Monday, November 05, 2007

Self Managing your Game.

An exciting discovery. While walking in the Ardens, visiting the "cailloux de Mousny" ("stones of Mousny"), we stumbled upon a white plastic cylinder. Although the cap of the cylinder indicated at first sight it was a marijuana stash, it turned out to be something completely different. It was a treasure! A real treasure!
In the cylinder we found a diary, an explanatory letter in 4 languages, and a bag of toys.
(pictures line 1 from left to right: "Stones of Mousny, a small local attraction", "content of the treasure", "hidden cylinder between the rocks")
We learned that the treasure was part of a worldwide GPS/Internet-game. Worldwide more than 450.000 "caches" or treasures are hidden. All of them registered at Typically people will look for a treasure on their holidays and check on the site if a cash is hidden on their way (structured by country by postcode). If interested in a "cash" in a certain area, the site will provide the GPS coordinates of the treasure. Armed with a travellers GPS, site-members set out to find the hidden gem where the GPS will lead them. When the treasure is found the dairy is completed and one takes out a toy, to replace it with another toy. Some toys however are more than just toys. Some site-members have bought geocaching branded coins and "traveller bugs".

These coins and bugs are registered on the site and have been given an extra goal in life. We were lucky to find such a collectors coin in our treasure in the Ardens. Imagine the excitement of the children when they realised they could choose the heavy qualitative coin to take out of the treasure. There was a label attached to the beautiful coin. The label stated a reference number and a wish from the founder of the coin. Not living in Europe the founder wrote on the label he had difficulties collecting all Euro coins. Via his geocaching travel bug he hoped that people finding his bug/coin would help him with his collection. He brought his coin in the game in 2005! The coin travelled already more than 3.000 miles.

I didn't know such a marvelous application of Internet and GPS existed. During the weekend we actually met a team looking for the treasure. Normally treasures are well hidden, people not taking part in the game are not supposed to find such a treasure by accident.
(second line pictures from left to right: "teams looking for the treasures leave a pre-designed label in the diary when the treasures are found", "explanatory letter", "last entree in the diary before we found the treasure by accident, indicating a site-member left a much sought after geocoin - or traveller bug in the toybag of the treasure", "the geocoin in the treasure bag".)