Locate These Open Source Geocaching Applications

by Ostatic Staff - Aug. 17, 2009

Over at The Apple Blog today, I wrote about some cool geocaching applications for the iPhone that make the adventure lots more fun. If you’re not familiar with the sport, here’s the scoop. People venture out with GPS devices and look for containers hidden somewhere in the great outdoors by other geocachers. Once found, you jot your name in the logbook, put the container back where you found it, and go find another. Think of it as a pumped-up version of the treasure hunts we used to go on as kids.

If you're already a geocaching fan or want to give it a try but don't have an iPhone, try out these open source apps for your computer, netbook, or cell phone.

Blackstar - This Blackberry utility is great for both geocaching and general navigation. It tracks your latitude, longitude, altitude, speed, and more so it's also a good option for biking and flying. Geocaching features include location-saving, integration with Google Maps and BlackBerry Maps, and the option to include field notes per waypoint. There are similar apps for Android phones and the Palm Pre.

GPSBabel - This cross-platform app converts waypoints, routes, and more between most popular mapping software and GPS receivers (but won't convert actual maps themselves). Use it to manipulate data like markers or tracks that you place on computer-based maps then put it on the GPS device you plan to take with you on your next geocaching expedition.

Viking GPS - Here's a data editor and analyzer that's great for managing GPS data. With it, you can import and plot waypoints and tracks, and even make new ones. You can also use Viking GPS to display Openstreetmaps or Terraserver maps and download geocaches for specific geographical locations.

Cache 901 - Cell phone geocaching apps aren't full-featured as their computer-based counterparts but no one wants to lug around a 15-pound laptop in the wilderness. Fortunately, netbooks make it easy to have the best of both worlds. Cache 901 is complete cross-platform computer-based geocaching software that's scaled down to be used on smaller netbooks. Use it to run basic and advanced searches, store and email data files, attach photos and notes to caches, or tether to a GPS device for reading your current position, and manipulating waypoint and route data.