If you’ve never been geocaching, you should check it out — especially if you have kids. It’s a large-scale, worldwide treasure hunting game where participants hide small containers (geocaches) filled with trinkets for others to find in trees, bushes, crevices, etc. People use GPS devices, compasses, maps, iPhone apps, and websites to locate the secret stashes, then collect, trade, or pass on the prize to the next cache. Geocaching is known for its sense of community and respect for the natural environment, as well as being a family-oriented outdoor activity that gets kids physically and mentally active (believe me, I love Halo 3 as much as anybody, but we all gotta get out sometimes).
Apisphere’s Geomate Jr. Handheld GPS Geocacher is designed for the younger folks who tend to be tough on equipment, but it offers a variety of capabilities that an adult can help them use. It works like a regular GPS, reporting latitude/longitude and tracking, but also comes preloaded with about 250,000 geocache locations in all 50 U.S. states. It shows an arrow and distance indicator to the nearest cache — you can set a waypoint to navigate back to where you started, mark found geocaches, or look up information such as size of the geocache, terrain description, or difficulty level. For about $25 you can also get the Update Kit [What’s This?] to upload the newest geocache locations from the web.
The going price for the Geomate Jr. is about $69.95. This sounds to me like it could be useful beyond local activities with the kids; on those long car rides and family vacations, perhaps the prospect of geocaching could quell the kids’ boredom — not to mention give them a very exact answer to the timeless question: “Are we there yet?”
Thanks to Bob and Renee for the great cc-licensed photo at Flickr.com.
Geomate, Jr. [Manufacturer Site]
Street Pricing [Google Products]
Via Amazon [What’s This?]
Geocaching.com – The Official Global GPS Cache Hunt Site