TAG :: Toronto Area Geocachers » app

Oct 23 2011

Map and Menu – Geocache Navigator

Trimble has launched an updated version to their venerable Geocache Navigator software. The new version has moved the app from it’s roots as a first generation smart phone application to a touch screen aware smart phone app. If you are a BlackBerry user you will want to read CacheMania’s review of the new version of Geocache Navigator.

Aug 10 2011

Not for the feint of heart, but GSAK – the Geocaching Swiss Army Knife has posted a beta of the next major version. Version 8 is going to be a chargeable upgrade, but in the mean time you can play with the beta version using your version 7 registration key.

The big update here is that you can interact with the Geocaching.com public API using GSAK 8. This is an extremely useful bit of functionality – just think about the potential for this in the macro section for example

Clyde calls out three main changes over V7:

Version 8 includes many changes since Version 7, but probably the 3 biggest of note are:

1. Increased functionality by leveraging the new Groundspeak api 2. Support for custom data (virtually unlimited number of fields)

3. A newer, more modern look and feel

The rest of the changes are located here.

If you are a macro developer, or a GSAK power user who wants to try the new program before it’s complete go on over and download it. If you are not ready to use potentially broken software, or put up with bugs wait until the final release.

[ GSAK ]

Aug 09 2011

A couple weeks ago (July 20), a new app quietly popped up in the  App Store by Pi-Soft Consulting. These are the guys who brought us the Wherigo player for iPhone which later became Groundspeak’s official Wherigo App for iPhone. The new app is called GeoBeacon …. it enables another technology that is used for geocaching, namely Garmin’s Chirp beacons.

The $1.99 app requires you to purchase a $80 Fisica key before you can use it. These are sold as Wahoo Fisica (pictured above), or you can also get the one from Digifit. This adds the important Ant+ technology to your iPhone, since the iPhone doesn’t have it built in.  Once you have the app and the Fisica key, you simply open the app and use it to locate … or even program a Garmin Chirp. I have seen the Fisica key at Mountain Equipment Co-Op, might be a good spot to check before you import one from the USA.

The app can read a Chirp, program a Chirp, plot Chirp waypoints on a map. It’ll show you all the details including the number of visitors and when the last visit was, plus the run time and battery condition. One nice touch is the app will store lots of Chirp data rather than overwriting it immediately like the Garmin units do if another beacon comes in range.

The Fisica key is also useful outside the GeoBeacon app, so don’t feel like you’re spending $82 just to find a Chirp cache (though it is less than the average Garmin GPS with Chirp costs). I also use the Fisica key with my Garmin Heart Rate Monitor to keep track of my runs with RunKeeper.

Here’s a few screen shots from the app:

Connecting to a Chirp

Here the beacon data is being read. It’s kinda neat how it “paints” in bit by bit.

Here’s a detail screen that you get after the data is loaded. See the battery status?

Chirp details plotted on the map. Leave it to Pi-Soft to include the map view.

[ GeoBeacon (iTunes) ] [ Garmin Chirp ]

Jul 05 2011

Well, Groundspeak has updated the iPhone app again. But this update is significant – it’s the first one to use the new Geocaching API and it shows. The immediate benefit is that the app is a little quicker and there is a new “Advanced Search” screen that lets you filter like crazy. You can turn on / off certain cache types, set a range for difficulty or terrain, pick certain sizes and … drumroll here …. you can filter caches that up to four of your geocaching friends have already found. How’s that for curing those “which cache is next?” arguments at the car!

Some teaser screen shots:

The GC app will update it’s database the first time you run it. Signs of big changes

… and you’ll have to re-authenticate due to the API

New Authentication Dialog

The API authentication is similar to apps like Twitter and Facebook now. See that “Allow Access” button?

Advanced Search Screen

Hidden at the bottom of the Advanced Search screen, you can filter out caches four of your friends have already found.

Head on over to the app store to get the update (or buy it).

From Groundspeak’s release notes:

Updates include:

  • New Advanced Search to filter by location, cache type, difficulty/terrain, keyword, exclude your finds, exclude finds for up to 4 friends, and Premium caches
  • Sync Personal Cache Notes between the website and your iPhone
  • Create multiple offline cache lists to plan outings; useful when you may be travelling outside network coverage
  • Download Pocket Queries to the iPhone to view cache details, images, and map tiles offline
  • Numerous bug fixes to address performance and reliability

[ Geocaching App for iPhone ] [ Release Notes ]

Apr 04 2011

Groundspeak’s Geocaching App

Over the weekend, Groundspeak launched an update to their Windows Phone 7 app.  From their forum post, here’s the details:


Below is a list of updates for version 2.2 of the Geocaching for Windows Phone 7 Application. Given the scope of changes in this release it is recommended you reinstall the application and powercycle your device.

New features:

  • Mark and navigate to new waypoints from within the app (helpful when seeking Multi-caches)
  • Option in settings to allow the application to run under the lock screen
  • Quickly download Pocket Queries in batches of 10, 20, or 30 caches to save time or limit data usage
  • Italian and French language support

Bug fixes:

  • Enhanced stability and addressed connection errors
  • The compass now works with offline caches
  • Application state now persists when you exit the app (this was an issue particularly with viewing PQs)

[ Geocaching on Windows Phone 7 ]

Mar 15 2011

PiGo, our favourite iPhone app for visiting Wherigo caches (and Wherigo adventures) got a minor update last night. Notable improvements include auto-saving timing, and improved compatibility for cartridges. One of the fixes includes improved support for CurrentDistance and CurrentBearing functions [Source: Earwigo WWB Developer List]

[ PiGo (iTunes) ]

Feb 24 2011

Garmin’s OpenCaching.com site is nearing another milestone – the ability for third parts apps to edit (or delete!) geocaches and logs via the OpenCaching API.

