Terra Touching is about 'touching Earth' at locations given by coordinates - in other words visiting these spots. Which locations get actually used is determined by players creating the 'Playing Fields'. In the sense of Terra Touching these should be touristcally attractive or interesting locations. After a player completed a Playing Field (visited all stations) the player's GPS track log recording can be used to score the tour. This can be used to simply confirm if a player indeed visited all locations (including 'hidden' ones) or to compete with other players.

Design a Playing Field

A Terra Touching playing field consists of multiple stations. A typical way to define a station is using coordinates with a proximity circle. Several programs visualizing maps and waypoints directly support this format and can display such stations as circles on a map.

Designing a Playing Field with Garmin's MapSource Software

The stations get attributes such as 'public' or 'hidden', making them visible or invisible to the players. For invisbile stations, puzzles or hints must be provided to the players so that they can obtain their coordinates.

Special care should be taken when defining stations of a playing field. As Terra Touching players are asked to visit these stations, they should not only be publicly accesible but also interesting, such as landmarks, scenic views or other points of interest.

Set Scores

Terra Touching players get a score for each station reached. The maximum possible score for each station can be set by the playing field designer. A station difficult to find (tough puzzle on a hidden station) or hard to get to (top of a mountain) should yield a higher score than a visible, simple to reach station. Bonus points may be awarded when a player gets very near (for example < 10 feet) to a station's center coordinate.

Waypoint Details

The scoring is done by provided scoring scripts. Advanced users with programming skills have the opportunity to supply custom scoring scripts for further fine tuning.

Make it Public

For each playing field a description and the public, visible waypoints are published. Players can dowload this data and then try out the playing field. If hidden stations are used, the description needs to contain hints, clues or puzzles on how to find the hidden station.

Scoring a Tour

Players must record a GPS-track when "playing the field". When completed, their track recording is submitted to the Terra Touching scoring engine calculating the track's score. Points are assigned for each station reached.

In addtion to the score, the following values are calculated: total distance, maximum speed, total time, rest time (total time in rest areas) and station time (total time at stations).

Score comparison of multiple tours

Usage Examples

TerraTouching can be used in may ways, here just a few examples.

Virtual Stamping Tours

Along some hiking path one can find stamping stations. Hikers passing by put the stamp on a card to later show that they have been at this location. If particpating hikers record a GPS track log, then that log can be scored by TerraTouching to check which locations they have visited.

Scoring for Outdoor (GPS) Events

TerraTouching can be used for scoring single particpants or teams in events as long as they make a GPS track log recording of their tour. Scores can not only be caclulated based on stations visted, but also time sand speed can be included into the scoring. This makes TerraTouching a scoring tool for small events like orienteering, rallyes, treasure hunts - on foot, by bike, or even on water.

Geocaching Tours

Geocachers do not only visit locations, at the location they also need to find a container with a log book and possible trade items. In order to judge with TerraTouching if a party has found the cache or not, a hidden station can be used. Simply place a hidden station in the vicinity (200-500ft) of the geocache, at a place where one would not pass accidently. Then in the cache container (last page of log book, or inside the lid) simply provide the coordinates: "For TerraTouching scoring now go to [coordinates]". Only if geocachers found the Cache will they now where they have to go to obtain the TerraTouching score for this geocache.

Development Status (this info in English only)

Our long term plans are to provide both an offline and an online Version of TerraTouching. We are now in the beta test phase of the offline version which you can download from our download page. Playing fields are created using map software like Garmin's MapSource or BaseCamp. Playing Field information (.gpx files with stations and text or pdf file with description) is shared via the forum.

Our next development steps:

Allow users to share playing fields online.

Allow users to upload tracks / tours for scoring.