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.
N 45° 17.460 W 122° 24.800
Three days later, the container was located by Mike Teague.
The first geocache in Australia was placed by Paul Edwards in Lane Cove National Park on 18 May 2000. Although the geocache was removed a year later, you can still visit the location and log a find as it is now a virtual.
Lane Cove (GC3E) by Paul Edwards
The next geocache in New South Wales was placed in Garigal National Park, near St Ives on 2 September 2000 — R&R (GC52) by Richard Ames (archived)
Three more geocaches were hidden in New South Wales in 2000:
Today marks the start of the 20 year celebrations, so what better way to kick off the festivities than by celebrating the day it all became possible - Big Blue Switch Day.
Come out for a mingle in the Hawkesbury, chat about your geocaching highlights, and generally network with like minded individuals. The event will be held on Satuday 2 May 2020 from 4:00 pm on the front lawn and in the historic cellars of Tizzana Winery overlooking the vineyards.
We hope you will be able to come out and join us. Seasoned cachers and those brand new to the sport are equally welcome. We look forward to meeting you.
As a bonus for attending this event you'll earn the Big Blue Switch souvenir for your profile page.
Community Celebration Events - 2020
This Event is part of a limited release of Community Celebration Events to celebrate 20 years of geocaching. Geocachers hosted events between May 2, 2020 and December 31, 2020. Learn more about Community Celebration Events on the Geocaching Blog.
Did you know that NSW has a geocaching association? Geocaching NSW aims to enhance and improve the activity of geocaching and holds regular events where geocachers meet to enjoy their common interests. Visit the association website here.