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Geocaching Terms

By Austin Explorer

Ever been confused by terms and acronyms used in geocaching log entries or descriptions? Here's a decoding key for deciphering what they're really trying to say.

Ammo Can - Waterproof, metallic military surplus ammunition boxes commonly used for regular sized cache containers.

Archived - Removed from the list of active caches.

Benchmark - Geographic marker placed by the US Geological Survey at an exact set of coordinates. A spin off of geocaching uses benchmarks in a manner similar to virtual caches.

Bison Tube - Small, metallic, cylindrical container often used for micro cache containers.

Blinky - Tiny container used for nano caches. Originally a small light intended to be attached to clothing.

BYOP - Bring Your Own Pen (or Pencil). Most micro caches are too small for the miniature log book and a writing utensil, so the cache owner is reminding you to take your own on the hunt.

CITO - Cache In, Trash Out. Refers to an ethic whereby cachers try and leave an area in better shape than they found it by picking up any trash they encounter after finding a cache.

Decon - Military surplus container typically used for a decontamination kit. Often used for small caches that lie between regular and micro size.

DNF - Did Not Find. Indicates that the cacher searched for a cache, but could not find it.

Film Canister - 35mm film container that was used for some of the first micro caches.

Fizzed Out - Found a cache for every difficulty and terrain combination possible.

FTF - First To Find. Refers to first cacher to find a cache after it has been placed.

FWGB - Found with GeoBeagle. Indicates that the cacher used the popular GeoBeagle software product to log the cache find.

GCxxxx - Abbreviation for a cache identifier used on geocaching.com. The "xxxx" is a four character alphanumeric value (i.e. GCPMTT).

Geodashing - GPS game in which players atetmpt to get to more random coordinates in a playing field than the other participants.

GPSr - Global Positioning System receiver. Usually referred to just as a GPS.

GPX - Standard file format for exchanging coordinate information.

GSAK - Geocaching Swiss Army Knife. A popular software program cachers use to manage cache information, send and receive data to and from a GPSr and convert coordinates between the major mapping formats.

Letterboxing - A precursor to geocaching in which hidden containers are found through clues instead of posted GPS coordinates.

Member's Only Cache (MOC) - A cache that is only visible to premium members of Geocaching.com. Created in part to help cut down on the number of pilfered caches.

Micro - A very small cache container. Altoids tins, film canisters and waterproof match holders are common micro containers.

MOC - Members Only Cache (see above).

Muggle - A non-cacher. Taken from the Harry Potter series. Often used when warning other cachers to be careful about exposing the location of a cache to non-cachers when its hiding place is not in a remote location.

Muggled - A cache that has been interfered with or taken by a non-cacher.

Multi - Short for a multi-cache (see below).

Multi-cache - A series of caches in which each cache provides coordinates to the next subsequent cache (typically a micro) in the series and eventually to a regular cache container. The simplest multi can have one re-director, the hardest can have many, many more.

Mystery Cache - A cache that requires the finder solve a puzzle to obtain the true coordinates for the cache container. The posted coordinates for mystery caches are typically not correct.

Newbie - An inexperienced geocacher.

Park 'n Grab - A term used to describe a cache located close to a parking area and requiring little walking.

PI - Poison Ivy, the scourge of Central Texas geocachers (sometimes written as P.I.).

PnG - Abbreviation for Park 'n Grab (see above).

Pocket Query - Custom geocache queries generated by geocaching.com and emailed to premium members. These can be easily downloaded to a GPSr.

Redirector - A cache which will only contain a set of coordinates in order to send the seeker to the actual cache being hunted. One piece of a multi-cache (see definition above).

Reviewer - Geocaching.com user who has moderator privileges that enable them to approve or deny new cache submissions.

Spoiler - A hint to make finding a cache easier.

STF - Second To Find. The Silver medal winner in the race to find a cache first.

Swag - Slang term for the treasure and trinkets found in a geocache.

TB - Travel Bug. See definition below.

TFTC - Thanks For The Cache.

TNLN - Took Nothing, Left Nothing. The cacher did not exchange an item from the cache contents.

TNLNSL - Took Nothing, Left Nothing, Signed Log. Similar to TNLN above, but also indicating that they signed the cache's logbook.

Travel Bug - An item passed from cache to cache. Travel bugs are assigned tracking numbers and their travels can be tracked online. Many travel bugs have stated goals, such as making its way to a specific city or country.

URP - Unnatural Rock Pile. Refers to common practice of stack rocks on top of the cache to hide its location. The resulting pile often stands out to natural formations.

Virtual - Refers to a virtual cache, which does not represent a hidden container, but a location or monument that the cacher is supposed to find. Virtual caches are confirmed by answering a question posed by the cache owner in the description.

XNSL - Exchanged Nothing, Signed Log. A variation on TNLNSL (see above).

YAPIDKA - Yet Another Park I Didn't Know About. Refers to the fact that some caches bring people to parts of town they know little about.

Thanks for Nick Silkey, Philip Mason (dragonscale365) and Russ Jernigan for suggested terms.

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