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Barcodes on Geocache instructions

#1 User is offline   Jones_UK_Hunters 

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Posted 01 October 2008 - 05:32 AM

Hi.

As an avid Geo-cacher, I've been thinking.

On the cache information literature that you print and put in your cache when you hide it.

Why don't you put on the top of it a 2D barcode (or QR code), with a reference to the cache web-page.

As camera phones that support 2D barcodes are now getting pretty common, wouldn't it be great to record your cache visit simply by pointing your phones camera at this barcode. Have a look at this video, which shows the kind of idea -

http://www.binaryrefinery.com/main/PermaLi...4d39ffd83d.aspx

Its very easy to setup and the QR code generator is free.

Clients available for iphone, Windows Mobile, Nokia/Symbian etc. etc.

Happy to help where I can if you are interested further.



Thanks


Richard Jones
Microsoft MVP

#2 User is offline   Okiebryan 

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Posted 01 October 2008 - 05:43 AM

I can see some really interesting possibilities for this.

#3 User is offline   Guinness70 

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Posted 01 October 2008 - 05:57 AM

View PostJones_UK_Hunters, on Oct 1 2008, 05:32 AM, said:

-//-
As camera phones that support 2D barcodes are now getting pretty common, wouldn't it be great to record your cache visit simply by pointing your phones camera at this barcode.
-//-
but still signing the log?
and what happens when the barcode registers in yer phone?

#4 User is offline   SUp3rFM & Cruella 

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Posted 01 October 2008 - 06:20 AM

We got a multi-cache about 2 years ago, in Portugal, where in the initial point you have to read a barcode. It will give you the coords to the final container. It was a great way on understanding how it works.

#5 User is offline   Jones_UK_Hunters 

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Posted 01 October 2008 - 06:36 AM

This is how I see it working.

When you hide a cache, you print out the normal bit of paper that you put in your cache.

We use a website like this to generate the codes

http://qrcode.kaywa.com/

Code would contain a URL to the cache with a hidden cache find identifier, i.e

http://www.geocaching.com/seek/cache_detai...8e8-aa8b7e38ef3&found_it=e2ac987e-ee63-4a9e-b8e8-aa8b7e38ef39

Note the new found_it tag.

So when you physically find the geo-cache. You scan the barcode with your phone, you will be prompted to logon to the geocaching website and then taken straight to the log your find page.

How does that sound?

How can we get this implemented?

Thanks

Richard

#6 User is offline   steve p 

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Posted 01 October 2008 - 07:22 AM

View PostJones_UK_Hunters, on Oct 1 2008, 08:32 AM, said:

As camera phones that support 2D barcodes are now getting pretty common, wouldn't it be great to record your cache visit simply by pointing your phones camera at this barcode.
Are they really that common? This is the first I have ever heard of phones that read bar codes.

#7 User is offline   knowschad 

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Posted 01 October 2008 - 07:38 AM

View Poststeve p, on Oct 1 2008, 07:22 AM, said:

View PostJones_UK_Hunters, on Oct 1 2008, 08:32 AM, said:

As camera phones that support 2D barcodes are now getting pretty common, wouldn't it be great to record your cache visit simply by pointing your phones camera at this barcode.
Are they really that common? This is the first I have ever heard of phones that read bar codes.



Apparently so, according to Wired: http://www.wired.com...s/2004/01/61936

#8 User is offline   Too Tall John 

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Posted 01 October 2008 - 07:41 AM

View Poststeve p, on Oct 1 2008, 07:22 AM, said:

View PostJones_UK_Hunters, on Oct 1 2008, 08:32 AM, said:

As camera phones that support 2D barcodes are now getting pretty common, wouldn't it be great to record your cache visit simply by pointing your phones camera at this barcode.
Are they really that common? This is the first I have ever heard of phones that read bar codes.
Only phone I've seen that can do it is the one in the video with the Android platform. As the first phone to use Android was just unveiled by T-Mobile on the 23rd of last month (little more than a week ago...) it seems a pretty small share of phones, at the moment. Edit to say "D'oh! I didn't see that you listed the various platforms this was capable of working on." The second half of my post still stands, unedited:

Even if every cell had this ability, I doubt Groundspeak would add this feature for what would be, in the end, just another type of puzzle cache. Not that it wouldn't be an interesting cache, but I think your best bet would be to find a way to incorporate the concept into a cache without waiting for a website feature.

