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Best PDA to carry datasheets


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I would like to start visiting some of these benchmarks, but you obviously need to have the datasheets to find them when you get in the area. I have noticed a lot of people use PDAs to carry these since there is too much info for a GPS to carry. I have never had a PDA so I know nothing about them. Can someone advise on good one for this purpose that isn't too expensive (all I need it for is to download the text to, nothing fancy)? Thanks.

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Almost any Palm brand (or running a Palm OS) will get you going. You definately want to use Cachemate. Consider a PDA with an expandable memory slot (likely SD card). I have about 4 or 5 large counties worth of benchmarks (the full NGS datasheets) in about 100MB, so even a "small" SD card of 256MB is plenty. It is also a LOT faster to transfer the .pdb file (for cachemate) into the expansion card, than it is to transfer the the .pdb file to the main PDA memory, at least on two different Palms I have. No idea a why. GSAK also very handy, and can to the .gpx to .pdb file conversion easier than the converter applet that comes with Cachemate (IMO).

 

Good luck!

 

All the "how to do it" stuff is HERE.

 

(Yes, I know it CAN be done on Windows based PDA's, and I'm not an expert on them, but I hear there are troubles with doing it that way).

Edited by Klemmer & TeddyBearMama
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I use a palm M500, it has a black and white screen, which shows up better in the sun than some color screens, and it is older, which equals Cheap. If you are lucky, you can get a used one off ebay for under $30. It also supports a memory card, and USB. All software is downloadable from the palm website.

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So does the Cachmate act as the document viewer for the datasheets? Or do I need to get that Documents To Go from Palm?

 

Cachemate makes it so that you can view all the information from the cache page. It has it divided up into different segments that you can view through the use of a drop down menu-- overview, description, hint, past logs. It also has a section where you can make notes about your visit and easily move it into the "found" section of the database. You don't actually see screenshots *of* the cachepage, if that is what you meant-- what you see is all the data collected from the cache page and made viewable by the cachemate program.

 

The cachemate files use very little memory, so you can get tons of caches on even an ancient Palm. I bought a Palm IIIxe from ebay for use with paperless caching. Even after buying a usb to serial adapter and paying shipping on both auctions, I still ended up spending around $25 total. The Palm IIIxe has 8MB of memory. I have probably around 2000 caches loaded on it right now-- it is starting to drag a little in processing them sometimes, but still works very well.

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So does the Cachmate act as the document viewer for the datasheets? Or do I need to get that Documents To Go from Palm?

Documents to Go is actually from DataViz...but in this case, you definitely want Cachemate. It in addition to the features already described for viewing NGS datasheets, it has excellent search capabilities. For example, you can find all marks within a certain distance of your current location. And yes, it can communicate with GPS receivers to know where you are. Or you can enter coordinates manually. You can also exchange waypoints between Cachemate and your GPS receiver. It's a terrific program. By all means, pay the small fee to get the full program.

 

Patty

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We use a 2003 iPac Pocket PC loaded with Cachemate for benchmarking. I have about 18 counties downloaded on it and am quite happy. Of course, we do not load the GC.com pages for benchmarking, but rather the NGS county records as they tend to offer lots more detail.

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Is there any difference between the performance of the Pocket PC version and the Palm OS version of Cachemate? Still just trying to find a cheap PDA on ebay.

 

 

Not that I know of. Most of my caching friends have Palms..I've used theirs and could not see a difference. Go with whatever fits in your budget. Either one will do the job well.

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I use a Dell Axim (pocketpc) with GPXSonar. Works great for me. I have about 20+- counties worth of benchmarks loaded up and 15 pocket queries with geocaches all loaded on the SD card. Works great.

Edited by TheBeanTeam
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Personally, I like my PDA! It does a great job and has never failed me yet! It's about 9 inches by 13 inches in size and made of wood composite with a metal clamp on the top. The stylus has this carbon graphite in the middle that leaves marks on the datasheets when I press the 2 together!!!!! :)

 

Sorry, just had to do it............... don't kill me!

 

I was just reading the story about how the Americans and Russians both solved the problem of a writing instrument that would work in zero gravity. Don't know how much truth is behind it, but it makes for a great story, especially since I work for the US gov't!

 

-scott

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I'm taking a refresher course tomorrow in using an analog global positioning device. I had it out today to practice. I stood on my porch and turned the dial on it to adjust for my local magnetic north offset, then aimed it at a few landmarks in the distance so that I could triangulate my location. It worked quite well! <_<

 

Patty

Edited by Wintertime
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Ok, I could swear that I had this working before, but now I cannot figure out how to get the .dat files for the counties translated into PDB files for my Palm with all the information in them. Cachemate only shows the coordinates and very limited naming info. I do not get all the description or logs. I thought I had it before, but maybe not. How do you turn the .dat files into cachemate usable PBD files that shows all available info? Do you ho thru a GPX intermediary? Thanks.

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No, No! No manual cut & paste. No way.

Here are the instructions to get started, in the Me First thread at the top of the forum.

GSAK makes it easier (you just export the database as a cachemate pdb file), but there is also a little applet that come with Cachemate called CMconvert that will do the .gpx to .pdb conversion. Since I got GSAK, I haven't used it. The details are in the cachemate instructions, I seem to remember.

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I would like to see a GSAK macro that reads the dat files and creates a 'real' gsak file. I use bm2gpx but I don't think it would be too hard to create a macro that would put the original description in as the description and all the logs as actual logs. Then all the reference marks can be put in as child waypoints.

 

then can use the macro that is already out there that can read the logs on gc.com and add them to the ngs logs already parsed.

 

I have written a rough flow chart for the macro but am not finding the time to put it into real code.e

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I agree. That would be a great project. BMGPX leaves a bit to be desired. Many of the other columns in GSAK (user1, user2, etc) could be used for other useful items from the datasheet. Now, we need someone reasonably capable in GSAK macros, with the time to do it..... I'm not sure I qualify on either, sorry.

 

Any takers? I'll beta test....

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I knew I had it working before. It seems that soemthing must have happened while I was moving files around on the Palm and the descriptions just disappeared. I redid the whole process of converting and all copying over to Palm and everything is ok.

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