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Join Geocachers to Win the DARPA Challenge


Jeremy

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I'm just glad to see him post in this Forum again. So if no one finds all ten who wins

 

Per DARPA: If no one responds with the locations of all 10 balloons by the December 14 deadline, the agency will reward the $40,000 to the first person who tracked down at least five of them.

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Is there any particular reason why you think this is of interest to geocachers throughout the world? Surely a charitable event like this should only be publicised in the region that is affected. (And I also understand that all threads mentioning the very worthy UK's 'Children in Need' charitable event were not even allowed to be published in the UK's sub-forum!

 

Pots, Kettles, Black anyone???

 

Chris

Please do not bring issues from other parts of the forums into this one. Thanks.

 

And as TheAlabamaRambler has indicated, Groundspeak owns the forums. They obviously can decide what can and cannot be discussed in their forums.

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The real story I want to hear is how the Groundspeak employees in the War Room gathered the reports, vetted and verified them. It had to be like sipping from a fire hose.

 

I can answer part of that for you. They were posting virtual caches in areas that were possible locations of the balloons. FTF hounds like myself jumped at the opportunity to be a FTF'er at such a cache and dashed off to the coords to search for the balloons. Sadly though, there were no balloons in Atlanta.

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The real story I want to hear is how the Groundspeak employees in the War Room gathered the reports, vetted and verified them. It had to be like sipping from a fire hose.

 

I can answer part of that for you. They were posting virtual caches in areas that were possible locations of the balloons. FTF hounds like myself jumped at the opportunity to be a FTF'er at such a cache and dashed off to the coords to search for the balloons. Sadly though, there were no balloons in Atlanta.

 

Actually there was a balloon in Centennial Park. (DARPA's site now reveals all balloon locations.)

 

Anybody know the GC codes for the new virtuals that were created? I'd love to check them out.

Edited by rob3k
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The real story I want to hear is how the Groundspeak employees in the War Room gathered the reports, vetted and verified them. It had to be like sipping from a fire hose.

 

I can answer part of that for you. They were posting virtual caches in areas that were possible locations of the balloons. FTF hounds like myself jumped at the opportunity to be a FTF'er at such a cache and dashed off to the coords to search for the balloons. Sadly though, there were no balloons in Atlanta.

 

Actually there was a balloon in Centennial Park. (DARPA's site now reveals all balloon locations.)

 

I see that now... Darn.

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The real story I want to hear is how the Groundspeak employees in the War Room gathered the reports, vetted and verified them. It had to be like sipping from a fire hose.

 

I can answer part of that for you. They were posting virtual caches in areas that were possible locations of the balloons. FTF hounds like myself jumped at the opportunity to be a FTF'er at such a cache and dashed off to the coords to search for the balloons. Sadly though, there were no balloons in Atlanta.

Great effort, Groundspeak! :) I look forward to reading how the MIT team achieved their victory with all 10 balloons.

Edited by hydnsek
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The Atlanta one was: GC21QTD. You can find the rest pretty easy from there.

 

Thanks for that. Very interesting, and a really smart way to mobilize Geocachers. I know I'd have been flying out the door had one of those hit within 20 miles - except for the snow that hit today...

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I think we did great. We got most of them without any offer of personal gain. It seems MIT will donate a small percentage to charity, but mostly the money will be distributed to those most directly involved in the actual sightings. Congrats to them for a winning strategy.

 

I went running out the door in a snowstorm this afternoon to track down a new publication nearby. Too bad it wasn't a red balloon.

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Well the competition is over and MIT gets the crown. For those that don't know they offered $2000 to the first person to submit accurate coordinates and additional smaller payouts to anyone who referred them. Cash is king!

