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Don't Shoot, But Can't I Just Use Google Earth


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On a new GPS, and sofware. We are interested but don't want to spend the cash if we don't like it or can't find anything.


So what is the difference from using Google earth if finding urban caches?


Finding 1/1 rated urban caches? Probably do-able. I use Google Earth to find the likely parking for FTF (first to finds).


Hopefully you'll enjoy the sport and quickly progress beyond that.


Trying to find a cache the size a tic-tac from a 20,000ft 1meter resolution photo is... challenging.


Either way, welcome to the obsession - errr - sport!

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I would Highly Highly advise against this. google earth does not nessarly plot the caches in their proper locations. becuase of all the photo stiching that made google earth possible its difficult for them to have the nessary accuracy you would like to have when caching. some have found that if you zoom in and out / move around the caches themselves will be replotted some entirely else when it refreshes.


havin said that its possible for to geocache from maps. if i were you i would use a mapping service such as mapquest to plot the cache on a map. this would be considerably more accurate


within my local city i find alot of caches solely by viewing the map on the cache page. not to say i dont take my GPSr just i dont turn it on.

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If you are not sure that you will enjoy geocaching, you are wise to try it out using the maps first. If you know the area that you will be searching fairly well, common sense will help you figure out about where the cache is hidden. You will probably be able to find several caches in yourlocal area using only maps.


After you have tried it that way, if you find that you still enjoy geocaching, you could attend an event in your area, and ask to go caching with someone else who has a GPS. If you ask, they will surely let you hold their GPS to experience what it is like to use one to locate a cache. If you go with several others, you can even try out different types of GPS units.


You might decide then that you prefer to purchase a GPS, to help you get closer to the cache. Or, you might even find that you perfer the challenge of looking for caches without a GPS--there are a few cachers who usually cache without GPS units.


One more thing to think about for later--The GPS is also good to have while traveling. Last year, while traveling to Florida for my father's funeral, I took along my GPS. My brother has a favorite station that he prefers to buy his gasoline from--and their coffee. With the GPS, I could look to the next few exits to see if there was one of those stations ahead. It also showed us the exit number we wanted when we had to switch highways--so spent less time reading road signs (and possibly missing the one we needed if a large vehicle got between us and the sign). Hotels and some restaturants and shopping locations are listed on the unit also, as well as some local attractions. The simple maps were useful also, when caching and when traveling. I did all of that with a very reasonably priced Garmin Legend.


Now I have a pricier Garmin, and it accepts detailed maps and does auto-routing. Now when I travel (for caching, or for pleasure) I can set a waypoint for my destination, and let my Garmin figure out the best way to get me there. My husband uses his daily in his job as a truck driver (it even has a different setting for truck routes!).

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I have a great story. I might even start a new thread for this story that JUST happened. I just turned a non-gps-owner into a geocacher. Over the phone. From a couple thousand miles away. Now he's off to order a 60Cx. But this brings up a point:


MANY areas are not covered by high-resolution photos in Google Earth. As I just really learned the hard way. Clinton, NC as an example. It's just a blur of colors and nothing else.


But with his gameness and my common-cache-location guidance - he found his first cache. He's traveling on a business trip to NC...


Anyway, point is, maps aren't "all that" for geocaching...


(the way around the caches not being accurately displayed is largely to plot a point instead of relying upon the GC/KML network. Those seem to be significantly more accurate. Again, though, if you're stuck with just some blobby color, it's not gonna be easy!)

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The absolute BEST way to try caching is to contact your local geocaching organization and ask them if you can tag along with them someday. Chances are that someone will be happy to lend you a GPS and show you the tricks of the trade.


If you don't like it, then you only wasted an afternoon hanging out with weirdos and can spend your money elsewhere.

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some have found that if you zoom in and out / move around the caches themselves will be replotted some entirely else when it refreshes.



..if you are using the KML browser on your profilepage of geocaching.com. The caches plotted on Google Earth from that link are deliberately ...umm... obfuscated by Groundspeak with a random offset. If you use Google Earth to plot data from downloaded GPX files, they'll be accurate as possible with stitched-aerial photos.

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