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Buxley's GPS Geocache Maps Offline, Now Back

timothy posted more than 13 years ago | from the appropriate-gestures dept.

Censorship 123

Jess writes: "Ed Hall, known for his cool maps that pinpoint GPS treasure hunt locations was recently threatened with legal action from told Ed that he must comply with their "requests to put copyright notices on all geocaching data". Ed had to bring his site down for one week while he sought legal advice to determine if gps locations can be copyrighted. His lawyers told him everything is legitimate and his maps are back up! I don't think this fight is over yet but it will be interesting to see if gps location information can be copyrighted." This redoubles my current ambition to find an inexpensive, decent GPS receiver. Then I can copyright everywhere I go and charge royalties for visiting.

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Interesting. (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#173617)

I think a parallel can be drawn as such:

I can't copyright the words I use to create a document, but the document itself is copyrightable.

While GPS positions can not be copyrighted, I suspect that a file containing specific GPS data arranged in a meaningful way can be.

So, if I write down specific directions on how to find a location, it doesn't matter whether or not it's in English, Deutsch, hexed ASCII, or any other notation -- those specific directions are copyrighted. You can't copy it without my permission (at least, not within the jurisdiction of the United States).

However, if you read it, take notes, and jot down your own interpretation, I can't do a damn thing about what you do with it.

Now, lets pretend I spend n million dollars surveying a location, so that I can sell the survey information to people who want to do something with it (drill for oil, lay cables, whatever). All the information I gather from my survey will be considered private intellectual property.

If you read it and jot down a summary to distribute to your friends without my permission, I can sue your pants off for infringing on my property rights.

On the other hand, if you and a bunch of your friends wander around my surveyed area and collected your own data after hearing I did a survey, I am again unable to do anything to stop you from distributing it.

The legal issues here are not about land ownership or the exclusive rights to a location denoted by a set of numbers -- it's about the set of numbers, and how they were obtained. If it can be shown that our friend obtained the data inquestion from the company without permission, and that the data was obtained by the company at a substantial cost and is directly used to it's business, then our friend may end up in trouble.

Otherwise, I suspect it's just another case of the big guy trying to put the squeeze on the little guy who can't afford to be squeezed.

Reason for the copyright (5)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#173618)

I think the reasons behind trying to assert some control over the data are mostly harmless. Basically, sometimes landowners want to have references to a cache deleted when it becomes a problem with too many people hiking in and the problems that result from overuse of a natural area.

If lets anyone slurp up their data, who insures that whoever slurps it doesn't keep the cache deletions current? Sure, if you post data on you can post it anywhere else too, but it isn't's fault that the data wasn't "contained" in that case.

I think they're trying to protect themselves by being able to say "If you contact us about a problem cache, we will remove it." and not having to worry about contacting many websites about the change. I think it is perfectly reasonable, and in the long run will probably help protect our natural environment.

Perhaps "copyright" per se isn't the right way to go about it, but I can appreciate's dilemma.

The dirt (5)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#173619)

From: "Ed Hall"
Subject: [GEO] Buxley's Geocaching Maps (status)


First of all, let me apologize for the length of this message. I've gotten
so many "what's going on with the maps?" emails, that I figured this was the
easiest way to bring everyone up to date with regards to the status. If you
can manage to slog through the following emails, you will know as much as I
do about the situation between Mr. Irish and myself.

I've included all the email back and forth between Mr. Irish and myself
since this all began last Thursday morning. These are the complete and
unedited emails, the only thing I've done is to place the emails in
chronological order for ease in reading. I've placed my comments [[[inside
square brackets]]] when needed.

Sorry again for the length.

-Ed (Buxley)

- - - - -

From: "Jeremy" <>
To: <>
Subject: Remove Lost Caches link.
Date: Thu, 24 May 2001 11:33:39 -0700


Please remove the lost caches page from your web site.

In addition, I need to have you provide an addtional copyright message on
your maps and web pages as follows -

"Geocaching Data Copyright 2001 Grounded, Inc."



- - - - -
[[[I didn't respond to this email for reasons I'll make clear below. The
next morning the very cool "Project A.P.E." promotion with 20th Century Fox
appeared on Mr. Irish's web page. Fortunately for me, it was placed only
about 40 miles from where I live. I juggled my schedule at work and headed
out mid-day with a friend of mine. I've written up a description of the hunt
on the geocaching discussion boards at 00 012.html. In short, we had
a blast finding the cache and another cacher that I had known previously
only from emails and logs was there too.

When I got home from the following email was waiting for me:]]]

- - - - -

From: "Jeremy" <>
To: <>
Subject: Project APE
Date: Fri, 25 May 2001 16:56:01 -0700

Hopefully you didn't have an unfair advantage for finding this cache?

Whatever the case, how did it look? I'm sort of in the dark regarding
contents, etc.

And did you get my email re: the lost caches page and copyright info?


- - - - -

[[[I don't know about you, but I really take umbrage at being called a
cheater -- I don't know any other way to interpret the first paragraph other
than as an accusation of cheating on my part. I wasn't expecting a note of
congratulations or anything, although that would have been a nice gesture,
but really! I've found a bunch of caches in the past, I own a GPS, and the
cache was 40 miles from my house; that's the sum total of my "unfair
advantage". I think the two people with me (one of whom I'd never met
before) when I found the cache would vouch for this.

This was my reply to Mr. Irish. I regret I might have been a bit less civil
than I should have been, but I did do him the courtesy of answer all his

- - - - -

From: Ed Hall []
Sent: Friday, May 25, 2001 5:54 PM
To: Jeremy
Subject: RE: Project APE

> Hopefully you didn't have an unfair advantage for finding this cache?

Gee, thanks for the congratulatory message. =P No, I didn't cheat.

> Whatever the case, how did it look? I'm sort of in the dark regarding
> contents, etc.

A very large ammo box, about 6 inches, by 18 inches, by 3 feet long. The
contents were a welcome sheet, a prop from the movie (a very cool looking
spoon), a certificate of authentication, and a camera. Another cacher (Ron
Streeter) got there before Julie and I did, but was searching about 50 feet
away when we found it.

So who did you get to plant the cache? It was a nice spot.

> And did you get my email re: the lost caches page and copyright info?

Yes I did, but without any explanation of why you want me to make changes to
my web page, I really didn't know how to respond. Feedback on both the "Lost
Caches" and "Statistics" page has been very positive--people seem to enjoy
them both.

It seems that by working together we can do better for the sport and the
players than by working at cross-purposes. Don't you agree?


- - - - -

[[[And Mr. Irish's response below. I'm not sure what he means by "You do
glean information about new caches before anyone else would." since I get my
information from his web pages just like everyone else does. I have NO
special access to his web site or data files.]]]

- - - - -

From: "Jeremy Irish" <>
To: "Ed Hall" <>
Subject: RE: Project APE
Date: Fri, 25 May 2001 18:29:24 -0700

Hey, it was a valid question. You do glean information about new caches
before anyone else would. Folks would ask the same question of me if I were
to be the first person to discover a cache planted. I have decided to remove
myself from the cache searches to remain impartial and to keep it fair (I
would be fair, but appearances are everything). As a person who is providing
a service to the game sometimes it's best to at least look impartial. I'm
basically obligated to ask.

By the way, the spoon was designed by Tim Burton, so it's definitely a
collectable (you certainly know that, so I'm stating the obvious).
Congratulations for being the first! Hopefully the cache won't be too cool
that someone may want to take it. I'd hate for that to happen, but it may be
inevitable. Fox did get permission to plant it as well as the other caches,
which is a boon for the sport.

