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Macintosh and Geocaching workflow


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i just purchased a Garmin 60CSx and i use a Macbook. i have joined geocaching.com and paid for the premium membership (not sure why other than to support the site as i realize it's not super Mac friendly right now). i can find the coordinates for a cache on the site and then write it down on a piece of paper and head off to the find the cache, but i also know that some people upload the coordinates to their GPS unit and use the tool to help them more than i do. i read through the Garmin manual for my GPS, but it's really bare bones. i've searched through many threads here and not found something that just helps me choose the correct helper applications to get started.

 

if you use a Mac (and maybe even a Garmin) can you describe your work flow a bit? i imagine you download the gpx files. i did that with some for a trip to Canada later this week and i can open them in Google Earth, etc. but i am missing something if i am also able to get this to my GPS. please spill the beans on your experienced perspectives. thanks in advance. :D

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I'm manually entering mine into MapSource running under VMWare. I tried using Topo! but when I uploaded the waypoints I would get duplicates so I had to only upload the new points. MapSource only uploads the ones it needs to so you don't have duplicates. I might have missed something in Topo!, who knows. I'm also interested in hearing how others are doing it.

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As I'm running under 10.2.8, I can't use my GPS with my Mac.

 

However there are now lots of software for use with macs.

 

-MapInstall and MapConvert => Allows to install maps on Garmin GPSr's.

-Maccaching, Geojournal => Geocaching-specific apps

-GPS Babel => Upload waypoints

-POI Loader => The name says it all

 

There are lots of other ones I do not know. And as Garmin is working on it, in a couple of months, It will be pretty the same as using a PC - without the PC.

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I highly recommend Geojournal, which there's another thread about currently. I just downloaded and installed it, and got it running in no time, and was able to load all kinds of gpx files from various pocket queries into it, and they all loaded into my garmin 60c and cachemate on my palm TX with no problems. It may be all you need!

 

And experiment with the pocket queries - once you get the hang of them you won't be doing the paper thing anymore.

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Does anyone know if GeoJournal supports POIs (ie will save to .csv)? Right now, the only thing preventing me from letting go of Windows on Parallel Desktop and GSAK is that cool macro that saves the caches as "multi.csv", "traditional.csv" etc, which then matches it to custom icons, for POILoader.

 

There's a Mac version of POI Loader, of WebUpdater, a translator for MapSource for Mac; the only thing missing is the POI support for those of us who like to take 6,349 cache listings on the road with us!

 

meg the skeg

Garmin Vista HCx

PPC Mac 10.4 desktop

Intel MacBook

Edited by skeg
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Does anyone know if GeoJournal supports POIs (ie will save to .csv)? Right now, the only thing preventing me from letting go of Windows on Parallel Desktop and GSAK is that cool macro that saves the caches as "multi.csv", "traditional.csv" etc, which then matches it to custom icons, for POILoader.

 

There's a Mac version of POI Loader, of WebUpdater, a translator for MapSource for Mac; the only thing missing is the POI support for those of us who like to take 6,349 cache listings on the road with us!

 

meg the skeg

Garmin Vista HCx

PPC Mac 10.4 desktop

Intel MacBook

 

Why do you need to use poiloader? Why not just send to you GPS with Geojournal , GPSbabel, Macaching or someother tool?

 

Curious..

BTW, I havent used it by"Mac Garmin Tools" will convert GPS to POI files.

 

Also MAC GPSBABEL will convert GPX to Garmin POI (Free) !!

Edited by jchiar
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i just purchased a Garmin 60CSx and i use a Macbook. i have joined geocaching.com and paid for the premium membership (not sure why other than to support the site as i realize it's not super Mac friendly right now). i can find the coordinates for a cache on the site and then write it down on a piece of paper and head off to the find the cache, but i also know that some people upload the coordinates to their GPS unit and use the tool to help them more than i do. i read through the Garmin manual for my GPS, but it's really bare bones. i've searched through many threads here and not found something that just helps me choose the correct helper applications to get started.

 

if you use a Mac (and maybe even a Garmin) can you describe your work flow a bit? i imagine you download the gpx files. i did that with some for a trip to Canada later this week and i can open them in Google Earth, etc. but i am missing something if i am also able to get this to my GPS. please spill the beans on your experienced perspectives. thanks in advance. :laughing:

 

Like posted above, I use the gpx files from Geocaching and import in Geojournal or Maccaching.

