June 27, 2009

Geocaching Live

In case you weren't aware, a new beta service has been launched by Groundspeak called "Geocaching Live". Geocaching Live is a new "project focused on real-time social interactions among geocachers. While geocaching outdoors you can post logs, images and video related to your current geocaching adventure for others to see in real-time!".

While you can follow people's caching adventures in real-time from your desktop PC, it's really intended for use on mobile phones and PDA's. Unfortunately, my GPS-less mobile phone is  not one of the supported models. If you look at the live map, you'll notice that the service seems to be more popular in Europe than in the U.S. at the moment. I have to admit that it is kind of fun to follow other cachers in real-time:

If you have one of the supported mobile devices, you may want to give it a try and see what you think of it. If you do, please post your experiences here, as I'm very curious to hear your reactions and see if this service will start to enjoy widespread use.

Thanks, and Cache On!


June 20, 2009

New Geocaching iPhone App. Version Released

You may have noticed that Grounspeak released version 2.1 of their Geocaching iPhone/iPodTouch application this week. If you're not familiar with this tool, you can read more about it here, or, visit the Apple iTunes Store download page.

Some of the features added to this latest version include:
  • Updated user interface.
  • Three different map options now available: Street, Topo, and Satellite.
  • For each map type, you can select the map source.
  • Custom waypoints can be added to the navigation map - a must for multi-caches.
  • Your active pocket queries can be downloaded to your device and accessed while you are outside of network coverage!
That last bullet is my favorite, especially since I have an iPodTouch and not an iPhone. I usually bring the Touch with me when I'm out caching, but only to listen to music. Up until now, it had no real caching capabilities since the only way I could get geocaching or navigation information was if I happened to be near a wi-fi hot spot. I can't think of too many caching locations I've been to where a wi-fi signal was available.

But now that I can download my pocket queries to the device, I may start using the iPodTouch more than my current smartphone/cachemate solution. Following are some screenshots of the new pocket query feature on the iPodTouch:

 New Interface With Pocket Query Option

  List Of My Active Pocket Queries

Selected Pocket Query Ready to Download
List of Saved Pocket Queries on Device

Cache List From Selected Pocket Query
(each one contains all the cache info.)

The other nice thing is that downloading the pocket queries to the Touch goes much faster than loading them into cachemate on my smartphone. My only complaint so far is that not all of my pocket queries show up on the active list in my device, and I haven't figured out why that is.

But for now, this is good enough to start testing to decide if it will become my new paperless caching solution. Stay tuned.

Cache On!

June 14, 2009

Get Your Log Sheets Here

So you've been geocaching for a while now, and you've decided you're ready to give back to the community and hide your first cache. Well, good for you. But before you do, you'll definitely want to check out geocaching.com's brief guidelines and helpful hints in hiding your first geocache.

Whether you're getting ready to hide your first cache or your hundreth, one of the most time consuming parts of the process is creating an appropriate log sheet for your container. Lucky for us, there are plenty of kind cachers out there who have already created numerous log sheet templates and made them available online.

Following are links to some of the web sites I've used to download and print different log sheets for some of my caches:

This site contains a slew of different size, styles, and colors of log sheets; free for the downloading.

You can purchase rite in the rain sheets here, or scroll further down and print out pdf versions of 4 different sized templates.

Micro-cache log sheet, by Lil Devil
A micro log sheet in MS Word format that you can modify to suit your needs.

I'm sure there are other sites out there besides these that provide pre-made logs, but these are definitely three of my favorite. Now, go hide that cache!

Cache On!

June 7, 2009

New and Improved "Cache Along a Route" Filter

With the summer traveling season approaching, it's nice to know that geocaching.com allows you to select out just the caches you want along a route that you define (point A to point B), which you can then load into your GPS receiver. Those of you who have used this function in the past may be interested to know that there is a new and improved means to accomplish this task. You can still do it the old fashioned way if you prefer, but why would you when it's much simpler now?

Now all you do is click on the "Create A Route" link under the "My Profile" page, select your begin and end points and your search radius (buffer), and then "Save Route Changes":

This takes you to the "Create/Edit a Route" page, where you can add additional information about your route, and then save it as a pocket query and/or a gpx file:

Once you save the route as a pocket query, you will now have access to a list of all the caches along that route, within a given radius of the route, for your use. It doesn't get much simpler or sweeter.

Cache On!

June 1, 2009

The Saga Continues

I recently posted a piece on a Challenge Cache that a friend and I are doing called the Lil Devil Challenge which requires the successful geocacher to find all the hidden caches in Mt. Diablo State Park. During our most recent outing, we were able to find 9 out of the 10 caches we attempted that day.

One of the problems we're having, besides a few DNF's, is that new cahces keep getting added within the Park boundaries almost as fast as we find the existing hides. Three new caches were hidden there just in the last week.

In any event, here are our current stats:
  • Total Finds: 37
  • Total DNFs: 4
  • Total Yet-To-Find: 38
You can follow along on this map of our progress.

Cache On!