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.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Welcome Geocachers!

A big welcome to those who came to the site due to the addendum to the Weekly Mailer. My hope is that you will find this to be a fun activity for you. Or at the very least you can follow our fumbles as we attempt to locate the balloons before the rest of the Internet. (good luck)

Some quick tidbits:

From the DARPA site, all balloons are scheduled to go on display at all locations at 10:00 AM (ET) until approximately 4:00 PM (local time) on Saturday, December 5, 2009. The launches will occur simultaneously across the country. Balloons will come down at approximately 4:00 PM. (This means I'm getting up early)

Balloons are numbered and each number hangs beneath the balloon. Thanks to the mad CSS skills of our fellow Lackey, Thom, and our designer Mike, the balloons in this blog will fill in red as we verify their locations. Verification will be key for each balloon since we expect a lot of misinformation on the Internet. You'll know each balloon number as we find them but not the location.

We'll be using various tools to get the word out about our progress. Some we'll create and quickly dump if they don't work. Some we'll use internally to manage and disseminate information.

We'll share a little but we do want to keep some information from being broadly known. So we're not planning to be transparent. We'll be more, uh, translucent.


  1. Just be careful with the submission guys, DARPA rules did say only individuals can submit and not groups... I'd hate to see it get blown because of a small thing like that... but that said, I totally agree with what was said in a prior post... if any group can get all the co-ordinates for all 10 balloons, I think it's us cachers!

    Kanein Encanto - Geocaching.com

  2. I've got a good chunk of So. Cal. covered - can see lots of L.A. and Orange Counties from the hill near where I live. I'll be up early Saturday. Geocaching is always a new adventure. Go for it, all you cachers out there!

  3. While I don't think they'll put one in our podunk area of central MA, I'll be on the look out too. Camera & GPS ready! Good luck.

  4. I'm sure you have given a lot of thought to verification, but would it make sense to e-mail "trusted" cachers in the area of reported sightings to get a confirmation of location? (With purposely and announced errors in coordinates to keep competing groups from using geocaching sightings for their own purposes? How far away can you see these balloons?)

  5. Outstanding - I wish we could be outside searching but its our family cookie weekend so these upstate NY cachers will be watching online as the day progresses to see what happens!

  6. Is there any other way to spot these beside visually, (radio beacon, ...). Washington DC is rather closed in with clouds.

    The best way to get visuals on high altitude balloons would be from the air. What is the altitude on these?

  7. They are tethered. I'll publish some of the photos in the DARPA gallery to make it more clear what to look for. Thanks!

  8. Here in central, east-coastal Florida I doubt we'll see a balloon but you never know. This is neat. Can't wait to see how it works out.

  9. Any talk about using Google wave?

  10. in Atlanta, hoping to catch one!

  11. Chicago . . . could happen.

  12. Will be covering south central North Dakota (hey, you never know)!

  13. In Portland Maine and keeping my eyes open. Also called my sister in Minneapolis, MN and my parents on the Puget Sound to keep their eyes open.

  14. don't know if this is any help.....

  15. Detroit checking in.

    More directions on what to do would help.