 

Then I send them with those apps to my Garmin 60csx.

 

Or you can use GPSBABEL for mac and send the GPX files to my GPS , if you dont need to maintain them in a caching log type of fashion.

 

If you are using it for travel purposes and not tracking geocaches, and you like google earth and all its search capabilities, the PRO version of google earth transfers directly to GPS. ( your google earth just needs to be unlocked)..

I use google earth in the FREE version and transfer the KML's out- then using GPSBABEL to convert and transfer to my GPS. Fairly easy.

 

Feel free to skype me @ jchiar

 

Be glad to help! I can even assist remotely on you Mac.

 

Anything else?

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Why do you need to use poiloader? Why not just send to you GPS with Geojournal , GPSbabel, Macaching or someother tool?

 

Curious..

 

The Garmin Vista Hcx only supports 1000 waypoints. If I just use GPSBabel+ (I used to use Mac SimpleGPS when I had a serial connection) to send the GPX files, I can't take advantage of the 1GB micro SD card in my GPS - I hit 1000 waypoints and that's it. There are 3300 caches in Nova Scotia, and I'm going to be travelling to Ontario this week, and well, I just need more than 1000, that's all. :laughing:

 

Also MAC GPSBABEL will convert GPX to Garmin POI (Free) !!

I'll try that - it may well work.... Thanks so much for the hint, jchiar, in the midst of all my techhing (that's a verb) this week, I hadn't even thought to look for that in Babel! Big smiles.

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So waypoints are save on the internal memory and not the memory card?

No, they're saved on the SD card. Then in the Find menu of the GPS, instead of finding "Geocaches", you find "Custom POI" - and the option to find Custom POI doesn't appear on the GPS until you have some to find.

 

To clarify, what I was doing in GSAK was running this macro:

http://gsak.net/board/index.php?showtopic=...amp;#entry18194

 

with these icons:

http://www.thepropers.com/geocaching/60Ser...stomSymbols.htm

 

so that all 3,987 caches I had loaded in GSAK (from 11 PQs that I run on different weekdays) would be available on my Garmin Vista HCx, and I could see on the map what kind of cache was nearby - wherever I'm travelling in my province, and a couple other cities I'm visiting soon.

 

I took this Custom POI system out for a test drive today - I was prepared to be disappointed that you couldn't use the new 'geocaching mode' on the Vista with Custom POIs. <i>But,</i> it turns out you can - sort of. Once you arrive at your Custom POI (so, GC14DCX or whatever - don't forget to sign the logbook!), you can Save it, and then declare that you Found it (there's a Found button for your waypoint), and it'll automatically change the icon from whatever your custom one was (I only found traditional caches today, not sure if this will work with multi/puzzle/events) to the Geocache Found (open treasure chest) icon. Then, just like in geocaching mode, my GPS saves the cache in my calendar.

 

The sky's the limit for us Mac-types, I'd say. Just have to get a couple of features into the already terrific software.

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Personally, I need a proper GPX viewer wih me when I'm out caching. The caching mode on these GPSr looks poor. Also I use proper paper maps (there's no substitute)

 

I get 5 pocket queries for various areas around my part of the world. When combined they give me continuous cache coverage across the whole of the UK, in a horizontal strip (about 70 miles high)

 

In Mail, I save the attachments into a preset folder. I've made an Automator macro which changes the useless names (eg 123456.zip) of the zip files into useful titles (475 nearest home, Nth Yorks Moors, Yorks Dales, Lakes). Then the Macro unzips all the files and deletes the waypoint.gpx files (I never use them). Then it opens the 5 GPS files for me in Text Edit.

Macro 1 ends. (Saves a couple of minutes)

 

I use the find replace function in Text Edit to remove alil instances of 'GC' in the gpx file.

This makes them compatible with my eTrek, without truncating the title.

 

(I don't like the smart renames, removing the GC gives proper parity with the geocaching site, and Google Earth etc.)

 

I have a second Macro which saves and closes all 5 GPX files in Text Edit (saves about 20 seconds ;-) )

 

Import all of the GPX files into MacSimpleGPX and save as one large GPX file.

Use GPSbabel to convert this to an ov2 and a loc.

 

I use a Mitac Mio PDA out caching, it has TomTom, GPX View and Navigator.

