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ATXTracker

Chirp Support for IPhone

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This is a summary post, so more cachers can get visibility into this specific topic rather than digging through many pages of more general Chirp posts.

 

Chirp support for the iPhone is now just an App away, with the Beta release of an SDK from Wahoo Fitness, who provide a hardware dongle for the iPhone and an SDK for developers.

 

Sensor: http://www.wahoofitness.com/Fisica/Wahoo-F...-Sensor-Key.asp

Posting about SDK: http://www.wahoofitness.com/forum/messages...picID=25#post85

 

Naysayers are correct to note that the ANT+ sensor is quite expensive ($79) and that there are not that many Chirp caches (I read a post noting about 70 caches in the states so far), but one step at a time.

 

70 caches is quite a few more than just 2 weeks ago, and there are other ANT+ devices that are much cheaper, though with out the SDK. I think the price will come down. For example: http://store.digifit.me/Digifit-Connect-Di.../B0036QIFPW.htm

 

Chirp support is currently #17 on the list on iPhone feature requests, and while there is little chance it will be added soon, that doesn’t stop cachers from voting for it:

http://feedback.geocaching.com/forums/7527...e-app?ref=title

Edited by ATXTracker

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I have heard directly from wahoo fitness that Groundspeak is interested in adding support for chirp to the iPhone app but that they are waiting to see how this whole opencaching.com thing plays out before they pull the trigger.

 

Sounds like a bit of a scuffle brewing. I'm not interested in another cache site, just new cool tech and ideas to roll into geocaching.

 

Groundspeak needs to keep an eye out for disruptive technologies/ideas such as Chirp or maybe an open API that would motivate people to switch to a competitor, and make sure they are alwasy on the side of the cacher. Garmin's problem is the smart phone, which is all the more reason for Ground Speak to support Chirp on the iPhone. Groundspeak can take Garmin's cool product, and make it part of their cool sport.

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Groundspeak needs to keep an eye out for disruptive technologies/ideas such as Chirp or maybe an open API that would motivate people to switch to a competitor, and make sure they are alwasy on the side of the cacher.

as long as Groundspeak owns the largest database of caches worldwide, they need not be afraid of competition. which is somewhat unfortunate, because competition can be a good thing.

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Withholding Chirp support from Geocaching.com customers is not a way to hurt Garmin, it's a way to hurt Groundspeak. You don't want to give people a reason to look elsewhere, you want people to not bother looking at opencaching.com, because they are perfectly happy here.

 

I welcome the actual competition but wow, so not looking forward to finding two caches from two different listing services sitting 10 feet apart from each other.

 

On topic, I'm looking forward to Chirp support on my iPhone 4, whether it's an official Groundspeak app (preferred) or not. Kudos to the Wahoo Fitness people for implementing this so quick.

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... that there are not that many Chirp caches (I read a post noting about 70 caches in the states so far)...
76 now -- growing by leaps and bounds. Compare to 423 "Wherigo" caches :mad:

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as long as Groundspeak owns the largest database of caches worldwide, they need not be afraid of competition. which is somewhat unfortunate, because competition can be a good thing.

 

Please take this as friendly banter, but I think you may be mistaken here. History is littered with market leaders that lost out to small disruptive companies.

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... that there are not that many Chirp caches (I read a post noting about 70 caches in the states so far)...
76 now -- growing by leaps and bounds. Compare to 423 "Wherigo" caches :mad:

 

Where do you get your numbers? I can do a pocket query, but only for 500 miles, and certainly not contained to a region like "US"

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Where do you get your numbers? I can do a pocket query, but only for 500 miles, and certainly not contained to a region like "US"

You can select multiple entries for "state", just select all 50 and DC. It's a pain, though. I must have made some mistake because I got only 69. Wonder which states I missed.

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Actually you have to do two queries: one for all US states and one for everything else to get a world wide count. It's close to 100.

 

Here are the pq's links, if you are a premium member you should be able to click and save if you want to keep them around for reference. You get all beacon caches, a few of which don't have a chirp component.

