CacheCrazy.Com: chirp, chrip, chirp, is that Spring robins I hear?

Saturday, February 26, 2011

chirp, chrip, chirp, is that Spring robins I hear?

By: Bloodhounded
The Garmin chirp
You have heard about the inexpensive gadget from Garmin called the chirp. The company aims to make geocaching more fun with it but, what is it, what does it do and how much does it cost?

This is not a field test guide or firsthand experience; it’s a small piece of information that should answer all of your questions. The only question left for me is, “How can I apply this to a cache and have everyone enjoy it?” the answer is simply, “you can’t”. Only certain types of Garmin GPSr’s work with it and that limits the casual cacher who has an Etrex for instance. I’m not sure about cell phones with apps so, feedback is appreciated. Anyone ever come across one of these? Are they selling like hotcakes? Check it out and please share your thoughts with comments.


Here is the lowdown; GPS maker Garmin is tapping into the geocaching community once again by introducing the Garmin chirp a durable, inexpensive short-range transmitter that geocaching fans can leave in (or near) their geocaches to offer hints and information to geocachers who come looking for your stash. Plus, the chirp keeps a tally of visitors, so folks will know how many hunters have come by.

“With chirp, geocachers have a new tool to enhance the joys of creating and finding caches around the globe,” said Garmin worldwide sales VP Dan Bartel, in a statement. “In listening to and participating in the vibrant geocaching community, Garmin created a one-of-a-kind device that builds on popular innovations such as paperless geocaching and downloading cache details directly to the device.”



The idea behind the chirp is that someone creating a geocache puts the chirp in with their items. When someone with a compatible Garmin GPS device comes by—currently that includes Garmin’s Dakota, Oregon, and just-announced GPSMAP handheld—the chirp will transmit information to the GPS, letting hunters know the cache is nearby, potentially including hints to the cache’s location, and coordinates of other caches in a multicache hunt. The latter is particularly useful, since it saves the effort of manually entering a bunch of coordinate sets to continue a hunt.

The chirp itself is tiny—just a bit bigger than a U.S. quarter dollar coin—and is build to stand up to the outdoors, with a user-replaceable battery that should run for up to a year. The chirps are also password-protected so only the owner can see visitor logs and add/update information offered by the chirp—if you use a good password, you don’t have to worry much about someone sabotaging your cache with bogus information…although someone could always leave a chirp of their own nearby.

See The Video



The chirp is available now for a suggested price of $22.99 if the idea is embraced by the geocaching community—and other outdoor GPS makers—the technology stands to add a new dimension to geocaching…and maybe get a few more technology fiends into the great outdoors!

Garmin who owns and operates OpenCaching.com is giving away a chirp a day in a sweepsteaks. See the announcement for complete rules and restrictions. More on the rivaling OpenCaching.com site in the near future.

Idea: Glue it to a hidden place on that special, crazy and unique home made cache container that you have hidden. If it goes missing, fire up the gpsr, get a car load of your buddies together and go on a muggle hunt. You drive in a selected grid just waiting for that "CHIRP,CHIRP,CHIRP" and that's when the game gets interesting. mugglehunting.com - I may be on to something!

What do you think?

4 comments:

BigAl said...

I have heard of these, but I have not seen any in action as of yet. Maybe they were just hidden really well. My GPS is not compatable so I guess I will not know if I come across one. I like the idea, but I think the fact that they are only good with certain GPS units will be a drawback. I know folks who are just getting into Geocaching and they do not have the means to buy the more expensive units right now. I think more testing on these needs to be done. Can they be made cache specific so if someone else puts one nearby they only give hints to yours and not theirs? I'm also interested in knowing how you find the muggle that may have taken your little chirp. It could get a little expensive if people take them from your cache. What is the range on the unit? You also said you could place them near the cache. So I take it that it does not need to actually be IN the cache just nearby?
Thanks for letting us know about this new little gadget. I'll have to do some reading up on it before I make a final decision on its usefulness.

Dodger said...

Thanks for the information. Some thoughts...

1) 23 bucks inexpensive? I don't know about that. Would you want to put one of these things in 3 or 4 different caches??

2) If you ask me, seems like this thing takes the very point of a multicache right away. I mean, geez, do you even have to FIND anything if you're hooked up to the "chirp" device?

3) It would take a lot more than this thing to make me even CONSIDER trading in my eTrex Vista hCx. I love it.

4) I don't have any hands-on experience with this thing so I guess I could change my mind. At face-value, though, I consider this "a Chopper Command" product. I'll explain what I mean by that in the days ahead.

DctrSpott said...

I've been looking at devices like this for some cache idea I have.

One cool idea of mine was a "race" cache, where you go to GZ, are "chirped" when you cross the starting line, and then have a certain number of minutes to reach the second "chirp". If you reach it in time, you'll be chirped the final coords. If not, rush back and try again... Cool concept perhaps, but it'll be a bit difficult to implement.

And for two chirps, that's at least $50 to get the cache placed.

But that mugglehunting may be a good idea...

Shell said...

I'm liking the Muggle Hunting idea. This damn chirp thing could help me hunt down my 3 stolen caches from Bear Creek Falls, the bastards. Ugh.

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