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PDA + GPS = Paperless Caching ?


oldshue
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If you were going to start Geocaching today and wanted to do paperless caching, which of these combinations would you go with...

 

1. Cheapo PDA and handheld GPS

 

2. PDA using a CF/PCMIA GPS

 

3. PDA using a Bluetooth GPS

 

Also would like to hear peoples combinations (model #s and software used) , how they like it, what they cost..

 

Thanks for the help...I donated an old backpack to the thrift store the other day and it just happened to have my Garmin 76 Csx in it....I bet somebody got a great deal on a $2 backpack...OUCH!

 

Thanks,

 

JO

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After four years of fumbling around, finally found what is for me the perfect paperless combo. I use the Delorme PN-20 loaded with Delorme Topo maps. Then, to augment summer RV travels, signed up for Verizon BBA and then bought a Nokia N800 data tablet which connects to Verizon via bluetooth. This event dropped paperless caching into my lap. If a cache is located out of cell phone range (usually, an obvious fact if one briefly looks at the topo terrain), then simply downlond the geocaching.com cache web page into memory of the Nokia N800 for off-line review if required (seldom needed for remote ammo box type caches). The quirky download routines are completely unnecessary. The Nokia N800 uses an open source debian linux OS (free!).

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I have a 60CSx for geocaching and a TomTom for car.

Here how I start going paperless:

Every week when I receive the email from Geocaching.

- Load the cache to the Garmin using the SEND to GPS button

- at the same time Enter as a POI, in the TomTom as the POI name :

GCxxxx-2,1.,1 "Hint"

 

where 2 size (1= micro)

1. difficulty (1. means 1.5)

1 terrain

 

use the GCxxxx name on TomTom to find & drive near the cache, on Garmin to zero in.

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I am thinking about investing in combo number 3.

 

Is this the best way to go?

Depending on the kind of caching you do, that might work. However, caching can be rough on delicate electronics, so I would recommend a durable, waterproof handheld GPS like the Garmin Legend HCx or Vista HCx or the GPS Map60Cx/CSx or 76Cx/CSx.

 

Then you can pick up an inexpensive Palm to use for the cache data.

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Thanks for all the help here....leaning towards option #1, but still am interested in hearing from anybody that does #2 or #3 as it would seem that having a GPS unit and all your cache info in one handheld unit would be ideal....looks like you could get a CF Sirf card GPS and a Palm IIIxe PDA that would work for about $80...am I missing anything besides the fact that this is a somewhat fragile setup ?

 

For Example... Palm IIIxe and Holux GR 271 Cf or GlobalSat BC337 CF

 

Thanks,

 

JO

Edited by oldshue
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Ok what I have is a Sprint Mogul smartphone device runs windows mobile 6, I have unlimited data amd voice plan so I can receive e-mail notification log in and check on websites it has microsoft office so I can use spreadsheets or word documents to keep things in check.

I have a old serial port e trex vista gps and can program in as required. eventually I will get one that can talk blue tooth.

I use both Delorme Topo and Garmin maps plus google earth.

 

 

quote name='oldshue' date='Oct 15 2007, 03:51 PM' post='3115238']

Anybody out there using the Sony CLIÉ PEG-TG50...

 

How exactly would a PDA "surf" the internet....Bluetooth to a web enabled cell phone ?

 

Sorry for all the newbie questions....

 

JO

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For a long time I had only a handheld GPSr. When I finally went paperless I just added a PDA. Definitely the best thing I every did. Oh, and I use GSAK to manage cache info and send it to my PDA and GPSr.

 

My only regret is that I don't have a GPSr with maps (I'm working on upgrading - a new unit is the only item on my Christmas wish-list to my girlfriend :) ). I'm constantly in fresh/unknown territory and printing/carrying paper maps is time-consuming, aggravating, and last-but-not-least wasteful.

 

-Jesse

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I was also looking for this same information, but I already have an IPAQ for which I have starting to look for a cf GPS card and software for on-road turn by turn. So I thought that it could also be used for caching (which we are just getting in to) I've all ready downloaded cachmate and GSAK and have them installed and was debating over getting some TOPO maps to use. I started off on this route because after reading a bunch of posts on here (both new and archived) I see more and more people are starting to use a PDA/Smart phone for both storing there information thru (cachmate) plus using it for navigation.

