October 19, 2008

iPhone Geocaching

If you're lucky enough to own one of the new iPhone G3's (I wish), then you might be interested in some of the geocaching applications that are cropping up in the iTunes App. Store. Since the new iPhone uses a combination of GPS, Wi-Fi positioning and cell towers to determine your approximate location, it makes for an ideal Geocaching device.

Here's a brief run-down of some of the iPhone Geocaching Apps. currently available:

  • Groundspeak's Geocaching iPhone Application. Cost: $9.99. Just released this week. Boasts direct access to Geocaching.com's database of worldwide geocaches; searches by current location, address or look-up code; allows you to save geocache listings for quick retrieval; navigates to geocaches with a simulated compass arrow; and provides trackable item details. Some of the early reviews are mixed, with the majority of complaints being that the application does not allow you to log in to your account, filter your found caches, or let you log your finds and trackables. Supposedly, however, some of these features will be available in future versions of the application.
  • iGeoCacher. Cost: $14.99. Stores cache information "off-line" in an SQL database on your device, allowing for true paperless caching. Also provides seamless integration with the on-board GPS. This received many positive reviews from users, although there were some complaints about apparent set up difficulties.
  • Geofinder. Cost: $0.99. Allows you to list the geocaches closest to your current location. Reviews were not very positive. Many felt you are better off just using the Safari browser on your iPhone to access the geocaching.com web site directly, or spending an extra $1.00 for Geopher Lite.
  • Geopher Lite. Cost: $1.99. This was one of the first iPhone geocaching applications that came out and has received positive reviews. It allows you to check your current location via geocaching.com for geocaches in your area, then use the built-in directional arrow to lead you to your destination. Note that there are some on-going issues concerning the Groundspeak terms of use, which you can read more about in the Geopher blog in the link above.
  • Geocaching Toolkit iGCT. Cost: Free. Helps you solve multi-caches and puzzle caches out in the field by providing numerous waypoint calculation, text calculation, and hint decryption tools. Received very high review ratings.
  • Seek Cache. Cost: $0.99. Similar to Geofinder above. Sends your location (based on your iPhone's GPS/Wi-Fi derived location) to geocaching.com and returns a list of nearby caches. Reviews were mixed.
You can search the iTunes App Store using the key word, "Navigation" or "Geocaching" to look for updates to and reviews of the applications listed here, as well as any new geocaching tools that become available.

Enjoy, and happy iCaching!

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