Opencaching.com Also Adds New Features

Probably overshadowed by the release of Groundspeak’s Geocaching Challenges are the site updates that Garmin’s OpenCaching.com has released.

The updates are interesting additions to the OpenCaching.com site with one update in particular appearing to head in the opposite direction to Groundspeak’s update.

Garmin has added new functionality to its handheld units by adding ‘Verify a Find’. The update provides OpenCaching.com cache seekers the ability to prove that they actually found the cache.

There are four possible ways to verify that you’ve actually found a geocache: chirp, Scan QR Code, Manual Entry or Code Phrase. Which of these are available depends on how the geocache owner wants you to verify the find, and what your device is capable of.

It’s worth noting that the CO has to make the cache verifiable first. Looking at these options in a little more detail:

Verifying with chirp

If your handheld is ANT+ “Share Wireless” compatible, you will be able to verify supported geocaches using chirp. This method of verification requires only that you be connected to the chirp associated to the geocache. If you are currently not connected, selecting the chirp verification method will begin searching for any nearby chirp devices.

Verifying by QR Code

If your handheld has a camera, you will be able to verify supported geocaches by scanning a QR (Quick Reference) code that is hidden with the geocache. When this method is selected, your camera will launch in a special mode that requires you only place the QR Code clearly in your viewfinder. Your handheld will alert you when it has automatically decoded and stored the verification information.

Verifying Manually

Selecting manual entry of a verification code will present you with a 6-digit keyboard entry. Enter the code hidden with the geocache to store the verification information.

Verifying by Code Phrase (Virtuals Only)

If the particular geocache you are finding is a Virtual type, a Code Phrase will be required to verify your find. Enter the Code Phrase using the keyboard provided to store the verification information.

The thing that perplexes me about this is that it seems to be solving a problem that I didn’t know existed. I know that occasionally there is reason to wonder if someone actually visited the cache but the issue hardly seems large enough to warrant such an upgrade.

And this seems to be directly opposed to the track Groundspeak has taken with the new Challenges where trust is put into the players to play the game appropriately, with the idea that if they cheat they are really only cheating themselves. So whilst Groundspeak has allowed itself to trust cachers more, Garmin has elected to provide them with an option to prove they visited a cache.

With this, it also takes advantage of the current QR code fads and builds into the brand’s units some of this technology.

The update also allows OpenCaching.com cache seekers with Garmin units the ability to rate each cache on the go.

There’s no better time to record your geocaching experience than right after you’ve found (or spent the last twenty minutes not finding) it. If the geocache came from OpenCaching.com, you’ll see the option “Rate Geocache” on the logging page of your Garmin handheld. Selecting “Rate Geocache” will present you with a fast, four-step wizard for recording your take on that geocache. When you visit OpenCaching.com with your handheld connected to a computer, your ratings will already be filled out for every geocache you’ve logged that needs uploaded.



  1. Dont Call Me sir

    I get the impression it’s an optional thing. Did a 5/5 and don’t want people saying “hey, there’s know way you did that cache, Fatty!”, show ’em the proof, right?

    On the ratings thing, I LOVE Garmin’s rating system. Best in class hands down. First it is a finer grain than any others, second it is a combination of owner setting and community rating and third it rates all four areas that really ought to be rated; Difficulty, Terrain, Size and Wow.

  2. Captain Caveman

    This is not really about trusting the cache finders. It’s about control of the market. I will bet the price of a nice new Magellan eXplorist GC that OpenCaching.com – the site which announced how “everything is free” and “we don’t need your steeeenking Premium Memberships” – is about to introduce caches with digitally-verified logging, available only to owners of late-model, geocaching-enabled Garmin devices.

    So instead of paying $30 to evil Groundspeak, with their propaganda about “catered staff lunches” feebly trying to cover up for their heavily-armed corporate jets based in secret fortified underground caves where Jeremy sits stroking his cat, you’ll have to have paid $300 for a high-end GPS to those anti-capitalist hippy types at nice cuddly Garmin (don’t mention the HQ in a tax haven, please) in order to be able to log these caches.

  3. Bruce Milne on Facebook

    Are you betting with my GC??

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