Garmin has created OpenCaching to encourage and help promote the growth of geocaching while expanding the worldwide community of cachers. OpenCaching is a completely free online community for creating, sharing and finding geocaches around the world. Now anyone can freely enjoy the caches along with the helpful information, such as tips, cache descriptions, previous attempts, etc. According to Dan Bartel, Garmin’s vice president of worldwide sales, by making it free and easy to download every detail of every cache, Garmin is broadening its reputation for ease of use even further into geocaching by creating the most intuitive experience possible. Opencaching.com will introduce more people to this great activity and show them just how exciting geocaching can be for them, their families and friends.
For the uninitiated, geocaching is a fun activity that combines the 4 E’s of all successful outdoor ventures – exploration, exercise, education and entertainment. It is a high-tech treasure hunt where participants of all ages explore the outdoors while hiding, discovering and documenting their access to containers of various shapes and sizes that are filled with treasures. These treasures include collectables, trinkets, bits of cleverness and logbooks for signing in and letting fellow cachers know you were there. Creating a cache is as easy as cleverly hiding a container in a public area, saving the GPS coordinates and uploading them to a website. Finding the location of a cache is as simple as searching the website and downloading those details to a handheld GPS device. This is where the fun begins, because being at the site coordinates doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve found the geocache.
OpenCaching.com gives both creators and seekers a way to quantify the “overall 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 overall awesomeness in addition to size, ruggedness of terrain and difficulty to find. These four factors are displayed in a color-coded, interactive bulls-eye for each cache, giving geocachers a distinctive visual of the fun that lies ahead. Cachers themselves can rate these factors, turning the bulls-eye into a graphic representation of peer reviews.
The strength of OpenCaching lies within the geocaching community which ranges from diehard cachers to classrooms trying it for the first time. Everyone, regardless of experience, has access to the same information and is invited to get as involved as they want. OpenCaching will work with any GPS device or software package that can read GPX files, regardless of the manufacturer. So, pack up and head out on your geocaching adventure.