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BlueEagle23

Can't see: D/T/S on map; background image; original hint text; gallery

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I have a few bones to pick about the Groundspeak geocaching app:

 

1) When selecting a cache on the map, the Difficulty, Terrain and Size is not shown in the summary. (D/T/S became available on the map a couple weeks after I posted this.)

 

2) When viewing a cache listing, the background image used on the website listing is not shown anywhere, when it could be listed in Photos. A particular third-party app lists "Spoiler images" in the Hint section. Touching that shows the image with the caption "Cache listing background image"

 

3) Hint button displays decrypted hint in pop-up and the original text can't be seen. Another app displays the encrypted hint and touching it will decrypt it. Not really a huge deal, but I have a cache with two hints where only one is decrypted while the other is encrypted. The user can alternate reading the hints by decrypting/encrypting on the website or other apps but is stuck with ROT13-encrypted text in this app.

 

4) There is not a Gallery feature in the cache listing to view all photos without having to scroll through all logs.

 

5) Can't import GPX files from other sources, such as GSAK creations or other cacher's PQs.

 

6) Photos button is greyed out when there aren't any photos, but the Trackables button isn't.

 

7) No ability to add a signature or template for logging caches. The third-party app that I'm use to using allows me to use templates in a signature, that automatically includes the specified content when logging. For example, I use the signature " TFTC! (#[NUMBER] [TIME])", which uses a template to automatically include the number of geocache finds (+1) and the current time at the end of my log.

 

Edited by BlueEagle23
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Except for point 5, which is beyond the scope of an Intro App designed to function without “signing up” & verifying contact info when some doesn't even know if he wants to be “Geocaching”, nor requiring web site access. I know that every other web site in the world requires advance verification to be “a member” so they forevermore send you Spam. Nice to see one that doesn't, in this limited situation. 

 

Anyway all members agree to not load other people's PQs, per TOU. :ph34r:

 

Point 2 is a little more involved.  It's cool to show the uploaded image list.  But you pretty much don't see the tiled background displayed in phone browser Apps.  If you're getting into the inner workings of the cache page, such as when you're working on a cache puzzle, you should use a PC web browser, the particular browser the page was written for.  If you fix one such thing, you need to fix them all, yet many cache page tricks don't work at all on a phone. The App will never be a suitable replacement for HTML tricks, and will become misleading if cachers think it has.

 

But the rest of the points are cool. I don't like having to dig around for a piece of info that I would see front and center on my Garmin GPS. It is absolutely essential that people trying The App for the very first time can easily see all the information required to find a cache (and Point 2 is beyond the scope of the "Intro" degraded App anyway), and access to explanations of the various icons. Without that, you get what the game has become.

 

Edited by kunarion

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On 11/4/2018 at 7:54 AM, kunarion said:

Except for point 5, which is beyond the scope of an Intro App designed to function without “signing up” & verifying contact info when some doesn't even know if he wants to be “Geocaching”, nor requiring web site access.

 

It is absolutely essential that people trying The App for the very first time can easily see all the information required to find a cache (and Point 2 is beyond the scope of the "Intro" degraded App anyway).

 

Thanks for the feedback. Are you implying that the official geocaching app is intended only for beginners?

 

I understand that the app has limitations for basic members, such as limiting displayed caches to Traditional and Event, with Difficulty and Terrain ratings being no higher than 2. I'm not against a company making its app full-featured only for paying customers. However, I believe that a Premium member should be given all info that is visible in the cache listing on the website. Additionally, the app shouldn't be subpar to freely available third-party apps.

 

Good point about the background image barely being seen in a mobile browser. My feeling is that anything intended to be visible on the listing page should be available to be seen in the app. The gallery would be a good spot to have it with a description along the lines of "Cache listing background image." Maybe the background is relative to the cache hide and maybe it provides a clue (regardless of cache type), maybe not. However, the cache owner wanted others to see it.