If you’re just interested in geocaching, not writing apps, that’s pretty much all I need to say. The ability to edit logs on the fly is coming, and soon you will be able to log caches in the field without going to the web page.

If you’re a developer, this is where things get interesting. You will need to use OAuth for your app to gain access to the API. Garmin admits this is a tricky thing so they’ve set up a test server at test.opencaching.com.  This is a spot where you can test writing data to the site without worrying about creating bogus data – they reset the site once a week actually.

To get started, you should take a look at the API documentation on OAuth, and make sure you have a developer key.

Thanks cachemania for the tip

[ OpenCaching API Write Access Announcement ]

Feb 16 2011

Mapquest has released a turn-by-turn navigation app for Android devices. There is also a slightly different iPhone and Blackberry product line, but this item deals with the Android version.

Mapquest for Android can also use OpenStreetMap data to boot, so you also get access to trails, traffic/police warnings and other user contributed data, and maps for international areas Mapquest doesn’t cover. If a street is missing, you can add it on the OpenStreetMap site.

While Android devices in the USA include free turn-by-turn navigation, international users (including Canadians) are often left out in the cold. The app is also useful if you travel to an area not covered by the built-in navigation app.

From the Android Marketplace Description:

FREE voice-guided, turn-by-turn navigation app for AndroidFEATURES:
• Absolutely FREE – There’s no trial period, subscription, or upgrade necessary.  You get all these capabilities absolutely free!

• Voice-Guided/Turn-by-Turn Navigation – Your phone speaks to you, telling you when to make a turn.

• Voice Search – Speak your destination or your search, for hands-free input.

• Place Map Toolbar – Look for restaurants, coffee shops, gas stations, etc. with one 1-click.

• Auto Re-route – If you take a wrong turn, it will your route will be automatically adjusted your route to get you to your destination.

• Walking & Driving Directions – Choose to walk or drive and we’ll give you the best route either way.

• Live Traffic Flow/Incidents – Extensive coverage that’s updated every 5 minutes, to help – to keep you on time.

• Map Rotates in Orientation of Travel – So your map is easier to read (with ability the option to lock to north up).

• Satellite Maps, CitySearch Reviews, and more!

• OpenStreetMap (OSM) Map Setting – User-sourced maps can provide unique local perspective and detail.

• Bug Logging for OSM – Standing in front of a new building? Report it to the community and they’ll fill in the missing pieces.

• Bug Logging for OSM – Identify trouble spots in the data for an enthusiast to update, improving the maps.

• International Maps – Automatic OSM maps for international users, so you can– allows users to take MapQuest abroad.

[ Mapquest for Android ] [ Mapquest 4 Mobile iPhone ] [ Mapquest 4 Mobile Blackberry ]

Jan 25 2011

Back in December, Garmin launched that Opencaching.com listing service to compete with Geocaching.com. One of the big speculation items has been, would Garmin embrace non Garmin tech or would the site become just a marketing tool for Garmin products. Would they, for example, support smartphone users? Turns out, with that Opencaching API, Garmin doesn’t have to.

Enter “Cache Me”, by iTravel Tech. “Cache Me” is a free, third-party,  geocaching application for Android and iPhone owners that provides listing information for up to 100 nearby geocaches. It was developed in under a month, which is much, much quicker than Groundspeak’s applictions for Geocaching.com. Note this app will ONLY interact with Opencaching.com, in fact it’s the first geocaching app I’ve seen that doesn’t try to use any data or service from Geocaching.com at all. t

The app shows how an open API can allow third party developers to improve the customer experience for the listing site, and how smaller developers can roll something out the door quickly. Cache Me is a “live data” application, and results are returned in realtime from the site. Being a full API application, there’s no need to scrape the Opencaching.com website and the result is a much faster experience than some other third party caching tools (and there’s no fear of user account bans either).

Some of the nice features that Cache Me delivers:

When you start the application, it immediately performs a search for nearby caches – up to 100 of them in version 1.4. The search took about 2 seconds to complete on my iPhone 4. You are presented a list but one finger tap and you can view them on a map instead. Pan the map anywhere, pinch to zoom in and out, or change the map from street to satellite or have a hybrid. Pan somewhere else and tap refresh if you want to recenter your search on another part of the map (road trip anyone?).  Tap on a pin to see the cache description – the cache automatically becomes your target.

Once you select a cache, you will be presented with a summary screen. Here you can see who placed the cache, when (including the time!) and how it fares on the various Opencaching.com metrics – Awesomeness, Terrain, Size and Difficulty. Scroll the screen down and you will find the description text. At the bottom are options to view the hint, and up to 30 recent log entries.

The app does have some drawbacks, however.

Most noticable is the complete lack of tools for logging on site – there’s no log function within the app and I have not found an easy way to open that cache in the browser easily either.

The app does not feature any tools for handling puzzles or multi stage caches.

Still, the application was out the door 30 days after Opencaching.com launched. It’s under active development and more functionality is bound to be heading to the program. It will be interesting to see how this develops, and if it drives any innovation for the Groundspeak smartphone applications, or the Groundspeak API.

[ iTravel Tech ] [ Cache Me iTunes Link ] [ Cache Me Android ] [ Cache Me Facebook Page ]

Jan 18 2011

…. and the Geocaching.com update train keeps on rolling. This one is for geocachers who cache with a Windows Phone 7 device. This one is a little different – they updated the site instead of the App for these fixes, so you don’t need to run out and download anything.

The forum post says it all:

Bug Fixes:

* “Hide my finds” now only hides you’ve logged as “Found”.

* Log in issues have been corrected.

* Pocket Queries are working.

* Connection issues have been resolved.

* Archived caches no longer show up in searches.