High-Tech Treasure Hunting

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Whether it’s a load or a geocache, new GPS technologies lead you to the prize

Global Positioning System technology has stormed the mobile communications device market in the past couple years. For truckers, both owner-operators and company drivers, this means a wide array of enhancements to anything from basic navigation to social networking tools. This fact was ever present at the May 23 GeoWoodstock VII event in Bell Buckle, Tenn., the largest gathering of practitioners of the geocaching activity in the United States.

Like the ever-more-accurate and truck-specific GPS-enhanced navigation many truckers today enjoy, geocaching – which Arkansas-based FWCC driver Mark Pritchard appropriately calls a high-tech “worldwide easter-egg hunt” with GPS units as primary tool – was a by-product of the May 1, 2000, opening up of positioning satellite signals to the U.S. public. Subsequently, the first cache was placed by Oregon resident Dave Ulmer, its latitude and longitude recorded on a satellite technology usenet group, and by May 6 that year it’d been found and logged as such.

Since then, caches have been placed all around the world, the Geocaching.com site serving as the primary center for the activity, where cachers can plan their hunts and then log their successful finds. For more than a couple truckers at Geo