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4/23/2002
05:02 PM
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Wherever You Go, There You Are!

The GPS game Geodashing merges the information highway with blue highways.

For the truly adventurous, and those in possession of a global positioning satellite, set your sites on Geodashing, an online game that's part scavenger hunt (though there's nothing to collect except perhaps an image with your camera), part techie dream, and part cartography lesson.

Here's how it works: As an individual or as part of a team, you try to reach as many as possible of the randomly generated coordinate locations in a given timeframe (usually a month). Locations are all over the world, so unless you have a lot of free time and even more money, the team concept helps.

Points are awarded on a three-tiered basis: first to arrive, second to arrive, third to arrive. The team with the most points at the end, of course, wins. You need to get within 100 meters of a "dashpoint" to score points, and a whole section is devoted to being careful while playing. For instance, the site's disclaimer points out that "This activity involves risk to both persons and property. Game players assume all risks involved in seeking a waypoint. Always exercise common sense and caution."

It also points out that "Inclusion of a particular waypoint in a game does not imply access rights or assure safety. If the waypoint is located on private land, ask permission of the landowner, especially if the land is posted 'No Trespassing.'"

The game's motto is "Getting there is all the fun!" So is perusing the site, which spells out the rules, answers FAQs, and offers photos shot by some of the game's participants (who go by names like Rabid Badgers, En Dash!, and Team Oz).

The Geodashing Play-by-Play section is a bit overwhelming at first, but offers an interesting look at the current game. There also are sections for an E-mail archive, photos, polls, and featured dashpoints.

You need to register with Yahoo! Groups to participate and to access a lot of the material on the site. Enjoy the game, but stay out of my yard.

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