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iPhone 3G and Geocaching


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With the new 3G iPhone just a few days away, I'm curious if anyone is thinking about switching to it for their primary caching rig.

 

I know CacheMate is not getting ported, but with the built in GPS and web functionality, I can't help but think it's not even an issue now.

 

I'm seriously thinking about it, even though my phone is about 4 months away from upgrade status. Anyone else giving it the eye?

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I will be getting the iPhone when it first comes out. The best part about it is that I lost my GPS a few months back while I was mountain biking and haven't bought a new one yet. I was hoping a company would come out with some software that allows you to go geocaching with the iPhone. I don't see why it would be difficult to program. So I have my fingers crossed.

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With the new 3G iPhone just a few days away, I'm curious if anyone is thinking about switching to it for their primary caching rig.

 

I know CacheMate is not getting ported, but with the built in GPS and web functionality, I can't help but think it's not even an issue now.

 

I'm seriously thinking about it, even though my phone is about 4 months away from upgrade status. Anyone else giving it the eye?

You're going to have to shell out extra bucks for a GPS-style point-to-point navigation application, assuming Apple allows one to be sold. I know TomTom wants to sell their own navigation software for the iPhone, but I don't know if that will work, or if you'll still be stuck with on-road navigation.

 

Besides, the idea of using something as fragile and non-waterproof as an iPhone as a geocaching device... well, consider yourself warned. Don't be surprised if your insurance company laughs at you when you try to make a claim.

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You're going to have to shell out extra bucks for a GPS-style point-to-point navigation application, assuming Apple allows one to be sold. I know TomTom wants to sell their own navigation software for the iPhone, but I don't know if that will work, or if you'll still be stuck with on-road navigation.

 

Besides, the idea of using something as fragile and non-waterproof as an iPhone as a geocaching device... well, consider yourself warned. Don't be surprised if your insurance company laughs at you when you try to make a claim.

 

That was actually my prime concern. Of course, I always bring my Blackberry with me when I'm caching, as well as my PalmIIIxe for cachemate. Or course, at $16 on eBay, that one's disposable. :ph34r:

 

I hadn't heard about the lack of point to point navigation. That is one drawback, if it's true.

 

At $199 for the 8gb, though, it's quite a bit cheaper than a lot of GPSr units out there, and my ancient Magellan 315 just can't compare.

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Lindsay and I both have the iPhone. And I'm not sure that you could use it as a geocaching GPS quite yet. I haven't tinkered with the GPS as much as some people probably have. From what I have seen...in my five minutes on messing with it...it looks like any other automobile GPS receiver with how it snaps you to a road. But only time will tell.

 

What I have been looking for is a Geocaching App. or something to that effect that actually works so I can do the paperless deal without having to log on to www.geocaching.com every single time. Know of any???

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Lindsay and I both have the iPhone. And I'm not sure that you could use it as a geocaching GPS quite yet. I haven't tinkered with the GPS as much as some people probably have. From what I have seen...in my five minutes on messing with it...it looks like any other automobile GPS receiver with how it snaps you to a road. But only time will tell.

 

What I have been looking for is a Geocaching App. or something to that effect that actually works so I can do the paperless deal without having to log on to www.geocaching.com every single time. Know of any???

 

I've experimented with my new 3G iPhone and compared it both to my Magellan and my Lowrance GPS and I have to say that it's fairly accurate. Not sure how accurate a resolution you can get down to with the built in Google Maps, but I'm going to be experimenting with it to see what can be done.

 

Also it doesn't snap you to a road on Google maps at least, it does follow you when you go off road unlike what my Tom Tom does. And of course even on the Tom Tom if you set it to let it know that you are walking, the 'snapping' to a road will stop and it will accurately track your location.

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Because my GPS has replaceable batteries, I will use it and my old Palm as my primary caching devices. I will use the iPhone (when it is in stock) if I need to see something on the web or to call for a lifeline.

 

Hopefully, I will be able to use it for street navigation to the general area of a cache. Does anyone know if I can put in a lat/lon and then let the iPhone navigate me to it on the road?

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In passing, I note that iGeocacher is not an authorized geocaching software application.

Authorized geocaching software application... That's new to me.