This post has been edited by Too Tall John: 01 October 2008 - 07:46 AM


#9 User is offline   Mother Wolf 

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Posted 01 October 2008 - 07:45 AM

Although this sounds interesting & a little high tech not everyone has a cell with pic capability. Hard to believe I know but personally my phone is still the 1st phone I got. It has no camera. It is just a phone. Where does that leave me? : ( besides out of the picture. LOL

#10 User is offline   Too Tall John 

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Posted 01 October 2008 - 07:50 AM

Just curious, is there a Palm version of this barcode reader? I've got a Clie w/ a camera and want to be prepared for when someone comes along and does this to me.

How about a web-based version you could upload a pic to?

(Can you tell, I really am intrigued by the concept?) <_<

#11 User is offline   Prime Suspect 

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Posted 01 October 2008 - 07:59 AM

In my experience most caches don't even have a "stash note" (especially if they've been around awhile). I doubt if you could ever get even 1% compliance with this idea. Besides, if I have an device capable of doing this, I'm probably already doing paperless caching. That means I already have the cache ID in my PDA. I can copy the cache ID from Plucker into my PDA's clipboard with a single stylus tap. Can't see how scanning a barcode is ever going to be faster or less of a hassle than that.

#12 User is offline   StarBrand 

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Posted 01 October 2008 - 08:01 AM

I just can't see this working in many situations. (micros, tiny micros). Who/how would you get the labels on the existing caches. This would require the cache to get submitted and published and the owner to go back out for another visit to get it done correctly.

I certainly try to unchain myself from cell phones while out caching as well. Interesting tidbit of technology but I just don't see very widespread use of it.

#13 User is offline   Skippermark 

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Posted 01 October 2008 - 08:15 AM

View PostStarBrand, on Oct 1 2008, 12:01 PM, said:

I certainly try to unchain myself from cell phones while out caching as well. Interesting tidbit of technology but I just don't see very widespread use of it.

It sounds like a neat idea, but like others, we sometimes cache for the sake of getting out into the woods and not having to deal with cell phones and stuff. A lot of times we bring nothing more than our GPS and a pen with us. Then other times we load up with all kinds of electronic goodies. I like the freedom of choosing how much I want to bring and wouldn't want to be forced to carry a cell phone along just to log a cache.

#14 User is offline   thedeadpirate 

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Posted 01 October 2008 - 08:24 AM

Cool idea.

The way I read his idea is as an enhancement, not replacement for the way to log your find. Basically you would encode a special url in the barcode that would take you directly to the log page so the finder can log the find in the field.

If you have a Windows Mobile phone, you can download the free i-nigma reader. There are readers for other OSes.

That being said, I don't think Groundspeak will go for the idea. It would sort of compete with the Trimble service offered by one of their partners.

BUT, you can get very close without their input. Just encode the url to the log page such as http://www.geocachin....aspx?ID=######. That gets you to the log page for a cache. (of course change ###### to match your cache)

The only extra step is you have to choose find as your log type.

Posted Image

Please don't log that. I chose an archived cache just to demonstrate.

#15 User is offline   Jones_UK_Hunters 

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Posted 01 October 2008 - 10:45 AM

I love this idea.

Its simple, would not alter any of the traditional charm of finding a cache.

All we're talking about, is addding a little barcode onto the page & then if your a high-tech finder you can log the visit at the cache site.

Surely this is great for the sport?

#16 User is offline   Moose Mob 

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  Posted 01 October 2008 - 10:59 AM

I'm trying not to rip this apart or anything, but you present yourself as an avid geocacher. However your profile shows that you have found 8 caches in 7 years, and only 1 in the past 3 years. A bit of internet research shows that you work for the company that produces this product and that your specialty is developing applications for these devices.

