Geocaching across America.
Photographs and text by Margot Anne Kelley. Foreword by Frank Gohlke.
Center for American Places, Chicago, 2005. 192 pp., 68 color illustrations, 9½x8".
In the spring of 2000, a man in Oregon hid a box of toys in the woods, posted the geographic coordinates of its location on a website, and issued the challenge for others to find it. People used their GPS receivers to find his treasure, and a new game was born. Today over a million people worldwide participate in 'geocaching,' hiding stashes of trinkets in dangerous or unusual locations-such as the ledge of a cliff or the depths of a riverbed-and then inviting others to find them, leave a note, and swap a treasure of their own. In Local Treasures: Geocaching Across America, Margot Anne Kelley offers one of the first books on 'geocaching,' exploring here what compels ordinary people across the world to take part in these extraordinary treasure hunts.
Kelley traveled throughout the U.S. to chronicle the sites and stories of geocaching adventures, from the rocky coasts of Maine, to the deserts surrounding Las Vegas desert, to the starting point of the Mason-Dixon Line. Each striking, full-color photograph exposes a vision of America quite unlike that presented in a traditional guidebook: truly off the beaten path, these are non-idealized landscapes, often places with special meaning to the players alone. Kelley's accompanying writings explore the world of geocaching communities, their rare capability to integrate new technologies with the natural world and their complex and often tenuous relationships to the surveillance technologies that sustain the game. In this era when people are increasingly disconnected from the land that surrounds them, geocaching offers an unusual and technologically-savvy vision for the future. Kelley's text is a fascinating examination of a new and creative diversion emerging from the intersection of the virtual world with the real.
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