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CookCrew

Blackberry Geocachers: BlackStar - new (FREE) geocaching software for the BlackBerry

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Over in the Crackberry forums, a small group of us have been developing and testing a new geocaching application for the BlackBerry. We have named it BlackStar.

 

Centuries ago, explorers used the North Star for navigation, now you can use the BlackStar. OK I am still working on that tag line :ph34r:

 

BlackStar is still in development/Beta testing mode, but has really solidified recently. With BlackStar, you can import GPX and LOC files from your sd card, and the cache details will be stored in the application. You can navigate to the waypoint with a navigation arrow. It also has a compass.

 

Coordinates can be either in dd.ddddd or dd mm.mmm format. It also supports MGRS format coordinates.

 

The price is free, we just ask that while you are using it, if you notice a bug in the app, or can think of a "must have" feature, that you let us know. Only BlackBerry smartphones are supported.

 

I have already found 8 caches using it.

 

While I do not expect it to replace your handheld GPS, it is nice to always have the capabilities on your GPS enablned BlackBerry phone. You may not always have your handheld GPS with you, but you almost always have your phone.

 

Feel free to try it out: http://forums.crackberry.com/f41/applicati...html#post746243

Edited by CookCrew

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Sweet. I'll have to give it a try. Does it uninstall completely if I don't like it?

I have uninstalled and reinstalled many times throughout development and have had no issues with it.

 

But I will admit I am a little confused with the question. Everything I have ever uninstalled from my blackberry has uninstalled completely as far as I know. Have you had experiences where something hasn't uninstalled completely? If you could explain the situation, I could give a more definitive Yes :ph34r:

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I'm just thinking of some programs that get installed onto desktop computers and end up leaving have of it there after it's uninstalled.

 

I don't install much to my BB, so I don't know exactly how they work and would hate to install it and have a big GPX file or some database get left on there hogging up a bunch of space.

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Ah, I see. When you uninstall, the database gets deleted with it. You would need to remove any loc and gpx files that you put on your sd card manually.

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Nuts! It won't work with Verizon!!! :ph34r::mad:

Verizon does lock the internal gps unless you subscribe to VZ Navigator. But if you have a bluetooth GPS, then it will work.

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Nuts! It won't work with Verizon!!!

 

 

Verizon's policies have changed at least with the Storm the GPS works fine. I was wondering does it work on the Storm which has a full size screen. I tried cacheberry but it only uses half the screen since it is configured for the small screen BB's

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Nuts! It won't work with Verizon!!!

 

 

Verizon's policies have changed at least with the Storm the GPS works fine. I was wondering does it work on the Storm which has a full size screen. I tried cacheberry but it only uses half the screen since it is configured for the small screen BB's

 

 

Not sure if you found your answer, but as of November it did. Check here: http://forums.crackberry.com/f86/blackstar...g-storm-112184/

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Tried it out the other day and it worked pretty good. Sought caches from a GPX file I loaded (500 caches). It did take a LONG TIME to load it but I was at home so it didn't matter. When it does the search of the geocaching page it shows one's I have already found. Is that right.

 

Is there any way to set a cache I find by doing the geocahing or bcaching page as a destination. It seems to use the browser to view them and I get the browser menu when I hit the BB key.

 

It won't replace my Oregon but it would come in real handy on short trips where I don't want to take time to load the Oregon with the location caches if I can figure out how to set the query ones as destinations.

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Walts Hunting:

 

To save on the load time your bCaching account has an e-mail address associated with it. If you have the gpx files sent to that e-mail address instead of your main address, you should be able to use the "Get Closest bCaching GPX" function from the List Waypoint screen's menu to import the closest 20 on demand.

 

I too got very annoyed with the long load time for the Pocket Queries. At first I wished for an option to have multiple databases so I didn't have to rebuild gpx data each time I load a different PQ. Having them all run at once was very slow to update distances when switching to the list waypoint screen. I was very happy when I found I could send my PQ's to the bCaching address and only add the closest at a time. The application responds much better. Only downside it attempting to add the closest 20 without cell coverage. I have not run into this YET, but I haven't been to the Adirondacks this year either.

