Garmin Launches Official OpenCaching Clients for iPhone and Android

When OpenCaching.com launched, one of the big questions on everyone’s mind was – Will Garmin support non-Garmin devices on the site? Today we have an answer: Yes, yes they will.

Garmin has launched official geocaching clients for the OpenCaching.com site today for iPhone and Android based devices. Since I use an iPhone, the screenshots are from that version. All the usual features one would expect are here in the app.

You can lookup caches (50 at a time), navigate to them via map or compass, log them or …. hide caches. Yes I just said hide caches. While Groundspeak has the idea of hiding a cache with your smartphone  ”under consideration” (or do they?) … , Garmin – a GPS company – is enabling people to create or even publish caches from their smartphones while in the field. The app does indicate position error when grabbing the co-ords, but it remains to be seen whether we’ll see a lot of inaccurate placements, better than expected smartphone GPS performance, or simply people using the app to mock up their cache listings to be finished later. There’s nothing stopping a person from submitting this as a “Draft” to OpenCaching then just copying that info over to Geocaching.com as well.

The app also includes a “Guide” so you have the Opencaching guidelines right there in the field. Handy when you’re thinking about a placement, and aren’t sure if that would be allowed.

Multi caches are supported as well, you can create additional waypoints for a cache from the compass screen – click the waypoint symbol with the + on it in the top right, and carry on caching.

You can mark caches as Favorites (not Favourites in Canada ….) and you have a “Logbook” icon where you can see all your log entries to date.

The app is free (vs $9.99 for Groundspeak’s) but that is to be expected when the site is trying to get a foothold in the market. Links to OpenCaching.com downloads are at the end of this article. Try it out, see how you like it. Compare it to Cache Me if you use iPhone

Some screenshots from the App:

OpenCaching: Prep for the hunt

OpenCaching: Map Search

OpenCaching: Cache Details

OpenCaching: Filter

OpenCaching: Nav by Map

OpenCaching: Nav by Compass

OpenCaching: Log a Cache

OpenCaching: Share a cache

OpenCaching: Hide a Cache

OpenCaching: Hide a cache - Coordinate Entry

[ Garmin OpenCaching iPhone ] [ Garmin OpenCaching Android ] [ Garmin OpenCaching Blog Post ]

Related Posts:

Android: Google Maps Navigation Now Routes Around Traffic

Google Maps Navigation Traffic Example (via Google Latlong)

Got an Android smartphone with Google Maps Navigation? Not only are you getting free turn by turn navigation software, but now that offering includes real time traffic – and auto routing around that traffic. Since Google offers traffic and Navigation in the Toronto area, this feature should be useful to more than a few of the local cachers here. The app will also take into account historical traffic – so it’ll know that the 410 is plugged on Monday mornings at 7:30AM for example. Of course that also means it’ll probably botch the traffic on Ontario’s new Family Day holiday too.

GPSTracklog points out on Twitter, this could also have the negative effect of creating even more situations where your GPS directs you into harm’s way.

[ Google Latlong Blog ] [ Google Mobile Announce (Twitter) ]

Related Posts:

Mapquest for Android Released – Turn by Turn and OSM

Mapquest has released a turn-by-turn navigation app for Android devices. There is also a slightly different iPhone and Blackberry product line, but this item deals with the Android version.

Mapquest for Android can also use OpenStreetMap data to boot, so you also get access to trails, traffic/police warnings and other user contributed data, and maps for international areas Mapquest doesn’t cover. If a street is missing, you can add it on the OpenStreetMap site.

While Android devices in the USA include free turn-by-turn navigation, international users (including Canadians) are often left out in the cold. The app is also useful if you travel to an area not covered by the built-in navigation app.

From the Android Marketplace Description:

FREE voice-guided, turn-by-turn navigation app for AndroidFEATURES:
• Absolutely FREE – There’s no trial period, subscription, or upgrade necessary.  You get all these capabilities absolutely free!

• Voice-Guided/Turn-by-Turn Navigation – Your phone speaks to you, telling you when to make a turn.

• Voice Search – Speak your destination or your search, for hands-free input.

• Place Map Toolbar – Look for restaurants, coffee shops, gas stations, etc. with one 1-click.

• Auto Re-route – If you take a wrong turn, it will your route will be automatically adjusted your route to get you to your destination.

• Walking & Driving Directions – Choose to walk or drive and we’ll give you the best route either way.

• Live Traffic Flow/Incidents – Extensive coverage that’s updated every 5 minutes, to help – to keep you on time.

• Map Rotates in Orientation of Travel – So your map is easier to read (with ability the option to lock to north up).

• Satellite Maps, CitySearch Reviews, and more!

• OpenStreetMap (OSM) Map Setting – User-sourced maps can provide unique local perspective and detail.

• Bug Logging for OSM – Standing in front of a new building? Report it to the community and they’ll fill in the missing pieces.

• Bug Logging for OSM – Identify trouble spots in the data for an enthusiast to update, improving the maps.

• International Maps – Automatic OSM maps for international users, so you can– allows users to take MapQuest abroad.

