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Why would gc.com shun the iPhone?


Team_FussyPants
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I purchased an iPhone last week on order, and picked it up on Monday. I've been very excited about the release of the iPhone 3g with one of the main reasons being able to use it's gps as a geocaching device. I've been following the development of the geopher app, and was excited to see it released today, then only to see on the geopher blog that gc.com asked that it be removed. I'm a premium member and would love to be able to use that membership to cache on my iPhone. GC states that they won't support the commercial release of any app for geocaching on the iPhone. WHY?! I've been using geoniche on my palm and love it, it's a commercial application and seems to be ok with gc.com. Why would they reject a huge market with cachers on their iPhones, and the great chance to bring on new members? I personally feel I've been robbed a little as a premium member by gc.com.

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Hummm, I don't think that they are shunning the iPhone. It looks too me that they are shunning prety much anything or anybody that touches their data. It probably has something to do with them owning the data you gave them. HOLD ON!! I just had a brain storm!!! Maybe they feel that they are missing out on the money. The Trimble Geocache Navigator is commercial, right? I would only imagine that there is a profit sharing thing going on between Trimble and Groundspeak.

 

It would be nice to hear an offical comment from Groundspeak on this.

 

Thinking about it, it has to be a money thing.

Edited by ki4aoa
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Hummm, I don't think that they are shunning the iPhone. It looks too me that they are shunning prety much anything or anybody that touches their data. It probably has something to do with them owning the data you gave them. HOLD ON!! I just had a brain storm!!! Maybe they feel that they are missing out on the money. The Trimble Geocache Navigator is commercial, right? I would only imagine that there is a profit sharing thing going on between Trimble and Groundspeak.

 

It would be nice to hear an offical comment from Groundspeak on this.

 

Thinking about it, it has to be a money thing.

 

I think the 2nd part is more than likely the reason.

 

If the application is / was like the applications for PDAs or palms in that you put a gpx or another munged datafile on the device after you have received that data from Groundspeak, they would may be ok with it. If the application is dynamic and pulls the data directly from geocaching.com then that is more than likely going to cause issues with them if the application developer did not seek the rights to do so.

 

As for the "data" you mention in your post... It is clearly not Groundspeak's Data. The format that is it delivered in may be considered proprietary by them as I think they have developed an extension to the gpx file format, but actual data belongs to the submitter. Re-read section 6 of the TOU. All submissions belong to the submitter and you grant Groundspeak the rights to do with it as they choose including to sell when you submit it to their website.

 

 

6.License to Use Submissions

 

All comments, articles, tutorials, screenshots, pictures, graphics, tools, downloads, and all other materials submitted to Groundspeak in connection with the Site or available through the Site (collectively, "Submissions") remain the property and copyright of the original author. If You submit Submissions to Groundspeak, You must adhere to any applicable submission guidelines that may be posted from time to time on the Site. By submitting any Submission to Groundspeak, You grant Groundspeak a worldwide, non-exclusive, transferable, perpetual, irrevocable, fully-paid royalty-free license and right to use, reproduce, distribute, import, broadcast, transmit, modify and create derivative works of, license, offer to sell, and sell, rent, lease or lend copies of, publicly display and publicly perform that Submission for any purpose and without restriction or obligation to You.

 

The foregoing license rights are intended to provide to Groundspeak all rights under existing and future laws, including without limitation all rights under copyright and any other rights personal to You to publish the Submission on the Site, use the Submission in publicity and promotional materials for the Site and to create new Sites or derivative works (including without limitation by combining the Submission with other content) for public display or performance via any and all media or technology now known or later developed. The foregoing rights may be licensed and sublicensed through unlimited tiers of third parties.

 

Edited by renruts
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Also, another reason could be that the new iPhone GPS is horibble.

 

From a new source:

Unfortunately, there's not much you can do with the G.P.S. According to Apple, the iPhone's G.P.S. antenna is much too small to emulate the turn-by-turn navigation of a G.P.S. unit for a vehicle, for example.

Instead, all it can do at this point is track your position as you drive along, representing you as a blue dot sliding along the roads of the map. Even then, the metal of a car or the buildings of Manhattan are often enough to block the iPhone's view of the sky, leaving it just as confused as you are.

 

Hopefully, you don't buy the iPhone for it's GPS functions.

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Also, another reason could be that the new iPhone GPS is horibble.

While it's use in a car may be marginal, I still think it could be used while walking/geocaching. Maybe I need to get off my butt and write a free geocaching app, since nobody else seems to be writing one.

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I also am a long time geocacher with a new toy and want to try iPhone based caching. I have bought geopher and its great as far as it goes.

 

Not wishing to be controversial, but once a web page has been served to a browser, how that web page is displayed is largely in the hands of the browser. Specifically it is right and reasonable that I may configure my browser not to display images on slow connections or to use a large font size and high contrasting colors or even to not display the page at all and "speak" the contents page for visually impared people.

