Garmin Debuts New Geocaching Community Online

Posted by at 5:18 am on December 8, 2010

Garmin International has announced the creation of OpenCaching.com, a completely free online community for creating, sharing and finding geocaches around the world. An exciting and engaging outdoor activity, geocaching combines exploration, education, entertainment and recreation. At OpenCaching.com, everyone can enjoy all of the caches and helpful information -“ the tips, descriptions, previous attempts, mass downloads, etc. -“ for free.

“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.”

Geocaching is a high-tech treasure hunt where participants of all ages explore the outdoors, hiding and finding containers of various shapes and sizes that are filled with collectables, trinkets and logbooks for signing in and letting fellow cachers know you were there. Creating a cache consists of placing a container in a public area, saving the GPS coordinates and uploading them to a website. Finding a cache is as simple as searching the website and downloading those details to a GPS handheld. As free and open as the great outdoors, OpenCaching.com was created to help promote the growth of geocaching and build the worldwide community of cachers.

The Awesome Factor

OpenCaching.com is meant to give creators and seekers alike a way to quantify the “Awesomeness” of any given cache. While every cache has its enjoyable elements that make it unique, everyone has personal favorites that defy traditional descriptions. For that reason, OpenCaching.com lets users rank the Awesomeness in addition to size, terrain and difficulty. These four factors are displayed in a “bulls-ey”illustration for each cache, giving geocachers a unique and vivid idea of the fun that lies ahead. And cachers themselves can rate these factors, turning the bulls-eye illustration into a true representation of peer reviews.

Open to everyone

The strength of OpenCaching.com lies within the geocaching community, from diehard cachers to families and classrooms trying it for the first time (for which there is an informative how-to guide included on the site). Everyone -“ regardless of experience or numbers of caches found or placed -“ is welcome to the same information and invited to get as involved as they want. OpenCaching.com will work with any device or software package that can read GPX files, regardless of manufacturer.”

Through the recent announcements of OpenCaching.com and the chirp wireless geocaching beacon, geocachers around the world now have exciting new tools to unleash the potential of their creativity. Garmin is just one of countless businesses -“ large and small, corporate and self-owned -“ that make up the interdependent geocaching ecosystem. From collectables to events to software such as mobile, web-based and desktop applications, these creative collaborations stimulate ideas and enthusiasm. Garmin’s goal is to provide even more support and opportunities to the various innovators involved in this global activity.

For cachers who have created or found caches elsewhere, Garmin designed OpenCaching’s cache code system to seamlessly coexist and integrate with other databases, devices and applications. Also, developers can access the OpenCaching.com database through an API, and cache owners can share their information on other sites through the Creative Commons license. 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.

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