 

Who authorizes what software we use for geocaching?

 

How does a developer get his software authorized for geocaching?

 

What happens if we use software not authorized for geocaching?

 

Thanks!

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I am moving this thread from the Geocaching Topics forum to the GPS and Technology forum.

 

In passing, I note that iGeocacher is not an authorized geocaching software application.

 

iGeocacher isn't mine. I am curious though, what does make a piece of software "authorized"?

 

I am currently playing tag with apple in hopes of getting at least a basic geocaching app out the door. If anyone wants to follow the drama, check out Geopher Lite. I wish apple would have been more clear with their submission guidelines.

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I found a web app that will allow you to enter the lat and lon but to be honest...I can't remember exactly. Go to apple.com and search for iGeoCacher. I do remember it was on the developers website.

iGeoCacher doesn't do that. What it does it take your PQ GPX file, render into HTML pages, with an index (like Spinner does), and makes those pages available on the web. You then use the iPhone's web browser (and air time) to view the GPX data. Similar to what can be done on a Palm, except the Palm can store all the info locally, and you don't need a web connection to view the data.

 

You can do exactly the same thing with Spinner, if you have some personal web space, by just dumping the resulting files onto your web space. Navigate to the main index page, and you're good to go.

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In passing, I note that iGeocacher is not an authorized geocaching software application.

Authorized geocaching software application... That's new to me.

 

Who authorizes what software we use for geocaching?

 

How does a developer get his software authorized for geocaching?

 

What happens if we use software not authorized for geocaching?

 

Thanks!

Can anyone answer this?

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In passing, I note that iGeocacher is not an authorized geocaching software application.

Authorized geocaching software application... That's new to me.

 

Who authorizes what software we use for geocaching?

 

How does a developer get his software authorized for geocaching?

 

What happens if we use software not authorized for geocaching?

 

Thanks!

Can anyone answer this?

 

I just did the search for igeocacher on the apple website. My interpretation of that site along with the question about authorized software question is that the authorized software is in reference to Apple authoirozing the software to be allowed to be sold or distributed through iTunes. As some of you know, developers had to submit and get approval to have their applications distributed through iTunes. It looks like igeocacher was submitted on March 24, 2008 for what approval process it needed. It is likley still in the process of being approved but just didn't make the first cut.

 

There was also one screenshot (that was clear) from the software. I showed the list of caches for an area, but I couldn't tell what coordinates if any it had.

 

Would be interested in other people's thoughts...

 

Tim

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I am moving this thread from the Geocaching Topics forum to the GPS and Technology forum.

 

In passing, I note that iGeocacher is not an authorized geocaching software application.

 

What Keystone is referring to is that in order to use the current iGeoCacher webapp, you have to upload your GPX file to a third party. This is forbidden by the licensing agreement:

 

"Licensee shall not sell, rent, lease, sublicense, lend, assign, time-share, or transfer, in whole or in part, or provide access to the Data, Related Materials, any updates, or Licensee's rights under this Agreement to any third party whatsoever."

 

They've approved some applications for use with GPX files shown here.

 

http://www.geocaching.com/waypoints/

 

Like it or not, when you create a geocache and upload it to geocaching.com, they own the information and you are technically bound to the T&C's though I can't see them enforcing this. There would be a revolt.

 

But all this doesn't really matter as in the near future there will be native iPhone 2.0 apps that will let you store GPX files locally on the phone (like Cachemate for the Palm) be it a new iGeoCacher or other native program (there will likely be many to choose from). It wont matter if these apps are "authorized" or not. They'll never know what you are using locally.

 

-Tony

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I am moving this thread from the Geocaching Topics forum to the GPS and Technology forum.

 

In passing, I note that iGeocacher is not an authorized geocaching software application.

 

I was thinking about this more, and there might be more to being "authorized". Groundspeak owns the GPX format and the license agreement states:

 

"Licensee shall not reverse engineer, decompile, or disassemble the Groundspeak-compatible data format(s) in an attempt to duplicate the proprietary and copyright-protected Groundspeak data model(s) and/or export format(s)."