 

If I have a browser that can recognise and display GPS coordinates in terms of their direction and distance relative to my current position, this once again should be of no concern to content provider. To put it more specifically it is not up to the content providers to regulate browser innovation.

 

I think that the problem with the T&Cs with respect to geopher is because we are looking at this application in the wrong way. This is not an application that scrapes and stores away Groundspeak's data - this is merely a browser plugin that enhances the ability of the iPhones safari browser with an improved ability to display geographic information.

 

The fact that the iPhone does not support browser plugins mean that this functionality has had to be supplied as a "browser wrapper" however the argument is still sound. This application is not scraping the data anymore than Safari, IE or Firefox are when they Display the coordinates from Geocaching.com The key word here is display - not scrape or store or build into a private database but real time enhanced display of a web page.

 

(and by the way I am very happy with the service provided by Groundspeak and therefore more than happy to assign ownership of the data that I have provided to them and indeed for them to profit commercially from such data - I simply think that in this case they are wrong in applying a one size fits all ruling to an attempt to improve the standard iPhone features to display web pages)

 

Can someone clarify the Groundspeak stance?

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I'm having sort of a senior moment, but isn't this reminiscent of the Buckley's (?) geocaching site several years ago? Someone developed a great site that displayed geocaches in a very user friendly way. The problem is that it pinged GC.com for cache information to display, and purportedly wreaked havoc with band width (maybe that explains the multiple duplicate posts above ;-)). TPTB shut the guy down, to the heated outrage of lots of cachers in the forums. Users accused Jeremy of wanting to keep all the spoils of Geocaching for himself. GC.com said it was a Terms of Use issue and protective of the site. Blah, blah, blah. I can go to the GC.com mobile site from my phone (including an iPhone). Maybe the new app just need to be more like cachemate, so users download PQs that they then load to their iPhone, instead of pinging the site for live cache data.

Time will tell.

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...Blah, blah, blah...

 

Some of that blah blah blah was this site working with Buxleys to come to an agreement. In time we were told by mods/admins (but I don't recall it being TPTB) to quit asking for updates. Then there was nothing and no updates and here we are now. the last word I had was negotions were ongoing. That's not likely the case after all this time but who knows? The gag order on questions is probably still in effect.

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Garsh, maybe the programmers are busy doing something else? I dunno, like working on THIS SITE!!!!! The things been out about 2 weeks and people are complaining that gc.com is shunning the iPhone? Gimme a break :D

 

The programmers of this site have nothing to do with it. All apps are being written by private parties. What does it matter how long the product has been out when gc.com announces they will not approve any commercial apps for the iPhone? There are commercial apps available for both palm and blackberry platforms, why dissallow only the iPhone? I understand the bandwidth concerns, but I'm already accessing the site on my phone as it is.

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why dont you change your question to.....

 

why is gc.com not supporting geopher, then narrow the question to.......what is the geopher developer doing to communicate better with the gc.com crew

 

not....OMG gc.com hates the iphone (drama drama drama)

 

 

I posted this in another iphone question post wondering if the newer iphone supports it....or if gc.com knows of its queries

 

http://www.ayefon.com/geo/index.cfm

Edited by gratefulHIKE
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why dont you change your question to.....

 

why is gc.com not supporting geopher, then narrow the question to.......what is the geopher developer doing to communicate better with the gc.com crew

 

not....OMG gc.com hates the iphone (drama drama drama)

 

 

I posted this in another iphone question post wondering if the newer iphone supports it....or if gc.com knows of its queries

 

http://www.ayefon.com/geo/index.cfm

 

Just to be clear, my intention wasn't to create any drama, maybe just vent a little of my frustration and possibly even get a response to what was going on. My frustration was with the statement "we are not currently willing to provide permission for the commercial use of our data on an iPhone". Like I stated if there are currently allowing this to happen on Palm and Blackberry platforms, why not iPhone. Or perhaps since the gpx files are downloaded from pocket queries, then downloaded onto the phones GC has no control either way?

 

It seems though that the geopher app has been allowed to stay out there by both gc.com and apple, so in its current form its "supported". While the geopher program is far from being a proper standalone caching program, its definitely a start. I know there are also other apps out there in development, hopefully this will spark some competition, and the end user will be the winner there.

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Woah, woah, let's slow down and get some things straight here...

 

This thread is about the issue between Groundspeak and the developer of Geopher Lite for the iPhone, not about Groundspeak and Apple or anything to do with the iPhone technically. Despite David Pogue's article, the iPhone is more than capable of providing turn-by-turn GPS directions, which a number of companies have already said they're working on adding, and works perfectly fine as a Geocaching tool to boot. Whether Groundspeak/Trimble releases their own tool for the iPhone is something we'll have to wait and see about.

