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Sunday, March 18, 2012

Garmin chirp wireless geocaching beacon

UPDATE: Now available at Amazon and REI.com


The Garmin chirp was announced this morning — a wireless geocaching beacon designed for multi-stage caches, although it seems to cry out for other uses as well.

Slightly larger than a quarter and weighing in at 1 ounce, the chirp has a one-year battery life and a range of 32 feet. It can transmit hints or coordinates for the next stage of a cache

Wireless-enabled Garmin Dakota, Oregon and GPSMAP 62/78 series units are listed as compatible. The chirp is password protected and provides the owner with stats showing the number of visitors the chirp has recorded.

While I’m sure a number of cache owners will embrace the technology, I can foresee uses by tourism promotion groups, outdoor museums, and event organizers, as well as camps and other groups wanting to publish private caches.

We may see firmware updates later today or the capability could be an Easter egg already buried in a recent update. MSRP is $22.99 and word is that the Garmin chirp is already starting to show up at REI stores.

UPDATE: Here’s the new firmware:

Here’s the full news release.

Garmin-chirp-screens

About Rich Owings

Rich is the owner, editor and chief bottle-washer for GPS Tracklog. Connect with him on Twitter, Facebook or Google Plus.

Comments

  1. While this seems really interesting and seems to have many potential aplications, I can’t see spending $23 for a waypoint.

    Definitly going to be frustrating when I get to a stage and realize I have no way to access the coords.

    • Well, it would be the cache owner who has to decide whether to buy it or not. And I’m assuming they would all set it up so you could get the coordinates the old fashioned way.

  2. towtrkdug says:

    Groundspeak does not allow you to use these as designed. Copy and paste reviewer note on my cache submission……I’m afraid the new Chirp device is something very exclusive to Garmin, which brings it into conflict with our commercial guidelines. To be publishable, the cache needs to be findable with any type of GPS device, and the Chirp method must be optional. Please come up with an alternative option to do this cache which does not require a Chirp compatible device. After you have done this, please enable your cache and I will look at it again.
    Thank you for your understanding,
    Geocaching.com Volunteer Reviewer

    • Excellent point, but…

      - You can’t do multi’s with a Geomate.jr
      - Many receivers can’t do Wherigo
      - I’m pretty sure the ANT wireless technology is available to all manufacturers

      • The Moto Droid X is built around a chipset (the Texas Instruments WiLink 6.0) that has hardware support for ant+. It is not enabled, though. We need to figure out how to tell manufacturers there is a market for this sort of thing.

    • Mr. BigHead says:

      You can appeal that to groundspeak and they may overturn it, send the reason for appeal and the GC number to appeals at geocaching dot com
      I see Geocaching.com just added it as a “Special Equipment” that you check off “required” for…so I imagine they will allow it.

    • It got published after an adding of new attribute http://coord.info/GC2GRHF

  3. Just for the sake of the cache, you could both hide the stage and use the chirp. Then people with the “special equipment” can get that info without digging up the container, but those without can still do it the traditional way.

    Meanwhile, maybe Groundspeak will come around.

  4. Mr. BigHead says:

    I see Geocaching.com just added it as a “Special Equipment” that you check off “required” for…I am going to have to set one up and push the exclusive use of the chirp method (otherwise why bother spending the money)

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