quote:Originally posted by The Alabama Rambler:Here are some notes and thoughts you may find helpful. Take what you like and leave the rest!
If you use some of these quotes you will have to get permission and attribution.
Thank you very much for the great ideas.I am going to finish up my article and give it my best shot to see if i can get it in my local paper.
Get Your Family Outdoors!
Shortly after President Clinton signed into law the following (excerpted) statement:
“THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release May 1, 2000
STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT REGARDING THE UNITED STATES' DECISION TO STOP DEGRADING GLOBAL POSITIONING SYSTEM ACCURACY
Today, I am pleased to announce that the United States will stop the intentional degradation of the Global Positioning System (GPS) signals available to the public beginning at midnight tonight. We call this degradation feature Selective Availability (SA). This will mean that civilian users of GPS will be able to pinpoint locations up to ten times more accurately than they do now. GPS is a dual-use, satellite-based system that provides accurate location and timing data to users worldwide.”
an idea posted to an Internet News Group in May 2000 became one of the hottest new outdoors games in the world.
Once the SA system was removed it opened accurate GPS capabilities to anyone with $100. to spend on a basic GPS receiver (GPSr).
Computer programmer Dave Ulmer soon had the following idea and posted it to an Internet newsgroup:
Now that SA is off we can start a worldwide Stash Game!! With Non-SA accuracy is should be easy to find someone's stash from waypoint information.
Waypoints of secret stashes could be shared on the Internet, people could navigate to the stashes and get some stuff. The only rule would for stashes is: Get some Stuff, Leave some Stuff!!
I'm thinking of half burying a five gallon plastic bucket with lid at the stash point. Putting in some stuff. Adding a logbook and pencil so visitors can record their find.
I'll look for a place near a road where few people would normally go...
As the idea quickly grew into a popular game played around the world, Mr. Ulmer further defined the game as follows (excerpted from http://web.archive.org/web/20000817003955/www.triax.com/yngwie/geocacheintro.html)
Geocaching is a new 21st century recreation that came about as a result of the improving accuracy of electronic Global Positioning System (GPS) devices. With improved positional accuracy on the order of three meters, GPS's now allow unskilled users the ability to find geographic locations with precision and repeatability. With this new ability, people can now place geocaches in interesting places so that others can enjoy the challenge of finding them. This is called Recreational Geocaching.
Geocache and Geocaching are new words developed to easily communicate the act of placing an object at a geographical location and recording its position. Geocache can be used as a noun or a verb. A geocache is an item or group of items located at a recorded geographical position. To geocache, is to place the object and record its position. Geocaching, the act of placing or locating geocaches. Geocaching is also used to describe the sport or recreation of geocaching. A geocacher is a person involved in geocaching.
In the rapidly developing sport of Recreational Geocaching, the Internet is used as a medium for the distribution of geocache locations. Websites have now been set up to support this new activity. The Internet allows communication between the geocacher and those searching for the geocache. Posted on the Internet along with the geographic coordinates, are clues, pictures, and other information about the geocache. Even stories from the people who have found a geocache describe their adventure. Currently most geocaches consist of a small waterproof box or plastic bucket, placed at an interesting location. The geocaches contain a logbook for visitors to write in, and a variety of interesting treasures to trade. The simple rules: Take something, Leave something, and Write in the book. These are the basics of recreational geocaching.
The location of a geocache can be very entertaining indeed. As some say, location is everything! The location of a geocache demonstrates the geocacher's skill and possibly even daring. A geocache located on the side of a rocky cliff accessible only by rock climbing equipment may be hard to find. An underwater stash may only be accessed by scuba. Other geocaches may require long difficult hiking, orienteering, and special equipment to get to. Geocaches may be located in cities both above and below ground, inside and outside buildings. The skillful placement of a small logbook in an urban environment may be quite challenging to find even with the accuracy of a GPS. That little logbook may have a hundred-dollar bill in it or a map to greater treasure. It could even contain clues or riddles to solve that may lead to other geocaches.
Recreational geocaching can take on many forms. Like a high-tech Easter egg hunt, geocaching is a sport for all ages. Geocaching adds a new dimension to travel and hiking because you are taking advantage of the local knowledge of the geocacher and your own skill to find a geocache. Since every set of geographical coordinates can be approached from any direction, geocaching requires careful map reading skills in order to find the best approach. Once found a geocache can provide many rewards, from hidden treasure to spectacular views, and even a great campsite.
