geocaching software, follow the directional arrow on your screen and start searching for the hidden container. If and when you find it, deactivate your BlackBerry GPS, log your visit on the sheet enclosed within the container, replace the container as you found it and describe your experience on the geocaching website.
Tips and warnings
- If your BlackBerry is Web-enabled, your geocaching software may be able to connect directly to the geocaching website and display nearby hides, making your search for new treasures faster and more efficient.
- Using the GPS receiver in your BlackBerry requires substantially more power than other normal phone usage. Before attempting to use your BlackBerry in the field, pay strict attention to how quickly the GPS deteriorates your battery power and make a note of your time constraints. Do not geocache without first fully charging your BlackBerry. A dead BlackBerry battery could leave you lost with no way to call for help.
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