 

Geocachers correctly identified 8 of the 10 locations, however, by about 2pm today (Pacific time). I'd say that's a pretty amazing result. The two we missed (and which most teams seemed to have a hard time with) were Miami and Nashville. Where were you guys?? :)

 

Thanks to everyone who participated and special thanks to those geocachers who received the new cache publication alert and sped over to the site. Those personal and trusted reports were a real boon for us. Had there been a rule in place forbidding cash payouts for tips I'm certain we would have had the upper hand.

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... Had there been a rule in place forbidding cash payouts for tips I'm certain we would have had the upper hand.

I'm not sure about that. I know that if I had been trying to earn $2k for my participation today I would not have tried nearly as hard as I did to help Groundspeak win that money for charity. I spammed personal contact lists, forums, multiple Facebook and Twitter accounts, amateur radio bands, truckers etc. with requests to be on the lookout and reporting instructions where I would never have done that for a 'chance' at personal gain.

 

Geocachers across the nation delivered with no expectation of any gain but the fun of it... that's something that our community should be proud of!

 

It's actually a good thing that there wasn't a balloon near me or I would be mighty embarrassed - it never would have occurred to me to watch for new cache postings! In fact during the day when new cache notifications came in I deleted them without looking at them as I knew I wouldn't be going after them any time soon! Sure am glad that there wasn't a pointer to a local balloon sitting in my Deleted Mail box! :)

 

Edit: Oops! On re-reading that statement I think you were saying that the MIT team wouldn't have been so large or motivated if not for the money... you may be right!

Edited by TheAlabamaRambler
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I'm stuck at work all day. :) but i can help by confirming there are no balloons at 525 E. 68th street in midtown manhattan :)

 

Yeah, likewise I can confirm no balloon outside my window on roosevelt island :D

 

(Or any where on roosevelt island...it would be pretty noticeable as we are but a small blip)

 

I feel I have contributed!

One way you could have contributed would be to tell everyone in the world that you DID see a balloon by your house, and then Email GS and tell them that it was a hoax. The other teams might have wasted time looking into your sighting.

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Is there any particular reason why you think this is of interest to geocachers throughout the world? Surely a charitable event like this should only be publicised in the region that is affected. (And I also understand that all threads mentioning the very worthy UK's 'Children in Need' charitable event were not even allowed to be published in the UK's sub-forum!

 

Pots, Kettles, Black anyone???

 

Chris

Please do not bring issues from other parts of the forums into this one. Thanks.

 

And as TheAlabamaRambler has indicated, Groundspeak owns the forums. They obviously can decide what can and cannot be discussed in their forums.

Since this is revolving around an experiment in GLOBAL communications, it does affect everyone on the internet. You could win even in China or Africa, if you find all the answers online, which is what the challenge is all about.

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Geocachers correctly identified 8 of the 10 locations, however, by about 2pm today (Pacific time). I'd say that's a pretty amazing result. The two we missed (and which most teams seemed to have a hard time with) were Miami and Nashville Memphis. Where were you guys?? :)

I'm sure the Nashville folks would've been all over it! :)

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The real story I want to hear is how the Groundspeak employees in the War Room gathered the reports, vetted and verified them. It had to be like sipping from a fire hose.

 

I can answer part of that for you. They were posting virtual caches in areas that were possible locations of the balloons. FTF hounds like myself jumped at the opportunity to be a FTF'er at such a cache and dashed off to the coords to search for the balloons. Sadly though, there were no balloons in Atlanta.

Great effort, Groundspeak! :) I look forward to reading how the MIT team achieved their victory with all 10 balloons.

By finding two, and then hacking into Groundspeaks email system!! I say we should sue them.

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The idea to post virtuals was nothing short of brilliant!

It was a valiant effort we all gave today. Congratulations to everyone on a job well done! :)

Brilliant indeed, but how did they know where to establish the virts? They had what they felt were good locations reported and put a virt there so a cacher would go look and verify the location? If so I am sure that they said that somewhere and I just missed it. I did see Jeremy saying something to the effect that he would play with the rules a bit but I never would have guessed that was what they were going to do.

