Groundspeak has received the endorsement of Delorme in the soon to be active geocaching listing site show down. Geocaching.com remains device agnostic. Will opencaching.com be open to other device manufacturers?
Delorme believes that geocaching is a key market for their products and has in cooperation with Groundspeak supported a number of geocaching activities. According to Charlie Conley at Delorme, “Each PN-Series GPS product launch involves significant development specifically related to geocaching”. This could be an interesting opportunity for Delorme and Magellan to exploit should the rift between Garmin and Groundspeak get any larger. Opencaching.com could be a catalyst that polarizes manufactures to develop better support for geocaching.com into our out of their product depending on which side of the argument they are on.
Manufacturers typically want to sell more devices. Delorme obviously believes that the geocaching community is going to stick with Groundspeak. I asked Delorme if they will support Garmin’s opencaching.com initiative and I was not surprised when Conley responded with “we have no plans to actively pursue whatever new caching activities Garmin may be considering at this time”.
The impact to geocaching is going to be significant regardless of whether or not opencaching.com succeeds. The opencaching site alone could create sufficient animosity between Garmin and Groundspeak that one side or the other could do down a development path that breaks the usefulness of one or the other. For example, Garmin developed the Chirp without consulting Groundspeak. What would have happened if geocaching.com didn’t support this device in some way? Would you then have to pick opencaching.com if you wanted to use a Chirp? Groundspeak’s virtual monopoly of geocache listings ensures a fairly level playing field for all device manufactures. It also gives Groundspeak a lot of power and responsibility, two characteristics that can have adverse effects when not applied correctly. Who knows what way the field will tilt once opencaching.com goes live.