More history of geocaching development can be found at http://www.guysnamedkim.com/geocache/geocache_history.html
Local Father-daughter Geocachers
Local resident Paul Bearss was searching the Internet for information on maps when he came across an article about geocaching (pronounced geo-cashing). After reading about the sport of geocaching, Bearss thought that it sounded like a great way to spend time with Brittany, his five-year-old daughter.
Bearss describes the sport as a high-tech treasure hunt. Simply put, participants go online to http://www.geocaching.com (or one of several other geocaching websites) to find the latitude and longitude of a hidden cache; they then plug the coordinates into their GPSr and the hunt begins.
According to Bearss, the caches can vary from virtual caches, in which you are guided to a spot that has some significance, to traditional caches. Traditional caches usually are made from Tupperware containers or military ammo boxes that are camouflaged in some way and hidden in parks and forests.
Inside these containers, the cache hider places a logbook and ‘cache loot’, trinkets ranging from Mardi Gras beads to toys, books, software and even money.
“Most of the caches are the traditional type, and those are the ones we enjoy the most,” said Bearss.
Once a person has found a cache they make a note about the find in its logbook and trade for any items it contains that may interest them.
The finder then posts a note on the ‘cache page’ (the internet page describing that cache) describing the hunt, find (or not) and any interesting anecdote related to the cache or hunt, along with what was taken and what was left.
According to the geocaching.com website there are certain rules that must be followed when hiding a cache or its coordinates will not be posted on the site. The point of the rules is to ensure that the sport remains safe, kid friendly, and environmentally responsible. The website also keeps statistical records for each registered geocacher.
As a whole, geocachers are environmentally friendly and practice something called Cache-In-Trash-Out (CITO, pronounced see-toe) which means bringing a trash bag with you and picking up any debris you may come across. This is a great way of keeping the places we like to visit nice and clean, and geocachers regularly hold CITO events to clean up parks and trails.
A quick look at the website indicates that today there are over 1900 caches in NY alone and that many thousands of caches can now be found in over 180 countries.
Bearss has hidden two caches in Fulton and he has plans to add more.
Bearss said there are some basic things needed to get started in geocaching, “You’ll need a free basic account with geocaching.com, a handheld GPSr (basic models cost around $100 and advanced models can cost $500), and a sense of adventure.”
With that set of basics in place the Bearss family set out to find the geocaches they had selected as likely targets to hunt.
Bearss says “We had fun right from the very start; the GPS told us how far we had to go and in what general direction. We had to negotiate that distance using a street map, as the GPS gives a true distance (a straight line from where you are to the cache) and road distance is determined by your chosen route.”
Bearss goes on to say that getting to the general area provided a fun car trip for the family, but then the walk to and search for the cache proved to be even more exciting.
While GPS receivers are more accurate than ever, they are still susceptible to overhead foliage blocking the signal, and are accurate to only 20’ or so under the best of circumstances.
Geocache hiders attempt to make the cache fit into its environment, using camouflage and natural features so that the cache does not detract from or disturb the environment, and so that non-geocachers don’t stumble upon it. This means the cache could be in a hollow log, under leaves and sticks at the base of a tree, or some perhaps more difficult location.
This provides an opportunity for the family to explore the area and use collaboration, discussion, brainpower and published clues from the website cache page to make the find.
Bearss reports that his five-year-old daughter has become the family’s champion cache finder, using her intellect and common sense (and a little luck!) to puzzle out the cache location.
“Plus,” he goes on to say, “My daughter finds new toys and trinkets in every cache”.
This game provides motivation and a reward for getting outdoors. Time we might have spent in less beneficial ways has been invested in a family activity that is exciting and educational”.
Geocaching can be combined with tracking the location of money by registering currency bills at http://www.wheresgeorge.com and with exchanging books (http://www.bookcrossing.com).
To find out more about geocaching, visit http://www.geocaching.com, or use a search engine such as Google (http://www.google.com) to search for the word “geocaching”.
No man is so foolish but he may sometimes give another good counsel, and no man so wise that he may not easily err if he takes no other counsel than his own. He that is taught only by himself has a fool for a master.
- Ben Jonson -Sixteenth century English dramatist.