#GetOutside with geocaching and find our surveyors

Try out our geocaching challenge this summer and see how many of our surveyors you can find roaming Britain with their travel bugs. There are 47 OS #GetOutside travel bugs being carried around by our teams and if you find one, you could win a great mappy prize.

OS geocaching trackables

OS geocaching trackables

If you haven’t tried geocaching before it’s like a real-world treasure hunt, but for the digital generation, and is a fantastic family activity. There are over 6 million geocachers worldwide and around 2.5 million active geocaches (the containers which geocachers are hunting for). To take part, you need a global positioning system (GPS) to find your way to coordinates and when you find your geocache you can record your find online and see what’s in the box. If you decide to take something away, you have to leave something of equal value behind for the next person to find.

As well as these fixed geocaches, there are trackables, geocaches that move around with people or objects, known as travel bugs or geocoins. Our surveyors are carrying 47 travel bugs around with them right now. We’re challenging you to find and log as many of these trackables as you can before 11 October.

How to get involved

If you already have an account on geocaching.com, then look out for our surveyors, and approach them to see if they have a travel bug with them, then log the code on geocaching.com. There are 270 of them, working across Britain, and only 47 travel bugs – so don’t be surprised if you spot a surveyor and they don’t have a trackable. They’re friendly bunch though, so by all means grab a #surveyorselfie and tweet us your photo to @ordnancesurvey.

If you haven’t tried geocaching before, read some tips here, and set up your account at geocaching.com.

Our surveyors are usually easy to spot, with their hi-vis vests and surveying equipment. Just check that they have the OS logo on their vest and that you’re not accosting anyone else’s surveyors! Take a look at the photos to below to get an idea of how our surveyors are kitted out, and what the OS #GetOutside trackables will look like.

OS surveyor - note the OS logo on the jacket and the kit they're likely to be carrying

OS surveyor – note the OS logo on the jacket and the kit they’re likely to be carrying

Once you spot the surveyor you can ask whether they have a trackable on them - like this one

Once you spot the surveyor you can ask whether they have a trackable on them – like this one

What’s in it for me?

It’s a fun activity to get involved in over the summer and a nice geocaching challenge. We can’t tell you in advance where our surveyors will be, but they’re often around new road and housing developments capturing changes to Britain’s landscape.

Everyone who logs one of the #GetOutside travel bugs on geocaching.com will be entered into a prize draw to win one of three annual subscriptions to OS Maps – perfect for future geocaching activities.

What’s in it for OS?

Our surveyors are working in teams with their travel bugs and competing to see which bug can travel the furthest and also which bug gets the most logs from all of you keen geocachers.

It’s also a great fit for our #GetOutside campaign, which launched this week. We’re asking Britain to pledge to get outside more this year – you can make pledges on our website for the chance to win more prizes. We’ve pledged to have 1 million walking routes in our OS Maps app in the next 2 years – you could pledge to find as many #GetOutside travel bugs as possible…

Good luck!

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12 Responses

  1. B Croker

    You need to mask the trackable no. on that picture of lots of people will discover it without meeting the actual OS surveyors.

    1. That’s great to hear Adam, I was going to drop you an email later to ask if you’d be interested in sharing the news.

      Thanks, Gemma

    1. Hi Jeanette

      Yes – there are only 300 or so of them and they are spread across GB! The challenge has finished now, so we’ve given the team permission to pass their tags on – we’ll blog about it soon.

      Thanks, Gemma

  2. martin harris

    Hi Gemma
    Didn’t manage to grab any OS Surveyor TB last year, is it still running 2016
    Thanks Martin

    1. Hi Martin

      That’s a shame – they are a quite elusive bunch! I don’t believe there are any plans to run the scheme again this year, but I will pass your feedback along to the team just in case.
      Thanks, Gemma

  3. Brian Machin


    As a filmmaker I am fascinated by the work of your surveyors and have written to the Ordnance Survey to see if we can progress this any further (but not had a reply yet). I presume you have more surveyors working in built up areas than in rural areas, but having read your excellent blogs I’d be interested in finding out more about their work?

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