WJ Family’s Geocaching Puzzle Webtools
We decided we’d make a website to have links to various puzzle solving tools we have found helpful. Hopefully you will also find them helpful. Feel free to message us with additional suggestions! Short link: bit.ly/wjgeopuzzles
Generally Useful Cipher/Crypto Sites
These sites have various cipher solving tools and other useful stuff:
- Rumkin Cipher Tools
- Bion’s Gadgets—MOVED to a new mirror on GitHub
- dCode.fr—Available in French and English
- My Geocaching Profile
- NetteLeut(h)e - GC Tools—in German, but still useful if you don’t read German
- Puzzled Pint Code Sheet (PDF)—a list of nine basic substitutions, including NATO, several numerical schemes, Morse, Braille, semaphore, and pigpen.
- BRAiNgLe—Codes, ciphers, encryption, and cryptography
- Read the Docs—A page with links to some ciphers
- Crypto Programs—Can create and solve different types of ciphers
- American Cryptogram Association—This site has information on several different types of ciphers.
- The Multisolver theoretically tries several different cipher types at once.
- CacheSleuth has cipher tools, map tools, code tools, number tools, and some misc tools.
- Red Luth Riddle Tools has cipher tools, alphabets, and lots of other tools.
Simple Caesar Cipher Solver
- theblob’s ROT encoder/decoder—unlike other tools that only do ROT13 or only do one rotation at a time, this tool does all 26 at once, with a minimal interface. You can usually immediately tell which one is the right one.
Dancing Men Decoding
The Dancing Men Cipher from Sherlock Holmes is not difficult, but it's really annoying to decode because finding the right dancing man is hard. Here's a decoding key, sorted by the shapes of the men, rather than alphabetically. Click for a larger version.
Math and Logic Puzzles
- Johannes Singler’s LogicalSolver—you can edit this page to assist with solving logic puzzles. It will do all the work for you that it can automatically, or only alert you to errors, or just provide a handy online version with undo.
- Wolfram Alpha—A “computational knowledge engine” from the makers of Mathematica. It can solve lots of math problems—and lots of other stuff, too! See the main page for links to examples of everything it can do.
- The On-Line Encyclopedia of Integer Sequences—Useful for those puzzles which want you to know what the next in the sequence is.
- Number World—has some math tools for equation solving, prime numbers, and fibonacci numbers.
- Triangle Calculator—we don’t have a specific one to recommend at the moment, but there are lots of them out there; just search for triangle calculator.
- Finding a specific digit of pi
- The Irrational Numbers Search Engine can help search 2 x 10^9 decimal digits of Pi, E, the Square Root of Two and 5 x 10^8 digits of Phi (the Golden Ratio) for the first occurrence of a numeric string, or display a specified number of digits from a given starting position.
- PlanetCalc solves matrices, even large ones!
- There are several nonogram solvers out there. Here are a couple which were recommended to us: Teal's nonogram solver and Griddler
- Cross+A Sudoku variations has lots and lots of variations on sudoku. Good for puzzle makers and puzzle solvers.
- This German puzzle site is not very well laid out, but it has a lot of different kinds of puzzles.
- This site has a lot of math tools, including converting between bases.
- Keisan has some more math tools, including triangle calculators. So does this site.
- This integers site tells you a bunch of stuff about any number.
- Number.Academy has some interesting information about just about any number. It calls itself the encyclopedia of numbers.
- Calculating integrals.
Unsure what kind of cipher you are looking at?
- Rumkin’s Frequency Analysis and Text Manipulator can help you get an idea of what kind of data you have.
- Just want an answer? Bring out the big guns! Bion’s Gadgets offers a number of ID tests; our favorites are the Cipher ID Test and the Neural Net ID test. Be sure to consider any second or even third ranked option, especially if the scores are close, or your sample of encoded text is small.
- You can also try Boxentriq to try to figure out the type of cipher.
- dCode also has a cipher identifier.
- This site allows you to do various binary-like ciphers (binary, Bacon, Braille, Morse) sequentially.
Vigenère ciphers are really popular with Geocachers. If you are pretty sure you have a Vigenère cipher but can’t figure out the key, sometimes you can crack it with these tools.
Whether or not using these counts as cheating depends on how frustrated you are. For other ciphers, you can generally search Google for <cipher name> online cracker and you might find something useful.
Here are some other crackers we've come across:
- ASCII to Hex—Converts ASCII Text, Binary, Hexadecimal, BASE 64, Decimal, ROT 13, etc., all at once.
Reverse Image Search
Got an image and have no idea what it is? You can use reverse image search to (maybe) find it.
Both also support drag-n-drop.
Hidden Info In Images
Think an image may have hidden information? Here are some sites that might help you view it.
- If you have an animated GIF and you want to inspect it, you can load it up in the EZGIF online editor, which will show you all of the individual frames of the GIF.
Identifying Unknown Characters
Not sure what alphabet or script you are dealing with?
- This tool will identify a bunch of Unicode characters at once.
- English Wikipedia and English Wiktionary If you can cut-and-paste the character, most characters, even fairly obscure ones, either have an article on the character, or a link to the writing system the character comes from. Put one character in the search box on Wikipedia and see where it takes you. Wiktionary has similar coverage, and often has more succinct details.
- Shapecatcher—If all you have is a picture of a character, you can draw it on this site, and it will attempt to guess the character, and show you many possibilities. Sometimes you have to draw very carefully not to get too many results, but it is super helpful some times. (note that it does not do Chinese, Korean, or Japanese)
- You can draw Chinese characters on these sites: Qhanzi or Dict.Naver to help identify them.
