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App for iPod touch and iPhone?


NeverSummer
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I'm researching options for paperless, and I feel like there aren't any really good options for using a great platform, my ipod touch, as a paperless option.

 

As a premium member, I feel like it would be a great perk to have an app available for purchase or free that was created by Groudspeak. I'd rather support this site's rights and use by patronizing a web app created to work seamlessly offline on my iPod. It would help tremendously for me to go paperless (helps me AND the Environment!) and could end up helping raise money for Groundspeak and geocaching.com!

 

Anyone have the lowdown on getting something like this going? I'm not interested in the $14.99 tough-to-use app that is out there (spendy and not GC made).

 

I'd be all over a GC sanctioned and developed app...and there are bound to be others that would be interested as well!

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It works in the other direction.

 

A third party developer (or Apple) would need to create an application or caching that would work on that platform.

 

I thought that Groundspeak could download/purchase the SDK and then create an "app" for release? As far as I know, the developers would pay for the SDK, write the app, upload it to apple, and then work on release info and pricing. All geocaching.com would have to do is provide the link for the app, no?

 

I'm a little over my head compared to some computer folks, so I'm guessing at some of this, but going off of info I've researched. Anyone know from TPTB?

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I don't see GC. com doing this. They don't seem to be in the app writing business.

 

Jim

 

There are computer and programming savvy people on staff, I'm sure. And this endeavor would be a great way to reach even more people and help reduce paper waste. It sounds cheesy, but it makes sense on so many levels. I've read in other threads that there were licensing issues or somesuch, but looking at all the info at apple's website I don't see what could stand in the way of developing a killer paperless app for an emerging smartphone/geocaching market.

 

There are options, like going palm or ultra-expensive GPS units (Colorado, Oregon, for example), but why not support creation of a geocaching.com/Groundspeak app that could be available for premium members to download free or for additional charge? "Apps" are almost another way to get info to a paperless component. Premium members already get to use bulk gpx files, so why not create a killer app that could further the sport and game via another popular platform?

 

An app created by a non-Groundspeak entity could not have seamless interface with searches or account info/queries. Even an offline app might be simple to create code to read any gpx files and keep them on the touch or iphone. Either way its a win for the sport and for Groundspeak, IMO

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Garmin probaly paid to have the field notes application added to the website. If apple was willing to pay to add an iPhone app to the gc.com website, I bet that Groundspeak would.

It would cost money to develop this app. To make a app takes tons of hours to make a real good one, therefore making Groundspeak taking priority of the V2 upgrade or even developing Wherigo (were most of the app programing people are).

There is also a problem with have the iPod touch not allowing upload of files by any other mean except iTunes. So it would require Apple to add additional people to add functionally to go with the new app Groundspeak would create to allow geocachers to upload files via iTunes.

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Garmin probaly paid to have the field notes application added to the website. If apple was willing to pay to add an iPhone app to the gc.com website, I bet that Groundspeak would.

It would cost money to develop this app. To make a app takes tons of hours to make a real good one, therefore making Groundspeak taking priority of the V2 upgrade or even developing Wherigo (were most of the app programing people are).

There is also a problem with have the iPod touch not allowing upload of files by any other mean except iTunes. So it would require Apple to add additional people to add functionally to go with the new app Groundspeak would create to allow geocachers to upload files via iTunes.

 

That is part of my point. If there is R&D going into Wherigo (caches for people using certain specific brands and models), there could certainly be an app created for touch or iphone. If there were a possible way to add the feature to my premium membership, I'd pay an additional premium to supplement R&D...isn't that were part of my fees go to? :ph34r: Wherigo caters to a small margin of cachers and creates a game within a game (Secondlife?), but an app would be a greater asset to the existing (and evolution of) geocaching experience.

 

There is also a population of geocachers that would love more mac involvement in files and sharing. GPS and GIS have been based on dos/windows-based systems for many years, but the Mac user is an increasing and demographically sensible group.

 

There is a possibility that someone else would make an app, but it would be a great opportunity for Groundspeak to get in early on a chance to develop and upgrade/sell a gpx reader for caches uploaded to the touch or ipod. The apps out there right now are either inadequate, cumbersome or over priced.

 

Heck, Groundspeak could even leverage some swag for an app writing contest--open to geocaching/Waymarking/Wherigo users--so that R&D can be in the hands of a possible home run of a geocaching paperless app writer. That sure would look good to me...and I'm sure to others!

