This isn’t at all Mac-related (hence the “random” part of “RandomMaccess”), but I’ve been playing with my Magellan eXplorist lately and it’s a lot of fun. It’s a handheld GPS unit used for hiking and orienteering — it doesn’t have any maps or know roads, for instance, so it’s not much good for driving directions. It simply shows you where you are using latitude and longitude coordinates. You can let it track your movement, leaving “breadcrumbs” along the way so you can find your way back to camp for example. You can also set waypoints, so you can find a particular spot — like a good fishing hole or a campsite.
A game that’s grown out of the popularity of these devices is called “geocaching.” Essentially, it’s a high-tech game of hide-and-seek. The “hider” puts a cache — usually a container filled with a logbook, pencil and some trinkets — in a hiding place, then records the coordinates and publishes the information to a website so others can find it. Sometimes, some additional descriptions about the location or the cache are provided. Then, the “seekers” try to find the cache using their GPS devices. When they do, they sign the logbook, swap a trinket with one of their own, and report back on the website — whether the cache was where it was supposed to be; in what condition; notes about the surroundings, etc.
It all seems like fun. I haven’t found my first cache yet, but there seem to be a lot both where I live and where I work, so I’m sure I’ll go hunting soon.
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