 

Furthermore, I've always received a vibe from other cachers and Groundspeak that Basic members are newbies and Premium members are experienced. As an example, some cache owners make their hides Premium Only to weed out inexperienced newbies. However, Groundspeak highly promotes upgrading to Premium and consequently even newbies with little to no experience are Premium Members. I've seen numerous logs from geocachers with 0-5 finds who couldn't find the micro or mystery or high-difficulty cache. Then there are well-experienced geocachers who become less active and let their Premium membership lapse. Premium membership should not be used to categorize other cachers as beginners or experienced.

 

It is acceptable for Groundspeak to provide limited features in the app for Basic members. It is acceptable for the app to have an "intro" feel for beginners. (Whether mobile app newbies have damaged the hobby is arguable.) However, it would be nice for a Premium member using the app to be able to switch from "intro" mode to "experienced" mode.

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4 hours ago, BlueEagle23 said:

Thanks for the feedback. Are you implying that the official geocaching app is intended only for beginners?

 

No, but it's most suitable for someone who never even heard of Geocaching, to allow them to give it a shot and likely find an easy cache.  And it's an ad that kinda bugs you to become a paying member.  From what I can tell, that's been the business plan for the App.  But as you see, it becomes less of an "Intro App" once you become PM.

 

After someone decides that Geocaching may be their thing, they may dump The App entirely.  I can't stand "the Geocaching Apps", and likely a lot of people would be better served with a handheld GPS, which they even may have access to already.  The Apps are not configurable, I can't see them in sunlight (just about go blind, eyes watering, I can't stand that), they require a lot of extra taps and slides and guessing which page does what, it's a mess of functions all over the place.  My Garmin Oregon has everything, menu configurable, display configurable, right on one screen unless I need to switch between a map and a compass.  And that's it.  Much better.

 

So while the official App is not just for beginners, it is also something that I don't mind being not so full-featured.  Work on that web site, I don't need a fancier official App.  The stuff I need is on the GPS.

 

 

4 hours ago, BlueEagle23 said:

I believe that a Premium member should be given all info that is visible in the cache listing on the website. Additionally, the app shouldn't be subpar to freely available third-party apps.

 

It seriously must show D/T/S in the map popup. While it performs in "Intro Mode" for first-time users, it shows the easiest caches anyway, but the cache info should be much more front and center.  Someone just starting out definitely needs to see all the info without having to dig around for it, know what it is that you look for when selecting a cache, and what the items mean.  They should also be guided to go check out what the web site has to offer.  People arrive in the Forums very App-centric and although they somehow found the Forums, don't seem to understand that there is a web site.

 

Since the Official App is best as a business card, maybe encouraging one to become PM, and is only for the finding of caches, not hiding them, it's also best if its file remains as light on download time as possible.  I really appreciate the thought that went into doing things just that way.  I don't even need a special App to hide a cache.  I have a handheld GPS.  It's all in there already.  AND the entire web site is already on my phone, so I don't even need the web site added to the App.  AND I usually need to go view a tricky cache on my PC anyway, so of course don't need a fancier App for that.

 

The freely available third-party apps can be much fancier, those guys can put all their resources into "Apps", you get to pay for just what you want, go for it.  Geocaching.com can work on the web site instead, thank you very much. :)

Edited by kunarion

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4 hours ago, BlueEagle23 said:

Basic members are newbies and Premium members are experienced.

 

We became premium from the outset, and basic may be long time cachers who have let memebership lapse - so this is not necessarily a valid generalization.  It may work in some cases.

 

12 minutes ago, kunarion said:

So while the official App is not just for beginners, it is also something that I don't mind being not so full-featured.  Work on that web site, I don't need a fancier official App.  The stuff I need is on the GPS.

