Listing Sites Add Features

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.

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Geowoodstock IX

In less than 24hrs I start my journey down to Geowoodstock, will I see you there?

I attended last year and had a blast.  I hope this year is as much fun.  Will cache on my way down tomorrow and spend Friday caching in the area.   Saturday at the event, I hope to meet some friends that I’ve only chatted with online.  Drop me an email if you are going to be there.

Happy Caching, even if you aren’t coming to Geowoodstock, enjoy the long weekend!

Garmin Launches GPSMAP 62sc

Garmin GPSMAP 62sc CameraThe folks at Garmin have been busy.   Garmin just introduced four new product improvements to the mix.  There are new etrex, Astro, Rino and 62 series models.   The 62sc is of most interest to me as it has a built in camera.  Having just upgraded to the 62s it will be a while before I change units.

I’ve had some experience with the eXplorist 610 which has a built in camera and it is a very handy feature to have.  Most people that use smart phones for geocaching are used to taking pictures in the field.  Some geocaching apps even allow you to log and upload your photos from the field, talk about instant gratification.

Having your pictures automatically geotagged is  time saver.   Something I really like about having a camera built in to a GPS is the fact that you get a weatherproof camera as a bonus.  I was out shooting pictures the other night and the heavens opened with a torrential downpour.  I was soaked.   I acted quickly and put my camera gear away.  If I was geocaching at the time I wouldn’t have had to worry.

I don’t know if the addition of a camera will get many people to upgrade.  I know I won’t be inducing me to change any time soon.

The Aliens are Back

It would appear that ET phoned home and his friends are back with reinforcements!  This time there will be 1500 geocaches.  Can it be true?

There is an event scheduled that seems to indicate that the ET highway is back.

Alien Search Party – The 2nd Invasion!

I love the idea that geocaching can be an important part of the local economy I just wish the caches were a little more interesting.  Everyone plays the game differently I guess.

There could have been a movie tie in here with Aliens and Cowboys coming out soon.