There is nothing static about the major listing sites. Geocaching.com has released “Challenges” to a mixed reception. Opencaching.com has introduced “find verification” but that requires a firmware update. I’m not sure how either of these will make geocaching more fun.
The “find verification” tools over at opencaching.com will no doubt be appealing to certain types of geocachers. I’ve read some of the forum posts where cachers get quite animated when it comes to the authenticity of log entries. I’m not the kind of cacher that gets my knickers in a knot when it comes to whether or not someone actually signs the physical log for my caches. The verification process might stop the odd cacher from logging “I was close enough but I didn’t find the container” and claiming the find.
I created a listing to see if I could add a verification code. The process was very easy. From the summary page you click on the “Verification Code, Add” link. Your code number and QR code are then created with an option to print the QR Code. The QR code is printed at a reasonable size for placement in small geocache containers.
Groundspeak has not been idle either. The introduction of Challenges, a sort of replacement for virtuals, was introduced this week. Not everyone is happy. I have yet to see a positive response from my geocaching circle. There are a number of neutral responses but the overwhelming majority are negative and I don’t get that. If you don’t like it then don’t do it. Groundspeak is not required to innovate only in directions you want. Groundspeak is a technology company and as such gets a little too enamored with their own technology. My sense is the designers at Groundspeak really like this new tool and rushed to get it out there. Having some pre-loaded challenges that would appeal to the core geocaching audience, by that I mean challenges that require finding something, might have helped foster a positive attitude. The “Kiss a Frog” challenge was cute but it doesn’t appeal to the core audience.
Cacher Northern Penguin created a challenge that I think appeals to a portion of the geocaching core audience. The challenge is to complete a multi-day hike on the Western Uplands Backpacking Trail. This seems like a reasonable addition to geocaching.
My reaction to Groundspeak’s Challenges feature is wait and see. The technology has merit but will cachers use it for good or evil?
I find these recent changes interesting in that they show the differences in vision for both companies concerned. Garmin has introduced features that bolster their hardware centric view of geocaching. Scan the QR code with the built in camera. Groundspeak on the other hand has introduced a variation on game play just as they did with Wherigo. Both changes have their place in the spectrum of game play that is geocaching. I play the game the way in a way that makes me happy, I hope you do too.