Punky GPS Gets The Steam Built Up For Geocaching

While getting geared up for geocaching [Folkert van Heusden] decided he didn’t want to get one of those run of the mill GPS modules, and being inspired by steam punk set out and made his own.

Starting with an antique wooden box, and adding an Arduino, GPS module, and LiPo battery to make the brains. The user interface consists of good ‘ole toggle switches and a pair of quad seven segment displays to enter, and check longitude and latitude.

To top off the retro vibe of the machine two analog current meters were repurposed to indicate not only direction, but also distance, which we think is pretty spiffy. Everything was placed in a laser cut wooden control panel, which lend to the old-time feel of the entire project.

Quite a bit of wire and a few sticks of hot glue later and [Folkert] is off and ready for an adventure!

Location aware task tracking

With the iPhone finally getting legitimate GPS we’re bound to see more widespread use of location based apps. Services like Dodgeball, Brightkite, and a few Twitter clients have been around, but failed to tightly integrate with the hosting phone. Now we’re seeing applications that reach beyond just “finding your friends”. [Merlin Mann] directed us to the version of OmniFocus for the iPhone. OmniFocus is a task management system that’s now location aware thanks to the iPhone. This means it knows to show you your grocery list while you’re at the store and work tasks while you’re at work. Passive interaction could really make similar systems a lot more enjoyable to use.

We think this is just the tip of the iceberg. Imagine alternate reality gaming that gives you a virtual map while you navigate the real world. Geocaching, road rallies, and scavenger hunts could have a running narrative displayed as you progressed. Using technologies like GeoRSS will let us pull data back into the real world making that rare trip outside a lot less painful.