Three National Organizations From Around The World

Photo cortesy of Else “whoelse” Nordhagen, taken at the Tyri fjord in Norway.

Curious about how geocaching works in other parts of the world? There are plenty of organizations out there that aim to spread geocaching and create communities. We’ve gathered a few and asked them some questions. In a series of posts, we’ll present them to you. First out: national organizations in PortugalRussia and Norway.

GeoPT.org, Portugal

Tell us about your organization. What kind of group are you?

We are a national group, created on April 25th of 2010. Since then we took the place as the most important geocaching group in Portugal. We are a group that tries to improve the geocaching experience for all geocachers. We have geocaching tools that allow geocachers to do several tasks, and we have lots of statistics.

What are the main features of your community?

We offer a place where geocachers can discuss everything, including the latest news about geocaching. Beside the statistics we also offer many tools like a Listing Generator, Automatic Log Uploader, Garmin Spoiler Downloader, Coordinate Converter, Automatic Trackables Logger, a Geocaching TV at www.geopt.tv and other things.

How many members do you have and how active is your group?

Currently we have around 4000 members. The group is very active, organizing several events like Trackable Races, soccer championships, ceremonies (like the Oscars) to elect the best caches of Portugal. The geopt.org discussion forum is also very active, counting more that 100 thousand posts in around two years.

How big is geocaching in your country, and how do you think that it’s different from geocaching in other countries?

In this video you can see the evolution of the caches in our country from 2001 until today.

What we think is different from other countries, are the ceremonies we do to elect the best caches in Portugal. We can notice that since we started organizing these events, the geocaching quality in Portugal has greatly improved!

Geocaching.ru, Russia

Tell us about your organization. What kind of group are you?

We are a cache listing site and community. Our members come from a combined territory of the ex USSR: Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Georgia, etc. We all have the Russian language in common. But now we have added Ukrainian and Belarusian languages to the website.

What are the main features of your community?

The difference from the game on geocaching.com is that caches must be dedicated to interesting and unique attractions. Caches without the cultural part will not be accepted. Today our site is the largest POI database for the countries in question. On the site we have more than 11,000 caches.

How many members do you have and how active is your group?

The site has about 50,000 people registered. We who actively meet and talk are about 500 people. Also, we have a “Board of geocachers” – experienced and respected players, who monitor and controls the rules of the gameplay.

GCInfo.no, Norway

Tell us about your organization. What kind of group are you?

The “Geocaching i Norge” [Geocaching in Norway] organization is a national organization for spreading information about geocaching in Norway. The main activity is running the website www.gcinfo.no with a wiki, a forum and other local content in Norwegian. The website is free for all to use and contribute to. We have some paying members that support us with enough money to be able to fund the website hosting. “Geocaching i Norge” is organized as an NGO and registered in the Norwegain NGO-register.

What are the main features of your community?

Our main feature is that we are a national organisation with a website open to anyone free of charge. It holds a lot of information about geocaching in Norwegian, in Norway and for Norwegians. It is also possible for people visiting Norway to ask for advice in English, Swedish or Danish as most members understand these languages.

How many members do you have and how active is your group?

At present there are about 1500 registered members on the forum. We assume that far more people than those registered use the site. In the forum there is a lot of activity and lively discussions every day.

There is a core group of volunteers who run the site and several other people that contribute with information in the wiki and the forum.

How big is geocaching in your country, and how do you think that it’s different from geocaching in other countries?

Norway has 5 million inhabitants and many of them like outdoor activities and geocaching has found many followers in these outdoor fans. Therefore you can assume that most Norwegians would know someone who is a geocacher. In 2011 there were 14 600 nicks who found caches in Norway and in June 2012 there were 12 500 nicks. In 2011 there were over 500 000 unique finds and in July 2012 its almost the same so we see a huge growth in the geocaching activity in Norway every year.

We also see geocachers coming from other European countries taking long geocaching vacation trips in Norway. From the logs they seem to enjoy themselves, and sometimes they even organize events to meet Norwegian geocachers.

In Norway, as in the other Scandinavian countries, we have a “Public right of access” law, named “Allemannsretten”. This law entitles everyone to hike and camp in the countryside, mainly on “uncultivated land”. When you exercise this right you also have the responsibility to do no harm and be respectful of the owners of the land. Because of this right it is a lot of hiking trails and bike roads in Norway and you do not need permission to place a cache there. So if you like outdoors activities and geocaching there are lots of opportunities for you in Norway.

There are also many cities which are packed with caches, and there are several power trails, so there is something for everyone.

Several informal local groups have monthly gatherings in the form of evening events on week days, so if you are visiting check out the area for such events. Visitors are always welcome!

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