Updated Geocaching Coordinate Calculator

Open the Popup Coordinate Distance Calculator

In Geocaching there is a type of cache called a “Multi”, or “Multi-Cache”. It requires the user to locate an initial cache that provides directions to the next cache, which when found provides directions to another cache, and so-on until the final cache is found. My initial thoughts to these type of caches were that they are like the old fictional pirate treasure maps.

I’m sure you’ll recognize the following excerpt from a popular 80’s movie:

Mikey pulls out the doubloon and verifies another critical alignment.

Mikey: Guys...I think I have a match. I'm sure of it! The lighthouse, the rock, and the restaurant all fit the doubloon. That must mean that the rich stuff is near the restaurant. So, (pulls the map out of his shirt), wait a second, Mouth, I'm going to need you to translate the map because I don't understand Spanish. (Pointing) Right here.

Mouth: (Looking at the map) Alright, alright, alright. (Reading) (spanish)

Mikey: What does that mean?

Mouth: Ten times ten.

Mikey: Uh, hundred.

Data: Hundred.

Mouth: (Translating) ...stretching feet to nearest northern point.

Mikey: North. What's north? Which way is north?

Mouth: That's where you'll find the treat.

Mikey: The treat...the rich stuff! The treat! The rich stuff. That's it!

Data: (Checks his compass and points) North is that way.

Now you can fulfill your childhood fantasies of joining Mikey’s gang in search for magical pirate treasure right from the convenience of this page.

I first attempted to create this calculator five years ago. My understanding of spherical coordinates was very limited – it still is – but I cracked open some websites and learned quite a bit. The trigonometry I did so well in during my time in High School was rusty, but I remembered enough that it was helpful.

It turns out this calculator was already placed up on NASA’s website a couple of years ago, though I’m not sure what algorithm they use. When doing research on that, I came across one of Wolfram Research’s pages on Spherical Trigonometry. Ah! Good head-spinning stuff… pun intended.

Sometimes it’s not a multi-cache, but a puzzle cache which would call for a calculator like this. Examples include the No Latitude and A-Rock-No-Phobia puzzle caches.

Here’s what to enter:

  • Distance (Feet) = the distance from the center point in feet. If you’re interested in metric entry and results, post a comment.
  • Heading (Compass Degrees) = the heading in compass degrees. 0 degrees is due North, 90 degrees is due East, 180 degrees is due South, and 270 degrees is due West.
  • Latitude of Origin = coordinates in the format “N XX° YYY.ZZZZ'” where N denotes North/South from a drop-down, XX is the degrees and YYY.ZZZZ is the decimal minutes. This is the common form that Geocaching.com provides for coordinates.
  • Longitude of Origin = the same as the Latitude, only for Longitude. It should now be able to handle W or E hemispheres to handle our friends on the other side of the meridian.

The Calculations are for nerds. The Results are for you. The coordinate results should display a link to Google maps when you’ve entered in all the criteria.

Update: 2017-06-15, I corrected the algorithm. Instead of using the angular distance, it uses a formula based on Haversine distance equation.

Open the Popup Coordinate Distance Calculator

Have fun and post a comment to let me know if it’s useful.

The iPhone Crowd

For the technophiles who understand the grunting undertones of the UK’s hit television series “The IT Crowd” and who also happen to understand the grunting undertones of the Tim Allenisms when it comes to modern technology (and who happen to be fortunate enough to own an iPhone) we have a special treat for you today!

The IT Crowd Ringtone.
It’s the free remix track offered by Painting By Numbers trimmed down to fit and converted to be read as an iPhone ringtone. Certainly it would have been nice to keep the full 47 second hum-dinger, but Apple forces some limits on this no matter what the file size.

Originally, I wanted to make a ringtone that would loop nicely – and did, but it didn’t start off where I wanted it to. Besides, who lets their phone ring for more than 30 seconds?

So I opted to just trim out the middle – you get the start and the finish. It’s like a bologna sandwich without the bologna!

The IT Crowd (remix for ringtones).m4r

For those who can play regular mp3s as ringtones, we’ve got you covered:
The IT Crowd remix ringtone.mp3

Flashback – Denver Art Museum : May 11, 2007

Last May I took my family to the Denver Art Museum. It was recently renovated and I thought it should offer some level of interest and cultural awareness to our family. Once we arrived at the area, it became apparent that we’d have to pay for parking. Personally, I hate paying to park my car, but it’s a must here so be prepared to shell out around $8 for it.

With that said – this has got to be the coolest family friendly art museum on the face of the planet!

Coming up on July 14th, 2007 they are having a full free weekend! Saturday or Sunday – you show up and it’s free admission. You could participate in the world’s largest paint by number and get bragging rights when someone opens the next edition of the Guinness book of world records.

Better than that, around nearly every corner is some activity that kids three years and older could participate in with some level of parental supervision. There’s virtual bubble popping, postcard making, art bingo, multimedia centers, an entire kid’s activity area where children can build a chair, chalk it up and sit in it, a creative drawing project where you can post your finished art on a wall and much more.

I know this sounds like an advertisement, but finding an inexpensive to moderately priced family friendly excursion for a family of 6 is no easy task and when the opportunity comes, it’s great to share a good thing with other families.

Here are a few penny-pinching tips for those who are trying to keep a tight budget.

* bring a lunch. Note: You can’t have open food or drink throughout the museum except in their beautiful cafe.

* go on a free day: Usually the first Saturday of each month, but check their site for specials.

* parking: sigh. I don’t think you can skimp on this unless you live in that area or park and ride the public buses. I suggest you shell out the dough and park at the museum parking lot.

If you plan a little, it’s easily under $10 for a day of cultural enrichment for your entire family!