I am a casual geocacher.
What is Geocaching?
What is geocaching? It is a game/hobby in which a person uses a GPS-enabled device to find a location or hidden object. Once successfully found, the person can log their find to their online account.
I currently have 89 finds logged to my account. I consider myself a casual geocacher because I have probably been doing good to find 3-5 geocaches per year in many recent years.
In the “old days,” I would access geocache information from geocaching.com and then enter the GPS coordinates into a handheld Garmin GPS device. But in more recent years, I have used an iOS app that was sold by the company behind geocaching.com. Using a smartphone app has been much easier, as I can look up nearby geocaches, select one, navigate to it, and submit a “found” log – all from one device.
Today, I had the opportunity to go on a geocaching field trip. A teacher from the school where I work took his Outdoor Education class to look for geocaches and needed another driver for the trip. So I went along! After we arrived at Bowness Park, I opened up the geocaching app on my iPhone. I was met with a message in the app indicating that the app was being discontinued. There was a link to download the new geocaching app. After downloading the app and signing in, I noticed that I could not use the new app to find some of the geocaches without a premium subscription. Fortunately, the old app still works for several more weeks. So I was able to use it today.
The Cost of Geocaching with a Smartphone App
As I mentioned above, I am a casual geocacher. It doesn’t seem to make much sense for me to pay $29.99 USD per year in order to open up additional functionality in the app and be “unlock” some additional geocaches.
This evening, I did a bit of reading on the internet. Apparently, a lot of people don’t like the new geocaching app as well as they did the old one (read some of the comments below this post). In addition, there is that whole thing about paying a yearly subscription fee. In my brief research, I did find out a bit about the Cachly app. It seems that people do like this app. But it also has limited geocache access unless you pay for the geocaching premium subscription.
So what to do? The old geocaching app will stop working sometime around March 23, 2017. Since I don’t really want to pay a yearly subscription fee when I am such a casual geocacher, it seems that I will be limited on what geocaches I can search for in the future. Or maybe, at times, I can forgo the convenience of geocaching solely with my smart phone. It appears that I will still be able to access more of the geocaches if I use the geocaching.com website. I could go back to the old method of getting the geocache details from the website and then entering the coordinates into my Garmin GPS unit. It would be far less convenient, but for the little bit of geocaching that I do, it might be better than paying a yearly subscription fee.
What are your thoughts regarding this matter? Leave a comment below.