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Every other device that has a app that supports paperless caching uses an app written by someone not from Groundspeak. Groundspeak did develop the Wherigo engine but I'm not even sure what there involvment was in porting it to the Colorado. I suspect they were involved but Garmin probably did some of the work as well. Groundspeak's business is runing the website. In some case Groundspeak does partner with developers and those developers may have access to the Groundspeaks Web API (for example Trimble). Most apps are written to use GPX files downloaded by premium members (pocket queries). These XML files can be easily parsed by the and used many applications. Groundspeak doesn't have to develop applications for many different devices, it simply published the schema for the GPX file and anyone with some programming skills can write an application that uses it. Cell phone devices, like the iPhone, which have Internet capability, would like to write apps to grab data on the fly. Right now, Groundspeak is probably trying to decide just what interface they wish to provide to developers. The API that they currently have would seem appropriate. But they may have an exclusive agreement with Trimble on phone apps that prevents them from making it available to a developer for a iPhone or Android application. That is too bad, because people with devices not support by Trimble will feel left out. For this same reason, app developers trying to get permission to simply allow download of the GPX file from the phone through the website are met with silence when they ask if this is allowed. It seems that if the browser on the phone is used to download the GPX, there is not much Groundspeak can do, since the intent of GPX files. An app that tries to mimic the browser to get files on the fly may on the other hand be viewed as using a scraper or automated means of accessing the site which is against the ToU. Groundspeak needs to review its policy regarding third party apps and have a reasonable approach to allowing device with internet capability to grab data - or they're going to have hire a lot of programmers to develop applications for users like the OP.

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So, essentially (and until confirmed by a moderator or lackey) this is something off the grid for Groundspeak due to its agreements with Trimble? That's a shame. So, perhaps this thread needs to be moved the the Software forum and there should be a rally for a good app that would work for touch or iphone. The problem is, again, how to grab the caches you want to have on your apple product. If Groundspeak wouldn't give the necessary allowances, someone will need to end-around the entire process.

 

I know there are ways to upload cache info to the "notes" app/tab on an ipod/touch/iphone, but there really should be a real app that can pretty up (read: declutter) that information. Decryption of hints and alignment of all cache info (I would imagine w/o logs) would be a great paperless way to go. So can any of the GSAK/GPSBbabel programmers create an app that can upload/translate gpx files already downloadable by premium members?

 

I understand that the intent is to maintain the website, but there are ways to download directly to a Garmin from the cache page, Trimble geocache programs on certain GPS-enabled phones and other examples of relationships with vendors. I feel like it matches Groundspeak's vision to "develop tools to help GPS enthusiasts create unique adventures in the real world". Have options been explored with Apple like they have been for Garmin and Trimble?

 

But, alas, I'm sure there's some reason that TPTB won't put work into an app for the iphone/touch. But, if they were to limit the app to waypoint data and tie up code to not allow navigation, wouldn't the app just be a text/gpx converter? (I'm mostly high-level computer illiterate, so help me out here with the lingo...) I think this could get around any Trimble agreements, and would really be a smart move to advocate something that encourages paperless caching.

 

So, anyone out there know how to go about recruiting for/programming an app? Now's the chance to give back to the geocaching community, and I wish I were savvy enough to do it myself...

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So, essentially (and until confirmed by a moderator or lackey) this is something off the grid for Groundspeak due to its agreements with Trimble? That's a shame. So, perhaps this thread needs to be moved the the Software forum and there should be a rally for a good app that would work for touch or iphone. The problem is, again, how to grab the caches you want to have on your apple product. If Groundspeak wouldn't give the necessary allowances, someone will need to end-around the entire process.

 

I know there are ways to upload cache info to the "notes" app/tab on an ipod/touch/iphone, but there really should be a real app that can pretty up (read: declutter) that information. Decryption of hints and alignment of all cache info (I would imagine w/o logs) would be a great paperless way to go. So can any of the GSAK/GPSBbabel programmers create an app that can upload/translate gpx files already downloadable by premium members?

 

I understand that the intent is to maintain the website, but there are ways to download directly to a Garmin from the cache page, Trimble geocache programs on certain GPS-enabled phones and other examples of relationships with vendors. I feel like it matches Groundspeak's vision to "develop tools to help GPS enthusiasts create unique adventures in the real world". Have options been explored with Apple like they have been for Garmin and Trimble?

 

But, alas, I'm sure there's some reason that TPTB won't put work into an app for the iphone/touch. But, if they were to limit the app to waypoint data and tie up code to not allow navigation, wouldn't the app just be a text/gpx converter? (I'm mostly high-level computer illiterate, so help me out here with the lingo...) I think this could get around any Trimble agreements, and would really be a smart move to advocate something that encourages paperless caching.

