Friday, August 12, 2011


When we were in the UK in 2007 we bought ourselves a Garmin GPS which we named Malvina. I wrote about 'her' at length on that trip; she was invaluable, and only very rarely did she do the equivalent of landing us up in a village where it was impossible to get the car through the narrow street (as some continental lorry drivers experienced around that time) or bring us to a river bank so we could get a ferry across - except that was no ferry, as some other poor GPS user experienced.

These days, if we're going somewhere unfamiliar, we use the Tom Tom app that's on my wife's smartphone; it's pretty good, although suffice to say there are times when we know the city a good deal better than it does. And we certainly know it better than Google maps, which on one occasion wanted guests coming to our house to go around the block in a direction that took them away from the house before setting off towards it...

I've never played geocaching, although I heard about it quite some time ago. It something like a treasure hunt, in which you use the coordinates given via GPS to find the 'treasure' -or, as it's normally called in this game, the 'geocache'. Not being a person greatly enamoured of going off in the wild with nothing but a GPS system, this isn't a game I'm likely to play.

Now, apparently, you can add to the fun when you buy Garmin chirp, which is some sort of homing device, as far as I can make out...but also a lot more. The 'chirp stores hints, multicache coordinates, counts visitors and confirms the cache is nearby' presumably for those searching for it. It sounds a bit like making things too easy, but no doubt for those who take up chirping, it adds to the fun.

Expect, then, next time you're out in the wilds, to hear unfamiliar bird chirps.
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