 

Hope this helps. Happy Caching!

Edited by Psycada

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How do I get an account on bcaching. I tried to look for a page or link but could not find it on the B* site.

 

Duuhhhhhh, I found it.

Edited by Vegas Gamblers

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Thanks Psycada. I kept trying it from the first menu. Didn't know you had to go to List Waypoints to find it. Works great. Now I need to get the updated software since there is a redraw on the Storm they are fixing.

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Tried it out the other day and it worked pretty good. Sought caches from a GPX file I loaded (500 caches). It did take a LONG TIME to load it but I was at home so it didn't matter. When it does the search of the geocaching page it shows one's I have already found. Is that right.

 

Is there any way to set a cache I find by doing the geocahing or bcaching page as a destination. It seems to use the browser to view them and I get the browser menu when I hit the BB key.

 

It won't replace my Oregon but it would come in real handy on short trips where I don't want to take time to load the Oregon with the location caches if I can figure out how to set the query ones as destinations.

For 500 caches, I would load it to bcaching instead of BlackStar, then you can browse them online or download closest 20 caches into BlackStar. You can also download individual caches from bcaching as gpx files.

 

The problem with storing large numbers of caches on BlackStar is the List Waypoints screen, it will calculate distances and bearings for each waypoint. So, the more waypoints the longer it takes to do that calculation. We are looking at ways to improve this response time though. We are always trying to improve.

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I agree with CookCrew and will modify my procedure. The time to calculate wasn't excessive but do I really need more than the closest 20.

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For 500 caches, I would load it to bcaching instead of BlackStar, then you can browse them online or download closest 20 caches into BlackStar. You can also download individual caches from bcaching as gpx files.

 

The problem with storing large numbers of caches on BlackStar is the List Waypoints screen, it will calculate distances and bearings for each waypoint. So, the more waypoints the longer it takes to do that calculation. We are looking at ways to improve this response time though. We are always trying to improve.

I notice on the website that it says that you are to upload you PocketQueries to the BCaching.com website. Has this been approved by Geocaching.com? I don't want to do this and then find out that this is in violation of the Waypoint License.

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I notice on the website that it says that you are to upload you PocketQueries to the BCaching.com website. Has this been approved by Geocaching.com? I don't want to do this and then find out that this is in violation of the Waypoint License.

Excellent Question!!

Yes, Mark went through the Groundspeak approval process. While I don't know the details, part of it has to do with the fact that you will only have access to the caches you have uploaded yourself.

 

I do know for a fact that Mark has all the necessary approvals from Groundspeak.

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You may not always have your handheld GPS with you, but you almost always have your phone.

 

Based on this bit of logic, I bought a used Magellan Explorist 100 for $50 that I keep in the car. Do you not still have to pay a subscription fee to use the BlackBerry GPS?

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Based on this bit of logic, I bought a used Magellan Explorist 100 for $50 that I keep in the car. Do you not still have to pay a subscription fee to use the BlackBerry GPS?

Verizon does lock down their GPS on all BBs other than the Storm. There may be others, I don't know. Most carriers do not. Verizon requires you to subscribe to VZNavigator in order to use the GPS. but even then I don't know if it is open to 3rd party apps or not.

 

But for those phones you can use a bluetooth GPS puck. I don't have Verizon, but I have an 8300 which does not have a built in GPS. I use a Freedom 2000 keychain GPS puck. Yeah, I know it is buying another GPS, not a selling point for most, but for some it is an option.

Edited by CookCrew

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Based on this bit of logic, I bought a used Magellan Explorist 100 for $50 that I keep in the car. Do you not still have to pay a subscription fee to use the BlackBerry GPS?