Re: lost caches -

I want to make sure you understand I'm not just being a bad guy about this.
As I explained before, the caches have been archived for many different
reasons, and folks in the past understood that the coordinates would be
stricken from the site. Providing easy access to them may encourage people
to traffic in these locations which is the reason (in many cases) why the
caches were removed in the first place.

Unfortunately I don't have time to explain myself for these requests
(especially re: the lost caches, which I explained before), so it may come
off harsh. For that I apologize. However, I do have the copyright on the
cache collection (one of the only things that I have as part of the work I
do for the site), and am allowing your site to use the information from mine
in order to generate the maps. I do think it's a great service but I also
need you to comply with promises I make to the folks on the
web site.

Thanks. I'd love to see a picture of the spoon if you have a digital camera.


- - - - -

[[[Sometime around this point, Mr. Irish removed the link to my map page
from his web site. I have no problems with this, it's his web page and, of
course, he can link to anyone he likes.

Also somewhere about this time, my access to started going
away in a very interesting way. At first I thought it was just a bug on Mr.
Irish's server (things like all cache names showing up as "Geocache") but
then additional changes started popping up that required deliberate changes
to code started to occur: Things like the cache's state or country info
being displayed as "Planet: Earth" and the cache owner's name being listed
on every cache as "Human". The latitude and longitude of caches was
randomized and the cache logs were just gone. This last part was
particularly frustrating when I got an automated notice that my 'E' Is For
Expedition cache ( ID=2577)
had been logged for the first time, but I had no way of knowing if the
person logging it (whoever they were) had found it or not. Thanks to
everyone who emailed me my own cache page on Saturday, it is appreciated!

Another change (that I didn't find out about until later) affected
everybody. All access to all lost cache and their logs was removed. The only
thing left on those pages was a "This cache is gone" notice. Owners couldn't
even read past log entries on their own caches.

Well, these changes had to be deliberate since they did require special code
so I asked Mr. Irish about them below: (And no, I never did manage to get
him that picture of the spoon)]]]

- - - - -

From: Ed Hall []
Sent: Saturday, May 26, 2001 10:40 AM
To: Jeremy Irish
Subject: Scrambled geocache pages?


You might want to check your web page's code--the geocache pages I'm seeing
are missing/have wrong data. Also, the Mapblast maps show the wrong

BTW, I have a TV interview on Monday--they want to go out geocache hunting
with me. I hope this problem can be resolved by then, otherwise I don't know
what we're going to look for or talk about...



- - - - -

From: "Jeremy Irish" <>
To: "Ed Hall" <>
Subject: RE: Scrambled geocache pages?
Date: Sat, 26 May 2001 10:58:16 -0700

Cool! Who's interviewing you?

I'll look into the coordinate issues. When do you think you can remove the
lost caches link and add the copyright info?

We should talk about a better way for you to get the data too. Perhaps an
XML file of the waypoints or something similar you can access. I'm working
on a format for another project. Mind parsing XML?


- - - - -

[[[One thing about the above note that I found very interesting is that Mr.
Irish is planning on publishing all caches and their coordinates in XML
format. I sincerely hope this information is made available to
everyone--Lots of cool utilities could be written that would make geocaching
easier for all. And yes, I realize his mentioning of XML for the first time
in months was merely a "carrot" intended to get me to make the changes he
had requested. But it's a start.

Here's my response below. I wrote it in the sincere belief that Mr. Irish
and I could reach some sort of compromise on the two (unrelated in my mind)
requests he had originally made.]]]

- - - - -

From: Ed Hall []
Sent: Saturday, May 26, 2001 11:22 AM
To: Jeremy Irish
Subject: RE: Scrambled geocache pages?

> Cool! Who's interviewing you?

Yes it is cool, I'm looking forward to it. Free publicity on a cable channel
seen across the US. Details to follow once we clear up our other issues.

> I'll look into the coordinate issues. When do you think you can remove the
> lost caches link and add the copyright info?

I think we should start talking about the two issues; I'm sure we can work
out a compromise that's acceptable to us both. You need to get the credit
you deserve and I need to not have the feeling someone is telling me what I
can and cannot put on my web site.

> We should talk about a better way for you to get the data too. Perhaps an
> XML file of the waypoints or something similar you can access. I'm working
> on a format for another project. Mind parsing XML?

I think I'm up to parsing XML. Let me know.

- - - - -

[[[I have to say, that Mr. Irish's response below surprised me. I had been
under the impression that his "requests" were just that--something we could
discuss and come up with something that would satisfy us both. Read on...]]]

- - - - -

From: "Jeremy Irish" <>
To: "Ed Hall" <>
Subject: RE: Scrambled geocache pages?
Date: Sat, 26 May 2001 12:07:33 -0700

Apparently you do not respect my requests to remove the lost caches page or
to add my copyright information on your maps and pages.

Please understand there is no sort of compromise. You either remove the lost
caches page and add the copyright information or you do not. I think I fully
explained the reasons why both of these need to occur. If you do not remove
the link and any files relating to the lost caches from your site by the end
of today, I will be forced to take legal action. I'll give you until Monday
to add the copyright information to your web pages as well.

I want to make this clear. Since you are using MY copyrighted data you are
required to do what I say regarding these issues, or remove everything from
your site that contains my collection of data. Content theft is a crime.

This is not meant as a personal attack. I have to respond this way to anyone
who doesn't comply with my requests to make changes that impact the tone of
the game. There are many reasons why I have to protect my copyright, and
many reasons why lost caches need to be removed from your site.


- - - - -

[[[With the "Please understand there is no sort of compromise.", the threat
of legal action, and very short deadlines (on a holiday weekend when no
attorney's were available to me) I had no choice but to remove all data from
my web page.

And this is where we sit today. Except for a terse "Your access is back."
message sent on Sunday, I have not heard from Mr. Irish. I still hope that
he and I can work together for the greater good of the sport of Geocaching.

BTW, the interview went very well yesterday and I'll be sure to publish
information on it when I find out when and where it's airing.

Thanks you for slogging through this entire message! And special thanks to
all those that wrote me emails of support this weekend, it's very much

-Ed (Buxley)]]]

Geocaching - The GPS Cache Hunt

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Luddites can say no... (2)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 13 years ago | (#173620)

I seriously disagree with the "21st century arrogant westerner" label. A GPS reciever is only a tool, like a map.

Now, if you are clueless, even a GPS can't help you. Myself, I like a good map, because I almost always know which was in North. When I can convince my GF that we "need" a GPS, I'll get one, and in the mean time I will consider what it's going to do to my mind.

Other than being more background radiation, I doubt it will do much.

if you're looking for a good gps.. (3)

jCaT (1320) | more than 13 years ago | (#173621)

check out the Garmin E-Trex [] . Besides the cheezy e-Name, it's got some very cool features. My favorite is it's ability to track your path as you walk, instead of just recording waypoints. It lets you view the path you've taken so far, which is pretty cool. The best part though? You can save that path into memory, and then retrace it. When you have the gps in 'trace' mode, the compass has an arrow on it that follows the path that you've taken. All you have to do is make sure the arrow is pointing forward. :)

Cheaper gps units can only mark waypoints (which this unit can do) but navigating between waypoints can be difficult unless you mark a LOT of them. If there's a mountain between you and that waypoint, you get to figure out how you got around it the first time, instead of just retracing your exact path.

