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Downloading hints directly into GPS unit


bikercr

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What the best way to download brief geocache hints directly into a GPS such as the Garmin GPSMAP 60SCx? There's a tiny comment box for waypoints that doesn't allow enough characters (maybe 30 or so) for a decent hint or description of the cache location. Is there some other way to do this other than carrying around a PDA or multiple sheets of paper? It would be way handier to have the info right in the GPS device itself.

Edited by bikercr
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My predecessors have mentioned customized POI's. They're essentially waypoints that get downloaded into your GPS as POI's. They get stored on your data card and each waypoint holds 44 characters in the title and 88 characters in the description/comment/hint field.

 

To download waypoints en masse it helps to be a premium member so you can get the 500-waypoint files. GSAK is used to customized each waypoint, such as knocking off the "GC" part of the waypoint and adding abbreviations to the waypoint in order to quickly 'read' a cache as to it's difficulty/terrain levels, if it has a TB, last four visits, etc... It does a lot more!

 

However, for a handful of caches at a time, you can do all this manually without PQs or GSAK.

 

Use MapSource to label the waypoint name and add whatever comments you want. Remember the 44/88 rule or it'll crop off information. When you're done with the waypoints, save the file with a unique name and as a .gpx file. Save it in a folder that don't have other .gpx files or they'll all get downloaded together. Use POILoader, a free program available at garmin.com, to download the .gpx file(s) into your GPS as a POI file. The .gpx files will be listed in your GPS Find menu under "Customized Points of Interest". Remember that you need a data card to download these POI waypoints.

 

If you want unique icons associated with each .gpx file, use MS Paint or other similar program to create .bmp files. The icon should not be bigger than 20X20 pixels. Name the .bmp file the exact same name as the .gpx file you want to associate it with and save it in the same folder as the .gpx file. The POILoader will load everything up together. I use a yellow box with a black centered dot for my caches; an orange/black-dot box for benchmarks, etc... you get the picture. I think the default icon is a boring gray dot.

 

EasyGPS and other third party software that can create .gpx files should work as well, but I've only tried MapSource and know it works well.

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