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How do YOU plan your route?


Fluxuated
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I've been in the hobby, for just under 1 month now, and having a blast. I'm eager to see how other Geocachers plan their routes. Here's how I do mine.

 

I load up GSAK, filter the types of cache's I want to find, and Export to Microsoft's Streets and Trips. The I import those cache's. I Select them, and add them as stops, then I Optimize those stops and create a route.

 

How do others do it? I'm looking for a way to cover the most area in the least amount of time. Now Obviously, I know there will be limitations, such as terrain, but I'm always open to learning new tricks, from people that know.

 

Thanks.

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I'm a platinum member, so I have "people" who plan my routes for me.

 

Back when I was a normal premium member, I followed the concept of "destination caches" and "route caches." First, from my GSAK database, I would select targets for the trip, such as an outstanding individual cache, or a bike trail, or a state park with several caches, etc. I locate these on the map and tie together the destination caches with a route, using Mapsource and nRoute. Then, I look for caches that are right along the way -- suburban parks, cemeteries, shopping centers, and so forth. While I wouldn't drive 100 miles to find a cemetery cache, I will happily stop off for one if it's right on the way to my destination.

 

Your method, with optimizing a route among selected waypoints in Streets & Trips, is one of the most efficient methods available. Good job to be up to speed with that so quickly after discovering the hobby.

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I've been in the hobby, for just under 1 month now, and having a blast. I'm eager to see how other Geocachers plan their routes. Here's how I do mine.

 

I load up GSAK, filter the types of cache's I want to find, and Export to Microsoft's Streets and Trips. The I import those cache's. I Select them, and add them as stops, then I Optimize those stops and create a route.

 

How do others do it? I'm looking for a way to cover the most area in the least amount of time. Now Obviously, I know there will be limitations, such as terrain, but I'm always open to learning new tricks, from people that know.

 

Thanks.

For long distance routes, I pull a caches-along-a-route PQ. For simply planning a day's caching, I pretty much do it the same as you do.

  1. Dump my PQs into GSAK.
  2. Delete caches that didn't show up on the most recent PQ and caches that may be missing (have several recent DNFs).
  3. Export a copy of the .gpx file. Load those caches to my GPSr as POI.
  4. Delete high-concentration areas that I know that I won't visit that weekend. That way they don't get counted in Plucker's 'high density' list when I choose my target area. (I'll still want these caches in my database for the next download. That's why I saved the .gpx file first.)
  5. Export to MS S&T and html.
  6. Use Sunrise Desktop to convert the html for my pda. Sync the pda.
  7. Take a look at the html to see where the high density areas are (unless I have a specific target area in mind).
  8. Import the caches to MS S&T or MapPoint. (MapPoint allows me to import the caches with a different thumbtack for different cache types, sizes, terrain, or difficulty. This is handy to give you a really good idea of what's available.)
  9. Zoom in to the target area and choose the target caches for the route. Optimize the stops.
  10. I then zoom in tight on the route and manually adjust the order of the caches. MapPoint (and S&T) doesn't really understand that to find three caches in a park (or shopping center, if you're into that) doesn't require you to enter from three different streets. Therefore, it makes the routs a bit overly convoluted.
  11. When I'm satisfied with the route, I print it off as a strip map. (Actually, I often print two of them. One stays at home, just in case.)

Edited by sbell111
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For anything within 75 miles of me, I do a simple PQ along the route and the area I am heading to. I load the 10 or so results into my GPS and go find 4 or 5 of them. Can't repeat the trip too often or there will be nothing to hunt. Anything within 30 miles is a load of the 1 or 2 caches that just popped up - I go find them.

 

For longer trips, I use caches along a route and PQs to try and get caches I will like along my journey.

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I have gone to using the polygon filter more and more in GSAK. After importing the PQ(s) for "caches on a route" into GSAK, I use MS Streets & Trips "tools > location sensor" get the coords for my filter. (this method means no more searching for caches to select points, no more missing caches where the route wanders) Then, load GPSrs and Cachemate.

