Geocaching had a surprise last week, when in the middle of the week Garmin announced the chirp.
Chirp is a tiny electronic beacon that would broadcast about 50 characters onto your Oregon, Dakota, or GPSmaps62.
Designed for use with geocaching, Groundspeak found out two days before it was released and was trying to find out more information about the product, and what they were to do with the new product. Friday when Garmin made its announcement we were discussing in the forums how to deal with this obviously commercial product.
We were asked to treat as a commercial product early on, to allow it but it could not be the only way to find the cache.
By the time they got back in the office Monday morning they posted a plan.
- A new attribute for a "beacon" will be added as early as this week. Any caches that use a Chirp (or any future similar device) should use this attribute.
- If a cache owner puts a Chirp in a traditional cache and geocachers have an alternative method to find it without using the Chirp, then OK. Remind them to use the attribute.
- If they insist on not providing an alternative means of finding it, it must be listed as a mystery with the beacon attribute.
- Cache descriptions may mention the "Chirp" as long as the text doesn't go on and on with "overtones of advertising, marketing, or promotion."
- We do not plan to add a new cache type just for this.
By the afternoon a new attribute appeared for caches that have a broadcast.
There is still a bit of trying to figure out what to do and how to deal with it but there is a bit of a plan in place and groundspeak is still working to anchor how to deal with the different caches that may appear. It is not every day that a new interesting cache product appears. Many of us are still surprised that they had not discussed the matter with groundspeak, it seems surprising.
Some argued that it is open source. Apparently in response Garmin told another it is only to be worked with Garmin units and the chirp. So there will be no third party apps, at least for the foreseeable future on the product.
We will see what the future holds.