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Everything posted by LostCoastNinja

  1. I agree with most of the previous posts: The newer smartphones generally are pretty accurate. I can't comment on Blackberry units, however because I've never owned one. I can, however, recommend the 3rd and 4th-gen Motorola and Samsung Galaxy-series phones as having more-than-just-decent GPS receivers and the added accuracy and speed of AGPS capabilities. cache.4u, I would switch your blackberry out for another phone- Not necessarily a "better one, but one with a history of being a reliable GPS receiver. Or, get the bluetooth dongle. A cheap GPS unit is just that: a cheap GPS. You probably won't realize any noticeable difference in accuracy with a low-end handheld, and it'll come with some serious downsides; Some of the devices I've checked out recently for purchase are truly dinosaurs when compared to our shiny new handheld-laptops; They're orders-of-magnitude cheaper than the new Android-based units, and also using technology that's orders-of-magnitude older. Speaking of AGPS, I heard the Iphone 4 has something else in addition to A/GPS that makes it superior to other phones for our hobby...anyone know about this? I forget where I read about it-probably here in the forums. LostCoastNinja
  2. The 'beginner caches' is a great idea - I suspect that you also include some consideration regarding the number of 'finds' against DNF's (information that I can't trust in an off-line database.) My definition of a 'quick cache' is up for debate. Perhaps I should have phrased it in reverse and tried to define a 'veteran cache.' I have put some thought into a better definition but we're limited by the information available. What I find particularly difficult is to include into the 'veteran caches' all caches that have a terrain less than 2 when the difficulty is 3 or greater and visa-versa. Which brings me to me response to both your observations... To find 'quick caches,' I think you should add a check-box that says "Quick Find" so that you can override possibilities of an overrated/underrated cache, and of caches that simply take more time than their D/T ratings and size ratings imply. ...Or maybe add a multi-tier cache review option? Something like the 5 star Difficulty/Terrain rating system, only for seekers to use after finding a cache. Just a thought.
  3. Google Maps is somewhat dispensable. Standalone road data is generally very good, even (and sometimes even more so) with free maps for your GPS. Topo and trail data is vastly superior that anything Google has to offer. Aerial views -- there's Birdseye for recent Garmin units, which costs peanuts (about half a month smartphone data plan for a whole year) and generally provides quite good imagery. Competitors have similar services. Google does have a bit of an advantage there (which of course can make a world of difference depending on your location and your usage mode), but I'm quite happy with what I get through Birdseye, it's good enough that I hardly ever want to look at my phone to get a better aerial view. POIs are the feature I use the least and I'd say they're generally better and more current on Google. Standalone maps have a habit of sending you out in the middle of nowhere when you're looking for something in particular. Oh, and then there's traffic data. Now that is really useful in those traffic-congested areas. Wait a minute, you mean GPSr's don't all come with aerial map views standard? Just kidding. I'm actually about to pick up a GPSr just for kicks, all jokes aside; Plus, when the world ends and I can't afford to pay my $130/mo cell phone bill I'll still be able to geocache (potentially...lol).
