Are iPhones bad news for GCA?

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nutwood
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Are iPhones bad news for GCA?

Post by nutwood » 21 December 13 10:32 pm

Interested in other opinions on this as I don't use a iPhone, but I was talking to a cacher recently who exclusively uses their phone for caching. This year's games are being a bit slow so I was trying to interest him in Angel chasing. His response was that he doesn't bother with GCA caches because they don't show up on his phone.
This lead me to wonder to what the long term effect of this is likely to be. I would imagine that more and more people are geocaching with their phone. I've got an A50 and I have to say it's become my main geocaching tool but, being Android, I've got apps for both GC and GCA (thanks mtrax!). A lot of people have got iPhones and quite possibly have never cached, nor wish to, using any other device.
As with any activity, there's a steady change as people drop the sport and others join up, but if a goodly percentage of the new recruits are iPhone users, surely this is going to result in a gradual trend away from cachers finding GCA caches, simply because they don't know they are there? I was looking at the state of GCA caches in Tasmania recently and whilst there's plenty of caches, there's not a lot of finds. It seems very few cachers come to Tasmania and look for GCA caches. Is this anti GCA politics, lack of knowledge about GCA, or a simple matter that the app on their phone doesn't show GCA?

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noikmeister
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Re: Are iPhones bad news for GCA?

Post by noikmeister » 22 December 13 7:14 am

I don't cache with my phone, except when I have no choice. But this year I haven't participated in the movable cache race basically because I am just over it. If I was going to pay I'd use GA cacher on my android.

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Re: Are iPhones bad news for GCA?

Post by Tyreless » 22 December 13 12:13 pm

I do almost all my caching with an iphone 4s. The app I use is geosphere because it handles both GC caches and GCA caches. I can update my weeping angels live in the field. I can log to both GC and GCA. I can sort and find just about any way I want to (size, difficulty, terrain, age, etc, etc). I can wirelessly download and install PQ's from both GC and GCA.

I also use a Magellan Toughcase to keep the phone safe, improve the antenna reception and extend the battery life.

So for me the iphone isn't bad news for GCA.

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Re: Are iPhones bad news for GCA?

Post by Yurt » 22 December 13 12:38 pm

I have to admit using my Samsung Galaxy S2 for most geocaching these days as I couldn't be bothered uploading coords to the Garmin. That said the majority of my caches are urban so I don't really need it. When I go bush it's only the real GPSr though. If I'm struggling with the phone I'll put the coords into the Garmin manually and go from there.

For the moveables I'm using GA Cacher on the phone. It's the only way to go. The compass is somewhat flaky but it gets you there. I don't think I could manage it using the GPSr all the time. However most of the angels are hidden in the same places we've been using for the past few years so most of the time no device is needed.

I think the problem with people not finding GCA caches is that there are just way too many caches out there now. I've got GC caches right next to the road but it's five minutes from the main road so they get a couple of visits a year. The power trails, love 'em or hate 'em, are the only ones bringing in the big find numbers when ever so slightly off the beaten track.

I've been finding as many angels as I can this year after not much interest last year. There were way too many bingo caches last year I think. I think this year is better the only problem being I've run out of local angels and need to move some interstate.

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Re: Are iPhones bad news for GCA?

Post by CraigRat » 22 December 13 3:43 pm

Most cachers I know use the Geocaching.com app on their iphones rather than a more generic multi-site capable app like Geosphere, so theres nothing that can be done there.
Geocaching.com now refer to themselves in all things as 'Geocaching' only nowadays too, making it look like they are the one-stop shop for all things caching.... makes it hard to entice people to our communities way of doing things

We'd happily assist iPhone caching app devs to get our site working with their apps. Same goes for Android/Winmo, whatever.

Heck, we are happy to talk to almost anyone to spread the GCA love. There's GSAK macros for queries etc and we have an API people can use to grab information without resorting to scraping. We provide GC format compliant GPX files so it's not like it's a big deal to get it to work in most apps.

We don't develop for mobile ourselves. We are just the font of information. This information we are happy to share to all for free, but obviously from the iPhone side there is no demand as we've never been approached.
We don't seek these things out ourselves, we have nothing to gain or lose, 'market share' isn't a metric of ours, but if YOU want GCA integration in your caching app, contact the dev and see if they would be interested in making it work.

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Re: Are iPhones bad news for GCA?

Post by nutwood » 22 December 13 6:31 pm

Yurt wrote: I think the problem with people not finding GCA caches is that there are just way too many caches out there now.
That's an interesting point. You're right, there are a lot of caches out there so anyone starting caching is spoilt for choice. Anything that requires a bit more effort, such as the download of Geosphere, simply doesn't happen.
Whatever's causing it, it's an unfortunate thing. I have a couple of caches I check the logs of. Neither is mine. One is a GCA cache and definitely at the high quality end of the scale. The other is just a cache, but listed on GC. In the last twelve months the GCA cache has had three visits, the GC cache twenty one. The caches are a short walk apart, you'd park in the same spot for both. Both caches have been there for several years.
Generally when I've made these comparisons in the past, the find ratio has been more like three or four to one, not seven to one! I was casting about for reasons and smart phones seemed a good possibility. Certainly I seem to meet a lot of casual cachers whose introduction to the activity was via a phone app.
The quality of phone caching seems to depend on the phone. My Garmin A50 phone is easily an equal for my Garmin Dakota GPS and has the advantage of the phone data connection. The Dakota wins hands down for robustness and dedicated GPS features but for most caching, GA Cacher (or Cache Sense for GC) on the phone is perfect.
I'm told the iPhone GPS is quite good but I've never used one.