 

US:

http://www.geocaching.com/pocket/gcquery.a...75-af1c25c821af

 

Outside US:

http://www.geocaching.com/pocket/gcquery.a...a7-426fddee2fe1

 

Salsaguy is keeping a manual list as well:

 

http://www.geocaching.com/bookmarks/view.a...0e-d6c93cd7ca44

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Ah -- how about building one query with ALL states selected in the PQ builder? That'll give you all US states, Canadian provinces, and individually enumerated states/counties/etc in the rest of the geocaching world. At the moment that returns 123 caches with the beacon attribute.

 

http://www.geocaching.com/pocket/gcquery.a...02-39aa7fe64894

Edited by lee_rimar

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Ah -- how about building one query with ALL states selected in the PQ builder? That'll give you all US states, Canadian provinces, and individually enumerated states/counties/etc in the rest of the geocaching world. At the moment that returns 123 caches with the beacon attribute.

 

http://www.geocaching.com/pocket/gcquery.a...02-39aa7fe64894

 

Is the dongle required for all Iphone/ipod units? I know that the new ipod touch and Iphone 4 have ANT wireless, but is ANT+ a whole different deal?

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Groundspeak needs to keep an eye out for disruptive technologies/ideas such as Chirp or maybe an open API that would motivate people to switch to a competitor, and make sure they are alwasy on the side of the cacher.

as long as Groundspeak owns the largest database of caches worldwide, they need not be afraid of competition. which is somewhat unfortunate, because competition can be a good thing.

 

Has anyone toyed with the idea that Garmin may want to buy out geocaching.com? :mad:

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Is the dongle required for all Iphone/ipod units? I know that the new ipod touch and Iphone 4 have ANT wireless, but is ANT+ a whole different deal?
The dongle is required. I too had the wrong idea about ANT in iGadgets. Asked around, and heard from more than one source that:

 

- There's no support in iOS to support ANT or ANT+.

- Though the Nike footpod uses the same chipset as some ANT devices, it's a custom design and not really ANT compliant.

 

So, an ANT+ receiver that communicates through the dock connector is the only way to go for now.

Edited by lee_rimar

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I do care, and I would vote against it ;)

 

Even if there was native support in the iPhone for ANT+, I feel limited development resources should go to items of more mainstream interest -- like improving battery life or better caching of offline maps. I might change my mind if Chirp caches outnumbered Wherigo's, or even if there were more than 2 within a 500 mile radius of my house.

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I do care, and I would vote against it :)

 

Even if there was native support in the iPhone for ANT+, I feel limited development resources should go to items of more mainstream interest -- like improving battery life or better caching of offline maps. I might change my mind if Chirp caches outnumbered Wherigo's, or even if there were more than 2 within a 500 mile radius of my house.

 

Good point; obviously you should use your limited votes for the things you want most. I'd be willing to bet that the Chirp caches will catch on better than Wherigo, however. Wherigo caches are hard to develope, and the software for playing them back is buggy. Chirp cost $20, but are easy to set up, and the software is simple. We'll see I guess.

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I do care, and I would vote against it :)

 

Even if there was native support in the iPhone for ANT+, I feel limited development resources should go to items of more mainstream interest -- like improving battery life or better caching of offline maps. I might change my mind if Chirp caches outnumbered Wherigo's, or even if there were more than 2 within a 500 mile radius of my house.

 

Chirp IS taking off here, there's quite a few of them popping up. Having said that, I'm not entirely convinced that chirp needs to be integrated into the GC.com app per se. For how often I'm going to use it, I'm fine with running an app to scan for these things while the dongle is connected. Perhaps an app that, say, handles iOS4 muiltitasking better and has less of a battery punishment than the GC app has.

 

We don't need the GPS chip to be running to receive a Chirp message, for example.

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...Chirp IS taking off here, there's quite a few...
How many is "quite a few?" A pocket query for beacon attributes within 100KM of Halton only turns up 4 hits. Edited by lee_rimar

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...Chirp IS taking off here, there's quite a few...
How many is "quite a few?" A pocket query for beacon attributes within 100KM of Halton only turns up 4 hits.

 

Apples to apples here. Within 500 miles of Halton there are 42 caches with the beacon attribute.

There are 4 nearby, like you said although I am aware of several recently setup and waiting for publishing.

 

The last event cache I went to had several dozen Chirp devices floating around at it.