 

8 out of 10 found, I think we can be proud of that! :)

 

I know, second is first loser, but I wonder how many teams found 8?

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We didn't announce that we would publish virts (actually traditional first, for the instant notification, then converted) so outsiders didn't try to find them on the site. As a result, the geocachers who mattered - the ones in that area - were made aware via instant notification while everyone else was in the dark.

 

That is also why we didn't name the caches "DARPA Network Challenge #3". I was worried someone might visit the site and do a keyword search.

 

No jokes about the effectiveness of our keyword search please. :)

Edited by OpinioNate
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8 out of 10 found, I think we can be proud of that! :)

 

I know, second is first loser, but I wonder how many teams found 8?

 

Tweedledum & Tweedledee say that several teams had 8. Can you name any of those teams?

 

It seems FARK was playing for Toys For Tots and had 8 out of 10. Wonder which two they were missing. It's good to see Jeremy is still going to donate the $10K to charity in recognition of a great effort by cachers (and at least one muggle).

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Here's my only problem with this contest.

I live in rural Southern Oregon.

We have a TON of geocachers around here who would love to get involved but I can almost guarantee that there won't be a balloon within hundreds of miles of us.

 

Only having 10 balloons in a country this big is very unfair to us country folk.

 

What would have been alot more fair would have been to put multiple amounts of the same balloon number all across the country. At least a few in every state BUT any individual could only log the location of ONE of each number for a total of ten logs.

 

That way a ton more people would have gotten involved.

Possibly even people who have never heard of geocaching would get curious and maybe join our ranks.

 

Just my $.02

 

Darrell

You evidently misunderstand and did not read the instructions! There are only 10 balloons nation-wide so your being remote is no more a disadvantage than for anyone else.

 

The contest is about communications - and you can do this just as well from home, nay, much better from home on FaceBook, Twitter and other 'social media' tools.

 

You still have time... get involved!

 

I did read the instructions. If you would have read MY post you would have seen that I acknowledged the fact that there were only 10 ballons NATIONWIDE.

 

The nearest ballon to my location was 245 miles away. A vast majority of states didn't even have balloons in them. The plains states had ZERO. To me getting involved is actually having a chance to see a balloon.

 

Furthermore, allowing MIT to find the balloons should be against the rules. MIT does R&D for the military which should have made them exempt from participating.

 

All that I meant in my original post was if you wanna get more people involved make it a little more fair for those of us who do not live in major metropolitan areas.

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All that I meant in my original post was if you wanna get more people involved make it a little more fair for those of us who do not live in major metropolitan areas.

 

You are completely missing the point of the experiment. DARPA placed a very limited number of targets over a vast area to see if any group could form a network of observers to report back to a central data collector. There were a LOT of cachers involved. Just because the odds of any one individual spotting a target were extremely thin doesn't mean that we were not involved.

 

Kennedy might have said: This is not supposed to be easy, but it's supposed to be hard, because the goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills.

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All that I meant in my original post was if you wanna get more people involved make it a little more fair for those of us who do not live in major metropolitan areas.

 

You are completely missing the point of the experiment. DARPA placed a very limited number of targets over a vast area to see if any group could form a network of observers to report back to a central data collector. There were a LOT of cachers involved. Just because the odds of any one individual spotting a target were extremely thin doesn't mean that we were not involved.

 

Kennedy might have said: This is not supposed to be easy, but it's supposed to be hard, because the goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills.

and even to further the point...the eperiment wasn't about creating the network of observers...it was truly about how to effectivly and quickly communicate all these locations to one central hub, without compromising the data. What was learned from this experiment can be used to help detect and report any number of things. Taking the challenge to the next level, they could do the same thing with no prior abbouncement, and see how quickly the groups could be formed.

 

Yes...the point of this challenge was not to spot the balloons, but to gather up all the information quickly, accuratly, and secretly. You could have played and won without ever leaving your living room. I'm going to venture a guess that no person/team who submitted an official entry for the challenge ever saw one of the balloons. That's the point.