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Re: Are iPhones bad news for GCA?

Post by Richary » 22 December 13 6:45 pm

Like Tyreless I have an iPhone (mine was supplied by work so I didn't get a say, though I am happy with it). I deliberately chose to install Geosphere instead of the Groundspeak app so I could include GCA and even opencaching caches if I chose to. They were the same price.

Of course, newer cachers who aren't aware of GCA are likely to pay for the Groundspeak app thus finding themselves locked in to GC caches unless they choose to spend another $10 for Geosphere later on when they become enlightened.

I like the ability to easily load my moveable query in the field if I am having trouble, which gives me a chance to see if someone might have already grabbed the thing since I left home and made the plans for the day. And rarely use the eTrex for finding these days as the phone is easy to keep up to date and has all the listing information on it.

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Re: Are iPhones bad news for GCA?

Post by gmj3191 » 29 December 13 11:00 pm

Richary wrote: Of course, newer cachers who aren't aware of GCA are likely to pay for the Groundspeak app thus finding themselves locked in to GC caches unless they choose to spend another $10 for Geosphere later on when they become enlightened.
Seriously $10 = 2 cups of coffee plus change. Not the biggest mistake in their lives.

Personally, I would advise newer caches to use the Groundspeak app initially because it leads you into the game pretty well, and then, if you get serious, upgrade to the more complex one later.

You then get the extra buzz of a new world of features.

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Re: Are iPhones bad news for GCA?

Post by spatialriq » 30 December 13 3:36 am

I mainly use my phone (android) for caching and haven't had any issues. My app of choice is c:geo ... yet to find anything easier/better, plus it's free! :D

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Re: Are iPhones bad news for GCA?

Post by MrHyde » 04 January 14 7:01 pm

From my own experience, I started caching using a Windows Mobile and copying cache information to it using GSAK. When using GSAK, I would have both GC and GCA caches loaded. I didn't find many caches in the last 8 years - maybe 3-4 a year.

About two years ago, I moved to an Android phone and started using c:geo. With c:geo and being able to download live up-to-date cache information from GC, I stopped using GSAK. It was far too easy to just download the latest cache information in c:geo itself without having to manage them separately in GSAK. That also meant I no longer had any GCA caches loaded on my device. With c:geo, I started finding more caches - 55 this year.

It has only been in the last day that I discovered GCA Cacher - it looks exactly the same as c:geo with a different skin. However, I'm still unsure of whether I will use it much as I don't want to use two different apps. That means I would need to load them up one after the other to see if there is are any caches nearby. Would really really prefer a single tool with the same ease of use as c:geo.

So, I do think ease of access is an issue for GCA.

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Re: Are iPhones bad news for GCA?

Post by geo_jas » 04 January 14 9:01 pm

I use Locus on an Android phone and I just load up gpx files from GC, GCA and Munzee and get all my icons in one app. I use the Munzee app to log Munzees and GA cacher to log GA movables and I use Locus field notes to do the rest of my logging.

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Re: Are iPhones bad news for GCA?

Post by nutwood » 04 January 14 9:07 pm

spatialriq wrote:I mainly use my phone (android) for caching and haven't had any issues. My app of choice is c:geo ... yet to find anything easier/better, plus it's free! :D
Does c:geo work for GC and GCA caches?

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Re: Are iPhones bad news for GCA?

Post by CraigRat » 05 January 14 7:55 pm

nutwood wrote:
spatialriq wrote:I mainly use my phone (android) for caching and haven't had any issues. My app of choice is c:geo ... yet to find anything easier/better, plus it's free! :D
Does c:geo work for GC and GCA caches?
I know you used to be able to import GCA GPX files in to c:geo, but I haven't used it in many a moon.

c:geo is VERY GC centric though.

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Re: Are iPhones bad news for GCA?

Post by geo_jas » 05 January 14 8:20 pm

I gave it a go, you get a name and a location but no info.

nutwood
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Re: Are iPhones bad news for GCA?

Post by nutwood » 05 January 14 10:20 pm

CraigRat wrote:
nutwood wrote:
spatialriq wrote:I mainly use my phone (android) for caching and haven't had any issues. My app of choice is c:geo ... yet to find anything easier/better, plus it's free! :D
Does c:geo work for GC and GCA caches?
I know you used to be able to import GCA GPX files in to c:geo, but I haven't used it in many a moon.

c:geo is VERY GC centric though.
Hmmm, sounds as though the ideal of an app that treats all caches equally has yet to be achieved!
Personally, I'm quite happy with Cache Sense and GCA Cacher. I prefer to have two separate apps for the two sites. It's no great hardship to check two apps rather than one. I'd probably spend more time tweaking filters if I had only one app!
The thing is, I'm using an Android phone. The question is, how do you fare if you've got an iPhone? Does GeoSphere treat all caches alike?

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