October 16, 2010

Garmin Chirp

Garmin released The Chirp yesterday, a wireless beacon device that can communicate with, and be programmed by, any compatible wireless-enabled Garmin handheld (such as the Dakota, Oregon and GPSMAP 62 and 78 series devices). Chirp can be used to store hints, multicache coordinates, count visitors and confirm the cache is nearby. 

Apparently you would use this to load cache hints and/or coordinates for stages of multi-cache, and place it inside your cache container. Then, anyone with a compatible device can access those hints and coordinates when they are within range (32 feet) of the cache. 

I'm having trouble wrapping my head around this one, as it raises a number of questions: mainly,  "Why?".  $22.95 seems like a lot of money to pay for a device that will only help a small minority of cachers who own compatible devices to not have to manually type in the coordinate pairs of a multi-cache stage. Also, it would seem that Chirps, or entire caches containing Chirps, would be much more likely to go "missing" from the field. I'd hate to have to continually replace it at 23 bucks a pop.

Maybe there's more to it than I'm seeing at first glance. If you are using a Chirp, or plan to, I'd love to hear from you. GPSFix has a pretty detailed review of the device, and even though they seem to like it, I'm still not convinced. Some of the commenter's on this GPSTracklog review are equally as skeptical. In addition, apparently Groundspeak is not approving any Chirp-only caches due to the exclusivity of the equipment required, which could be problematic for Chirp-owners.

Cache On!

1 comment:

Erika Jean said...

It sounds neat, but I'm with you... I think these would go missing a lot. I get annoyed with a $5 tb goes missing, I'd hate to kiss 20 bucks goodbye! Even if the cache owner secured it to the cache... I bet we would see the whole cache go missing... I wonder too how they would hold up in extreme heat and cold.