Groundspeak Weekly Newletter – December 1, 2010

This holiday season, there are many ways that you can share the joy and adventure of geocaching with friends and family alike.

Now, for the first time ever, you can introduce someone to geocaching, or treat an existing geocacher to all the features and benefits of Premium Membership with a new Geocaching.com Premium Membership Gift Card! This card provides the recipient with 12 months of Premium features, including Pocket Queries, instant cache notifications, watch lists and more.

The Premium Membership Gift Card can be used to upgrade a new or existing Basic Membership or to extend an existing Premium Membership for an additional 12 months. Geocachers outside the United States can give a Premium Membership via our website.

Also, don’t forget that at ShopGroundspeak.com we have everything for the special geocachers in your life, including GPS devices, Shirts, Hats, Stickers, Cache Containers, Trackables and more. Check out all of the great geocaching gifts at www.ShopGroundspeak.com. For International geocachers, make sure to check the list of International Distributors to find everything you need for holiday geo-gift giving.

Reconnecting with Nature through Geocaching

Vote to reconnect people with nature by promoting geocaching on public lands in the United States. America’s Great Outdoors Initiative is designed to gather ideas from the public on how to best conserve outdoor spaces and reconnect people with nature. We believe that geocaching is one of the best ways to accomplish the latter, and we hope that you agree. If you do, please encourage the US government to promote geocaching on public lands by clicking “Promote” on the left-hand side of this page. Please note that you must register to vote.

Not in the United States? Let us know how geocachers in your country are working with land managers to help reconnect people with nature-send an email to pr@groundspeak.com.

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One Year Later: The Story of the First Reverse Geocache Puzzle Box

The story of the first Reverse Geocache™ took nearly an entire year to play out, from its auspicious and mysterious beginnings to a climactic ending. The intercontinental suspense just ended in November.

Inventor Mikal Hart shifted geocaching in reverse for a wedding present last year. Hart’s “Reverse Geocaching Puzzle Box” is a locked box that needs you to deliver it to a secret location.  The GPS-enabled box won’t unlock until you take it to the pre-programmed destination. Hart delivered the first-ever Reverse Geocache™ as a wedding present for friends.

Example of a Reverse Geocache™

The wedding took place in Paris last autumn. Hart gave the gift with no explanation. The curious wooden box had just a single button and a small display. When the button was pressed the display flicked to life and read, “Attempt 1 of 50: Distance 391km.”

Hart’s original Reverse Geocache™ was promptly placed on a shelf in the couple’s home, and for months sat largely forgotten.

But Hart almost immediately began stirring interest. He posted an article, and before long hundreds of thousands of people were enraptured by the romance and adventure contained in that one little box. But not his newlywed friends. They didn’t see the articles in major newspapers, the videos on YouTube or discover that Mikal started producing more and more Reverse Geocaches™.

Fast-forward nearly a year. A major motion picture is now in the works using a Reverse Geocache as part of the plot, Mikal  is traveling spreading the story of the Reverse Geocache™ far and wide, and still nothing from his friend.

Then, one day last month, an email arrives. The not-so newlyweds tracked down the location where their box would open. The original Reverse Geocache™ whirled and unlocked on a small island in the English Channel. The presents inside were gift cards. But the married couple said that the adventure was the real present, writing, “There’s some pretty cool and clever design in that little box!”

Mikal was able to sit down with his friend recently to tell them how the Reverse Geocache™ had evolved since their wedding. He details the conversation in a recent blog post. He says: “His response was just what you’d hope and expect: surprise and amazement yielding to quiet delight, and finally the inevitable series of questions and suggestions for how the magic of the puzzle box might be kept alive. ”

For more information and to read Mikal’s complete account of the story click here. Click on the video below to see the Geocaching.com Lost & Found video on the Reverse Geocache™.

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Geocaching.com Site Upgrade Tuesday – Site and Mobile Apps Down

Geocaching.com is upgrading the infrastructure of the website to provide geocachers with increased site performance, security and room to expand. All Groundspeak sites and services including Geocaching.com, the Groundspeak Forums, Pocket Queries, Geocaching Mobile Applications for the iPhone, Windows Phone 7 and Android devices along with other 3rd party applications that utilize our API will be inaccessible during the upgrade process. The outage is schedule to begin Tuesday, December 14th at 8:00pm PST (GMT -8). The site is expected to be down for approximately six hours.

We’ll be working hard to minimize the duration of the downtime.  The upgrades include a new network design as well as new hardware. This is the most comprehensive infrastructure upgrade in five years.

The downtime related to the infrastructure upgrade is scheduled during a time of year and on a day when historically fewer geocachers are accessing Geocaching.com and the Geocaching.com mobile apps. During the upgrade, we’ll be posting progress updates to our Facebook page and Twitter feed.

Groundspeak’s Weekly Newsletter – November 30, 2010

Geomate.jr Now Supports Pocket Queries

By now you’ve probably heard of the Geomate.jr – a rugged, affordable, easy-to-use geocaching GPS. And you’ve probably heard that there’s no need to plan ahead or type in any coordinates as the Geomate.jr comes preloaded with about 250,000 geocaches covering all 50 U.S. states. And you may also have heard that with an Update Kit, you can load complete geocache lists for anywhere in the world or setup your own private geocaching course. But have you heard that the Geomate.jr now supports Pocket Queries? Yep, that’s right – you now have the final say of what gets loaded onto your Geomate.jr. Armed with an Update Kit and mygeomate.com, just select your Pocket Query and load it into any Geomate.jr!

Get more Pocket Query support info here. Want a Geomate.jr of your own? Buy Now.

Benefits of Adding Home Coordinates

Please enter your home coordinates so we can provide information on new geocaches and geocaching events near you.

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“Geocaching for the Blind” A Geocaching.com Lost & Found Video

Mike May develops GPS devices for blind and visually impaired users. To help users learn the devices’ cutting-edge technology and explore the world around them, he champions a form of geocaching. Watch this video and go along as Mike May and friends develop a treasure hunting course using adaptive GPS technology.

For information on GPS devices for the blind and visually impaired explore http://accessibleGPS.com

You can explore more videos that capture the adventure of geocaching.  Check out  the Geocaching.com Lost & Found video gallery.  Explore 4×4 geocaching, watch a Travel Bug® go around the world and visit the highest and lowest geocaches in existence.