What are Pocket Queries?


Pocket Queries are the “Easy Button” of Geocaching! I was a long-time Cacher before learning what they were, so although you may already know all about them, I can only assume there are alot of Cachers who, like me, have been caching for a while and still don’t know what they are.

So, let me explain. A Pocket Query is basically a Geocache filter that the main Geocaching website offers at http://www.geocaching.com/pocket/ There isn’t any ONE thing that pocket queries are for, which is what makes them so great!

SO, let’s say you want a list of caches within 30 miles of your home coordinates that you haven’t found yet. Too easy. Just go to the pocket query page, check a few boxes and you have your list, which is emailed to you and can be downloaded in GPX format, which means with most GPS units you can actually UPLOAD it directly to your GPSr! (no more entering caches into your GPS one at a time.)

You can also upload this list to compatible devices like iPhones, iPods, iPads (and I’m sure several others.) You don’t even need an internet connection with these devices, because all of the cache details are already there, which means PAPERLESS CACHING!


Now, let’s say you’re a FTF addict :) No problem. Go to the pocket query page and tell it to run every single day… and to find caches that “Have not been found” and every day you’ll get a report in your email inbox of all caches within your specified radius of the location you specified (if any) that have never been found. KEEP IN MIND THOUGH, this is generated daily. So if you’re a BIG FTF hunter, the best thing to do is to set up notifications for instant alerts of new caches.

There are many other possibilities. You can filter your queries by difficulty, container type, terrain, attributes and more.

So as you can see, Pocket Queries make finding the caches you’re interested in finding much quicker and easier. Not to mention the other, added benefits like the ability to preload all caches in a specified location to your GPSr at once… paperless caching etc.

Do you use Pocket Queries? I would love to hear what you use them for and anything else related them in the comment field below.

  1. mitmatr

    I don’t us them, mostly because I am still not a premium member. Thats not because am that cheap it because I want to see if anyone uses the “Gift” button. I contribute to the community by placing alot of caches for others. Pocket Query is temtping to take that step up, though.

  2. KK7X

    I use PQ’s on a regular basis. I update for my local area on a regular basis and then load them into GSAK. Check out what is new and then load them onto my Garmin GPSmap 60CSx. I am planning a trip in July and will be doing PQ’s for the route. Used in conjunction with my iPhone it really is the way to go.

  3. Guy

    I use pocket queries, though at times, they just don’t work, and still confuse me.
    I get zero results on some, and normal results on others.

    Also “cache along a route” I am yet to use, but if going on a roadtrip, this can be an invaluable tool also.

    Notifications are an invaluable tool also, though there are problems with that if you live near a border (you can not set up notifications within a Province/State/country, So because I live in B.C>, I am not interested in caches in Washington, so when you set a radius, you get caches published in Wa., their solution, set my “home” coordinates further north!!, North of me is bush, mountains, the population is on the border, so I liss all the Canadian caches published near the border, Just fix it G.S.

    Sorry I got sidetracked,
    But the bottom line is.
    All these tools are extremely useful, and without sounding like a Groundspeak salesman, you suould get membership, it is worth it.

    For that person who could not afford it, Groundspeak sent me a survey to fill out, in it I suggested they fix notifications, but also offer free membership to those who publish a certain amount of caches per year, maybe 30 or 50, as they (like me, over 30 placed, and have been caching since Nov. last year) are the ones making caching expand.

    My thoughts.


  4. dmrauch

    I use pocket queries a lot and it is one of the reasons I became a premium member. But I use the pocket query in a ‘test’ mode more than any other. If I am not exactly sure where I am going to cache (there are many areas near me but in opposite directions from each other that just won’t show up on a single query). I have many queries created, one for each area, one for a group of types (today I might only want to do virtuals or puzzles). I create the query and then look at the preview. The preview seems to magically keep up to date. I also have one premade with new caches. But I don’t get to cache everyday and in my area, there aren’t new caches everyday. So I check the previews and if I need to, I run it as a query for a download.

    I have seen several people in my area that contribute a lot of caches and are not premium members. It never occurred to me to gift them a membership because I assumed if they didn’t have premium it was because they didn’t want or didn’t need it. Might want to put on your profile page that you are willing to accept the premium membership.

  5. Guy

    Oh, I had mine gifted to me by a busy cacher, and I intend to do the same thing, I am thinking of offering membership as a FTF prize when I can afford to do so. I can also gift a membership back to the guy that helped me out, it will just extend his membership.

  6. Ola

    If you are a FTF hunter you will never ever (at least not in this area, which has a lot of FTF hunters…) get an FTF if you rely on slow daily updates via pocket queries. Normally new caches are FTF’ed within one or two hours tops here – depending on how remote the cache is placed, of course.

    I recommend that you leave out the FTF part of your article or update it to include a little information about Notifications instead.. :)

  7. admin

    You’re absolutely right, Ola. I’ve never been much of a FTF hunter, so it didn’t even cross my mind. I’ll update that and I appreciate the heads up.

  8. Arkville

    As soon as I get a program that will open zip files, I think I will give it a try. I checked it out and think it may be helpful.

  9. pigtales

    I was a premium member last year (my first full year of caching) and found PQ’s a must for FTF’s. I also found more general caches than since my membership lapsed, mainly because of lack of notification. I simply got complacent. The fact is queries speed up the search process and notifications prod the “lazy cacher”. I highly recommend their use and will probably renew my membership soon. BTW in urban areas you “WillNot” get FTF without the queries unless you are extremely lucky. Average in Houston is 2-3 hrs and I’ve seen them snatched up in less than 30 min. of publication.

  10. admin

    @ Arkville – You can open archive files (.zip) with Windows.

  11. ShadowHawke

    I don’t use Pocket Queries but that’s because my GPSr doesn’t have the capability to upload files. Yes, I know it’s antique (5 years old LOL). May buy a new one one day but right now this one this works fine and I’m still finding caches. What more do I really need?

  12. morts01

    I started using PQs at the beginning of the year and now I wonder why I never became a premium member before. Its a great tool and the only way to download multiple gpx files at once which is needed for paperless caching! A great time saver!

  13. Shane

    I just Pocket queries. However, the Dallas area has >5,500 that I have not found. This requires many PQ’s as they are limited to 1000 per PQ and 5 PQ per day. It takes 2 days for me to download what I want.

  14. Terry

    I tried various paperless methods but none were easy to work. I bought the new Maellan explorist GC and makes it easy at last. You can download the pq including all cache info direct to it. It comes with free trial premium membership. I also use gsak for more help.

  15. steve bullard
    steve bullard12-15-2010

    I get pocket queries sent to me once a week. My question is do I have to delete everything in the gps and then download the weekly one. If there is any new ones put out it takes a bit of time going thru everything. I recently found a few repeats downloaded by mistake taking up room in the gps. also like to see how people feel about having cords or gc’s showing. I like a name I can reference to. my gps won’t give me both.

  16. Pat

    We have been doing paperless caches without PQs. We’ve found our smart phone (with mobile internet access) to be a great caching tool, but if we want to back it up with the GPS, I just look at the website, choose the caches we are interested in (yes,one at a time) and click to send the info to the GPS. If you are only doing under 30 at a time, it’s fine. We don’t get any description, etc.,info on the GPS tho, so the phone is really better. Also, we can decide on the fly and don’t have to decide ahead of time which ones we want. Would we get descriptions downloaded if we were premium if they don’t download now to our Trek Venture HC?

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