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Game On: Garmin's OpenCaching.com Beta is launched

Rich over at GPStracklog.com was one of the first to notice that Opencaching.com Beta has gone live this morning. When I read the post I immediately had the Imperial March theme from Star Wars pop into my head. Watch the Imperial March on youtube

Garmin have blogged on the launch and the following is a few select bites from that:

Today we’re excited to announce the creation of OpenCaching.com, a completely free online community for creating, sharing and finding geocaches around the world.

With the announcement of OpenCaching.com, we’re also introducing Opie, our helpful and fun-loving mascot, and a new Twitter home@OpenCache – for all things OpenCaching.

“Garmin is extending its reputation for ease of use even further into geocaching, creating the most intuitive experience possible,” said Dan Bartel, Garmin’s vice president of worldwide sales. “By making it free and easy to download every detail of every cache, Opencaching.com will introduce more people to this great activity and show them just how fun, easy and rewarding it can be. OpenCaching.com gives us a chance to go beyond the development of hardware and software and interact directly with the vibrant global community of cachers.”

Cachers can quickly get credit for cross-listed caches found on other sites and easily add existing caches they own to OpenCaching.com, where they can also be tagged and enhanced with more helpful information.

OpenCaching.com will work with any device or software package that can read GPX files, regardless of manufacturer.

They have also introduced their new mascot:

With the announcement of OpenCaching.com, we’re also introducing Opie, our helpful and fun-loving mascot, and a new Twitter home@OpenCache – for all things OpenCaching.

I’ve signed up to opencaching.com to take a look and see what was on offer. I was immediately impressed by the look of the site and the simplicity of it:

The OpenCaching.com home screen

Remembering that the site is still in BETA phase there do seem to be a few kinks to iron out. At times the site is fairly slow and some pages seem to need a refresh to get user information to show up. I’m sure these will be ironed out in time. Uploading my finds from a GPX file was simple and within a few minutes my finds where all showing on my Opencaching.com profile. I also imported a number of my own caches to see how the process worked. It is quite simple but some work will be required making it all look pretty again – here is a good example (link may not be accessible until it is published). Having edited and published the caches keep popping back up in my draft list – so I don’t know if they are happening or not. There is also no easy way to review a listing before sending it off for publishing (that I can see). I’m also slightly concerned about what will stop someone uploading the details of someone else’s cache – there doesn’t seem to be anything stopping this at present. But the listing page looks good and the rating system is kinda cool:

Pineapple Rock (Otago) by Cumbyrocks

 

It will certainly be interesting to see how the site develops over time. I’ve spent the last couple of hours using it and whilst the simplicity is good I’ve found it too simple and yearned for all the other options that geocaching.com brings. It will possibly be a very good way to introduce newbies to the game, as gc.com can be a little overwhelming at first. The concept of a place for any cache from any listing service to be found is a good one but I suspect this will only be of value if everyone embraces the site and loads their caches into it.

Right now I’m going to spend a little more time playing with the site and will report back later.

 

2 comments

4 pings

  1. Lone R

    I’m loving the rating system – finders get to rate the D/T, the size, and the awesomeness. This is definitely necessary for an open system otherwise it might get too overwhelming.

  2. arif

    I like your writing, always successful

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