Developer: Groundspeak Inc.
Price: $9.99 Download on the App Store
Geocaching is basically a game of treasure hunting. When I first heard about it a year ago I had no idea how remarkably popular geocaching is. It’s a game played by untold numbers of people throughout the world. The idea is to locate hidden containers, stashed outdoors, anywhere and everywhere you could imagine. These containers are called geocaches.
Using GPS devices, such as the Geocaching app by Groundspeak Inc, explorers young and old set out to locate the hidden treasures. Many of the caches contain logs that each "discoverer" signs—adding their name and the time and date to the list of treasure seekers that have come before. Once you've located a cache and marked your find, be sure and put it back in its hiding spot for the next budding explorer to try and discover.
Geocaching (the app) is an excellent tool to have in your arsenal when striking out on your geocache explorations. There are a multitude of features and options with the Geocaching app.
The feature I enjoy the most is Find Nearby Geocaches, one of the first options you’ll notice once you open the app. Using "Find Nearby," Geocaching will identify your current location and then provide you with a list of Geocaches close to you. As I sit here now I can see that “What Time is It” is 1.0 miles W, and “Global Warming” is 1.2 miles SE from here. These are just two from the list of the closest 15.
There are other ways to search available on the search page such as By Address/Postal Code, which allows you to enter an address manually or pull one from your contacts list. Search By GC Code, Trackables, and Pocket Queries. All of the information is being accessed through Geocache.com. Users are constantly updating the database that you are tapping into as they document their experiences out on the hunt.
Once you’ve selected the geocache you’re setting out to locate the Geocaching app takes you to that geocaches home page. There you can see information such as who hid it, GC Code, difficulty, terrain, size and date hidden. You also have the plenty of other options here; such as adding this geocache to favorites, read a description, view recent logs and hints. But the main thing to do from this page is launch the Navigate To Geocache.
Upon opening the navigation page you have various ways to view your navigation. Mine initially opens into a street map view showing my location and pinging arrows to the geocache location. There are other views available also. I happen to like the satellite view. As you navigate closer you’ll notice the distance meter decrease. There is a “view compass” option that comes in very handy as the large compass fills your screen alongside information such as your current longitude and lattidude, destination coordinates, your distance in feet, direction headed, and accuracy of information (within 43 ft etc).
I set out on a sunny afternoon intent on tackling a geocache with a 3 star difficulty, handy Geocaching iPhone app in hand. I navigated to the location and the compass had me 0.0 ft away from the hidden treasure. The accuracy meter gave me an additional 8ft to play with. The hints were good but not spoilers. I spent a good 45 minutes to an hour looking along with my trusty 12 year-old sidekick. Arrg! Unable to locate the hidden booty, the treasure remains untouched for the next intrepid explorer to uncover.
We decided to search for another and the Geocache app gave us a new list of geocaches close to us. We selected one with a less difficulty rating and set out to find it. Using most of the tools available to us including the hints, we were able to locate our geocache. My sidekick logged his name and we were again worthy pirates who live to search for treasures again another day.
Geocaching is mostly about being outside, exploring, the hunt and camaraderie of friends. The tools you use to accomplish your goal add to the experience. From what I understand many geocachers are equipped with fancy GPS systems. Hey to each their own. I found geocaching fun and I guess one could spend hundreds of dollars on a GPS if they wished. But for about ten bucks Geocaching iPhone app by Groundspeak Inc is worth every penny. The opportunity to hang with my son and have him want to hang out with me in search of hidden treasures, priceless!