Geo-what now?

January 22nd, 2010 by Derrick Plotsky

Location-based games are becoming more and more popular as smartphones with GPS get in more and more people’s pockets. Foursquare (written about by Wil Knoll very recently) is one of these location based games. Another is geocaching.

Geocaching started in May of 2000 around the time the locks came off of handheld GPS units and their accuracy became increased. Today the accuracy (and relatively low cost) of a handheld GPS unit makes it so this game can be played by almost anyone. You don’t even need to have a smartphone to play this game, it can be played with any handheld GPS device.

Geocaching is a combination of hide and seek and treasure hunting. To get started you go to the website (or download the iPhone app if you have one) and create an account (it’s free!). Then choose the location where you’d like to find a geocache and you’re off! You will get a list of all of the caches close by, as well as how far away they are. Alternatively, you can check out the Google map that has them listed on it. Find the caches you want, write down the coordinates and clues, then go on your treasure hunt.

So, you want to go for a nice walk? Want to learn some cool history and find some new places to visit? Then come downtown and check out the caches. There’s some traditional caches which are physical objects to find, as well as a couple history caches which just involve taking a picture of the right location. There are both easy and challenging caches downtown, so whatever your skill level there will be something there for you. Hopefully everybody will give it a shot and join in the fun game of geocaching.

And if you do, let me know how it went, whether you’re a seasoned veteran or if it was your first time out.

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