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Moving Forward: Our Plans For Geocaching Mobile

We Hear You

Since introducing the Geocaching® app’s new name and icon earlier this year, we have received and read thousands of questions, comments, and survey responses from geocachers about our mobile apps. We take this feedback seriously and have spent a lot of time contemplating and debating next steps.

First things first: We’d like to acknowledge and thank you for the feedback—both positive and negative—that many of you have expressed. In the post below, we’ve collected and responded to some common themes, and laid out our plans for both the Geocaching® and Geocaching Classic apps in the near future.

Community Questions and Suggestions

The following questions and themes are the most common responses collected from the survey, as well as from emails, social media, and forum posts.

Offline geocaching is a must-have in the Geocaching® app.

Offline maps is the most requested feature by far. Geocaching happens outside after all! Building Lists and the ability to save them for offline use was our first step towards adding offline maps to the app. See “Moving Forward” below for additional information.

I need the option to award Favorite Points and submit different log types.

Geocaching is a community game that’s about more than a find count. We depend on geocachers to let each other know when a geocache needs maintenance or if there’s a great geocache worth trekking to. We agree that these features are essential. See “Moving Forward” below for additional information.

Did you really need to end support for the Geocaching Classic app?

Decisions like this are tough and we wish we didn’t need to make them. But we are a business. We don’t have unlimited resources. Retiring the Geocaching Classic app—an app we built and love—is not an easy decision, but it will free up resources to continue doing the work we believe is most important to helping the game thrive, which includes making improvements and adding new features to the Geocaching® app.

The Geocaching Classic app was developed in 2008. Mobile phone and app technologies have changed significantly since that time. The Geocaching® app was designed first and foremost to modernize the technology underlying our mobile products. We committed to making a better app built on more sustainable technology and that’s what we’re going to do.

The app doesn’t do what I need it to.

At Geocaching HQ, we consider it our responsibility to build products that serve as many people in as many places as possible all over the world. Sometimes that’s limiting. Because there are many different ways people like to play the game, we support geocaching partners—like Cachly, Looking4Cache, GSAK and Project-GC—who tap into the listing service we maintain to provide services we’re unable to at this time.

You said it and we agree: There’s still work to do. So what’s next?

Moving Forward

We originally planned to shut off the Geocaching Classic app in September 2016. If it’s not clear already, you’ve convinced us otherwise.

While the Geocaching® app is not yet complete, we are very proud of our sustained commitment to quality throughout its development. Since launch, we created a better way to find geocaches of all types, as well as trackables. We added 18+ languages to the app to be more welcoming to players around the world, and we added Message Center to make it easier for players to communicate. We also designed the app to better support outdoor play, including a live search for geocaching on the go. Most recently we built Lists, a feature that allows you to plan your geocache outings seamlessly between Geocaching.com and the app.

That all being said, the Geocaching® app is missing some of the most requested features: offline and trail maps, log types, draft logs and Favorite Points. We are working to complete these features by March 2017. Until we get there, the Geocaching Classic app should continue to function. However, we are unable to make updates or bug fixes, since the app is no longer available in Google Play and Apple’s App Store.

For now, that’s the plan. We promise to keep you updated as we know more—and of course, “more” will include many of the features you requested.

Thanks for taking the time to read this far. We hope that by sharing this, we at least communicated that Geocaching HQ is made up of folks who share your love for geocaching and always want to do the right thing for the game.

Sincerely,

Your friends at Geocaching HQ

 

Update for iOS users: If you update your iPhone to iOS 10, the “Sign in with Facebook” feature on the Geocaching Classic app will no longer work. Fortunately, there is a workaround for this.

First, you’ll need to request a password. To do so, go to Geocaching.com and log out of your account. Then, recover your password here. You’ll receive an email with a link to create a new password. Then, you can log into the app using your username and new password.

2,9 millones de geocaches más tarde…

El 2 de septiembre, Geocaching.com cumple 16 años. Cuando se lanzó en 2000, la página web albergaba un total de 75 fichas de geocachés. Hoy, hay más de 2.9 millones de geocachés activos, así como miles de eventos de la comunidad y millones de rastreables.

Solo en 2016, esto es lo que habéis hecho realidad:

1,560,957 geocachers han encontrado al menos un geocaché
2,757,335 geocachés has sido registrados
374,674 nuevos geocachés se han colocado
23,449 eventos de Geocaching han tenido lugar
39,575 geocachers ayudaron a limpiar el planeta en eventos CITO

A todos vosotros geocachers: gracias por acompañarnos en este viaje.

Mira como era la página web.

2,9 millions de géocaches plus tard…

Le 2 septembre, Geocaching.com aura 16 ans. Quand il a été créé en 2000, le site internet recensait les descriptifs des 75 caches existantes. Aujourd’hui, il y a plus de 2,9 millions de géocaches actives référencées, ainsi que des milliers d’events et des millions d’objets voyageurs.

Rien qu’en 2016, voici ce que vous avez réalisé :

1 560 957 géocacheurs ont trouvé au moins une géocache
2 757 335 géocaches ont été découvertes
374 674 nouvelles géocaches ont été placées
23 449 events géocaching ont eu lieu
39 575 géocacheurs ont aidé à nettoyer la planète lors d’events CITO

À vous tous géocacheurs : Merci de nous avoir rejoints dans cette aventure.

