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Project Phoenix (V2)


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For those following the play by play, I've been posting and talking about a re-architecture of Geocaching.com in forum topics but haven't posted publicly about exactly what it entails.


Since the development is fluid I can't just say "it will have this button and that feature and will program your Roomba to hide and seek caches for you." Although it could someday. What I can offer is some high level answers so you have an idea what you should expect from project Phoenix. (Yes, Phoenix is an overdone codeword but Microsoft took all the good local names in Washington and no one could pronounce Puyallup correctly. Maybe next time we'll choose Vader.).


Is this a Redesign?


Yes. With a re-architecture there is a redesign. However much of the functionality you expect will be very similar in the new version. It won't be over the top and won't be too Web 2.0'ish. I doubt we'll even stick a beta label on there unless it is still considered cool.


There will be some minor changes. Instead of a Geocaching.com account you will have a Groundspeak account. Technically you already have one but you will actually be updating your account information on Groundspeak. Don't worry, we'll make this completely painless.


Since account data will be centralized, things you do on other Groundspeak sites will be modified in your main profile. So add an additional saved location and you can search from it on both Waymarking and Geocaching.com. Waymarking and Geocaching information will also be merged but in a way that should please both Waymarkers and Geocachers.


What do you mean by "Re-architecture?"


The entire database has been redesigned. The code base is being re-written from scratch. Localization experts have come in to consult on designing the database and site to support double byte languages. We have test cases, a build process, architect, project managers - you name it.


We're essentially reinventing geocaching.com with the knowledge gathered from building the site for 7 years. It's a Big Job. But we believe that the site must be rebuilt to grow. It's a painful process but one we expect to benefit the Geocaching and Waymarking community.


When will it be done?


Wow. Talk about a moving target. We've invested 7 months on the project already and we're in our second month of actual development work. Our goal is to have a site launch by mid next year. This, of course, will be faster or slower due to the amount of folks we can put on the development effort. So every membership you purchase or Travel Bug you buy goes towards this goal.


(hint, hint)


When can I see something?


I hope that by sometime in Q2 next year we'll be able to present more information on the site and potentially give access for people to offer feedback. But honestly we can't commit at this time. It's better to have an unexpected surprise sneak peek instead of a disappointment for a missed deadline anyway.


Anything else?


I will say that the most common complaint about Waymarking is that it is a "different site." "I don't have enough time to visit 2 sites" is a common response. Well, the new architecture will support both Geocaches and Waymarks together.


What does this mean? After Phoenix launches you will be able to see caches on both Geocaching.com and Waymarking.com and choose whether you want to be a Geocacher or a Waymarker or both (or neither. You can be a Historical Marker-er if you want). Version 2 will be all about access and choice in what interests you as a GPS enthusiast.


Hopefully I can offer you more information as we progress.

Edited by Jeremy
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