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"...within 500 miles of Halton there are 42 caches with the beacon attribute..." That's a wider range than I think of when someone says "around here." Within 500 miles of Halton covers from lower Ontario down to parts of Kentucky and Virginia, and from western edge of Maine to the western shore of Lake Michigan.

 

"The last event cache I went to had several dozen Chirp devices floating around at it." That's more interesting. How long do you think it'll take before they're placed? A couple other things I'm wondering about: 1) Do you think many folks are putting these in caches and NOT listing the beacon attribute? Seems possible but I don't know how likely; would be uncounted in beacon-specific PQs. And 2) Can you think of any practical use for a Chirp OTHER than as a geocaching gadget?

Edited by lee_rimar

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ithin 500 miles of Halton there are 42 caches with the beacon attribute.
"Within 500 miles" is a wider range than I think of when someone says "around here." Within 500 miles of Halton covers not just lower Ontario, but most of the northeastern United States. From Maine to the western shore of Lake Michigan, and from lower Ontario down to parts of Kentucky and Virginia.
The last event cache I went to had several dozen Chirp devices floating around at it.
That's more interesting -- How long do you think it'll take before they're placed? FWIW, the Halton+500 miles query returned 44 this morning, 2 more than yesterday.

 

A couple other things I'm wondering about:

 

1) Do you think many folks are putting these in caches and NOT listing the beacon attribute? It seems possible but I don't know how likely, but it would mean they're undercounted in PQs.

 

2) Can you think of any practical use for a Chirp OTHER than as a geocaching gadget?

 

The 500 mile thing I was comparing the "only 2 within 500 miles" comment you made above. My normal caching range is closer to 200km ... and that returns 4 caches. If I go back to 500 miles, but remove the international border (Canada only) I end up with 9 caches. Guess that Chirp is taking off a bit more on the USA side of that line ... that may lend itself to a bit of confusion about where exactly one would obtain a Chirp in Canada at launch time - pretty easy to find them now.

 

The beacon attribute is pretty much required for a chirp cache in Ontario, don't know how the reviewers are handling the other areas. If you include a chirp as part of the cache, but not a requirement to complete you may get away without using the beacon attribute.

 

We recently used a chirp at an event cache to advertise a puzzle solution from last year's event. I'll have to ask Avernar how many people his chirp logged that night talking to it.

 

Chirp has already been demonstrated as a useful tool for other things, like bike races or other outdoor races - setup a beacon that checks in the runners as they go by for example.

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I've created a pocket query and checked it a few time this week. The numbers are small but going up. 62 .. 64 .. 67.

 

While naysayers are happy to point out the obvious negatives, I'm hoping by keeping the conversation going in the forums, that more will find out about it, and the numbers will eventually reach some sort of critical mass.

 

With more interest comes more caches, and more caches bring better support and more devices, either to support the Chirp, or some other new cool tech all together.

 

I am shocked to talk to cachers who still haven't heard of the Chirp.

 

Link Repeat:

 

About the Chirp: http://garmin.blogs.com/my_weblog/2010/10/...nnectivity.html

 

Vote for Chirp Support: http://feedback.geocaching.com/forums/7527...e-app?ref=title

Edited by ATXTracker

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We recently used a chirp at an event cache to advertise a puzzle solution from last year's event. I'll have to ask Avernar how many people his chirp logged that night talking to it.

Several dozen. Lost track (the count on the chirp is higher from me playing with it).

 

My puzzle cache temporarily had the beacon attribute while the Chirp was at the event advertising the solution. I'm working on putting out a cache with that Chirp currently and I'm thinking of ordering one more for another cache.

Edited by Avernar

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I don't even have an iPhone and have no plans to get one but I voted for it. There are a bunch of folks in my area who use their iPhones for geocaching. I'd like them to be Chirp capable. (Of course I did buy a Chirp today so I "may" have an ulterior motive. :blink: )

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The 500 mile thing I was comparing the "only 2 within 500 miles" comment you made above.
No surprise that there are more within that distance from you than from me. Couple of reasons: 1) Denser population overall. If you check the "cache density" of almost ANY cache type (not just Chirps) in any given area and also look at a HUMAN population density map, you'll see an obvious correlation. And 2) Your 500 mile circle has more land area overall than mine. Yours covers some of the Great Lakes, but a larger chunk of mine maps over the Pacific Ocean.

