When GPS was first implemented, the signals were intended initially for military use only. Civilians and international users were able to access a scrambled navigational signal, but the signal was far from accurate and usage was highly limited. This was referred to as Selective Availability.
However, a few minutes after midnight on May 1, 2000, the United States government decided to end Selective Availability. Overnight civilian GPS signal accuracy increased exponentially, from an accuracy of 300 feet to 20 feet or better.
Then, on May 2, 2000, GPS enthusiast Dave Ulmer decided to test out the newly un-scrambled GPS signals by hiding a container filled with random trinkets and posting the coordinates online. He challenged users to find the bucket, and Geocaching was officially born.
This year will mark the 15 year anniversary of the Geocaching hobby, and while lots of things have changed since that first ‘geocache’ in 2000, the hunt is still going strong! To celebrate Geocaching’s birthday, the folks over at Groundspeak are offering souvenirs to anyone who finds a geocache or attends a Geocaching event on May 2 or 3, 2015—that’s this Saturday and Sunday. All you have to do to claim your digital souvenir is to log a find/event and celebrate!
If you’re looking to recapture a bit f Geocaching history and get the most out of this most auspicious weekend, Geocaching.com has put together a new search page that will let users search for the oldest geocache in their area, a nearby geocaching event or nearby geocaches with favorite points to find the best finds in the area.
Geocaching.com accounts are free and the game itself requires nothing more than a GPS device (even a smartphone will work in a pinch) and a sense of adventure. If you’re not already part of this awesome hobby, then head over to Geocaching.com to find out what the fuss is about!