FortuneMaps – online treasure hunting with Google Maps


fortunemaps.jpgHere’s an odd one to puzzle over for the evening. I’ve just come across a get-not-quite-rich enough web game called FortuneMaps which is rather interesting use of a Google Maps overlay.

Before I begin, let’s not make any bones about this. This is not a mash-up of use. This is not something to benefit the public. It’s a game. It’s a game where you can win some cash if you have the right combination of luck and skill.

FortuneMaps feels like a new version of an old game although what that old game is I can’t quite tell you – something between pin the tail on the donkey and guess the weight of the jar of sweets.

The way the game works is that somewhere on the map of the world, as supplied by Google, lies treasure. All you have to do is put a flag within 100 metres of the loot and the prize is yours. Two flags cost you $2 and your entry fee goes some way to providing the jackpot which obviously builds and builds until someone wins.

Now, there is an element of skill involved, as the makers of the site are keen to point out – possibly because they’d be victim of some very different regulations if this were a lottery.

Funnily enough, it’s quite hard to pin-point a position on the world map to within 100 metres, so there is a weekly prize for the closest laid flag. That nearest flag is then replaced by a large gold coin and you can use these from week to week to triangulate exactly where the real treasure lies.

For me, this is a very good way to throw money away. However, I’m perfectly open to the fact that there may be a very clever way to work this out using sets of compasses, slide rules, sextants and large white beards. I’d be happy to hear about it from any mariners or budding cartographers among you.

It looks to me like your best bet is to win one of the weekly prizes. Sadly it’s only up to $8 so far but then, it is only Monday. Definitely worth a look so you can see how far wrong everyone else has got it, not so sure about actually putting your flag where your mouth is. Then again, there is gold in them thar hills and someone’s got to win it.


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Daniel Sung
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