Geocaching 103: Geocaching Terminology Part 3

Welcome to Geocaching 103, where we will dive further into 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:

  • GC Code: The unique identifier associated to every geocache listing. The code always starts with the letters “GC” and is followed by other alphanumeric characters.
  • Geo Art: A series of geocaches placed in a way so that the icons form a picture.
  • GPS eXchange Format or GPSx: Is a common GPS data format used to define waypoints tracks, and routes that can be transfered between GPS devices and software.
  • Groundspeak: Groundspeak, Incorporated is the company that owns and operates The headquarters is located in Seattle, Washington, USA, and is known as Geocaching HQ.
  • Lackey: A lackey is an employee of Groundspeak and helps with development of the geocaching game.
  • Lock & Lock: A Lock & Lock is a container that uses four snaps on the lid to seal it in place and is a common container used to hide geocaches.
  • Micro: The smallest geocache size. Micros are typically about the size of a film canister but can be smaller.
  • Muggled: Refers to when a cache has been discovered by a non geocacher or muggle. Typically, a cache that has been “muggled”, means it was dismantled or removed by an unsuspecting non-player.
  • Nano: Nano is the term for the tiniest of all Micros and is about the size of a pencil eraser. It is considered an unofficial geocache size.
  • Posted Coordinates: The latitude and longitude listed for a cache are known as the posted coordinates. Posted coordinates can be the physical location of the geocache, the first stage of the cache hunt, or a general reference point in the area depending on the type of geocache. They can also be the physical location of an event.
  • Power Trail: A path with a large number of geocaches placed within close proximity to each other.
  • Preform: Is the term for a durable, water tight, plastic container that looks similar to a test tube, but with a threaded neck. They can be formed into containers such as bottles or toys or can be used as is.
  • Reviewer: Reviews are community volunteers from all over the world who review geocache listings for content and publish cache listings on and make sure they adhere to geocaching guidelines
  • ROT13: Is a simple letter substitution code, where each of the letters are rotated 13 characters up or down in the alphabet. When using the online site, hints for geocaches are encrypted using ROT13.
  • Signal: Short for Signal the Frog, who is the official mascot of
  • Trackable: A is a tag or item with a unique code. The trackable is then moved from cache to cache (or person to person) in the real world, and its progress can be followed on For more information on trackables you can listen back to Episode 8: Trackables.
  • Tracking Number: The unique number associated with a trackable, Travel Bug or Geocoin and are used to log a trackable’s grab, dip, drop, or discovery.
  • Travel Bug or TB Hotel: A “Travel Bug Hotel” is a geocache placed with the intended purpose of acting as an exchange point for Travel Bugs and other trackables. These are almost always regular or large sized containers.

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


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 terms. 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

S1E14: Signal the Frog Geocaching Mascot
S1E8: Geocaching 101 – What are Trackables?
S1E10: Geocaching Terms and Acronyms
S2E20: Handi-Cache Geo-Art and More

Related Articles

Geocaching 101: An Introduction to Geocaching Terminology
Geocaching 102: Geocaching Terminology Part 2

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