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Furthermore, allowing MIT to find the balloons should be against the rules. MIT does R&D for the military which should have made them exempt from participating.

 

MIT didn't find the balloons, nor did Jeremy, or Signal. They were working on the Actual Problem at hand...Gathering the information. This was mostly done online, which anyone in the world could have participated in, buy monitoring media and communication, and weeding out misinformation

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Hey! We were fortunate enough to be very close to one of the balloons. Even though we were not one of the first to be able to verify, we headed down to see the balloon and visit the DARPA guys this afternoon. They were very friendly and interested in the Groundspeak team's work. I forwarded them some of the emails we had received and the instant notification for the locals to go confirm a sighting. I could not get much info out of them, but they did say that #6 was indeed the last to be identified and that they only had one sighting reported of it to DARPA by then (about 2pm PST).

 

I just thought I'd share a few pictures too. They actually let us hoist in the balloon for the picture!

 

Here is team Holazola with balloon #4 in hand:

a102fc18-3675-47c8-8088-cc51674e6cdd.jpg

 

and here we are comparing notes with one of the DARPA crew. (ps thanks for the cookies guys!)

b41c6be4-655f-40e2-95b5-82b9130fd029.jpg

 

And here is a scan of the certificates they were handing out:

7fd0663f-8356-46f9-9779-5be71d3494f4.jpg

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Oh, I'm not sure how long they will show, but here are some of the caches established for this challenge.

Like was said above, they were originally posted as a traditional "DARPA ....", then quickly renamed and turned to virts. Once confirmed, the coords for were moved into the Atlantic Ocean, and the cache archived....

 

Signals placed caches page:

 

Nice work guys!

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Is there any particular reason why you think this is of interest to geocachers throughout the world? Surely a charitable event like this should only be publicised in the region that is affected. (And I also understand that all threads mentioning the very worthy UK's 'Children in Need' charitable event were not even allowed to be published in the UK's sub-forum!

 

Pots, Kettles, Black anyone???

 

Chris

This isn't a charitable event, it is a serious government research project which will have important implications for all of us. The charitable part only came in when Groundseak, MIT and others decided to give the prize (and in Groundspeak's case $10k more) to charity.

 

As far as what it has to do with geocaching, quite a lot. The tools and techniques and the lessons learned from this research will have an effect on tools and practices of Groundspeak.

 

Lastly, He who has the gold makes the rules, and it looks to me like this was something Groundspeak felt worth doing. When you own the place you can do that! :D

 

I wish the DARPA project well and am encouraged by the support shown by US cachers.

 

Many UK cachers would totally agree with your description of the research project, and its worthy motives.

Equally, many UK cachers are fully supportive of charitable organisations, both at home and overseas, and the undoubted benefits that they can bring to the community.

 

There are, therefore, quite a few UK cachers who are surprised at the ambivalent attutude displayed by Groundspeak regarding "charity" events and their promotion.

It would appear that encouraging support for a US based charity is acceptable on this forum, while any mention or support of a UK based charity is not.

I accept that, since Groundspeak owns/hosts this forum, it can decide on what content it allows to be posted here.

 

As a premium member, I feel that I am entitled to ask a polite and respectful question of Groundspeak.

Should Groundspeak be lucky enough to win the $40,000, Jeremy has indicated that "we" will add a further $10,000.

Does the "we" mean that Groundspeak employees will contribute this extra amount from their own pockets?

Or will the money come from corporate funds to which all premium members have "contributed"

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Wow! That was fun. Even though there weren't any near our area to help with, we could feel the excitement.

 

As far as DARPA's intent "to explore how broad-scope problems can be tackled using social networking tools", one would first speculate the current method of throwing money at a problem sure does work. I am interested in their results if they intend to publish them.

