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I Have A Gps......now What?


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Ok.....I bought a Used Magellan Meridian Platinum and added 128mb SD card and Topo Map. Now I don't understand what I'm supposed to do. I did a search here for my zipcode and found a bunch of cache posts. When I click on one of them it tells a little about the cache along with an LOC waypoint file. I downloaded the file but I don't know what I'm supposed to do with it because my PC does not recognize that file type.

Then down below that file there is a litle picture of a map with a waypoint file named GCQHJA.......I'm not sure what that is or how I'm supposed to use it?


Where do I get the latitude and longitude for the cache to load into my GPS?


Any help with step by step instructions would be great :huh:



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Check out http://www.geocaching.com/about/finding.aspx first for a basic guide. To tell the truth, I just print out the coords and take the paper with me. I've never bothered to learn how to enter the coords in my gps yet. Also, if you click on the map it will bring up a mapquest map and you can zoom in to get a little better idea of where you're going to go. The FAQ section also has some great advice to get started. Good luck! :huh:


btw: the GCQHJA is like a serial number of each cache. kind of like a big dewie decimal system to keep them all sorted out.

Edited by fox-and-the-hound
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I'm new to this as well (Logged my first find on January 29, 2006). But everything I have done so far works.


1) Download and install easy gps for FREE (can't beat free) from www.easygps.com - click the Downloads link, then click the version that works with your windows version.


2) In easy gps, under the Edit menu, select Preferences. Add your gps receiver (it is in there, I looked it up in my easy gps).


3) On www.geocaching.com, do a zipcode search for caches.


4) Select the caches that interest you by checking the boxes that correlate to that cache.


5) Download that LOC file to your comp.


6) Open that LOC file with easy gps.


7) Connect your gps unit to your comp (assuming you have the cable to do so), and transfer the cache points to your gps by pressing the Send button at the top of the easy gps program.


8) If you do not have the ability to transfer from PC to your GPS, then you will have to read your gps manual to see how to manually enter the lat/lon.


* The 6 digit alphanumeric code, that you asked about, is unique to each cache location. That is what you use to select which cache you want your gps to go to.


* I print the page of each cache I want to search for, and take it with me (I have a 3 ring binder that I put them in). That 6 digit alphanumeric code allows me to cross reference my gps with my hard copy, so that I can plan my multiple cache hunting route.


I hope this makes sense to you, and Good Luck! :D

Edited by FSUgly
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If you want to do what's posted above, you may. If you want a simpler (but less fancy) version, try this:


Go to the geocaching main page. (i.e. www.geocaching.com)


Go to the box in the top right corner and type in your zip code. (this is the easiest)


The next page that loads will show a list of caches.


Click on one you like.


If you are logged in, the cache coords will be on the page along with a cache description. Print this page out. (if your're not logged, click on the "log in" link at the top right of the page)


You're ready to go!!!


After you get used to this way, or if you have some free time, just explore around the main geocaching website. Paticularly the "HIDE & SEEK A CACHE" link button on the middle left side of the page. Good luck, and welcome to geocaching!

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Glad to see you bought a Meridian. I love mine.


-------------------Create geocaching user account---------------

* to get started, go to http://www.geocaching.com and create a user account.

* If you are you not logged in, click on LOGIN in the upper right hand corner of the Geocaching.com webpage.

* Now you have an account.


---------------------Locate the caches you want to hunt -----------------


* On the left hand side of the screen click on Hide and Seek.

* Punch in your zip code and click search

* Hey.. you now have a list of geocaches in you area.

* If you are logged in there is a box next to each cache.

* Click on the box to put a black check mark in the box. You want to do this for every cache you want to hunt.

* For now just pick a few.

* Now scroll down to the bottom of the page and click DOWNLOAD WAYPOINTS. You want to save them to your computers desktop. That way you can find it later.


----------------------Print out the cache pages -------------------------


* Another thing you will want to do is open each cache page and print them out. This way you will know what you are looking for and the name of the cache.


-----------------------Get EasyGPS------------------------------------------


How are you doing so far... The next thing you want to get is EasyGPS. It's the software you are going to need to upload the coordinates into your GPS.