 

I've reworded that a few times and it still reads poorly. Hope you get my meaning.

 

Anyhow, the very few Chirps placed so far makes it hard to draw conclusions about if people are really picking up on the idea yet. If two or ten show up in one state or province in a short time, that may be a blip rather than a trend. What I'm waiting to see is if it reaches some "critical mass," where the numbers grow fast enough for a long enough time that there can be no doubt. I'm not saying that won't happen; just that it hasn't happened YET.

 

And until it does, there are a lot of general improvements I'd like to see in the GC app -- far more than a feature only useful for finding less than 1/10000th of the caches out there. Or even 1/5000th.

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And until it does, there are a lot of general improvements I'd like to see in the GC app -- far more than a feature only useful for finding less than 1/10000th of the caches out there. Or even 1/5000th.

 

This I can certainly agree with. The GC developers have plenty to contend with already, and frankly Wahoo enables some third party devel to whip off a quick n dirty app far quicker than they could at the Lilypad. Wherigo got addressed by a third party nicely, the same will happen with Chirp. One also has to wonder if Garmin's lawyers may be shaking a stick at Groundspeak over app inclusion, but I doubt that.

 

The GC app needs other features, badly, like say keeping log dates correct in places other than Washington State, or how about some Magellan style cache filtering in the app. I've used up my votes in the feedback system on other feature requests/bug fixes so yup I haven't up-voted the Chirp suggestion yet.

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Good link: feedback.geocaching.com/forums/75277/suggestions/1143629.

FWIW: As of this morning, there are 141 active caches worldwide with the beacon attribute; 14 of those placed within the past 7 days.

---

EDIT TO ADD: A good day for Chripies! I checked again and the count is up to 148; 7 going active in the last 12 hours!

Edited by lee_rimar

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I would buy one in a second, even if I have to buy the ant+ attachment for the iPhone for $79.

This device would help my family enjoy geochaching as much as I do.

 

Hurry up and program it!

--Dan

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I dont think I'd drop the $70 just for the chirp support (especially since I already have an Oregon). When I would definitely spend the money is when they used the ANT+ to allow me to communicate between my Oregon and my iphone. I personally think that would be a huge selling point, if you could basically trick the iphone into thinking its an Oregon and be able to send waypoints and geocaches via gpx files, that would be an amazing tool.

 

Imagine being out somewhere and a new cache pops up, you have both your iphone and Oregon/Dakota on hand, and either dont want to waste the iphone battery power, or don't quite trust its accuracy. Just pop on the module and send the cache right over to the Oregon. Even great would be to have the ability to run a PQ through the iphone then transmit it to the Oregon on the fly. It probably wouldn't be the most efficient way to do so, but would be a great tool for travelers or in the field. No need to carry a laptop or be tied to a computer.

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I dont think I'd drop the $70 just for the chirp support (especially since I already have an Oregon).

 

Would you pay $9.99? Here is a dongle that cost $9.99. The site says there is support for the garmin running foot pod device, which is the exact same hardware as chirp, so I'm 95% confident they could support it if people would let them know that there was a market.

 

http://store.digifit.me/Digifit-Connect-Di.../B0036QIFPW.htm

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Would you pay $9.99? Here is a dongle that cost $9.99. The site says there is support for the garmin running foot pod device, which is the exact same hardware as chirp, so I'm 95% confident they could support it if people would let them know that there was a market.

 

http://store.digifit.me/Digifit-Connect-Di.../B0036QIFPW.htm

 

Also: Here is a feedback form where you can email them and request for Chirp support. If they get a few emails, it may put it on their radar.

 

http://digifit.com/support/support-feedback-form/

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FWIW: As of this morning, there are 141 active caches worldwide with the beacon attribute;

While I would imagine that the vast majority of these are probably "Chirp" caches, be aware that the COs of some other beacon-type caches that pre-date Chirp are making use of the attribute as well: http://www.geocaching.com/seek/cache_detai...1d-06a0968e4674

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Yup, I'm aware some legacy -- or even new -- "beacons" are not Chirps**. But I'm looking for any upward trending of NEW caches with the beacon attribute and assuming most new ones are. Numbers are still small enough that I can eyeball the listings for the word "chirp" and see this assumption is correct.

