Geocaching, the “hi-tech treasure hunt” in which participants race to find digital checkpoints, is a popular pastime all over the world.
Hong Kong students got to try it out at Communications Association of Hong Kong Geocaching Competition 2018, which took place on May 12 at Hong Kong Science Park. Local and international secondary schools across the city, 48 in total, took part in the event. They were given a map, which showed the different checkpoints, as well as five Octopus cards to be used for public transport.
Each checkpoint, infused with AI technology, required teams to either solve a puzzle or complete a task to move on, adding a sense of fun and hi-tech innovation that you simply don’t find in a regular race.
Young Post tagged along with team i-nore, which featured Lulu Ng, Phoebe Ho, Apple Chung and Victoria Yau – all Form Four students from S.K.H Tsang Shiu Tim Secondary School. They went to Chinese University, then Sha Tin New Town Plaza, and back to Science Park. It was a sweaty, but fun day out in which the racers were scrambling to run as fast as possible and make the best use of public transport to achieve the fastest time.
Phoebe, the captain, in retrospect felt her team mates could have communicated better, which might have helped them finish higher up. “(One of my team mates) said she knew how to walk to University station, so instead of taking the bus, we ended up wasting half an hour walking in the wrong direction in the heat!” the 16-year-old said.
She jokes that the lesson learned is to “never trust your teammates,” she said with a smile.
Still, the girls all had a blast. “The checkpoint where we had to take a video of ourselves dancing in front of the Hong Kong Cultural Museum was the most fun,” said Apple, 17.
This year’s champions, IB180 (so named because all four team members plan to get 45s in their IB diplomas), are apparently just as good at geocaching as they are at exams.
Yardley Kwan, Ernie Wong, Walden Leung and Forrest Jiang, all Renaissance College students who each took home a Lenovo A7700 mobile phone, said they were “shocked” when they found out that they won.
“I think it just came down to the fact that we all play sports and we got lucky with the public transport,” said Walden, referring to the low waiting times for buses. “This is the first time we’ve done this race.”
Yardley, who lives near Science Park, was in charge of navigation so they would not get lost around the area. Still, the group got lost in the middle of Sha Tin, which caused a 20-minute delay.
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“We went to the opposite side of New Town Plaza and had to go all the way back to the checkpoint,” explained Ernie. “It was crazy and that’s what made it so shocking that we won. I guess the other teams must have messed up even worse?”
The conclusion, though, was that geocaching is a fun sport and that there should be more of it.
“It’s got a great sense of intensity and competitive spirit, and it’s just totally unique,” team captain Forrest said. “I’ve never done anything like this before and I can’t wait to do it again.”