 

IANAL, so perhaps programs that use the GPX data format require Groundspeak's permission to be legally legit? Do the "authorized" apps pay some royalties to Groundspeak for the usage of the GPX format? I don't know.

 

-Tony

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I am moving this thread from the Geocaching Topics forum to the GPS and Technology forum.

 

In passing, I note that iGeocacher is not an authorized geocaching software application.

 

I was thinking about this more, and there might be more to being "authorized". Groundspeak owns the GPX format and the license agreement states:

 

"Licensee shall not reverse engineer, decompile, or disassemble the Groundspeak-compatible data format(s) in an attempt to duplicate the proprietary and copyright-protected Groundspeak data model(s) and/or export format(s)."

 

IANAL, so perhaps programs that use the GPX data format require Groundspeak's permission to be legally legit? Do the "authorized" apps pay some royalties to Groundspeak for the usage of the GPX format? I don't know.

 

-Tony

 

I think the intent of GPX files is to get the information for individual use. I think the big problem is distributing GPX files to other people -- other than that agreement, Groundspeak has no way of stopping someone from just downloading all of their data via GPX files and creating their own site or selling this data. Reading the license, that appears to be the intent.

 

As for having to have Groundspeak's official approval, I'd love to know that as well. I don't think they require royalties since the GPX file format is freely available and (from what I have seen) an attempt to create a standard for this data.

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I was thinking about this more, and there might be more to being "authorized". Groundspeak owns the GPX format and the license agreement states:

I don't know where you got the idea that Groundspeak "owns" the GPX format, but it's incorrect. It was originally developed by Topografix, but it is an open format, and is "owned" by no one.

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With regard to Authorized by Groundspeak, if the geocaching application uses the Groundspeak cache icons and other Groundspeak logos etc then it needs to be okayed by them, specifically Brian. I had to get permission for my Open-Source geocaching app GPSTurbo from them in order to use their icons and logo.

 

If anyone out there with a iPhone development license wants to help I would love to get it running on an iPhone.

 

Cheers,

Kevin

911turbos

http://code.google.com/p/gpsturbo/

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I was thinking about this more, and there might be more to being "authorized". Groundspeak owns the GPX format and the license agreement states:

I don't know where you got the idea that Groundspeak "owns" the GPX format, but it's incorrect. It was originally developed by Topografix, but it is an open format, and is "owned" by no one.

 

Thanks for that. I can see that now:

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GPX_(data_transfer)

 

What gave me the idea about Groundspeak "owning" it is from their licensing requirements that I previously quoted:

 

"Licensee shall not reverse engineer, decompile, or disassemble the Groundspeak-compatible data format(s) in an attempt to duplicate the proprietary and copyright-protected Groundspeak data model(s) and/or export format(s)."

 

Assuming that the "Groundspeak-compatible data format" is in fact GPX, how do you interpret the above? Could the Groundspeak data models contained within a GPX file be protected? Maybe the above is not referring to GPX at all? I don't know.

 

-Tony

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Lindsay and I both have the iPhone. And I'm not sure that you could use it as a geocaching GPS quite yet. I haven't tinkered with the GPS as much as some people probably have. From what I have seen...in my five minutes on messing with it...it looks like any other automobile GPS receiver with how it snaps you to a road. But only time will tell.

 

I haven't posted in the forums in ages. I have checked on locator positioning and mine doesn't force a snap to road. It shows me exactly where I am. I can go in my back yard and it shows my position away from the road.

 

I found a web app that will allow you to enter the lat and lon but to be honest...I can't remember exactly. Go to apple.com and search for iGeoCacher. I do remember it was on the developers website.

 

You don't need any kind of app to set a lat and lon position in the maps application. Just use a decimal degree location. I just used:

 

41.63757 -80.15465

 

and it put the pin exactly where it should be. That function has always been in the Maps app.

 

I turn on hybrid and I get a realistic view of what the roads and terrain should be. For basic caching you really don't need anything else.

Edited by avaloncourt
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Anyone here try iGeocacher? Seems you have to buy it in order to use it.

 

I was using a Blackberry Curve for a bit and ended up buying Cacheberry. GREAT GREAT paperless caching app, IMHO. Loved how I could sort by those caches that were near me, since the Curve has it's own GPS chipset.