 

The only subscription fee I pay is for Groundspeak ($3/mo) and my normal Blackberry charges ($30 for data and $40 for voice). I have ATT and they are nice enough to not cripple the GPS, but they do block Blackberry Maps by default, but you can install it yourself (google Jerryd's Blackberry software tracker for a list of BB software which will contain the ATT Blackberry Maps link.)

 

Verizon I am told has unlocked the GPS for the Storm, but has it locked for the other models unless you pay for their services. (there are other ways around, but you need a but of tech knowledge and hacking confidence.)

 

As far as I know, most other Blackberry providers have the GPS unlocked and allow access to Blackberry Maps.

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I'm interested in your opinion as to how Blackstar compares to Cacheberry? (Besides it being free) I had been using it for months doing paperless caching and except for lacking a GPS on my 8300 did everything I could of asked for...

 

Best of luck on your new product... :blink:

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I'm interested in your opinion as to how Blackstar compares to Cacheberry? (Besides it being free) I had been using it for months doing paperless caching and except for lacking a GPS on my 8300 did everything I could of asked for...

 

Best of luck on your new product... :blink:

 

I have not used cacheberry since last year, so I am unable to give you a good comparison. I remember deciding I would buy it if i didn't find a free alternative this year, but Blackstar came out right on time. I'm a supporter of open source software, so I am biased towards that.

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I guess for me what I need to know is Can I still use Blackstar if my GPS function is not active on my Blackberry. I'm with Bell/Aliant in Canada it sounds like i'm in a similar situation as cachers on Verizon.

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I guess for me what I need to know is Can I still use Blackstar if my GPS function is not active on my Blackberry. I'm with Bell/Aliant in Canada it sounds like i'm in a similar situation as cachers on Verizon.

If the carrier blocks the GPS from 3rd party apps, then no, BlackStar will not work for you. But the only carriers I know of that are blocking the GPS and Verizon and now possibly Alltell.

 

There are some forum topics in the www.crackberry.com forums discussing how to fix the GPS.

 

It is a free app, so it won't hurt to try it. It is now available on Blackberry App World or www.blackstarnavigation.com

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I've been using BlackStar on my 8310 Curve since I started Geocaching and have logged 60 finds with it.

 

I love the "Geocaching.com closest" feature for days when I'm out bouncing around. I take a few minutes, fire up BlackStar and search the closest and I'm off and caching in just a few minutes.

 

I am ordering an actual GPSr to do the majority of my caching with, but will keep the BlackStar loaded Blackberry close at hand as well.

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Nuts! It won't work with Verizon!!! :)<_<

Verizon does lock the internal gps unless you subscribe to VZ Navigator. But if you have a bluetooth GPS, then it will work.

 

The Verizon's Blackberry Storm's GPS isn't locked.

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I also like the Blackstar application on my BB 8310...i get email on my BB and it's so easy to send a loc file or PQ and open them from the Waypoint menu. The interface with Googlemaps is good too. I have never used Cacheberry, so I have nothing to compare it with. But I use my GPSr to do most of our out-on-a-mission caching, but this is good for finding caches when I'm just bumping around. My first ever on this app was a webcam cache in Nashville...it got me to within 2 feet of the spot. :unsure:

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I guess for me what I need to know is Can I still use Blackstar if my GPS function is not active on my Blackberry. I'm with Bell/Aliant in Canada it sounds like i'm in a similar situation as cachers on Verizon.

If the carrier blocks the GPS from 3rd party apps, then no, BlackStar will not work for you. But the only carriers I know of that are blocking the GPS and Verizon and now possibly Alltell.

 

There are some forum topics in the www.crackberry.com forums discussing how to fix the GPS.

 

It is a free app, so it won't hurt to try it. It is now available on Blackberry App World or www.blackstarnavigation.com

 

Bell Aliant doesn't Block the GPS function on the Curve but to use it you must pay to Unlock it... And I'm not paying an extra 10$ a month. They already have enough of my money. I want to use my Garmin 60cx and my Blackberry instead of my Palm Zire with cachemate.