 

Then in this post I seen Miragee said something about PPC's being delicate and possibly being damaged, which they or any device you carry can, but has anybody here bought a PDA to store their cache site information on and didn't carry it with them while searching or does everyone leave it in the car.

 

I'm looking at it this way I got the IPAQ HX2790 of evil-bay for $200.00 (which I was going to get anyway) a CF GPS receiver is going for $60.00 plus software (on-road) about $100.00 and TOPO maps around another $75.00 that is a grand total of 435.00 or less if I can find all this stuff thru evil-bay.

 

Compare that to getting a GPS for the car around $250.00 or so depending on the model, a handheld GSP (I like the vista Hcx if I were to buy one) about $225.00 plus a pda for going paperless (I'll use the one I just bought) $200.00 for a grand total of $675.00 and to top it off I would have 3 things to keep updated/sync'ed not just one.

 

So as I acquire all the pieces and figure out how to get them all to work, cause after all I am a newbe, I'll let ya in on how well it turns out.

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I have a Garmin GPSMap76C and I use a Palm III

 

Great combination for paperless caching. I use cachemate and GSAK. Cachemate is a great program and there are lots of ways to register it on the net. GSAK is great even as shareware.

 

I love paperless caching.

 

And by spending the $$$ on a premium membership on GEOCACHING.COM is great because it helps support the site and the company!

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I am using a Trimble Juno that I got for work. Its basically a Windows Mobile 5 PDA with BT, WiFi and GPS.

 

I've been trying out several shareware navigation tools, and by far the coolest is GeoScout.

With the WiFi hooked up to my home network or the towns free wifi (Fred E-Zone) I can get GeoScout to download cache details just by keying in the GC id. I have not been able to get the Postal Code download to work since I believe its designed for the UK (not Canada). Nonetheless all the gc.com details are wireless uploaded to the PDA. Also one can receive and update the log file remotely whe n connected to the WiFi. Additionally it will automatically create background map tiles from google maps or the OS. Its a no-brainer, it negates the process tospatially register and upload a background map manually. Is

 

I also got a 1GB SD to loadup TomTom for road navigation.

Next thing to do is load it up with music

 

So far , the PDA with built in BT, WiFI and GPS is proving to be fun and useful.

 

Regards :(

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This probably isn't the cheapest solution but I just recently started paperless caching and it's great! I got a Sony Clie PEG-NR70V off of eBay, for the car I have a Magellan 4000 to get me close to parking, and finally I use a Garmin eTrex Vista HCSx to get me to GZ. I use GSAK and Cachemate (for the Clie and Garmin) for the software. The Magellan has a POI loader that I use in conjunction with GSAK. The Magellan and the Garmin were the most expensive items but we also use the Magellan for non-geocaching travel.

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I really wanted to go paperless, but my history with PDAs has not been good. I fork over $100-$200 and the thing has a lifetime of a year, maybe two. (Or maybe I'm just too hard on them) The thought of taking the thing out on the trail seemed like it would accelerate the process quite a bit. And to top things off, I'm something of a cheapskate.

 

So I started thinking of the problem a different way. Instead of thinking "How can I get rid of all the paper" I just started thinking about "How can I use way less paper?" I ended up writing a little program that I call TinyGPX that takes GPX files as input and outputs super compact HTML with only the essential cache information. It's not for everybody but if you are like me and only go out on cache trips that are an hour or two long, you don't always need the huge database at your fingertips. (Though I cannot deny the super-coolness of it!)

 

In any case, if any of you are interested I put the program up here:

 

http://www.strawberryelectron.com/tinygpx

Edited by rhouston
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I really wanted to go paperless, but my history with PDAs has not been good. I fork over $100-$200 and the thing has a lifetime of a year, maybe two. (Or maybe I'm just too hard on them) The thought of taking the thing out on the trail seemed like it would accelerate the process quite a bit. And to top things off, I'm something of a cheapskate.

 

So I started thinking of the problem a different way. Instead of thinking "How can I get rid of all the paper" I just started thinking about "How can I use way less paper?" I ended up writing a little program that I call TinyGPX that takes GPX files as input and outputs super compact HTML with only the essential cache information. It's not for everybody but if you are like me and only go out on cache trips that are an hour or two long, you don't always need the huge database at your fingertips. (Though I cannot deny the super-coolness of it!)

