Treasure-hunters of the world can sleep soundly now that the official Geocaching application from Groundspeak has finally been released.
Groundspeak are the people behind the largest cache database on the web, Geocaching.com. If the term is new to you, geocaching is a treasure-hunting game in which participants use GPS to hide and seek treasure troves in different outdoor locations around the world. Generally the caches themselves contain nothing of any significant value, the game being more about the act searching than the “treasure” itself.
Other third-party apps with similar functionality have been available, but Geocaching is the first to link directly to geocaching.com for real-time updates of cache information. Other features include proximity-based cache location searching, easy navigation using a simulated compass arrow, on-the-go item detail and goals lookup, and difficulty ratings for easy outing planning.
While the app also provides access to “Logs”, or notes left by previous finders, it does not currently allow users to log from the application itself. Future updates promise logging, however, and the ability to filter your own previous cache hides and finds from your search results.
If you’ve ever used your iPhone 3G to find say, the location of a house party, you know what to expect out of the phone’s GPS functionality. Yes, it is helpful when you’re not sure where you’re going, but no, it’s not a replacement for a top-of-the line handheld GPS device designed for hiking. Location updates are slow, and it’s not always easy to get an accurate fix depending on tree cover and other environmental factors. Better to use it to locate and store cache coordinates and to check logged tips, photos, and descriptions to help you find exactly what you’re looking for.
Geocaching 1.0 is available now in the App Store for $9.99.