Drag the 5 edited, properly renamed GPX files to the SD card from the PDA.

Drag the ov2 and loc to the card for TomTom and Navigator.

 

Double click the GPX I need for whichever area we decide to go to for caching. It open in MacSimpleGPS. Send waypoints to GPS. (USB to serial adaptor)

 

I'll navigate to a road near the cache on the TomTom, once there read the cache description, logs and clues. If I have uploaded the wrong GPX to the GPSr or we go across GPX files while out walking i still have all the coords and info on the PDA.

 

Navigator is useful as a second GPSr it has a waypointer like the eTrex.

The PDA isn't very rugged, but it's been everywhere with me for years. I don't treat it very well, but it still runs fine. We're not lightweight cachers. 10 miles walk is average for us, any weather, the Yorkshire three peaks is our biggest hike at 24 miles and three mountain climbs in 12 hours.

 

I note what caches I have done in a notebook... Fantastic invention. Anyone who suggest that marking a cache as 'found' on a GPSr is all I would need is mad. How can you remember what you niknaks swapped, what trackables you swapped what the condition of the log was in, etc, etc.

 

Get back home, download the tracklog from the eTrex using MacSimpleGPS, save a GPX named with the date. I keep all our tracks, for some reason.

 

I cannot get GPSBabel to upload to my eTrex and I've tried all the other GPX transfer software. MacSimpleGPS is the most reliable and the fastest.

 

However it won't send tracks so I use Loadmytracks if I need to.

I really enjoy using paper maps, I mark the caches with yellow marker so we can plan our route using proper paths.

 

There are probably better options for parts of my workflow, I don't need journal software. The geocaching website shows me what I have found and when, if I was a blogger-type I would feel differently I expect.

 

From what I've seen of all the available UK topo it's all to expensive and not very good. There's a new unit coming soon from these guys:

http://www.satmap.com/eshot/index_1.php it's expensive but might be worth it.

 

Cheers, Balders.

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I get 5 pocket queries for various areas around my part of the world. When combined they give me continuous cache coverage across the whole of the UK, in a horizontal strip (about 70 miles high)

 

Sounds like you're after the same thing as I am - serendipitous caching!!

 

I note what caches I have done in a notebook... Fantastic invention. Anyone who suggest that marking a cache as 'found' on a GPSr is all I would need is mad. How can you remember what you niknaks swapped, what trackables you swapped what the condition of the log was in, etc, etc.

Agreed - I used to do this until the 7-character cache names came out. Ruined my system! I also note my details on my Palm (just a Z22), so the 'found' icon in the GPS is just a fun bonus for me.

 

I cannot get GPSBabel to upload to my eTrex and I've tried all the other GPX transfer software. MacSimpleGPS is the most reliable and the fastest.

I used to be the same way, with my serail connector, until I got my new USB-only GPS. Now it's reversed: I can't get MacSimpleGPS to communicate, and have had to use GPSBabel.

 

meg the skeg

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So waypoints are save on the internal memory and not the memory card?

No, they're saved on the SD card. Then in the Find menu of the GPS, instead of finding "Geocaches", you find "Custom POI" - and the option to find Custom POI doesn't appear on the GPS until you have some to find.

 

To clarify, what I was doing in GSAK was running this macro:

http://gsak.net/board/index.php?showtopic=...amp;#entry18194

 

with these icons:

http://www.thepropers.com/geocaching/60Ser...stomSymbols.htm

 

so that all 3,987 caches I had loaded in GSAK (from 11 PQs that I run on different weekdays) would be available on my Garmin Vista HCx, and I could see on the map what kind of cache was nearby - wherever I'm travelling in my province, and a couple other cities I'm visiting soon.

 

I took this Custom POI system out for a test drive today - I was prepared to be disappointed that you couldn't use the new 'geocaching mode' on the Vista with Custom POIs. <i>But,</i> it turns out you can - sort of. Once you arrive at your Custom POI (so, GC14DCX or whatever - don't forget to sign the logbook!), you can Save it, and then declare that you Found it (there's a Found button for your waypoint), and it'll automatically change the icon from whatever your custom one was (I only found traditional caches today, not sure if this will work with multi/puzzle/events) to the Geocache Found (open treasure chest) icon. Then, just like in geocaching mode, my GPS saves the cache in my calendar.

 

The sky's the limit for us Mac-types, I'd say. Just have to get a couple of features into the already terrific software.

