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Posts posted by tiiiim

  1. I know the Ontario trails project has used open steet maps as a source for some of its data. From what I see looking at the Ontarils project and open street maps, it doesn't look like much has been contributed back which is shame considering all the trails in the Ontario trails project.


    I think I missed something here? The offer their trails in a GPX file. You can upload GPX files into OSM and trace it. So I don't see the problem?


    I was thinking the same, BUT BEFORE you do this it's probably best to contact the owner of the website first - his email address is at the bottom of each page. The footer also indicates that the trail data "is released to Creative Commons, with attribution". Make of that what you will....


    Edited to add: also, perhaps query the OSM talk-ca mailing list to see if they haven't already got plans for the data, or if they haven't already tried adding it...

  2. Has anyone been to Alaska?


    Are there any must do caches, trips or places to visit? We'll mainly been in the South Central area (I think) - but will also go as far North as Denali or Fairbanks (Or even further North depending on what sort of roads the RV company will let us drive on!). Possibly also take in Western Yukon in Canada.


    Has anyone driven a 30' motorhome?? How easy is it to drive?


    Vancouver and Seattle - any must do caches is these cities?




    PS, and yes I know this is the UK forum - but I like to get the UK cachers prospective first.


    We undertook a mammoth 10000km road trip last summer, starting in Calgary, AB, to Vancouver, BC, up the Inside Passage (...still makes me giggle!) to Prince Rupert BC. Then north past Dease Lake (some caches there - also stopped off in Stewart) into the Yukon, then west over to Whitehorse (along the Alaska highway). At Whitehorse we hired one of those 30ft RV monsters and trekked over to Haines Junction (there's a cache near there which hasn't been found in a few years) and further to Tok in Alaska. From Tok we headed North along the Taylor highway to a place called Chicken (a few caches there) and further up past the Top-of-the-World highway. The Taylor highway past the TotW highway is a bit hit-and-miss, but the RV is such a monster it shouldn't be a problem (make sure you know where the spare wheel is!)


    We then came back down and followed the TotW highway back into the Yukon to Dawson City (by the way, Whitehorse and Dawson City are fairly interesting, the latter more than the former. From Dawson we took the Dempster Highway all the way north past the Arctic circle and into the North-West-Territories. If you can, you MUST do this road (even if the RV brochures advise against it!) - the scenery and wildlife is just unbelievable. Be careful when driving it though - we didn't have any trouble, but passed a few cars with flat tyres. We were also the only RV on that road at the time!


    Once into NWT, we turned back round (only one road!) and headed back to Dawson, from where we headed back to Whitehorse and then back to Calgary. The distances are immense. We were glad to have the caches dotted around to break the journey from time to time. A few things to remember with an RV:


    1) 30ft is HUGE. No, really, HUGE! And wide. And it has a reversing alarm, which I thought was cool!

    2) Never, ever, ever let your petrol tank fall below half empty. Many stretches of road have signs saying things like - "Next Gas - 100km", and that will be for a small shanty shack in the middle of no-where with a handpump. Often these are abandoned so be very prepared!

    3) Don't worry about where to sleep - just park the RV in a layby and you're set. There are self-service campgrounds also dotted around with "pull-through's" - a spot which you can drive into with a huge RV and can drive out of forwards (i.e. no reversing).

    4) When driving, an RV is quite noisy on the inside, and things tend to rattle around quite a lot (this was obviously a hire RV). It might seem obvious, but we weren't quite prepared for how noisy it was. Driving along the gravel roads is even noisier!

    5) GET 'THE MILEPOST'. Seriously, you can forget everything else, but GET 'THE MILEPOST'. Here, I'll even provide a link: http://milepost.com/. It tells you where every single petrol station, campground, shack etc etc is located, distances from anywhere to anywhere, and points of interest (and there's millions) along the way. The POI's are described by their distance from a certain location (to the 0.1 mile) along a certain road, and all roads have mile markers (also to the 0.1 mile) so you'll NEVER get lost!! Get The Milepost. Get The Milepost. Get The Milepost.


    We went end July and all of August. Do not worry about the number of people. Yes, there's many, but the place is so big we often went a whole day and only saw a handful of cars and RV's driving past (obviously not true when you get to the urban areas!)


    Oh, we also did Vancouver Island - if you're close by, definitely go and explore the south western coastline.


    That's all I can think of for now....


    P.S. I tracked the entire journey and now have 1 second resolution GPX files for the entire thing - I'll send you a Google Earth kml file if you're interested.


    P.P.S If you check my cache history, all the caches we found and DNF'd are basically all the caches available along these routes from Stewart northwards.


    P.P.P.S. Have fun. Get The Milepost.

  3. I like OSM and it's a great service, but in my town there are a lot of missing places, sadly, so I don't think it's a good alternative for here.


    Elsewhere, like London, however, it's pretty much bang on, so in that respect it's great.


    why not take your GPS and drive the missing streets, and walk or cycle the missing paths. The interface is pretty easy to use? Just upload the track log from you GPS and trace.


    I was thinking this too. But then, is it that easy? For me, I cache with a netbook. As a result, any GPX files I create can be as large as I want (unlimited routes and waypoints) with a resolution of 1 second. The GPX file is also already stored on my netbook, so uploading to OSM is a doddle.


    How easy is it with a GPSr? I've heard there are restrictions to the number of points which can be included when tracking. I've also read that some GPX files aren't quite up to the standards, and OSM dismisses them straight off the bat. Also, is transferring the file as easy as plugging in the GPSr to the computer and copy/pasting it over? Just things I was thinking of which might put me off too if I only had a GPSr!

  4. Perhaps not the answer you're looking for, but every road that I've travelled over the Arctic circle on certainly let me know that I was! YMMV.
    I was thinking that this would be so. Given that the circle moves about 50 ft every year, it makes me wonder who the guy that has to go move the signs every year is, and how long does it take them?


    I can't speak for Alaska, but in Canada, there's only one public all season road that crosses the Arctic Circle. There's a cache at the sign, and it Doesn't look like it's moving


    But I see the OP is European anyways.


    Yup, went over that one this summer - there were two caches there though at the time, called Arctic Circle (GC8A0A) and Yukon Circle (GC68F6). I've just checked, and only one other person has found them since we did in August, which is cool - I guess the winter is pretty savage up there! </off-topic>

  5. In last weeks show (so the one previous to the one you're all talking about, if you get what I mean!) they voted the LAYAR application on the Android phones as the current best app for smartphones. Just thought I'd mention it as I'd seen the LAYAR thing mentioned before on these forums.


    Anyway, back on topic...


    Or maybe Jason (or, please please please Suzi!) [...] I can live in hope.....


    I hear ya!

  6. To whom it may concern:


    On the page: http://www.geocaching.com/account/ManageEmailAddresses.aspx


    it requires me to enter my password when changing my email preferences. This password is NOT masked. The input field is currently TYPE='TEXT' <== There's the problem...


    From the page source...

    <input name="ctl00$ContentBody$uxCurrentPassword" type="text" id="ctl00_ContentBody_uxCurrentPassword" class="Text" />

  7. For the Geocaching Maps page, add the following as a bookmark - clicking on it will add 3 different OSM options to the default map/satellite/terrain ones:


    java script:(function(){var%20script=document.createElement('script');script.setAttribute('type','text/javascript');script.setAttribute('src','http://johnmckerrell.com/files/osmify.js?rand='+Math.random());var%20heads=document.getElementsByTagName('head');if(heads[0])heads[0].appendChild(script);})()


    Described at:



    Wow, OK, this is the answer!! I've slightly modified the code and turned it into a userscript for Greasemonkey - now I get the options everytime!! Fantastic! Thanks for that!

  8. As everyone else has said, you need that window seat - a metal tube is not the best place to be sitting when trying to get a GPS fix. I had my USB GPS dongle attached to my netbook during one flight over the Pacific, and managed to track a fair bit of the flight using Google Earth (I'd pre-cached the required tiles...). It did take AGES to get a fix first though (about 10 minutes), but seeing your location in GE was pretty exciting, especially the altitude - now that's cool!!

  9. On the other fin, I would not be interested in any mapping program that requires setting up an account.


    OSM is not a mapping program per-se. If you want, it is exactly like Google Maps - go to the website, type your desired location (granted, the search function is a little retarded) and the slippy map will take you there. No account required whatsoever. It works JUST like Google Maps in that respect. And this is what would be good on gc.com - in addition to GMaps, also have the option to display an OSM slippy map.


    The account which is referred to is only required if one wants to edit the maps.


    As far as implementing the slippy map on a website, there's documentation in the OSM wiki - looks fairly identical to the GMaps API. The main instructions start here http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Export#JavaScript_API and there's a simple example here http://toolserver.org/~kolossos/osm/embedded.html. Add a toggable 'Show using OSM/GMaps' to the Google Maps page of gc.com and you're set!


    Hmmm, wonder if this could be done using a userscript and Greasemonkey - anyone wanna try? :(

  10. OpenStreetMaps doesn't even come close to Google Maps, not to mention that accuracy is questionable since it looks to me similar to Wikipedia, anyone can EDIT it...so you better hope and pray they did a good job


    Just to pick on the italicized part: I massively disagree. Have you used it? There are applications such as Navit which use OSM data for navigation - Navit is sat nav software, and we used it on a 10000km road trip in north western Canada and Alaska over the summer and EVERYTHING that was on the OSM map was there in real life, and in the correct position. Similarly, I drove from the UK to southern France and then back to the UK via Belgium and again, all the things on the map were there in real life, in the correct location. The problem comes when things are missing from the map. Yes, GMaps has more data (though I've found they can be off with their road placements), but OSM does show trails, which is what the OP gave as a primary reason for using it.


    EDIT: Probably also worth mentioning that, whilst OSM may claim that you can edit the map just like you can edit Wikipedia, it's not quite as easy. I guess this is on purpose, to keep the 'have-a-go' trolls away...


    i don't see the option of entering any coordinates, just a location


    You can enter coordinates on the OSM website, but it's not very friendly. The format you need in the search box is $lat,$lon in decimal degrees. Not friendly at all. But, when implementing on a site such as gc.com Groundspeak could implement code to convert whatever to whatever. I haven't looked into the OSM API yet, but I presume it's not much different from the GMaps API, so the search thing shouldn't pose too many problems.

  11. . iPhone users, your battery is not removable, so tough luck on this one.

    As wonder whether I could use your trick and cut an iPhone charging USB cable into a battery pack. I am not sure of the voltage and have no need to try it. But I have seen devices that use batteries for this purpose.


    The way to tell is to look at the output voltage of one of your chargers. If it says 5V, then you are good to go. You may need a volt meter to determin which wire to solder (or otherwise securly connect) to + and which to -.


    The great thing about the AA battery meathod is that it is cheeper than commercialy available units, has way more energy (mAh) than any I have seen (the most I have seen in a comercial unit is 750mAh compaired to 2500mAh in the Lithium rechargable AAs), maybe apple has some better ones, I don't know), and gives you a feeling of accomplishment. And if you bring some extra AAs with you, you have even more energy.


    Absolutely agree with all the advantages of the batteries!! However, Apple are a pain in the arse, and if you have a look on the site I linked in the previous post you'll see that the iPod can't just be charged by applying 5V - it needs some sort of current down the data lines (USB has 4 lines: +, - and two data lines), and I suspect the iPhone does too!! If only everything were simple....

  12. As wonder whether I could use your trick and cut an iPhone charging USB cable into a battery pack. I am not sure of the voltage and have no need to try it. But I have seen devices that use batteries for this purpose.


    I'm sure you can: go to www.instructables.com and have a poke around: I'm sure they've done it!! (Warning: this website will seriously destroy any productivity you might have at work...)

  13. Long story short - I like to make up my own things and have 'made' a sort of cache-management app for my netbook. This thread inspired me to try and create my own field notes from the database, so that when I reported a cache as 'found' or DNF I could create a fieldnote with my comments and just upload that to the GC site. Two things I found out:


    The last comma-separated value in the text file is the comments - in the example above this is enclosed by speech marks ("..."). It IS possible to upload a fieldnote which does not enclose the string with speech marks, but then the comment better not have any commas in it! (Come to think of it, what happens when there's a speech mark in the comment? Perhaps it's gotta be escaped - I'll try it....)


    Secondly, and more importantly - the PHP function to convert the string into that required by the GC site is:


    mb_convert_encoding($string, "UCS-2LE")


    Hopefully this should help those looking for similar functions in other languages! Thanks to the two previous posters for helping me determine that I was looking for "UCS-2LE" as the encoding format!

  14. Having a GPS with an internal compass helps a LOT when geocaching... That'll hurt the netbook approach quite a bit.


    Can you explain this? I've seen others say the same, and I can't for the life of me work out why! Surely the GPSr points you in the right direction with a nice friendly arrow - why would you need a compass to help?




    I just took it to mean that with a GPSr you get a compass pointing you in the correct direction, whilst a netbook may not necessarily (depending on the software installed). However, now I think about it, is the internal compass something separate from the GPS altogether? Then I, too, would like to know why it's better...

  15. Most phones need a 5V charger, so use a 4 AA battery holder (off eBay for about $3). Cut a charging cable (if your phone uses miniUSB, just cut any old miniUSB cable), and connect that to the battery pack. You can use 4 regular AA batteries, but that puts the voltage at (1.5Vx4) 6V. Most phones will not mind this, but some may. I use the new Energizer Lithium Ion batteries. This produces (1.2Vx4) 4.8V, which will work great, and they have 2500mAh (each, but since they are in series, they don't add), likely 2x your phone batteries energy.


    Just to clarify this - I've also succesfully used 4 AA batteries to charge 5V items which would usually be charged from the USB port on a computer. WARNING: Although, as mentioned, some phones may not mind a 6V input, there is the chance you could fry the circuitry - the input is designed at 5V, not 6V. The trick is to use RECHARGEABLE batteries, as these are 1.2V each, instead of 1.5V for regular batteries (this is alluded to above, but not explicitely stated and I don't want people frying their expensive phones!).

    To conclude:

    4 AA non-rechargeable batteries = 1.5V x 4 = 6V = possible burnt useless gadget.

    4 AA rechargeable batteries = 1.2V x 4 = 4.8V = happy gadget AND environmentally friendly (in terms of battery waste, anyway!)

  16. You know that you can turn that off on the SiRFIII chips right? I have a simmilar problem with my HTC Touch (which I use for Geocaching). Unfortunatly, the QualCOMM GPSOne chip that is in my touch can not have the static navigation turned off. It generaly works OK, but when I get frusterated, I pull out my bluetooth dongle.


    Yeah, I found that out after I got back and asked somewhere on these forums - but whilst we were away we didn't have much internet and I didn't really know that it was a feature which could be turned on or off: we were pretty new to GPS in general back then. Now the static navigation is just permanently switched off!

  17. Sounds like fun. Bright sunlight or rain could be delt with using an umbrella. It will look funny, but it just might work.


    tiiiim: could you post pics of yourself using the open netbook to geocache. We all would love a lagh.


    Ha! It's even funnier than that - my GPS dongle is a SiRFIII, which had some sort of automotive mode set to ON by default. As a result, it wouldn't update unless it detected movement at over about 5km/h. This meant that just walking with the netbook provided only sporadic updates, and I'd have to make sporadic lurches forward to increase the instantaneous speed of the GPS dongle!! So, trekking around with an open netbook and making random and sporadic lurches in all directions - I looked like a total idiot: luckily there's not many people in northern BC and NWT!!

  18. I am looking into buying a Netbook and the Dell mini10 with GPS caught my eye. Many reviews say the turn by turn is good but can't find any info on its Geocaching ability. Does anyone have one and tried it? Do you have a GPS enabled Laptop or Netbook you have tried to geocach with? Any first hand accounts would be helpful.


    I do, I do, I do!!


    The first thing I will say though is: don't buy a netbook for the sole purpose of geocaching - your money will be better spent on a GPSr. I'm assuming from your post that this isn't the case - the GPS is just an added bonus!


    Now, I have an Acer One which has no in-built GPS receiver, so I use a USB GPS dongle (or mouse, as everyone calls it). And in the beginning, yes, I looked like a pleb with an open netbook walking forwards and backwards and watching the compass or map update. Also, you cannot use a netbook in the rain. Period.


    (Un)Fortunately, I'm a bit of a geek, so installed Linux onto the netbook. Last summer we went on a roadtrip around NW Canada and Alaska, and found many caches with the use of bog-standard sat-nav software (I was using Navit, which I think you can install on Windows too). All you need to do is enter the cache coordinates as a point of interest (POI) and it'll appear on the map. However, this still involved walking around with the netbook whenever we got close to GZ (initially, we'd determine the bearing we needed and fixed on a location in the distance with a compass, so wouldn't need the netbook to begin with). Most of the caches we found here though were near to the road, or next to paths in the woods. Oh, and it was summer, so the weather was fine.


    Now though, I've created a small script which takes the cache coordinates and determines the distance and bearing to the cache. It then speaks these numbers out through the speakers - well, headphones which I have plugged into my netbook. This way, the netbook can remain in my rucksack, protected from the elements, and the only thing I carry in my hand is a compass to determine the correct bearing. (The script is a bit smarter, in that it will detect when the cache has been found and move onto the next cache in your list [you can load a list of caches into the script] - this way, you won't have to pull the netbook out at all during the trip, if the route has been properly planned beforehand).


    However, that's just my solution, and it's pretty reliant on knowing some stuff about computers and linux in general. My initial idea was to use the turn by turn spoken directions from the sat-nav software to guide me to the cache, but this obviously doesn't work off road. If the laptop is Windows (I guess it is), it's probably possible to re-create what I've done, but I haven't tried yet.


    In conclusion: if you're willing to spend time and effort, or know your way around software and generally like tinkering with computers, caching with a netbook is perfectly possible. If not, then you'll be limited - as mentioned - to the park & grab caches and those with easy access and lack of other people around: you look wierd walking around with an open netbook!!


    Just my two pennies.

  19. One minute equals one nautical mile...

    Is this actual fact, or rule of thumb? Seems a bit hard to believe, since the Earth is a sphere (and a not very good one at that) so longitude lines are closer nearer the poles...

    Fact. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nautical_mile#History


    But it's "approximate" because the Earth is not a perfect sphere. But it's close enough.


    Ah, that's cool, though only applies to latitude. Every day's a school day!

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