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Review: Geocaching Intro App for Android

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Geocaching Intro AppMy husband and I frequently teach introductory geocaching courses, mentor new geocachers and field numerous geocaching related questions. Even when we are not leading a geocaching class, we both enjoy helping out for the hands-on part.  

Therefore, we often wondered how user-friendly the introductory geocaching app was that Groundspeak introduced a while back for iPhone.  Unfortunately, being Android users ourselves, we didn’t have the required hardware to test it out.  Recently, our luck changed when the  Geocaching Intro App (for Android) was launched. This app was created by Groundspeak ( geocaching.com) and available free to the public, so I decided to test it out.  The following are my opinons on the Geocaching Intro App. 


Pros

Map View

  • It warned you geocaching can be dangerous, as any outdoor activity can be. Sure, most of us know that part already, but it was a nice reminder and good advice for newbies (this is an introductory app after all).  They could have taken it a step further and had a different tip each startup (appropriate clothing, for example).  
  • The difficulty cut off I believe is around 3/5 so newbies won't be pushed toward ones too challenging when just starting out.  
  • The app literally guides you through all the steps, gives details about what the ranking means for difficulty, terrain and size, and offers helpful advice (such as encouraging the cacher to share their story and say thanks to the geocache creator, try not to leave spoilers, and the importance of actually logging a DNF). 


Cons

Description

  • The app would not allow me to sign out. This was a particular annoyance because I signed in with a friend’s account to fully test how it runs for a basic member. After testing, that account seemed permanently connected to the app on my phone (note: once we cleared the data and the cache from the Application Manager, that effectively booted me out of the app. I still don’t think you should need to take such measures to sign out of an app!).
  • Even after I deleted my ‘found’ log (online), it showed that as found until I managed to figure out how to boot myself out of the app. I don’t know how long it would have held onto this incorrect log.
  • It is a little slow to bring up the closest geocaches.
  • Micros are not called micros, they are called XS or extra smalls. Similarly, regular are not regular, they are medium. Sure, the terms make sense, but that may lead to confusion during geocaching 101 seminars where we talk about micros, regulars, etc.
  • Occasionally prone to crash or freeze. Those who use the full app will probably be familiar with this particular problem.


Limitations

  • The “live search” feature on the app continuously updates nearby geocaches as you move. In other words, it limits you to the three closest applicable geocaches. The approximate location of other nearby caches will show on the map, but only details for the closest three are unlocked. You can unlock all traditional if you become a premium member; however, I think this is deceitful to ask a newbie to become premium for this minor benefit. This is, however, just an intro, so I don’t think the limit of three is either a pro or con.
  • Only traditional geocaches are available.
  • You cannot access PQ's even if you are a premium member.
  • You cannot submit a photo with your log.
  • There is no option to save geocaches offline. Details
  • No mention of what a trackable even is, and most of us who have been around for a while know that one of the leading causes of TB's going missing is lack of understanding about what they are, or what to do when you find one. 
  • No ability to “write note” in addition to “found” and “did not find” options for logging. I think there will be times, even with a new cacher, that they just need to write a note and that a found / DNF log won’t suffice. I also think the ability to edit your log from the app would be a bonus. Mistakes happen, don’t they?

Overall, I was impressed with the  Intro App. The modest 14.61MB of space it took up on my phone wasn't a concern, and most of the things that are glitchy in the full app don’t exist in this pared down, free version. The  full version can be downloaded for $9.99USD; however, if I were going for a full version, I still prefer the functionality of  c:geo – incidentally, a free app for Android sans limitations. 

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