 

This is pretty cool. Very advanced geocaching i must say! Youn can use it with other symbols via the notes=

 

"This will allow Traditional caches to function with the geocaching mode. Please note that non-traditionals (multis, puzzles, webcams...etc) will not show up while in geocaching mode. However, 90% of the time you will probably be doing traditionals. If doing another type, you can either manually switch the icon to a smilie for that cache (you will not get a calendar entry) or you could come back into this setup screen and switch the "Find" symbol to the type you are doing for that cache. It's simply one of the trade-offs for having the cache type symbols.

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Ok, Got this to work.

This should be a how to for regular daily workflow-

I used Geojournal and setup a pop3 mail rule. I made a pockey query to export and mail Multicache types.

 

Then i created a new category in Geojournal for Multicaches. I them ran the rule and imported the zipped gpx file into my multicache category. Good so far?

 

Great, next export the category to a gpx file. Then use GPSBABEL and convert this gpx to a Garmin POI.

 

Then use poi loader and upload this to you GPS.

 

The goto Custompoi like you stated and search, save and change the symbol to the found cache. Now its in your calendar!

 

Create multiple categories for Virtual caches, multievents ,etc and run those queries!

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Rats - GMail is encrypted pop3 and won't work with Geojournal's neat-o import-and-organize feature. I'll have to try later with my Hotmail (ick) account.

 

Thanks jchiar for all your input!

 

Running PQs by type instead of by date (the 3300 in NS run by date starting Jan 1, 2000 to make sure they're always up-to-date) is a great idea. I'll have to re-configure all my PQs, though, and at only 5 per day, it's going to take some time to test the whole thing...

 

Anyway, I'm on the road tomorrow, I'll have to muck with this later, since I'm going geocaching! :P

Edited by skeg
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I am new to GPS and to Geocaching. I am a Mac user. I have a Garmin eTrex Vista HCx. I have figured out how to download .loc files from this site, and how to convert them to .gpx using GPSBabel+, and then how to upload the .gpx files to my eTrex Vista HCx (using Garmin POI Loader). However, these entries end up in the "Custom POIs" on my GPSr. Is there any way to direct them into the "Geocache" directory/folder in my GPSr?

 

Thanks in advance.

Edited by UncleJimbo
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I am new to GPS and to Geocaching. I am a Mac user. I have a Garmin eTrex Vista HCx. I have figured out how to download .loc files from this site, and how to convert them to .gpx using GPSBabel+, and then how to upload the .gpx files to my eTrex Vista HCx (using Garmin POI Loader). However, these entries end up in the "Custom POIs" on my GPSr. Is there any way to direct them into the "Geocache" directory/folder in my GPSr?

 

Thanks in advance.

 

Thanks to reading other posts in this thread, I downloaded MacCaching 0.6.2, and it appears to do exactly what I wanted! Now I don't even need Garmin POI Uploader or GPSBabel+ to convert the .loc files to .gpx. Nice.

 

I am learning. <_<

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I am new to GPS and to Geocaching. I am a Mac user. I have a Garmin eTrex Vista HCx. I have figured out how to download .loc files from this site, and how to convert them to .gpx using GPSBabel+, and then how to upload the .gpx files to my eTrex Vista HCx (using Garmin POI Loader). However, these entries end up in the "Custom POIs" on my GPSr. Is there any way to direct them into the "Geocache" directory/folder in my GPSr?

 

Thanks in advance.

 

Thanks to reading other posts in this thread, I downloaded MacCaching 0.6.2, and it appears to do exactly what I wanted! Now I don't even need Garmin POI Uploader or GPSBabel+ to convert the .loc files to .gpx. Nice.

 

I am learning. <_<

 

Yes its quite good for that! if you need anything else related to Geocaching or Mac , just yell..

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Well I'm about out of options. Running Mac OS-X 10.4.10 to my GPS-76 through a USB-serial adapter just isn't working. The serial adapter is fine, I can Zterm into my GPS-76 and run NMEA strings back and forth all day.

 

*MacCaching can't initialize the USB-serial interface, and doesn't import lat/Lon from GPX files.

*Garmin POI Loader doesn't see the GPS through the adapter, even with "Find Device".

*GeoJournal has no GPS-76 support - only GPSmap-76.

