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Customize Your Geocache Route

written by: Misty Faucheux•edited by: Tricia Goss•updated: 6/10/2011

You can find different caches around the world, but you must first create a route, and your route is not going to be the same as other people's. Learn how to create your own route with this tutorial.

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    Routing Options

    You have several options for finding or placing a geocache, including Google Earth Routing and Route Pocket Queries. Learn more about these options and then find out how to use the one that works best for you.

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    Creating a Pocket Query

    Pocket Queries is a premium feature offered by Geocaching.com. This feature provides you with information on caches based on location, type, containers and the like, eliminating the need to keep going to the website in order to find a cache. Instead, the information comes directly to you.

    In order to set up a Pocket Query, you must become a premium member of Geocaching.com. Once you do, follow the below directions:

    1. Log into your Geocaching.com account.
    2. Go to Your Profile and select Member Features.
    3. In this window, go to Pocket Query Generator. You can also select the Build Pocket Queries option, which is located in the Premium Features menu.
    4. Select Create a New Query.
    5. Give your query a name. You want the name to be descriptive so it will be easier to find later.
    6. Pick a delivery date and determine how often you want the query to run.
    7. Select the number of caches you want to receive per delivery. While you can receive up to 1,000, you may want to shoot for much less than that as it is difficult to wade through a large number of queries.

    You can further refine your Pocket Query. For example, you can select Any Type or Any Container to receive all the geocache listings for your particular query. Alternatively, you may want to add some filters to reduce the overall number. For example, you can change the Difficulty or Terrain ratings. Make sure that you select the Is Active option. If not, you will also receive inactive caches.

    Once you are done with your settings, select the area radius of the area that you want to search and choose whether you want LOC or GPX results. Generally, GPX coordinates provide much more information, including hints to help you find the cache. Click on Submit Information to start the query process.

    When the query has run, you can press the Preview the Search option to see the list of results. You can then wait for the email or you can go ahead and download the search results.

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    Route Query

    Once you create your Pocket Query, you can create a Route Pocket Query. You simply enter two points into the query function and Geocaching.com provides you with a route between the two points. It uses the nearest roadways to get you as close to the cache as possible.

    The problem with this function is that it only takes you on roads. If you have to leave the road or cross water, the Route Pocket Query is not much help. It will simply stop where the road stops. You are also limited to 500 miles per route. If your route is longer, consider putting in a closer point and use your regular GPS to navigate to that point.

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    Using Google Earth

    If you find that you need to skip the road for a while, you may do better using Google Earth.

    Google Earth is a free application offered by Google. You can view different maps from around the world, and you can zoom into different areas. You even have the option to view maps in 3D. For geocaching, the Route Directions is quite useful. You can use this to create a route that you can upload to the Geocaching.com User Route section.

    To use Google Earth to create a route, you must first download the program from the Google. The application is available for Mac and personal computers as well as mobile devices. After downloading the application, go to the Search button and select the Directions tab. Enter the location of the cache and make your route.

    Once you find your route, you can save this information as a KML file, which is the file format for storing geographic data. To save your route as a KML file, go to File and select Save As. Select KML as the file type from the dropdown menu. Give your route a name that you will remember.

    Log into your Geocaching.com profile and go to the User Route area. Do a search for a route near your current location to find out if there are any that are close to your selected route. If you do find a similar route, you can use that route for your geocache. If not, create the route by uploading your KML file. When you are done uploading the route, create a pocket query.

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    References and Resources

    Groundspeak; Creating Your First Pocket Query; http://support.groundspeak.com

    Team Markwell; Google Earth Routing, the KML file and Pocket Queries; http://www.markwell.us

    Google Earth