Sunday, March 18, 2012

Geohashing – New GPS sport requires planning and caution

GPS geohashing

Geohashing is a new GPS sport where participants are sent to random coordinates to meet. Each day, new coordinates are automatically generated for each 1°x1° square of latitude and longitude.

Sort of a hybrid between geocaching and MeetUp, or perhaps it’s more like a GPS-fueled flash mob. Regardless of the analogy, the problem comes if people don’t follow the guidelines which state:

"When any coordinates generated by the Geohashing algorithm fall within a dangerous area, are inaccessible, or would require illegal trespass, DO NOT attempt to reach them. Please research each potential location before attempting to access it."

This sort of problem came to light recently following a geohashing incident in the San Francisco Bay area.

So consider yourself forewarned and, if you want to give it a try, please follow the rules. Use this tool and set your default location. Enter today’s date (or a previous date) and you’ll see a location and coordinates pop up on the map.  You’ll also see this note:

"Is the default location difficult, impossible or illegal to get to?
Move it! Simply drag the default location to wherever you want
it, click your new location and submit it!"

A few more details:

"You can first calculate a weekday’s coordinates at about 9:30am ET, and on Friday you can calculate the coordinates for each day that weekend.

When visiting geohash locations, please respect the area you are visiting. Absolutely do not litter or otherwise disturb the natural integrity of the area. However, if possible, creating some kind of a marker out of nearby materials (i.e. cairn of stones, blair-witch-style ‘stick figures’, etc.) is encouraged."

Or maybe something natural yet more elaborate!

Finally, don’t expect a lot of other folks to show up. As I said, this is a new sport, created on May 21, 2008 by xkcd webcomic.

About Rich Owings

Rich is the owner, editor and chief bottle-washer for GPS Tracklog. Connect with him on Twitter, Facebook or Google Plus.

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