*Mac SimpleGPS gets close - I can upload waypoints, the progress bar counts up, my GPSr beeps "Transfer Complete", but no waypoints actually make it to the GPS (?) For some reason Mac SimpleGPS doesn't recognize the <type/> tag in GPX files, maybe that's the problem?

 

Is there anyything left?

Oh, and I'm using the Garmin protocol for all applications.

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Well I'm about out of options. Running Mac OS-X 10.4.10 to my GPS-76 through a USB-serial adapter just isn't working. The serial adapter is fine, I can Zterm into my GPS-76 and run NMEA strings back and forth all day.

 

*MacCaching can't initialize the USB-serial interface, and doesn't import lat/Lon from GPX files.

*Garmin POI Loader doesn't see the GPS through the adapter, even with "Find Device".

*GeoJournal has no GPS-76 support - only GPSmap-76.

*Mac SimpleGPS gets close - I can upload waypoints, the progress bar counts up, my GPSr beeps "Transfer Complete", but no waypoints actually make it to the GPS (?) For some reason Mac SimpleGPS doesn't recognize the <type/> tag in GPX files, maybe that's the problem?

 

Is there anyything left?

Oh, and I'm using the Garmin protocol for all applications.

 

Im not familiar with that GPS. Is it serial only device?

Did you try to call garmin and ask them why the POI loader may not be working?

 

IS that the keyspan adapter? More info please :surprise:

Edited by jchiar
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Well I'm about out of options. Running Mac OS-X 10.4.10 to my GPS-76 through a USB-serial adapter just isn't working. The serial adapter is fine, I can Zterm into my GPS-76 and run NMEA strings back and forth all day.

 

 

Im not familiar with that GPS. Is it serial only device?

Did you try to call garmin and ask them why the POI loader may not be working?

 

IS that the keyspan adapter? More info please :grin:

Yes, the GPS-76 uses a serial interface and I'm using a Prolific PL2303 chip based adapter with Prolific's driver.

** New batteries didn't help. Anyone out here have success with a Keyspan adapter?

 

I did some digging in the Garmin SDK and found that their serial interface is not technically RS-232C compliant - the voltages run lower than the standard calls for and they don't use a ground reference. This could cause problems at higher speeds or with very strictly compliant interfaces. The common thread has been _no_ software has worked for my GPSr through this adapter except Zterm running at 4800 baud, and I noticed my battery was running low when I tried these uploads. I'll try again with a fresh recharge and that might make a difference.

Edited by Sun Chasers
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Of all the problems I see with the prolific parts, voltage swing problems have been zero of them. Yes, the EIA specs a large +/- swing but it's not like every battery or USB powered device is strapping a charge pump to do that. The Max 232 and various 1488/1489 mutants are extremely entrenched in the market and the interop on them is fine.

 

The prolific devices are notorious for dropping data on the USB side, but the EIA side is fine.

 

I've exercised a large number of GPSes on Mac with Keyspan 19HS with unqualified success. I have some Prolific 2303 devices that are almost guaranteed to lose the first couple bytes of receive data and some that work flawlessly. The ones that fail do so on all three of the major OSes.

 

 

POI Loader doesn't claim to support serial models.

Maccaching and Geojournal both use GPSBabel.

 

I suspect you're fishing in the wrong pool with the voltage swing thing. Show me the packet dumps and I'll tell you if it's the prolific problem.

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Has anyone had success with the out of the box software and the Garmin maps via Virtual PC?

(I am using VPC6/WindowsXP)

Also, what of simply downloading the GC data in the VPC interface?

 

My gear should be arriving this weekend, but figured I'd check to see now, in the event I will need to begin downloading the 3rd party apps mentioned in this thread.

Edited by Fogtripper
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Has anyone had success with the out of the box software and the Garmin maps via Virtual PC?

(I am using VPC6/WindowsXP)

Also, what of simply downloading the GC data in the VPC interface?

 

I have VPC (I think it is version 7) on my PowerPC G5 Mac. I could get Windows XP to recognize my GPSr as a USB device, but the Garmin software would not "see" the GPSr, and so VPC was of no use to me. :-(

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Straight-through-Windows works for me using Intel MacBook with Parallels Desktop. POI Loader and other Garmin software "sees" my USB Garmin Vista HCx. There are some Mac patches on the Garmin website, but I can't remember if I installed them first or not.

Edited by skeg
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