  4. Especially when you consider that the person who hid a geocache was also using a consumer-grade GPSr, so who knows how accurate their coordinates are? As it happens, I've been extremely pleased with the accuracy of my new eTrex 20, and indeed I've walked right up to a number of caches. But I don't expect that, and wouldn't even if I had the most super-duper-accurate GPSr available. I realize that many of us here also use our GPS receivers for tasks other than geoaching where accuracy may be more important, and I'm not even trying to downplay the helpfuless of accuracy even for geocaching, but I agree with Yogazoo's more relaxed attitude about the subject. Patty Really? I'm using a Droid 2 Global smartphone, and generally I do expect to be taken right up to the cache; I think the farthest away I've been led was maybe 15 feet, and if I would've been more patient under the trees, it would've probably updated and gotten me closer. On the other hand, it's definitely true that technology is 50% or less of what makes up geocaching; the remaining 50+ percent is your own skill and intuition. I've gotten into the habit lately of not using a. The Hint, b. The Description, or c. The Logs, or a combination of the 3. The next step up in difficulty might be to leave the GPS (phone) in the car before going out to search, and using old-school methods of finding the GZ. LostCoastNinja
  5. Well, I gotta say it's an interesting thought. Up until today the speedo sensor on my bike was broken (melted, actually and I had to "guess" how fast I was going...not an easy thing to do on two wheels. I would worry more about driving a used car without a temp gauge- not to mention driving around without a FUEL gauge- I've been there, and boy did I feel stupid when the car ran out of gas on the way to fill up. Order the parts and do it yourself, save some money...cars are made to be simple enough to repair that virtually anyone can learn how to do so. Unless we have some sort of economic miracle, a lot of people are going to start learning new "skills", especially with things like vehicle maintenance, home repairs, etc. Good luck LostCoastNinja
  6. This was my solution to running out of batt in the field: http://www.google.com/products/catalog?hl=en&q=cell+phone+battery+pack&cid=1580475924748116503&ei=I1bYTqruE4S4NOO9jJgB&ved=0CBAQrRI The Occupy procasters (protester-broadcasters) all use these things, which is how I found out about them. It's about 2" by 4" and connects to your phone via usb. I use it when I go caching (or riding in general) on the Ninja. Even with heavy use, I have yet to test it's limits. If price is no object they make some really fancy ones, too, with features like waterproofing, solar panels, and multiple charging ports. Here's a bigger one that fits in a backpack: http://www.google.com/products/catalog?q=xpal+18000&hl=en&um=1&ie=UTF-8&tbm=shop&cid=11215702610195017675&sa=X&ei=PVvYTu3MMeHq2AWowpHzAw&ved=0CGwQxBUwAA
  7. Wow, this topic got some replies since I last checked it. Glad to hear I'm not the only one on the phone while I cache! I just got back from caching under dense redwood cover today, and the Droid did its job quite well. As far as reliability is concerned, one of the constants I've been hearing from the dedicated GPS crowd is the durability and reliability are much better than a smart phone. I definitely feel like I need to be careful when I'm using the phone to cache with; On the other hand, reliability of the android OS and particularly c:geo are both top notch: and if either the Os or the program crashes, it's usually a quick reset and back to caching...unless you're very unlucky. I can't comment on the reliability of the dedicated systems' UI's and OS's(?), as I haven't owned one in years. But it is definitely more of a pain to cache on the fly with them if you don't have WiFi access to download GPX files, maps, etc. I remember having to do similar things with my Magellan car nav back in the day. Premium membership is a must... at $3 a month or less it's very much worth it: For me, it doubled the number of available caches around my home location. LostCoastNinja
  8. I take some liberties with mine seeing as it's already on its last legs...I broke the screen months ago, and soon enough I'll need to replace the phone. I have no problem using it in the rain carefully, and it takes the abuse in stride...
  9. Found it, dfx: http://www.ratisher.com/geocache_hiding.htm Section 3: Hide Quality
  10. This is known as averaging, another common feature in all kinds of GPS devices. It will only work with static navigation disabled, which all handhelds have. Too bad, I was really curious about that one. Especially since GPS receivers are just that, receivers... they don't transmit anything. And btw, the ability to find caches proves nothing. There's lots of people out there who find caches without the aid of GPS at all. Oh man, you beat me to it lol...I was just going to add that if I couldn't find it using my phone, i'll dig out one of my old compasses and print out a map. Cheers to the old-school ways. ...I'm definitely iconoclastic: Sure, tech is great, but the older techniques are just as fabulous in their own way: I've been orienteering since I was about 11...back then, there were no "smart phones" to speak of. At the same time, I geocache with a Droid, and I'm an Ableton Live geek who DJ's without decks...and yes, I actually mix, I don't autosync. LostCoastNinja
  11. Well I see there seems to be two sides to this one. I'll keep finding caches, and the day that I can't find one with my phone, I'll post it here. Sorry, but I can't find that webpage in my history that I was looking for, pertaining to that "auto-updating signal feature" (I forget what it's actually called), but I can assure you that there are devices that require you to take coordinates, then reset and take them again many times; Other devices like my phone, for instance, are able to sit in one location and continuously update the precise location: the longer you sit in one spot, the more accurate the reading gets. I'm not going to address you all on what "pinging" is...but the use of the word fits the definition and this is what the "feature" was said to do. Thank you all! LostCoastNinja -I thought I should mention that I live in some very rugged terrain- some of the caches i've found have been under dense tree cover, in the mountains (Pacific Northwest, Redwood Country...) edit 2: Looks like there's some caches fairly close that appear to be outside of cell-service areas...let's see what happens when I try one of these- it isn't a long drive, given that I already live 10 miles from nowhere...
