Smartphone App review – Geocaching.com Intro (Free)

Image borrowed from satorismiles.com

If you’re stuck for something to do one weekend and fancy trying something new in the great outdoors, and if you have a smartphone, then this review is for you.

Geocaching is a game/sport/hobby not unlike hide-and-seek, where what’s hidden is a ‘cache’ of treasure and you have to seek it using a GPS.
Sounds geeky? Well… yes, it does a bit. But thankfully the introduction of GPS to smartphones like the iPhone has meant that geocaching is now within the reach of all of us.

Geocaching.com is a huge site dedicated to the activity, and they’ve released a set of Apps (for iPhone and Android), including this free version which lets you try out the game without commiting anything.

I downloaded the app a couple of weeks ago and fired it up at home. To my genuine surprise it showed that there were 3 caches within a mile of my house, so one night I struck off with the dog to find what was listed as a ‘microcache’ at my local church.

The app gives you a little information about what you’re looking for, and a clue as to where to find it, and then brings up a map showing your location, the cache location, and the route to get to it. If you have a phone with a compass in it (iPhone 3GS/4) then it also points the way on that.
The maps are pretty slow to load (but I have a very weak signal near home), but are as good, if not better, than Google Maps. They show footpaths and bridleways as well as roads.
As long as you stay in an area with decent GPS and phone signal (2G or 3G) then the phone continues to display your position as a moving, pulsing blob overlayed on the map. Really easy to follow.
The app got me as far as the church and then, somewhat frustratingly left me to scour for the cache myself. The iPhone’s GPS (or possibly the free app’s level of detail, I don’t know on that score) got me to within 50ft and no closer. There was a lot of Church to search, so I left it there.

As an introduction to the wonders of Geocaching, this app, and the phone interface are excellent. It really was good fun playing hide-and-seek and to give a dog-walk a purpose. If I lived in an area of better signal I’d invest in the full app (£9.99).

The app graphics are easy to follow, and don’t require any real thinking. Perfect for young and old alike.

SUMMARY: If you’re new to geocaching, this is well worth a go. Don’t expect miracles if your smartphone is low on signal or GPS reception, but it’s good fun trying to follow the maps. For a commitment of no money whatsoever, it’s definitely worth a punt. Scored down because of the phone itself’s reliance on slow network and poor GPS.

Price: Free
From: Geocaching.com for iPhone / Android
More info, and find caches near you at Geocaching.com

Tags and search info for this review: This is a geocaching review. GearWeAre.com tests and reviews geocaching gear, outdoor gear and camping equipment.

3 thoughts on “Smartphone App review – Geocaching.com Intro (Free)

  • June 2, 2011 at 7:02 pm
    Permalink

    I too downloaded the free Geocache app and was out with it straight away. It doesn’t give you too much info but it is an excellent taster for the full version. The full app does give a lot more info and functionality.

    I think you have the price wrong because it is only £5.99 to download the full app for iPhone.

    In no time I was hooked and wanted the full version. I have found it is a great way to give yourself a target to walk to rather than just “going out for a walk” and strolling around your local park. It’s also great fun and you can make it as adventurous or not as you need. Kids love it.

    It’s surprising just how many are around (both urban and countryside) and I have even been out walking from work to get a few caches.

    The biggest limitation is that you do need a reasonable connection to download the maps when you are out and about. But that isn’t too big a problem and certainly not Geochaches error. Only for this and the price of the full app (perhaps we are too used to free or 59p apps) I drop a hammer and give it 4 out of 5.

    Reply
  • July 15, 2011 at 9:04 pm
    Permalink

    My family and I have been using the geocaching app for the iPhone for 2 years now. I believe it cost $9.99 when I purchased it. The app has been updated and continues to get better and better. The ability to save caches and download them to the phone so you can use it in remote areas that may not have cell service is their best update yet. I can’t tell you how many wonderful hours we have spent ” treasure hunting” with my kids. The app is well worth the money.

    Reply
  • May 12, 2014 at 6:36 pm
    Permalink

    We’re just getting into geocaching. It lets us get outside and spend time with the kids. We’ve been using Qollector for the iPad to track our own cache’s as well as documenting existing locations. We include photos and videos when we discover a new geocache. It was quick to design everything in Qollector.
    https://qollector.com/p/geocaching

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *