For several years, Garmin devices have supported basic logging of geocache visits in the field for upload to a computer upon return. Improvements in many Garmin handhelds now take geocache logging to a completely new level. Below we cover advanced geocache logging and how geocache finders and owners can use the new features on Garmin handhelds and OpenCaching.com.
In order to take advantage of the new logging features on your Garmin handheld, you will first need to have started navigation to a geocache. After doing so, the Geocache application on your handheld will display various options associated to your current geocache. When you have finished your attempt, selecting “Log Attempt” will bring up a menu of conclusions. Select your experience with the cache, for example, “Found,” to bring up the new logging menu.
This menu is the last step in confirming your experience in finding the geocache. If the geocache came from OpenCaching.com, you’ll notice a new menu item: Rate Geocache. If the hider of the geocache chose to make it verifiable, you’ll also see a second new menu item: Verify Find. Read on to find out more about these two new items and don’t forget to confirm your experience by pressing “Done” or “Find Next Closest”!
Rate a Geocache
There’s no better time to record your geocaching experience than right after you’ve found (or spent the last twenty minutes not finding) it. If the geocache came from OpenCaching.com, you’ll see the option “Rate Geocache” on the logging page of your Garmin handheld. Selecting “Rate Geocache” will present you with a fast, four-step wizard for recording your take on that geocache. When you visit OpenCaching.com with your handheld connected to a computer, your ratings will already be filled out for every geocache you’ve logged that needs uploaded.
Verify a Find
OpenCaching.com has created a new way to prove your finds and increase your “web cred” with Verified Finds. Until now, there has never been a way to prove to the world that your logged number of finds actually coincides with your real world geocaching experiences. Verification is a simple (but powerful)new way to prove that you actually found the geocache. If the geocache owner chose to make the geocache verifiable through OpenCaching.com, you’ll see a “Verify Find” item on the logging page of your Garmin handheld.
There are four possible ways to verify that you’ve actually found a geocache: chirp, Scan QR Code, Manual Entry or Code Phrase. Which of these are available depends on how the geocache owner wants you to verify the find, and what your device is capable of. To verify a geocache, you will only need to select one method and successfully complete that method.
Let’s look more into these four verification methods.
Verifying with chirp
If your handheld is ANT+ “Share Wireless” compatible, you will be able to verify supported geocaches using chirp. This method of verification requires only that you be connected to the chirp associated to the geocache. If you are currently not connected, selecting the chirp verification method will begin searching for any nearby chirp devices.
Verifying by QR Code
If your handheld has a camera, you will be able to verify supported geocaches by scanning a QR (Quick Reference) code that is hidden with the geocache. When this method is selected, your camera will launch in a special mode that requires you only place the QR Code clearly in your viewfinder. Your handheld will alert you when it has automatically decoded and stored the verification information.
Selecting manual entry of a verification code will present you with a 6-digit keyboard entry. Enter the code hidden with the geocache to store the verification information.
Verifying by Code Phrase (Virtuals Only)
If the particular geocache you are finding is a Virtual type, a Code Phrase will be required to verify your find. Enter the Code Phrase using the keyboard provided to store the verification information.
How Verification Proves Your Find
By using information gathered at the geocache and from your handheld, Find Verification has been designed so that a user actually has to be at the geocache to verify it, so don’t wait until you’re back home to do so. Using a multi-faceted verification algorithm combined with digital signature technology, your Garmin handheld will synchronize with OpenCaching.com to ensure the validity of your find. Rest easy knowing that having your find verified is as good as posting video evidence of you finding each geocache you’ve discovered.
Setting up Your Geocache for Verification
While not required to list a geocache on OpenCaching.com, Verification is a fun way for you, the owner, to give your geocache a little flair and reward finders for their efforts in seeking out your geocache. You can choose to implement one or more verification methods. Adding verification can be done in a single click from the listing page for any geocache you own. Simply look for “Verification Code” below the map & tags section on the listing page. Clicking “Add” will generate a 6-digit code that users enter manually when they get to your geocache. You can also print the QR code and include this in your geocache or enter the serial number of a chirp device that is available at your geocache. Once you’ve setup your listing for verification on the website, be sure to place the 6-digit number, QR code, and/or chirp device at your geocache so others can begin verifying their finds immediately!
Verification for Developers
As with all features on OpenCaching.com, the new Verifying Finds is not limited to Garmin handhelds or OpenCaching.com. Whether you want to use the OpenCaching.com API for creating desktop applications, mobile applications, or website integration, these new features are readily available to all. For more information, feel free to contact us.