October 11, 2009

Offline Pocket Queries

If you have visited your profile page on gecoacaching.com lately, you may have noticed a new feature was recently added for premium users called, "Offline Pocket Queries":

If you click on the link, you won't get much information about the feature. But luckily, there is a good explanation of it, as well as some discussion of its usefulness, in the forums. Following is the feature description that is provided there:

  • "Offline Pocket Queries allow Premium Members to upload customized .GPX files to the website for later use by the Geocaching iPhone Application and select mobile devices. 
  • This feature allows you to download a customized Pocket Query, alter the data in your preferred third party waypoint manager and upload the altered version to Geocaching.com for later download to your mobile device.
  • The website will currently accept GPX version 1.0 uploads in either .GPX or .ZIP format.
  • Premium Members may save up to 10 Offline Pocket Queries, which will remain on the website for a maximum of 7 days. The Offline Pocket Query will display in red when there are 2 days remaining before its removal. 
  • Please Note: .GPX files must be limited to 500 waypoints."

From what I can tell, this new feature is only for people who use their mobile devices (iPhones/Blackberrys) for geocaching, as it allows them to upload modified pocket queries (ie: pqs with  corrected coordinates, user created additional waypoints, etc.), and then retrieve those pocket queries onto their devices.

While it seems like a nice way to get caches with corrected coordinates onto your iPhone, I tend to agree with most of the people that commented on the forum that it probably won't benefit the majority of geocachers. The feature doesn't really have any value to people with traditional GPS receivers that load waypoint coordinates (corrected or otherwise) directly onto their devices; and for those cachers that do use iPhones, it's difficult to imagine too many of them using this feature on a regular basis.

Even though I use the iPhone geoacaching application on my iPodTouch since I can store my regular (unmodified) pocket queries and field notes there, I really have no need for this feature since I load all my waypoints on to my Garmin.

If you are an iPhone geocacher, and you use, or plan to use this new feature, I'd love to hear your reaction, and whether or not you think this is a great enhancement.

Cache On!

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