OK, so you’re a Foursquare user and you’re the “Mayor of Starbucks” in Hackensack… Whatever!
Maybe you use Gowalla and you’ve just traded a virtual ‘kettle’ for a virtual ‘bowl of noodles’ at the Sewage Farm in Cleckheaton… Who cares?
Wouldn’t it be more fun searching for some real treasure? Geocaching could be the answer.
Location-based mobile games are hot right now. Foursquare, Gowalla and others encourage you to “check in” at various locations using smartphone apps in order to earn points or trade tokens.
However, when the novelty of wearing imaginary Foursquare mayoral chains whilst ordering your skinny latte wears off, what are you going to do? When you’re really hungry, but those virtual noodles from Gowalla fail to satisfy your appetite, where do you look?
Wouldn’t it be great if you could search the world around you looking for real hidden artefacts? With Geocaching you can do just that. It’d be cool if Foursquare, Gowalla or one of the other location games could build this in to their apps.
Like, Foursquare, Gowalla and the current crop of location based games, it’s all about being mobile and making the most of the GPS in your phone or Sat Nav device to find hidden items. The difference is, these items are for real… and they’re all around you!
Geocaching is a global phenomena that’s been steadily gaining popularity since its launch in 2000. In almost ten years, over 3 million participants have hidden and searched for almost a million items around the globe. What’s more, they’re all waiting to be found… by you.
Even better, if you’re an iPhone user, there’s an app from Geocaching.com, the largest GPS cache hunt site, to make it even easier. Using the app you can search for hidden treasures near to your current position and navigate towards them.
When you get to ‘ground zero’ you hunt around for the hidden ‘cache’ which can be anything from the size of a coin to a sandwich box. If you find it, sign the paper log inside it and there may also be a few items inside to trade with other geocaching fans.
Using the app or the Geocaching website, you can provide updates regarding your find before moving onto the next one. What the app and the site currently lack is any integration with social networks, which might be just the thing a Foursquare or a Gowalla could introduce to the equation.
In the meantime, there’s a health warning that goes with geocaching. People have been questioned by the police for snooping around suspiciously looking for hidden booty, so if you’re interested in geocaching, read up on the do’s and don’ts on geocaching.com or the wiki, before getting started.