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Caching with EasyGPS, a TomTom One and an eTrex yellow


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OK I have pieced together a very inexpensive caching setup, using my own eTrex yellow, the TomTom One that my boss supplied me for my work vehicle (refurbed for $50), and free software.

 

DISCLAIMER: Do this at your own risk. Its a lot easier to go buy a GPS that has mapping and navigation capabilities, and requires less work. If ease of use is more important to you, go that direction. If you have a TomTom and a cheap GPS, and want to make them mutually useful, follow this tutorial.

 

The idea here is that you can navigate to cache with your TomTom, which gives you the map and directions, and then find the cache with the eTrex.

 

Caches are recognized by the TomTom by adding them as a POI (Points of Interest) file. For this tutorial I'm going to refer to all 3 files needed as the "geocache" file, each with its own extension. Please note that the TomTom will use the filename as a literal name for the POI. If you want it named "Geocache" instead of "geocache" then make sure to capitalize the file.

 

So, here is how to get the tools you need and the procedures to use them.

 

1) You'll need EasyGPS. Its a free program, and you can get it at www.easygps.com

 

I personally use 4 pocket queries, updated weekly, to find all the caches I want. I use EasyGPS to create a new GPX file and them merge all 4 pocket queries into the new file, and then save it. If you don't do this, or don't want to worry about it, then you can skip EasyGPS.

 

2) You'll need a program called gpsbabel, available free at www.gpsbabel.org

 

This is the program that converts the .GPX format to the .OV2 format needed by your TomTom.

 

IF you use GSAK, you can skip this. It will export to the .OV2 format, but even it uses gpsbabel in the background to do it.

 

3) A pocket query. (see step 1 for combining)

 

4) Save this image to your desktop:

 

martinp13.virtualave.n...ocache.bmp

 

I will not cover the details of running each program or installing them, as that is well documented on their websites.

 

Now, let the fun begin!

 

1) If you are combining pocket queries as I do, then use EasyGPS to do this, and save the resulting file as geocache.gpx. If not, then just rename your pocket query to geocache.gpx. Save the file on your desktop for ease of use.

 

At this point, you should have geocache.gpx and geocache.bmp on your desktop.

 

2) Let GPSBabel do its magic. Open GPSBabel by double clicking on the GPSBabelGUI icon. There are two sections: The input, at the top, where you get your data to convert to the TomTom format, and the output below it that translates the GPX file into any format you want.

 

A) In the Input, select the format as GPX XML (.gpx), and at the "file" row, click the shining document icon on the right side. Navigate to your desktop and select "geocache.gpx" as the file.

 

:unsure: In the Output section, Select the format as "TomTom POI file (.ov2) and then click the "Save" icon (disk -> document icon) on the far right. Navigate to your desktop and for file name put in "geocache" and click "Save"

 

C) Now click on the "lets go" icon below the "Save" icon. You can now close the GPSBabel program. On your desktop there is now a geocache.ov2 file hot out of the oven! This is the file your TomTom wants so that it can help you find geocaches.

 

D) Last but not least lets get those files into your TomTom. Luckly, when you connect your TomTom to USB it shows up as a storage device under "My Computer" in Windows (Or just "computer" in Vista and 7) and you can open it. So, open it up! On my computer it is the D: drive, but on yours it may be different. Whatever the case, it will say "TomTom" and have the TomTom logo.

 

Now, go back to your desktop. Select the geocache.bmp and geocache.ov2 files and drag and drop them into the USA_and_Canada directory on the TomTom.

 

You're done!

 

It takes a LOT longer to explain it than it does to do it, so don't be afraid to give it a shot.

 

The end result is that your TomTom now as POI's that are geocaches. They'll show up on your TomTom with the geocaching.com icon, and when you select Navigate to POI's in your TomTom, Geocache will be an option. You can also select that geocaches are the only POI shown on the map, and you can even make the TomTop audibly notify you when you're within a few hundred feet of one. I made mine "moo" at me for a while, but it drove me nuts. I just turned audio off.

 

As for cache details, I use EasyGPS to decode all the hints at once (Select all, then decrypt hints in the menu) and then have it print all the caches out, landscape style, 4 pages per page. For 450 caches that is 9 pages, but it condenses to 3 pages when you combine 4 pages per page in the print setup. Yes, its awfully small! I have good eyes. I also make sure to SORT the geocaches by their waypoint ID so that they are in ascending order. That makes finding gc123c4 easy, its like looking in the phone book.

 

I hope this is useful to somebody!

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Wow cool! There are a lot of programs out there but using them all together to perform a certain task isn't as easy as you would think.

 

But why? I have a tom tom xl340 s and thought I would be able to just download 500 caches onto the tom tom, this is not good. Unlike garmin I need a ton of programs to achieve something so simple. Guess tom tom is going back to the store

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But why? I have a tom tom xl340 s and thought I would be able to just download 500 caches onto the tom tom, this is not good. Unlike garmin I need a ton of programs to achieve something so simple. Guess tom tom is going back to the store

Hang on to that TomTom.

 

You need only one program. GSAK (see www.gsak.net). I load literally thousands of caches into my TomTom on a weekly basis -- about 3200 unfound, and about 3200 found.

 

When I get my Pocket Queries, I dump out one version to my Oregon 450, and export a 2nd version of the same for my TomTom. All I have to do is copy the resulting *.ov2 file(s) to the map directory of my TomTom.

 

Elapsed time to load PQ to GSAK and dump both versions to my units, including swapping the USB cable (I just use one for both units), about 3 minutes -- and I'm loading five PQ files of about 650 points each. It would be even quicker, but I also load the caches I've found to my TomTom with a different POI icon so I can see where things "were" and "are".

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Downloaded gsak (very complicated unlike easy gps.) I ran a pocket query then ran in through gsak input gpx file out put tomtom poi file which saves as a .ov2 file. I tried dragging and dropping this file into the tomtom directory where the other poi's are but nothing. And it shows as being transfered it is there, but cannot acces any caches. Now I would like them in the favorites section, not as a point of interest. Can I just not send this 500 cache pocket query to the device itself?

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Downloaded gsak (very complicated unlike easy gps.) I ran a pocket query then ran in through gsak input gpx file out put tomtom poi file which saves as a .ov2 file. I tried dragging and dropping this file into the tomtom directory where the other poi's are but nothing. And it shows as being transfered it is there, but cannot acces any caches. Now I would like them in the favorites section, not as a point of interest. Can I just not send this 500 cache pocket query to the device itself?

 

I had both GSAK and EasyGPS, but I don't use the Easy anymore. The GSAK has the marco for sending all of the paperless information to the NUVI car unit for driving there. Then I will send all cache information to the PN-40. Then I will send a customized waypoint to the Garmin Vista HCx showing name, container, difficulty, terrain, and a partial hint. The Easy was good for making a print copy however, but I don't need that anymore.

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