 

The main point of this thread is that after Geopher Lite was released on the App store, the developer of Geopher Lite found out from Groundspeak that, despite his best attempts to avoid violating the ToS by intentionally NOT scraping from Geocaching.com, they deemed his software to be in violation and requested that it be removed. Since then, there's been some reconciliation and Groundspeak has said that as long as it does not violate the ToS by interacting with the site, the app can continue to be sold. This means that, for the time being, many of the planned features, like grabbing the coordinates from the page, will not happen.

 

This leaves a number of questions: Would the app still be restricted if the developer had decided not to charge for it? Maybe, but that's an issue that he has to work out. I think he deserves to be paid for what the app already provides. Should Groundspeak be able to make money from this? Yes, they have the right to sell your data as stated in the ToS.

 

So is it "stealing" for a program to take the data from the webpage or a .gpx or .loc file? Well, this is only my opinion, but I'd say no. I agree with what The Southseakers said. The part of Geopher that is interacting with Geocaching.com is nothing more than a browser wrapper. It isn't scraping data for its own purposes, it only requests the data that the user asks for and it doesn't do any damage or impact the site any more than visiting it on your PC, unlike perhaps this other site that is being referred to. To say that a website should be owed money for a commercial product accessing their site is completely unrealistic, as then every website on the internet could say that Microsoft owes them part of the profits from Windows since it includes Internet Explorer as part of its bundle, or the profits from when Opera was a paid-for application. If I click on a .gpx file on Geocaching.com, I should expect to be able to download it to my device's memory and from there, open it in any app that handles the format. As a professional web developer who has faced similar problems like this, I feel that for Geocaching.com to restrict access based on what a user's tools can do when they are interacting with the site like any other user is very hypocritical, and I accept that others may have a different perspective on this.

 

Ok, so what is the current standing of things, then? For now, unless Groundspeak changes their minds and grants Geopher permission, the app will continue to be available on the app store, but it won't do a number of things it could do. However, that doesn't mean that there aren't things that can be improved on. The developer is still asking people to download the app and give some feedback on what you think needs to go in to fix a number of issues. You should read his latest post and give some feedback here: http://geopherlite.blogspot.com/ . Also, while this may be the first Geocaching app for the iPhone, it in all likelihood won't be the last, as we'll have to wait and see what other solutions developers, including Trimble, come up with. The iPhone will be supported for geocaching in some way, and I seriously doubt that Geocaching.com really wants to stand in the way of that.

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well put

 

but if you owned a large body of water and stocked it with fish that friends gave you free of charge, and spent time also maintaining it and improving upon it.......over time the fish multiplied quite a bit

 

and you would allow anyone to come in and fish if they wanted too, they just had to sign in a log book or pay a small fee to get a free fishing pole.....only rules were they couldnt leave trash or try and resell the fish they cought without express permission of the owner.....

 

would you think its fair if someone started selling the fish without permission or arrangement just because they spent the time caching (;p) them

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well put

 

but if you owned a large body of water and stocked it with fish that friends gave you free of charge, and spent time also maintaining it and improving upon it.......over time the fish multiplied quite a bit

 

and you would allow anyone to come in and fish if they wanted too, they just had to sign in a log book or pay a small fee to get a free fishing pole.....only rules were they couldnt leave trash or try and resell the fish they cought without express permission of the owner.....

 

would you think its fair if someone started selling the fish without permission or arrangement just because they spent the time caching (;p) them

 

Um, I'd say that of fish are caches, this site should not care what kind of fish finder I use when I'm caching since you can't fish er cache without some kind of finder to tell you where the fish er... caches are.

 

It's when the fish finder operates all by itself broadcasting fish locations that the TOS kicks in. Individual fisherman can use whatever finder made by whoever they want and there is no TOS violation. At least not until this site takes a page out of the apple playbook and only allows lisensed fish finders to find fish in the Groundspeak pond which of course only contains grounspeak lisensed caches.

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Woah, woah, let's slow down and get some things straight here...

 

This thread is about the issue between Groundspeak and the developer of Geopher Lite for the iPhone, not about Groundspeak and Apple or anything to do with the iPhone technically. Despite David Pogue's article, the iPhone is more than capable of providing turn-by-turn GPS directions, which a number of companies have already said they're working on adding, and works perfectly fine as a Geocaching tool to boot. Whether Groundspeak/Trimble releases their own tool for the iPhone is something we'll have to wait and see about.

 

The main point of this thread is that after Geopher Lite was released on the App store, the developer of Geopher Lite found out from Groundspeak that, despite his best attempts to avoid violating the ToS by intentionally NOT scraping from Geocaching.com, they deemed his software to be in violation and requested that it be removed. Since then, there's been some reconciliation and Groundspeak has said that as long as it does not violate the ToS by interacting with the site, the app can continue to be sold. This means that, for the time being, many of the planned features, like grabbing the coordinates from the page, will not happen....

