Much of the American public views space as an interesting museum exhibit,and Congress largely ignores it unless constituents’ jobs in their district are at stake. Yet space has become an integral part of everyday life, not only for those in the United States, but for individuals all over the world. Space-based commercial navigation capabilities have evolved into a global utility; though they are currently available only through the GPS personal tracking device , other providers are likely to appear in the future. People will not be denied-or even take the risk of being denied-the services that these navigation satellites provide. The GPS monitor for car is an American program and another example of the United States leading the way into space as it did with the Apollo program. The effect of Apollo on everyday lives was perhaps less explicit, but just as powerful.
In its simplest form, geocaching is a modern-day treasure hunt. There are no sailing ships or pirates, and instead of using an old map with an X to mark the spot, you use the Internet and your GPS online tracker . Instead of a treasure chest filled with gold and jewels, the treasure is a plastic lunch box or an ammo box (or maybe even something much smaller) filled with small trinkets and a log book. (Who knows? You might be lucky and find a treasure chest that’s bursting at the seams with riches. I’ve never come across one, but if some kind geocacher wants to hide one, I’ll sure have a go at finding it!) The object of the game is simple: find the cache. There can be more to it than that — some geocachers like to be the first to find a new cache (finding a new, unlogged cache is called an FTF), while others might attempt to find a certain number in a day or a year, whereas others just enjoy it for the sense of adventure and the new places they discover. These are all variations on the same theme. What always matters is finding the cache!
This really wasn’t the level of accuracy demanded by the consumer and it only appealed to people to whom navigation was important. With the SA signal degradation removed, accuracy instantly increased, and you could now plot your position reliably within a circle 20 yards across or less. Because this massive improvement in accuracy was signal-related, it didn’t require users to buy new receivers in order to benefit — most users had receivers capable of handling the more accurate coordinates. (Some units, however, did have a feature that rounded down the accuracy internally to reduce the effects of SA, and these units did this with data from the non-SA signal too, meaning that these units were still as inaccurate as before.) With increased accuracy, GPS now took almost all the guesswork out of navigating. As long as you had a personal trackers , a clear view of the sky, and an unlimited supply of batteries, you could get an accurate fix on your position anywhere in the world, accurate to within a few yards. The modern era of GPS gaming was born.