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New To Geocaching


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Hi all. I heard about geocaching a while back but kinda blew it off. Recently I heard about it again as well as letterboxing. This time my curiosity was peeked. I have done online seaches, collected info, have GPS (Garmin etrex), pda (Handspring Visor). I have found several caches in my area...already printed the info for the Hunt. What else do I need? I know a pen/pencil is needed for signing logs. I would also like to log my adventures but am not sure how to do that. I also keep reading about software for pda....what would work with my Handspring Visor? I would greatly appreciate an ideas, help, advice. I am excited to get started....already got info on one.....a vitrual cache, but need to follow up on it...then I will have my first find under my belt.



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I'd start small if I were you. Print a few cache pages up for the easier rated difficulty caches in your area from the www.geocaching.com website. Learn how to hand-enter the coords into your GPSr. Be aware that the cache may not be exactly at ground zero, as accuracies of 10-30 feet are to be expected. You might want to start with virtuals and larger containers, as micro caches can be tougher for the beginner.


Connecting your GPS to your computer to upload caches and adding cache information to your Palm Pilot to go 'paperless' is a great thing, but in my opinion you may want to wait a bit until you get out and get a chance to go hunting.

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Since you have a caching account, once you have found a cache all you need to do is log on to Groundspeak, click on hide and seek a cache then where it says by waypoint put in the waypoint number gc-----. It will take you to a page where you can log your adventures. It will also keep track of all the caches you actually find.



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Do you know what software/programs will work with my Handspring Visor for paperless recording? I have already found a Virtual cache...just have to get it finalized then logged. I do plan to start small....better to have small success and work up than to have big failure and not enjoy.




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As I recall, Handspring Visors are running the Palm OS. I have used Cachemate (a shareware utility which costs $8 to register) on my Palm for cache page management, and GSAK [Geocaching Swiss Army Knife, another shareware product, $20 to register) to manage my database of caches. The combination of the two works extremely well and the one-time registration fees were money well spent.

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Cachemate is a real MUST for what you are trying to do. I, too, use a Handspring, and usually have between 500 and 1,000 cache pages in it to match whatever I have loaded into my 60cs. I personally load Cachemate (and the 60cs) from GSAK (a fantastic program), but there are other methods, too.

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Welcome to geocaching! I'm another devotee of the GSAK and Cachemate combination.


GSAK (Geocaching Swiss Army Knife) not only allows you to download cache information from your PC to your PDA, but also allows you to create a database of found and unfound caches, and to write notes to yourself in addition the logs you make on line (if that's what you were getting at), plus much more. See the GSAK website for more information.


As others have mentioned, Cachemate is a great program to use on your PDA and should work on any PDA that runs the Palm OS. See the Cachemate (Smittyware) website for more information.


Important: In order to take full advantage of these programs (especially Cachemate), you'll need to become a Premium member of geocaching.com ($3 per month or $30 per year) so that you can receive GPX files as Pocket Queries.


The "loc" files that are available to regular (free) members don't contain much information (just the waypoint, name and coordinates, if I remember correctly). The GPX files available to Premium Members include all that plus the full description, cache and container type, hints and recent logs, which is what makes Cachemate so useful (all that easily can be put on your PDA using GSAK and Cachemate).


Premium Members are also allowed to generate custom "Pocket Queries" that are emailed to you a regular basis. More information about Premium Membership can be found here.


Total initial investment will be $30 annual Premium Membership plus one time $20 GSAK registration plus one time $8 Cachemate registration, or $58, which is why some folks recommend that you go slow. On the other hand, if you're sure you're going to keep geocaching, then my advice is to go for it and save yourself a lot of hassles!! :unsure:

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