Geocaching is a great way to discover hidden gems right in the wall of your city. It’s also a great excuse to get outside and explore the terrain. A Geocaching challenge is similar to a real-world treasure hunt, where teams or individuals use GPS tracking to locate “caches” or trinkets that contain lists of who has found them as well as details about the find—including notes about the terrain, hiding spot, and trinkets found within the cache. There are literally thousands of hidden caches all over the world, so you can geocache in any city you visit. Simply, access the official database of caches at geocaching.com, and use your iPhone or Android to locate caches in any area that offers T-Mobile wireless internet or Wi-Fi coverage.
There are thousands of geocaching applications to choose from. However, veteran geocachers will tell you that these apps offer the best quality for the price you pay…
1. Geocaching by Groundspeak Inc. ($9.99 – for Android & iPhone)
The official geocaching (GC) app from Groundspeak offers direct access to the official and ever-growing cache database that I listed above so it makes sense that this app would be first on the list! This app allows users to find nearby caches by address or by GC code, and you can choose specifically where you want your street, topographic, and/or satellite maps to come from. The friendly user interface offers four tabs for caches— search, saved, logs, and trackables—as well as an export button for instant login to geocaching.com so you can sync your saved caches to the master database.
2. OpenCaching By Garmin (Free – for Android & iPhone)
OpenCaching is a great app for geocaching newbies because it’s a free app that was created specifically for Garmin’s OpenCaching.com, a user-powered geocaching community. With this app you’ll get an introduction to geocaching, including an easy-to-use interface that will help you locate hide, log, and share your caches directly on your mobile device. You can also view nearby caches on the app’s map, by compass view, read text descriptions of each cache, or search for caches based on difficulty terrain, size, and type. This app even offers cache hints from fellow users to help you perfect your hunting skills. Once you find a cache, you can log your success right from your Droid and even brag about it on Facebook and Twitter.
3. Geocaching with Geosphere ($7.99 – for iPhone)
The Geocaching with Geosphere app offers a no-frills user interface with a built-in map to visually lead guide you on your journey and help you hunt down caches. The app offers users five tabs—including GPS (to direct you to the cache), Target (providing the details of each cache), Search (to view your downloaded caches), Data (to log new caches found directly from your smart phone), and More (for access maps, satellite, or hybrid modes).
4. Neongeo ($4.23 – for Android)
The Neongeo app also offers secure access directly to the official geocaching.com site. This app offers users both the online and offline geocaching experience so you can log your caches on the go or record your field notes to log at a later date. This app even offers pre-trip preparation—with thousands of geocache listings and maps to guide you on your real-life hunt.
Bio: Jane Johnson is a staff writer for GoingCellular, a popular site that provides cell phone news, commentary, reviews.