Garmin also sells tons of accesories for their gps units. I currently have a car mount on my e-trex, as well as a cigarette lighter adapter. You can also get a bike mount, which i'm planning on doing if I ever get around to getting that mountain bike. :)

Bonus hacker points: Garmin also sells a RS232 serial cable that you can use to plug the gps unit into a computer. But that's not what's cool about it. You can use garmin's proprietary output format, or choose between about 6 or 7 standard output formats.. one of which is straight ASCII text. No reverse engineering needed.

I got my e-trex for $129 at fry's, but you might be able to find it cheaper online.


Re:How about charges for electronic space? (1)

tzanger (1575) | more than 13 years ago | (#173622)

or when an actual satellite is downstreaming over my potatoes' garden?

Your potatoes have a garden! Now those are some advanced spuds!

Re:How old is the data? (3)

tzanger (1575) | more than 13 years ago | (#173623)

Until recently (maybe a year ago) the military introduced timing errors into their signal so that it was impossible to get an exact fix although a ground based unit would increase your percision. Of course if this story is true it's rediculous.

Why's it rediculous? Selective Availability as it was called buggered with the timing of the satellites. Without a military unit you just couldn't get a perfectly accurate fix on your location. Here [] is some more info. Basically before you couldn't get a within more than about 100 meters with more than 95% confidence. That's been scrapped as of 1 May 2000; now you have accuracies of about 20m, and even better if you go differential GPS. I know that surveyors were especially happy to have SA dissappear.

Re:Copyright a few *numbers*? (2)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | more than 13 years ago | (#173624)

Copyright is mainly a good thing. After all, If we didn't have copyright, everything we write would be in the public domain. Books would not be sellable, so not as many would get written and published. You couldn't release Linux under GPL. So copyright has good aspects.

The public domain only exists in opposition to "private domain"-- material under copyright. Books would have commercial value, but publishers would probably reap most of the profits. Authors might serve under contract--similar to Hollywood's "studio system," perhaps. The right to read might be governed by contract law. Who knows?

One case for radically restructuring copyright is found in Stephen Breyer, The Uneasy Case for Copyright: A Study of Copyright in Books, Photocopies, and Computer Programs, 84 Harv. L. Rev. 281 (1970).

Yes, that Stephen Breyer, otherwise known as "Supreme Court Justice Breyer"

Re:Slashdot Newsflash! (2)

crisco (4669) | more than 13 years ago | (#173625)

actually I get 500 Server Error Hard Transfer Limit for this user exceeded. It is off, due to a Slashdot effect of a different type.

Chris Cothrun
Curator of Chaos

Re:The problem with GPS (1)

Kid Zero (4866) | more than 13 years ago | (#173626)

I'm trying to figure out how the knowledge of where I am (or might be) detracts from the wonder of getting there.
Tell you what. YOU get lost. I'll whip out the GPS and find my way back, thank you. :)

Re: zero visibility (1)

armb (5151) | more than 13 years ago | (#173628)

> Your comment about zero visibility is the first time anyone's given me a reason to change my mind and consider GPS.

An even better reason - zero visibility on magnetic rock. (Black Cuillin, on Skye - on the plus side, it's a lot smaller than the Rockies).

There's a danger of people relying on GPS as a substitute for knowing how to use a map and compass, but as an additional tool it definitely has its uses.

Geocaching rulez! (2)

TheSync (5291) | more than 13 years ago | (#173629)

I went geocaching for the first time this weekend - it was way cool! I personally don't believe in using maps while geocaching though (other than perhaps very rough map on my Magellan MAP 330). If you knew where all the trails are, you'd not have such a great time in the rough. Plus, the search for the cache in the last 10-20 feet is almost half the fun.

Re:A new concept... (1)

Art Tatum (6890) | more than 13 years ago | (#173630)

Of course, other people think it's stupid.

I think it's frickin' awesome. But then, I'm weird.

Why stop there? (1)

Goonie (8651) | more than 13 years ago | (#173631)

Let's get rid of maps and compasses as well and be lost all the time!

Might I suggest you try getting lost in the wilds of Australia, particularly a bit with no civilization within a week's walk (and people do that kind of trek in Australia quite regularly). I *have* been lost (briefly) when bushwalking back in school camp (the moronic older teenagers who were supposed to be guiding us couldn't read a friggin' map), and all thoughts of the joys of the wild were lost in annoyance, concern that we might not make it back before dark and endure a cold night out, and just plain sore legs from walking twice as far as we otherwise would have.

If you want to turn your GPS off and enjoy being "lost", that's fine. I have a mobile phone which stays turned off a fair bit, as well. But modern technology allows us a far greater safety margin to enjoy the beauty of the wilderness, and I have no time for luddites who needlessly take risks for dubious aesthetic gains.

Nice troll, BTW :-)

Go you big red fire engine!

Re:if you're looking for a good gps.. (1)

ergo98 (9391) | more than 13 years ago | (#173632)

Using G7ToWin [] you can upload/download routes, waypoints, etc with your eTrex (if you have the data cable). Great little program. It doesn't let you draw on a map but I have no doubt that with a little bit of elbow grease and a product like MapPoint (otherwise known as Streets and Trips) you could achieve it. The only nuisance is that it requires that the eTrex be in a different serial data mode than MapPoint forcing me to switch it to jump between them (I considered making a virtual serial port that would automatically convert from a real serial port and both MapPoint and G7ToWin could talk to the virtual serial port, but after a quick look at the Win2000 DDK determined that it wasn't something that was worth dedicating that much time to).

Re:if you're looking for a good gps.. (2)

ergo98 (9391) | more than 13 years ago | (#173633)

I got one of those as well and it is an amazing device (not to mention being amazingly accurate). To be honest though right after getting my E-Trex I wished I'd gotten the eTrex Venture [] . Given that it includes the PC cable (which I paid extra for) it is only marginally more expensive than the standard Etrex, but it also has a city database, 1MB of memory, and 160 x 288 resolution versus 64 x 128 for the standard Etrex...well I regretted getting the basic Etrex. You can do a compare at [] .

Hey !I'm gonna copyright 3D coordinate systems (2)

crovira (10242) | more than 13 years ago | (#173634)

No planes will be able to fly without paying me ten bucks and the army will have to pay me too when they lob shells at the enemy. (like the offices where these idiots hang out.)

WTF? Are these guys morons or what...

Maybe not completely insane... (1)

Ageless (10680) | more than 13 years ago | (#173635)

If ya look at Ed's site and what it does, it seems like it might be a real copyright infringement. The Geocaching site does say Copyright on each page that Ed gets information from and it also says "To use the services of you must agree to..." and the agreement contains the copyright as well.
I know we all love to rebel against copyright of any type, but this really does seem like a fair, and legit request for the guy to make.

Slashdot Newsflash! (3)

Mr. Flibble (12943) | more than 13 years ago | (#173637)

Buxley's GPS Geocache Maps Offline, Now Back

Posted to Slashdot, becomes a story, site gets slashdotted now headline reads:
Buxley's GPS Geocache Maps Online, Now Off
The this reporter feels that the original headline shall be appropriate in about 24 hours from now, when the /. effect wears off.

(Its a *JOKE* I KNOW the site is not down...)

Re:The problem with GPS (5)

Mr. Flibble (12943) | more than 13 years ago | (#173638)

One of the old style trolls! I find I must bite.

