Geocaching and Freedom

Today I want to write about something that is not really related to Free Software, but to Freedom in another field.
I have a hobby that some of you might know: Geocaching. Short explanation: Geocaching means using a multi-billion Dollar military satellite system to find small plastic boxes in the middle of nowhere.
What you really do is that you get the GPS coordinates of the hiding place, go there and then look for the hidden box. You write your name in the log book in the box and afterwards log your visit on the website you received the coordinates from.
The Freedom-related problem is that the biggest Geocaching website,, has only one goal: get the Geocachers’ money by any means. The website belongs to Groundspeak Inc., the company that also holds the trademark on the name “Geocaching” (although the name was already in use before the company even existed). There a few competing websites, and most of them were threatened with lawsuits by Groundspeak. Also, censorship is rather common in the forums of
I have to say I really like the idea behind the game, but I prefer having Freedom in everything I do. The problem however is that Groundspeak Inc. has very rigorous rules on where a Geocache may be hidden and thus, every Cache that someone hides is first checked by a reviewer before it is published on These reviewers sometimes live hundreds of kilometres from the hiding place and have never seen the place before. Still they may tell you to put your Cache 20 metres south of the place you wanted to hide it at – which is impossible in many cases.
On the one hand, I can understand that they don’t want to have 50 caches on 30 sqare metres, but the rules a much more restrictive. This is why have not yet published a cache on Another problem I have with is that their software is proprietary and they try to prevent that anyone can get their Cache data out of the site without registering and so on.
Luckily, there is an alternative where everyone who is registered can publish a cache that is immediately visible to the whole world:
The rules you have to obey there are much easier to understand: Don’t break the law, do not put illegal content in your Cache boxes, do not hide the Cache on private property and so on.
The (for me) most important thing however is that is running on OC-Server, which is Free Software. Everyone can get the Cache data out of the OC-Server via a documented XML interface and there are even more OC-Server features that lacks. For example it is possible to have the Cache description in different languages and you can choose which language you want to see. On, you often have the local language description and below you can find the English one.
What I personally think of as one of the coolest features of OC-Server is that different sites using the software can synchronize their Cache data rather easily. This means that it is possible to have a huge international network of small and local Opencaching websites.
In my humble opinion, everyone who is interested in Freedom and wants to do hide a Geocache himself, should publish it only on Opencaching websites.