Well, what the hek is a a Garmin Chirp anyways.
It’s described physically as a small electronic beacon about the size of a quarter, black in colour. It has a user replaceable button battery that lasts about one year and it’s waterproof.
I don’t have one yet, because you need an ANT device that is Chirp enabled. Currently, the Garmin Oregon 450, higher, Garmin Dakotas and the latest versions of the Garmin GPSMAP units are the only ones that have the firmware released to do so.
Even though my Garmin Colorado is an ANT device, they haven’t worked on a firmware upgrade to this unit for over a year. Even though my model is less than two years old. It’s officially discontinued and from some sources on the internet, will probably not be supported.
Personally, I’m not going to be very happy, if they don’t.
I have e-mailed Garmin Support and inquired. If you have a Colorado and in the same situation as I am, please do send Garmin a message of your concerns at the following link: Contact Garmin Support
The ANT is a part of the GPS that will allow GPS users to wirelessly share information between one another while in the field without having to connect to a computer. Example, waypoints, geocaches, etc.
We just recently went out for a local cache event here in Ottawa, called Go and Get’em. In short, we call it GAG. While out, we decided to try a couple of Chirp enabled caches.
Now before I get into how well it worked for us, I’ll tell you a little bit more about how the people at Groundspeak and Geocaching.com approved the use of this. In short, it took them a few weeks to decide whether to allow this or not, even thought that Garmin had already announced the Chirp’s release. In the end, it was approved. As long as the beacon symbol is placed in the attributes of the cache page. It is also preferable that Cache hiders also provide an alternative to those that do not have a Chirp. However, it doesn’t say they are required to do so.
Back to our Chirp cache story. We decided that we would go after this cache called “A Long Shot” by Pokaroo (GC2GJ7K). When we get to our first way point, we have a to do a puzzle in order to find the projection from the current waypoint to get to the next or we let the Chirp ‘tell’ us. Within 10 meters/40 feet of the first waypoint, Gord’s Oregon beeped and said that a Chirp was detected, and asked if he wanted to download the information. He did of course and it automatically downloaded a new set of coordinates called “Next Stage” into his GPS. Cool! And off we went to find the cache.
Images directly linked from the Garmin Blog site.
So, yeah, this is like multi-caching. But instead of looking for a small little Dymo label tag, the GPS and the Chirp will be looking for each other.
In any case, a multi waypoint chirp enabled cache would be very costly. For example, my Bill Mason multi cache is seven waypoints in total. That would cost me in excess of $140 to put up that cache. Now, even though that the Chirp is assigned a PIN (Personal Identification Number), so that no one else can change the information on it. It doesn’t stop people from stealing it. This could get costly, it you hide it in a high muggle area. Just take a look at this cache “Chirp it Up” by Burt Gummer (GC2H4C5). They have since, placed a memorial cache for their missing Chirp, “Who took the Chirp?” (GC2HQCE).
Well, I hope this answers some questions about the Chirp for some of you.
Till next time.
Well, it seems to have started happening. Caches being archived, in the name of conservation.
The initiative to archive Geocaches in Gatineau Park due the the National Capital Commission’s (NCC) Gatineau Park Ecosystem Conservation plan has finally happened.
In the past couple of weeks, I have seen many caches being archived by their owners, so that we may preserve Gatineau Park’s more ecologically sensitive areas.
Which is a really good idea. However, for the geocaching world this is quite the loss.
Gatineau Park is a wedge of land that is administered by that National Capital Commission. The land area covers 363 km² (89 699.3 acres), just west of the the Gatineau River, east of the Ottawa river.
It remains the only Federal park outside of the Rocky Mountains that is not recognized as a National Park.
Over 300 caches are to be archived in all of the Gatineau Park area.
But it’s not as bad as it seems:
“The National Capital Commission (NCC) wishes to control Geocaching in the Gatineau Park. Therefore, it is currently setting a procedure for caches within its territory, and is asking geocachers to archive all caches in the park. They are requesting the cooperation of concerned geocachers to pick up all the containers.”
They wish to control Geocaching within Gatineau Park through an approval process, of which has not yet been discussed with local reviewers or Groundspeak (The head corporation that runs geocaching.com) They claim that they will be following Parks Canada Guidelines as to the placement of geocaches in the park.
While it is important to preserve the natural heritage of this park, in my humble opinion and a few others, it is not necessary to have all of them archived, but they should be reviewed and choose which are the more sensitive areas to have caches archived.
This does remind of an area in Aiken, SC that has curbed geocaching within it’s boundaries. The area, while extremely beautiful, the Hitchcock Woods Foundation has asked the local reviewer that only 3 caches at a time (including earthcaches) are to be placed in all 20 acres of Hitchcock Woods.
And good day to you folks that are reading my blog page.
I am currently sitting here on my computer, going through all my travellers (geocoins, travelbugs, etc.) on geocaching.com (when I should be sleeping ).
What is a Geocoin?
Well, basically, it’s a coin, that’s either made of metal or wood (mostly metal), that is minted like a medallion, military challenge coin, etc., for the use of geocaching. These coins will have tracking number on it.
What is a Travelbug?
Similar to a Geocoin, it’s an item that had what’s called a Travelbug Dog Tag attached to it. This dog tag has a tracking number on it as well.
What do I do when I find one?
Well, you go to geocaching.com and you can do one of several things with it; Retrieve it “from its’ current location”; Grab it from elsewhere (if its’ currently location wasn’t posted properly), Discover it (if you don’t plan on taking it or if someone else wants to take it), or Write a Note about it (this is used alot if the coin isn’t in the current cache and the last finder of the cache suggests to mark it as lost).
Where do I get one?
Oh gosh, there’s plenty of places to get one. Local geocachers are good about selling/giving you one, you can go to Landsharkz website, my friend Derek Wong aka Ozymandiasism (be aware, that his inventory has not been update as he is moving his webhost) has a website as well for selling geocoins, there’s even a forum on groundspeak.com that cachers announce new geocoins, do a google search on GEOCOINS and you’ll find some somewhere.
Once in a while, I’ll go through all my travellers and look at there progress.
Currently, my Beta Frog – Signal Geocoin – May 06 has the most mileage on it (25,130 km, 15,615.058 061 miles).
I also go and double check who’s been holding onto my travellers for a bit too long and send them a friendly message to place it at their earliest convenience.
I usually will give them a couple of months before I send them a message. It’s not uncommon for someone to hold onto a traveller for a bit. Especially if they are on holidays and haven’t had a chance to log the retrieval or placement.
However, on this note, there are several people that have held onto my travellers for a couple of years. These people probably wasn’t certain what a traveller is, took it as a trade item and never thought twice about it. Or the probably got busy with life and never got back into geocaching.
The sad side on this, is that there is reports of coin thieves out there. The constantly monitor some caches and when they see a valuable geocoin (at least to them), they will go out and steal the coin, then either keep them for their private collection or sell them on Ebay.
While this is annoying, unfortunately, it is the risks we take when we send these precious beautiful coins out into the world.
To date, I have had to mark 19 of my 39 travellers as “Stolen” or “Missing in Action”. One actually surprised me and came back into action a while back.
I’m not going to get into how to make a geocoin, since I have never made on, but I know it’s a long process, especially when you’re trying to design one that’ll please everyone (especially for a group of cachers).
That’s it for now… keep on cachin’!