* on Geocaching.com's website click on the RESOURCES link on the left hand side of the page.

* Click on Geocaching Software.

* Scroll down to EASYGPS and download it. Save it to your desktop.

* Minimize or close you web browser. I.e. Internet Explorer, Firefox, Mozilla.

* On your desktop is a setup.exe for the EasyGPS. Run the setup and install the EasyGPS Software. After Easy GPS is installed Open it and set it up. It's not too difficult to understand and if you get stuck let us know.


-------------------------Hook up GPS to your computer ----------------


* Locate your Magellan PC Data Cable. If you don't have one then you will need to get one. Here's one at Amazon. $17 bucks +SH.

* Attach the datalink cable to your PC and then attach the other end to your Magellan. Power up your Magellan. I.e. TURN IT ON by pressing the red PWR button, and click through the 3 initial prompts. You should be looking at one of the Magellans data screens.

* Now double click on the LOC file that you downloaded. It will smile face with a GPS on it. When you click on the LOC file EasyGPS will open up.

* Press [CTRL]+[A] keys at same time to select all the LOC files you downloaded.

* Click [send] button in EasyGPS.

* Select Send All waypoints to your Magellan.

* Now the files will be cache locations will be uploaded into your Magellan.


-------------------Let's Setup a route --------------------------------------


* Unplug the pc cable from your gps and press the Menu button on your magellan.

* First press and hold down the [goto] button to make a new waypoint.

* Depending on how many way points are already in your megellan it will say something like WPT001, WPT002, etc. Use the round arrow pad to tab up to the name WPT00x and change it to something like HOME.

* Use the arrow tab to highlight the save button and press the [Enter] button.

* Press the [Menu] Button.

* Use the Magellan arrow pad and tab down to Routes.

* Press [Enter] button.

* Use the Arrow pad and go to the first Empty location. i.e. 1 empty

* Press [Enter]

* on the first ----------------- line press [enter], then [Enter] and [Enter] again.

* Select HOME with the arrow pad and press the [Enter] key.

* On the second ----------------- press [Enter], then [enter] and [enter] again.

* Select the first cache you want to hunt for and press [Enter]

* Use the Arrow key and highlight [save Route] and press the [Enter] button.


---------------------Activate the route ---------------------------------

* Now use the arrow pad to go up to the route you just set up.

* Press the [Menu] button.

* Select Activate Route and press the [Enter] button.

* Press ESC button and Bam you now have an active Route.

* Press the ESC button until you are looking at a compass.

* The Compass will point the way to the cache. When you are heading for the cache, you want the Black pointer to point strait ahead of you or to the top of the GPS Screen.


----------------------Go after the cache ------------------------------

* Pull out your cache pages that you printed out

* Get in your car, etc..

* Follow the arrow on the compass screen.

* Watch the distance. When you get close to the cache the distance will be around 2 -6 to feet.

* Find the cache and log your visit.

* Go home and log your find on Geocaching.com.


-------------------------Changing the routhe ---------------------------

* after you find the first cache, you will need to change your route.

* Press the Menu Key

* Select Routes

* Select the route you created.

* When the View/Edit route screen appears, leave the top point alone.

* Select the Second line which should be the cache you just located.

* Press [Enter]

* Select User Waypoint and press [Enter]

* Choose the next cache you want to find.

* Press the Enter button and save the route.

* Press the ESC button and you should be back to your Compass Screen


When you have found all the caches of the day, go home andl login to Geocaching.com and log your finds and did not finds.


Good Luck and Happy caching..

Edited by The_Brownies
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Others have covered the important basics for getting started (which wasn't that long ago for me).


Check out Geocaching U for some good intro stuff.


I will add the following.


I used to enter coordinates by hand. After several incidents of somehow messing up the coord, wasting time in the wrong area, etc. (I'm pretty much paperbased, so always had a printout of the cache page) I moved to downloading the coords.


I tried EasyGPS. Its fine, but now I use GSAK, Geocache Swiss Army Knife. Like it a lot better. You can try it for free.

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