Diabetes Awareness: The Munzee Project in London

A really neat project is in the works right around Banting House NHSC to raise awareness about diabetes! Using the Munzee app, a local man has been working on building  a virtual Diabetes Awareness garden. The Munzee game is similar to geocaching: players use GPS tracking to find the location of physical or virtual QR codes (also known as Munzees) and collect points when they “capture” the Munzee with their smart phones. The App is free to download and use.  The Munzee creators consider the game to be “…the next generation in global scavenger hunt games,” with almost 200,000 players across the globe and more than 2.2 million Munzees to find. Most of the Munzees are located in urban settings which makes it easier for people to access them, as well.

Richard, the man spearheading the creation of the Diabetes Awareness garden, has been an active Munzee player for some time. This was the first awareness garden to be started through Munzee, and Richard decided to create this project after his wife was diagnosed with diabetes. The area around Banting House NHSC was the perfect spot to create the garden because of the ties to Banting’s work. Munzee players can add Munzees into the game, and Richard’s idea was to get people to create virtual Munzees in honour of loved ones who have been impacted by diabetes. The project has already had pieces deployed by more than fifty people from around the world but still needs some help adding virtual Munzees to the area around Banting House. The project needs about 400 Munzees to complete the image and there are about 200 more Munzees to add before it is finished. Here is what the project currently looks like on the Munzee website:

These are the Munzees that have already been placed in the Diabetes Awareness garden by Munzee players.
These are the Munzees that have already been placed in the Diabetes Awareness garden by Munzee players.

When all of the individual Munzees are placed, they will create an image that will look like this on a map:

This is Richard's plan for the completed diabetes awareness Munzee project in the area around Banting House NHSC in London.
This is Richard’s plan for the completed diabetes awareness Munzee project in the area around Banting House NHSC in London. Photo courtesy of Richard.

This project is working to raise awareness for diabetes and also promotes a healthy and active lifestyle. Players navigate around the area collecting the Munzees, so it’s a great way to get some exercise and spend time with family or friends while thinking about the impact diabetes has on people’s lives. The project also shows how people can come together across the globe; you don’t have to be in London to add a Munzee to the project, you just have to have a Munzee account. Participating in the project should be a lot of fun, whether as a player collecting the Munzees or as someone placing the virtual codes. It will be very interesting to see what the finished product looks like and hopefully people in the London area and beyond can get involved!

The work Sir Frederick Banting and his team did to help people with diabetes has carried on in many different forms, from research to public awareness activities. Projects like these help to bring people together and remind us all that there is still a lot of work to do before a cure for diabetes is found, but that there are fun ways for everyone to participate and contribute!

This post was written by Taryn Dewar, Graduate Research Assistant at Banting House NHSC. Taryn is a Master’s candidate in Public History at Western University.

2 thoughts on “Diabetes Awareness: The Munzee Project in London

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  1. I would like to thank you for doing a blog post on the Diabetes Awareness garden that the Munzee players from around the world have been contributing to. I hope that this will help bring more players to the game of Munzee and that this garden will bring more awareness to Diabetes and the Banting house. If your interested in playing the Munzee scavenger hunt game sign up for free at http://www.munzee.com
    The app is free to download to your smart phone as well. Its a great way to get out and get some exercise while having fun with a hobby.

    1. Thank you again for letting us know about the project, Richard! Hopefully the Munzee community in London will continue growing!

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