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Posts posted by imajeep

  1. Here is what we did before a recent trip out West (6K miles total, and you can see how many states we cached by checking our profile):


    Before we left home, I created 'caches along a route' PQs for each driving segment of the trip. I ended up with about a dozen segments, each of which covered about 500 miles.


    As we made the trip, I ran the next day's PQs and loaded the results into GSAK. Then, while we were on the road, we used the GSAK database we had created to target caches to hunt. Then, each night, I'd clear the GSAK database and repeat the process to load the next day's cache list.


    It worked like a charm. The only limitation was a fairly aggressive driving schedule (about 500 miles/day), which limited the number of caches we could hunt.

  2. Welcome to geocaching, and to the forums! Two out of four is actually pretty good, particularly for just getting started.



    As to the eratic behavior of your GPSr, two things occur to me: Mine tends to go a little crazy around power lines, or any large concentration of metal. Usually, I just walk a few yards, and it settles down. However, there are some areas (not many) where I just can't seem to get a fix. Part of the game.



    When my GPSr starts behaving erratically, I recalibrate the compass. Your user manual will describe how to do that. Garmin says the compass only needs to be recalibrated when the batteries are changed, but I find that recalibrating the compass often causes my unit (a 60 CSx) to settle down.

  3. Give the 60 CSx a point for its external antenna connector. I find it very handy when hiking, particularly in the Grand Canyon and the slot near the top of the Yosemite Upper Falls trail. Granted, this may not apply to your average geocacher. But I log all my hikes, and having an external antenna (I recommend Gillson) really does improve the quality of the track in deep canyon conditions.

  4. RoboGeo and GPicSync (free) seem to be the kings of this field. I used GPicSync for a while and just switched to RoboGeo. It has a really nice feature where it will resize your pictures (copies, not originals) to fit a Google Earth balloon before it bundles them up into a KMZ. That reduced my Yosemite Falls hike KMZ from 15 MB to 900 KB. It also has some very nice features that allow you to title your pictures and add descriptions for the KMZ.

  5. I use the 60 CSx, and I love it. Here are a couple of suggestions:


    (1) Go to the user manual and learn how to enter a waypoint, and how to find a waypoint.


    (2) Mark a waypoint at the front door of your house/apartment building (using the Mark button on the front of the unit).


    (3) Walk a couple of hundred yards down the street from your house/apartment building, and tell the unit to find the waypoint you just marked. (Hit the Find button, select Waypoint, and select your waypoint from the liat that appears.) You should see (in daylight) a black triangle on a yellow background in the center of the screen. This is the map page. There should be a pink line running away from the triangle.


    (4) Hit the Out button on your unit to zoom out until you can see the other end of the pink line. That's where your front door is.


    (5) Hit the Page button on your unit. The display should change to show what looks like a compass, with a red arrow. This is the compass page. But the arrow doesn't point north. It points to your waypoint; in this case, your front door.


    (6) Now, walk back to your front door and watch what the compass page does. Hit the Quit button to go back to the map page, and watch what the map page does as you walk back to your front door.


    That should be enough to get you started. Also, note that you don't have to enter geocache coordinates into the 60 CSx manually. You can download them from Geocaching.com and use the software that came with your 60 CSx to transfer the waypoints to your unit. The user manual explains how to do that.

  6. If you're a hiker, geotagging is very cool. For example, I recently did a hike to the top of Yosemite Falls, and recorded a GPS track of the hike. Afterwards, I used GPicSync (Google) to Geotag the photos. It also bundled the photos and the track into a Google Earth KMZ file. So, not I can open the file in Google Earth, and it will show the track with clickable icons at the point where I took each picture. The display is particularly cool if I swing the view around to make it 3D:





    Each of the camera icons can be clicked to open the picture that was taken at that point.

  7. Tiger GPS is a sister company to Tiger Direct.com. I have bought many computer components from them in the past. I will not be doing any more business with them at any price.


    The warranty for their name brand stuff is non-existent and their products are garbage. They essentially have NO customer service even though you can call them and wait (and wait, and wait) so when you have a problem, you're on your own. No more of my coin for these crooks.

    I've bought from TigerDirect several times, with no problems. I think your expectation of customer service is a bit unrealistic. There is a saying in retail: "Price, quality, service--pick any two." If you go for the lowest price, you have to be prepared to give up either quality or service.


    Even with the rock-bottom vendors, I have never had trouble getting a defective unit replaced, other than a long wait on the phone for an RMA. But that's the crapshoot you take when going for the cheapest price.


    If you want hand-holding of any sort, you are going to have to pay for it. If you change your mind about what you bought, don't expect a refund without paying a restocking fee.

  8. I was bowhunting one afternoon on a military installation. Parked along side one of the main roads and off into the woods. Several hours later I come out and my car is gone. Not really a place to get turned around in and the car was right there when I took my bow and tree stand out. I walked to the check in station about a mile away to report my car missing to the MP's. He shows up and I tell my story, we drive back to where my car wasn't, and there it sits. After my stammering that it really wasn't there we get out and look around and there are signs, of another vehicle, likely a tow truck. As I'm putting my stuff back into my car I see a tow truck go by with a similar looking car. Guess he found the first maroon hatchback and hooked up. Calling it in on the radio he realized his oops and did a U-turn to bring it back and go get the real tow.


    Wow--great story. Forty years ago, I used to bow-hunt deer with a buddy of mine at Fort Knox, Kentucky, in a surplus 1942 Army Jeep. MPs would come out to chase us off if we strayed into the military reservation--the hunting area was near tank training country. But they never failed to stop to compare their government-issue model to the antique we were driving.