 

I had a 1st gen iPhone and used PQView which is OK. The problem lies when you are deep in the mountains and there's no signal. No signal, no queries, hence my hesitation on iGeocacher. This is why I liked Cacheberry, I could load the GPX files into my memory card very easily.

 

I'm waiting for a similar app on the iPhone 2.0 firmware.

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Interesting stuff. I'm caught on the horns of dilemma right now, though.

 

My Magellan GPS315 crapped out last night. I will be 'upgrade eligible' for the iPhone in October, and if it's possible for it to be a valid geocaching tool, I'd be willing to wait. At $199 I wouldn't be able to get anything else as flexible for less.

 

With the 315 all I would get is basic direction and distance to the cash, without any maps or directions or anything else. Is this something the iPhone would be able to do now, even if I have to manually enter the coordinates of the cache?

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I'm intrigued about the iPhone's potential for casual caching, but would you really want it to be your main caching GPS? Where I live, it rains, and I cache in the rain. Google iphone water damage - you'll see that the first generation, at least, is highly susceptible to even moderate dampness. There is in fact a sensor that will tell Apple that you got it wet, and you can forget about any warranty repair/replacement. That $200/$300 phone will cost you at least $400/$500 to replace. (I'm also guessing that the iPhone will be less tolerant of being dropped than a ruggedized handheld GPS.) Doesn't seem like a very good idea to me.

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...With the 315 all I would get is basic direction and distance to the cache, without any maps or directions or anything else. Is this something the iPhone would be able to do now, even if I have to manually enter the coordinates of the cache?

Yes, sort of. You can enter coords into the map application and it will drop a push-pin icon onto that spot, and while it's tracking you it will show your location as a pulsing blue dot.

 

Close-in map resolution isn't great though, and I haven't yet seen a shipping app that can really give good caching functionality. Posimotion might have what a cacher wants, but I haven't played with their apps yet.

 

http://www.posimotion.com/

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I hope I'm not wandering off topic here, but several folks have mentioned the price of the iPhone as "$199" and mentioned that at that price they can't get anything more flexible.

 

The problem is that the cost of the phone is actually more like $440. How do I get that number? To go buy the new item, I will have to sign a fresh two-year contract at $10 per month MORE than what I am paying now. Glad to do so for the added speed, of course, but that is $240 added to the $200 for the phone. Or $540 if I go for the upper-level model. Other monthly charges stay about the same as what I am paying now, even though most other carriers have plans with prices going down.

 

They got us! We are all walking around talking about this $200 phone, when in fact they simply let us out the door for $200 but they collect $440 over the two years. Smoooooth one Apple!

 

<_<

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I hope I'm not wandering off topic here
You are, but so what?

 

...folks have mentioned the price of the iPhone as "$199" ... when in fact they simply let us out the door for $200 but they collect $440 over the two years...
And again I say, so what? Do you think any "free" phone ("with required two year service contract") was really free? Or are you saying the price is too high (compared against comparably-featured phones with unlimited data plans)?

 

But being off topic, maybe those should be considered rhetorical questions.

 

Getting back on topic - how do you like your iPhone? Ued it for gecaching or any remotely related endeavour yet?

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Close-in map resolution isn't great though, and I haven't yet seen a shipping app that can really give good caching functionality. Posimotion might have what a cacher wants, but I haven't played with their apps yet.

 

Returning to this topic, I just looked again and see that G-Spot (great name, huh?) isn't even shipping yet.

 

Posimotion: http://www.posimotion.com/index.php?argv=gspot

iTunes App Store: http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore...re?id=284901039

 

Not an overall caching solution, but looks like a simple seek and ye shall find tool. No more than pointer, distance, and coordinate display.

 

But Posimotion's other app, G-Park -- looks a bit daft. Recalling someone else's gripe about Apple's approval process, I'm not sure how this one got in. Push a button to mark your spot, go away, then push a button to get directions back to that spot? You can already do that in the Map application without any extra tools, an G-Park USES the Map app to display directions.

Edited by lee_rimar
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Yes, sort of. You can enter coords into the map application and it will drop a push-pin icon onto that spot, and while it's tracking you it will show your location as a pulsing blue dot.