 

Like I said , that was fun. Let's do it again. And we'll do it for the smiley :D(although cash is fine if you want to dole it out.) :laughing:

Edited by geode hunter
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Is there any particular reason why you think this is of interest to geocachers throughout the world? Surely a charitable event like this should only be publicised in the region that is affected. (And I also understand that all threads mentioning the very worthy UK's 'Children in Need' charitable event were not even allowed to be published in the UK's sub-forum!

 

Pots, Kettles, Black anyone???

 

Chris

This isn't a charitable event, it is a serious government research project which will have important implications for all of us. The charitable part only came in when Groundseak, MIT and others decided to give the prize (and in Groundspeak's case $10k more) to charity.

 

As far as what it has to do with geocaching, quite a lot. The tools and techniques and the lessons learned from this research will have an effect on tools and practices of Groundspeak.

 

Lastly, He who has the gold makes the rules, and it looks to me like this was something Groundspeak felt worth doing. When you own the place you can do that! :D

 

Yup it looks like a case of 'Do as I say, NOT as I do.'

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It would appear that encouraging support for a US based charity is acceptable on this forum, while any mention or support of a UK based charity is not.

It would appear that you are WRONG, in addition to being disrespectful to the fun discussion which most of us are trying to have.

 

Like many Americans (who give more per capita to charity than anyone else), I support a number of charities whose impact is both foreign and domestic. Yet, I know and respect the fact that I cannot promote a charitable cause in these forums, which are about geocaching. It has nothing to do with UK vs. US, except for folks like yourself trying to make it so. Please drop the entitlement banner. I have to keep reminding myself that most of your countrymen think exactly the way that I do.

As a premium member, I feel that I am entitled to ask a polite and respectful question of Groundspeak.

Should Groundspeak be lucky enough to win the $40,000, Jeremy has indicated that "we" will add a further $10,000.

Does the "we" mean that Groundspeak employees will contribute this extra amount from their own pockets?

Or will the money come from corporate funds to which all premium members have "contributed"

No, I feel that you are NOT entitled to ask that question, and that it is an off-topic and impolite and disrespectful question. Groundspeak is a private company, owned by its shareholders rather than by its customers. Its finances, as well as the personal finances of its owners, are none of yours or my business. Moreover, most large corporations choose one or more charitable causes to support. My employer has chosen early childhood education as its "cause." And yes, they use the shareholders' money. I don't see any shareholders protesting this award-winning effort, nor do I see shareholders or customers trying to use my employer's website or its retail locations to promote their own charitable causes. Likewise, I accept the work rule adopted by my employer, which says that while I'm at work, I can ONLY communicate about or work for the company's approved charitable causes. If I talked about the hospital in Tibet that I support, I'd be subject to discipline by my employer. If I talked about that hospital in a Groundspeak forum thread, it would be closed just as swiftly as "Children in Need" threads in the UK forum.

Edited by The Leprechauns
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Happily switching to the "on topic" post I came here to make:

 

My theory was that DARPA might place its balloons to feature locations relevant to the history of the internet. I shared this theory in a private setting with a large group of geocachers across the country. Another geocacher responded with a great list of "internet history" locations. We were prepared to chase down leads at any of them.

 

Personally, I scouted out Carnegie Mellon University here in Pittsburgh, as well as the large city parks in the vicinity of the University district. I also toured the downtown landmarks that might feature a balloon.

 

Obviously, I didn't spot a balloon, but I had fun developing and sharing my theory, in doing my part for the search effort, and in reading reports from others. Thanks, Groundspeak, for a fun day!

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We also had fun searching around for the big red balloon. Our theory was that it would be near or on a Military Installation. We have three obvious choices near us, so we scoped them out on our way to a hike/geocaching day in a park that overlooks the city. Struck out of course, but I was somewhat amazed that there were two locations in CA, while other parts of the U.S. were totally ignored/passed by??

 

Off Topic: I have no problem with the plans Groundspeak had for the money. It seems consistent with their mission, and promoting technology in the classroom is always a good thing as far as I'm concerned.

