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Nokia N95 good enough? or get dedicated unit

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Hi All,

first time posting on this forum, so please be gentle with me !


We had a go at Geocaching for the first time this evening, and found two out of four we looked for.

We were using Tomtom One to get in the general area and then my trusty Nokia N95 and the geocache navigator software.


The problem was that the indicator kept jumping from 16ft away to 32ft away, and also from left to right (on the radar type screen) we must have looked a sight wandering back and forth. LOL


My nokia is running the latest firmware and gets a fix in a few seconds when using Nokia maps, I feel confident that we were in the right area of the two caches we didn't find, but i'm wondering wether getting a dedicated unit would provide a definate locked on signal.


We are going on a family holiday in the UK soon and this would be a fantastic bonus to get us moving after dinner !


I'm happy to spend about £100 on a unit, new or via ebay. I quite fancy the idea of a radar type screen to follow. Also do any of them have the ability to download road/google maps on a nice coloured screen like my N95 ?


I know to purist's this may seem like a dumbing down question, but like i said, i'm a complete noob at this!

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I use an N95 and it's fine - most of the time! I find that I have to use the hints more often than not and often have to return a couple of times.


The great advantage is not having to print out all the cache locations.


Stick with it is my view!


I've got to agree, yes the N95 can have its moments, trees and such like but it is often compensated by the exerlent work of GPS Navigator. Beware if you operate in areas of poor phone reception it can cause the phone to shut down and restart which is frustrating.


I find stopping when walking when I get to within 32' of the cache and standing still often helps find the position. The GPS seems to lag this far behind, depending upon what mood it is in!


I have also got some Garmin Software for route planning, it even goes ping when you pass a Cache and if you set it up right can go direct to caches.


If you are caching in the same area allot of the time consider ViewRangers Software that really helped getting me started. It is top notch but you have ot buy the maps for it and they are specificaly for view ranger :D


Also there is some exelent freeware:



This allows you to put LOTs of Caches in the phones memory and can make them landmarks that show on Nokia Maps :P


I also have a "Compass" Function that gives North from the bearing of the sun. It can help if you are having a dum day. :D


If you are really keen you can download a solarium so you can identify stars on night caches.. :D


Then you can get google maps installed which although data heavy can help. Unfortunatly I have not worked out how to get it to wayppoints on to that (is it possible can any one help? :D ). It will lshow your GPS Postion and eror circle. I am on Orange and for 1 pound you can get unlimited data for the day, great for caching :D.


I used to run Nokia SportsTracker to log my routes as this you can show on google earth when you got home. I stopped when I could see how many worng turns I took :D


Plus when doing Multi's you can take photos of key Items to refer to later although this often shuts Geocache Navigator down.


Finaly if you have not already downloaded it there is some essential software called "Lightsabre" its absoltutly no use for caching but is great fun! :D


As you can read in my recent thread, I have not bothered with a Cache bag just my N95 and a pen normally...


Downside is battery life 4 hours max (no phone calls), I charge mine every time I drive anywhere in the car. Also turning phone of turning off Bluetooth, Wirless scanning and 3G to Dual does help although slow data transfer not noticable on Geocache Navigator but if you are using your phone as a modem it is!


I have done a 8 hour day caching by turning of the GPS using a map then turning on to home in on the cache, irritating but I did get lots of caches over a large area :ph34r:


If you want any more help just mail me, particulalry if it comes to finding free :D software... I can proberbly help...


If any one else knows of good caching software my phone still has one or 2 bites of memory I am trying to fill...


I would call my self an N95 Addict but in truth I am waitng for the N96 :D



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Agree with the above. Stick with it. If the time comes that you feel you want more features then would the time to look for a dedicated unit. If you're happy with it, stay with it.


Personally speaking, my only gripe is that mine takes yonks (10 minutes) to get a fix. Once it's got it, it's fine.


Also if you want to go caching abroad, and you use the Trimble cache navigator software then I'd be very wary about roaming data costs. Check with your service provider what they are first!

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I love the N95 get to the location using st nav and then use n95 saves loads on paper and ink and environmentally friendly. It took me a while to get used to it and yes the compass jumping gets on my nerves but the ability to put in coords and then use the gps facility has proved to be invaluable when pin pointing difficult caches.


Stick with it of course the other great thing is the camera for taking pics too

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"I would call my self an N95 Addict but in truth I am waitng for the N96"

Me too, N95 veteran with over 150 post on the "all about symbian" N95 forum, where this exact subject has been discussed (geocaching).


In ideal situations (good weather, clear views etc) how close to a cache would an N95 get me. and on the other hand how far out could it be?


We went to look for one last night that had a hidden rating of 2, and couldn't find it

the other one we went looking for twice and that also had a hidden rating of 2.


On the other hand we did find two, one i think was a mix of local knowledge and a good clue. but N95 only got us to within 50ft or so of it.

The other one was a lot closer, about 20ft away.


Is this about right? i just sort of assumed that co-ordinates got you to literally 5 feets or so away.

