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  The American Surveyor     

GPS Excitement is “Cache-ing” on at Maryland Science Center Print E-mail
Written by Maryland Science Center   
Thursday, 18 February 2010

Traveling Exhibition Explores GPS Technology and Treasure-Hunting Game of Geocaching

The coordinates for fun in Baltimore are 39.2 (N) and 76.6 (W), as the Maryland Science Center unveils GPS Adventures, an interactive exhibition and Inner Harbor “treasure hunt” exploring cutting-edge Global Position System (GPS) technology and the treasure-hunting phenomena of Geocaching. From February 20 through April 18, 2010 GPS Adventures will be on view in the Legg Mason Gallery of the Maryland Science Center.

Visitors, or “explorers,” will be introduced to the international, family-friendly treasure-hunting sport of Geocaching as they search for hidden treasures, called caches, in the 4,500-square-foot GPS Adventures maze. Clues are hidden throughout the common area of the maze that unlock doors to “secret” rooms with games and additional content about Geocaching, including the different types of caches, geocacher lingo, and game rewards.

During their adventure, visitors will stamp a logbook after leaving each secret room. Collecting stamps leads visitors to the discovery of the “Treasure City” and the Maryland Science Center’s special hidden cache.

GPS Adventures illustrates the history, current uses, and future of navigation with more than 20 activities in a maze environment. As visitors plot their journey, they will find themselves in thematic rooms, from city to back country, where they will solve puzzles to find their way around impossible obstacles, including ravines and waterfalls, that will test their knowledge of GPS and navigation.

The exhibition surveys the evolution of GPS, from the invention and reading of a compass rose and topographical maps, to a large-scale timeline plotting the history of navigation. Hands-on activities illustrate basic map skills, including how visitors can locate themselves on a map, find latitude and longitude, and pinpoint geographic landmarks.

Mini games and information stations positioned throughout the maze reveal the practical uses of GPS technology, including OnStar car safety devices, the advent of global positioning and navigation tools to automate agribusiness, and government geolocation capabilities.

GPS Adventures also illustrates the future potential of GPS with the latest gadgets from familiar technology companies, including Trimble, Garmen, and Magellan, as well as prototypes for future devices. Guests can let their imagination go “off the map” as they create their own GPS concepts and design the future applications of this evolving technology.

Inner Harbor Geocaching Adventure
After completing the activities inside the Maryland Science Center, visitors can extend the experience with a Geocaching scavenger hunt in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. Using actual GPS devices available for free use from the museum, “cachers” will use clues from the GPS Adventures maze to find caches throughout the Inner Harbor hidden by the Maryland Science Center.

GPS Adventures was developed by Groundspeak and Minotaur Mazes. After its appearance at the Maryland Science Center, the exhibition will continue on its multi-year tour to museum and science institutions throughout North America.

The Maryland Science Center is located at 601 Light Street at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. For information and tickets, visit www.marylandsciencecenter.org or call the 24-Hour Information Line at 410-685-5225.

About the Maryland Science Center
The Maryland Science Center in Baltimore is visited by more than 500,000 people each year. Popular exhibits include: Dinosaur Mysteries with full-size dinosaurs and interactive paleontology activities; a day in the life of the human body in Your Body: The Inside Story; and dozens of interactive experiments in Newton’s Alley.  Other attractions include the Kids Room, the five-story St. John Properties IMAX Theater, and the world-famous Davis Planetarium.

About Groundspeak
Groundspeak, Inc. was started in the year 2000 to manage Geocaching.com, the global headquarters for the sport of geocaching. Geocaching was the first activity to combine Global Positioning System technology and the Internet for real-world treasure hunting. Groundspeak continues to develop tools to help GPS enthusiasts create unique adventures in the real world.

About Minotaur Mazes
Minotaur is the world's largest creator of interactive, educational, traveling maze exhibits. The company has been creating walk-through mazes, ranging in size from 300 to 10,000 sq ft, for over 15 years. Its mazes have been installed in museums, science centers, zoos, aquariums and festivals around the world. A Minotaur Maze exhibit is an interactive learning tool where visitors immerse themselves in a theme-based environment and come away from the experience with increased empathy and understanding for the subject.

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