Geocache

Two Twists on Locationless Geocaches

Reverse Geocache with Nixie Tubes featured at www.arduino.cc

The big game buzz along the techy interwebs is “Reverse Geocaching”.

Geocaching.com identifies these as locationless geocaches and no longer tracks them as such, though they are tracked as waymarks on the other groundspeak service.

From their website (at the bottom of the page):

Locationless (Reverse) Cache
Locationless caches could be considered the opposite of a traditional cache. Instead of finding a hidden container, you are given a task to locate a specific object and log its coordinates. A scavenger hunt of sorts, it involves collecting waypoints of various objects around the world.

Locationless caches have evolved into Waymarking. Waymark categories are similar to how locationless caches were listed on geocaching.com, but you can now search for the locations in each category.

At least one person got around this problem by turning the box into a travelbug. I’m not sure if it’s the same guy who recently released his reverse geocache box with fancy nixie tubes or not… but on the arduino forums, the latest popular reverse geocache creator had this to say:

A work buddy of mine who is really into geocaching is turning 30 in two weeks. He’ll get the box with his present inside.

The plan is, that he’ll pass it on to another friend once he opened and reprogrammed it.

Every owner can log his experiences with the box on geocaching.com by using a geocode that is spray painted on the box (If you ever did geocaching: It’s treated like a travebug – The groundspreak rules aren’t allowing moving caches).

The url for tracking the box is: http://www.coord.info/TB3W7NC.

Notice that the geocode starts with “TB” instead of “GC”. That means it is a travel bug, folks! As mentioned in the groundspeak forums, you can’t put a travel bug within a travel bug. But it could be mentioned in the description that travel bugs within this “Cache” are not currently supported.

Now to the second twist on locationless geocaches. It’s more like a mashup of locationless geocaches and puzzle caches. Geocache GC2D4NK, owned by Spatial Distortion, takes you to a website where you enter coordinates as if you were virtually there with a reverse geocache box. The returned value is the (unintentionally, incorrectly calculated) number of meters between the coordinates entered and the destination. Assuming you were provided the correct distance, you could triangulate the box coordinates by picking three locations across the U.S. map. This is a clever idea, allowing nerds like me the satisfaction of locating the “locationless” geocache from at home. (Though I don’t plan on taking any trips near that location anytime in my lifetime, but who knows?)

Oh – one more thing. I’ve heard that Geocaching.com will be resuming the virtual geocaches in the very near future (check back within 30 days). I know the founders are trying to move geocaching into social networking. I can’t help but think there’s a connection. I also wonder if they’ve devised a way to automate the question/answer process, making virtual caches easier to manage.