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Spotlight: Contest Uses GPS To Promote Fun, Sales

By | June 28, 2004

      The Global Positioning System (GPS) can be a lifesaver in the right circumstances and a source of fun on other occasions. For fun lovers, the second annual Magellan “Cache Her If You Can” GPS Adventure is a game that began last week, giving participants of all ages a chance to combine outdoor recreation with technological sophistication. The Web-based competition, which started June 24 and continues until Sept. 1, is designed to allow amateur crime-solvers to use GPS to chase clues in 30 cities across the country each week.

      The sponsor of the game that puts amateur sleuths on the trail of a fictitious criminal mastermind is Santa Clara, Calif.-based Thales Navigation, a developer and manufacturer of GPS, navigation and guidance equipment. Angela Linsey-Jackson, public-relations manager for Thales’ Magellan Consumer Products division, said the goal is to build a relationship with the people who participate in “geo-caching,” a high-technology treasure hunt that uses the Internet and GPS. The geo-caching community is the second-fastest growing segment of GPS users in North America, she said, with vehicle navigation ranking first.

      “We really do like the fact that geo-caching gets people outdoors and gives them an activity where people of all ages can participate,” Linsey-Jackson said during a phone interview with Satellite News. “We are building our relationship with that community. Last year, we had nearly 6,000 participants in the contest.”

      To play, participants must have access to a GPS receiver. They then register online at . Participants become amateur crime-solvers as they use their GPS receivers to follow a trail of clues provided online by the “Magellan Detective Agency.” The plan is for the players to use the clues they are given to narrow down the possible locations of their destination each week. Their mission is to stop a fictitious criminal named “Stella DeCache” and her henchmen of “Organization X” who seek to disrupt the game.

      The final clue for each mission will provide the exact latitude and longitude coordinates for contestants to enter into their GPS receivers, guiding them to a secret “cache.” The cache is a briefcase hidden above ground on public property, like a park or a forest, that contains prizes.

      “We’ve tied it [the contest] to the introduction of three new products,” Linsey-Jackson said. Those new products are part of Thales’ new Magellan eXplorist series.

      -Tonya Oben and Paul Dykewicz

      (Angela Linsey-Jackson, Thales, 909/394-5062)

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