The high-tech treasure hunt

March 31, 2012 — Want to go geocaching?

If you’re not sure what that is, you’re not alone, even though 5 million people in over 100 countries worldwide, and on all seven continents, participate in it.

Geocaching is an activity in which participants use a Global Positioning System (GPS) or other navigational device to play a high-tech game of hide and seek. Instead of hiding themselves, however, players hide containers or “caches” that look like something out of a Tupperware catalog.

The game has an interesting history that dates back 12 years to President Clinton, who announced that the scrambling of GPS signals, which were developed for military use, would be turned off. That meant civilian use for GPS devices would no longer be limited to short distances.

Two days later, a man named Dave Ulmer decided to celebrate the news. He hid a container in the woods near Portland, Oregon and announced its location to the USENET group sci.geo.satellite-nav. Inside the container were a bunch of trinkets, a log book and a rule that stated “take something and leave something, then sign he logbook.”

The following day, his container was found, and within a few more days, more containers were hidden in California, Kansas, and Illinois. A month later, a container was found in Australia, and Ulmer’s little game was well on its way to becoming a worldwide phenomenon.

Today, there are approximately 1.6 million caches hidden around the world, and the game continues to grow in popularity.

If this sounds like something that would interest you, it’s easy to get started. All you need is a GPS device and a geocaching membership, which you can obtain by visiting http://www.geocaching.com/membership/comparison.aspx.

For those who enjoy a good scavenger hunt, geocaching is the perfect activity; finally, a good reason to own one of those GPS gadgets.

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2 thoughts on “The high-tech treasure hunt

    • I just find them distracting and not really helpful at all when I’m driving. I’m more of a find it myself kind of a driver. I actually enjoy the challenge!

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