As a very experience outdoorsman I must disagree with the idea of "casting off" GPS systems. While I do not use them all the time, they have proven invaluable on the numerous Search and Rescue missions I have been on. (With the exception of the first generation Magellans, which did not work worth a damn...)

I am familiar with using a compass and altimiter for navigation in zero visibility, however, when mountain climbing in the rockies in Banff and Jasper, if you drop to zero vis (which can happen from blue sky to zero in about 5 min or less!) you will find out just how badly you want your GPS.

I have no problem with running out and "getting lost". I do it alot, but I also bring the gear along with me for getting found again. Where I live, if you were to do this on a regular basis with out the required skills, I would be one of the "Rescuers" looking for your body. Yes I said body. Out here, if you are not prepared, and the weather changes... you are probably dead. (Yet I constantly see idiots on top of the Columbia Icefields with shorts, t-shirt, and running shoes. And *NO* other gear....)

So old style troll (which you appear to be) your idea of casting off technology is actually a good one *IF* you have the skills to back it up. I have camped out on Islands with nothing by my clothes and a knife (with a backup kit for emergencys which I have not used -yet-.) I think you give good advice, cast off the tech, just be certain you know what you are doing when you do, and that in the area you choose to do it in won't kill you if you screw up.

Re:OOOOPS!! (1)

Todd Knarr (15451) | more than 13 years ago | (#173640)

And produces a "Server too busy" error too. Pity about Ed's site, but I can't have too much sympathy for Geocaching. Snicker.

Re:What bothers me.. (2)

sharkey (16670) | more than 13 years ago | (#173642)

There is a very simple explanation for this: Read the instructions on a box of toothpicks. Then, you will understand.


Since I can't get to the site... (1)

Evro (18923) | more than 13 years ago | (#173643)

Since I can't get to the site I'm going to have to assume that what it is is a bunch of pages that give away all the locations of the things people hide/find on It really sounds to me like this guy's whole site is dedicated to ruining the fun of geocaching. While I don't think you can (or should be able to) copyright or patent a GPS coordinate, this guy's site is a pretty crummy thing to do. Why ruin it for everybody? And what other recourse would Geocaching have than to sue him? I have to side with Geo in this case.

Like I said, I am working on the assumption that this site is dedicated to giving away the "answers" to the challenges on since I can't get to the site. If this is not correct, please explain.

__________________________________________________ ___

Re:The problem with GPS (2)

Moofie (22272) | more than 13 years ago | (#173644)

Yup. Let's get rid of things like radios. And rope. And knives. All that technological froo-froo just gets in the way of getting yourself killed in the wilderness.

Tools is tools. A different set of tools does not change a person...only that person's capabilities. If you're a jaded nature hating jerk, getting rid of your GPS isn't going to change you.

Why don't we do it the OS/FS way (1)

Bodhidharma (22913) | more than 13 years ago | (#173645)

Would it be possible to start a Free database of GPS coordinates? I was thinking of storing locations and other info in a Postgresql table. If would be really great to have a map database as well. I'm not really sure what the storage requirements would be. I am willing to write code and play.

Ideas? Suggestions? Helpful criticism?

conspiracy (1)

majcher (26219) | more than 13 years ago | (#173646)

500 Server Error
The hard transfer limit for this user has been reached

Heh - I'm guessing that Jess (the submittor) is working with to slashdot the poor guy into submission?

Re:The problem with GPS (2)

majcher (26219) | more than 13 years ago | (#173647)

Brilliant troll, as usual. However, let me respond as if you believed what you say.

Wonder comes not from being lost, as you seem to imply, but in discovering where you are, where you are going, and what you are looking for. Certainly, there is a certain romance in losing yourself in the wilds (of America, of the mind, or what have you), but the true excitement comes from finding your way - or the way of another. And this is where the beauty of geocaching lies; someone else has hidden a treasure Out There Somewhere, and it is up to you to put on their shoes, put yourself in their head, and walk the path that they walked themselves. Sure, there's a difference between taking a stroll through the woods and following a map, but each of these things is a special treat - there's no reason to pick one to the exclusion of all the rest. Enjoy it all! Just because you're using a GPS, or a compass, or what have you, doesn't make it any less fun...

Keep Off My Secret Coordinates! (3)

SEWilco (27983) | more than 13 years ago | (#173648)

I have, of course, encrypted the GPS coordinates which I use. That way nobody can enter those areas without buying my location decryption software.

Re:Like phonebooks? (1)

vanyel (28049) | more than 13 years ago | (#173649)

The location of the "treasure chests" isn't necessarily public information, and he's definitely using a private database to get his information. While I think Jeremy's being a little over the top on the matter, the issue's been discussed there before and from what I recall (it's been a while since I've been there as I don't have time to go do the real world searches), he had acceptable reasons for trying to contain the data to one location. In any case, all this guy needs to do is start his own gps treasure hunt site and he can map those locations to his heart's content.

Re:if you're looking for a good gps.. (2)

Polo (30659) | more than 13 years ago | (#173650)

I got a Garmin Emap [] . I've taken it everywhere with me. The main difference is that it does mapping. (though now the more expensive etrex legend units do too)

It's about the same size and runs on 2 AA batteries. It has a backlight for nighttime use (do all of them have this?)

It has a map of all the major roads in the wester hemisphere built in, but it's expandable with the mapsource CD and it's flash memory slot (unfortunately proprietary - though it IS small).

I got it for $195 a long time ago at [] . It's $190 now.

The guy who runs the site also runs a mailing list that's pretty informative. Whenever a firmware or software update comes out, he usually posts a message.

The only downside is that it doesn't do any sort of routing, and neither does the $125 Metroguide Mapsource software - which sucks since that $19 AAA map software at fry's does it pretty easily. You can also get topo maps.

Last plane flight I took it on registered 620 mph (or was it 650?) at 41,000 feet.

A new concept... (5)

Polo (30659) | more than 13 years ago | (#173651)

A friend and I have been exploring a new GPS idea...

Ok, it's a little silly, but we call it geolunching (or geomunching). We just give each other GPS coordinates for friday lunches.

And you know, those "what do you want to eat?" indecisive questions never come up. You have no idea what you'll encounter at the end.

I've been toying with the idea of putting waypoints into the scheme somehow. Something like "go to this point and find a sign with a phone number. Put a decimal place in front of it. Add that number + .34567 to your N position and that number + .01024 to your W position and that's the final destination.".

If your gps does mapping, it's more fun to keep the destination way off the map and go by the direction of travel arrow.

Of course, other people think it's stupid.

hmm.. (1)

Silverlock (36154) | more than 13 years ago | (#173652)

Couldn't this be defended on the basis of prior art?

"This piece of Earth has been here significantly longer than copyright law has existed. So.. *thbt*"

Re:Like phonebooks? (4)

prizog (42097) | more than 13 years ago | (#173653)


Here's the case: ?c ourt=US&vol=499&invol=340

Big bad IP threats (3)

thogard (43403) | more than 13 years ago | (#173655)

I own which I think I obtained before Jeremy started his site. I made some of the inital maps with locations. His inital source of data came from some where else and I'm going to send a message off to their maintainers to pull the use of it.

That database started out as a community effort, and the database should stay that way.

Now I'm going to have to build my own database front end.

Another good idea gone commercial (3)

stienman (51024) | more than 13 years ago | (#173656)

Reminds me of the CDDB. While not exactly the same, they both started as community efforts, and both turned into commercial efforts with legal strife trying to protect what they consider their territory.

