14 July, 2008

The Nerdery: s02e12: On Geohashing

We fellow geeks generally tend to stick to the internets, after all, happiness is a warm mouse. But every now and then, we take a venture outside with a little help from our friends. Ventures like the SCMS pub crawl for example, is generally accepted as an enjoyable outing, and a splendid time is guaranteed for all.

But recently, there has been another reason for us to emerge from our darkened rooms; Geohashing. Simple description; people go to random locations around your local area every Saturday. Long, nerdy description (for geeks who don't follow XKCD); First you find your graticule (the 1°x1° geographical co-ordinate, i.e. waiKato is -38,175) then you take the opening value of the Dow Jones, MD5 it, split into two 16-bit values, convert to binary and append it as the decimal point to your graticule and voila, you have a location. All you need is to find your coat and grab your hat, and hopefully a crowd of people turn up (for the benefit of the environment, you should catch the bus).

To give you an idea just how vast an area is covered, the area around waiKato extends from Te Uku (2/3 way to Raglan) to just beyond Waihi, and then from Papakura down to Te Awamutu. A lot of this area is private property and some of it ocean, and so it's not always feasible to make it to a point. And of course, being a fairly recent concept, it's not incredibly popular with those of waiKato yet. So far there have only been 3 known geohashes here; twice by a guy who likes to wear pirate gear (InvaluableKiwi; congrats on my 3rd ever plug!), and once by myself and my girlfriend.

So, would you like a bit of adventure on any given Saturday at 4pm? We've got a Facebook group going (search for NZ Geohashers), or read the wiki at http://wiki.xkcd.com/geohashing/. Who knows, if the Nexus ed and the rest of the club band is as keen as they claims they are, you might even score a t-shirt or something. Hell, I might even score a t-shirt or something... Final note; Across the Universe, like most things with Evan Rachel Wood, is a movie that you should watch at least once. Now. But before this Saturday.