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Geocaching in 2015: A Year in Review

By Carly

2015 was an epic year in the world of geocaching.
There were many laughs, plenty of new geocaches hidden, and a lot of “Found it” logs. As we start to plan for the new year ahead, it’s fun to reflect on many of the amazing things that happened in 2015. Here are 15 of them.

1) We celebrated 15 years of geocaching!
It’s hard to believe that the hobby we all love celebrated its 15th birthday this year. During this time of nostalgia, it’s fun to look back at some of the most historic moments in geocaching history.

„GeoWoodstock“ –the 1st Geocaching Mega-Event– held in Texas May 2006. Every year since, GeoWoodstock keeps movin‘ and groovin‘ to new locations.
The first Geocoin ever created by Moun10bike in 2001.
Back in 2001, geocachers Eoghan and Pumpkin Princess decided to throw a little gathering in Austin, Texas with their geo-buddies. This was the first recorded instance of a geocaching get-together, now known today as an Event Cache.
The plaque marks the exact location of the first geocache ever placed. „GCF“ (and its can of beans) was hidden by David Ulmer on May 3, 2000.
Co-Founder & CEO Jeremy Irish placed the first Geocoin in a cache in 2001.
Take a little trip down memory lane –and pick up some trash along the way– to the first ever CITO event held on April 26th, 2003.
At one point in time, there was a colony of Signals. ‪This was the first Signal Doll shipment at Geocaching HQ.
The three founders of Geocaching.com at their then new office in downtown Seattle.
The first image of the geocaching mascot Signal the Frog was revealed on a t-shirt in August 2003. ‪
The oldest active geocache –GC30 Mingo– was hidden in Kansas on May 11, 2000.

2) A year of events. Great events.
2 Giga-Events (5,000+ geocachers)
45 Mega-Events (500+ geocachers)
Over 28,000 geocaching events total
It’s evident from all the fun gatherings that took place that geocachers enjoyed making new friends and spending time with the old at an average of over 76 geocaching events per day!

A group of kiddos search for the code word at the last ever Geocaching Block Party Mega-Event in Seattle.
Tree climbing event GC66NYX in France.
A geocacher signs the giant blow-up „15“ logbook at the last ever Geocaching Block Party Mega-Event in Seattle.
A very unique logbook at a small Meet & Greet.
Geocachers blew bubbles at this event in Europe.
Signal at the 2015 GeoWoodstock.

3) A group of courageous geocachers journeyed to the center of the earth to log an EarthCache. Well, sort of.

Need more laughs? Check out all the past geocaching April Fools videos:
2012 – Cachers of Steel
2013 – T.I.N.Y.
2014 – DNF Pride
4) The geocaching community grew.
In December, the 15 millionth geocaching account was created on Geocaching.com. Considering that many geocaching accounts represent families, couples, teams, and other groups, there are well more than 15 million geocachers worldwide.

Geocaching in Cambodia.
Four geocachers explore old ruins while geocaching in Albania.
Geocachers from the German Mudmen geocaching group conquer the Alps.
Geocaching family at GCQMX8 in Santiago, Chile .
Geocacher Diegeocrasher at GC20FAE in South Africa.
Antartic geocaching at GC115ZX.

5) The game’s 453 community volunteers made the game better for everyone through their contributions as reviewers, moderators, and translators.

A group of community volunteer reviewers from around the world answers questions at this year’s Block Party panel.
Four U.S. community volunteer reviewers having a good time at the event.
Geocaching HQ’er Heather visits with a group of Swedish reviewers.
A group of community volunteer reviewers from around the world answers questions at this year’s Block Party panel.
A community volunteer translator from Slovenia explores the Italian mountainside.
A group of German community volunteer reviewers.
The group attempting the infamous gum wall cache in Seattle.

6) Geocachers joined in the global CITO (Cache In, Trash Out) movement and gave back to our lovely planet.
Over 19,000 geocachers collected garbage, restored natural areas, and worked on community improvement projects during CITO weekend in April. If each person picked up one 5 lb (2.26 kg) bag of trash, that’s over 40 metric tons of garbage collected. That’s (approximately) 7.4 elephants, or 7 elephants and two cows. This impressive number does not include the hundreds of additional CITO events that took place throughout the rest of year.

Restoration CITO event.
Beautiful area for CITO-ing in the Czech Republic.
This little geocacher smiles as she picks up trash around a park.
CITO in Costa Dorada, Spain.
CITO event in France that involved restoring this old walking bridge.
This CITO event was a huge success. Can you tell?
Germany’s Frühjahrsputz am Kemnader See 2015 CITO group photo.
HQ’er Alex smiles as she planted a new plant at a local park.
CITO essentials.