What makes these people think that there's only room for one player in their respective areas? It is frustrating trying to explain to someone that competition is a good thing for them!


Objects in browser may be stupider than they appear.

This sig 80% recycled bits, 20% post user.

Lol! Can you say "completely baseless threats"? (2)

Dwonis (52652) | more than 13 years ago | (#173657)

The last time I checked, you couldn't copyright facts. (Though you can patent them in the U.S.A.)

Re: zero visibility (2)

jgennick (59014) | more than 13 years ago | (#173658)

if you drop to zero vis (which can happen from blue sky to zero in about 5 min or less!) you will find out just how badly you want your GPS.

Good point. I hike w/map & compass, and know how to use them, so I've never bothered to cough up the extra $$$ for a GPS. Your comment about zero visibility is the first time anyone's given me a reason to change my mind and consider GPS.

Re:Geocaching... (1)

Kakurenbo Shogun (64436) | more than 13 years ago | (#173659)

I wonder how long until this sort of thing just degenerates into a bunch of teenagers just taking everything from the cache.

Well, as long as no more stories about it are posted on Slashdot, there shouldn't be a problem, but if there are, the caches will probably all be destroyed with flame throwers. Let's hope those ammo cans can stand up to the punishment!

Mononoke (my nickname on

"What happens when an irrefutable argument meets an immovable opinion?"

Like phonebooks? (4)

rkent (73434) | more than 13 years ago | (#173660)

Well, I can't find an appropriate case description online, but I remember hearing of a ruling that the content of phonebooks can't be copyrighted - or lists of addresses, or other similar compilations of public information. A particular presentation might be copyrighted, but the information within, is not.

Seems like the GPS coordinates would definitely be covered under the "list of addresses" type of precedent.


Re:The problem with GPS (1)

Moonshadow (84117) | more than 13 years ago | (#173663)

You know, why don't we just do away with all technology as it is? I mean, it all makes life easier, and so much of it explains the mysteries of our world, leaving nothing for the curious. I mean, come on, I wanted to discover pennicillin, but no, somebody else has to go and discover it, and then proceed to make it available to the rest of the world! That pisses me off to no end! Down with technology! It's making life so much more boring!

Seriously though, do you really think we're so badly off with GPS's? If you don't like them, don't use them. But don't decry them as evil just because you like getting lost :)

Oh, the irony... (2)

Moonshadow (84117) | more than 13 years ago | (#173664)

He puts the site back up. Article is posted on Slashdot. Boom, site goes down again.

We're doing Geocaching's job for them.

Re:Reason for the copyright (3)

Speare (84249) | more than 13 years ago | (#173665)

Who keeps the cache deletions current?

I have always thought that a public "geocache record" should have more than just the coordinates, but also a freshness date and an two keys which authorizes people to adjust the record.

coordinates of cache are public

freshness date of cache are public

cache creator has a hidden control key code

cache itself has a freshness key code inside

Each visitor to the cache can find contained within a "freshness key code." They can visit the website and use that code to "freshen" the record. Caches can then be auto-retracted from the website (not deleted) if it gets to be too unfresh. Fresher or semi-fresh caches may also appeal to other visitors according to their tastes, so they can query the database to find better caches.

The creator of the cache can retract the cache entirely by using the access code.

Retracting a cache doesn't stop someone from using ancient records. The traffic would fade out, however, if the records clearly show that they were only current as of 2001. Only the hardcore seekers would go for obviously stale caches, because the chances are, the owner took the stale cache bucket away from the site.

The rest is culture: if the websites impress upon people that it's not kosher to tramp off to find a cache that's more than a year stale, such trespassing or fruitless trips would be much more rare.

Re:What bothers me.. (3)

isaac_akira (88220) | more than 13 years ago | (#173667)

Can I sue you for threatening to sue me for threatening to sue you? I'm confused...

(btw I'm going to sue you for mental anguish caused by this terrible confusion)

Re:Reason for the copyright (2)

RollingThunder (88952) | more than 13 years ago | (#173668)

Actually, because of the specific deep linking that some folks say may be the problem, -can- easily remove the problem site themselves, and the data will just be gone.

Slashdotted the whole web site... (1)

grunby (90338) | more than 13 years ago | (#173669)

Even going to [] gives you a 500 Server Error
Hmm...Even with Verio's bronze package [] (where the site looks like it's hosted on), you get 5 gig's of monthly data transfer...burning the bandwidth fast...
- grunby

Site seems a bit slow suddenly... (1)

bradipo (94457) | more than 13 years ago | (#173670)

The site was fairly responsive when I first accessed it, but now I can't even find any caches to search for in my area. Someone should alert sites that they are about to be hit hard when posting a message in this forum. :-)

What's wrong with America ? (3)

dingbat_hp (98241) | more than 13 years ago | (#173673)

This dispute seems to encapsulate a lot of what's wrong with America these days. 8-(

Why does anyone need an "Official Geocaching Site" ? Get off your fat SUV-encased butts, get out there and be your own "official" leagues and teams. You don't need some corporate Disney-wannabee telling you how to enjoy yourselves!

Geocaching needs a minimum of two people, some cheap tech, and a flyposted wall poster to communicate between them (oh, and several billions of technology funded by those nice people at the military-industrial complex). You don't need an "official" site, a hierarchy, a league, or a figurehead chairman (especially not a self-appointed one).

Ignore Don't boycott it, that's itself too organised, just go and do something else instead. There's a whole internet to play with (thanks again to those helpful mil-ind people) - read PhilG's [] book [] , and build your own geocaching list server.

What is it with America, "Land of the Free", that can't even fix itself lunch these days without a degree of regimentation and standardised prole-feeding-centres that would put North Korea to shame ? Did you throw off the yoke of colonial British Redcoats, just so that you could be fed by uniformed redshirts ?

Secondly, the map site is legally screwed. He's not providing map references, he's providing direct references to someone else's collection of information. As any amount of legal precedent has shown, a collected work like this is material protected by copyright (and rightly so).

If this map site just listed links to locations, links as DCMI points [] or to the Getty Thesaurus [] , then there would be no problem -- but that's not what it's doing.

Re:Other dangers with mapping the world (1)

Tungz10 (99857) | more than 13 years ago | (#173674)

I'm not sure how exact it has to be before it's considered sensitive. I've seen military maps of bases where you can determine the location of a particular building to within 20 meters.

Re:Geocaching... (1)

Tungz10 (99857) | more than 13 years ago | (#173675)

How about make one of the items in the cache some sort of GPS Jammer? Or stash the jammer farther away, so you can't just hone in on its signal?

Selective Availability is not gone (1)

Tungz10 (99857) | more than 13 years ago | (#173676)

I don't believe that SA is completely gone. It's been suspended indefinately. If there were WWIII, or if the DOD changed their mind, they would turn it back on again. There's still a separate signal for military and civilian units I think.

Even surveyors wouldn't want the Ruskis to use our satellites for their smart bombs.

Re:The problem with GPS (2)

j_w_d (114171) | more than 13 years ago | (#173679)

Anyone can be lost usimng a GPS unit. The essential skill, after all, is reading the map - and remembering to use fresh batteries. jwd -- The only thing more dangerous to liberty than a politician is two politicians.

Re:He is linking to content directly... (1)

gmarceau (119282) | more than 13 years ago | (#173680)

From want I remember, the sites blamed for deep linking where somehow trying to hide the true authorship of the target page and make it appear as their own. Such ruling took into consideration that with most browser, you cannot readily see the url of a page loaded by a framing link.

