How many of you have watched “Treasure Island” on PTV as children? And wished you could hunt treasure for real! Maybe it’s a little far-fetched to find a century old treasure but we can hunt objects using modern technology and fulfill our craving for adventure. Well, this is what geocaching is all about!
Geocaching is a treasure hunting game. The word ‘Geocache’ was first coined by Matt Stum in 2000. Geo refers to earth representing the global nature of game. And cache, a French word, means to store away in hiding or for future use. In this game a geocacher hides a treasure box or a cache at some place. The geocacher then announces about it on a website with some hints and coordinates. The treasure box contains a log book and a valuable item, also known as a geocache. Anyone who wants to find it follows the hints and coordinates. Once found, the person has to make an entry in the log book about the find. The person is allowed to take the item as long as he replaces it with something as valuable or more for other geocachers to continue the quest.
Geocaching is a 21st century game. It was started as a hobby by a GPS enthusiast Dave Ulmer. He wanted to test the new improved GPS signal. He placed a cache in a black bucket in the woods near Beavercreek, Oregon, near Portland. The cache contained various prize items including videos, books, software and a slingshot. He shared the coordinates on a GPS user group. Within three days, two different readers read about his stash on the Internet, used their own GPS receivers to find the container, and shared their experiences online. Like any other idea on internet, the word spread fast and 75 other caches were hidden around the world. Jeremy Irish, a web developer, after finding his first cache, founded geocaching.com. This is the major website for posting the location of the cache. Many other websites were also developed afterword.
It was interesting to see that caches has been hidden in Pakistan as well and have been found by both local and foreign geocachers. Go ahead, visit geocaching.com, search nearby caches, you might find your first treasure. I heard someone put Swedish money as a cache!
I would encourage our student societies to arrange or maybe even promote this game, perhaps with a little innovation of their own. I think we have enough scavenger hunts, time to move on to something more adventurous, exciting and rewarding.