Geocaching is an exciting GPS technology game that combines time in the outdoors with excitement and social interaction on a global scale.
With new technologies come new games. As kids we played hide and seek, now the world is gearing up for a global game called GeoCaching. A old friend of mine wrote me an email that he was planning a trip to Amelia Island to do some Geocaching and just kick back. The kick back part I am quite familiar with, the Geocaching (pronounce geo-cashing) I had never heard of. The most overriding reason for this unfamiliarity is that I’m not much of a computer game player. I’ve always been an active participant more than a passive watcher or living room player. Nothing wrong either way, it just explained why I can be on the Internet 15 hours a day yet be completely unfamiliar with this new “tourism” leisure game called Geocaching.
In a nutshell it’s a game hiding and seeking treasures, and yes it’s apparently already wide spread as in about 4 million players world wide and growing exponentially. The attraction is obviously the mystery of finding the treasures, which are already classified in many categories. The game is enjoyed mostly in nature and can be played hiking, trekking, biking, on horses, on ATV’s or even by car or canoe.
When I started reading about it, I felt like suddenly enrolled as a participant in the TV show “the Amazing Race” and I have no doubt that over time GeoCaching (www.geocaching.com) will include speed and distance around a variety of themes and turns into an Amazing Race type tourism attraction.
I can think of numerous creative options to be developed for this game, from a restaurant burying a dinner for two treasure, to a car dealership burying the keys to a new promotional car. Or what about a historical trip from Amelia Island to Manhattan Island on the trails of David Yulee?
So coming back to my friend, he claimed that there are already some 500 plus treasure sites on and off the island and he was thinking of doing a walk, bike and canoe vacation to find a bunch of these treasures. Completely taken by his excitement I went to the website http://www.geocaching.com and signed up for a basic membership in order to find out what is is all about. The basic membership is free, there is also a $30 per year option that will give you perks and goodies.
Well it turns out that Geocaching is a worldwide game of hiding and seeking treasures. A geocacher can place a geocache in the world, pinpoint its location using GPS technology and then share the geocache’s existence and location online. Anyone with a GPS device such as from the US Outdoor Store can then try to locate the geocache according to clues and attraction.
The website continues by giving the 8 easy steps to Geocaching as
- Register for a free Basic Membership.
- Click “Hide & Seek a Cache.”
- Enter your postal code and click “search.”
- Choose any geocache from the list and click on its name.
- Enter the coordinates of the geocache into your GPS Device.
- Use your GPS device to assist you in finding the hidden geocache.
- Sign the logbook and return the geocache to its original location.
- Share your geocaching stories and photos online.
Being a lifelong marketer, I think point 7 and 8 are a bit lame and could be worked into some real excitement.
But in essence it’s a community of game players that like the outdoors and keep each other informed. Still quite innocent in its approach. But wait until creative marketing and advertising minds get a hold of this and Geocaching will be a weekend treasure hunt of great magnitude and force.
The zipcode 32034 with a 20 mile radius already offers 313 geocaches and 513 benchmarks according to the official website, which even indicates types of caches and how they look, kind of like an immunity item on the TV show Survivor.
On an island where loot and booty are daily used words, I found one entry to be of particular interest. Check it out: http://www.geocaching.com/seek/cache_details.aspx?guid=a39455c6-6b3b-4329-9fe0-79cb744e96b6.
I’m already kind of sold on the game value of this outdoor technology game even though I don’t have a GPS yet, which seems to be kind of instrumental. I also think I may want to get a copy of the Complete Idiot’s Guide to Geocaching, which I noticed is already in its second edition.
Must be getting old.