 

Great work Groundspeak, and thanks to the Lackey's that took part of their weekend to participate :D

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Thanks, Groundspeak, for a fun day!

That's really the bottom line here, isn't it.

 

Everyone who participated had a fun day doing something different.

 

I learned more in one day about the several communications tools that I use than I had in just casually using them for a year.

 

It was fun, it was different, and if anything useful can be learned from it, coolness. :D

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It would appear that encouraging support for a US based charity is acceptable on this forum, while any mention or support of a UK based charity is not.

It would appear that you are WRONG, in addition to being disrespectful to the fun discussion which most of us are trying to have.

 

Like many Americans (who give more per capita to charity than anyone else), I support a number of charities whose impact is both foreign and domestic. Yet, I know and respect the fact that I cannot promote a charitable cause in these forums, which are about geocaching. It has nothing to do with UK vs. US, except for folks like yourself trying to make it so. Please drop the entitlement banner. I have to keep reminding myself that most of your countrymen think exactly the way that I do.

As a premium member, I feel that I am entitled to ask a polite and respectful question of Groundspeak.

Should Groundspeak be lucky enough to win the $40,000, Jeremy has indicated that "we" will add a further $10,000.

Does the "we" mean that Groundspeak employees will contribute this extra amount from their own pockets?

Or will the money come from corporate funds to which all premium members have "contributed"

No, I feel that you are NOT entitled to ask that question, and that it is an off-topic and impolite and disrespectful question. Groundspeak is a private company, owned by its shareholders rather than by its customers. Its finances, as well as the personal finances of its owners, are none of yours or my business. Moreover, most large corporations choose one or more charitable causes to support. My employer has chosen early childhood education as its "cause." And yes, they use the shareholders' money. I don't see any shareholders protesting this award-winning effort, nor do I see shareholders or customers trying to use my employer's website or its retail locations to promote their own charitable causes. Likewise, I accept the work rule adopted by my employer, which says that while I'm at work, I can ONLY communicate about or work for the company's approved charitable causes. If I talked about the hospital in Tibet that I support, I'd be subject to discipline by my employer. If I talked about that hospital in a Groundspeak forum thread, it would be closed just as swiftly as "Children in Need" threads in the UK forum.

 

Thank you for your reply.

I'm sorry that you need to take offence at my post.

 

I had hoped that people would realise that I was being supportive of both DARPA and charities in general.

Like you, I contribute a share of my income to charity, but I don't normally advertise that fact..

There was no suggestion in my post that I favoured UK charities, rather than US ones or those based anywhere else.

Nor did I attempt to discuss the merits of any particular charity since, as you rightly say, this is not the place to do it.

 

What I did query was the corporate stance of Groundspeak regarding the discussion of any charity on these forums. That is a perfectly proper question to ask.

 

May I politely ask whether your response was a personal one, or whether it represents an official Groundspeak reply to my question?

 

I do not wish to tie up this thread with any off-topic matters, and would be pleased to further discuss my personal opinion in any off-forum mode.

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I used every communications tool available to me and only got one 'near miss'.

 

What did you do to try to find one?

 

I have two online personas, TheAlabamaRambler for geocaching and W4AGA for ham radio, and separate Twitter, Facebook, forums and other accounts for each.

 

I watched every online site that I could find participating in the challenge for reports I might could use. I even tried a bit of obfuscation by posting to several challenge sites throughout the day that reports should be directed to darpa@Groundspeak (including MIT's... guess that didn't work so good)! I asked ham operators to BOLO and report back. I called two friends who own trucking businesses and asked them to ask their drivers to BOLO. I spammed my fairly extensive personal email contacts list to ask them to watch and report, and posted the request to several state's local geocaching forums.

 

I do not know what if any result that had, perhaps some folks reported to darpa@Groundspeak.com, if so they haven't told me.