 

In any case, if any of you are interested I put the program up here:

 

http://www.strawberryelectron.com/tinygpx

 

I downloaded your program. Can;t wait to install it. Looks very very interesting.

 

Your PDA avoidance is a good idea. I have a Palm III and it just stopped working today. I managed to find a Palm IIIxe NIB with a 2 year warranty today for $40. So off I went to the store again :) I should not have bought used to begin with I suppose. It only lasted a few weeks.

 

Can;t wait to try your program though!

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I use an ipaq 2215 with a Sirf Star III GPS in the CF memory slot. The SD memory slot has all my data storage files including the gpx files for paperless caching(gpxtosonar), National Geopgraphic 24K topo maps for real time tracking and Mapopolis voice commanded auto navigation on the road. I also overlay the cache icons over the Mapopolis street maps to see nearby caches and ID them and go to. I set up the icon to display the 10 digit cache name, D/T , miles from home, hider's name, cache type, container type, etc. I also use Mapopolis for navigating in the woods as it has a compass rose, distance to cache, bearing to cache, current coordinates, etc.

 

I originally used a waterproof plastic holder with neck landyard to protect the ipaq but stopped using it. I found it difficult to use the scribe through the plastic. I now slip it in my breast pocket and take care of it. But I also carry a Vista for backup. Another downside of the Ipaq is the battery lasts only about 3-4 hours if you have it on contiuously. I have dropped it on occassion but it kept on ticking except for one time (I dropped it on the concrete sidewalk). I lost the program and had to re-load but there was no other damage.

 

Live dangerously!

Edited by Alan2
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I really wanted to go paperless, but my history with PDAs has not been good. I fork over $100-$200 and the thing has a lifetime of a year, maybe two. (Or maybe I'm just too hard on them) The thought of taking the thing out on the trail seemed like it would accelerate the process quite a bit. And to top things off, I'm something of a cheapskate.

 

So I started thinking of the problem a different way. Instead of thinking "How can I get rid of all the paper" I just started thinking about "How can I use way less paper?" I ended up writing a little program that I call TinyGPX that takes GPX files as input and outputs super compact HTML with only the essential cache information. It's not for everybody but if you are like me and only go out on cache trips that are an hour or two long, you don't always need the huge database at your fingertips. (Though I cannot deny the super-coolness of it!)

 

In any case, if any of you are interested I put the program up here:

 

http://www.strawberryelectron.com/tinygpx

 

Downloaded and it worked fine once i figured out the command structure. However, it would be useful to have the waypoint listed as well (like GC16TV7) since this is the way many GPS units list caches.

 

Cool tho! Ink costs $9,000 dollars an ounce. I use the set up described next.

 

Magellan Meridian color

Dell Axim x5

upgraded to Windows 2003

 

Fenix P1D CE flashlight. It's the size of your thumb but it puts out 135 lumens with a CREE led!

 

All got off eBay for a song. Use GPSBABEL to move waypoints to my Magellan on the serial port.

 

Use both GPXview (when had OS 2002 only) and it only gives you a list.

 

Since upgrading to Win 2003 I can use GPXsonar (missing lately and the only site to get it is clicking the name here). IT lets you make notes and has many other features making it more useful.

 

Here's the arrangement:

2926c2bb-df34-436a-a623-b3ceb054f51b.jpg

27125b70-e217-4f34-ab74-b851168c3dce.jpg

d371d6fb-0ae4-45a8-8c36-d1a21239b188.jpg

Edited by Rattlebars
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I recently went "paperless" with my PDA. Its so much easier. I downloaded "cachemate" and have yet to put it to use.

My PDA is a tungsten e2 that I use for work. It comes with a simple program called "documents to go", that basically takes a Word document and makes it visible on the PDA.

 

I copy necessary info from the geocaching site (cache name and coords, along with hints and description) into a word document on my PC, and sync it to my PDA. In the field, I can modify the document with what I found and took, and when I sync it again, the modified word file is on my PC. I can go back to geocaching.com and put in the information after a cache hunt.

 

It may not be the most efficient, but its easy for me, since I dont have to keep up with a database.