This post has some significant overtones of being commercial in nature, but I will send it over to the software forums for their analysis.

#17 User is offline   Barnie's Band of Gold 

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Posted 01 October 2008 - 12:40 PM

View PostMoose Mob, on Oct 1 2008, 10:59 AM, said:

I'm trying not to rip this apart or anything, but you present yourself as an avid geocacher. However your profile shows that you have found 8 caches in 7 years, and only 1 in the past 3 years. A bit of internet research shows that you work for the company that produces this product and that your specialty is developing applications for these devices.

This post has some significant overtones of being commercial in nature, but I will send it over to the software forums for their analysis.

This idea has no merit unless Groundspeak can monetize it.

#18 User is offline   Prime Suspect 

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Posted 01 October 2008 - 03:19 PM

The only information you need to log a cache is the 7 character waypoint ID. This seems like a heckuva lot of trouble to go to, just to avoid keying in the waypoint ID.

This seems a lot like everything looking like a nail, to someone with a brand new hammer.

#19 User is offline   Jones_UK_Hunters 

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Posted 02 October 2008 - 05:03 AM

Agreed 7 point weighpoint data sounds like enough.

+ please dont flame me. This is not commercial. Given the high-tech. GPS nature of the sport. I saw this a nice value add.

#20 User is offline   WatchDog2020 

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Posted 02 October 2008 - 05:09 AM

I'm very interested in this. Would be a cool way to add a hint to a cache listing or place the image at a way point for a multi. In the USA there aren't a lot of cells that have this feature yet. I played with the image gen. program. Could someone with a phone that has the feature test the image below for me and e-mail me what you got- Would be a great help - Thanks

Test Image

#21 User is offline   The Unpleasables 

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Posted 02 October 2008 - 05:28 AM

I love it, Watchdog! I have I-nigma on my XV6800 and would love to see clues like this for a multi or on a cache. It brought up "Place magnet on top of cache to open" immediately on scanning your image.

#22 User is offline   Jones_UK_Hunters 

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Posted 02 October 2008 - 05:29 AM

Place Magnet On Top Of Cache To Open

:-)

#23 User is offline   WatchDog2020 

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Posted 02 October 2008 - 05:35 AM

View PostJones_UK_Hunters, on Oct 2 2008, 05:29 AM, said:

Place Magnet On Top Of Cache To Open

:-)


Cool -cool - Cool

It worked - Thanks

I used
Link

This post has been edited by WatchDog2020: 02 October 2008 - 05:37 AM


#24 User is offline   Jones_UK_Hunters 

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Posted 02 October 2008 - 02:49 PM

So am I pushing the boat out to far to say....

Adding a simple QR code barcode would add a new element to finding caches.

Would cost Groundspeak next to nothing to implement?

Would be a nice little value add, to include and not take away the simple charm of finding a cache?

Would maybe promote and inspire people to go find caches.


I'm not talking about a seed change just a little evolution...

#25 User is offline   Sparticus06 

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Posted 03 October 2008 - 09:57 AM

I think it would be a neat idea. I am always looking for new gadgetry and stuff. Think it would even make great puzzle ideas for caches.

I watched the video, I want one of those phones.

#26 User is offline   Jones_UK_Hunters 

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Posted 03 October 2008 - 11:23 PM

Im not sure of the process, for getting this into the programme for the Groundspeak developers.

How do changes get submitted, voted for etc?

Thanks

Richard

#27 User is offline   WatchDog2020 

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Posted 04 October 2008 - 03:36 AM

View PostJones_UK_Hunters, on Oct 3 2008, 11:23 PM, said:

Im not sure of the process, for getting this into the programme for the Groundspeak developers.

How do changes get submitted, voted for etc?

Thanks

Richard

I think you would want to start a grass roots campaign and throw the images out there and see how they are received. Let there be honest reactions from finders and then (if positive) you have actual caches using variations of the technology to show them. You convinced me. Attached is a mock up (not actual coords or ref. number) of what Iíll be putting for my description of a new cache in the next few weeks.