 

I did pick up vibrations via Twitter, a cluster of reports I saw talking about a sighting in Islamorada FL and reported that to Groundspeak. It later turned out that there was a balloon in nearby Miami. Close but no cigar.

 

So did any of you gather any useful info by spreading the word to look and report? If so, how?

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Thanks, Groundspeak, for a fun day!

That's really the bottom line here, isn't it.

 

Everyone who participated had a fun day doing something different.

 

I learned more in one day about the several communications tools that I use than I had in just casually using them for a year.

 

It was fun, it was different, and if anything useful can be learned from it, coolness. :D

I still oppose certain elements of the underlying philosophy of the DARPA Challenge, but I wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t admit this:

 

It WAS pretty exciting. :laughing:

 

Groundspeak and its grass-roots network put up an impressive effort. I can see how there will be value in the things that will be learned from yesterday’s hullabaloo.

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My theory was that DARPA might place its balloons to feature locations relevant to the history of the internet. I shared this theory in a private setting with a large group of geocachers across the country. Another geocacher responded with a great list of "internet history" locations. We were prepared to chase down leads at any of them.

 

Personally, I scouted out Carnegie Mellon University here in Pittsburgh, as well as the large city parks in the vicinity of the University district. I also toured the downtown landmarks that might feature a balloon.

 

Obviously, I didn't spot a balloon, but I had fun developing and sharing my theory, in doing my part for the search effort, and in reading reports from others. Thanks, Groundspeak, for a fun day!

Would you be willing to share the list here? I would be very interested to see it.

 

History is cool. The Internet is cool. I like learning about the history of the Internet.

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Yup it looks like a case of 'Do as I say, NOT as I do.'

You are not on some kind of collectively-owned site here. Groundspeak can make whatever rules they like. They have decided - correctly, in my opinion - that if everybody were allowed to post their favourite good cause in here, the forums would quickly be overwhelmed. Therefore, they make the rule that nobody can post a charitable or political solicitation, or advertise their business, without Groundspeak's permission.

 

When Groundspeak wants to advertise something, or support a charitable cause, they can do so, because they can give themselves permission. It's their site. (Indeed, the shareholders can take every single penny out of the company and close the whole thing down tomorrow.)

 

The permission thing is the key. If you can convince Groundspeak that something is worth doing, they may grant permission. Of course, most people don't ask, and of those that do, many requests are refused. So the distinction between "you can't solicit" and "you can't solicit unless you ask us first" is not always obvious, but it's there.

 

How anyone can consider this to be in some way hypocritical, is genuinely beyond me. Perhaps the wording on the Premium Membership sign-up should make it clear: "You are paying for access to certain online services. You are not acquiring equity in the company". I wonder how many people who sign up for extra storage on Gmail think they're getting a right to say how Google does anything? :D

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[attempting to drag this thread back on topic... :laughing: ]

 

Would you be willing to share the list here? I would be very interested to see it.

 

History is cool. The Internet is cool. I like learning about the history of the Internet.

 

Likewise it would be interesting to hear what Groundspeak did to prepare for the Challenge, what resources they considered and why?

 

Maybe a good Weekly Mailer topic? :D

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I had quite a bit of fun watching it all on twitter and the 10 balloonies blog yesterday. I certainly wish Groundspeak would have won, but it was fun nonetheless. It will be interesting to see the reports that come out of it on how all of the teams formulated their plans.

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Is there any particular reason why you think this is of interest to geocachers throughout the world? Surely a charitable event like this should only be publicised in the region that is affected.

 

My query was stimulated by the decision to send emails to all members regardless of whether or not they could be involved with this project. Surely it would have been easy for Groundspeak to identify the members who are resident in the USA rather than assume members all over the world want to have a pointless email deposited in their in box??

 

I have of course no quarrel with Groundspeak wanting to support a political project within the USA, or encouraging those members who were able to be involved.

