Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Munzee, a new way of geocaching?

A Munzee is a QR code style barcode. This barcode is hidden at a specific location. This can be in a box, like a geocache, but it can also be sticked on a light pole. Marking your found is as simply as scanning the barcode with your smartphone. The special Munzee app will do the rest of the work if you have a working internet connection on your smartphone when scanning the code. The app also helps you find Munzees, so you have the actual database always with you.

Creating a Munzee is also very easy. You can generate and print a barcode from the Munzee website. Laminate or put the printed piece in a waterproof container and your Munzee is ready to be deployed in the field.

On the Munzee website is a very complicating rating system with levels and points, which I do not understand at all. What I do understand is that you get points for finding and hiding Munzees and founds on your hidden Munzees.

Advantages versus geocaching:
- A Munzee is easier to hide;
- Logging, the part some geocachers hate to do, goes automatically;
- Cheaper to create.
- Accurate scores, because the field log and online log is made at the same time, there is no hassle about the FTF.

Disadvantages versus geocaching:
- As far as I can find, there are no possibilities for multi or mystery Munzees yet;
- Smartphones are not as accurate as a GPSr, which makes a Munzee harder to find;
- No written logs to share your adventures, the part some geocachers and cache owners love;
- No creative push, a Munzee is so easy to hide, you do not need the creativity which makes each geocache unique.

There have been a lot of Geocaching clones the last 10 years who have failed to live up to their promise. I think Munzee could be an exception to this, because it is not an exact clone of and it fulfils a specific need among geocachers which only partly serves: Point Hunting. If you want to go out and score as many points as possible, get on top of the rating system and do not care about thanking the owner for the hide in a log and do not care about the creativity of a hide, Munzee is for you.