  12. Maybe you're thinking of the feature commonly known as "static navigation"? All modern handheld receivers have that turned off, as do most smartphones, which is what you want. Bluetooth/USB GPS dongles may need reconfiguration to get it turned off. Yeah that's why they acquire the signal so far. The better handhelds use prediction algorithms to yield similar results. But it doesn't help with accuracy. Not at all. "Accurate, surveyed coordinates for the cell site towers allow better knowledge of local ionospheric conditions and other conditions affecting the GPS signal than the GPS receiver alone, enabling more precise calculation of position" Are you sure? No, its not static navigation. I'm gonna find you the tutorial I read.
  13. does it "pong" too? now go find 67 caches in the woods with heavy tree cover and come back and report your experience "In very poor signal conditions, for example in a city, these signals may suffer multipath propagation where signals bounce off buildings, or be weakened by passing through atmospheric conditions, walls or tree cover. When first turned on in these conditions, some standalone GPS navigation devices may not be able to work out a position due to the fragmentary signal, rendering them unable to function until a clear signal can be received continuously for up to 12.5 minutes (the time needed to download the GPS almanac and ephemeris).[2] An Assisted GPS system can address these problems by using data available from a network. For billing purposes, network providers often count this as a data access, which can cost money depending on the plan.[3]" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assisted_GPS LostCoastNinja Yes, I do have Pong on my phone. LOL.
  14. Yeah, better accuracy. Self-updating? Pinging? What are you even talking about? The only situations this applies to are when you're out to place a cache. I read about it somewhere in a private tutorial on hiding caches... from a link in the forums. Some gps receivers are set up so that they continuously and autonomously recalculate your location based on the movement of the satellites and the earth, not yourself- My phone does this. Many GPS devices do not do this. More interesting, now that I look into it, is this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assisted_GPS That's why the phones are so accurate, and acquire their signal so fast... Worthy to note that you PAY DEARLY for this service: my monthly bill is about $130 LostCoastNinja
  15. In reply to Team Pixos: You can if you're creative Try using your preferred geocaching app to create a "new waypoint" that, in reality, is actually the location for your new cache. I use c:geo, and to accomplish this I have to go to a stored, offline cache and select "new waypoint". It's not a perfect system, but it works, and the coordinates you get are accurate (not to mention that it's much quicker when you have auto-updating sat signal; I also wonder if the added wifi/celltower-based locators have anything to do with the accuracy...?). To complete the process you can go to your web browser and create the cache on geocaching.com- use those coordinates you saved earlier. You can also use your phone to take pics of the spot to upload if you want, and make the requisite phone calls to land managers after checking your local planning departments' GIS (also available on your phone, btw Unless it rains constantly like it does where I live, smartphones are the geocachers' best friend, as far as I can tell. LostCoastNinja
  16. I own a Droid 2 Global, and in the past few weeks it's helped me on 67 successful finds. I occasionally experience some hiccups with it, but it has a self-updating signal (it "pings" and updates your location/cache location) and seems to get much closer than the 10 to 20 foot margin of error I've heard so much about. It's super-accurate, even in the woods... Two drawbacks: it sucks in the blazing sunlight, and it sucks in the pouring rain. Besides these two factors and the obvious need to be "gentle" with it (and its glass touchscreen), are there any benefits to a dedicated GPS? I recently logged over 23 caches in half a day with the Droid; I believe I had but 2 DNF's that day. LostCoastNinja
  17. Yeah, just after I posted here I saw the dates. sorry for the bad form, I wouldn't normally resurrect something like this: but I would've started a new, similar thread, all the same Well, as far as my cache goes, it never was located in an NWR; the whole issue is the Google Maps image of the area, in which they list the parcel as "Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge", when in fact the NWR is 2 miles down the road, winding around the bay to the west and encompassing much of the South Spit. I was going to hold off until it was requested but here is the NWR land status map for humboldt: http://www.fws.gov/humboldtbay/maps/landstatus.jpg In any case, if my cache happens to be a small part of a movement toward more full-disclosure caches and creating a dialogue between Cachers and the agencies that oversee the land they use, then AWESOME. That's what it's all about...solidarity through transparency If you go to the FWS home page (MAIN homepage, not local) and search, you can see how many staff-placed caching programs exist; it's caching on (lololol) ...and Humboldt has its own staff -placed caches, too-listed right on their personal fws homepage.
