Archive for April, 2010|Monthly archive page

BCaching Release 0.7

The site was updated to release 0.7 yesterday. They’re weren’t too many visible changes, but it was a larger-than-usual change set including

  • HTML Entities like   and international characters were not being displayed properly;
  • Converted Desktop Maps View from Google Maps API v2 to v3

Full details are on the forums page.

BCaching Stats April 2010

Wow. Last month saw a significant increase in membership and site use.

* 358 users uploaded 2 or more PQs in the past 30 days. A 57% increase from a month ago.
* Over 250 PQs are processed per day (was 190 a month ago).

Some new stats:
* 145 Blackstar Navigation app (Blackberry) users requesting nearest caches
* 58 GeOrg app (Android) users viewing and downloading nearby caches

Overall site traffic is increasing.
* Feb 2010: 69,064 hits
* Mar 2010: 94,328 hits
* Apr 2010: 110,413 hits (only 3/4 into the month)

With that in mind, how are the response times?
– 95% of the requests took under 3 seconds with 87% at an average of 0.25 seconds. Not bad
– 4% took under 10 seconds
– 1% took over 10 seconds

Database size is about 2.4 GB with just under 500,000 caches and just under 7,000,000 cache logs.

BCaching On The Fly

It was a beautiful weekend to be caching and we took advantage of it! We decided to attend an event about 45 minutes away in New Jersey near an old DNF we wanted to clean up and we planned to hit random caches in the area afterward. Since it was already within our regular PQ radius we didn’t need too do much preparation except to send some caches from bcaching to the 60CSx.

Turns out there was a new solve-in-the-field puzzle in the same park as the DNF and some buzz about it at the event so we decided to check it out. Then we even managed to solve it but found the final to be over an hour away. Just to be sure, we got a PAF confirmation.

It was very enticing to be one of the first finders, but it well outside our regular PQ radius so no other caches would be available on the 60CSx or bcaching on the Droid! What to do…

BCaching to the rescue

All we had to do is run a new PQ in the field. Fortunately the Android browser handles geocaching.com pages fairly well and pretty fast. Probably could have also used Opera Mini which is available on lots of mobile platforms.

We loaded the PQ page on geocaching.com and used the new “Copy Pocket Query” icon/button on one of our existing PQs that gets sent to our autogpx bcaching email. That created a new PQ named “Copy of …”. Then we edited the PQ to be centered at the coordinates for the puzzle final, changed the day to be sent to today and saved it.

The PQ was generated and sent within a few minutes. Then we checked the bcaching upload page periodically and within 20 minutes or so the PQ had been received and loaded. We were good to go!

Putting GeOrg (for Android) to the test

We still use the 60CSx for most of our hardcore caching days. It does great street navigation and we can easily see the caches in the vicinity as we drive around, but now we had nothing loaded in the 60CSx and had to rely solely on the droid.

Using GeOrg and the new “GeOrg BCaching Connector” app we were able to use the GeOrg map view for the street routing AND view caches live from bcaching as we drove to our destination! It worked remarkably well, and it was even more convenient being able to tap the cache icons to get details.

Once we arrived at the puzzle final vicinity we had at least a .5 mile hike. The cache listing recommended doing some research before starting the hike to determine the best approach. There were no street roads closer than .5 miles, but using the GeOrg satellite map we were able to identify a few trails and a dirt road that was the only way to cross a creek without getting wet, and also how to approach without having to go the long way around a lake.

When we got close to GZ we switched to the GeOrg compass view which quickly put us in the right location to make the find and before too long we signed log. Woo hoo! We traded a couple items and discovered a TB, recording the find and TB using bcaching field notes and inventory management functions (mobile web view) then we were back on our way.

After that we spent the rest of the afternoon and evening using GeOrg to find 10 more hides in the area while the 60Csx rested quietly in the glove compartment. I hope it didn’t get too lonely in there.

So the next day was Easter but we decided to run out and find a few local hides. The 60CSx already had them loaded but guess what, we left it at home.

Georg for Android now integrated with bcaching

The BCaching API is getting some attention!

Geocaching Organizer
GeOrg BCaching Connector is now live on the Android Market (for free). It links GeOrg (Geocaching Organizer) so that you can view caches from your bcaching.com account in the GeOrg map view and download full cache details to the local database. GeOrg is 4.99 Euros (about $7).

Currently you can only download one cache at a time from the map view but the GeOrg developer is planning to expose additional hooks to allow additional features and deeper integration in the future.

Sweet!