I've got no axe to grind with Groundspeak and in fact I was delighted to meet the 3 co-founders this weekend and have the chance to chat with them. I didn't have a single negative thing to say about what they're doing because they're facilitating so much fun for everyone.
However, when I signed up 3 years ago, their Terms and Conditions made me take a sharp breath and even more so with those for their proprietary "Wherigo" technology. It is their site and they are fully entitled to make whatever rules they wish, even though their demands over intellectual property rights make me cringe. Either I accept them, or leave. I have no intention of doing the latter!
Whilst it's their site, it's our hobby. It's young, exciting and we can push it in so many different ways that don't fit a mould. Within 6 weeks of starting caching, I had someone trying to impose arbitrary rules on me and over-ride reviewers who considered my plans acceptable - it encouraged me to look at the history of the hobby and embrace the alternative sites.
I started cross-listing on Navicache and then joined Terracaching - I love the TC scoring system because the game can be about far more than absolute numbers of caches found, however, NC just can't do decent GPX files or map-based searches and TC is king of the 500 Server Error (now hidden behind a 502 Proxy error, but still there) and no sign of either of those sites fixing their issues let alone catching up with Groundspeak in functionality.
OpenCaching is open source as well as open database; it makes no claim on intellectual property and places the emphasis on individual responsibility. Thereby it fosters innovation in a way that no other site can. Competition from a dynamic competitor (albeit a small one like all the others) is good for the development of the game and ultimately good for Groundspeak who may struggle to innovate without competition (Wherigo being a really good example of an innovation that has not worked).
These points are wasted on most cachers so for them, Groundspeak and only Groundspeak is fine. But for those who want the freedom and responsibility to shape our hobby in our own ways, OpenCaching offers great promise. In UK, in its first year, OpenCaching exceeded the total of all caches on Navicache and Terracaching and is in with a fighting chance of achieving critical mass and becoming mainstream, as it has in Germany and Poland already.
I'm placing all my new caches on OpenCaching and only cross-listing a few on Groundspeak, to help seed the area and encourage more to join in.
The reasonable man adapts himself to the ways of the world. The unreasonable man adapts the world to his ways. Therefore all progress depends upon the unreasonable man.
----- Original Message ---- From: gc_scout To: email@example.com Sent: Sun, August 22, 2010 4:08:05 AM Subject: [GPSstash] Re: Opencaching.us
To me, the most significant feature of the Opencaching movement is the open database. That is, all of the cache information is available for the community to access and to create value-added services around.
The Opencaching movement promises that the data won't be locked behind restrictive walls, but be freely available to whatever creative use any talented person in the community is willing to volunteer to offer.