On December 7th Garmin launched their own geocaching listing site. One of the main differences between opencaching.com and geocaching.com is that the former does not have a monthly subscription fee for advanced features. There are already a number of other geocaching listing sites besides geocaching.com but only opencaching.com has any volume of caches in Ontario with almost 200 caches in the province.
There is a little bit of confusion regarding the opencaching name as there are already a series of country specific sites that use opencaching, such as opencaching.us. Opencaching.us also lists caches in Ontario. The existing opencaching community was not happy with Garmin’s choice in domain names.
You might have noticed that geocaching.com introduced new mapping features in their latest release. This appears to be in response to the mapping function on opencaching.com. In order to upload a number of caches to your Garmin GPS from opencaching.com all you need to do is show them on the map and press send to GPS. You don’t need to run a pocket query. This seems simple enough until you realize that you can’t filter what gets sent to your GPS. All the caches on the map will get sent to your GPS. It’s great to be able to get mass download of caches but if you select too large an area you’ll have to figure out how to sort through the caches on your GPSr. It’s probably not a surprise that Garmin’s latest GPSr, the 62 series, comes with a built in filtering system. It would seem that Garmin is working to tightly integrate the functions of opencaching.com with their units.
Owners of GPSr from other manufacturers can still use the opencaching.com site but it is a bit more manual. For non-Garmin units you first have to download a GPX file and then upload it to your GPS. This is only a minor inconvenience.
One caveat about opencaching.com is that anything you upload is licensed via creative commons. You still own the data but by creating an account on opencaching.com you give Garmin and the general public unlimited use of your data. This is different from geocaching.com where you retain ownership and the ability to control your data. You will notice on opencaching.com that there is no delete function. Once you add data to the site you cannot remove it. This may or may not be a concern to you.
If nothing else the introduction of opencaching.com has got Groundspeak focused on being more responsive to the membership. As part of Groundspeak’s new openness we also learned that there are about 35,000 cachers registered at geocaching.com from the province of Ontario.