Geocaching is a global treasure hunting game where participants locate hidden containers, called Geocaches, outdoors and then share their experience online. Groundspeak’s Geocaching Application provides real-time, direct access to Geocaching.com‘s database of worldwide geocaches, the largest in the world!
It works using the iPhone’s GPS to pinpoint your location and then display the nearest geocaches to your position. The app comes with a virtual compass (iPhone 3G only) to display the direction you are pointing in, and co-ordinates for your position and the position of the geocache you are trying to locate.
Once you decide on a geocache that you are interested in locating, you simply select it and then you can view a brief description that tells you where it is located, how to get there, nearest parking and any other info you need. Some geocaches are completed in stages, where the first gives you co-ordinates to the next in the series.
There are three tabs, the first gives you the option to view its position on a map, so you can see how far away you are and watch as you get closer and closer to your goal.
The second is a hint tab that, if applicable, allows you to view a small hint supplied by the person who hid the geocache, usually in the form of a riddle.
The third tab allows you to view recent logs posted by other Geocachers that have either found or failed to find it. This sometimes comes in useful for extra hints.
Once you find a geocache there are a number of things you can do. Firstly, most geocaches contain a log book that you can sign to show that you found it or to leave messages for the owner/hider to highlight any issues, i.e it may have been damaged by the rain. Lots of geocaches also contain items left by previous finders, so you may choose to take an item or swap an item or leave an item of your own for others to enjoy. All that is asked is that you leave the geocache in the same condition you found it, and out of sight as much as possible, so it doesn’t fall into the wrong hands.
There is another type of geocache, other than the ones you simply find and put back, these are called Trackable Items. These items come with a purpose, to get from place to place successfully. The items goal is included with the item so once you move it from one location to another you must update the log to let others know that it has moved.
This application is not for the faint hearted as the terrain can vary drastically from item to item. All in all it is a lot of fun, and I have personally been out and found myself a geocache in my local area, and enjoyed it thoroughly.