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Technology

New hi-tech extreme sport hits mark

From CNN Technology Correspondent Kristie Lu Stout


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Confluencing
GPS device

(CNN) -- A new extreme sport called "confluences" is gaining followers around the world.

High-tech adventurers armed with satellite maps and GPS devices are scouring the globe for "confluences," points where the lines of latitude and longitude collide.

"We're looking for imaginary points," says confluence hunter, Richard Jones, standing on a pier in Hong Kong with other hunters, discussing the game plan in the search for one elusive point.

The goal of "confluencing" is to use GPS technology to track down every major intersection on the planet, snap pictures and post the proof on a Web site called confluence.org.

There are 16,146 confluences on the planet and less than 3,000 have been documented.

"It's adventure travel to find a spot wherever it may be. On top of a mountain, or in a valley, or in a fish pond, or in the middle of a rice paddy," says confluence hunter, Tony Basoglu.

Any place in the world can be defined by giving its position along the invisible latitude and longitude lines that circle the world.

While many people use minutes, this game uses only the whole numbered degrees.

The target of this mission is at 22 degrees north, 114 degrees east. It is the last unvisited confluence in China's Guangdong province, in the ocean off the coast of Southern China.

Chartering a boat, the group speeds past Hong Kong into mainland Chinese waters, familiar territory for Targ Parsons, the so-called "confluence King of China."

There are more than 1,000 intersections in the mainland and Parsons says he has hit more than 70 of them.

Bad weather has prevented him from reaching this target, but on this mission, the team hit the sweet spot.

"This is it," says Parsons. "It's just very unfortunate that the visibility is so poor that we can see absolutely nothing. We're only four to five kilometers from Hung Dong island but we can't see it."

According to Parsons, this is the first time anyone has reached this confluence and documented it.

So another confluence is in the bag, leaving just 13,000 to go. For this group it's time to document the finding and celebrate.

If you don't have a GPS device, you can still join the hunt. All you need is a compass, a detailed map, and a good sense of distance.

You don't usually have to go far since there is a confluence within 79 kilometers (49 miles) of where you stand.

Just remember to document your finding in full detail at the confluence.org Web site.


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