Happy Anniversary: Selective Availability Removed

Geocaching, the game typically played with handheld GPS receivers, owes its genesis to former President William Clinton. Six years ago today, then President Clinton removed Selective Availability (SA). SA is the “intentional degradation” of GPS signals. Prior to 1 May 2000, the United States kept the signals from being particularly accurate for civilian use. As the growth of GPS-related businesses flourished, SA was seen as an obstacle to those business uses.

Now civilians could negotiate themselves far more accurately.

It didn’t take long before someone (Dave Ulmer) saw the possibilities. Ulmer posted to sci.geo.satellite-nav the following:

Now that SA is off we can start a worldwide Stash Game!! With Non-SA accuracy it should be easy to find a stash from waypoint information. Waypoints of secret stashes could be shared on the Internet, people could navigate to the stashes and get some stuff. The only rule for stashes is: Get some Stuff, Leave some Stuff!! The more valuable the stuff the more stashes will be started.

I’m thinking of half burying a five gallon plastic bucket with lid at the stash point. Putting in some stuff. Adding a logbook and pencil so visitors can record their find. The log should contain: Date, Time, What you got, and What you put in. Scanning the log book should give you a quick inventory of the stash.

I’ll look for a place near a road where few people would normally go… Put in some cash, an old digital camera, and some antique silverware!! I will come up with a cool name for my stash and post coordinates soon!!!

Make your own stash in a unique location, put in some stuff and a log book. Post the location on the Internet. Soon we will have thousands of stashes all over the world to go searching for.
Have Fun!!

Ulmer prepared his cache (video) and then announced it to the world:

Well, I did it, created the first stash hunt stash and here are the coordinates:

N 45 17.460
W122 24.800

Lots of goodies for the finders. Look for a black plastic bucket buried most of the way in the ground. Take some stuff, leave some stuff! Record it all in the log book. Have Fun!

Stash contians: Delorme Topo USA software, videos, books, food, money, and a slingshot!

A week after Clinton had removed SA, Mike Teague had already set up the first geocaching web site.

Hundreds of thousands of caches later, allow me to say, Thank you.

Also blogged on this date . . .

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