Last night, Mrs Rapid Pest and I met up with an old friend and super techie who sorts out all our PC’s and network problems John Clarke of Solutions Shared. Luckily, we have not had to call on John’s skills for sometime as the Rapid Pest Control network has been pretty stable for some time, so meeting up with John was more a social event and just to catch up really.
We decided an Indian was in order so went to the new Indian Lounge in Newbury for a chat, a curry and a few well earned beers – I have to say the food was excellent and a pretty good price too!
As the evening went on and we all managed to catch up on things, John said that he and the family had discovered a new hobby called Geocaching. I must admit I did laugh a bit as it sounded a bit like train-spotting or a bit geeky, but as he explained it more, I thought it could be quite a fun thing to do as we walk the dogs miles so to do it with a purpose could be interesting.
Basically, there are thousands of small boxes hidden across the world, all tagged by grid reference coordinates, which basically you use GPS technology to find them. Once found, you log the find in the book within the box, and on the Geocache website, with a picture or a blog about the find.
All sounds a bit odd I know, but think of it as Orienteering without the running. Now I have a Garmin GPS which we use in Africa when out hunting to mark animals for collection once shot, so I am really familiar with the technology, but there is also some iPhone apps you can use. I decided to take a look and see what’s around our house, and guess what there are loads around Snelsmore and Newbury.
So today, Me and Mrs Rapid Pest picked 2 geocache locations off the website, set the coordinates in the Garmin and set off in search, with the dogs in tow.
We got to the first location in a few minutes, but spent 20 mins looking for the geocache – without success. So after deciding that it must have got lost, moved off to find the next one – which we did in a few seconds.
Once you find one, you get to know where to look, so we went back to the original one and found it straight away. The GPS is only accurate to about 20 feet, so you have to know how to interoperate the reading – its easy when you set a marker or way-point, but not so when entering coordinates. The iPhone app was really inaccurate and actually pretty rubbish.
The dogs thought we were totally mental, but they got a good walk, we got an hour away from the office and had some exercise and fun.
All I say is don’t knock it until you try it – it might not be everybody’s cup of tea, but we will be placing a geocache in Morocco when we go in September, there are a few around Agadir which we will hopefully find as well.
Thanks John – always good to see you!