In not-so old Hollywood movies, the protagonist trying to get away from terrorists would ‘hack’ into a government satellite, and scope out the surrounding terrain to plot his escape. Of course nowadays, anyone can check Google Earth or Google Maps to plot a quick escape.
The idea of using these tools to search for ‘treasure’ or in games isn’t new; TerraClues and localiz.me have been around for a few years now, allowing users and participants the chance to create their own scavenger hunt based on Google Maps or Earth clues and trivia. These are forum based games and anyone can join them, the prizes usually being the kudos of finishing first.
Upping the stakes a little, in September last year (2011), author Tim Dedopoulos released a book of 15 cryptic pictorial clues, each with an answer that can be verified or proved using Google Earth. With a prize of €50,000, you can be sure that there is some fierce competition. Alongside some of the clues, are cryptic word puzzles, meant to assist in the interpretation of the pictures, however some become more puzzling on reading them. Once you have solved all 15 of the puzzles using Google Earth, the 15 solutions together will point you to a 16th location, which is the ultimate answer.
Tim Dedopoulos positions himself as the ‘Puzzle master’ and generously gives out additional clues via the Telegraph UK website, and his Twitter feed @dedopoulos), although all of this too, is cryptic and many times, he will not tell you which clue corresponds with which puzzle.
To enter the competition, you need to purchase the book from Amazon, or any good technical or reference bookstore (Retails for about $14 AUD) and download Google Earth. Once you think you have the answer, you can enter here: http://www.jointhetreasurehunt.com – but beware, only one entry allowed per person. This ends on March 31st 2012, so there is still time!