 

Chris

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Since the DARPA Challenge and how Groundspeak addressed it are directly related to what I do in real life this has great interest to me.

 

To avoid derailing this topic I want to ask a question of you participating geocachers which may be best answered in my own forum.

 

Please post replies and discussion to this question to http://www.w4aga.com/forums/showthread.php?p=744#post744.

 

From my forum:

This year's DARPA Challenge investigated how social media tools allowed citizens to communicate and collaborate to accomplish a task... in this case to find ten red balloons tethered at random locations somewhere in the US.

 

People used many different techniques to accomplish this, using tools like Twitter and Facebook, ham radio, networks of truck drivers, any means of gathering information about the possible sightings of these balloons and attaining verification of their locations.

 

The MIT team found all ten within nine hours, my team of geocachers from Groundspeak.com found eight out of ten in that time.

 

See https://networkchallenge.darpa.mil/default.aspx

 

Do any of you do things in 'real life' that match this challenge?

 

I am faced with this on a daily basis. One of my volunteer roles is as an Assistant Emergency Coordinator for ham radio emergency communications. The biggest consumer of our reportage is the National Weather Service. During severe weather ARES (Amateur Radio Emergency Service), ALERT (Alabama Emergency Radio Team) and many other agencies volunteer or paid utilize a network of trained storm spotters to gather eyeball reports of ground conditions under the atmospheric conditions of concern to the NWS. The NWS can see what's happening aloft but it takes eyeballs on the storm to gather ground truth reports about what is actually happening underneath (a hook echo might indicate rotation on radar, for example, but until a funnel touches the ground it's not a tornado). These ground truth reports give the NWS invaluable data on if, when and where to issue weather watches and warnings.

 

Two issues here - there are never enough ham operators to get detailed geographic coverage (they tend to live in cities, so we're mostly blind in the rural areas), and the various groups don't always talk to each other.

 

The local ABC TV affiliate, abc3340.com for instance, has a network of Sky Watcher spotters that they have trained, and a private IM Chat used for Sky Watcher reporting. Sky Watchers report to the television station's meteorologist, a for-profit company with an interest in exclusive reporting, so sharing their incoming reports with the NWS for public consumption is not always in their business interest. Your local TV and radio stations likely do the same (Public interest and commercial being somewhat mutually exclusive).

 

So, what the NWS needs to generate more accurate and timely watches and warnings is more eyeball reports, regardless of where they come from. What I am doing is creating a new role in ham radio... an ARES Media Watcher. Instead of deploying to the NWS to run the emergency radio station there I operate from home and watch Twitter, Facebook, Instant Messaging chats, private commercial chats (like Sky Watcher's), online reporting tools such as those from wxspots.com, whatever forms of online communication I can find, to gather reports coming in from trained spotters and the public alike. I then attempt to vet or qualify these reports and pass the valid ones on to the NWS via private chat, IM or radio.

 

Exactly, as it turns out, the point of the DARPA Challenge! I expect that the lessons learned and the new tools and practices developed from this research to have a direct impact on what I do. The lessons learned here will have a direct role in protecting the public and will reduce injuries and save lives.

 

How do you use social media communications tools?

 

Again, unless your response to that is related to the Groundspeak effort at solving the DARPA Challenge please answer at http://www.w4aga.com/forums/showthread.php?p=744#post744

Edited by TheAlabamaRambler
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We didn't announce that we would publish virts (actually traditional first, for the instant notification, then converted) so outsiders didn't try to find them on the site. As a result, the geocachers who mattered - the ones in that area - were made aware via instant notification while everyone else was in the dark.

 

 

As is see it, the social neworking portion of the contest was more in how social networks where used *prior* to the actual contest, rather than how information was exchanged yesterday.

 

Perhaps, if a notice was sent out to all PMs indicating that virutal were going to be used, more geocachers may have been out looking for the balloons.

 

How the sightings were reported using social networks didn't really matter if the social network was small and/or not prepared for when the event started.

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