 

Close-in map resolution isn't great though, and I haven't yet seen a shipping app that can really give good caching functionality. Posimotion might have what a cacher wants, but I haven't played with their apps yet.

 

http://www.posimotion.com/

 

I tried some urban micro caches with my iPhone today. It isn't very efficient. Even with 3G, I had to wait a bit for info to come up on the Geocaching.com page, then I'd type the cache coords into the map program to have it locate the cache with a "pin". As previously mentioned, it does accurately locate the pin, and you can see your position (the blue ball) move right up to the pin - but without knowing X feet to cache and the accuracy of the GPS (i.e. accurate within 10' or whatever), it was hard to tell if I was right on the correct location or not. Certainly, a traditional cache may have been easier to find (than a micro). I found 1 of 3 that I searched for. Muggles made a through search of one area difficult. I wish I had my Garmin 60csx along to compare the accuracy...

 

As for durability, I saw heavy duty cases - even water proof - on a website. Search under OtterBox Armor iPhone cases.

 

I am hoping a good native app comes out soon for Geocaching with the iPhone. I don't expect it to replace my Garmin, but I would like it to replace my Palm (using Cachemate) now. I contacted the iGeoCacher developer - he hopes to have his new native app out in about one month. I looked at Posimotion's apps--they don't seem very useful for caching. But maybe I am missing something.

 

Then, if only I could bluetooth Cache coords from the iPhone to the Garmin, I'd really be set.

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I'm new to geocaching (actually, I've been fascinated with the sport since it originated, but haven't owned a GPS of my own until now, so couldn't really do it), and after getting an iPhone 3G, gave it a shot today. Here are my impressions...

 

I hit 5 caches, found them all, all urban/suburban, with one being a multi ending 3 miles up the canyon out of town. So most were within 3G or EDGE range, with only one being in a "no service" area.

 

My technique was to look on the website to find caches I wanted. Then I entered the coordinates into Map's search field, using the format "40 00.000,-105 00.000", and pinned them. Then I bookmarked the pin with the name and code of the cache.

 

For the one I suspected of being out of service, I actually took a few screenshots of the Map program's views. Map's satellite view is probably one of the best parts of the iPhone/Geocaching combination. I actually found one cache because I could actually see the individual bush it was hidden under! Note, to take a screenshot on the 3G, press and hold the home button, and then tap the "lock" button on top. The screen will flash white, and you'll have a screenshot saved to the "photos" app. I took several zoom level screenshots before leaving the in service area.

 

In general, everything went well. The out of service area cache was tricky, but my screenshots were very helpful, and the GPS still positioned me, just with no downloaded maps. Not having a "distance" or heading was annoying, but honestly, not a big deal for these "on the beaten path" caches.

 

All in all, I had a great time with my iPhone today. I found all the caches I had set out to find (nearly gave up on two, but stuck with it, and found them). The phone gave me all the info I needed. I only used a single scrap of paper to write down a few coords, because of the lack of copy/paste. No printouts necessary. I had a cup of coffee at a coffee shop after I was done, and sat leisurely browsing the geocaching website on 3G, updating my day's progress, filling out my log entries, tracking my trackables, etc.

 

So anyway, for urban/suburban caching, the iPhone was great. 3G meant browsing the site and updating logs, checking hints, etc, was seamless and pleasant. Maps isn't very sophisticated, but the satellite imagery was a huge help (if you have cell service), and the pins/bookmarks were handy and simple to use. Maps automatically interprets a number of coords formats, so it was quick to type in coords as given by the website by default.

 

If someone were to make a geocaching program, here are some things I would love for it to have, and would probably pay for (and that, based on my limited knowledge of the iphone SDK and terms and conditions, would be theoretically possible).

 

1. Automatically fetching the details of a cache. Type in the cache code, and it downloads and saves to the iPhone the coords, description, hints, and first x logs.

2. Clicking on the coords would take you to those coords in the Maps program.

3. If possible, perhaps it could automatically grab screenshots of a few zoom levels of satellite imagery for that location and save them within the program (may be banned by the SDK terms).

4. Add notes to the cache entry from within the program. After finding, submit a log entry from the program itself (after coming back into service, of course).

