Introduction: Geocache Without a GPS

Picture of Geocache Without a GPS

Know all about Geocaching but can't afford a GPS system to use?
Then do it the old-fashioned way! Grab some friends and make it a group adventure! Ideal for urban caches, but be careful of going into unknown areas without at least a cellphone or telling someone before hand.

Step 1: Geocache Prep

Picture of Geocache Prep

First find out what geocaching is here.

Then go [ here] and input your area code. Browse the options available and choose a couplka difficulty level

Now, it is best to write down the title given to the particular cache because without coordinates, there aren't many resources available and the title can be a HUGE clue. Some will even have additional clues that you will also write down and bless for making the adventure a little less frustrating.

Peruse the accompanying map to the closest zoom level so you have a good idea of the area. Try to find any landmarks in the area for extra guidance.

Again, make sure to write it all down!

Then GO!

Step 2: In Action

Picture of In Action

Comb the areas, utilizing all of your research and clues available. I can't ensure success on your first or any other tries, but that doesn't mean it isn't worth it. After two unsuccessful attempts, the third was successful and immensely satisfying. Don't be afraid to try.


Icanttelluthat (author)2014-02-17

Weve been caching for a few years & our first 100+ finds were done exactly this way... No gps or smartphone, just a close-up map view & hand-written notes before leaving the house.
Yes- it was very challenging. But YES- it was *really* exciting to grab those smileys. :-)

letstormdufield (author)2012-10-22

I found my sixtieth geocache without a GPS device last weekend!

Sniper752 (author)2011-01-20

A better way to do this, is to copy and paste the coordinates into Google earth (not maps).
That will be even more precise than the maps on
I found my first one like that

facilitator476 (author)Sniper7522011-08-23

Nice, one of my first caches was a private cache. would only give me the cardinal direction and the distance from my location. I used Google Earth to measure the distance and find the nearest landmark. It was tough, but well worth it. As of now it's 38+1 for me

alarson3 (author)Sniper7522011-06-13

I'm pretty sure that earth is not as accurate as the built in map on

duckskin (author)alarson32011-07-29

Google Earth is actually more accurate, the map moves around the caches.

Sniper752 (author)alarson32011-06-13

It should be,
Geocaching maps are powered by google, which produces earth...

artworker (author)2010-04-27

This is exactly what I am going to do with my first Geocache chase this weekend. Lets hope it works.

universalibrarian (author)2010-04-25

Hello, Google maps has small drift built into it because of the way that it is made, If you are really serious about geocaching without a GPS  you CAN be almost as accurate with a good compass and a really good map, A USGS topo map and a series of good landmarks (near and far) to triangulate from will work.
will get you started.  Be brave, it takes more time and skill but is even more satisfying when you get it exactly right.

botronics (author)2010-03-28

I really messed up a geocache recently by not using the GPS. You can get confused using google earth.  My latest cache caused 3 other cachers to go on a wild goose chase because I was off 800 feet. It is now archived till I fix it.  I will always use the GPS to get the coordinates.

Schisler7 (author)botronics2010-04-13

 Did you make the geocache yourself?

botronics (author)Schisler72010-04-14

Yes, I made and placed the geocache myself.

botronics (author)2010-01-11

I found that my GPS does not quite match google earth. I don't know who is correct. The  waypoint can be 50 feet from a visible landmark on google earth. When discribing where a cache is, I would like the map to match the "X" so geocachers are not confused. Sometimes the coordinates on Google are better to use.

sjoobbani (author)botronics2010-02-13

 I use Google Earth with a combination of hints, because I familiarize myself with the area.

sjoobbani (author)2010-01-01

I did my first one today. What i did, was I looked at all the logs/comments, clues, title, everything, did some research, looked at google earth, used the coordinates there, and found one!.

Schisler7 (author)sjoobbani2010-01-06

 Great! Welcome to the club!

sjoobbani (author)Schisler72010-01-19

I've noticed that using a CB radio, in a backpack, with some batteries, is very usefull having someone else with a computer and google earth, with either street view or satellite guiding you through the terrain, good teamwork

Schisler7 (author)sjoobbani2010-01-26

 That's part of the fun of it! I have a team of friends with specific jobs just to make it more official and fun. Our ship (car) is named Thousand Sunny haha

botronics (author)sjoobbani2010-01-24

Now you got the geocaching bug! I found out that google earth can be off as much as 100 feet.  So always give very good descriptions of where you hide a cache. Using a GPS is still better for hiding caches. See this link at

mazmanrx7 (author)2009-09-17

ive tried with just google earth and maps and i have found some that way but wesley666 is right when you can not figure out enough clues on the geo site to get an idea of where the cache is. its hard to find a cache when it give a broad range to search

erikwillke (author)2009-04-23

most new cell phones have a built in GPS receiver that you can access with third party software, some of which you may be able to find free.

PKTraceur (author)2009-04-07

Nice! I guess im new to geocaching, is Google Maps an option? -PKT

Schisler7 (author)PKTraceur2009-04-12

Google Maps should be one of your bookmarks, its a great help :)

Wesley666 (author)Schisler72009-04-21

ya but if your looking in a forest for 1 tree it does not help hugely.

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