  9. We use a Garmin 60 CSx for geocaching, and we use MapSource US Topo 2008 for maps. I'm trying to figure out if City Navigator will help us streamline our geocaching process.


    Right now, we locate a bunch of geocaches in an area, then my wife creates a route on paper maps to get us to the caches we want to hunt. If we are hunting more than a dozen or so caches, the process of setting up the route on the paper map is a time consuming chore. We'd like to strealine this part of the process, and it occured to us that City Navigator might help.


    Here are my questions:


    Can routes be laid out on the PC, the way that they can on US Topo 2008? Ideally, I'd like to import geocache waypoints into City Navigator, then click from point-to-point to lay out a route. Is that doable?


    I understand that City Navigator is locked to a specific GPSr. If I replace the GPSr, can I unlock CN from that unit and relock it to the new GPSr?


    If I've got both US topo 2008 and City Navigator, do I have to choose between street navigation and topo navigation on my GPSr, or can I do both at the same time?


    Thanks for your help!

  10. Go with the Garmin. They have a far better reputation for customer service.


    As between the 60 CSx and the Vists HCx, that's a matter of personal preference. Both have high sensitivity receivers, so both will work well under dense tree cover and in slot canyons. The 60 CSx has a somewhat better antenna, and it's more rugged. I've dropped mine several times, with no ill effects. The Vista HCx is smaller. It will fit in a shirt pocket, although it may not record an accurate breadcrumb track if held vertically.

  11. The bottom line is that Garmin is not supporting Macs like they do Windows. I can accept that as being market driven. But don't dish out any BS to defend them on the basis that most consumers looking to buy a GPS would (or should) know upfront that the unit they buy has a serial interface that Garmin isn't completely supporting on Macs (and who would know to read fine print about serial support in an obscure release notes anyway).


    I believe it is you who may be missing the point. Of course Garmin isn't going to support the Mac--it has only 5% of the market, and all newer Macs run Windows. That's a fact of life. People like Garmin simply aren't going to cater to users of older Macs.


    The solution is simple. Get an Intel based Mac and upgrade to Leopard. Then you can run the Garmin Windows applications. And if you are so religious that lips that touch Microsoft will never touch yours, well then, there is a price to be paid for that. Your choice.

  12. This story is too good not to share.


    It was an incredible Sunday afternoon in Chicago--80° and sunny, in late October. So, the Jeepstress and I head out to grab a few caches, instead of raking leaves. We go 10-for-10; not a single DNF the entire day! And all the caches were great; not a single lame or evil hide in the bunch.


    We were walking back out from our 10th find, congratulating ourselves on our geocaching proweress and taking in the warmth of the late autumn afternoon, when we got to the parking lot. No red Jeep. Nowhere. And guess who forgot to take a waypoint when we got out of the car?


    So, how the heck do you file a DNF on your car?


    Fortunately, the solution was simple. Walk the quarter mile back to the cache, then take the correct path out, so we end up on the correct side of the park. It was such a gorgeous day that we ended up laughing the entire way.


    All in all, a good day.

  13. Previous posters have made two good recommendations, the Garmin 60 CSx and the Garmin eTrex Vista HCx. Garmin is the dominant brand right now, largely on the basis of their reputation for customer service. And definitely get a mapping unit. An on-screen map makes it much easier to see where you are and where you're going.


    Here's a comparison of the Garmin 60 CSx and the Garmin eTrex Vista HCx:


    -- Both appear to have roughly equal sensitivity. That's important when you're caching under tree cover. Trees block GPS signals, and older GPSr's are notorious for losing their signal under trees. 'High sensitivity' models, like the two recommended, can get reception even under heavy tree cover.


    -- The Vista HCx is smaller, which means you can slip it into your pocket. But it also means a slightly smaller screen.


    -- The 60 CSx is larger and sturdier than the Vista. The screen is larger, and you can bang it around a bit more than the Vista without damaging it. Hikers love the 60 CSx.


    -- The 60 CSx is a bit more expensive than the Vista, and it has a better antenna. You can get a good fix whether the unit is being held vertically or horizontally.


    As you may have guessed, I prefer the 60 CSx. That's because I'm a hiker. Either unit will serve you well for geocaching.

  14. Those are two different products. USA Topo is 1:100K and covers the entire US. The 1:24K product is US National Parks Topo--it only covers national parks and some national forests and recreation areas.



    I use both, but you can really get by pretty well with only the USA Topo. I originally got the National Park topos because they show hiking trails and other details. However, I've discovered since then that Google Earth has hiking trails for most national parks, so I've started using that to plan routes.

  15. I think most folks today take one of two approaches: Some simply download they want to hunt to their PCs, then transfer the coordinates to their GPSr's. They either print out the cache descriptions, or download them to a PDA using a program like CacheMate. Others download all caches for an area, like you did, but load them into a geocaching database program like GSAK. That allows them to browse and search caches without being connected to the Web. They pick caches to hunt from GSAK, then download coordinates to their GPSr's from GSAK.


    We do a little of both. For local caching, we simply download the dozen or so caches we want to hunt on a particular day. For road trips, we download caches in the area we are going to, using geocaching.com's pocket query feature. Then we load the pocket query into GSAK and take the laptop with us.

  16. You need Garmin MapSource, which comes with their topo or street navigation maps. MapSource will let you upload breadcrumb tracks and waypoints from your GPSr to your computer, and you can work with them further there. The least expensive package is Garmin US Topo 2008 (doesn't do street navigation). You can probably find older versions of Garmin US Topo on eBay for less. They should work just as well for what you want to do.

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