Geocaching has evolved, and so have geocachers. On May 2nd, we’re celebrating the 17th anniversary of the birth of geocaching with a Big Blue Switch souvenir! Find any geocache or attend any event on Tuesday, May 2, 2017 and you’ll earn a new digital souvenir for your geocaching profile!
What is “Big Blue Switch” day?
On May 2, 2000, just past midnight, the U.S government discontinued its use of Selective Availability in order to make GPS more responsive to civil and commercial users worldwide. Twenty-four satellites around the globe processed their new orders, and instantly the accuracy of GPS technology improved tenfold. Tens of thousands of GPS receivers around the world had an instant upgrade. Prior to this date, only the military had the ability to receive accurate GPS readings. Now, the world and all its wonderful people could pinpoint their precise location. For reasons unknown, this is often referred to as the flipping of the “Big Blue Switch”.
The very next day, a computer consultant named Dave Ulmer hid a black bucket in the woods near Portland, Oregon. Along with a logbook and pencil, he left various prize items including videos, books, software, and a slingshot, then posted the coordinates online.
Three days later, the container was located by Mike Teague. Now, seventeen years later, geocaching has become a global phenomenon to get off the couch and get outside.
The game has evolved, and so have geocachers:
In the past 17 years, geocachers have reached many milestones including 3 million active geocaches, 7 million active geocachers, and over 22 million awarded favorite points. The Big Blue Switch souvenir is one more way to celebrate the evolution of geocaching*!
How to earn the Big Blue Switch souvenir:
Find any geocache type or attend any event on Tuesday, May 2, 2017.
Is there a special geocache you hope to find on May 2nd?
*Rumor has it that Shop.Geocaching.com will carry Big Blue Switch/Evolution of Geocaching geocoins (with an actual flipping switch) and trackable items verrrrry soon. Check out their Twitter @ShopGeocaching for updates!