How an Arduino Can Help Make Geocaching Awesome Again!

Geocaching – the GPS-era version of letterboxing – has always been awesome, but over the past few years has seen its popularity drop. Whether this is due to Pokemon GO! or some other pastime, it’s hard to say.

Thankfully, geocaching hasn’t gone away. Geocaches are still out there (a quick online check shows there is one very close to me), so how do we get a younger generation involved? One way is through mobile apps, but that’s all a bit simple really, isn’t it? Why not take ownership of the problem, build your own geocaches, create a story around them, leave them in specific locations alluded to in the story, and then build an Arduino-powered device to find them?

Okay, so this might not be the first idea that springs to mind, but taking a look at Sean Hodgins’ videos, it’s still a good one. As you can see in the first video above, Sean creates a collection of geocaches for his nephew, using his own components, in such a way that the equipment can be reused later on. Among these include a GPS chip, a compass, and a NeoPixel ring, along with a 3D printed case to house the geocaching detector. Oh, and a rechargeable battery to keep things portable!

As you’ll see from viewing the second video, the NeoPixel ring lights up not only to indicate the direction of the selected geocache but to display how near or far from the geocache you are. Happily, Sean goes through most of the code to demonstrate what each portion does.

Several geocaches can be programmed into the device (Sean uses four for his nephew) and each can be selected when you’re ready to track them down. You’ll find full instructions on Sean Hodgins’ Instructables page.


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