My son who is now 12 years old, has discovered a new hobby that he has been enjoying: Geocaching. For those who have never heard of it, it is one of the fastest growing hobbies in North America. Basically, it involves locating “caches” that have been hidden and then logging and recording your experience.
To find caches, you need to know approximately where they are. The person who hid the cache will provide coordinates which are then uploaded to a website. http://geocaching.com seems to be the most popular.
You can search for hidden caches at the above mentioned website but members who have registered for free will only get to see a limited number. You can subscribe for a modest fee of $29.99/year and then enjoy other benefits including the ability to see where all caches have been hidden. As a non-premium member, you will not have access to information about all caches and you will be limited in the number of caches you can get information about.
Geocaching Mobile Apps
There are also a variety of geocaching apps for the Iphone and Android mobile devices. My son has an Iphone and has installed a geocaching app which allows him to use the built in GPS to locate caches. One of his first discoveries was a cache that had been hidden about a minute walk from our house. And that was my first introduction to geocaching as well.
Unfortunately, Blackberries are not very well supported as far as the hobby of geocaching. When my son and I attended an introductory seminar about geocaching, I was laughed at when I asked about apps that might be available for my mobile device, and told “Get an Iphone or Android.” Well, being in a long term contract with my mobile provider doesn’t really make that an option for me at this time.
So I continued to research and came across “CacheSense,” an app for Geocaching that has been developed for a number of Blackberries including BB10, PlayBook and OS versions 4.x through 7.x. My own Blackberry is a Torch (9810) and is running Version 7.1. I was quite excited to discover CacheSense but at first, I thought that maybe I was not going to be able to get it to work.
I initially downloaded the software from the CacheSense website. However, after installing it and trying to run it, I received the error:”CacheSense: Module ‘CacheSense-2’ attempts to access a secure API.”
I was advised to delete the app, remove the battery from my Blackberry, reinstall the battery and turning my device on before trying to download the software and reinstalling it. However, I again ran into problems and when the Blackberry attempted to download, it would be interrupted with an error message of “Error 907 Invalid COD.”
At that point, I thought that I was doomed for now at being able to use my Blackberry on geocaching expeditions with my son. But on a hunch, I searched the Blackberry World from my Torch for “CacheSense” and found it there. Downloading and installing from Blackberry World went without a hitch.
At this point, I have not thoroughly explored the application and it does seem to be a bit “clunky” compared to what my son has on his Iphone – but that could be me. I find the Blackberry to be a bit “clunky” overall. In addition, without paying a $9.99 registration fee, the CacheSense application will only run for 30 days. After that in order to continue using it, you’ll need to pay the registration fee.
CacheSense supports both BlackBerry and Google maps. I have not played around enough to know if one is better than the other. And again with the BlackBerry, it can be difficult to locate the Google Maps application. For some reason, Google has removed the link for Blackberries and they are not available on BlackBerry World at the time of this writing.
However, I discovered that if you open your browser on your BlackBerry device and type in the URL: http://google.com/mobile/other you will be able to download Google Maps.
So far, I have not used CacheSense to locate any caches yet, although the app has downloaded a small list of them that are in my vicinity. I’m going to wait until my son is available and then we can compare notes on each others Geocaching apps and see which one we prefer.
But at least there is an option for the BlackBerry!