GPS/GIS Boy Scout Merit Badge Dumped for Geocaching?



As part of the 100th anniversary of the Boy Scouts (established on February 8, 1910), the GPS/GIS merit badge was supposed to be introduced along with three others: Inventing, Scouting, and Robotics.  Now it seems that the GPS/GIS merit badge (which had been listed as approved in 2009 but still in need of have the requirements developed for earning one) is no longer on the list of new merit badges for 2010.  Instead, the Geocaching merit badge is expected to make its debut in Spring of 2010 (no listing or description of it is yet available on the Boy Scouts site).   The only other current related category for geospatial technology is the Surveying merit badge.  Why the change was made or if the GPS/GIS merit badge will make its debut at a later date is unknown.  A search on the site revealed no information at all on the badge.  Nor could I find an image of what the new Geocaching merit badge will look like. Geocaching seems to have been enthusiastically adopted as a way to promote scouting with part of the 100th Anniversary celebration involving geocaching and the creation of the Geoscouting web site.

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  1. Hi Michael,

    I was so disappointed to learn that the GPS/GIS merit badge I had read about a couple years ago (and had been anxiously looking forward to) had been replace with the Geocaching Merit Badge. I was a scout leader for 14 years while my sons were growing up and was excited about a merit badge for what I was an expert in- GIS/Cartography. It would have been great to get involved as a merit badge counselor for something as awesome as GIS. It is a sad day that a fascinating science field is getting replaced by a fad game.

    Mari Pietz
    GIS Analyst/Project Manager

  2. Hi Caitlin,

    I just wanted to follow up on your article posted on 2/9/10 to let you know that I received notice from BSA that the final requirements for the new Geocaching Merit Badge have been approved on 4/9/10. The merit badge pamphlet to support this new badge has not been finalized yet and still no image of what the badge will look like.

    I would be happy to send you a copy of the what I received as the “final requirements” for this new badge.

    Michael Maxwell
    BSA District Director

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