US: Geocaching, a form of high-tech treasure hunting that utilises clues from a GPS device, is being harnessed by tourist destinations as a new way to draw visitors and encourage them to explore. Five locations from Washington, DC, to Park County, Colorado, recently launched tours created by Seattle-based-company Groundspeak, which runs the Geocaching.com website.
The company estimates every USD 1 spent by a tourist destination on geocaching will result in about USD 20 spent by tourists on hotels, restaurants and the like.
Vesta Giles, 46, from Kamloops, B.C., is one of the 5 million people geocaching around the world. She has found 522 caches, or treasure-filled containers hidden by other enthusiasts.
There are now over 6,500 geocaches in the Seattle area and approximately 1.8 million worldwide, according to Groundspeak.
Geocaching.com was created in 2000 in Seattle by Jeremy Irish after the US government made more accurate GPS signals available to the public, enabling civilian GPS users to more precisely pinpoint locations. He founded Groundspeak with partners Elias Alvord and Bryan Roth to operate Geocaching.com and other outdoor-activity websites.
Groundspeak has made a business out of this electronic hide-and-seek game. It offers a free app that shows three nearby caches, a USD 9.99 app with advanced features and more than 1,750,000 caches, and a USD 30 annual subscription with additional capabilities such as geocache challenges.
Source: Seattle Times