 

So, anyone out there know how to go about recruiting for/programming an app? Now's the chance to give back to the geocaching community, and I wish I were savvy enough to do it myself...

 

I am the developer for Geopher Lite on the iPhone. I can tell you that there are many developers willing to do this, but it's a matter of the terms of use not being compatible with what you are asking for. Either Groundspeak does this themselves (or closely partner with someone), there isn't any bigger benefit having an iPhone versus any other smart phone with a web browser as far as 3rd party developers are concerned. As far as a general cache management goes (i.e. for the touch) I know there is at least one that is released and a few more in development for the plam-esque cache managers. Don't give up hope. =)

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igeocacher is available for in itunes for the ipod/iphone, and is great for paperless cache organization to some extent. It's a pain to get the gpx's into, but once that's surmounted it's fairly easy to use. The developer of that app has gotten in some trouble with Groundspeak over a misunderstanding about the gpx tou, but if you don't use the developers web hosting for your gpx's no toes are getting stepped on.

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igeocacher is available for in itunes for the ipod/iphone, and is great for paperless cache organization to some extent. It's a pain to get the gpx's into, but once that's surmounted it's fairly easy to use. The developer of that app has gotten in some trouble with Groundspeak over a misunderstanding about the gpx tou, but if you don't use the developers web hosting for your gpx's no toes are getting stepped on.

Thanks for the input, sduck! (and again for the help when we were in Nashville!). I looked at igeocacher, and I like what I see, except for the $15 price. So many apps are under $5, and I'm wondering if we are too small a community for there to be any developed competition to get another good gpx reading option out there. I have corresponded with the author of igeocacher, and he has offered all kinds of help to get the program set up. (most reviews I've read say, too, that it is a pain to set up, but that it works well once you get over that hurdle). So, it may mean that I pony up for this one now, and hold out hope that someone (PLEASE Groundspeak!) will develop another less cumbersome option.

 

All of this is to say, still, that I think it would be a great feature for Groundspeak to offer for its waymarkers and geocachers. It could even lead to some great Wherigo cartridges on the iphone, if they crossed the mac/pc void. If there are issues with the TOU, then there needs to be some effort to either change the terms, or get on the app wagon and develop some truly great apps for touch/iphone and possibly other smartphones out there that help reduce paper waste and keep the overall cost of geocaching/Waymarking/Wherigo participation low. (no thanks on a $400 Colorado or pocketPC, just for Wherigo when I have a great inexpensive GPSr that finds me regular caches right now.) I also happen to own (gifted) an ipod touch that has a capability to save me some paper and time while involved as a paying, premium member of Groundspeak. If only there was a way...

 

Apps aren't "big" like GSAK or other programs, and they can't be as difficult to create/partner with like a "Geocache Navigator" on certain GPS-enabled phones. Programs as small as 500k can fetch my email, get me on a special optimized facebook, and get EVERY sport score I'd ever want...and all as FREE apps! Think about a Groundspeak-created native GPX reader! Optimized geocaching.com for iphone/touch...it's an open market on it right now (not much competition), so why not work out an app that could help bring in more money to the development of the outdoor location-based entertainment.

 

Heck, get in contact with iGocacher's author to partner and create a seamless app, rather than getting miffed about TOU. It could be some good outreach and marketing...I'm just sayin...

Edited by NeverSummer
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So what you you suppose is the percentage of the Geocaching.com Premium Members who use the iPhone/iPod Touch vs the number that use a Palm or a Pocket PC vs the number that use a Blackberry?

 

The Palms have been around for much longer (and I would venture that there are far more Premium Members using them) than the iPhone, and there's no Groundspeak-created GPX reader for them.

 

So if they were going to start programming anything, it would make more sense to start there.

 

Not trying to argue for the sake of arguing, but unfortunately, you aren't viewing the issue from the right perspective.

 

And the TOU exist for a reason. They are there to protect the value and integrity of the data and of the site and of Groundspeak's business model. We all agree to them when we sign up. It's a known quantity. Spidering, scraping, and sharing the data are all clear violations of the TOU without explicit, advance permission from Groundspeak.

Edited by Motorcycle_Mama
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So what you you suppose is the percentage of the Geocaching.com Premium Members who use the iPhone/iPod Touch vs the number that use a Palm or a Pocket PC vs the number that use a Blackberry?

 

The Palms have been around for much longer (and I would venture that there are far more Premium Members using them) than the iPhone, and there's no Groundspeak-created GPX reader for them.

 

So if they were going to start programming anything, it would make more sense to start there.

