SAIT aims to travel the globe with new centennial geocache
It's treasure hunting meets travelling gnome. Those who geocache know the activity brings out their inner explorer, allowing them to discover new places abroad and close to home.
On Aug. 20, International Geocaching Day, SAIT will launch its first official geocache as part of its centennial celebrations. The cache will contain SAIT swag, trinkets to trade and a special gift for the FTF — the first person to find the cache!
Along with the new cache, 20 SAIT travel bugs will be released. Travel bugs (also known as trackables) are items meant to be taken and dropped off at new geocaches. Some come with special goals — tasks the geocacher is expected to complete while the travel bug is in their possession.
The SAIT bugs will be attached to a replica of a familiar landmark on campus and come with a special mission — snap selfies with the bug as it travels and post them to Twitter and/or Instagram with #SAIT100. The photos collected before April 2017 will become part of SAIT's Centennial Photo Mosaic Installation.
Tim Fountain, lead of SAIT's geocache project, hopes experienced geocachers and "neocachers" (new geocachers) alike will help carry the trackables around the world.
"We're really looking forward to seeing where our travel bugs go. This is a great opportunity to not only get people exploring our campus, but introduce people around the world to SAIT and all it has to offer," says Fountain.
How does Geocaching work?
Geocaching is a worldwide game for Global Positioning System (GPS) users. To start playing, you'll need to use a GPS or download the Geocaching app to your phone, then create a free account with geocaching.com.
Once you've set up your profile, start searching for nearby geocaches which will appear as dots on a map. There are already more than two million geocaches to be found worldwide.
Geocaches come in many different sizes and shapes and finding them can be easy to very difficult.
"The difficulty level of SAIT's geocache will be 1.5 out of 5, so it shouldn't be too hard to access," says Fountain.
The geocaches are created by participants of the game, but you don't need to create a geocache to play. Once you find a cache, inside you'll see a log-book and maybe some tradable knick-knacks. Sign the log-book, trade some swag if you choose, then log your find online in your app.
You might also find travel bugs inside a cache. When you find a bug, enter its unique tracking code within the app to let the travel bug owner know you have it. Then, drop the trackable off at another geocache in a different location - as near or far away as you'd like! You'll log that in the app too, so the owner knows its new location.
Getting off the beaten path
SAIT employee Michelle Fernandes was introduced to geocaching in 2009 during a camping trip with some friends. She quickly realized it was a great way to get outside and explore. Now she tries to find at least one geocache everywhere she travels.
"It's all about bringing you to places you've never gone before. I was geocaching in Hawaii and I got to see some amazing views that I wouldn't have seen if I hadn't been looking for the cache. It's very easy to learn. Even my kids are into it now — they call it treasure hunting."
Fernandes and her husband purchased their own trackable coin in 2010 and gave it a goal to travel to India, the Philippines, Germany and England — countries their families are from.
"It's already been everywhere but India in the past six years."
Fernandes, who works with SAIT's Facilities Management team, will be helping to install the new SAIT geocache. She says while the cache will be the largest on SAIT campus, it won't necessarily be easy to spot.
"It's hidden in plain sight."
Geocachers are encouraged to visit the SAIT cache often as one travel bug will be dropped into the geocache each week leading up to Oct. 16, when the remaining 10 will be released throughout the day.
Aug. 18, 2016