updated 1/23/2007 11:14:34 AM ET 2007-01-23T16:14:34

Geocaching isn't only for computer and technology wizards.

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It's simply a matter of learning how to use a Global Positioning System receiver and following the game strategy.

According to Geocaching.com, the hobby initially started in May 2000 as the "Great American GPS Stash Hunt," where computer consultant Dave Ulmer placed a container in the woods and published its coordinates on the Web.

Soon after, a mailing list of interested persons formed and the name geocaching, pronounced "geo-cashing," resulted. Web developer Jeremy Irish then established Geocaching.com, the official geocaching Web site, and later helped launch Groundspeak Inc., the company that now manages the site.

Many geocachers regard the activity as a sport that blends components of travel, exercise, nature, technology and common sense.

For the game, a geocacher uses a GPS receiver to find a cache, which is some sort of container that is hidden. A basic cache container can be an ammo box, water bottle, Tupperware container or bucket.

The coordinates for each cache are listed online, along with information about the terrain and difficulty. Sometimes clues or hints are included, too.

Inside the cache is a logbook for the geocacher to sign and various items, from key chains and toys to CDs and books. A geocacher who takes an item from the cache leaves something else behind and records the exchange in the logbook. The rule is "take something, leave something." After locating caches, geocachers visit the Web site to record their finds.

Caches are hidden and found by everyday people across the state, country and world. Each geocacher creates his or her own geocaching identity, or handle. This is the name that appears online.

Several different types of caches exist. Micro caches come in a small form, such as a film canister, Altoids tin or pill container. These tiny caches normally only include a miniature logbook and writing utensil.

Multi-caches have two or more parts that must be completed in order to find the cache. Other forms of caches include Webcam caches and virtual caches. Some caches even involve themes, puzzles, codes and other forms of creativity.

Geocaches can be hidden in numerous spots: under rocks, in trees, inside a rotten log or in any sort of crevice in the earth. They can also be located in a city environment, such as outside or inside buildings, in parking lots or playgrounds, or under park benches. Some may require miles of strenuous hiking, while others are stationed along flat areas that are wheelchair-accessible.

Another aspect of geocaching is travel bugs. A travel bug, or hitchhiker, is a designated trinket with the goal of traveling. If a geocacher finds a travel bug inside a cache, he or she can take the object and put it in another cache.

Travel bugs are not intended to be kept forever by the finder. Instead, these items should be transported to another geocache so the traveling can continue. Geocachers can follow the progress of individual travel bugs online.

Geocaching.com reports that GPS receivers normally cost between $100 and $1,000. The price depends upon how advanced the device is and the features it offers. Regardless of the cost, all GPS receivers have the same coordinate accuracy.

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