Geocaching with GeoBucket
After our visit to the Silver Mountain Experience on Thursday, we pulled out the iPad and decided to test a new (to me) gecoaching app that we have.
It’s called Geo Bucket and I downloaded it because I was looking for a new app that we could use offline for gecoaching, specifically whilst in New Zealand later in the year. Until now we have been using the official geocahing app on the iPad. This works well in the field as long as you have downloaded the correct gecoaches in advance. It would work without downloading them first if you have Wi-Fi or 3G access of course, but when out gecoaching that isn’t often the case. Such an app therefore needs to be able to download and store the geocache details in advance so that you can use them offline. It’s also nice if they have a feature that allows you to log the geocaches you visit whilst offline and store those logs ready to send them to geocaching.com website once you do have a connection.
The official Gecoaching app does all of this, but it fell down for me when it comes to searching for caches to store ready for offline viewing. In most cases I simply want to put in a location and then download and store as many caches as I can within a certain distance of that location. This means that when I get there, I can fire up the app, see which caches are nearby, check out their details and then find the ones I want. This is great when travelling and you have some spare time or fancy doing a cache for whatever reason. When in New Zealand we won’t be out caching in particular but I’m sure there will be times when we’ll just want to find one. We don’t know where this will be so it’ll be good if we can download a whole heap of caches in the areas that we are likely to be just in case. Whilst the Geocaching app allows you to do this, you had to download specific caches before setting out and sometime getting the details of these caches wasn’t always easy.
Geo Bucket lets you do just this in a much better way. If you are a premium member of geocaching.com you can download and store 6000 full caches every 24 hours – That should be more than enough to keep even the most avid geocacher happy. Basic members are limited to 3 full caches at a time or just ‘lite’ descriptions. I tested it out at first by downloading several hundred caches in New Zealand. It can take a while to download huge numbers, but not too long and then once you have them they are stored on your iPad until you remove them. To find the caches you want to download you just browse to an area of the map and click on the ‘Live’ button at which point it starts to download all of the caches in the visible map area.
Whilst testing at home I then switched off Wi-Fi and made sure I could still get to the details, which I could. It looked like it was going to be the app to use for us but we had yet to try it out in the field.
So, yesterday after visiting the Silver Lead mine we opened the iPad, started up Geo Bucket and within no time at all it was showing us some nearby caches. As well as the New Zealand caches I had also downloaded a whole heap of local caches as well. We picked one that we would be passing on the way home that we hadn’t done before and started navigating towards it. It all seemed to work well and we soon had our grubby little hands on a new geocache. We did the necessary with the log book and then used Geo Bucket to log the find.
Success, Geo Bucket had done exactly what we wanted it to, and once back at home it uploaded the log via Wifi for us. It looks as though we’ll be using this app whilst in New Zealand so I’d better renew my premium membership and start downloading as many caches as I can. We’ll hopefully get to test it more fully sometime later in the school holidays as well.