OK, so you%u2019re a Foursquare user and you%u2019re the %u201CMayor of Starbucks%u201D in Hackensack%u2026 Whatever!
Maybe you use Gowalla and you%u2019ve just traded a virtual %u2018kettle%u2019 for a virtual %u2018bowl of noodles%u2019 at the Sewage Farm in Cleckheaton%u2026 Who cares?
Wouldn%u2019t it be more fun searching for some real treasure? Geocaching could be the answer.
Location-based mobile games are hot right now. Foursquare, Gowalla and others encourage you to %u201Ccheck in%u201D at various locations using smartphone apps in order to earn points or trade tokens.
However, when the novelty of wearing imaginary Foursquare mayoral chains whilst ordering your skinny latte wears off, what are you going to do? When you%u2019re really hungry, but those virtual noodles from Gowalla fail to satisfy your appetite, where do you look?
Wouldn%u2019t it be great if you could search the world around you looking for real hidden artefacts? With Geocaching you can do just that. It%u2019d be cool if Foursquare, Gowalla or one of the other location games could build this in to their apps.
Like, Foursquare, Gowalla and the current crop of location based games, it%u2019s all about being mobile and making the most of the GPS in your phone or Sat Nav device to find hidden items. The difference is, these items are for real%u2026 and they%u2019re all around you!
Geocaching is a global phenomena that%u2019s been steadily gaining popularity since its launch in 2000. In almost ten years, over 3 million participants have hidden and searched for almost a million items around the globe. What%u2019s more, they%u2019re all waiting to be found%u2026 by you.
Even better, if you%u2019re an iPhone user, there%u2019s an app from Geocaching.com, the largest GPS cache hunt site, to make it even easier. Using the app you can search for hidden treasures near to your current position and navigate towards them.
When you get to %u2018ground zero%u2019 you hunt around for the hidden %u2018cache%u2019 which can be anything from the size of a coin to a sandwich box. If you find it, sign the paper log inside it and there may also be a few items inside to trade with other geocaching fans.
Using the app or the Geocaching website, you can provide updates regarding your find before moving onto the next one. What the app and the site currently lack is any integration with social networks, which might be just the thing a Foursquare or a Gowalla could introduce to the equation.
In the meantime, there%u2019s a health warning that goes with geocaching. People have been questioned by the police for snooping around suspiciously looking for hidden booty, so if you%u2019re interested in geocaching, read up on the do%u2019s and don%u2019ts on geocaching.com or the wiki, before getting started.
A leading innovator in the IT Outsourcing industry, Tim is often on the move but can be regularly found in Manchester and London, UK. His focus is on social and mobile technologies but given half a chance he'll try to sneak music or football into his blog-posts. Tim can be found at One Greener Day and you can also follow @timdifford on Twitter.