Geospatial case study - Ngaio School and its geocaching kids

17 May 2012

Scott Taylor-Beech may only be eight but he is already a treasure-hunting expert who uses a handheld GPS receiver loaded with internet map data to track down prizes hidden all over New Zealand.

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He and fellow enthusiast Jack Braddick, 8, are teaching their year four classmates at Ngaio School, Wellington, about the internationally popular hi-tech game called geocaching. 

Enthusiasts hide tiny treasure chests (caches) all over Wellington, New Zealand and the world and put the coordinates online so others can track them down.
 
Teacher Adelle Broadmore says the school has added geocaching to the year four maths curriculum to help teach map, compass and coordinate skills through the classroom computers. They will have their own treasure hunt in the school grounds to find hidden caches sometime this term. 
 
Scott and Jack are exceptional examples of a generation that has been growing up immersed in digital technology since they could place a finger 

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on a keyboard, says Mike Judd of the New Zealand Geospatial Office, based at Land Information New Zealand (LINZ).
As Jack, a very reflective little boy, puts it, “It improves what you see. It improves how you see.” He doesn’t just look at scenery, he analyses it for likely cache hiding places.
 
 
Mr Judd was at Ngaio School on Thursday May 9 to help the children use the maps on the LINZ website. The maps are interactive, allowing users to layer information like walking tracks on top of basic topographical maps.
 
Growing up Digital is one of the themes of the international Digital Earth Summit to be held in Wellington in early September. 
 

Summit hosts LINZ and Wellington City Council officially launched the summit on Tuesday May 8 to start raising public interest in how digital location-based information 

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can help cities to better manage their resources. 

What is Geocaching?

Geocaching is an adventure game for GPS users. Participating in a cache hunt is a good way to take advantage of the wonderful features and capability of a
 GP
S unit.
The basic idea is to have individuals and organisations set up caches all over the world and share the locations of these caches on the internet. GPS users can then use the location coordinates to find the caches. Once found, a cache may provide the visitor with a wide variety of rewards. All the visitor is asked to do is, if they get something, they should try to leave something for the cache. 

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