Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Maps #34: Geocoding and Geocaching

During this segment of the Next Generation training, I have learned there is sort of a strange (to me, at least) treasure hunt game going on all over the world. People hide things in containers/capsules and bury or otherwise hide them. Seekers look up their exact locations using Geocache websites. There are usually cute or clever clues on the websites. Lots of people find this to be very entertaining. In the words of an excited geocacher on YouTube, he uses "multi-billion dollar government satellites to look for Tupperware in the woods!"

1. Tell us the name of the location you chose to find and list the GPS coordinates for that location. I used the GPS Visualizer to find the coordinates for the West University Branch Library at 6108 Auden Street, Houston, Texas, 77005. They are: Longitude 29.716778, Latitude -95.437384, N29°43.00668, and W095°26.24304.

2. Find a geocache that you would be interested in finding. Copy and paste the url of the geocache into your blog: http://www.geocaching.com/seek/cache_details.aspx?guid=c1fa4c1e-7009-447f-b2fe-e7cf69e7ccac Copy the GPS Coordinates onto your blog: N 29° 42' 54.4212" W 95° 26' . This cache is the one listed as being closest to the Library. It is across the street, somewhere near the Dugout concession stand on the Little League/Elementary School baseball field. Among the clues: the treasure is NOT under the bleachers.

3. Write about your thoughts on geocaching. Is this something you would like to do for fun? What potential dangers you might want to be aware of? I am not very enamored of geocaching. "If you hide it, they will come" is NOT a mantra that will not fall from my lips. Personally, if I am going to have to dig, I'd just as leave use that energy in my garden. As for the dangers, I think I would be nervous about whose property I was digging up, etc. Apparently most caches also have logs where you sign in, and often it sems to be the custom to leave some swag or new treasure behind. I don't need any more junk in my life, so I am not motivated to join in the fun. But I am glad to have had this opportunity to learn about it!

photo: Yard Flowers by KAO

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