We're donating $10,000 to the cause

The Groundspeak Lackeys entered the DARPA Balloon Network Challenge on December 5, 2009. In the end we didn't win the $40,000 for charity, but we're still donating $10,000 of our own money to DonorsChoose.org programs.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Congratulations to MIT (and to Geocachers!)

If you have looked at the DARPA Network Challenge Web Site, MIT was declared the winner with 10 out of 10 balloon sightings entered correctly. We couldn't have lost to a better competitor!

Although we did not win we were able to find a respectable 8 out of the 10 balloons. In the end, Memphis and Miami were the two missing locations.

Really, the efforts of the geocaching community were nothing short of amazing. We had several First to Finds, and I expect that the DARPA folks were more than impressed. They now know quite a bit about the capabilities of this army of GPS enthusiasts.

Regardless of the results, the contributions of the community can't go unrewarded. Therefore the Groundspeak Lackeys have decided to go ahead and donate our own $10,000 to DonorsChoose.org programs. We'll be selecting geocaching program requests over the next couple of weeks to make sure teachers have the equipment they need. You are more than welcome to join us in donating to the cause.



  1. And to think I am 6 hours away from one of the two you had missing. I wish I had the ability to run that way to find the 9th one in Memphis. Great job all and hope we get to do this again one day. --ITSecurityGeek

  2. You guys are great! You did a wonderful job today and going ahead and donating the extra $10,000 is just fantastic! It was a fun game (even though all I could do is watch from the sidelines!). Congrats to MIT.

  3. great job to everyone involved!

  4. Good job guys!

  5. Yay Groundspeak. YOU rock!

  6. WOW. to have a bunch of loosely organized individuals that come together because of a unique hobby and to do this well is spectacular.

    MIT is huge with vast resources - and they are paying for the winning information! Using the resources that Groundspeak used and doing that well, speaks volumes! I think DARPA will be talking with you guys to get more info for their research. IF not, they should be!

  7. It was great fun to watch everything unfold. And even though it turned out that there wasn't a balloon in my area, the kids and I enjoyed checking things out around Portland, ME (just to rule out it was Portland, OR, that hosted the DARPA site). And very cool that Groundspeak is still going ahead with the $10,000 donation in honor of the game. Geocachers are the best!

  8. OMG between us we could've won it. I was missing Katy and Atlanta. Fun stuff anyway.

  9. Where are the "first to finds" listed?

  10. Ah well everyone put up one good fight! Something like this goes to show just what us geocachers can do when pulled together. ~TopheE

  11. Would be great if you guys posted a little recap of your strategy and results like the guys over at StratoFox.

    Did you try to deploy your volunteers to achieve geographic coverage or did you concentrate on finding your initial sightings on the social networks.

    Did you or did you consider negotiating for the locations of #5 and #6.

    In any case, great work by the geocachers. ArmyofEyes claims they found 9 and ispyaredballoon.com (GaTech) claims 9 also.

  12. Congratulations Groundspeak Lackeys and all participants on an impressive performance - watching from afar (The Bahamas) I was itching to take part - may be I should have popped over to Miami for the day! I think it is great that you are making the donation anyway. garrow

  13. I second the question re "First Finds." Did DARPA confirm "First Finds" during the contest or only after the winner was announced around 9PM ?

    Have they listed the "First Finds" anyplace?

  14. We need to run back through the timeline, but geocachers themselves verified from DARPA that they were the first to find them. Whether there were quicker reports from afar, I don't know.

  15. Living in WI, I am somewhat disappointed with the location of the balloons.

  16. Very good job. I am impressed with how well everyone did. Geocachers are of use to society! (heh)

    Also, good show on still granting to GPS needs. I just got a grant for my classroom and I and my kids can't wait to get them out of the box and out into the field.

  17. Congratulations to the Groundspeak crew and the geocachers everywhere that participated. It was very fun to watch it unfold via Twitter and the 10Balloonies blog. And a huge "THANK YOU" To Groundspeak and Lackeys on behalf of educators everywhere for the much needed support!

  18. Congratulations! This was fun to watch. I couldn't get out to search, but I see that driving around Michigan to look for a red balloon would have been for naught. ;-) I think you accomplished a lot!

  19. I enjoyed watching this and I'm thrilled (but not too surprised) that Groundspeak is still going to contribute to the DonorsChoose organization.

  20. The biggest winners here are the schools and K-12 students that will be receiving the GPS receivers through DonorsChoose.org. Thank you for still donating $10,000 to these kids for their education and future geocaching activities! You have inspired me to donate to DonorsChoose.org as well. TFT-donation to the classrooms!

  21. Now I feel bad. I had a hunch that one of the balloons would be in Miami Beach for the Art Basel show. Didn't have a lot of time to get over there in the last few days though. But I'm surprised with all the traffic there that nobody had a clue about the challenge.