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 Thursday, 20 April 2006
Review: Complete Guide to Geocaching DVD PDF Print E-mail
Contributed by Ranger Bob   
Sunday, 22 January 2006
Product review by Lance Taylor (a.k.a. Ranger Bob) of Team_RB&R

The Product Claims:

"This is the definitive video featuring the exciting sport of Geocaching. Whether you are an active player or have just heard about Geocaching, this great video program is for you. Get your questions answered. Share the sport with your friends. It's all right here."

[discuss]

I ordered this item a few weeks ago through GPSCITY.ca on-line for $21.95 CDN along with some Travel Bugs and other GeoSwag. I really thought long an hard about ordering it at first, mainly because like you I already consider myself a seasoned geocacher (with 149 finds under my boots already). So, what could there possibly be in this DVD for me I thought? I'm sure you feel the same so let's take a closer look.

In total the DVD contains about 60 minutes of video footage. It is divided into five main DVD chapter selections entitled: "Intro", "Geocaching.com", "The Hunt", "Hiding a cache", and "Cache variations". The bonus material is further broken down into the selections of: "Using Geocaching.com", "Travel Bugs", "Global Positioning System", "Original Stash", and "Interviews". The interviews contain rare footage from Dave Ulmer planting the very first geocache ever, Jeremy Irish (geocache.com webmaster), and Moun10Bike (some cacher I never heard of before).

Guess which section totally sold me on the DVD? That's right the extra bonus material of Dave Ulmer - but before I go into that let's break down the chapter further to briefly see what was covered in each segment. I'll give my thoughts of them as well.

1) History & Evolution Of The Sport

The DVD starts by giving us a glimpse of how all this came to be. It mentions how the first "Stash" came into being by Dave Ulmer and mentions the name of the FTF of a geocache, well ever. It then goes on to explain how Geocaching.com came into existence, and well, the rest is history. Geocaching 101 at a basic level - hide stuff - and they will come.

2) Geocaching.com

This segment is presented by Steve (Snicklefritz!) whom discusses very quickly the layout of the website (which Jeremy Irish has changed quite a bit since the making). He shows how to look up a cache by Zip Code (no mention that it works by Canadian Postal Code too), and runs down the key elements of a cache listing. The obvious GPS co-ordinates, determining the difficulty and terrain levels, and then he states briefly that this can all be placed into a PDA but no mention of how to do this is actually given. Nothing is covered either about the many options available to get the data into your GPS with the use of LOC files either. Lacking was a segment on paperless caching and the many tools available as I already use myself today.

It doesn't get much more technical at this point in the feature then to say print the cache page off, and then discusses what to do to prepare to find the cache.  Not once did I see them enter a waypoint into a GPS before going off to find anything. Obviously with the many makes and models of units out there this would vary, but no reference was even made to say check your GPS manual on how to do any of this here -- no wait it is mentioned on the Bonus material at the end in the redundant section "Using Geocaching.com". Anyways, the waypoints just magically get into your unit and then you go out and find stuff. I guess that's my biggest beef with this DVD is that most of the first time geocachers that I've come across have more problems trying to actually figure out how to use their GPSr's at a most basic level. Likely outside the scope of this DVD, however know that there are specialty DVDs out there for you on that specific subject as well -- take for example this one http://www.tigergps.com/gaetandetsui.html (Garmin eTrex and eTrex Summit Instructional DVD by Bennett Marine). These additional materials might be worth considering as a companion purchase for a first time geocacher - because you won't find them in here.

Somehow this segment gets off the topic of Geocaching.com into what to take with you on a trip, from first-aid kits, to trading materials. I thought the segement was about how to use Geocaching.com . Odd that was, and that most of it was repeated again in the bonus material later - albeit covered in just a little more depth (but not by much).

3) The Hunt

Okay, this is where the entertainment value is with a new character introduced by the name of "Herb Fincher" (a total noob cacher) heads out into the field to show us how it's all done incorrectly. Like, we haven't done that? Along the way there of course we are shown what you should do and be aware of. From having a map with you, to scouting out the terrain and having the right equipment. As well as many common sense items are discussed.  What annoyed me here was that this section was supposed to be about the hunt, but it covered more "Do's & Dont's" of good cache placement more then anything else. It does cover some geocaching etiquette though -- again more common sense stuff like "trade-up", and "cache in and trash out".

