Let’s begin with a small exercise in observation. Take a look around. Go ahead. Now, do a head-count of the people who are NOT glued to their seats and staring a screen of some sort. What’s your score? Less than five? It’s bound to be. You see, technology has become a fundamental part of our lives. We rely on it to such a great extent that we forego some of the most basic features of our existence. For instance, our interaction with nature. I don’t remember the last time I saw kids playing hopscotch on the sidewalk or skateboarding their way down the lane. They’re preoccupied with other attractions now, such as VR games, social media, and mobile apps, etc. that they like to play from the comfort of their rooms. Who can blame them? Yet, this indoor-indulgence cuts them off from the exhilarating experiences that the outdoors provide. It has become a major concern for the millennial parents all around.
So, how can you get your kid to leave his/her PS4 behind, and have a fun, family time in the beautiful natural locales? Via geocaching. Yes, this treasure-hunt themed game brings the best of both worlds to you by combining raw geography with advanced technology. You become a player by registering on the main ‘geocaching.com’ website for either a basic account (which is free!) or a premium account (which costs about $30/year). Once you set up your unique details, the coordinates for the caches (tiny objects—film canisters, vials or Tupperware) in your area are sent to the device of your choice, signaling the start of your geocaching journey. If you prefer to play this game through your smartphone, already having a workable GPS system in it, then you’d need to download a geocaching app. With many varieties of such apps out there, which one should you even consider downloading? Let me help you with that. Following are some of the best geocaching apps available for both Android and iOS users.
This is the official smartphone app released by the host geocaching site and developed by Groundspeak Inc. It’s got everything you could possibly need for enjoying the scavenger geo-hunt for clever caches hidden all over the sites. Main features include:
- Personal achievement logging—drafts, memos, photos, etc.
- Detail dashboard showing the latest activity, Traditional/Event-based/Virtuals/Earthcache findings + ratings, trackable and GeoTour access, etc.
- Live Search option giving you real-time coordinates for caches in response to your mobile location + Search-by-Filter facility (terrain type, distance-based and geocache-type, etc.)
- Community outreach for help, chat forum and adventure sharing, etc.
All of these and more are included in the free version of the Geocaching app which you can install over your network, acquired from Frontier internet plans. If these don’t suffice, you can shift to the Premium version of the app ($29.99/year) which comes with its own special perks.
For Android users only, this app is basically open-sourced, meaning anyone can check and tweak its source code if they see it fit. More importantly, it can support more than one geocaching platforms (besides the main one) and is packed to the brim with impressive features, such as:
- Trackable support
- Google Map/Open Street View usage flexibility
- Offline/online logging of geocache success
- Waypoint management + customization
- Cache info storage facility over GPX files or direct syncing with ‘geocaching.com’
- Built-in compass navigation, live map options and external app syncing, etc.
C: Geo is free to download. So, do check it out.
For iPhone users only, this app includes pretty much every main feature of the official geocaching app. What makes it different is that it offers premium facilities to the users at a one-time-payment only ($4.99) instead of yearly advances. In addition to that, it hosts options for:
- DNF listing
- GPX file importing/exporting
- Quick syncing with ‘geocaching.com’
- Advanced searching via filters
- Vector map downloading
- Souvenir marking
- Cross-lingual translating of cache attributes and location hints etc.
All in all, it’s worth a try over your iOS devices!
The best thing about this app is the simplistic beauty of its user interface. Most of the time, an over-elaborate layout, a huge multiplicity of options and a complexity of features tends to confuse and overwhelm an individual user. GeoCaches tackles this problem by introducing a no-clutter approach. Once you open it, you come face to face with a detailed map of your vicinity, a cache SDT (size, difficulty, and terrain) coordinate set, and show/hide toggling option for the successfully found caches, etc. In addition to that, this app sends you push-notification alerts if there’s a geocache in a 300m radius around you, so locating it becomes super easy for you.
Therefore, pack your bags and set out into the wild with your GPS-enabled smartphone in hand and the aforementioned apps leading the way to the best geocaching experience anyone could ask for.