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I have gone to using the polygon filter more and more in GSAK. After importing the PQ(s) for "caches on a route" into GSAK, I use MS Streets & Trips "tools > location sensor" get the coords for my filter. (this method means no more searching for caches to select points, no more missing caches where the route wanders) Then, load GPSrs and Cachemate.

Have you tried using S&T to plot the route out initially?? Then use Babel to convert it to a KML file for the caches along a route feature?

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I just use the google geocaching map at the bottom of the cache page and work along the route read all the cache pages picking the ones I want to do. Print twice as many as I need then go for it.

Seeing as I cover the same area most trips I don't end up having to read too many pages any more just the new ones in the area.

 

My only problem is working in soved puzzles which obviously show up in the wrong spot.

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For a normal day's caching I do the following:

 

-- PQs go into GSAK

-- Filter out inactive caches, caches with four straight DNFs, etc

-- Export into Mapsource

-- Browse around and pick the area I want to attack for the day. Further filter out ones I know I don't want.

-- Export from Mapsource into the GPS

-- Copy the original PQ to the PDA and import into Cachemate.

 

For a special route I'll do the "Caches Along a Route" feature of the website, dump the results into a separate GSAK database, and then filter as needed before exporting to the GPSr.

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I too use the geocaching google maps. I set up a bookmark list then examing possible routes. I then look at the caches along the route that may suite my interests (I like to hit a mix of caches when traveling) and bookmark them. Finally, I process teh bookmark list as a PQ and load it into my PDA and GPSr. The process could probably be automated in GSAK, but I don't mind picking my route as I plan and planning detours that could be interesting.

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Have you tried using S&T to plot the route out initially?? Then use Babel to convert it to a KML file for the caches along a route feature?

 

A couple times when caching locally, I transferred the caches into S&T, then asked for an optimized route. I did better just looking at the map and locations, then putting the caches into the order I wanted to hit them. A shorter route and better road choices that way.

 

When on the job, I know the routes I normally use and the alternatives as well. (Comes from running in the same area all the time.) One of the advantages of the poly filter is I can effortlessly include the alternative routes in the filter as well.

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Gosh, I feel so inadequate!!

 

Most often, I find a cache that I want to discover, then look for all nearby caches that I haven't found. I grab a scrap of paper and handwrite on it the name, waypoint, difficulty, terrain, and size (and maybe the hint if I think I'll need it). I'll either write down the coords or use the Send to Garmin feature.

 

I MIGHT do a PQ and load it into EasyGPS or GSAK, but just to save time.

 

These methods have served me for over 1000 finds. True, maybe some of these more sophisticated methods might have found more in less time, but my simple methods do work, thank goodness! My workdays are complicated enough... I like my time off to be simpler than that.

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First, I load enough strategically located PQs so that I get the entire state. Then I filter out Archived or Disabled caches, next filter out caches with Last 2 DNFs.

 

Then I usually pick a starting point, load 500-600 caches centered on that area, and go after the starting point. Then I hit "found" in the GPSr, and go after whichever one comes up next. I follow the next nearest cache until I am through for the day (when kids or wife start bichin').

 

I get 30+ in an afternoon in a cache rich area, and have a great time. I probably could do more if I went alone, but the family being there makes muggles and cops ignore us.

Edited by Okiebryan
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Gosh, I feel so inadequate!!

 

Most often, I find a cache that I want to discover, then look for all nearby caches that I haven't found. I grab a scrap of paper and handwrite on it the name, waypoint, difficulty, terrain, and size (and maybe the hint if I think I'll need it). I'll either write down the coords or use the Send to Garmin feature.

 

I MIGHT do a PQ and load it into EasyGPS or GSAK, but just to save time.

 

These methods have served me for over 1000 finds. True, maybe some of these more sophisticated methods might have found more in less time, but my simple methods do work, thank goodness! My workdays are complicated enough... I like my time off to be simpler than that.

Even though I gave a long list of steps that I take to prepare for a day's caching, more often I am out and about doing something else when I discover that I have a little free time. On those occasions, I just grab my GPSr and pda and find the closest cache. If I still have time after that, I find the next closest one until I run out of free time.

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