Saturday, 24 May 2008

If you go down to the woods today... might just find some geeks.

A while back at uni, I discovered the concept of Geocaching - hiding a 'cache' of goodies somewhere around the world and then posting the GPS location online, encouraging others to find it. Sometimes the cache will contain a prize for the first finder, sometimes a log book to record names and times, or a disposable camera to provide a record of those who made it. Equally, caches can be as easy as under a bench, or as difficult as on the Antarctic continent.

Though I loved the concept, I never got around to actually looking for the one cache that was logged as being on campus while I was at uni, which makes me sad, so some sort of trip to London-based caches may need to be organised at some point.

In any case, this concept was extended by xkcd earlier this week into Geohashing. Using an algorithm based on the date, and the previous day's stock market index, one point is defined for each graticule (longitude/latitude rectangle) in the world as that day's meet up location. This partly allows people interested in adventuring reasonably close to home to find areas of their local graticule that they'd never been before, while providing a framework for meeting other xkcd followers. Officially 4pm on a Saturday is 'meet up time', so if anyone fancies taking this Saturday off and heading over to a small wood outide Dunsfold, who knows what you might find...


immedia reaction said...

I had NO IDEA what that xkcd entry referred to.. I just saw lots of numbers and thought "That's one of the mathsy ones I won't get." Thanks for the clarification.

Andy J. Wotherspoon said...

i didn't quite get the whole geohashing thing, ie. time and stuff like that, but i did vaguely get the jist