 

Thanks for the clarification.

Each user has the right to access the site via the internet method of their choice so they can obtain fresh cache data and go find the cache. It's assumed to be a browser or pocket query but it can be another tool as well. I'm not sure this app breaks any actual rules.

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well put

 

but if you owned a large body of water and stocked it with fish that friends gave you free of charge, and spent time also maintaining it and improving upon it.......over time the fish multiplied quite a bit

 

and you would allow anyone to come in and fish if they wanted too, they just had to sign in a log book or pay a small fee to get a free fishing pole.....only rules were they couldnt leave trash or try and resell the fish they cought without express permission of the owner.....

 

would you think its fair if someone started selling the fish without permission or arrangement just because they spent the time caching (;p) them

 

Well, that isn't really the way it is. It's more like the developer of Geopher is selling a more complete fishing pole than the one I give out. Everyone who comes to the lake is still following by the rules and it doesn't deplete the pool any more to have people with better tools. Nobody is selling the fish, everyone still gets a fish just the same as if they used other tools.

 

Groundspeak makes money by having people pay for access to the site and through a number of other promotions and products. Geopher is only another way of bringing them to the site, and it doesn't take anything that they couldn't already get with another tool.

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eh whatever I dont have an iphone or a cellphone for that matter, Im still believin they give ya cancer

 

I guess what a simpler version of what I was saying is if someone was makin money off of what I made and maintain, I would want a piece of that or atleast a good discussion like this query has become

 

quite obvious that iphone geocaching could take off like a rocket but without a central geocache database like gc.com a product such as geopher wouldnt have much of a use......pretty much the same blah blah blah when you think of a patent office

 

except in this case gc.com is the patent office ;p

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Just for clarification.

 

There was a misunderstanding between Groundspeak and myself via email creating part of this drama. I had started the process of asking if I could go beyond the current terms of use of Groundspeak's site, namely taking over some of the user interface of GC.com instead of having a web view that the user referred to and then entered the data manually. I contacted Groundspeak earlier than I had intended about this, due to apple rejecting geopher lite. (see here) So as I was having this email conversation with Groundspeak, apple decided that my revised changes were good enough and released geopher lite in the app store. Groundspeak thought that I had already gone beyond their terms of use when apple released my app and asked me to pull geopher lite for that reason. We cleared up the confusion. However they affirmed that nothing would be OK other than what was explicitly stated in the terms of use. I'm sure the misunderstanding and timing of everything didn't help with this at all either.

 

They haven't told me any reasons why, they have just said no. There are plenty of reasons to say no. I am hoping that they already have something in the works rather than that they don't want me to interface their content in a different way. It's a pretty grey area -- I don't want to sell their data at all. I have nothing without GC.com, and I am very aware of that. The possibility of an all in one solution is very compelling and is where geopher came from.

 

They did say that a public API for getting at the data was in the works. If I had to guess it won't be in a month or two, but it's on their list of things to do. So that is some good news.

 

In related news I will be posting an update for review by apple to geopher lite hopefully sometime this evening and will keep those of you following the blog in the loop.

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Moving to the correct forum.

While reasonable minds can differ, the thread really relates to the geopher app. I personally think it is a "Units and Software" topic. Thanks, though, for snipping out the multiple posts.

 

 

Edit: By the way, not update on the Buxley's site about discussions with GC.com since Jan '06, so RK's notion that it is a dead horse seems to be correct. I really appreciate the clarification on geopher's discussions with GC.com. I couldn't see how the app did anything more from a use standpoint than my Treo does when I access http://wap.geocaching.com.

Edited by Sputnik 57
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My gps on the iphone has proved pretty accurate so far, I have found it accurate to a couple metres.

 

I will be honest geopher is harder to use than just using the website and google maps function through the link direct from the cache page.

 

Geopher has a great deal of promise but I feel at present its not ready for proper use and certainly dont think its ready for sale either, although it is very cheap.

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so just after reading about half of thread with the iphone and geocaching etc ... what i will say about the phone (as i have been using it before the release of the iPhone 3G) is that its great to punch in the coordinates to google maps to see roughly where you need to be and what the area looks like via sattelite etc

 

after that VHover10 and myself use our Garmin GPS device to find the cache ... when we cache without the phone we find it much more difficult because we only cache paperless style

 

so we use my phone to look up the cache in google maps and then in the web browser to see roughly the area that we are heading too... and then we use the OTHER GPS device to find the actual cache.. we find this the best way that we cache and find stuff :)

 

cheers

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...

 

They did say that a public API for getting at the data was in the works. If I had to guess it won't be in a month or two, but it's on their list of things to do. So that is some good news ...

Don't hold your breath. It's been "in the works" for years.
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