My GPS is about 5 years old. I enter coords into it in MapSend Streets, and upload them to my SportTrak.

 

I'm trying to find a way to connect the e2 to my sporttrak (or my etrex), but so far I have had issues. If anyone has done it, Id like to hear about how it works and what program you use.

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Anybody out there using the Sony CLIÉ PEG-TG50...

 

How exactly would a PDA "surf" the internet....Bluetooth to a web enabled cell phone ?

 

Sorry for all the newbie questions....

 

JO

 

:rolleyes: I have the Sony CLIE PEG-TH55 which I think is very similar to yours. However, I am in the same boat as you. I am trying to figure out the best way to use what I have and the best software to use to make them interact with one another the best. My equipment is the PDA mentioned above for paperless caching, Garmin eTrex for the trails, a Lowrance iway 500c in the car to get me there and finally a toshiba laptop to act as mission control. I have also installed the following software: EasyGPS and Cachemate. I am still learning how to use this software. Up until now, I have been manually entering waypoints on the Garmin and the Lowrance for each and every cache (takes a lot of time).

Edited by GeoWinger
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I went with option 3.

 

I have a sprint mogul like pda.

 

for software on a windows mobile pda, I highly recommend geoscout. A trial can be found here

 

I have been using a Globalsat bt-359w bluetooth gps receiver, however it recently went silent (which I loved for the past 14 months). I am now in process of purchasing a new bluetooth unit.

My only advice in this area is to ask about what version of firmware and chipset that the gps uses, as that dictates the acceptability of its use for geocaching / hiking / jogging.

Most bluetooth gps are used for driving navigation, and some have issues with slow speed.

 

I like the fact that with cell coverage, I can with out any prior planning, use the above combination, download nearby caches, log the find, all without a pc.

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For a long time I had only a handheld GPSr. When I finally went paperless I just added a PDA. Definitely the best thing I every did. Oh, and I use GSAK to manage cache info and send it to my PDA and GPSr.

 

My only regret is that I don't have a GPSr with maps (I'm working on upgrading - a new unit is the only item on my Christmas wish-list to my girlfriend :( ). I'm constantly in fresh/unknown territory and printing/carrying paper maps is time-consuming, aggravating, and last-but-not-least wasteful.

 

-Jesse

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For a long time I had only a handheld GPSr. When I finally went paperless I just added a PDA. Definitely the best thing I every did. Oh, and I use GSAK to manage cache info and send it to my PDA and GPSr.

 

My only regret is that I don't have a GPSr with maps (I'm working on upgrading - a new unit is the only item on my Christmas wish-list to my girlfriend :( ). I'm constantly in fresh/unknown territory and printing/carrying paper maps is time-consuming, aggravating, and last-but-not-least wasteful.

 

-Jesse

I think I have the same situation. I have been using a PDA (PPC), but I still miss having a map of the area to visual where I am. I am using the yellow garmin etrex.

 

Any better ideas, maybe to upgrade

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Anybody out there using the Sony CLIÉ PEG-TG50...

 

How exactly would a PDA "surf" the internet....Bluetooth to a web enabled cell phone ?

 

Sorry for all the newbie questions....

 

JO

 

:( I have the Sony CLIE PEG-TH55 which I think is very similar to yours. However, I am in the same boat as you. I am trying to figure out the best way to use what I have and the best software to use to make them interact with one another the best. My equipment is the PDA mentioned above for paperless caching, Garmin eTrex for the trails, a Lowrance iway 500c in the car to get me there and finally a toshiba laptop to act as mission control. I have also installed the following software: EasyGPS and Cachemate. I am still learning how to use this software. Up until now, I have been manually entering waypoints on the Garmin and the Lowrance for each and every cache (takes a lot of time).

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This certainly isn't the cheapest route, but I recently got a ASUS A696. It's a nice PocketPC PDA with built in GPS so I only have to carry one device instead of two (PDA + Bluetooth GPS). I found the afore mentioned GeoScout software and would HIGHLY recommend it. It works fantastically well. I've always been reluctant to go paperless because I wanted all the details of the webpage in an easy to use format and Geoscout does that remarkably well.

 

And the compass page is just great! On one screen you see you current coordinates and your destination coordinates. There is also a compass which shows your heading and the direction the cache is from you as well as the distance. Everything you need right there.