 

Not trying to argue for the sake of arguing, but unfortunately, you aren't viewing the issue from the right perspective.

 

And the TOU exist for a reason. They are there to protect the value and integrity of the data and of the site and of Groundspeak's business model. We all agree to them when we sign up. It's a known quantity. Spidering, scraping, and sharing the data are all clear violations of the TOU without explicit, advance permission from Groundspeak.

...which is why it would be a perfect opportunity for Groundspeak to partner with someone or create their own app. This is my point.

 

Palms have ways to go paperless already (as far as I know...), but development seems to have been stymied on iphone and touch. If explicit, advance permissions are given, it seems like the problem involves who benefits (financially) from the developed program. If Groundspeak developed the app, it would help PC AND Mac users, as the iphone and touch are used by both platforms. If they developed and had rights to the app, they could help create revenue for more outreach and development. It fits the company's mission! It would fit the TOU!

 

I'm not talking about percentages here, I'm talking about availability...and universal availability. There are programs out there for Palm and PocketPC, and I'm not sure about Blackberry (but Sprint phones with GPS have the option to use a program to geocache from their phone). Groundspeak could develop a gpx reader for Palm and PocketPC, too. Why not?! (there are already great options out there, so I doubt that there will be much action on that...but there could be)

 

This isn't a request for favors due to my iPod touch possession. If anything, it should inspire those with Palm or PocketPC to ask for something similar. The fact is, this technology (apps and phones with GPS and so on) is just beginning...and it will be the future. (Have you seen the new Google phone! Wow) This could be a way to expand the location-based gaming provided by Groundspeak to existing AND future users without focusing on creating whole new (mostly exclusive) features like another Wherigo (which is for Garmin Colorado or PocketPC users).

 

There's already the Garmin "Send to GPS" on cache pages, so why not also for PocketPC/Palm/iPhone, etc? I know (as a "send" user) that it is actually a Garmin program on my computer that does the transfer, but something similar could surely be created. (and why not by Groundspeak or a recruited developer? Could be pretty cool...)

 

So we've all talked about it...do TPTB have any info? (and if this is veering OT, feel free to send it to the GPS and tech forum)

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Okay NS, it is obvious you want an app for your iphone. If you think it is such a hot idea and really the years killer app why don't you write up all the reasons why it should be done and what the wonderful benefits are and then send the letter to contact@geocaching.com. And if it is such a obvious, why didn't I think of that, app I'm sure GC.com won't waste a minute marshaling an army of iphone app writers and hurry it to market. Can we now get back to our discussion on bacon and hamsters?

 

P.S. Have you ever cached in no bars country? If not you will soon discover that a 76CSx and a palm is really a neat idea after all.

 

Jim

Edited by jholly
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Okay NS, it is obvious you want an app for your iphone. If you think it is such a hot idea and really the years killer app why don't you write up all the reasons why it should be done and what the wonderful benefits are and then send the letter to contact@geocaching.com. And if it is such a obvious, why didn't I think of that, app I'm sure GC.com won't waste a minute marshaling an army of iphone app writers and hurry it to market. Can we now get back to our discussion on bacon and hamsters?

 

P.S. Have you ever cached in no bars country? If not you will soon discover that a 76CSx and a palm is really a neat idea after all.

 

Jim

...er huh?

 

1. I would like an app for my touch, yes. (so would others, I've gathered)

2. I would send a proposal to Groundspeak, but they seem to direct most folks back to the forums to discuss with their -peers-.

3. It's not about rushing to market, its about exploring options in a growing market, without running into dead ends with private programmers and TOU conflicts and a therefore inferior end product

4. Bacon and hamsters? How about gc.com topics?

5. I've always cached with a GPSr. I cache with a Garmin. I've had a few models through time, but can't afford the fancier models. I own an iPod touch, so I never have "bars". My touch is proven to work well with applications that require no communication connection. I was gifted the ipod, and I don't have the money to get a Palm. I also use a Mac, so many of the programs don't work. As for no bars country, then, yes, I have, and I wish I could have used my capable Touch to contain the wasteful paper I sort through every time I cache.

 

Why such feistiness?

Edited by NeverSummer
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Okay NS, it is obvious you want an app for your iphone. If you think it is such a hot idea and really the years killer app why don't you write up all the reasons why it should be done and what the wonderful benefits are and then send the letter to contact@geocaching.com. And if it is such a obvious, why didn't I think of that, app I'm sure GC.com won't waste a minute marshaling an army of iphone app writers and hurry it to market. Can we now get back to our discussion on bacon and hamsters?