Regardez à quoi ressemblait le site internet.

2,9 Millionen Geocaches später…

Am 2. September wird Geocaching.com 16 Jahre alt. Als die Website im Jahr 2000 gestartet wurde, waren gerade mal 75 Geocaches dort aufgeführt. Heute gibt es nicht nur mehr als 2,9 Millionen aktive Geocaches, sondern auch Tausende von Events und Millionen verschiedener Trackables.

Alleine im Jahr 2016 habt Ihr alle dies hier erreicht:

1.560.957 Geocacher haben mindestens einen Geocache gefunden.
2.757.335 Geocaches wurden geloggt.
374.674 neue Geocaches wurden veröffentlicht.
23.449 Geocaching-Events fanden statt.
39.575 Geocacher haben mit CITO Events geholfen, den Planeten ein Stück sauberer zu machen.

An alle Geocacher: Vielen Dank dass Ihr uns auf dieser Reise begleitet habt.

Schaue Dir hier an, wie die Webseite einmal ausgesehen hat.

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16 Years Later

On March 24, 2009, Jon Stanley (username: Moun10Bike) stood on 5th Avenue in downtown Seattle, WA. He snapped a selfie before walking into the nondescript office across the street. It was Jon’s first day at a new job.

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Jon’s first day at Geocaching HQ.

“I took a selfie — perhaps my first-ever — of me arriving at Groundspeak on my first day working here,” said Jon. “I was told I was employee #28.”

Jon had a long history with the game before joining the company behind Geocaching.com, now known as Geocaching HQ. He first met Founder Jeremy Irish in 2000. Over lunch, the two discussed software that Jon had provided for an early version of the website. “The community was small then and I was in the same geographic area,” Jon said. “So it was natural that we would end up getting together.”

Jeremy realized that Geocaching.com’s traffic would quickly outgrow the website he’d started as a hobby site. In 2000, he partnered with two co-workers, Elias Alvord and Bryan Roth, to start a new company. With the proceeds from selling 144 geocaching t-shirts, they began to scale the website to keep up with its growing audience. The three founders continued working at their day jobs while managing the website on the side.

Cathy Hornback (username: Prying Pandora) first met the founders when they spontaneously showed up at her Cache In, Trash Out® Event. “I almost peed my pants when they just showed up. No warning.”

HPIM2580
Cathy with Geocaching.com Founder Jeremy Irish in 2006.

Today, Cathy wears multiple hats: player (she’s going on 15,000 finds), volunteer reviewer, and Community Volunteer Support Coordinator at Geocaching HQ. “We exist because one guy had a crazy idea to hide a bucket of trinkets for other people to find with their newly accurate GPS receivers. Then another guy (Jeremy) had the gumption to build a website to list them all,” said Cathy.

Cathy first met Jon in 2005 while looking for the same geocache. Five years later, she joined him as an employee at Geocaching HQ. “We exist because of our community’s engagement,” Cathy said. “Without them, there would be nothing.”

Jon and Cathy were welcomed on their first days at Geocaching HQ by another long-time geocacher, Annie Love (username: Love). “I still pinch myself daily that I get to work here,” Annie said. “Geocaching was my hobby before I started working here and it’s a dream to get to do something I love for work. Sure, I sit at a desk most of the time, but getting to help people with this game for work is pretty awesome.”

Annie joined Geocaching HQ on January 29, 2007. “My first job was to work as the receptionist at the front desk, answer phone calls and emails about the game of geocaching.”

When Annie started, there were a dozen or so employees and 353,685 active geocaches. Today, Geocaching HQ has 74 employees and the website lists nearly 3 million geocaches hidden all over the world.

Annie, now Partner Programs Manager, said, “We really listen to our community. We might not be able to make everything to perfection overnight, but we definitely hear the wants and needs of the community and apply that directly to what we work on.”

June 28 2007
A company photo taken in June 2007, shortly after Annie and Jenn started.

A few months later, Jenn Seva (username: MissJenn) joined Geocaching HQ as employee #17, having previously served as a Community Volunteer Reviewer. “I started as a player of the game in 2001. I’m lucky enough to have combined my hobby and my livelihood without ruining either one of them.”

Now Senior Manager of Tourism and Travel, Jenn said, “Geocaching HQ is different than most other companies because we are made up of employees who want to be here. We want to delight our community and encourage people to go play outside. I don’t feel like just an insignificant cog in a giant wheel.”

Jon, Cathy and Annie feel similarly. “You only need to talk to the founders or any employee to see that we are passionate about the game and keeping people engaged with a fun and rewarding pastime for years to come,” said Jon. “While we may seem to move slow, it is not because of a lack of desire to improve things, only that we are a lot smaller than people know. I see our purpose to be good custodians of the game and provide the tools and means for people to have and share these experiences and adventures.”

Company pic 2015 summer
A company photo taken last summer.

Sixteen years later, Geocaching HQ remains a strong, independent organization on a mission to enable adventure, exploration, and discovery. We are led by our original founders and we have no outside investors or influences who would maximize profits at the expense of the game. 

Annie said, “The community creates the game. We want to create the best tools to play it.”

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