5. Show heading and distance to currently tracking cache. This would be handy for out of service areas. Saving a few intermediary waypoints would be very nice as well.

6. Allow you to take a photograph from within the application (or even pick one from the photo roll), and associate with the cache, for automatic uploading along with your log entry.

 

Thats about all for my little wishlist. :rolleyes: Hopefully that helps, even if it is just a little information from a newbie cacher.

 

-Sam

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Oo oo, I've got another few for my "wishlist".

 

7. Use "location services" to quickly view caches nearby. This would be similar to the "near me" functionality of programs like Twinkle. Say I'm in a city traveling on business (like I do sometimes). I could just hit the near-me button and find a few sneaky urban caches to hit between meetings. A setable radius of 5 to 100 miles would be great.

 

I think the iPhone, while not a backpacker's delight, will probably be a godsend to a lot of urban cachers, because of its high-rez satellite imagery, and accuracy even in tight city environments because of the wifi and cell tower assists on the GPS.

 

I imagine it would be very difficult to make the iPhone replace a "real" GPSr for backcountry caching, but for anywhere with cellphone coverage, I can see it taking over very quickly. Just a few added features and you could become an urban caching maniac, even in a new and unfamiliar city.

 

-Sam

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Great post, phidauex, and welcome to the site. I hope you find the hobby worth-while now that you have a GPS to start with.

 

I think that number 7 is the big one for me. Currently, there's no easy way to get my current coordinates and find caches that are nearby. The idea of Geocaching seems to be that it's something that you can do anywhere as long as you have the tools, and the iPhone is a tool that seems made for this. I'd ideally like to either push a button to find caches nearby with location-based services, or enter coordinates for a center-point to search from if for whatever reason I want to set a location manually, then begin browsing the cache pages from there. Having an app that does this, as well as giving you distance, heading and bearing, seems like the most logical place to start before adding those dream features.

 

Taking screenshots before you go into a low-signal area is a great idea, too, since often times Safari will lose the page you're on, or you won't have access to those high-resolution Google Maps images. I think something else that might come in handy for people is to be able to pick multiple caches and set pinpoints on the map for them all at once, so that you can set a route for yourself.

 

Lastly, I have a tip for you to allow you to lose that pesky scrap of paper. If you browse to the cache page on Geocaching.com using the Safari browser on the iPhone, then you can click a link to pinpoint the cache in Google Maps without having to manually enter the coordinates. Go to the cache page and click on the Google Maps link about half-way down the page. It's the third link from the top in the list above the logs.

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Use "location services" to quickly view caches nearby ... A setable radius of 5 to 100 miles would be great.
Using location services to find something within walking distance is cool. But for a user-selected radius of 5-100 miles, you could enter the zip code of your starting point as fast than the app could get a fix :rolleyes:
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Did everybody see TUAW's article on geocaching with the iPhone 3G? Overall, it was pretty good, but they made the same mistake this person did:

 

I had to wait a bit for info to come up on the Geocaching.com page, then I'd type the cache coords into the map program to have it locate the cache with a "pin".

 

On the Geocaching.com page, just scroll down to the "For online maps..." section and tap "Google Maps" (not the "Geocaching.com Google Map). It will automatically open the Maps application and put a little pin with the coordinates. It's much faster and easier than typing in the coordinates.

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I purchased PosiMotion's G-Spot application for $1.99 to test it out. Here's a screenshot.

web.jpg

I tested it side-by-side with my 60CSx, which gave the coordinates as "N 39.88642 W 084.17532" and the elevation as 291 meters. The difference between the coordinates on the two devices comes out to 35 feet, while the elevation differs by 61 meters.

 

Currently there are no settings to change the format/units of the coordinates and distance, so I had to change the settings on my 60CSx to compare them side-by-side.

 

Note: This is very much a preliminary test of a very-early GPS application for the iPhone. Using it in different areas may give better/worse results, and it's possible that the accuracy of the iPhone's GPS capabilities will improve with firmware updates and better apps. The 17-meter accuracy doesn't look all that great for geocaching (there really wasn't much tree/building cover at all), so I hope it improves. I agree that using the Google Maps satellite imagery could do a decent job of getting you close enough to hunt caches.