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Bell Aliant doesn't Block the GPS function on the Curve but to use it you must pay to Unlock it... And I'm not paying an extra 10$ a month. They already have enough of my money. I want to use my Garmin 60cx and my Blackberry instead of my Palm Zire with cachemate.

OUCH, $10 per month just to use the chip on your phone??? It is amazing the things some of these wireless companies are getting away with.

 

If you just want to be able to view cache details on you blackberry and are not interested in the GPS functionality, then I recommend bcaching.com. You must be a premium geocaching.com member to use bcaching because it stores pocket query results online. It provides a mobile-browser-friendly web interface. It is very weill done and loads quickly on your BB browser.

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Bell Aliant doesn't Block the GPS function on the Curve but to use it you must pay to Unlock it... And I'm not paying an extra 10$ a month. They already have enough of my money. I want to use my Garmin 60cx and my Blackberry instead of my Palm Zire with cachemate.

OUCH, $10 per month just to use the chip on your phone??? It is amazing the things some of these wireless companies are getting away with.

 

If you just want to be able to view cache details on you blackberry and are not interested in the GPS functionality, then I recommend bcaching.com. You must be a premium geocaching.com member to use bcaching because it stores pocket query results online. It provides a mobile-browser-friendly web interface. It is very weill done and loads quickly on your BB browser.

 

Thanks, I'll check that out. I am a premium member and have been downloading PQ's for a while now. I tried having one sent to my Blackberry address as the alternate e-mail and it never came in. Is this normal? When I changed the e-mail to a hotmail address, it came in no problem...

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Bell Aliant doesn't Block the GPS function on the Curve but to use it you must pay to Unlock it... And I'm not paying an extra 10$ a month. They already have enough of my money. I want to use my Garmin 60cx and my Blackberry instead of my Palm Zire with cachemate.

OUCH, $10 per month just to use the chip on your phone??? It is amazing the things some of these wireless companies are getting away with.

 

If you just want to be able to view cache details on you blackberry and are not interested in the GPS functionality, then I recommend bcaching.com. You must be a premium geocaching.com member to use bcaching because it stores pocket query results online. It provides a mobile-browser-friendly web interface. It is very weill done and loads quickly on your BB browser.

 

Thanks, I'll check that out. I am a premium member and have been downloading PQ's for a while now. I tried having one sent to my Blackberry address as the alternate e-mail and it never came in. Is this normal? When I changed the e-mail to a hotmail address, it came in no problem...

I use my gmail and it comes to my BB no problem. The email address you are using may have size limitations on it which prevent the email from going through.

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:) down loaded Blackstar onto my BB 8830 Alltel today , so far I like it. I think, like every thing it will take a little getting used to using. Good Luck

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Over in the Crackberry forums, a small group of us have been developing and testing a new geocaching application for the BlackBerry. We have named it BlackStar.

 

Centuries ago, explorers used the North Star for navigation, now you can use the BlackStar. OK I am still working on that tag line :)

 

BlackStar is still in development/Beta testing mode, but has really solidified recently. With BlackStar, you can import GPX and LOC files from your sd card, and the cache details will be stored in the application. You can navigate to the waypoint with a navigation arrow. It also has a compass.

 

Coordinates can be either in dd.ddddd or dd mm.mmm format. It also supports MGRS format coordinates.

 

The price is free, we just ask that while you are using it, if you notice a bug in the app, or can think of a "must have" feature, that you let us know. Only BlackBerry smartphones are supported.

 

I have already found 8 caches using it.

 

While I do not expect it to replace your handheld GPS, it is nice to always have the capabilities on your GPS enablned BlackBerry phone. You may not always have your handheld GPS with you, but you almost always have your phone.

 

Feel free to try it out: http://forums.crackberry.com/f41/applicati...html#post746243

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I tried this ourt a few weeks ago. works great

 

You can also load a GPX file into your Blackberry and navigate to it, then it will find the caches based on its location

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