Also were spiked those that framed other news sites with their own adds. I can see that, as soon as the jude considered the simutanous display of the composite "their news + your adds" as a new derivative work, he would strike down on it as non fair-use.


Re:A new concept... (2)

AMuse (121806) | more than 13 years ago | (#173681)

Just be sure your decimal notation is correct. I'd hate to see a trip to the Olive Garden become a trip to "Hanson Live at the Paramount" because a 4 got turned into a 5 and all.
-------------------------------------------- ------

Database copyright (3)

Animats (122034) | more than 13 years ago | (#173682)

This is about "database copyright". There is no such thing in U.S. law. But bills to create it have been introduced in previous years. [] It's something to keep watching for in Congress. Generally, the search engine companies are against it, so there's a significant lobby on the other side.

Under current law, you can't copyright a "collection of facts", although you can copyright a presented arrangement of them. In the days of printed reference books, that was enough to discourage running off copies of reference books; you'd have to re-typeset, as a minimum. Today, when you pick up some big collection of data, you typically process it and present it in a different way, and that's legal. There are companies that don't like this. So far, they've mostly lost.

Geocaching... (2)

HomeySmurf (124537) | more than 13 years ago | (#173684) such a cool idea. I had never heard of it (perhaps there are old /. posts). Now I finally have a reason to get a GPS unit. This is a fun way to get to see cool locations.

However, I wonder how long until this sort of thing just degenerates into a bunch of teenagers just taking everything from the cache. I think the only way for this to continue is to make it something involving many landmarks like orienteering exercises. Perhaps more riddles as well. The Geocaching FAQ reccommends offsets too, something involving needing to visit the go west as many seconds of longitude as there are stripes on the building, etc.

He is linking to content directly... (4)

HomeySmurf (124537) | more than 13 years ago | (#173685) I can see what the problem is. There have been conflicting rulings in the past on about linking to deeply located content, but that seems to be what the Buxley's site is doing. When you click on their map, it brings you to the site with that relevant information. If had gathered the info with web spiders for example, he would be in a much better position. He is providing a portal giving direct links to content (kind of like Slashdot with news articles).

Re:What bothers me.. (1)

enneff (135842) | more than 13 years ago | (#173686)

I picked that book up for the first time in a while today... what a weird coincidence.

Re:The problem with GPS (1)

bellings (137948) | more than 13 years ago | (#173687)

Please god tell me that the trolls haven't finally figured out that the best way to fsck with slashdot is to moderate.

Have you been living in the wilds of Maine for the last few years? The slashdot mod trolls have existed for quite some time.

Copyright on links (1)

oddityfds (138457) | more than 13 years ago | (#173688)

Neat, they ( claim they own the copyright for links to their web pages. Cool. Maybe I can claim I own the copyright for my e-mail address, and sue all spammers!

Re:Reason for the copyright (1)

cosmol (143886) | more than 13 years ago | (#173690) -can- easily remove the problem site themselves, and the data will just be gone. They did this, after the first legal threat, would return random coordinates to Buxley's site. Deep linking is not the issue, it was just Jeremy Irish didn't want anyone using "his" data, period.

Only turn it on if you need it. (1)

cosmol (143886) | more than 13 years ago | (#173691)

If you don't want to know where you are, turn it off! If you want to make a waypoint at an area you want to return, turn it back on. If you get lost use it, otherwise ramble like usual! I think the capability to return to the exact same spot you marked years earlier adds a new dimension to the outdoors.

The whole fiasco (5)

cosmol (143886) | more than 13 years ago | (#173692)

I've been geocaching sonce the first /. story and have been following these disputes for quite awhile. Here's the story

Geocaching(which is now trademarked by, or gps stashing, or whatever you want to call it was born on a newsgroup, sites started springing up listing stash information. came into the scene and became THE geocaching site for a few reasons, first and foremost it was much slicker than any other cache site, second because there was quite a media blitz. Now I don't want to tarnish the excellent work Jeremy Irish on, but some of the things he has done really make me (and a few others, though not a majority) really angry. He formed a business to own the site, which should have raised a few eyebrows, but people were too busy mutually masturbating at what a great site was.

Orignally most geocaching discussion happened on an egroup mailing list called gpsstash. Every month or two someone would ask for a downloadable list of waypoints. The request would get ignored most of the time, other times they would get brushed off by Jeremy saying that it would allow people to maintain their own copy of the info and it might go stale. In response, someone wrote a perl script to slurp info off of the site (but did not distribute it) and Jeremy responded that any attempt to slurp data off of the site would be met with legal action. Well, people continued to ask for the feature but nothing happened.

Jeremy also declared the original mailing list dead, and started hosting his own list (with alot less features, I might add.) Once again, nobody cared. Another revealing incident happened when somebody (not Buxley) made a graphic map of his state locations of stashes on it. Immediately Jeremy unveiled HIS maps.

Buxley was evidently the first to create a fully functional wold-wide map site, and then one day Jeremy decides to threaten legal action against it. FINALLY people realize that Jeremy's absolute control is a Bad ThingTM, and come out of the woodwork to complain about it. After much discussion between all parties involved Jeremy has said that he will make info available on certain caches on an opt-in basis. His excuse for not doing it before was that people may end up with stale data if there isn't a central distribution point. I have suggested that he release it under the Open Directory License [] , which maintains a central distribution site, and prohibits commercial use, but my post has been ignored.

To summarize, is a great site, but its administrator doesn't play well with others and want's to run the whole show.

Re:How old is the data? (2)

IronChef (164482) | more than 13 years ago | (#173694)

It is possible to get an exemption, and get GPS gear that gives you full military precision. Seriously pro surveying operations weren't hampered by SA, it was just us little people.

Re:The problem with GPS (1)

loraksus (171574) | more than 13 years ago | (#173696)

no shit. GPS makes flying a whole lot easier. Not that we need less work during a 4 hour flight, but still.

The slashdot 2 minute between postings limit:
Pissing off hyper caffeineated /.'ers since Spring 2001.

Re:Patented GPS Info (1)

loraksus (171574) | more than 13 years ago | (#173697)

I'm an existentialist. What the fuck are you taking about?

The slashdot 2 minute between postings limit:
Pissing off hyper caffeineated /.'ers since Spring 2001.

Re:How old is the data? (1)

loraksus (171574) | more than 13 years ago | (#173698)

If the usa wanted to, your resolution would be in the area of 10 km within several minutes. Of course, military units would work perfectly.

The slashdot 2 minute between postings limit:
Pissing off hyper caffeineated /.'ers since Spring 2001.

Re:What bothers me.. (2)

Some Dumbass... (192298) | more than 13 years ago | (#173699)

I was going to take the time to agree with this, but I'm going pack instead. Someone just copyrighted my house's location, so now I have to either move the house or get out.

I'm going to try to prove in court that the exact location they copyrighted is actually my garbage cans, so it's their job to take out the garbage from now on. Maybe if I'm lucky I'll win. But until then, bye!

Description of Ed's site (1)

ShaunC (203807) | more than 13 years ago | (#173700)

Ed Hall's site doesn't give away the locations, it's just an easy-to-navigate series of maps which lead you to entries on The site starts out with a US map, you zoom into a state and see a bunch of "thumbtacks" representing cache locations. Click a thumbtack and you end up at's description of the cache.

