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What is geocache mode on new Garmins?


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I currently use a Garmin Ique3600 (PDA / GPS) with Cachemate for geocaching. It works pretty good, but the battery life is terrible, not waterproof (no kayak trips), and the occasional lock-ups are starting to drive me a little crazy.

 

I can't see giving up paperless caching, but I'm looking for a new water-proof handheld. Right now, I'm leaning towards the Garmin Vista HCx.

 

I thought I read something about being able to download the cache description, old logs, etc. into the new handhelds. And I believe I even read you can mark them found. Is this true? How difficult is it? Can you enter information about the find for use later, like what your trade items were or travel bug info?

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I currently use a Garmin Ique3600 (PDA / GPS) with Cachemate for geocaching. It works pretty good, but the battery life is terrible, not waterproof (no kayak trips), and the occasional lock-ups are starting to drive me a little crazy.

 

I can't see giving up paperless caching, but I'm looking for a new water-proof handheld. Right now, I'm leaning towards the Garmin Vista HCx.

 

I thought I read something about being able to download the cache description, old logs, etc. into the new handhelds. And I believe I even read you can mark them found. Is this true? How difficult is it? Can you enter information about the find for use later, like what your trade items were or travel bug info?

It basically does 4 things:

  1. Brings up just waypoints in a list which have the geocache icon associated with them.
  2. Lets you tag them as found, which changes the icon to the geocache-found icon, effectively removing them from the list mentioned above.
  3. Logs the found geocaches into the calendar for the current day, so you can reference them later.
  4. After tagging a waypoint as found, it automatically brings up the next nearest geocache from your current position.

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From the FAQ in my signature line:

 

Geocaching mode is really just a special way of sorting and keeping track of waypoints. If you load a waypoint with a Geocaching symbol (by default, a closed treasure chest), then that waypoint will appear when you press FIND » 'Geocache' » ENTR. Pressing these keys lists geocache waypoints you have loaded. (By pressing MENU, you can select 'Find by Name' to show all Geocaches in alphabetical order, or 'Find Nearest' to show the nearest 50 Geocaches.) If you select a geocache, and then press 'Goto', the compass page appears, with a special menu at the bottom, showing 'Found', 'Note', and 'Stop'. You can proceed to the cache, and when found, press the 'Found' button. The GPSr will note your find on the GPS calendar, change the symbol to 'found Geocache' (by default, an open treasure chest) and ask if you would like to find the next nearest cache. Pressing the 'Note' button displays the note entered for the waypoint at the top of the screen. The key then changes to 'Data'. Pressing 'Data' restores the compass screen.

 

Note that you must be navigating Off Road for the unit to go into Geocaching Mode.

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I currently use a Garmin Ique3600 (PDA / GPS) with Cachemate for geocaching. It works pretty good, but the battery life is terrible, not waterproof (no kayak trips), and the occasional lock-ups are starting to drive me a little crazy.

 

I can't see giving up paperless caching, but I'm looking for a new water-proof handheld. Right now, I'm leaning towards the Garmin Vista HCx.

 

I thought I read something about being able to download the cache description, old logs, etc. into the new handhelds. And I believe I even read you can mark them found. Is this true? How difficult is it? Can you enter information about the find for use later, like what your trade items were or travel bug info?

Yes, this would be a sensible idea, though I'm afraid Garmin don't share your foresight. Geocaching mode has been available on the CSx for ages.

 

Here's how it works.

Upload all caches (coords only) with specific icon (closed box).

Navigate to a geocache icon, then select Found. It will make a log of this in it's calendar.

It changes the icon to an open box.

It now asks if you want to navigate to the next nearest unfound cache.

 

Sounds good? It's not. Here are the problems.

1. The calendar is totally useless.

2. I rarely ever wanted the next nearest cache, so it just added time trying to be "helpful".

3. Added no value. The things you anticipated, like hints, past logs etc aren't there

4. You have to use a single caching icon for unfound. This means you can't use customized icons for different cache types. I like to show multi's, micros etc.

 

You are better off creating your own icons and storing hints and other useful data in the POI.

 

Garmin have designed this mode to cache in (sic!) on us lot without actually giving us anything useful or doing any work.

Don't get rid of your PDA just yet. :D

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I wish I could manually mark Geocaches as found, without having to go through the whole Find geocache / enter the compass navigation spiel. I know I can simply change the icon itself for the waypoint, but that will not make a calender entry or put the found date and time in the waypoint notes.

 

So basically I want a button on the Waypoint screen saying "Found" if it has the not-found geocache icon.

 

Dan

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Sounds good? It's not. Here are the problems.

1. The calendar is totally useless.

2. I rarely ever wanted the next nearest cache, so it just added time trying to be "helpful".

3. Added no value. The things you anticipated, like hints, past logs etc aren't there

4. You have to use a single caching icon for unfound. This means you can't use customized icons for different cache types. I like to show multi's, micros etc.

 

Just to present a differing opinion... I use the Geocaching mode all the time on my 60csx. I would argue that the calendar is not "totally useless" for caching purposes. I wouldn't use the calendar for much of anything else, but if I've done a number of caches in a day, when I get home and start logging them, it is EXTREMELY convenient to have a list of all my day's finds in the calendar. When you click "Found" on the compass screen, it automatically saves the cache ID into the calendar... so I have a very nice list of the codes for logging purposes.

 

I don't *always* use the "next nearest cache" feature, but I quite often do. It's a pretty handy feature for my purposes. If I'm not going to search for the next one, all I have to do is click "Stop," and that's that. No biggie.

 

You can indeed load the hints into the "Note" field, if you have a little savvy with GSAK. It restricts you to 30 characters, I believe, but more often than not, it's enough of the hint that you can figure out what it's saying.

 

Anyway... I find this mode quite useful, personally.

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You can indeed load the hints into the "Note" field, if you have a little savvy with GSAK. It restricts you to 30 characters, I believe, but more often than not, it's enough of the hint that you can figure out what it's saying.

 

Anyway... I find this mode quite useful, personally.

Better yet, is loading the hints as POI entries. That gives you 88 characters, which will handle most hints.

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