Snail Is Actually Cleverly Strange Geocaching Waypoint

Basic geocaching consists of following GPS coordinates to a location, then finding a container which is concealed somewhere nearby. Like any activity, people tend to add their own twists to keep things interesting. [Jangeox] recently posted a video of the OLED Snail 2.0 to show off his most recent work. (This is a refinement of an earlier version, which he describes in a blog post.)

Another of [Jangeox]’s Electronic Waypoints
[Jangeox] spices up geocaching by creating electronic waypoints, and the OLED Snail is one of these. Instead of GPS coordinates sending someone directly to a goal, a person instead finds a waypoint that reveals another set of coordinates and these waypoints are followed like a trail of breadcrumbs.

A typical waypoint is an ATTINY85 microcontroller programmed to display an animated message on the OLED, and the message reveals the coordinates to the next waypoint. The waypoint is always cleverly hidden, and in the case of the OLED Snail 2.0 the enclosure is the shell of a large snail containing the electronics encased in resin. This means that the devices have a finite lifespan — the battery sealed inside is all the power the device gets. Fortunately, with the help of a tilt switch the electronics can remain dormant until someone picks it up to start the show. Other waypoints have included a fake plant, and the fake bolt shown here. Video of the OLED Snail 2.0 is embedded below.

Geocaching is fertile ground for inventive approaches. We’ve seen hidden codes in infrared and don’t forget about this retro-inspired GPS device with analog meters for direction and distance.

Thanks for the tip, [Morris]!

12 thoughts on “Snail Is Actually Cleverly Strange Geocaching Waypoint

  1. Not clever at all, sorry! Combine a mercury tilt switch and a lipo battery and some electronics to place this somewhwere outdoor is not a good idea. It was not 50 Years ago and is not in 2017. Do People ever learn?

  2. … and once the battery is exhausted, it just stays in the woods for good? Sorry, I don’t get it. Can’t you just engrave the message on some wood? Would have finite live span too but wouldn’t pollute our world as much as a BATTERY.

      1. This is *exactly* what I was thinking, right down to the QR Code. I get the “cool” factor, but a waypoint is more durable when it needs no batteries. Or if it can be ‘user powered’ in some way or another.

      2. Laser cut qr code into the wood, that way you get to say you used lasers! (that makes it a hack right?)

        Or if you really want durable, carve a qr-code into a rock, the bigger the better…

      1. forget it. I have collected enough battery-powered LED bullshit around “caches” myself and I have never been into this game. There may be responsible geocache people out there, I give you that!
        But it is just not NECESSARY. Geo-Caching works fine without taking the risk of not finding your crap after a few weeks or months or just forgetting about it. Unfortunately I am 100% that too many geo-cachers give a shit about their environment.

  3. I know in engineering mindset everything has to be optimized for maximum efficiency. But sometimes what you are making is just a cool gimmick. If you are optimizing everything, then why geocaching at all? Spending time, Fuel and resources going places without a useful purpose.

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