I think is probably miffed they didn't come up with (or implement) the idea first. Worst case scenario is that Ed's site will have to make clear that when you click a thumbtack, you're leaving his site and heading to

Now I gotta get me a GPS!


Patented GPS Info (2)

wardomon (213812) | more than 13 years ago | (#173702)

If I understand the patent law (and IANAL) you can only patent where you are. Unless you're an existentialist, it's not all that useful.

Re:if you're looking for a good gps.. (4)

Technician (215283) | more than 13 years ago | (#173703)

Compare that with the Magellan GPS 315. For about the same money you get much more ability to preload tracks from TOPO GPS maps. Just draw where you want to go on the map, print it for reference and upload the track to the GPS. With the Datasend Software, thousands of points of interest are uploadable.

Re:Patented GPS Info (1)

wrinkledshirt (228541) | more than 13 years ago | (#173705)

Ooooh. Good one.

Oh yeah! (1)

AndroidCat (229562) | more than 13 years ago | (#173706)

If you come around my place with GPS, I'll have you charged with "Interfering with a religion" like $cientology did.

What religion? Umm, I told Census Canada that I was a Jedi. That's it. Better not mess with the Jedi buster! We have the Force and Tom Cruise missles too! (It's too bad that most judges are related to Jabba the Hutt, otherwise: "These aren't the patents you are looking for, move along")

But seriously, didn't the phone companies vs people who put directories on CD settle that you can't copyright the data in a list?

Why GPS Locations? (2)

UberDork (235964) | more than 13 years ago | (#173707)

Now, I have a set of location data which I acquired using basic trigonometry and some near-prehistoric equipment known as compass and tape. If any of those data equate to that acquired by someone's copy-righted GPS data, where do I stand?

Obviously (well, at least to me), the data is, if you like, a basic truth which may be divined in all manner of ways and cannot be copyrighted purely because of the way in which it was acquired.

If such data was copyrightable, perhaps the copyright should belong to the GPS receiver manufacturer, and we could let Garmin and Magellan, etc. fight over who actually owns it... 8-)

Of course, my opinion is worth about as much as your own and normal caveats apply.

Re:How old is the data? (1)

Mike_Teague (236951) | more than 13 years ago | (#173708)

The entire geocaching game BEGAN on 5 MAY 2000, "TO CELEBRATE THE DEMISE OF SA"

Re:Big bad IP threats (2)

Mike_Teague (236951) | more than 13 years ago | (#173709)

The webmaster got his initial (I SAY INITIAL) database from me.. When I gave it to him, it contained perhaps around 100 locations.. Now it's over 2000... I was writing HTML in a friggin text editor, and it got tedious to maintain, so I asked to take it over.. You can take mine, I have no problem with that, never did... It's still at And it's friggin older than hell! The original Geocaching website was You can easily see the difference..

Some implications of GPS data (1)

WillSeattle (239206) | more than 13 years ago | (#173710)

Since I live in Fremont, the Center of the Universe, surrounded by Seattle, I can safely say that:

All your GPS are belong to us.

As we have universal copyrights, these trump any geocache or US copyrights.

Anyone ignoring our artistic and universal copyrights will be located, using Universal GPS of course, and targeted by our rocket. We're not sure what the payload is, but it's sure to be mind-altering.

And, if that's not enough, we still have some UFOs left over from our End of the Millenium Ball. Not even the USAF can intercept those babies ...

GPS Coordinates are NOT copyrightable (1)

daniel_isaacs (249732) | more than 13 years ago | (#173711)

I fail to see how someone could copyright coordinates on the lat/long. map. They could put a copyright on a database they've assembled and subsequently limit access to THEIR database, but they can't own the rights to that information, per se.

Of course, I really don't know what I'm talking about.

Once again... (1)

bahtama (252146) | more than 13 years ago | (#173712)

500 Server Error
The hard transfer limit for this user has been reached

Once again, all your bandwidth are belong to Slashdot.


Re:Degeneration? Hardly. (2)

mikethegeek (257172) | more than 13 years ago | (#173713)

"Degeneration" implies that it used to be worse. It wasn't. Frivolous lawsuits, lobbyists, influence peddling, and all that are nothing new. The same thing used to happen in Rome, Bagdad, Jerusalem, or Peking. You used to lose liberty, limb, or life if you lost. Now you usually just lose your shirt."

I'll grant you that this sort of thing has probably always happened.

However, as recently as 10-15 years ago, the number of these stupid suits was less than today. 20-30 years ago you hardly heard of such a thing.

The difference is, 10+ years ago, there used to be a lot more COMMON SENSE in the courts. Judges felt that it was part of their duty to reject out of hand obviously stupid and unreasonable claims.

Unfortunately, the last 5-10 years have seen a proliferation of stipid IP law that actually DOES threaten to make Americans slaves to commercial entites, and with the laws, more law suits.

The lawsuit industry in the last few years particularly has become a growth industry. Judges are increasingly nothing more than political hacks at best, delusional Napoleon-wannabes at worst.

What we need is a breakout of common sense. However, I'm increasingly of the opinion that common sense is misnamed because is not very common.

This claim is SO stupid as to defy all reason. But I bet there is some idiot judge who would hear it, thus costing the defendant a lot of money, when they'd done NOTHING wrong.

That is why judges NEED to be more a LOT more socially responsible than they are today, not accepting such obviously (to any person with a pulse who isn't a plantiff's lawyer or "judge" Kaplan who is breating and has a pulse) IDIOTIC claims. The judge is the first line of defense in preventing frivilous lawsuits.

Cases such as this are the stort that ruin the dignity and integrity OF the court. Maybe the black-robed wannabe Napoleons should think of that. If you ever read over some of the things the Bar actually REQUIRES of attorneys to be members, BRINGING such suits actually DOES merit disbarment! But I bet today it would never happen.

Sooner or later, when enough people have been sued (seems to me odds are almost every citizen is going to be sued by someone sooner or later), the public is going to demand reform in the courts, and it's not going to go well for the judges and lawyers. So they better start policing themselves now.

What bothers me.. (4)

mikethegeek (257172) | more than 13 years ago | (#173714)

Is that we've degenerated as a civilization to the point that it can even be a QUESTION that such an idiotic, frivilous legal claim could even MAKE it to a court!

How the hell can a commercial entity "copyright" coordinates? Hell, they don't even OWN the places!

What we need are laws that punish those who FILE frivilous suits, and those who THREATEN frivilous suits. These days, the risk of being sued is so great, and the damage that can be caused by such suits are so great, why should these THREATS be treated any differently than threatening to break someone's leg?

Unfortunately, since laws are written by congressmen (who are mostly lawyers), or MORE frequently, by special interests (the American Trial Lawyers, the unprincipled cartel of ambulance chasing plantiff's lawyers is one of the MOST powerful), I don't see it happening.

Re:What's wrong with America ? (1)

eXtro (258933) | more than 13 years ago | (#173715)

Somebody please mod up the parent post. He's right on the money. I want to start doing something similar, but not really, to geocaching. I want to hunt out old ghost towns, abandoned highways and abandoned railways. If do this I already know that posting the information to the internet would be the kiss of death. The sites would be destroyed, or barring that, defaced.

