TAG :: Toronto Area Geocachers » GeoBeacon: Garmin Chirp – on an iPhone (or iPad)

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 ]