[ Mapquest for Android ] [ Mapquest 4 Mobile iPhone ] [ Mapquest 4 Mobile Blackberry ]

Related Posts:

OpenCaching App for Android and iPhone

Cache Me iTunes

Back in December, Garmin launched that Opencaching.com listing service to compete with Geocaching.com. One of the big speculation items has been, would Garmin embrace non Garmin tech or would the site become just a marketing tool for Garmin products. Would they, for example, support smartphone users? Turns out, with that Opencaching API, Garmin doesn’t have to.

Enter “Cache Me”, by iTravel Tech. “Cache Me” is a free, third-party,  geocaching application for Android and iPhone owners that provides listing information for up to 100 nearby geocaches. It was developed in under a month, which is much, much quicker than Groundspeak’s applictions for Geocaching.com. Note this app will ONLY interact with Opencaching.com, in fact it’s the first geocaching app I’ve seen that doesn’t try to use any data or service from Geocaching.com at all. t

The app shows how an open API can allow third party developers to improve the customer experience for the listing site, and how smaller developers can roll something out the door quickly. Cache Me is a “live data” application, and results are returned in realtime from the site. Being a full API application, there’s no need to scrape the Opencaching.com website and the result is a much faster experience than some other third party caching tools (and there’s no fear of user account bans either).

Some of the nice features that Cache Me delivers:

When you start the application, it immediately performs a search for nearby caches – up to 100 of them in version 1.4. The search took about 2 seconds to complete on my iPhone 4. You are presented a list but one finger tap and you can view them on a map instead. Pan the map anywhere, pinch to zoom in and out, or change the map from street to satellite or have a hybrid. Pan somewhere else and tap refresh if you want to recenter your search on another part of the map (road trip anyone?).  Tap on a pin to see the cache description – the cache automatically becomes your target.

Cache Me - List of Caches Cache Me - Map of Caches Cache Me - Compass Screen - Note the 65m accuracy reflects that I was indoors when I did this

Once you select a cache, you will be presented with a summary screen. Here you can see who placed the cache, when (including the time!) and how it fares on the various Opencaching.com metrics – Awesomeness, Terrain, Size and Difficulty. Scroll the screen down and you will find the description text. At the bottom are options to view the hint, and up to 30 recent log entries.

Cache Me - Summary Screen Cache Me - Description Cache Me - Log Screen

The app does have some drawbacks, however.

Most noticable is the complete lack of tools for logging on site – there’s no log function within the app and I have not found an easy way to open that cache in the browser easily either.

The app does not feature any tools for handling puzzles or multi stage caches.

Still, the application was out the door 30 days after Opencaching.com launched. It’s under active development and more functionality is bound to be heading to the program. It will be interesting to see how this develops, and if it drives any innovation for the Groundspeak smartphone applications, or the Groundspeak API.

[ iTravel Tech ] [ Cache Me iTunes Link ] [ Cache Me Android ] [ Cache Me Facebook Page ]

Related Posts:

Deal Alert: Glider Gloves

If you go caching with a modern smartphone, chances are it has a capacitive display. Capacitive displays require your skin to actually touch the screen, so they don’t work well with gloves on. If you have been out caching in Ontario over the last few downright bone-chilling days, and writing logs on your iPhone/Droid or what-not – well, you may be missing an index finger or two. The solution to this is gloves that weave capacitive material into them.

There are a few companies with solutions, and there’s a Canadian solution (of course)  – that is Brampton based Glider Gloves. I bought a pair of these for my wife and they work very well. Teambuy.ca, which is similar to Groupon but more aimed at Canadians has a deal going on their site for these gloves – $15 including shipping (normally $24.99 + shipping) so if you are looking this is the time to jump on the deal, which expires in two days.

Related Posts:

Geocaching App for Android Updated to 1.1.3

Here’s a little something we missed a few days ago (January 12th) – Groundspeak’s official Geocaching App for Android was updated to 1.1.3.
You can now upload photos with your logs and select motion based compass.

From the Geocaching.com forum post, here’s what changed:

Android v1.1.3 has been released!

New Features:
* Upload photos with logs.

* Log manager to edit pending logs and view sent logs.

* Motion based compass is now an available option.

* Create, edit, delete, and select waypoints from the compass.

Bug Fixes:
* Fixed an issue that was causing erratic compass behavior.

* Behind the scenes improvements.

Related Posts:

SPOT Connect coming for Smartphones

SPOT Connect Here’s a neat little gem to come out of the CES show.

Now, you can get the functionality of the SPOT+Delorme Communicator package, using your smartphone device. The initial offering will be for Android users and other devices will be announced later.

The device pairs with your smartphone (running an app)  over Bluetooth and provides GPS location for your smartphone and – here’s where it gets interesting – the SPOT satellite communication services. This literally means you can do things like send a text message, update Twitter or Facebook with your location, or call for rescue even though you are many kilometers away from Bell, Telus or Rogers coverage (it uses satellite).  The SPOT Connect also lets you share your location in real time using Google Maps, so you can set up a hike tracker or share your location on that uber cache adventure to get 4.5lb Walleye.

The MSRP for the device is $169 USD and requires a SPOT service plan, these start at $99/year. It will launch at the end of January.

Related Posts: