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Everything posted by GClouse

  1. As I noted earlier, I've been using Linux for a long time. I have generally used a Magellan GPS Companion with a Tungsten T or an M 125 running CetusGPS software. On the PC side, I use GPSBabel (thanks for your hard work to provide an excellent format translator, Robert) along with a perl script running on an AMD64 system under Debian Squeeze. I have 7 PQ's defined for the that slightly overlap. After I work a certain area, I only need run the PQ for that area. When I receive the zipped gpx files, I save them in a certain directory. Then I run a perl script. The script extracts the gpx files from the zip files into a temp directory. Next, using GPSBabel, it combines all the gpx files into one gpx file while removing duplicates. It then uses GPSBabel to create an html file for loading on my laptop, a kml file for google earth, a pdb file for the Cetus Palm App, and a custom csv file. The csv file is for an experimental feature I'm toying with. I've been playing with the idea of identifying close groupings of caches so I drive to a centralised parking location and hunt 3 or more on foot. Ultimately, I will create a csv file that will work on a Becker Traffic assist 7934. (It uses a simple csv file for waypoints named favorites.txt) that I will use to direct me to the neighborhood for a group of caches. And the scripts calls another script that generates a vcard file for use on a Garmin iQue 3600. The same script works with the Windows computer at work with the windows binary versions of gpsbabel and perl 5. I recently bought a used Triton 2000 from a pawn shop, and it seems to be Windows centric like every other connectable device. However, someone will work out how to use it from Linux. ( even if I have to do it) Someone commented on the cli nature of many Linux utilities. Many fail to understand a basic problem with GUIs. In order to get eas of use, they become limited in the scope of their abilities. the power of gpsbabel is that it can called from a simple script or batch file, since most peolpe are not likely to need to change the format parameters every time they use it.
  2. I got some sample sheets of Tyvek, thinking it would work for log sheets. then I found that most pens would not write on it.
  3. I recall something about a cache in Europe, (Germany I think) that was in an old WWII bunker. The largest one I've found was in a WWII ambulance.
  4. I've met 3 other caches at two locations since I started. The first time I was with my son and we got to the coordinates in a large parking lot, only to notice a guy parked nearby who appeared to be talking on a cell phone. Then I noticed the "Phone" was actually a gps. I called out to the guy, "I think we're looking for the same thing!" and after introductions, a little collaboration located the cache. The second time I wasn't actually caching, but had gone to an area where some businesses occasionally illegally dumped old computer gear, to see if I could salvage any parts. There were a couple of cachers looking for an offset cache that I had not attempted while intorducing myself I spotted the container .
  5. The standard way is by using the explore device function from activesync. If the X30 doesn't have the cd with it, you can download activesync from Microsoft. It is basically a drag and drop operation on the pc. You would usually just install cachemate on the pocket pc and use gsak on the desktop. Plucker is a programs that compiles html pages into a palmdoc database, and would not help for the X30, however, the X30 has pocket internet exlorer and you can use GPSBabel to convert a gpx file to html and access that on the X30 easily. You will need to use the search function instead of the internal document links if you have more than 30 caches in the html file. AS for maps, some of the high end X30s have navigation software in the rom and use sd based maps. these units are not common and wre intended for use with a bluetooth GPSr. I am not familiar with cachemate, but most caching wares have a setting that auto-selects the nearest cache
  6. For the PDA, find one with a monochrome screen or transflective color screen. These are very viewable in direct sunlight. I have a Palm Tungsten T and an M125. The T has a transflective color display, and uses a non removable rechargable battery. The M125 is monochrome and runs on 2 AAA cells. Both of these allow you to turn the backlight off as it is not needed when you are in a well lit area. Both have an sd card slot and the palm "universal" sync connector. I use these with a Magellan GPS Companion GPSr that connect through the sync connector and clips to the back of the pda. I primarily us the T but when the battery gets low I can use the 125 as a backup. on the palm pda I use Cetus GPS ( http://www.cetusgps.dk/ ) for geocaching, and on the PC I use GPSBabel to create pdb. html, and kml files from the gpx fiiles. The kml files are used with google earth for planning my caching "expeditions". I copy the html files to my laptop, and the pdb file is sent to the palm CetusGPS includes some list management functions. It allows you to switch between multiple lists of cache entries and copy or move entries between lists. I start with empty lists for found, notfound, and maintneeded in addtions to a list called all that has my list of caches I havent looked for yet. after i search for one, i move the entry from "All" to the approiate list. I recently got a garmin iQue 3600, but found that CetusGPS doesn't work well with it.
  7. I've been a debian user for several years.
  8. search for waypt2ique. This is a vbscript that converts gpx and loc files to a vcard file which can be imported into the palm desktop program and sync'd with the iQue. If you are not using Windows, I have a perl script which currently is usable but needs some improvement. Of course the perl script need the perl intrepreter installed. The script also requires the XML::DOM and XML::DOM::Xpath modules to be installed on the computer. I have used several of the more useful gpx files to various addressbook fields. currently the script sometimes chokes on the long description. These are listed in the comments at the end of the script. Also you may want to create a "Caches" category on the iQue addressbook database to keep the caches seperated from other contacts. This script is as-is with no warranty or garantee. use at you own risk. ---script starts on next line--------- #!perl use XML::DOM; use XML::DOM::XPath; # $fname="work/All"; if($fname){$x=1;}{ print "\n Input from: "; $fname=<>;chomp $fname;}; # constant for converting decimal degrees to Garmin circular cordinates $GarminConst=11930464.7111; sub GarminCvt{ #convert Decimal degrees to Garmin hex format my ($val) = @_; #usage: $hxString = GarminCvt($decimalDegrees) $Gd = $val*$GarminConst; #convert to circular co-ord $Gtmp = pack('i',$Gd); # convert to signed integer $Gb = unpack('h*',$Gtmp); # convert to hex $Gh = uc(reverse($Gb)); # this is needed because the unpack reverses the byte order return $Gh;}; open("vcf",">" . $fname . ".vcf"); my $parser= new XML::DOM::Parser; my $gpx = $parser->parsefile ( $fname . ".gpx" ); my $waypointslist = $gpx->getElementsByTagName("wpt"); for($place=0;$place<$waypointslist->getLength;$place++){ $name=""; $description=""; $type=""; $sym=""; $difficulty=""; $terrain=""; $container=""; $long_description=""; $url=""; $lat=""; $lon=""; $encoded_hints=""; $name = $waypointslist->item($place)->findvalue('name'); $description = $waypointslist->item($place)->findvalue('desc'); $type = $waypointslist->item($place)->findvalue('type'); $sym = $waypointslist->item($place)->findvalue('sym'); $simicon="B0012"; if($sym eq "Geocache"){$simicon="B203F";}; if($sym eq "Parking Area"){$simicon="B009E";}; if($sym eq "Reference Point"){$simicon="B009D";}; if($sym eq "Trailhead"){$simicon="B00AF";}; $difficulty = $waypointslist->item($place)->findvalue('Groundspeak:cache/Groundspeak:difficulty'); $terrain = $waypointslist->item($place)->findvalue('Groundspeak:cache/Groundspeak:terrain'); $container = $waypointslist->item($place)->findvalue('Groundspeak:cache/Groundspeak:container'); $encoded_hints = $waypointslist->item($place)->findvalue('Groundspeak:cache/Groundspeak:encoded_hints'); # $long_description = $waypointslist->item($place)->findvalue('Groundspeak:cache/Groundspeak:long_description'); $url = $waypointslist->item($place)->findvalue('Groundspeak:cache/Groundspeak:url'); $lat = $waypointslist->item($place)->findvalue('@lat'); $lath = GarminCvt($lat); $lon = $waypointslist->item($place)->findvalue('@lon'); $lonh = GarminCvt($lon); print vcf "BEGIN:VCARD\n"; print vcf "VERSION:2.1\n"; print vcf "N:" . $name .";" . $description . "\n"; print vcf "ORG:" . $type ."\n"; print vcf "ADR:;;" . $difficulty . ";" . $terrain . ";" . $container . ";;\n"; print vcf "NOTE;ENCODING=QUOTED-PRINTABLE:" . $long_description ."\n"; print vcf "URL;WORK:" . $url . "\n"; #print vcf "X-Palm-Custom1:" . $encoded_hints ."\n"; print vcf "X-Palm-Custom4:GARMIN " . $lath . " " . $lonh . " " . $simicon . "\n"; print vcf "END:VCARD\n"; }; close("vcf"); $waypointslist->dispose; #The point of this script is to take a GPX file as input, and produce a VCARD file (VCF) that can import into the palm contact manager on the iQue 3600. This involves mapping GPX fields to VCARD fields. #gpx to vcard fields: #name ->N:name #description->FN:description #type->ORG #difficulty;terrain;container->Address #long_description->NOTE #url->URL;WORK #encoded_hints->X-Palm-Custom1 #Coordinates and icon->X-Palm-Custom4
  9. IF you use the built-in iQue apps, the waypoints are saved in the contacts database. They use a funky hexidecimal format for the co-ords. There is a vbscript program called waypt2ique that can translate GPX files into vcard entries which can be be loaded to the iQue via the palm desktop program. I have worked up a perl script that does this as well, but it is still a bit buggy at this time.
  10. I been paperless for a while using a Palm Tungsten T with a Magellan GPS Companion and CetusGPS on the Palm. About a year ago, I got a PPC based navigation GPS (Becker 7934) to aid with getting to the general area. I have a Palm M125 as a backup to the tungsten if the batter runs down. ON the desktop, I use GPSbabel and a batch file to create the files used by CetusGPS and the Becker. I also generate a kml (google earth) file and html file.
  11. When you take your GPS to your doctors appointment for a torn ACL, because there is a 1/1 cache near the clinic you haven't logged yet.
  12. Out of curiosity, I checked and there is a cache in Timbuktu, a small african village that was once considered the most inaccessible inhabited place on the planet. In Nashville there is one cache (GC160TN) that requires you to travel under a massive concrete wharf by boat to access it.
  13. Iv'e been using palm piolts for paper less for a while now and themain thing to look for is a screen that is dailight readable. The palm pda's seem to be more usable than PPC's for several reasons. First, used ones are plentiful. second, the Palm OS there is a lot of software available for free. The most important things too look for in a pda for paper less caching is a daylight readable screen. these will be either a monochrome screen or a transflective color screen. An added bonus is that with daylight readable displays, you can save battery life by turning off the backlight when not needed. I use a Tungsten T (transflective color display) with a Palm M125(monochrome) as a backup. The gps I use is a Magellan GPS Companion which clips onto the palm unit and is operated through the palm pilot. This gps was actually designed for use with an M500, but has been modified (part of the plastic ground down) to allow the M125 to fit on it. I use CetusGPS on the Palm. it works quite well at reading the data coming from the gps, and is also very good at managing the cache listings. It has an option that automatically points to the nearest cache, and I use the list management by simply moving a listing entry to a different list when I find or dont find the cache. To translate the gpx files to the palm format used by CetusGPS, I use GPSBabel, which is an open source program. GPSBabel runs on Dos, Windows or linux. I have a batch file setup so I don't have to type in the long commands. I also carry an ad card so I can easily backup the caches lists on the pdas.
  14. I gave up on the old 1991 Ford Wagon and got a 2001 Pontiac Aztek. Hauls a bunch-o-stuff, gets decent gas milage ( mine averages around 22 mpg) and it is really easy to find in a parking lot. I think it looks the evil offspring from a tryst between a General Dynamics HMV and a Honda CRX.
  15. A lot of Grocery stores and Drug stores have a "Dollar Days" or "Dollar Zone" section. I've found lots of keyring gizmos including keyring flashlights, and mini calculators there really cheap. Also, many thrift stores have a section of "Grab Bags" where they stick a bunch of small items in a plastic bag and price the whole bag instead of pricing each individual item. These tend to have a good variety, and are roughly categorized.
  16. I have noticed that on occasion you can turn the GPSr off and back on to get a new fix on your location. There is something else to consider however, and that is the resolution of the GPSr you are using and the one used when the cache was hidden. Some older GPSrs can were only accurate to within 60 feet. Newer ones tend to be more accurate. 30 feet is actually pretty good. The trick is to stop when you are at the Co-ords, thane look around for good hiding places, and anything that doesn't look right, such as UPS (Unnatural piles of sticks/stones) after a while you will develop a knack for this.
  17. Instruction for syncing a Pocket PC with Linux can be found at http://www.linux.com/articles/114065 Gpsbabel has a GUI front end that is available as "gpsbabelgui" on linux and bsd.
  18. I have a standalone electronic compass, and it has always been fairly accurate. It does have to be calibrated when moved over 100 miles with it powered off. calibration involves setting the calibration mode, holding it level and pressing a button, then turning it 180 degrees, holding it level again and pushing the button again. My car also has a built-in electronic compass, but it only displays N W S E and not degrees. The calibration for the car is silly-looking, because you have to put it into calibration mode and drive the car in a circle until the thing chimes at you. This takes from 3 to a dozen circles.
  19. I have an old Treo 90 and a Treo 300 that I don't use anymore. While the keyboards on these are not really great, it beats the onscreen keyboard and the Grafitti character recognition for speed. I currently use a tungsten T for geocaching and a palm T|X as a general organizer. I have a Palmone universal IR keyboard that will work with either if I need to enter data in the field.
  20. 1. GPS Magellan GPS Companion for Palm M500 (slightly modded to work with an M125. 2. Paperless device and software Palm M550 (a.k.a. Tungensten T) Palm M125 as backup unit Cetus GPS software for the Palm device. Inner backup for backing up the palm devices to an sd card. 3. Software for downloading way points. GPSBabel for converting between GPX and Palm file formats Palm Hotsync for transferring the files. 4. Maps I currently don't use any maps. Usage notes: Cetus GPS allows me to maintain and switch between several independent lists of waypoints. I use 4 of these lists, "All" for all the caches I haven't looked for yet, "Found" for the ones I have found, "DNF" for those I tried and couldn't find, and "Maint" for the ones that I find damaged and need maintainence. Cetus GPS allow the waypoints to be sorted alphabetically or by proximity (which I prefer) and when I seek a cache and find it, I simple move the cache listing from "All" to "found". I use "Dnf" and "maint" the same way. ON the PC, I sync the palm, then run a bat file the uses GPSBabel to convert the "dnf", "found" and "maint" lists to html for a handy reference when I am on the geocaching web site to log the caches. After logging the caches, I can then run a new Pocket query, save the zip file attachment to a certain directory, run the bat file again to freshen the files and tag them to resync with the palm.
  21. I forgot to mention on my previoous post: The Tungsten T (not the T|X but an older model) is one of the palm pdas with a transflective color display that is veiwable in direct sunlight. the M125 has a monochrome display. both feature the an sd card slot and have the "universal" sync connector. The Tungsten T has a non removable rechargable battery, and the M125 uses 2 alkaline AAA batteries. The Magellan GPSr attaches to the back of the pda and is powered by 2 alkaline AAA batteries
  22. I,ve been paperless for a while now. I use a Magellan clipon gps "sled" for a palm pilot with an old tungsten T and have an M125 as a backup. for software I use Cetus GPS http://www.cetusgps.dk on the pda, and GPSBabel http://www.gpsbabel.org on the PC to convert the gpx files from pocket queries to the Cetus specific pdb files for the pda. I also carry an Sd chip that can be used to backup the palm pilot, with freeware backup progrom on the chip. When the battery gets low on the Tungsten, I backup to the card, pop the card into the M125, and do a restore to "clone the programs and files to the M125. Cetus GPS allow you to work with multiple waypoint databases. I usually have four. All,pdb has the gaches I haven't looked for. found.pdb has the ones I have found but not logged on the website dnf.pdb has the did not find caches that I haven't logged and Offsets.pdb has the calculated coordinates for offsets caches and puzzle caches. I have a batch file on the PC that I run after I save the gpx email attachment. This batch file unzips the pq file and then uses GPSBabel to create All.pdb, All.html, and All.kml. the kml file is used with google earth to identify cluster of caches that I might want to work. the html file lets me preview the cache listings on the pc and the pdb file is sent to the palmpilot. When I'm in the field and am searching fo a cache. I can view the description and other info on the palm. With the GOPSr attached, I can also get all the usual gps info except for maps (Cetus doesn't do maps) When I find a cache, I then simply move the entry from the All dataabse to the found database. Similarly, when I give up on a cache, I move the entry to the dnf database. Cetus GPS is coprighted Freeware. GPSBalel is open sources and works on windows Linux and Mac OSX
  23. I have bought items for swag from the dollar store, yard sales and thrift stores. Also I occasionally trade items laying oround the house that I no longer use, but are in working order. Right now I have several frs radios bought at thrift stores for 2 dollars each, waiting for the right caches. I have seen a little garbage, and swag that simply shouldn't be in a cache, but not very often.
  24. I am preparing an hiking staff using a wooden flagpole. I need to add a set of reticulations to it so it can be used as a range finder. I think the range finder function will be useful for caching. it is used like this: hold the staff horizontally with both hands at arms length. Close your left eye and line up the right side mark with a target object. While holding the stick steady, open the left eye and close the right. The target will line up with a mark to the left of the original, indicating the approximate distance to the target object. Various uses for a hiking staff include pushing aside thorny vines. providing extra stability pm slippery and uneven surfaces, checkin the depth of small streams and of course, as a walking stick.
  25. Wosrt I ever did was a slip on some wet leaves that buised my hip enough to make walking painful for a few days. Also had my share of wasp and yellowjacket stings, minor cuts and abrasions.
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