Friday, May 23, 2008

Geohashing

Okay, so some people have probably heard of Geocaching - where GPS nerds get a set of coordinates off the Internet and go find it / them and make a little game out of it. But I doubt anyone has heard of Geohashing yet, since I think it was invented earlier this week when the folks at the totally nerdy web comic XKCD posted this comic:
Essentially, the date is combined with the Dow Jones Industrial Average's opening value, put through an md5 hash algorithm, split into two numbers, converted from hexadecimal to decimal, and then added to the end of any set of whole number (no decimals) latitude and longitude coordinates.

Still with me? Okay, good. Since I am going to Grand Junction this weekend, I put Saturday's date (2008-05-24) into the map lookup and click on Grand Junction. The results of the hash must have been 0.126648 and 0.547534, which, when added to the nearest latitude and longitude of N39 and W108 result in the coordinate location 39.126648°, -108.547534° or N39°7'35.93", W108°32'51.11", which turns out to be about one-half a mile north of H Road on 27-1/4 Road, just West of the airport, Walker Field. Seems like it should be pretty easy to get to.

Here is the group participation part of this extremely nerdy game: there is a "meeting" every Saturday at 4:00 p.m. at the randomly determined location in each graticule (area within the integer lat, lon lines) where, if anyone shows up, you have a little party. Or something.
Apparently, Denver has a relatively active Graticule (four, actually, but you can read about that here), so you might actually see someone there. GJ, on the other hand, does not, so its gonna be lonely if I actually make it there on Saturday at 4 o'clock.

Not sure if this little concept has any staying power once the novelty wears off, but if you just need a random place to meet someone within a certain geographic area, it should work pretty well, as long as the place is accessible, that is. Since, by the very nature of this thing, it is random, the coordinates might end up in a lake, the ocean, military base, cliff, inaccessible mountain, etc. If that happens, I suppose you can either wait for a better location or just put in another date and see what happens.

Sorry, that was too nerdy not to share! Check it out!

3 comments:

Pookie said...

I think I sense a new hobby!

Melissa said...

"Geocaching - where GPS nerds get a set of coordinates off the Internet and go find it / them and make a little game out of it" - yes, there is supposedly some item and/or log book underneath a bridge near our house in castle rock from a geocaching scavenger hunt or something. my mom really wants to find it. lol.

Matt :o) said...

There's one by your house? Really? That's pretty sweet. I'm sure you could find it if you knew which site to look it up on.

Also, your mom might be a nerd. ;)