Sunday, 6 July 2014

Trackables & Geocoins Everywhere!

I noticed it has been a while since I wrote a story just for the heck of it.  The last time I did was on June 27 2012, and it was about logging caches and adding photos.  You can read the story HERE.
That story was inspired by a photograph that was added to someones "Found it" log on one of my cache hides.

Please note that you can at any time click on any of the images in the blog to view a larger version!

Today's story is inspired from a discovery I made on June 18th, 2014.  When I logged into that day and headed over to my profile, I discovered that we The GO! Team had discovered/moved our 1000th geocaching trackable.  Not an amazing feat, but one that should not be taken lightly.  You see geocaching trackables play just as important role in geocaching as the caches themselves.

So yes, today I wanted to talk about geocaching trackables!  For those of you that don't know, geocaching trackables are another aspect to the game.  They act as our proxys, traveling the world while being fueled by us the geocachers.  They come in two forms, Travel Bugs or aka TBs, and Geocoins.

An example of a Travel Bug is piece of metal like a military dog tag usually sporting some sort of graphic art, the most common piece of graphic art is the bar code scarab.  Inscribed on the dog tag is a code or tracking number, and is the most important part of the TB as it is what is used to log the trackable on  The unique feature of the TB is that it can be attached to any object we want (within reason of course).  This object is what we call a traveler.  Many use some cool piece of SWAG or something that the owner of the TB thinks would be neat to attach.

The second type as mentioned above is the Geocoin.  These can be hands down the most beautiful and coveted of the geocaching trackables.  Quite frankly these are traveling works of art, which makes them very desirable to some.  The Geocoin is just that, a coin.  They can be in many different shapes and sizes, for example I have one that is meant to look like a iPhone.  What sets the Geocoin apart is the art on them.  The art can be personal art so that the coin is a signature item, or the art can be something that just makes the coin pop and set a theme.  Possibilities are really endless!   A quick Google Image Search of the word "Geocoins" will net you a huge amount of images of various types of Geocoins out there.  And just like the Travel Bug, the coin also has a tracking number on it.

So when someone purchases a Geocoin or TB and activates it, they have an intention in mind and set a goal on the trackables specific page.  This goal is to set the trakable free and have it travel the world cache to cache, or for it to make its way to a specific location or cache, or maybe they keep it with them and take it to events just for people to discover.  But let's not focus on the ones that stay with their owners, but rather on the ones that are out there traveling the world.  It is us the geocaching communities of the world that give these trackables the ability to do what they were designed to do.. And that is to make them travel!

Should you find one of these in a cache it is up to us to pick up and move it, or to just leave it where it lies and just discover it.  It is all a matter of choice; however should you decide to pick it up, you are bound to a set of guidelines and etiquette.

First, if you pick it up you absolutely need to make the time to log that you have it on!
This is what that tracking number on the trackable is for, you need to navigate to the "Find Trackables" page on the website. For in depth information on how to do this you can read the instructions provided by Groundspeak ('s parent company) at this link HERE.  They also cover the "Discover" option, which is used when you leave a trackable where it is but want to say that you saw it.
Also if you plan to keep the trackable with you for a while and only want to dip the trackable (what we call visit), you will also find info for that in the link I provided.

Another thing you should take into consideration here is that you should not hold onto that trackable for more than a week.  Trackable owners what to see that their trackable is moving, and that many people are getting a chance to enjoy helping the TB or Geocoin along.  But lets say you will be able to help the trackable meet some of it's goals, but that thing you are going to do to help is a month away.  Well what you can do is write about it in your pick up log on the trackables page, or just shoot the owner a message to let them know your intentions.

For example, I retrieved a TB at a recent event.  The TB's goals is to travel and visit all the states in the Continental United States.  I know I will be going to Oregon in just over a months time, so I logged that I will be keeping the trackable for an extended time.  This informs the owner that I have all intentions of moving the trackable, and that I will be helping it get one step closer to reaching it's goals.  This is considered proper etiquette, and gives the owner a chance to message you if they disapprove.

Oh and one last thing.  If you have someone else's trackable in your inventory, please don't quit geocaching before dropping it off.  It is very discouraging to a trackable owner to have to hit the "Report As Missing" button.  They didn't create the trackable for it to just disappear, so always take the time to unsure that you place it in a cache.  Trust me I have had several of mine disappear, which has made me turn everyone I make now a "Discovery Only" item

A big thank you to all the responsible trackable movers in the community/world for taking the time to ensure this side quest in geocaching is done correctly.  And a thank you to all who have read this and the provided links to learn how to be a responsible trackable movers of the future!

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