By Chuck Woodbury
Our frequent contributor Dave Helgeson wrote an article today about the increasing problem of geotagging. What’s geotagging? In its most popular form it’s about sharing a GPS location of where you have visited with others via social media.
Here is how it might go: You discover a great boondocking spot far from a designated campground, perhaps miles from a paved road, far from where people would discover it by accident: The view from your campsite is eye-popping magnificent. There might even be a great trout stream just a few yards away. If you’re active on social media you might take a picture of the incredible spot and post it to your Facebook or Instagram page. “Look at where I’m camped! Isn’t it beautiful?” You might even tag the location with its geographic coordinates.
SO WHAT HAPPENS? Your beautiful campsite in paradise is no longer a secret. The word is out! Your friends oooh and aaah over the photo and then share it on their social media pages. But it doesn’t stop there. Some of their friends share it again, along with its location. Pretty soon thousands of people know where to find this incredible, once-secret place.
The next time you return, it’s crawling with people – paradise lost. You might have unintentionally blown its secret location by sharing it with even just a few friends active on social media.
We posted a story just a few weeks ago about such a spot.
The same thing is happening with hiking trails. My daughter, Emily, is an avid hiker and she tells me that some weekends the parking areas at trailheads are overflowing because of geotagging. Many of those people will then find, for example, the beautiful waterfall along the trail they saw in the photo that drew them there in the first place. They’ll snap their own photo, post it on their social media pages, and … well, you get the idea.
If you are like many people today, who love to share the details of your lives via social media, then you may be contributing to this situation – which is without question leading to fewer and fewer undiscovered places to visit where you can enjoy the peace and quiet of nature without the crowds.
Read Dave’s story to learn more about geotagging.