Three Caches Prior to LaunchPrior to the launch of Garmin’s opencaching.com site I thought I’d take a look at the three current contenders for geocache listing sites: geocaching.com, terracaching.com and opencaching.us.

I created a cache unique for each listing site. The caches are reachable from the same parking location so you can do all three in one stop, assuming you use the other services.  I want to see how many people will find all three or just certain ones.   There are a few locals who read my blog so hopefully that won’t skew the results too badly, I never said this was a scientific experiment.   There is no indication in these caches that I have placed others nearby.  You will only know there are nearby caches by reading this blog or by using the other sites.

I made sure the caches would appeal to a broad set of searchers. They are not excessively camouflaged, they aren’t hard to get too and it doesn’t take too long to find them. You could probably find these caches on your way to work if you wear proper hiking footwear as the ground might be soggy in places.

As you can see from the picture above all caches have room for swag.  I know a few local cachers who would like to see a popularization of the regular sized container instead of micros.

The process of listing the cache was roughly the same on all sites.  Terracaching takes a slightly different approach to rating the terrain and difficulty but that was easy to understand.

It has been written in some posts that Garmin will find it difficult to launch their site because of a lack of volunteers.  I’m not so sure about that.   It took about 15 minutes to have my opencaching.us listing reviewed.   I’m not sure opencaching.us can scale and still maintain that speed of approval.   It has been 16 hours since I submitted to Groundspeak and the listing is still not approved.  Terracaching takes an interesting and I believe scalable approach to approving listings.   Terracaching uses a sponsorship model.  In order to list a cache on the site one of your sponsors must approve it.   In my case the cache was approved in less than an hour.  This is a very scalable model that could sustain fast turn around.

The ability to send a cache to a device directly from a website is an essential feature of any listing site. Terracaching offers a GPX download but you cannot automatically send it to your GPSr.  This is available from both opencaching.us and gc.com.

Posting a cache on opencaching.us was very straightforward.  I was impressed with the speed in which the listing was approved.  I also like that as the cache owner I get to decide then the cache is published.  Having a cache approved does not mean the cache is available for viewing.  This s a two step process unlike at gc.com.

The real purpose of listing these caches was to see which ones will get visited.  Will they get visited by the same people or will cachers shun one listing site in favour of another.   How often will they get visited?  I will post and update in the future detailing the results.

If you’d like to visit the caches and follow along with my little experiment you can do so via these links:

Have you taken the Opencaching.com poll?  Look for it in the left hand column.

teamvoyagr

I have been writing the cachemania blog since 2008. I'm interested in the development of geocaching and the many ways that people play the game.

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