 

For me it's the perfect solution. Of course, as I mentioned, it isn't the cheapest by far. GeoScout costs $40 and a GPS enabled PDA can easily run over $400.

 

One note on the A696. I really enjoy it and think it's a great PDA. But the GPS chip is uses (SiRF) is set, by default, to ignore slow movements. Any chance in position that is made under like 2 mph is simply ignored as refining of GPS fix. Makes it nice for car navigation as you don't see yourself jumping around while stopped at a red light, but makes the GPS useless for geocaching. Fortunately, there is a free utility you download which allows you to shut this off.

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For those of you near XSCargo stores...

 

XSCargo has PDAs on sale. Palm I's with 2MB for $14.95 Palm IIIxe's with 8MB for $29.99 and Palm Vs with 8MB for $39.99. Combined with your GPS and the CacheMate/GSAK software these make inexpensive paperless tools. Cachemate is a great program and even better when it is registered.

 

But... I am having problems. I update my cachemate while out with logs and "found it" tags etc. I get home... and can't upload it to GSAK. I'm completely lost. Then I update GSAK manually and type everything in and can;t figure out how to make it update the Geocaching.com website for me. So now I have taken to using cachemate and coming home and just copying it by hand to GC.com

 

But I still preferr it to bringing a binder full of pages. We had 250 caches in a binder with our team stickers etc. Pain in the <--BLEEP-->! Now I have a Palm IIIxe and my Wife has a Palm III upgraded to 8MB and we cache that way.

 

Never go back again!

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We have only recently started playing this game and joined in with the Ipaq 2795 and bluetooth Garmin10 receiver we used for street navigation.

 

This worked really well, though we found that the receiver worked best when velcroed to our hat!

 

Then we downloaded GeoScout which is a great addition for the PDA. The main advantage is that you can download waypoints with the description, the hints and the logs and with the bluetooth receiver attached, you have a nice big screen showing the distance and direction to the cache. It handles additional waypoints very well and you can add your log in the field and easily upload it once you're home and have a wireless internet connection.

 

I wouldn't be without GeoScout.

 

Having said that, unfortunately the Garmin10 receiver has died. In accordance with the Law of Murphy, it died during our first 3 day geocaching trip away from home, specifically, half way up a pretty touch 300 metre climb to a cache!

 

We recently bought a Garmin eTrex HCX which works wonderfully but the PDA is still more helpful when it comes to actually locating a cache. The extra information really helps.

 

With GeoScout on the PDA and an attached bluetooth GPS receiver paperless caching is a reality.

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We have only recently started playing this game and joined in with the Ipaq 2795 and bluetooth Garmin10 receiver we used for street navigation.

 

This worked really well, though we found that the receiver worked best when velcroed to our hat!

 

Then we downloaded GeoScout which is a great addition for the PDA. The main advantage is that you can download waypoints with the description, the hints and the logs and with the bluetooth receiver attached, you have a nice big screen showing the distance and direction to the cache. It handles additional waypoints very well and you can add your log in the field and easily upload it once you're home and have a wireless internet connection.

 

I wouldn't be without GeoScout.

 

Having said that, unfortunately the Garmin10 receiver has died. In accordance with the Law of Murphy, it died during our first 3 day geocaching trip away from home, specifically, half way up a pretty touch 300 metre climb to a cache!

 

We recently bought a Garmin eTrex HCX which works wonderfully but the PDA is still more helpful when it comes to actually locating a cache. The extra information really helps.

 

With GeoScout on the PDA and an attached bluetooth GPS receiver paperless caching is a reality.

 

Never, ever forget BeeLineGPS from VisualGPS. It´s far the best paperless and GC PDA application. Runningt it with GPSgate and Que and Tomtom at the same time on my Loox N560 is a dream.

 

But i have manually switch of the dadgum funktion with SIRF chip that is not update when i go to slow. Where is that utility?

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We need to add:

 

4. Garmin Colorado

 

although it is not completely functional for geocaching yet, but I think after another update, the geocaching shortcomings will be fixed.

 

You can drop a GPX pocket query on to the unit and they will show up in a nearest search, and you can display the cache description and logs. I won't go into the short comings here as they have been stated in other forum threads.

 

--Marky

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