Geohashing – A Spontaneous Adventure Generator
Geohashing is an adventure, comprising journeys to random places within a given area. Every day, effectively random locations are generated by an algorithm that achieves randomness using stock market data. It is a Spontaneous Adventure Generator. A set of coordinates is generated for each 1°×1° latitude/longitude zone (known as a graticule) in the world. The coordinates can lie anywhere in the graticule — in the forest, in a city, on a mountain, or even in the middle of a lake! Everyone in a given region gets the same set of coordinates relative to their graticule.
Taken from http://wiki.xkcd.com/geohashing/
I discovered geohashing a few years ago at a talk by Alex Martingdale during BarCamp Blackpool and it sounded rally interesting, so I thought I would give it a try. I basically checked the location of my nearest geohash each day using the Geohash Droid App, and if the location was close enough for me to travel to, I would try and get there.
One of the main things that appealed to me with geohashing is that there is always that possibility of discovering a new place or meeting new people, and I find something quite exciting in that. The other aspect of geohashing that I love is the ability to obtain real life achievements. I feel that so much time is taken up sat in front of TVs playing video games that I love when a concept brings game playing into the real word.
This is my current geohash user page, and as you can see it has been quite some time since I headed out to find any co-ordinates, but I’m hoping to change that and get out on some more expeditions soon.
As with Geocaching, all you need is a smartphone and appropriate clothing, and you’re ready to go! Setting up a a page on the wiki is easy, and it’s nice to keep track of your expeditions and achievements. Users are encouraged to document each expedition with a write up and photographic evidence, even if you don’t manage to reach the co-ordinates, you can still obtain fail achievements!
Here are some examples of write ups from the Hall of Amazingness;
- Geohash on rotten ice
- Geohash in untamed Australian wilderness
- Geohash on a rubber boat in the dark
- Geohashing accident makes the news
- Geohashing on TV
- Geohash with tour of secured area
- Don’t worry, we’re from the internet
- Geohash with ghosts
Geohashing is not just used for recreational fun, some have their own individual reasons. Nathan Woodruff was inspired to cycle to as many geohashes as possible to help him lose weight, and currently holds the record for the most consecutive days reaching a geohash with 19 in a row. His dedication is truly inspirational, and the pictures on his user page speak for themselves.
Check out where your nearest geohash appears today using Peeron Maps.
When you get there, why not mark the spot with a Geohash Poster! Just amend the date and graticule latitude and longitude in the URL for the geohash you want to visit.
And if you want to increase your chances of meeting other geohashers, then why not go for the official xkcd meetup? Just visit your nearest geohash on a Saturday afternoon and arrive at 4pm, and you’ll hopefully bump into other geohashers in your area! If you do happen to be in the Manchester area, I might even be there myself…..Thanks for reading!
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