Geocaching 102: Geocaching Terminology Part 2

Welcome to Geocaching 102, where we will continue exploring geocaching terminology. Geocaching is a great way to explore the outdoors, get some exercise, and enjoy a fun family activity. So let’s get started!

What is geocaching?

Geocaching is a treasure-hunting game that involves finding hidden items (called geocaches) using GPS coordinates. The goal is to locate these hidden items and then log your find on an online geocaching website. Geocaching is an exciting way to explore the outdoors and is a great way to get the whole family involved in a fun activity.

Geocaching originated in 2000 when the U.S. government removed selective availability from the Global Positioning System (GPS). This made it possible for anyone with a GPS receiver to accurately pinpoint their location on the Earth’s surface. Geocaching was born shortly after this, and now millions of people around the world enjoy hunting for geocaches.

Geocaching terminology explained

Geocaching is a fun way to explore the outdoors, but it can be confusing for new geocachers. Here are some of the most common terms used in geocaching:

  • Archive: Archiving permanently removes a geocache listing from search results. A geocache owner can archive their own listing but cannot unarchive it. Caches can also be archived by reviewers.
  • Bison: Also known as a “Bison tube”, is a small, metal, water-tight cylindrical container that is often used for micro sized caches. The name comes from the original manufacturer. You can find them or one of the other brands on
  • Bug: Which is short for Travel bug, a type of trackable tag with a unique tracking code that can be attached to an item.
  • Collectible: A status assigned to any trackable item that people can keep it in their possession, and do not have to physically move it to another geocache.
  • The Creed: Also known as the “Geocachers’ Creed”. Designed to help orient new players to the ethos of the geocaching community. It is also to help guide experienced players in questionable situations.
  • Datum: Related to GPS, datums are different calculations for determining longitude and latitude for a given location. A datum is chosen to give the best fit given the true shape of the Earth. currently uses the WGS84 datum for all caches
  • Dipping: A way to log a trackable at a geocache while still keeping it in your inventory. This registers miles traveled on a trackable. It is logged as a visit.
  • Find Count: The number of caches a geocacher has found.
  • Geocoin: Geocoins are trackable coins with a unique code that can be attached to an item.
  • Non-collectible: A status assigned to any trackable that is intended to be grabbed, discovered, and moved from cache to cache to get to an intended goal.
  • WGS84: Stands for the World Geodetic System of 1984 (WGS84) and is the most current geodetic datum used for GPS.

These are just some of the terms used in geocaching. As you get more experienced with geocaching, you’ll learn more terminology.

Geocaching acronyms explained

There are many different geocaching acronyms. While this is not a full extensive list, here are some of the most common acronyms and their meaning.

  • ALR: Stands for Additional Logging Requirement. ALR’s are requirements beyond finding cache and signing the log. All ALRs must be optional for finders of a geocache.
  • BYOP: Stands for “Bring Your Own Pen/Pencil”. You’ll often see it listed in the cache description of a nano micro, and sometimes small sized caches.
  • DNF: Stands for “Did Not Find”. An acronym used to state that a cacher did not find a cache and is seen in online logs.
  • SL: Simply means “Signed Log” and is sometimes seen in the online log.
  • STF: Stands for “Second To Find”. Is often seen in online logs by the second person to find a geocache after it has been published.


Geocaching is a great way to explore the outdoors and get the whole family involved in a fun activity. In this article, we have explored some of the many geocaching terminology and acronyms. Now that you have a basic understanding of geocaching terminology, it’s time to go out and start geocaching! So grab your GPS receiver, put on your hiking boots, and get out there and explore the world!

Happy geocaching!

Related Podcast Episodes

S1E8: Geocaching 101 – What are Trackables?
S1E10: Geocaching Terms and Acronyms
S1E12: Geocachers’ Creed
S1E21: DNF’s, Why you should log them

Related Articles

Geocaching 101: An Introduction to Geocaching Terminology
Geocaching 103: Geocaching Terminology Part 3

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