Archive for December, 2009|Monthly archive page

BCaching Stats

It’s been a while since I reported any bcaching statistics so here’s a quick update.

  • There are about 180 active users.
  • There are about 150 pocket queries processed PER DAY.
  • The database has grown to about 2.2 GB but does not seem to be growing as quickly as it has been. Since user growth has been steady that probably means there has been less increase in users from new areas. For the most part new users are uploading data for regions that are already in the database.
  • About 500,000 ACTIVE caches.
  • Over 4,000,000 logs.

From what I’ve seen, the web site has continued to be reasonably responsive despite the increase in users and data. In the past week there have been about 2200 mobile view requests. 88% of them took less than one second with the average about 0.25 seconds. Only 3% of the requests took 5 seconds or more.

Over the past week, the majority of mobile device traffic (about 70%) comes from almost every flavor of BlackBerry with OS versions 4.5, 4.6, 4.7, and 5.0 with an occassional 4.2.

Meanwhile Android usage is growing (22%) from Android 1.5 (HTC Hero), 1.6 (T-Mobile G1), and 2.0 (Motorola Droid).

Keep on caching 🙂

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Geocaching with the Droid

I got my Motorola Droid a few weeks ago and love it. It was a little sad to retire my blackberry pearl that had served me faithfully for the past two years but I love having a fast and reliable desktop-class browser in my pocket with a high-resolution large screen and a decent full keyboard.

I’ve been using Bcaching.com as my source for paperless geocache information and for field notes for over a year and a half now but have still relied on a trusty Garmin 60csx for street and on-the-trail navigation.

BCaching has always been about making it as easy as possible to just go geocaching. I don’t want to spend a lot of time using lots of different programs and devices getting ready to go caching. I’d rather BE caching.

Here’s how I’ve BEEN doing it. It’s already pretty easy. Every day geocaching.com generates my automated pocket queries and sends them to my bcaching account so that’s mostly up to date for my home area up to about 30 miles away.

Before heading out on a cache run I connect the Garmin to the laptop via USB, go to my bcaching desktop map view, pick a location and send the nearest 800 or so geocaches and waypoints to the device. There is no need to send the cache data to the blackberry since it’s available in the mobile web view any time, nearly anywhere.

I probably picked a first cache to hit when looking at the desktop map view so I punch the GC# into the Garmin and follow it’s turn-by-turn instructions until I find a good place to park. Then I switch it to off-road and follow the trails.

If you see me in the field near ground zero I’ve got the Garmin in one hand and the Blackberry in the other, reading the cache description and the last 15 or 20 logs looking for a subtle clue left by a previous finder. Ah there it is.

Then after signing the logbook and re-hiding I hit “Add Note”, “Found It”, and maybe write a short note about what I took or left. If I dropped off a TB I select it from my inventory. Then hit submit, and get the list of nearest hides to decide what to do next.

I pick one from the list on the blackberry or from the map on the Garmin, then off I go for the next one.

Later when I get home I sit down at the laptop, download my field notes file from bcaching and upload it to geocaching.com. A few more clicks and taps and I’ve logged all my finds, dnfs, notes, and trackables.

With the Droid I may have to retire the Garmin too… well, maybe I’ll hang onto it as a backup.

The built-in GPS along with touchscreen and better browser is opening up new possibilities. The bcaching mobile map view with overlay of geocache icons and waypoints let’s me pick out the next hide more quickly and easily than I could using the Garmin. The link to the native google maps for street navigation helps me drive there, then the bcaching compass view takes care of the trails… and the mobile map with satellite and terrain views doesn’t hurt either.

The new mobile map and compass views may still be a little rough around the edges, but they are functional enough that I’m just using the Droid most of the time now.

Since I always have the Droid with me, and it’s always up to date, I can even decide to grab a cache almost any time I feel like it without any preparation. For me that means it’s getting even easier to be caching.

BCaching Release 0.6.6

Another small update, full details here.

Biggest new feature is MOBILE MAP VIEW … with a catch. It only works on Android and iPhone devices. Sorry Blackberry users! As soon as the blackberry browser gets a little better (webkit maybe?) it should be supported too.  Mobile Map View is very similar to Desktop Map view with the cache overlay. There is a new “Map” link to it on the Mobile Find nearest caches page — IF you’re on an Android or iPhone device.  If you’re using something else and want to try it on your phone, navigate to http://www.bcaching.com/m/Map.aspx. If it works for your device let me know and I’ll add the link for that device as well.

The new map view is based on version 3 of the Google Maps API which now has support for mobile devices.