GPS Initiates Love

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Utah State University is using GPS tracking to get dating couples to communicate. At least, that’s one major purpose of their new date night idea. According to Patrick Bentley, the university ropes course director, most couples don’t really talk when they are on a date, they just sit side by side watching a movie. Now he is using GPS to give them a new idea for a date.

To understand how the date night works, you have to understand how GPS tracking works. GPS uses satellites and small portable devices to determine the location of an object on the ground. The devices send signals to satellites, which read latitude and longitude and then relay that location back to the owner or user of the device. If the user is tracking something else, such as a vehicle or a pet, they can find out where the device is and where it has been. The information may also be reported on the device itself and integrated with a map to guide the user.

How GPS Brings Couples Closer

USU is helping couples get acquainted with each other and the campus by using hand-held GPS units and some creative ideas. A couple pays $30 to get their unit, a digital camera, and instructions. Then they’re off a on a hunt around campus to find the locations assigned to them. When they get there, they have to do whatever their instructions say – pose with a statue, act out a scene on the amphitheater stage, or other random activities. All of the couples who are there that night then collect at the final meeting point and enjoy a snack while watching a slide show of all of their shenanigans.

It’s like a modern twist on the old favorite scavenger hunt; instead of a paper map, you use technology. Bentley says it’s not difficult at all; couples only have to use three buttons on the GPS device to find out where they are and where to go. The response from participants has been very positive; they enjoy doing something more active with their date and getting some good laughs from the things they have to do. From their feedback, it seems Bentley’s idea is working. Technology doesn’t have to seclude us from each other, like the stereotypical geek who is married to his computer; with a little creativity, GPS tracking devices and other gadgets can be used to enhance our social interaction.

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