7) 4 incredible trackable branded promotions took place, including the super cute Mountain Warehouse promo.
With nearly 500 photos entered into the Mountain Warehouse photo contest, geocachers showed clever photography skills while shooting Meryl Sheep trackable tags all over the British countryside and beyond. One particular trackable, Wooliam the Sheep, has already traveled 32,000+ miles (51,499 km).

8) GeoTours expanded.
19 new GeoTours were launched this year, bringing the GeoTour grand total at 61 tours worldwide. The average number of geocaches per tour is 44, and their geocaches tend to have more favorite points than the average geocache.

9) Over 52,000 geocachers around the world went on a Geocaching Road Trip.
During the summer months, geocachers had the opportunity to complete five geocaching quests, each of which earned them a special souvenir for their geocaching profile. By completing all missions, they earned an extra special 6th souvenir. The theme was “Geocaching Road Trip”, and the adventures were epic.

A wonderful summer full of geocaching adventures.
Road Trip!
Instagram #geocaching photo contest winner @aventyrsmobilen.
Every road tripper needs a trusty co-pilot.
Many geocachers joined in the fun.
Instagram #geocaching photo contest finalist @skaubystine.
Instagram #geocaching photo contest finalist @yesenias

10) Geocachers celebrated Pi. And puzzles. And ate pie.
While some folks celebrated Pi Day on March 14 (3.14) with a slice of pi pie, we celebrated this year’s Pi Day with two new souvenirs…and pie. The first souvenir was earned by 37,000 geocachers who attended an event on that day. The second souvenir celebrated the mystery of pi—to earn it, geocachers had to log a “Found It” on a Mystery Cache. Kudos to the 50,000 geocachers who took on that head scratching challenge.

Yummy geocaching events all day long!
2015 Pi Day Event Logbook.
Eating pie at a „Pi Day“ geocaching event.

11) Five new countries received their own geocaching souvenirs.
Time to update your bucket lists, geocachers. Cheers to Thailand, Turkey, Estonia, Lithuania, and Slovenia who were added to the growing list of country souvenirs this year!

Thailand Souvenir.
Estonia Souvenir.
Turkey Souvenir.
Lithuania Souvenir.
Slovenia Souvenir.

12) New features were added to make your geocaching world a bit better.
Message Center? Check.
New search? Check.
Lots of new features on the free geocaching app? Check.
More features to come in 2016!

13) Geocachers watched 16 creative geocaching films at GIFF Weekend.
The GIFF (Geocaching International Film Festival) Weekend 2015 souvenir was awarded to over 14,000 geocachers who attended 449 GIFF events in 46 countries. That’s amazing. But what’s even more amazing is the sheer number of special and wonderful moments that happened at all the movie nights.

GIFF weekend!
A mouth watering and well-themed buffet at one of the GIFF events.
At GC62QRQ in the Netherlands. This was a short film made by the event hosts, featuring the event attendees…which was incorporated into a new Puzzle cache.

At GC64R4K, a GIFF Weekend event in Hong Kong.
Sparkler after-GIFF-party at GC64KHQ in the United Kingdom.
HurricaneJuan, creator of the film „Saturday“ at GC5VCFG in Florida.
A theater full of geocachers at GC62MTK in Slovenia.
An outdoor GIFF event in Texas.
GC65G3T, a GIFF event in a Burger King in Moscow.
A very real, giant GIFF chocolate bar at GC64NMA in Lanvénégen, France.
Geocachers at a very cozy GIFF event in Tel-Aviv.

14) Geocaching.com added new languages.
The Geocaching.com website is now translated into 22 different languages including English. The iPhone and Android Free apps are also available in 19 different languages. More to come!

15) There were over 79,000,000 logged geocaches and over 588,000 new geocaches published this year.
Great job, geocachers. Great job.

Warm waters & lots of signatures.
24 hour trip geocaching in Alaska.
This group of kiddos are super excited to find the cache… and its swag.
Geocaching in the classroom. How to make the best ammo can cache ever.
Geocaching duo finds GC16HC7 in Italy.
A group of kids hides a geocache in Nepal.
The ultimate „found it“ face. Image by lividity at GC40JXW.

From all of us at Geocaching HQ, thank you for making this year the best geocaching year to date.

What was your favorite geocaching moment from 2015?

Read more here:: http://www.geocaching.com/blog/2015/12/geocaching-in-2015-a-year-in-review/

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