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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Is Geocaching Going Too Digital? Is There A Line?

Move Virtual Avatars Like
Travel Bugs
*Note -  The following is not a 'dig' about the products and applications mentioned below. It is in fact a realization on HHH's part and gave a good excuse to mention an observation. No applications were harmed in the making of this post.

We have seen a huge surge of geocaching-like apps and concepts that focus on digital devices. Games like Munzee where you use your smart phone and scan QR Codes to claim your points. Then there is Geocaching.com who just came out with their new "Challenges" where one takes a photograph (usually with a smart phone) at a specific location or doing a specific thing. Now there is a new twist that I thought interesting called Serentripiti. Here you make individual avatars that get picked up and dropped off based on location just like a travel bug and again all done with your smart phone.

So what is missing in this geocaching picture?  For the most part... The Geocaches.

One of the great things about geocaching to me is the ability to go out and geocache. As general as that sounds the idea of going out and finding physical treasures is what it is all about when it comes to "treasure hunting". Yet look what is happening. Once again we are going from a time where we finally are getting people out and into nature (yes urban caches I mean you too) and now we are finding all these concepts to make geocaching quick and easy and click & shoot and in most cases you practically don't have to get out of your car to do it. What's the fun in that?

Now what did just occur to me is that geocaching as a whole has a demographic with the older set. In fact I am right smack in the middle of the main age group (most put it at 45 - 55). That doesn't mean there aren't tons of other ages involved we know there are but the mean is about there. So my thought is this, are these newer, applications and concepts geared for age groups that are younger, say younger than 45? Is it more appealing to the hip and electronic era to not mess with all that dirt, sticks and animals out in nature, cuz who wants to get dirty? Better to keep things hoppin' and just do everything on our phones. Heck most are glued to our hands like a Borg appendage anyways...

So is there a danger to geocaching being overwritten with simplistic, non-adventurous, arm chair applications of the future? Geez I hope not. Lets face it, you can't get the feeling of a cool breeze coming off a lake in the middle of a forest by sniffing your on/off button.

What are your thoughts?

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Gianster98 said...

I agree. I really hope geocaching doesn't turn into a completely digital game. Hiking out to a cool place is what got me into it in the first place...

lafitefl said...

I've had the same thoughts recently. The great thing about Geocaching is the "adventure", the new & interesting places it takes you, and the thrill of "the find ".
So far as I can tell the new challenges seem pretty lame. Give me an ammo can anytime!

B. Bobson said...

From Groundspeak themselves and the very first thing on the Geocaching webpage, "GEOCACHING is a real-world outdoor treasure hunting game. Players try to locate hidden containers, called geocaches, using GPS-enabled devices and then share their experiences online."

Nothing about these new activities is real world to me.

Dane Morgan said...

I enjoy both the digital and the dirty aspects of the genre.

geolocation based games are a genre, of which geocaching is one example, and in my opinion, munzee is an example of another.

Urban caches and Woodsy caches might be compared to the differences between an author's series of books, where one might be more or less appealing, but still, all the basic elements are there.

Keith said...

Dirty is the only way to geocaching in my mind. I can't see the appeal any other way.