Don't believe me? Go to Moab Utah, home of Arches National park. Find some of the easy hikes to petroglyphs and try them out. They really are easy, some of them are even drive by. Too bad they're all defaced by retards, or in some cases actually chipped away to be put on the market. Spend a few hours chatting with a ranger though, loft out your interest in seeing some petroglyphs and see if he'll point you at some more remote or just plain not well known ones. If you're lucky and the ranger trusts you he'll send you to a few nicely preserved ones. I'm willing to document the Hell out of anything I find in the form of photographs and text, but I won't publish GPS coordinates. Convince me your intentions are good and you're honorable (won't harm the site, won't steal, won't piss off property owners) and I'll share the information on a case by case basis.

I haven't geocached, but from what I've read geocaching is suffering from the same problem. Easy access to the information is allowing the lowest common denominator to muck up the works. Caches disappear, easy ones get way too much traffic prompting local officials to take action etc.

And start with Post Office zipcode/geocode db's (1)

teambpsi (307527) | more than 13 years ago | (#173716)

Check out the PostgreSQL archives. []

PostgreSQL has some really nice support for proximity searching.

Maybe they can threaten the US Government too.... (1)

teambpsi (307527) | more than 13 years ago | (#173717)

Starting with the US Census Bureau!

Place and Zipcode Files []

All files contain lat/long info, as well as some other tasty data.

But then again, I'm a self proclaimed "InfoManiac" :)

Didn't link directly? (2)

LentilZha (320350) | more than 13 years ago | (#173718)

As an active geocacher, I've used the maps in question as linked from They were available up until last month sometime.

You'd think that they'd have the good graces to not sue someone while they're utilizing a service that they've provided.

My apologies if the story says something different, but it's been slashdotted right off the map; can't even find the plot point. Anyone know of a mirror?

GPS is inherently evil. (1)

Lover's Arriva1, The (321824) | more than 13 years ago | (#173719)

I have said it before, and I am saying this again. GPS is evil. Yes, I admit, that may be a wee-bit of an overstatement, but you cannot deny the dehumanisation casued by technologies such as this.

GPS systems unlock the potential to not just let you know where you are, but to let others know where you are. There have been nay-sayers regarding this, and though it may seem improbable, it is far from impossible. In fact, it is quite plausible and near reality.

We must stand up against the stealing of our identities, the loss of our souls to machines.

Absurd (1)

moronga (323123) | more than 13 years ago | (#173720) doesn't have a leg to stand on. IANAL, but as I understand it, you can't copyright information. What you can copyright is a specific expression of information. So if Mr Hall was copying maps from the Geocaching site and putting them up on his own, that'd be one thing. But he's not doing that as far as I can tell--the maps are his own.

Presumably, they did this in the hopes that he'd cave under the threat of a lawsuit. Too bad for them he actually got some counsel.

Re:The problem with GPS (1)

Angel's Fall (324528) | more than 13 years ago | (#173721)

I've begun noticing a pattern with your posts lately; I think you're becoming something of a technophobe (or a Luddite..)

Just my $0.02... not meant to be a flame.


Re:Why do you decry me so? (1)

kcelery (410487) | more than 13 years ago | (#173722)


No wonder you have opinion on GPS. Such device will not help you to find a new boy friend. There is a new device under research called social-GPS, it works in the human-human-human space as oppose to the Riemann R3 space. It would lead you through those dark-corners and rough spots. ETA 2008. Estimated retail price US$6,000. Battery not included.

I've no heart, I'm just a plant.

Re:The problem with GPS (1)

ChaseTec (447725) | more than 13 years ago | (#173724)

And women say that guys have problems asking for directions?!?!

Now I can charge (2)

H1r0Pr0tag0n1st (449433) | more than 13 years ago | (#173725)

Now I can charge all those free loaders that cone to my house to drink beer as long as I record my GPS location?

Other dangers with mapping the world (3)

blang (450736) | more than 13 years ago | (#173727)

A few years ago a Norwegian telecom engineer was arrested in Russia for espionage. He was on an assignment to measure accurate locations to put up cellular locations, and he must somehow have failed to get some permits.

The exact locations of military installations (even baracks used to house recruits) are considered sensitive information. (The weird thing is that all the sites that are considered "secret" have big signs posted that photography is illegal, something I am sure the _real_ spys are grateful for.

I'd think geo caches might face worse opponents than the evil corporate world. The army, navy, air force, CIA, KGB, GRU, NSA, FBI, and any other secret and conventional military organisation in any county in the world are more likely to cause some headache here.

How old is the data? (1)

s4ltyd0g (452701) | more than 13 years ago | (#173728)

Until recently (maybe a year ago) the military introduced timing errors into their signal so that it was impossible to get an exact fix although a ground based unit would increase your percision. Of course if this story is true it's rediculous. But then we can't know that cause nobody actually said how the supposed copyright was infringed upon.

Re:How old is the data? (1)

s4ltyd0g (452701) | more than 13 years ago | (#173729)

umm sorry it's the crack i meant the legal threat.

Copyright a few *numbers*? (1)

sketerpot (454020) | more than 13 years ago | (#173730)

Copyright is mainly a good thing. After all, If we didn't have copyright, everything we write would be in the public domain. Books would not be sellable, so not as many would get written and published. You couldn't release Linux under GPL. So copyright has good aspects.

But it can easily be overapplied, as is the case with latitude and longitude. I want to copyright the number 42!

Degeneration? Hardly. (1)

m08593 (455349) | more than 13 years ago | (#173731)

"Degeneration" implies that it used to be worse. It wasn't. Frivolous lawsuits, lobbyists, influence peddling, and all that are nothing new. The same thing used to happen in Rome, Bagdad, Jerusalem, or Peking. You used to lose liberty, limb, or life if you lost. Now you usually just lose your shirt.

How the hell can a commercial entity "copyright" coordinates?

How the hell can a commercial entity own people? But they used to. In the US even. It's worth doing something about such absurdities, but it's also useful not to be naive about history.

Re:Other dangers with mapping the world (1)

gfreeman (456642) | more than 13 years ago | (#173732)

To be ultra safe, generate a map with notations across 99% of it saying "There are no secret military installations here".
Safe as houses.


How about charges for electronic space? (1)

instinc (457765) | more than 13 years ago | (#173734)

What's next? I start charging for invasion of my electronic wave space when people use gps or cellphone on my property? or when an actual satellite is downstreaming over my potatoes' garden?

Who is gonna pay then? the guy picking up your gps location while using your local electronic wave space or you poor guy that got this mailman with a gps receiver and getting coordinates of every house down the street?

I agree that a particular database compilation could be copyrighted, but particular gps location shouldn't be copyrighted!

What is a map ? (1)

G. Mercator (457768) | more than 13 years ago | (#173735)

but a collection of latitude and longitude coordinates. Yet surely a map can be copyright. When one draws a particular set of coordinates from the infinite universe of possibilities, it acquires a uniqueness that makes it the work of one person or group. Surely the limited, fairly select set described by those that geocache can be a personal work, worthy of protection from cheaters, spoilers, and those that tell little children there is no Santa Claus.

Re:Database copyright (1)

farqhuarson (457786) | more than 13 years ago | (#173736)

this was actually brought to his attention several times in various threads on his message board. but was conviently ingored by the the site admin over there. you check those threads here [] and here. []

Re:Interesting. (3)

farqhuarson (457786) | more than 13 years ago | (#173738)

well almost but not quite. what you are referring to is a "sweat of the brow" doctrine that they used to use to try and attempt to protect compilations of data. It was shot down by the Supreme Court and "effort" alone is not enough to copyright. It was in response to the Rurual Telephone Co. vs. Feist Publications.
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