Civil Air Patrol

Geocaching Teaches Navigation Skills to Kenosha Composite Squadron

Kenosha, Wis. – Members of Kenosha Composite Squadron took advantage of the mild October weather to practice and teach map reading, GPS use, navigating around an obstacle and other emergency service skills.  Geocaching was also used and is a tool that many incorporate into their training.

According to Wikipedia, “Geocaching is an outdoor sporting activity in which the participants use a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver or mobile device and other navigational techniques to hide and seek containers, called “geocaches” or “caches”, anywhere in the world.
A typical cache is a small waterproof container containing a logbook where the geocacher enters the date they found it and signs it with their established code name.”
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geocaching

Squadron members found their first target in only 30 minutes however the second target turned out to be more of a challenge.  It was difficult to get a strong GPS signal under the trees as precision of GPS readings can vary from +/- 9 ft to +/- 39 ft.

After three hours of searching through forest and swamp, the group decided to give up.  While hiking back to the van, First Lieutenant Kirk noticed they were close to the given coordinates. After calculating the target to be next to the trail but 20 yards to the rear of the group, he decided to backtrack.  Each time the searchers got near the coordinates the signal deteriorated.

After several unsuccessful attempts to narrow the location, one member spotted a clue at the base of a tree.  Cadet Staff Sergeant Eduardo Rivera found the target and Lieutenant Colonel Jack Hall signed the logbook.  Mission accomplished!

Kenosha Composite Squadron finds geocaching to be an effective and challenging training tool while being enjoyable as well.   For more information about geocaching and clues to specific targets in your area, go to:  http://www.geocaching.com/

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