 

I'll keep testing this and other GPS/geocaching apps, as I still hope the iPhone becomes the incredible geocaching tool I envisioned when it was announced.

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So far I have used the iPhone 3G to find two caches. It is a bit limited with the google maps zoom levels and current inability to list coordinates but some software is in the works. If you match up the pin needle and your gps dot it gets you where you need to go.

 

I do not know if this is an official approved application but here is one developer trying to make a geocaching iphone app,

 

http://geopherlite.blogspot.com/

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I'm brand new to Geocaching. Have only been on four hunts. Have only found one cache. The iPhone's GPS is pretty good. However, don't expect to do a lot of hunting in one day as the battery can drain fairly fast (especially when also using 3G to check the website).

 

To be honest, though, I find myself wanting to buy a dedicated GPSr. My two big issues with the iphone is that 1) the screen gets all finger printed up and is hard to read in direct sunlight, 2) it takes a few seconds (sometimes longer) for the GPS to lock on when turning the screen back on or loading Maps back up (whereas a normal GPSr pretty much always keeps your position - assuming you don't turn the unit off). [other small complaint is that I'm often fearful of dropping the iphone or getting it scratched up - but I can't really complain too much since, like as has been pointed out, I could buy an Otterbox]

 

On the BIG plus side, it's really awesome to have a single unit that does it all and fits in a pocket very well. I wouldn't have found out about geocaching without the iphone. Like other people have said, once someone makes an app for the iphone that'll search for nearby caches I think the iphone will be a big favorite of geocachers. [i think the only thing a person would need then is a car charger, an Otterbox, and a software update that'll keep the GPS lock better.]

 

I think I'll try to borrow my dad's GPS to see if it keeps a lock better than my iphone. The iphone is pretty darn accurate, but it does seem to have a harder time around trees than I think a good GPSr would. Anyone have experience with a dedicated GPSr and an iphone? How do the locks compare? Sometimes I feel conspicuous as I wait for the iphone to lock back on my location. Plus, I think people would look at me less strangely if I were holding a GPS unit instead of a shinny black camera phone. I worry that people might think I'm taking pictures of them or their kids. I'm a respectable looking guy, but I don't want to worry anyone.

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We (my girlfriend and I) started Geocaching yesterday. Watching 90's tech on the History channel, Geocaching was mentioned in a factoid before the commercials. Having an iPhone 3G in my pocket, I thought "Hey, that sounds neat". I logged onto geocaching.com from my phone, created an account and found the nearest cache to be in the park across the street from our apartment. We got up off the couch and walked over to the park. We walked until our little blue dot was on our little red pin. We found ourselves standing in front of a piece of (ugly) industrial art. Within minutes we found a small magnetic box containing nothing more than a log book - we're hooked. We found two more caches last night with pin point accuracy - it was great.

 

Tonight we went for another. Unlike yesterday, tonight's cache was under a heavy tree canopy. The iPhone got us close but not close enough. We have no doubt that during the day, with a little more time to hunt around in the bushes, we can find the cache with nothing more than the iPhone.

 

I doubt serious hikers would be satisfied with the iPhone as their primary geocaching weapon of choice. On the other hand, if I didn't have the phone in my pocket, I wouldn't have started geocaching. I imagine that in the future we'll be getting a dedicated GPSr for planned hunts in the woods. For spontaneous geocaching though - I always have the phone in my pocket.

 

Seasoned geocachers be warned; for better or worse, I would expect an influx of newbies with iPhones, especially if an app is released on the app store (I can't wait for an app).

 

For our part; thanks for the great sport - we look forward to respectfully participating for many years to come - it's nice to be off the couch.

Edited by Steamie
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Good news for those who have been waiting for a Geocaching app! It looks like slycrel's app, Geopher Lite, has been approved and added to the App store! My thanks and congratulations to you, sir. I'll be buying this app (the first one I've purchased so far) and trying it out later. The inclusion of a compass and distance to target should make for an easier time locating those caches than just Google Maps, so everyone check this out and let's get some feedback going.

 

Link requires iTunes: http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore...258963&mt=8

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