Friday, September 12, 2014

GPS Games


Four different outdoor activities that use a GPS receiver, a compass, and clues to find interesting places and things. All four rely on interaction with a website to get information, post results, keep score, and communicate with participants.


is a real world treasure hunt. There are over 2.3 million active caches spread over the planet and over 6 million cachers searching for them. Geocaching is supported by a well-developed user friendly website.

A unique aspect of geocaching centers on the concept of a “Travel Bug”. The physical manifestation of the travel bug can take many forms but to the computer it is a unique alpha/numeric code that can be moved from cache to cache by participants. “Drops” and “Pickups” are recorded by participants, mileage is calculated, and all interested parties are informed by email. The website keeps track of the location of all travel bugs.


is a spinoff of geocaching and one account, user name, password, and profile gives you access to both. The objective is to visit, catalog, and mark interesting locations around the world. Waymarks exist in categories (over 1,000) and can be in more than one. When you discover a place worthy of being a waymark, you submit it for inclusion in the database. There are over half a million recorded waymarks (some duplicates due to listing in multiple categories). If the waymark already exists, your encounter can be recorded as a “visit”. Your score gets credit for both. The waymarking website and database is less developed and user friendly than the one for geocaching. However, waymarking is more comfortable and rewarding for those interested in places rather than trinket treasures. Waymarking does not accommodate travel bugs.


is a mix of treasure hunting, art, navigation, and exploring interesting, scenic places. Following word clues, directions, sometimes riddles or puzzles leads you to the hidden letterbox. Rudimentary compass skills are a plus. The trek to the letterbox should provide some learning experience or enjoyment. Carry a personal rubber stamp and stamp pad to play the game right. The letterbox should also contain a rubber stamp and pad. Logging your find is done by swapping stamp images – your stamp in the letterbox log and the letterbox stamp in your logbook. The take a stamp image/leave a stamp image concept in letterboxing replaces the take an object/leave an object concept in geocaching. The Letterbox counterpart to the travel bug is the Hitchhiker.

Letterboxing is complicated by the fact that there are two competing websites: “Letterboxing North America” and “Atlas Quest”. I try to use both.


"is the next generation in global scavenger hunt games. Simply download the free app, scan the munzees you find, and score points. No munzees in your area? You can grow the map by simply obtaining game pieces from the Munzee store, or printing out and deploying your own. Collect points when you place your munzees on the map or when they are captured by other players. Your points accumulate and you gain levels.

Munzee has something for everyone, whether you are a casual player, an avid explorer, or a hardcore competition enthusiast. The intensity of play is up to you. With over 1 million deployed worldwide, there is bound to be a munzee hiding nearby."
The above is a quote from the Munzee website. I have been playing Munzee for a few months but have yet to answer the fundamental question – WHY?
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