  18. Just a quick note: The cache has been reviewed and published as of 11:30AM today Another quick note: it's my one week anniversary of geocaching AND quitting tobacco, and to celebrate, I did a dawn-to dusk hunt today finding a total of 23 caches The hardest thing to work around were all of the muggles , security and cops out this time of year...no matter where I went, there was always potential for mugglers and fun-police to rain on my parade (not that it wasn't already wet enough... The icing on the cake was getting home and seeing my fist cache published after all the hard work.
  19. It's under the supervision of the county. The sad fact of the matter, though, is that after a day of map-reading, phone calls, and pleasant conversations with the NatFWS and HumCoCDSD, it appears this land has been tossed to the wayside due to a combination of a lack of budget for development as a park (which is one of the only possible interpretations of its "Public use" designation, due to a moratorium on new coastal construction and the fact that this parcel lies within a 100-year flood plane) And a lack of staff to look over the vast land resources the county maintains. Reactions from both agencies to my Cache placement ranged from "slightly amused" to "completely uninterested"(to the point where they wondered why I even bothered to call about placing it there...lol). If it weren't for google maps getting the park boundaris so completely incorrect, this cache probably would've never required so much legwork of my own to get off the ground; but I think it was a good thing for me to experience right off the bat, because it could only get easier next time. The reviewers were supplied an ample amount of information; Mostly focused on maps showing (accurately) the boundaries of federally-controlled or owned lands near the cache (which there really isn't any land that close to it). It is conclusive enough that I expressed an interest in moving forward with my cache in its original placement. Unfortunately, the map in question that exonerates my cache also implicates a few others on the other side of the bay; I haven't made a link to the map public along with expressing this concern, but for total accuracy, reviewers local to me should check out cache placements across the bay against the NWR Land Status maps for Humboldt county division. They are available at fws.gov under the humboldt divisions website, and you can double check at the HCCDSD humboldtGIS (the most accurate, up-to-date parcel readings available).
  20. I recently began the process of placing my first cache; Much to my dismay, the land I wanted to put it on was labelled in Google Maps as a NWR . However, after a few phone calls and looking through the official maps from the local FWS website, it appears that they never took over ownership of the parcel, and that in fact, the parcel doesn't show up on the "official FWS survey as dedicated NWR land; The local director told me that he couldn't tell me not to place a cache as they don't manage that particular piece of public land. Still waiting for the review process to be completed, but just goes to show that a little effort sometimes works in our favor...I had thought this cache to be dead in the water as soon as I found out the deal with NWR land. Now, I'm hopeful that GC's reviewers will take note of my due diligence and publish... Anyone else think it's hypocritical to allow: A. hunting, which leaves behind plastic shotgun cartridges, shell casings, and lead pellets and bullets, and B. fishing, which also involves using lead and toxic chemicals such as lubricants, not to mention all of the plastic fishing line and lost lures/ floaters/ etc... ...All the while telling geocachers that they face fines and imprisonment for, in so many words, doing a bunch of high-tech orienteering? ALL on a wildlife REFUGE...hmmm...doesn't sound like much of a refuge to me, lol...
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