Geocaching Growth and Development
Posted by David | May 21, 2012
The modern, high-tech outdoor sport of geocaching has grown steadily more popular as GPS devices have become more commonplace.
At a time when the larger share of people are increasingly dependent on and addicted to technology and social media, it's interesting that there exists an activity specifically aimed to combine those sorts of things with a sense of outdoor adventure.
Geocaching usually proceeds from the placement of a container with a logbook or small trinket somewhere in nature or in a relatively concealed public place. Geocachers post the GPS coordinates of these items online, and others seek them out, either by following the instructions from a GPS device in order to get to the right location or by getting into the vicinity of the item and then following written instructions or descriptions of the target.
A Developing Sport
The basic rules and details of geocaching are well-established and straightforward. But because it is still a young hobby, it may not have solidified its exact character yet.
There are evidently a number of variations on the activity. For instance, some geocache targets are not containers or items that have been placed by other geocachers, but rather pre-existing objects that have been located and identified as benchmarks for others to find.
These are usually markers in a network of objects maintained by the National Geodetic Survey, and they might be small metal disks, stone markings, rods driven into the ground or more obvious items like radio towers.
With this kind of target established as an alternative to the traditional hidden cache, it seems the door is open for other variations on the theme. One might, for instance, establish their own benchmarks for others to locate by description, such as carved or drawn markings, banners or advertising flags.
An 'evil' geocache location - image © Lee Cannon
Indeed, there are already numerous other variations on geocaching activities, and some of them come close to this.
Virtual geocaching, for instance, dispenses with the typical container and asks geocachers to just reach a general location, and one that need not have a specific benchmark. The locationless or reverse geocache asks participants to find a type of object for which a location has not yet been specified and then upload its coordinates.
Other alternatives include establishing multiple caches that each contains coordinates for the next in a series, being required to solve a mystery or puzzle in order to locate the cache, and events in which geocachers try to reach a number of locations in rapid succession over the course of weeks.
On its whole, the sport has grown to the point there are now over five million geocachers throughout the world, with well over a million and a half geocache locations listed, spanning one hundred countries and all seven continents.
Presumably, people are eager to combine their love of technology and networking with their love of the outdoors, and it is easy to imagine the popularity of the activity will continue to grow, especially since there is still so much opportunity to personalize the way it's played and to affect its ongoing development.
Now that you know more about geocaching, maybe you'd like to give some thought to the kinds of markers you might establish or find, like advertising flags.
Guest blog post written by Shane.