Thanks for all the advise so far [:)]

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I haven't got an N95 - I use an HTC TyTN II for caching - so I can only talk in general terms about the use of GPS-enabled phones compared to dedicated units. But these are my thoughts.


Pros of caching with phones:


Most of them enable the use of paperless caching software, and can run lots of other goodies. Most GPS units don't do anything besides navigate, some better than others. The ability to run lots of other bells and whistles is fun. :P

Many phones have much nicer and bigger screens than GPS units, great for displaying maps.

You've got internet access and a camera in the same device - I use mine for not only finding caches, but logging them straight away as well.

You tend to always have your phone with you, making it perfect for spontaneous caching expeditions.


Cons of caching with phones:


Battery life is often rather poor - GPS use hammers your battery. If you're out in the wilds for a long time, this could be a big problem. Most dedicated GPS units use AA or AAA batteries, making it easy to carry lots of spares and keeping you free from having to plug in and charge every few hours.

Phones are rarely weatherproof or shock-resistant. Almost all dedicated GPS handhelds are at least rainproof, and many of them can withstand a prolonged dunking in water and a fair bit of dropping. A very important consideration when you're up a mountain or something...

Many phone screens are very hard to read in direct sunlight.


The pros make my TyTN II a lovely caching machine, but the cons are enough for it not to be suitable all the time, and my trusty little Geko 201 (very basic, but very nice) still comes out quite often.


However, don't rush out and spend a fortune unless the cons of phone-based caching are worth the outlay for you personally to resolve...i.e. if all your caching is close to home in good weather, your phone will do just fine all the time.



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Cheers people, thanks for all the advice, it really is appreciated.


Yet more questions


does this mean in optimal conditions the phone will get me as close as a £100 Gps device?


And when in poor conditions, with tree cover ect, would the £100 gps get me closer?




ps going on holiday on Uk canals in a fortnight, and will have limited internet access, but no acces to a printer or such like. (so gathering as much info and knowledge about the subject before i go.


i want to get the family "into" geocaching, so i want to ensure "some sucsseful finds"

This is where i need to know that the phone and geonavigator software will be "man" enough


battery life and data charges not an issue

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Because you have GPS on whilst you're taking photos, all your images can be automatically Geotagged. Team it up with Shozu and you're onto a winner!


GPS cover is better than non-SIRF dedicated units. So yes, I'd say the N95 gives MUCH better signal accuracy than the old Etrexes and the like. It's comparable to a top of the range dedicated unit imo.

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I enjoy using my N95 for caching, but you do have to have a mobile phone signal, in Norfolk we did find the coverage VERY patchy and therefore the Trimble software of little use. However if you have the info on the phone using some of the software mentioned above, it could still be used.


Compared to the Mio PDA, with the N95 you have to stop when close to the cache, say 10 metres or so, then SLOWLY move, the arrow and distance indicator seems to catch up and can be very accurate. At other times it can be a few metres out compared to the Mio even with clear skies (well no tree cover - there has been a lot of cloud cover recently!)

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I haven't got an N95 - I use an HTC TyTN II for caching ...

I just wanted to agree with most of PP's points. I also use a TyTN II. Casual caching is brilliant with it. If I'm on a business trip I'm ready to go and I'll always have it with me for all of the other functionality I use every day, like phone, MS Office, Calendar etc.

I don't find batteries a problem on a long trip because I carry a battery extender, which runs off AA batteries.

The camera (3.1MP) will do in an emergency, but that's about it.

I have an aluminium case to protect my TyTN whilst caching.


I upgraded from a Palm for 5 main reasons:

1. To run Memory Map

2. Internet access

3. A single caching device (that hasn't really proved practical)

4. Wherigo player

5. To run TomTom.


I far prefer using a dedicated GPSr when caching more seriously even though the PDA/phone can do everything.


Also, our area has poor 2G coverage and no 3G coverage, so you can't rely on on-line listings.

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My normal geocaching kit is a HP4150 PDA running Memory Map and Cachemate and a separate bluetooth GPS kept in my pocket.


However yesterday I found myself at a loose end for half an hour so I decided to give my N95 a go. I fired up Trimble Navigator (free) and did a quick search for nearby caches. The was a traditional cache about a mile away and I was able to read the cache page within seconds. Set the phone to point to the cache and went for it.


It is as accurate as any GPS costing between £50 and £350 and got me to within feet of the cache. As it was a sneaky nano I needed the hint (which was available) and I found it quickly.


So, given all the concerns about robustness, water resistance, battery concerns etc. I would probably not rely on it totally. However, without it I would never have been in a position to do any caching that day so I can thoroughly recommend it as a backup unit. If you add Viewranger and some OS maps of areas you frequent you have a truly excellent tool. Add Google maps/satellite photos (free) and you too will be amazed at what a great bit of kit this is.

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Little update on the google maps bit add a position in the regulat format:


N dd mm.mmm E ddd mm.mmm


And you get a waypoint on the saterlit view! Cannot wait to try it todays Caches where out of phone range so no chance there.


Hope this helps some one...

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