 

Relatively new to geocaching, using the app and do not own a "real" GPSr ... the app is plenty adequate for our geocaching.  If we want to hide, or research more info, we go to the website.  My husband and I are both Premium members, and will remain so.  Premium, the website, and a bit of advance planning (PQ's, offline downloads, etc) allows us to use the app to its fullest and we havne't found our geocaching to be impacted at all by the app.  So, yeah, it's sufficient as it is, andif I need to do more, the website and a Premium membership give me all I need.

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Regarding one of my biggest issues about not being able to import GPX files, I figured out how to do what I wanted to do. Sometimes I plan to search for a handful of caches, and either download the GPX files to my Garmin Oregon 450t and/or open a third-party app and save the select caches for offline use.

 

I realized that I just needed to create an additional list (I named it "Cache Run") in my geocaching account (which I did on the app), add the desired caches to the list (which can be done from the map or cache listing from the "more options" context menu), then download offline data for that list. I should have thought of this earlier, but I had to rethink what I use the "bookmark" lists for (and touch the vertical "more options" icon more often.)

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1 hour ago, BlueEagle23 said:

Regarding one of my biggest issues about not being able to import GPX files, I figured out how to do what I wanted to do. Sometimes I plan to search for a handful of caches, and either download the GPX files to my Garmin Oregon 450t and/or open a third-party app and save the select caches for offline use.

 

I realized that I just needed to create an additional list (I named it "Cache Run") in my geocaching account (which I did on the app), add the desired caches to the list (which can be done from the map or cache listing from the "more options" context menu), then download offline data for that list. I should have thought of this earlier, but I had to rethink what I use the "bookmark" lists for (and touch the vertical "more options" icon more often.)

 

+1

That's the main thing I use The App for!  My list (and I made it a Pocket Query) is called "Go Find", and I place choice caches in it.  Solved puzzles, caches I hope to hit while traveling, and any that I'm eager to hunt this weekend.  The GPS holds the whole townsfuls of caches that I tend to hunt if I'm near one.  "Go Find" displays just my selected caches to hunt.

 

I have another list called "Yet To Find" which is DNFs I'd like to find, solved Multis where the Final is hours away, just plain stuff that I'd probably like to get around to hunting one day, but, yeah.  Those DNFs, I kinda tried them already and ran out of ideas.  Maybe someday... :P

 

Edited by kunarion

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The thing with apps is you use one, get comfortable wtih it, and generally settly into it so much that it takes a big effort to switch to something else (or even often see how there's value in other apps as well). I use Geosphere, and love it so much that my prior iPhone I'm keeping 2 OS's old because the app's developer has gone awol and hasn't made it a 64-bit app, so on iOS10 and up the app is no longer supported. That's how much I love geosphere.

 

I use the official app for quick/easy mobile messaging with the message center. That's a corner of the market Groundspeak has kept their claws on for their app :laughing:

 

You use what works best for you.  Even when it comes to official website features, it's fascinating how many different ways people use them in combination with other tools for their own comfortable workflow. Fascinating stuff. Not worth arguing over who's dad is better ;)

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On 11/4/2018 at 2:52 AM, BlueEagle23 said:

1) When selecting a cache on the map, the Difficulty, Terrain and Size is not shown in the summary.

 

Well, I can cross this one off the list! I noticed a few days ago that the summary now includes GC code, favorite points, Premium (if applicable), name, difficulty rating, terrain rating, and size. Thanks!

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I was going to use the Geocaching app for my cache run today, but then realized that there is no way to add a signature to the logs. I prefer to do one-click offline logs when doing cache runs, upload the drafts later and then complete the logs online. Therefore, I decided to add a seventh issue to my list in the first post. Granted, my offline logs after the first one won't have the current find number, but that's a simple edit, and at least the time will be correct.

 

Quote

7) No ability to add a signature or template for logging caches. The third-party app that I'm use to using allows me to use templates in a signature, that automatically includes the specified content when logging. For example, I use the signature " TFTC! (#[NUMBER] [TIME])", which uses a template to automatically include the number of geocache finds (+1) and the current time at the end of my log.

 

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