Saturday, 17 September 2011

Opencaching: Are verified finds really verified finds?

Recently Opencaching has added the verified finds functionality. If you ever had the need, this functionality allows you to prove in your internet log that you have found the cache. Sounds exciting, but is it really what it sounds like?

There are several ways to prove you have found the cache including a code phrase, QR code or chirp. The used verification method is chosen by the cache owner and the verification is done in your GPSr. This can only be done in proximity of the cache as the software of your GPSr checks your actual coordinates when you verify the find. When you upload the verified log to the internet, a nice ‘verified log’ icon will be added to your log.

Accoding to the Garmin Trailtech blog: ‘there has never been a way to prove to the world that your logged number of finds actually coincides with your real world geocaching experiences’.

Well, when I find a geocache, I always sign the logbook. So, if you take a look in all the logbooks of all the caches I have found so far, you will end up with same number of logs as on the internet. To me, the proof that I have found the cache, is in the logbook. I know a logbook can get lost but I have no desire to proof I have found the cache in any other way.

But if I had this desire, how watertight is the ‘verified log’ functionality on Opencaching? A chirp signal can be picked up several meters from the cache. This means that a picked up chirp signal only proves you have been close to the cache. Same for code phrases, they can easily be shared on the internet and the verification with the actual coordinates only proves you have been at the right location. As we all know, finding the cache is a whole other story sometimes. The only real verification is the QR code. If I ever find an Opencaching cache, the only real proof will be in the logbook. No ‘I have been close to the cache’ stamp for me.

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