4) Hiding A Geocache

This section goes into a lot specifics of how good caches are placed, and again more common sense stuff. How to get accurate GPS readings to how to post it on-line and what your cache should and should not contain.

5) Cache Variations

From Urban Caching to Micros hidden in the forest - all the cache types are discussed from multi's, off-sets, puzzles or mystery caches, to webcams. The segment by Seth on how to build your own killer micros, to sprucing up an old ammo can were great - worth the price of the DVD! It gave me more then a few ideas to try on my next hides.

Now, somehow this section gets off topic and on to Kid's and Caching - how they loose interest in finding micros - so hide more toy chests near parks.

6) Bonus Materials

  • Using Geocaching.Com - I think I said my piece earlier. Not much is covered here that you couldn't figure out on your own. I was stunned to not see them showcasing any of the Member / Subscriber features at all. Zip, nada!
     
  • Travel Bugs - Very informative section on how to create your own TB's and the etiquettes of finding them. I have no complaints here!
     
  • Global Positioning Satellite - This section could have been left off the DVD entirely. The guy read from cue cards the whole time - I don't think he knew how they worked either. At least that's the impression I got from watching it and seeing him glance off screen throughout the segment. The worst presentation on the disc!
     
  • Original Stash - The meat and potatoes of the DVD. Actual footage of Dave Ulmer preparing the first geocache. This is the real gem of the DVD! Nuff said! I actually went and found the site of the first cache here for you (cause I just know you'll want to go here one day like me now) - http://www.navicache.com/cgi-bin/db/displaycache2.pl?CacheID=2335.
     
  • Interviews - (Dave Ulmer) with a great follow-up to the original stash video. (Jeremy Irish) uhm.. yawn... next chapter please. (Moun10bike) - never heard of him before.

My Final Thoughts

SO, would I recommend this DVD to you? The video footage is very professional (with noted exception of GPS and how it works), all the edits and wipes are clean, and the final packaging is super. Yes, I would recommend it! Of course mainly for the bonus features alone and parts of the DVD that have real content on them that shine (like how to build cool caches). Or how about because it's another piece of geocaching history -- and we should make a place for it on our bookshelves. Having not ever fully read the book "Geocaching for dummies" myself - I guess you could say this might be the "movie version" of it you've been waiting for.

I've watched the disc twice now in two weeks, and I'd certainly pop it in again on some rainy miserable day when I couldn't go out geocaching. I also completed an on-line survey of the product on XSnrg Pictures website. I was pleasantly surprised to hear back from them too on suggestions for upcoming videos they're considering, and that they'd actually come back to the GCE website to read my review when it was ready.

At the end of the hunt... though.. I can only give it 3.5 ammo cans out of 5.

Oh yeah, there is a video cache hidden for you after the credits have rolled - so watch it all the way to the end. Nuff said!

---

More Product Information

::  http://www.geocachingvideo.com/

Download the Trailer

Would you like to see a preview of the video? You can! Download our one-minute trailer in mp4 format. It will play in Quicktime and perhaps other viewers. The file is ten megabytes, so please be patient. We suggest that you right-click on the link and choose "save target" so that you can view it whenever you want.

The trailer included opens with our "comic relief" Herb Fincher. You will also see bits of Dave Ulmer as well as other scenes from the main program.

:: Download Trailer (10 mb) 

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 14 February 2006 )
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Did-You-Know?
Auto-routing helps Geocachers
The auto-routing capability of certain GPS receivers can help greatly in finding a cache.  Rather than "guessing" which route to take to get close to a cache, why not let the GPS do the job for you?  With an auto-routing GPS, when finding a cache, select "Follow road" and the GPS will calculate the best route for you and give you turn-by-turn directions!  Then, when you're close, park the vehicule and use "Off road" so that the GPS knows you're on foot and will start giving you direct distances and directions.  This can save you a great deal of time and frustrations.  Some special mapping software may be required depending on your model.
 
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