 

P.S. Have you ever cached in no bars country? If not you will soon discover that a 76CSx and a palm is really a neat idea after all.

 

Jim

...er huh?

 

1. I would like an app for my touch, yes. (so would others, I've gathered)

2. I would send a proposal to Groundspeak, but they seem to direct most folks back to the forums to discuss with their -peers-.

3. It's not about rushing to market, its about exploring options in a growing market, without running into dead ends with private programmers and TOU conflicts and a therefore inferior end product

4. Bacon and hamsters? How about gc.com topics?

5. I've always cached with a GPSr. I cache with a Garmin. I've had a few models through time, but can't afford the fancier models. I own an iPod touch, so I never have "bars". My touch is proven to work well with applications that require no communication connection. I was gifted the ipod, and I don't have the money to get a Palm. I also use a Mac, so many of the programs don't work. As for no bars country, then, yes, I have, and I wish I could have used my capable Touch to contain the wasteful paper I sort through every time I cache.

 

Why such feistiness?

I doubt there is any issue with the Terms of Use that prevents someone from writing a iPod touch application that reads GPX files. There apparently is one and your complaint seems to be that the author of that application wants $15 for it. Groundspeak did not develop any of the Palm, PocketPC, or Blackberry applications. These were all developed by Geocachers and provided to the community either as shareware/freeware or for some modest cost. The $15 for the iGeocache app does seem to be that far out of range for this kind of app. If someone wanted to write another app to compete and drive down the price it would be good. Groundspeak is not likely to be that someone. Other than some development of Wherigo engines for different platforms, it is not part of their business model to develop these apps. They make the GPX file format available to premium members and encourage others to develop applications that use this format. The one area they seem to want to restrict is direct access to data off of the website. This makes it hard to create apps that can get fresh information based upon your current location while you are in the field. You have to have run a PQ and gotten the GPX files you need before you go geocaching. Perhaps Groundspeak ought to look at its ToUs and access to its web services API to allow for applications that can get fresh data as there are more and more capable smart phone out there. My guess is that they see real time access as something that can generate revenue and probably will only deal with developers like Trimble who can charge users a subscription fee that is shared with Groundspeak.

 

Your posts make me think of a Mac vs. PC ad.

PC: Why are you so sad?

Mac: No one wants to write geocaching applications for me.

PC: But you're supposed to be fun and games. Isn't geocaching a game?

Mac: Geocaching hates Macs and disabled chinldren.

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I doubt there is any issue with the Terms of Use that prevents someone from writing a iPod touch application that reads GPX files. There apparently is one and your complaint seems to be that the author of that application wants $15 for it. Groundspeak did not develop any of the Palm, PocketPC, or Blackberry applications. These were all developed by Geocachers and provided to the community either as shareware/freeware or for some modest cost. The $15 for the iGeocache app does seem to be that far out of range for this kind of app. If someone wanted to write another app to compete and drive down the price it would be good. Groundspeak is not likely to be that someone. Other than some development of Wherigo engines for different platforms, it is not part of their business model to develop these apps. They make the GPX file format available to premium members and encourage others to develop applications that use this format. The one area they seem to want to restrict is direct access to data off of the website. This makes it hard to create apps that can get fresh information based upon your current location while you are in the field. You have to have run a PQ and gotten the GPX files you need before you go geocaching. Perhaps Groundspeak ought to look at its ToUs and access to its web services API to allow for applications that can get fresh data as there are more and more capable smart phone out there. My guess is that they see real time access as something that can generate revenue and probably will only deal with developers like Trimble who can charge users a subscription fee that is shared with Groundspeak.

 

Your posts make me think of a Mac vs. PC ad.

PC: Why are you so sad?

Mac: No one wants to write geocaching applications for me.

PC: But you're supposed to be fun and games. Isn't geocaching a game?

Mac: Geocaching hates Macs and disabled chinldren.

It isn't as much a complaint as a suggestion. This has nothing to do with PC vs. Mac in terms of using an ipod touch or iphone, as either product works on PCs and Macs. I'm simply wondering about and suggesting a possible way to get geocaching "out there" and accessible on another level.

 

The $15 app is mostly tuned for turning an iphone into a paperless GPSr. I have no GPS function on my touch, and most of the programming is tuned toward an iphone. I don't care for "real time", as mostly I've been discussing the creation of a Groundspeak App for reading GPX files, and creating some way to interface them.

 

I may get the iGeocacher App, but I wonder if Groundspeak has thought about exploring the option. Believe me, if I could program it for them privately and let them stamp their name on it, I would!

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