 

---

** Edit to add: Like this one, GC2JMD9, that popped up a day after I made that remark.

Edited by lee_rimar

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I spoke (email) with a representative from a company who builds iPhone apps for communicating with Garmin devices via ANT+ such as the Garmin Foot Pod. They are considering adding Chirp Support for geocachers.

 

Their iPhone ANT+ hardware is only $10. So it would be awesome if they did something soon. The other alternative I'm aware of is about $80, so big improvement.

 

I think we're getting closer to an iPhone Chirp App, even if Groundspeak doesn't incorporate it.

You can still vote for Chirp support here:

http://feedback.geocaching.com/forums/7527...e-app?ref=title

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...a company who builds iPhone apps for communicating with Garmin devices via ANT+ such as the Garmin Foot Pod ... Their iPhone ANT+ hardware is only $10.
Cool! DigiFit Connect at $10 might be a "must have" item rather than hard to justify -- especially since it works with more than just Chirps.

 

FWIW, some time this morning the number of active caches worldwide with the beacon attribute passed 200.

Edited by lee_rimar

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...a company who builds iPhone apps for communicating with Garmin devices via ANT+ such as the Garmin Foot Pod ... Their iPhone ANT+ hardware is only $10.
Cool! DigiFit Connect at $10 might be a "must have" item rather than hard to justify -- especially since it works with more than just Chirps.

 

FWIW, some time this morning the number of active caches worldwide with the beacon attribute passed 200.

 

Question is, do THEY have an API that could be used to build a Chirp app.

$10 is a great price for an ANT+ dongle, but if I can't get a program for it, it's a waste of $10 for me.

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DigiFit offers a LOT of programs for this thing. Just not Chirp, at the moment.

 

And that's one area where you and I differ. At the moment I still consider Chirp a curiosity, but many other other ANT+ apps (power meters, heart rate monitors, etc) interest me. At $10 a receiver that works with a wide range of apps is reasonable, even without Chirp. So if I buy the $10 one now and they add Chirp support later - that's just a bonus.

 

My thinking is the sharp price reduction by DigiFit could mean one of three things:

 

1) Folks just weren't buying the things -- I'm not the only cheapskate out there

2) Some new and better model is right around the corner

3) Apple may be putting ANT+ capabil;ities into the hardware and API for a near future release

 

ALL of those are conjecture only -- do any of them seem more or less likely to you?

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My thinking is the sharp price reduction by DigiFit could mean one of three things:

 

1) Folks just weren't buying the things -- I'm not the only cheapskate out there

2) Some new and better model is right around the corner

3) Apple may be putting ANT+ capabil;ities into the hardware and API for a near future release

 

ALL of those are conjecture only -- do any of them seem more or less likely to you?

 

It could be any of those things or something else. Either way, if they would hurry up and add chirp support, I bet they could sell a bunch in the next 6 months to geocachers. They have all the pieces of the puzzle: App support (they already support the foot pod, which is the same device), reasonably priced hardware, and a market that is currently wide open.

 

They would have to price their app reasonably. If they are hoping to sell a $30 app which does everything (heart rate monitors, etc) to geocachers who are only interested in Chirp, then they may have a hard time.

 

We'll see if they can get to market fast enough.

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After reading product review on Amazon, I'm guessing the Digifit Connect isn't particularly well made. Even some of the favorable reviews complain it sometimes come loose from the dock connector.

Edited by lee_rimar

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After reading product review on Amazon, I'm guessing the Digifit Connect isn't particularly well made. Even some of the favorable reviews complain it sometimes come loose from the dock connector.

 

Step one: Get some workable support for iPhone, Step two: Make it better, or find a secondary product which is better.

 

For now, I'll take just about anything that works.

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Top Ten!

 

Chirp support for the iPhone is now in the top ten requests and two of ther higher-ranked items have already been completed, just not closed out, so actually it's #8.

 

Groundspeak has plenty of software-only stuff to work on, so I doubt they will jump at a project that requires some hardware cooperation.

 

Eitherway, Chirp is obviously interesting to some cachers. At current rates, Chirp should pass Wherigo by next Summer (6 months).

 

Voting:

http://feedback.geocaching.com/forums/7527...e-app?ref=title

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iPhones have Micro SD card slots, don't they?

 

How about this?

