High Tech Hide and Seek

They call it "Geocaching, and it's probably one of the most successful, technology-enabled sports of this millenium, making use of both global positioning devices and the Internet. It's also a good glimpse at how new and unknowable the results of the Human-Technology-Fun (H-T-F) connection can be.

"The basic idea," explain the authors of the geocaching website, "is to have individuals and organizations set up caches all over the world and share the locations of these caches on the internet. GPS users can then use the location coordinates to find the caches. Once found, a cache may provide the visitor with a wide variety of rewards. All the visitor is asked to do is if they get something they should try to leave something for the cache. "

According to this brief history of geocaching: "When the GPS signal degradation called Select Availabilty (SA) was removed by the Clinton Administration May 1st, 2000 ( statement ), it opened up the possibility of games like this one. On May 3rd, a container of goodies was hidden by a someone outside of Portland, Oregon - in celebration of the removing of Selective Availability. By May 6th the cache was visited twice, and logged in the logbook once. Mike Teague was the first to find the container, and built his personal web page to document these containers and their locations that were posted to the sci.geo.satellite-nav newsgroup...As of today, there are 76496 active caches in 190 countries."

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