October 30, 2011

Geosphere Is The One

I've been using the Groundspeak geocaching app on my iTouch since its inception, but over time as newer versions have been released, it has become more and more frustrating to use. I'm not sure if it's become more bloated and therefore less stable on my 4th generation iPodTouch, or if it is really just geared for use on an iPhone and not so much for off-line use.

Whatever the reason, it has gotten to the point where the app crashes every-time I wake my iTouch from sleep mode, requiring me to relaunch the app each time (which, incidentally, seems to take forever). My other complaint about this app is that it takes too long to scroll through a list of 1,000 caches to pull up a specific cache listing; especially if the cache name happens to begin with a letter near the end of the alphabet.

These ongoing frustrations finally prompted me to look for another solution. And I think I have found it in Geosphere. This app. overcomes all the problems with the gc.com app listed above as it starts up instantly, it never crashes, and it has a great search and scroll function so I can pull up any cache that I want, instantly.

Not only that, but it is incredibly feature-rich, sporting much more functionality than the gc.com iOS app. For example, you can load caches onto your device from a variety of sources including your own pocket queries as well as from email messages containing gpx files and from your dropbox account, to name a few. It also has an impressive search, filter and sort tool that allows you to pull up any cache or caches that you could want.

This powerful little app. has so many features and so much functionality, it's impossible to list them all here. So instead, here's the Geosphere quick start video that'll give you a taste of the power of this $7.99 app:

I've been using it for a few days now, and am completely sold. Unless something completely unexpected happens, I don't see myself ever going back to the gc.com app.

Cache On!

October 22, 2011

Time To Plan Your Free 2012 Park Visits

Get out your calendars, because the National Parks Service has just announced their 17 "fee-free" days for 2012. And yes, I know most National Parks do not allow any geocaches, other than virtual caches, within the park boundaries. But that's no reason not to visit these wonderful places; especially when they are free. Besides, who doesn't love picking up a virtual cache now and then?

Cache On!

October 15, 2011

Park District Announces Geocaching Guidelines

My favorite park district, the East Bay Regional Park District, developed their own set of geocaching guidelines and posted them on their website this week. The Park District spans Alameda and Contra Costa counties east of San Francisco with 108,000+ acres in 65 parks including over 1,200 miles of trails for hiking, biking, horseback riding and nature study. 

The Park District has always been friendly to the geocaching community, and it's no coincidence that a good chunk of my overall cache finds have been on EBRPD land. It was nice to see them come out with their own set of geocaching guidelines, to not only acknowledge that they support caching on EBRPD land, but to ensure that geocaching is conducted in a responsible and sustainable manner within their jurisdiction.

For the most part, the EBRPD guidelines are based on the standard Groundspeak guidelines, but they've also included a few of their own, such as:

  • Caches shall be clearly labeled with “Geocache” on the exterior;
  • Cache containers shall be of a “neutral” nature so as not to cause alarm or concern;
  • Caches that have been abandoned or not maintained will be considered as litter and removed by the District;
  • Caches shall not be placed in a way that causes the development of new “unofficial” trails;
  • Caches are not allowed within 100’ of streams, lakes, marshes, or wetlands.

Kudos to the Park District for developing these guidelines, which could serve as a model for other park agencies. Are you listening National Park Service?

Cache On!

October 2, 2011

Tid Bits

Some geocaching and semi-geocaching-related items from this past week:

1. Google Earth Version 6.1 Released
Includes improved line labeling functionality and a better Street View experience in Tours.

2. Google Maps Adds 3D Driving Directions
Let Google Maps take you on a virtual tour from point A to point B. Just click on the new, 3D button:

3. Geocachers NYC
A nicely done website and YouTube Channel that chronicles the caching adventures of our hosts and their special guests through relatively unknown sections of New York City.

4. Geocaching iPhone App. Update
Version 4.5.6 adds features that allow premium users to add/remove Favorite points, and fixes bugs related to travel bug dropping and favorites lists.

Until next time,
Cache On!