- Your Macintosh—in most programs, the last item in the Edit menu is Emoji & Symbols (or Special Characters on older systems). You can search for characters by their official Unicode name, or you can paste any text (any short text—keep it short!) in the search box and get the characters in your text listed. Click on any one of them to see the Unicode name and encoding for that symbol. This page gives more details on how to use the character viewer.
- For you non-Mac users, there’s FileFormat.info’s Unicode Character Search. You can only search one letter at a time. If it fails to find anything, try the search in the upper left corner, which searches the whole site, but gives better results on more esoteric characters.
If you have identified the alphabet or script, these are some sites that may be useful:
Wikipedia and Wiktionary are also available in hundreds of other languages! If you think you know what language or country something is from, you can search other wikis in the relevant language for names and places. Searching Google with <name> wiki also works if you have no idea where to look.
Finding just the right word
For lots of word puzzles you can get stuck trying to find just the right word. Here are some tools to help.
- OneLook—our favorite dictionary search, OneLook searches across many different specialist dictionaries at once.
- Definitions—not sure what a word means and you can’t find it in Wikipedia or Wiktionary? OneLook searches dozens of dictionaries and combines the results. It provides a definition and lots of links.
- Pattern matching—the main page of OneLook shows you the patterns it allows. The most useful are ?, which matches one letter, and *, which match any number of letters (including 0). Need to find what word this could be: _uoti_ian, search for ?uoti?ian and you get your answer. Need a word that starts with antid- and ends with -arianism? Search for antid*arianism. Note that you can sort results alphabetically, by commonness, and by length, filter phrases, and filter by part of speech. An amazing tool!
- Wikipedia and Wiktionary + regular expressions—if you are not already familiar with regular expressions, then this is not the place to learn (though if you really want to, give this a go), but Wikipedia and Wiktionary support regular expression searches, using the common programming language regex symbols: . ? with modifiers * or +, and  for character classes. You can use insource:/.../ to search everywhere, and intitle:/.../ to search just titles (very useful on Wiktionary. For example: intitle:/.uoti.ian/ on Wiktionary. You’ll have to experiment to see what regex bits are supported and which are not.
- Wordnet—Wordnet is an overly complete “lexical database for English”, essentially a very detailed dictionary and thesaurus rolled into one. You can find all the different senses (meanings) of a word, plus a lot of related information for each word sense. The lists of “direct hyponyms” (more specific terms), “direct hypernyms” (more general terms), and “member holonyms” (larger things this thing is part of) are particularly useful for crosswords and other word puzzles.
- Allwords—If you know the word length and any letters, this will help with options.
- whatsthisword does crossword solving, anagram solving, and word finding.
- Crosswordsolver and One Across also help with solving when you don't know the whole word.
Of course you often need to manipulate coordinates, too!
- Tools to Convert Coordinates—Calculate a position in a variety of formats.
- HampsterMap—Convert Coordinates to a variety of formats (decimal, UTM, DM, DMS)
- Geo•Javawa’s Calculating with Coordinates—17 coordinate calculations, including all sorts of line- and circle-based calculations, projections, etc.
- Create a map straight from Excel CopyPasteMap—This is also available in HampsterMap
- Sometimes you need to convert to/from UTM. You can try Montana.edu.
- GPS Visualizer combines a few of the above tools, and also has an option to create an HTML map from a GPS file.
Disclaimer: we have not personally tried these apps, nor do we have any financial interest in any of them.
- GeoCaching Buddy - helps with Multi caches. Saves clues when found and will calculate any derived clue or new waypoint (formula or projection). Available for iPhone
- Puzzle Sidekick - a set of tools, reference material, and links for solving puzzles. The tools range from decoder-ring style codebreaking to countdown timer prediction. The reference material includes word frequency, morse code, semaphore, some ciphers, etc. It is available for both iPhone and iPad.
- GCTools - help for coordinates (projection, intersections, conversions, etc) and Cipher De-/Encoding (Interactive data tables for different number and alphabet systems, binary, ASCII, etc) Available for iPhone
- GCC GeoCache Calculator - help with cipher de/encoding (tables for different number, alphabet systems, binary, ASCII, etc) and coordinate tools (projection, intersection, conversions, etc)
- Cachly - will do projections
Here are some additional tools that didn't fit nicely into one of the above categories.
- Aviation Information
- Geocaching Admin allows for quick searches and logging of caches. (Even premium caches by non-premium members.)
- This site has a bunch of tools, including a reverse wherigo solver!
- The Wayback Machine at the Internet Archive has saved copies of pages from all over the internet, sometimes going back as much as 20 years. Sometimes, when a link is broken, you can find an archived copy here. Note that The Wayback Machine can't save copies of pages that it can't access, so old premium cache pages are not available, for example.
- The Historical Marker Database has images and text of many roadside historical markers.
- Identify Songs with this audio fingerprinting site.
- Aaron Toponce has a nice page on playing card ciphers.
- Expasy will help with DNA to protein decoding.
- Pepdraw is a tool for modeling amino acids and peptides.
Other puzzle solving collection sites
Here are some other sites that have gathered geocaching tools.
Old Geocaching site search page
- Main search page. Be sure to check out advanced search options if you need to see what caches someone else has found.
In addition to cachetur, you might find some of the sites below useful for planning trips.
- Trying to fit some adventure labs into your plan, but having trouble figuring out the coords to use? Try Lab2Gpx to grab a gpx file for your app of choice. Mostly helpful for the non-linear adventure labs, but can also help you plan a route for the linear ones.
- If you are looking at lake temperatures for kayaking, Lake Monster is a good resource before you go, to make sure it's warm enough!
More as we find them...