Guest Blog by Vicki Griffiths – Bid Manager, Blom UK
Summer is finally here and with the nice weather that we have been enjoying I thought it was time to dust off the hand held GPS and go out and do some geocaching.
What’s geocaching? For those of you who have not heard about it, geocaching is basically a worldwide treasure hunt. There are boxes or ‘caches’ hidden all over the place and you need to use a GPS enabled device to find them. Each cache contains at least a visitors log and sometimes some tradable items and travel bugs.
There are 1.4 million geocaches worldwide and over 4 million geocachers looking for them. It is the world’s largest location-based game. For more information check out www.geocaching.com.
For me geocaching is a great hobby as it gets you out in the countryside and takes you to places that you would probably never have considered going to.
It is also great fun to try and find the cache without being spotted by “muggles”.
As a GIS professional it also appeals to me because it is a great practical application of the work that we do as Blom in the leisure industry. There have been many times when I have used aerial photography to help identify a cache location in areas where there is poor GPS signal – cache GCPJP5 Home of the Cheddar Pink in Cheddar Gorge being a prime example.
When I was a geology student at university, GPS kit was very expensive and I scrimped, saved and eventually spent some of my loan money on a basic handheld GPS. Before you ask, I did use the GPS set for my degree and not just for geocaching. Now it is possible to buy a basic GPS relatively cheaply and they are incorporated into mobile telephones and other gadgets, so the demand for geospatial data in the leisure and tourism industries has increased dramatically.
So while the sun is shining I am off out with my GPS to find some more geocaches and drop off a travel bug I have had for too long. Hopefully this blog will encourage you to give geocaching a go. If you do, look out for g.o.logist and little piggle in the visitors log of any caches you find and watch out for muggles!