Groundspeak co-founder Bryan Roth contacted us recently to admonish us (gently) for using a Groundspeak trademark on our site without permission (Sorry,Bryan!). We’re never one to pass up an opportunity,so we asked him to answer a few questions. In the process,we discovered that Groundspeak has just started posting statistics about the number of active geocachers worldwide as well as the total numbers of logs filed on the Geocaching.com homepage.
Here’s our brief e-mail interview:
Q:How many active geocachers are there worldwide?
A:Three to four million cachers. There are some good monthly stats near the bottom of the geocaching.com homepage. They are updated daily. As of today,There are 973,854 active caches and an estimated 3-4 million geocachers worldwide. In the last 30 days,there have been 2,273,706 new logs submitted.
Q:With smart phones now routinely incorporating GPS receivers,we could be looking at 1 billion people worldwide carrying around GPSrs within a couple of years. What impact do you think that will have on the growth of the game? Is Groundspeak doing anything to take advantage of this growth outside of the iPhone application you built?
A:The addition of new and convenient forms of access to geocaching will allow for more people to hear about it and participate. In addition to our iPhone application,we will be releasing an Android application shortly,with other platforms to follow.
Q:Is Groundspeak giving any consideration to opening the geocaching.com service as a platform for third-party developers? Similarly,have you given any consideration of licensing the database for developers to build extended services?
A:We have considered both of these options. We have opened the geocaching service and licensed the database in very limited circumstances for very specific projects. A complete opening up of the service is not likely in the near term however all options are on the table for the future and we will evaluate them on an ongoing basis.
Q:What’s one of your favorite geocaches?
A: GCG9HP - I am claustrophobic (somewhat) and this cache really helped me push my own personal limits. Also,it was super cool to be caching in Finland.
Update,May 13,2010: There have been many inquiries for more information about the status of the Android application,so we e-mailed Bryan for an update. his response may not satisfy all the enthusiasts,but at least it’s a response:
Unfortunately,I don’t have a precise target to share. Simply put,we will release the app as soon as we feel it is ready and worthy of the geocaching community. Ideally,that will be in the next few weeks,but we’re reserving the right to hold it further if we’re not happy with it.
We’re Android users ourselves,and have found a couple of apps that we like. Our favorite so far is GeoBeagle. We’ve also tried GCDroid and OpenGPX. They’re functional but a bit buggier. Google’s open approach to its marketplace should insure that plenty of apps will be available.