Cache Description

#28 User is offline   fizzymagic 

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Posted 04 October 2008 - 12:05 PM

View PostJones_UK_Hunters, on Oct 4 2008, 12:23 AM, said:

Im not sure of the process, for getting this into the programme for the Groundspeak developers.

How do changes get submitted, voted for etc?

Why does Groundspeak have to do anything? Why can't you do it yourself? I fail to understand what geocaching.com needs to change for your idea. Print barcodes on your cache sheets and have them point to the cache page or another page, if you want.

If you are proposing that all cache hiders be required to put barcodes in their caches, then this is a non-starter. No, thanks.

#29 User is online   jholly 

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Posted 04 October 2008 - 02:46 PM

View PostJones_UK_Hunters, on Oct 1 2008, 06:32 AM, said:

Hi.

As an avid Geo-cacher, I've been thinking.




Joined November, 2001. Find count = 8

Avid? You need to do a bit more thinking.

Jim

This post has been edited by jholly: 04 October 2008 - 02:47 PM


#30 User is offline   Dryphter 

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Posted 06 October 2008 - 10:23 AM

Very cool idea. I can see adding this as a laminated card in the cache log and having it link to the right geocaching webpage.

Also for those of you criticizing the OP - ever think he has another geocaching account? or maybe doesn't log his finds online? You guys are seriously being a-holes for no reason.

#31 User is offline   Prime Suspect 

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Posted 06 October 2008 - 11:55 AM

View PostMorganCoke, on Oct 6 2008, 01:23 PM, said:

Also for those of you criticizing the OP - ever think he has another geocaching account? or maybe doesn't log his finds online? You guys are seriously being a-holes for no reason.

But he's logged finds under this account, from 2001 to 2008. So to answer your question - no, I don't think that. I do, however, think he has an ulterior motive for promoting this. And that's not for "no reason".

#32 User is offline   Jones_UK_Hunters 

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Posted 14 October 2008 - 12:14 PM

What could I possibly gain from doing this!?!?!

Come on, give a guy a chance...

I just love the idea of a paperless find using one device with built in GPS etc and being able to straight log the cache when you find it.

Even better still the act of scanning the barcode could reveal a hidden virtual treasure.

I'll plant a cache with a barcode and we'll see what happens, how about that :-)

#33 User is offline   Redwoods Mtn Biker 

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Posted 15 October 2008 - 05:12 AM

View PostMorganCoke, on Oct 6 2008, 10:23 AM, said:

or maybe doesn't log his finds online?


Yep, there are some of us who don't log our finds here.

#34 User is offline   trainlove 

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Posted 15 October 2008 - 12:55 PM

View PostRedwoods Mtn Biker, on Oct 15 2008, 05:12 AM, said:

Yep, there are some of us who don't log our finds here.

But isn't the OP's desire to use the barcode to somehow automate logging his find?

This post has been edited by trainlove: 15 October 2008 - 12:55 PM


#35 User is offline   SteveOr 

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Posted 15 October 2008 - 01:39 PM

I can totally see this catching on. It has the same techno appeal that attracts a great number of people to Geocaching in the first place. Granted it doesn't greatly enhance the caching experience but it does add another means of using existing technology to simplify the process. Once enough cache owners decide to take the extra step to add a bar code I'm sure others will want their caches to have them too. If it grows in popularity then there is no reason to think Groundspeak wouldn't incorporate it in some manner. The only problem is if the cache owner wants a bar code to link to his page he has to return to the cache after it is approved. But I'm sure some bright person could figure out a way around that. Too bad I don't have a phone that can read bar codes. But I'm sure I will eventually.

This reminds me of CueCats, bar code scanning plastic cats sold by Radio Shack during the dot com days. In fact I think I learned of them in this forum when someone wanted to incorporate them in Geocaching some how. That effort obviously fizzled.

