Have you ever gone treasure hunting? Do you remember playing hide and seek growing up? While on vacation, do you enjoy sightseeing, but sometimes like doing it independently instead of the being held hostage by the constraints of tour groups? An old game called letterboxing has influenced a modern, digitized and mobile game, using GPS-enabled devices, called geocaching.
Geocaching, a recreational outdoor activity gives participants the ability to use their mobile and other GPS-enabled devices to hunt for geocaches. Geocaches, or caches (waterproof containers) can be placed anywhere around the globe. These caches can contain a logbook and writing instrument, allowing the seeker to sign the log and return the container exactly as it was found. Sometimes these boxes contain items that can be used for trading. The geocacher, the person participating in geocaching, enters the date they found the cache and by using an established code name, signs the log. There are several types of geocaches depending on whether or not you want something traditional or daring. The different types include a multiple locations cache, an event cache with multiple participants, or an initiative involving a geocaching community, just to name few.
This techie-driven adventure can introduce unique experiences, while exploring new and exciting destinations. There are also risks involved that geocachers must be aware of. In light of local and national security, law enforcement officials find the placement of certain caches problematic. They may be placed in hidden spaces where the container looks suspicious or threatening. Depending on locations, other risks tag searchers appearing to look a little shady especially if they are seeking around buildings, structures, residential areas or near schools. Placement of these containers could also be considered in some situations as littering. Precautions must be taken when placing these containers in designated areas so that geocachers are not encouraged to trespass or find themselves in harm’s way (near high voltage or risky locations).
Could geocaching become the new modern-day tour guide? Clues are used to reference landmarks and other caches. For the independent, recreational tourist this will certainly introduce them to a new adventure, by discovering unique destinations locally and around the world.