Did you know that you can use your iPhone to hunt for lost or buried treasure? OK, maybe not real treasure, but still …
Tap “more” to discover ten apps that will have you scrambling through brambles, using multi-million dollar satellites to search for camouflaged tupperware in places you never even knew existed until now.
For the uninitiated, Geocaching is a high-tech treasure hunting game in which the participant uses a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver to hide and seek containers, referred to as Geocaches, in over 100 countries around the world. A typical Geocache includes a log book, pencil, and trade or traceable goodies which, once found, must be registered on the official Geocaching website.
Geocaching compiles a list of every single Geocache available in your area, displaying its distance along with type, difficulty rating, terrain and the date it was last discovered, guiding you directly to the Geocache you wish to find once selected.
OpenCaching is a free alternative to the aforementioned Geocaching but, unfortunately, does not include anywhere near as many caches. It prides itself on being accessible to all, requiring no subscription to use, unlike Geocaching where a Premium Membership is needed to access certain Geocaches and other perks.
If you are new to Geocaching with an iPhone and wish to test the water before spending any money, then OpenCaching is a great starting point which will no doubt get you hooked.
Some Geocaches require you to crack a code in order to locate them which, more often than not, are exceedingly tricky to solve. Luckily, help is now on hand in the form of Geocaching Codes.
Geocaching Codes includes just about everything you could possibly need to decipher any code that you encounter, and is a godsend for inpatient people like myself who just want to quickly find the Geocache and move on.
If virtual Geocaching is more your thing, download Treasure, an app where players around the globe compete against each other to see who can build the biggest stash of gold.
Scan the area to discover whether there is hidden treasure nearby, and move within 400 meters of said treasure to add it to your stash. Burying gold (virtually, of course) will earn you ten percent of its worth for every day it stays hidden, and setting a trap around your loot will guarantee that it remains untouchable for longer, meaning even more gold to add to your collection!
Wherigo enables you to play video games in real life, but instead of using a control pad to move around from place to place, you must physically travel to each location yourself. It is the brainchild of Groundspeak, the company who invented Geocaching, and is dependant on user-created ‘cartridges’ that contain unique adventures relating to your area, although some are available to play anywhere in the world.
Each cartridge displays the approximate time that it will take to complete, along with a short summary of what to expect on your adventure. Best of all, Wherigo is free, making it accessible to all, whatever your budget!
Capture Quick Response (QR) codes and earn points with Munzee, a game very similar in style to Geocaching.
Launched in 2011, Munzee uses GPS technology to determine your current location, and compiles a list of every code within a certain radius, ready for you to hunt down. Codes can be found in more than 50 countries around the world, and must be scanned with your iPhone to register, eliminating the need for a physical log book.
MotionX GPS is a must-have app for lovers of the great outdoors, allowing you to track your position anywhere in the world. Save up to 500 of your favorite waypoints which can be accessed offline, and add a geotagged photo or two to personalize.
With a total of nine map choices, MotionX GPS is the best GPS app available for the iPhone right now and well worth its 99 cent price tag.
Maps 3D provides accurate 3D maps for on or offline use. It enables you to track your every move, including total distance covered, duration, height above sea level and even the current and average speed you are traveling at, which is always useful to know.
Maps 3D can also be used to plan your upcoming trip, and is able to locate places of interest nearby to visit once you have unearthed that elusive mystery Cache.
Commander Compass replaces the default Compass app with a slightly more sophisticated offering, transforming your iPhone into a 3D compass, GPS, gyroscope and accelerometer.
Allowing you to tag, share and find your position, you’ll never get lost again, and I highly recommend purchasing this app if you frequently venture out into the wilderness.
There are a lot of great Geocaching-themed podcasts available: PodCache, UK Geocaching Podcast and GeoGearHeads to name a few, which is why I have included Apple’s Podcasts in this roundup.
Podcasts is a hassle-free way of listening to all your favorite podcasts under one easily navigable app, and will help keep you up to date with all the latest Geocaching news.
X Marks the Spot
Are you a fellow Geocacher? Do you prefer to use your iPhone rather than a dedicated GPS device? Leave a comment and let me know!