 

Edit. Whoops. Not ANT+

Edited by JJnTJ

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For now, I'll take just about anything that works.
If you meant that, you'd just buy a late-model ANT+ enabled Garmin :)

 

I still don't understand your enthusiasm. There was another thread recently about someone who felt the Microsoft Tag color barcodes would be an "awesome" improvement to the game. I put that in the same category as the Chirp.

 

Can you tell me how or why the Chirp is better, more appealing to you, than any of the many other existing ways to give a clue to a puzzle or stage of a multi?

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For now, I'll take just about anything that works.
If you meant that, you'd just buy a late-model ANT+ enabled Garmin :santa:

 

I still don't understand your enthusiasm. There was another thread recently about someone who felt the Microsoft Tag color barcodes would be an "awesome" improvement to the game. I put that in the same category as the Chirp.

 

Can you tell me how or why the Chirp is better, more appealing to you, than any of the many other existing ways to give a clue to a puzzle or stage of a multi?

I think we're the only ones in this forum :)

 

A late-model Chirp-capable Garmin costs maybe $200? I actually have one, and I use it as my primary device for geocaching - a very good device. But I think a Chirp add-on and app for the iphone should cost in the 10s of dollars; That is a big difference and as a Chirp enthusiast I think iPhone support is key to getting more people interested in Chirps. I want Chirp to be more popular, and I think an iPhone app is the way to get it there. I also want to remove the stigma around it being a Garmin-only thing.

 

Your question about the bar codes is a good one. When I read that post, I also made the connection to the Chirp. If put out in the world (not just on the cache page), then it is very similar. I think it would be great fun to run into a MS Tag Code while out caching. I do think Chirp is a little cooler in that it wirelessly transmits its message over a small area from a potentially hidden location, but that in and of itself is a small difference, admittedly.

 

The real answer as to why I care is bigger. We've all asked ourselves, "how will technology change, and make geocaching different?" I can envision a day where GPSRs or their successor will be so accurate that geocaching will be a very different sort of activity. The days of getting to 50 foot radius area and then searching, will be over. I think eventually there will be positional locators that are accurate to inches, including the height off the ground. Tech will change, and so will games like geocaching.

 

I don't really care that much about Chirp itself as I do about the idea of transformative technology. I want to support any new revolutionary tech that will add depth and expand the game. The Chirp is the first geocaching-centric hardware targeted explicitly at geocaching (excluding the Jr. Mate thing, which is far less revolutionary). That's a big deal IMO, so I'm pushing a little more than usual to bring it to the attention of the community. How could we as the geocaching community shun Garmin for trying to build something cool for the game. Yes they want to make money, but that's not a bad thing. We should want hardware manufacturers to see value in supporting geocaching.

 

Overall, I think its cool and fun, and I look forward to all the new technology to come. Geocachers are a creative bunch and I'm excited to see where it goes from here.

Edited by ATXTracker

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A late-model Chirp-capable Garmin costs maybe $200? I actually have one, and I use it as my primary device for geocaching - a very good device. But I think a Chirp add-on and app for the iphone should cost in the 10s of dollars; That is a big difference and as a Chirp enthusiast I think iPhone support is key to getting more people interested in Chirps. I want Chirp to be more popular, and I think an iPhone app is the way to get it there. I also want to remove the stigma around it being a Garmin-only thing.

 

Don't forget - when pricing the ANT+ add on for an iPhone vs a late model Garmin ....

The iPhone already has a processor, display, GPS chip and application memory on board - when you buy a full blown GPS you need to purchase the ANT+ chip, and all those bits I just mentioned to create a UI.

 

With my iPhone, I should be able to purchase just an ANT+ chip add on and reuse all those bits like processor, display, memory, etc. At $10, that seems quite reasonable (though I'm not interested unless it does Chirp at this time).

 

There's also that part of me that wants to try chirp but my Colorado works just fine for every other aspect of GPS use so why go out to replace it?

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I think iPhone support is key to getting more people interested in Chirps
Nope. A $1 to $3 price tag will get more people interested in buying and placing Chirps. And that's what you need to get more people interested in looking for Chirps.

 

That's the "critical mass" I mentioned in another thread: Once you have enough placements that they show up in any PQ that anyone runs in a populated area, more people will be interested in compatible apps and hardware.

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