Garmin has just lifted geocaching further into the tech geek real with the new Chirp. The Chirp is a small wireless beacon that can be programmed with loads of data to help geocachers on their quest to find a particular cache or set of caches.
Tiny, durable and waterproof, the Garmin Chirp wireless beacon can be programmed by and communicate with any compatible wireless enabled Garmin handheld GPS ( Oregon, Dakota, GPSMAP series). The Chirp stores data such as cache hints, multi-cache coordinates, and the number of visitors to the cache.
Next time you are out geocaching and you get within 10m of a cache housing the wireless beacon, you will get a message that the cache is nearby and that a Chirp has been detected. You can instantly download the Chirp data which will include the coordinates of the owner's next cache in a multi-cache situation.
The Garmin Chirp is password protected so only the cache or Chirp owner can load or edit information onto the wireless beacon. The CR2032 lithium coin cell battery will last for up to one year of continuous use and can be easily replaced.
Since Chirp is exclusive to Garmin, there has been some debate over whether or not Geocaching.com will accept the Chirp as legit. As of yesterday however, Geocaching.com now shows a wireless beacon option under the Equipment (Required/Not Required) cache information column.
I would love to eventually see wireless beacons work with more than just the Garmin handheld GPS. Your own handheld GPS could log you in to a cache with your identifier as well as check in or out different trackables. No more water soaked logs or forgetting to bring a pen with you!
The Garmin Chirp retails for $22.99 from the Garmin website or a bargain $19.95 from REI.