May 28, 2004 In this week’s Cybershake, we take a look at a new high-tech version of the old game of hide and seek. Plus, we note a new piece of software available for all those who secretly dream of a life as an air traffic controller.
The Global Positioning System, or GPS, network of satellites have helped many recreational boaters, fliers and hikers navigate their way home. But die-hard fans of the space-based location system are finding new and fun uses for the technology.
The latest is called geocaching. (Pronounced “geo-cashing.”)
“Geocaching is treasure hunting for the 21st Century,” says Roger Voss, a travel agent and avid “geocacher” in Olympia, Wash. And all that is required to join the hunt is a GPS unit, a set of map coordinates, and a sense of adventure.
Geocachers, such as Voss, create hidden caches containers which hold a log book and assorted knick-knacks in publicly-accessible places like parks and hiking trails. The locations the longitude and latitude readings taken from their personal GPS units are then posted on Web sites such as www.geocaching.com so others with GPS units can find the hidden treasures.
The appeal of the game, says Voss, is its adventurous nature. Since GPS locators give precise locations, most geocaches are cleverly hidden say in the hollow of a specific tree at the coordinates listed online and require players to truly hunt around.