GPS is typically used to avoid getting lost, but there’s a group of very enthusiastic group of people who enjoy “looking for treasure in Tupperware,” aka, geocaching. Targetting these crazy weekenders is Garmin with a new chip called the Chirp. It may look like a rather nondescript piece of black plastic, but it’s got some navigational technology inside. The idea is that a geocacher can hide the Chirp somewhere in the middle of nowhere, activating it for other geocachers to find. The battery on the Chirp lasts up to a year and it serves as a wireless beacon for those who want to participate.
The Chirp “can communicate with… any compatible wireless-enabled Garmin handheld for a more interactive and enjoyable geocaching experience.” It stores hints, transmits multicache coordinates, counts visitors, and confirms the cache is nearby. When the owner of the
pet rock Chirp comes back to retrieve it, he or she can then reprogram it for the next high-tech hide-and-seek adventure.
At $23, the Chirp isn’t a huge loss if someone decides to swipe it rather than maintain the integrity of the cache. Even then, since it’s password protected, you can probably track down the thief and ask for it back, making an entirely new game out of geocaching; finding the Chirp thief.
OLATHE, Kan./October 15, 2010/Business Wire – Garmin International Inc., a unit of Garmin Ltd. (NASDAQ: GRMN), the global leader in satellite navigation, today announced chirp, a unique wireless beacon designed specifically for the outdoor adventures of geocaching. Affordable, durable and waterproof, chirp can communicate with, and be programmed by, any compatible wireless-enabled Garmin handheld for a more interactive and enjoyable geocaching experience. Cache creators and seekers alike will enjoy the benefits as chirp stores hints, transmits multicache coordinates, counts visitors and confirms the cache is nearby.
“With chirp, geocachers have a new tool to enhance the joys of creating and finding caches around the globe,” said Dan Bartel, Garmin’s vice president of worldwide sales. “In listening to and participating in the vibrant geocaching community, Garmin created a one-of-a-kind device that builds on popular innovations such as paperless geocaching and downloading cache details directly to the device.”
Geocaching is a high-tech version of hide-and-seek where participants of all ages explore the outdoors in search of hidden treasure and adventure, and chirp’s wireless interactivity introduces a world of possibilities for creative caches. Experienced cachers will embrace the countless options now available in creating cutting-edge caches, and beginners will appreciate chirp’s features that make those caches easier to find. Simple to use and password-protected, chirp can be programmed by any compatible wireless-enabled Garmin handheld to store geocaching hints and other information. When other geocachers arrive near your cache, they’ll be alerted that the cache is nearby, and then they’ll be able to access the hints you’ve loaded into chirp. And when you return, chirp will tell you how many visitors have been to your cache.
With chirp, setting up and maintaining a multicache has never been easier. Using your compatible Garmin handheld device (such as Oregon, Dakota and the recently announced GPSMAP handhelds), chirp automatically transmits program coordinates so other cachers can find each stage of your multicache. Or if you’re on a multicache, chirp lets you download coordinates. So there’s no need to manually enter numerous sets of complex coordinates – there’s just one simple touch and you’re on your way to the next stage.
Designed and tested by geocachers, chirp is built to take the rigors of the outdoors. And because chirp is password protected, the owner is the only one with programming powers. With a battery life of up to a year and a battery that’s easy to replace, chirp is long-lasting and user-friendly. Measuring 1.3″ by 0.9″ (slightly bigger than a quarter) and weighing less than an ounce, chirp is small enough to incorporate easily into your favorite caches – whether they’re already placed or still being planned.
The helpful hints provided by chirp are brought to life through paperless geocaching, which allows geocachers to help the environment and be more efficient by having cache information downloaded and displayed directly on the device. Compatible Garmin models store and display details such as location, terrain, difficulty, hints and description, so that you don’t have to carry around printouts. Learn about geocaching, getting started and going paperless at www.garmin.com/geocaching.
Available now for a suggested retail price of $22.99, chirp represents the latest breakthrough from Garmin, which has spent more than 20 years developing technologies and innovations to enhance users’ lives, making Garmin a household name in the automotive, aviation, marine, wireless, outdoor and fitness industries. For more about features and product compatibility, as well as information about Garmin’s other products and services, go to www.garmin.com, www.garmin.blogs.com and http://twitter.com/garmin.