#36 User is offline   Too Tall John 

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Posted 21 October 2008 - 09:16 PM

View PostSteveOr, on Oct 15 2008, 01:39 PM, said:

The only problem is if the cache owner wants a bar code to link to his page he has to return to the cache after it is approved. But I'm sure some bright person could figure out a way around that.
Simply write up & submit the cache page before you go out, but don't enable the listing. All the info you'll need will be available at that point. Once, the cache is in place, enable it so the reviewer can see it.

:(

#37 User is offline   fizzymagic 

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Posted 21 October 2008 - 10:54 PM

View PostSteveOr, on Oct 15 2008, 02:39 PM, said:

The only problem is if the cache owner wants a bar code to link to his page he has to return to the cache after it is approved.

Why? The URL to the cache page doesn't change when it gets approved.

I guess I am missing something here. I fail to understand why anybody would want this feature at all, except maybe to speed the entry of SLTNLN logs, which I abhor.

#38 User is offline   Dryphter 

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Posted 22 October 2008 - 07:14 AM

Quote

I do, however, think he has an ulterior motive for promoting this. And that's not for "no reason".


Really? What's the ulterior motive considering the software to both generate and read the bar codes are free from several websites? The use of this kind of bar code is actually quite prevalent in countries like Japan where the population as a whole is much more tech savvy. It's starting to appear on business cards as well - scan the code and your phone imports the contact information for that person.

What's his angle if the software is free? Oh I know! Maybe he is the CEO of Nokia and wants us geocachers to all go buy new phones that support this! Or maybe he invented this type of bar code and gets a 15% of the cost to download it? (15% * $0 = ?) Or maybe he has a startup GPS company that incorporates this and if he can get it to catch on with geocachers he will sell more units than Garmin and retire to a private island.

Or just maybe, he had a great idea that you might understand if you take a few minutes to quit bashing him over his geocache finds and actually consider it.

#39 User is offline   julianh 

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Posted 22 October 2008 - 02:53 PM

View PostMorganCoke, on Oct 22 2008, 07:14 AM, said:

Quote

I do, however, think he has an ulterior motive for promoting this. And that's not for "no reason".


Really? What's the ulterior motive considering the software to both generate and read the bar codes are free from several websites? The use of this kind of bar code is actually quite prevalent in countries like Japan where the population as a whole is much more tech savvy. It's starting to appear on business cards as well - scan the code and your phone imports the contact information for that person.

What's his angle if the software is free? Oh I know! Maybe he is the CEO of Nokia and wants us geocachers to all go buy new phones that support this! Or maybe he invented this type of bar code and gets a 15% of the cost to download it? (15% * $0 = ?) Or maybe he has a startup GPS company that incorporates this and if he can get it to catch on with geocachers he will sell more units than Garmin and retire to a private island.

Or just maybe, he had a great idea that you might understand if you take a few minutes to quit bashing him over his geocache finds and actually consider it.

I agree 100%!!

I don't know whether the OP has an "ulterior motive" or not, but since you can easily generate the bar-codes for free, and there are free readers for most current-generation mobile phones, it is hard to see where the profit motive lies. (Do a quick Google search for "QR Barcode", and see what I mean.) I suspect you will see a LOT of these 2D bar-codes popping up all over the place in the near future, with the explicit aim of enticing you to instantly link to some website or other on your mobile phone.

The only "profit motive" I can see in this case is the small amount of revenue generated for the phone company when you connect to the linked cache site. Maybe that's it - the OP sells bandwidth for a telco! :(

This would be a trivial thing to implement, if the interest is there. I am sure there are any number of hackers out there who would knock up the code for Groundspeak in a shot. Whether it takes off is another matter, but I would have thought this sort of technogeek stuff would appeal to a lot of people who contribute to these forums. (I mean, let's face it - check out the posts on paperless cacheing with PSPs and so on - if you are prepared to go to that much trouble, surely one click on your mobile phone to log a find would be pretty cool?)

(And if anyone wants to check my credentials, I am a serious GPSr user for fieldwork and personal navigation, but only a light casual cacher, and I have no affiliation with anyone in the mobile phone industry!)

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