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Is there a better way? GPS - 101 with Oregon 450


Westwynd
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I recently started caching and am using an Oregon 450. So far I have just been using the map screen and from time to time have had trouble honing in on GZ as the arrow starts to spin and I have a hard time figuring out if I am getting closer or further away all the while going in circles providing all kinds of entertainment to passers by I am sure. :lol:

 

Is there a better way??

 

Are there things I can configure my display to show that would help me figure out more quickly which way to go and how far I still have left? I have looked through several FAQs and searched threads with no success.

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I prefer the compass screen to the map screen.

 

Main menu -> Compass

 

On either the compass or map screen, you can change the data fields at the top to give you different information. One of the options is "Distance to Destination". I also like to configure one of them to show "Accuracy" (which is more correctly called "Estimated Position Error" - a guess by your GPSr on how accurate your calculated position is).

 

If you go to setup, you can configure how many data fields there are on the map (or to have it show the dashboard).

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I have just been using the map screen and from time to time have had trouble honing in on GZ as the arrow starts to spin and I have a hard time figuring out if I am getting closer or further away

I only did that for my very first cache. Then I tried the compass screen (as Chrysalides mentioned), and that's what I use most. The map's good mainly to show where roads or rivers may be in relation to the cache.

 

Select "Geocaching" mode. Pick a Geocache. Select the compass from the menu. Follow direction and distance. You can calibrate that compass.

 

To get a feel for how it works, set a "waypoint" in the middle of a park or ballfield, select the waypoint as your destination, walk away, and then watch how the compass directs you back to the waypoint.

Edited by kunarion
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I recently started caching and am using an Oregon 450.

 

Also just started using the 450. Seems like a pretty nice unit.

 

The only problem I currently have is loading my logs to the website. I am forced to upload, then view each of them to post them. Seems easier to just go to the site and do it that way. I am sure I am missing something that would make it much more simple.

 

Good luck.

 

They are correct on the compass.

 

I like to use the map until I get close. (plan on installing Navigation), then when it tells me that I have arrived at the cache, I switch to the compass.

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The only problem I currently have is loading my logs to the website. I am forced to upload, then view each of them to post them. Seems easier to just go to the site and do it that way. I am sure I am missing something that would make it much more simple.

Not sure what you mean. I find the field notes to be a great way of getting the list of geocaches I've attempted in an outing. It gets hard to hunt them down one by one from the map page if I did more than 4 or 5.

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make sure you calibrate the internal electronic compass properly before heading out (but not indoors :lol:), because otherwise the unit won't know which way you're facing when you're standing still and the arrow will start spinning randomly when you do. alternatively turn the electronic compass off, in which case the heading will only be correct when you're moving.

 

i use the map screen when i need to (i.e. when there's details on the map that i'm interested in, such as trails), but when i want to go in straight line (aka bushwhacking mode) i use the compass screen. however, i don't use the "geocaching mode" compass screen, as apparently it always wants to navigate to the selected geocache coordinates and not to the active waypoint. it's fine as long as you're doing a traditional cache, but when you're doing a multi or mystery, it's gonna show you the wrong info. not sure if there's a way to fix that.

 

as for the field notes, personally i find uploading them to gc.com and logging the caches through that quite cumbersome too. it's better than doing it manually, especially if you have lots of caches, but i still prefer using my own script. it's probably not useful to you, or most anyone else, but here it is:

 

cat geocache_visits.txt | perl -pe 's/\0//gs' | sort -t, -k2 | perl -pe 's/^.*?GC/GC/; @x=split(/,/); $x[2] =~ /found it/i and $c++; $_=($x[2] =~ /found it/i ? "$c." : "--.") ." <a href=\"http://www.geocaching.com/seek/cache_details.aspx?wp=$x[0]\" target=\"_blank\">$x[0]</a> $x[1] <a href=\"http://www.geocaching.com/seek/log.aspx?wp=$x[0]&logtype=".($x[2] =~ /found it/i ? 2 : 3)."\" target=\"_blank\">$x[2]</a> " . join(",", @x[3 .. $#x]) . "<br />"' > geocache_visits.html

 

it's not pretty, extremely hackish and not perfect, but gets the job done.

Edited by dfx
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however, i don't use the "geocaching mode" compass screen, as apparently it always wants to navigate to the selected geocache coordinates and not to the active waypoint. it's fine as long as you're doing a traditional cache, but when you're doing a multi or mystery, it's gonna show you the wrong info. not sure if there's a way to fix that.

I only store solved puzzles on my GPSr, and the coordinates are "corrected" in GSAK - you can probably write a simple script to update coordinates in a GPX with a list of "correct" coordinates. I don't have a good solution for multistage - the coordinates are stored as waypoints, but accessing them is troublesome.

 

as for the field notes, personally i find uploading them to gc.com and logging the caches through that quite cumbersome too. it's better than doing it manually, especially if you have lots of caches, but i still prefer using my own script. it's probably not useful to you, or most anyone else, but here it is:

Your script outputs a HTML that you'll still need to click on each entry to log them.

 

Comparing the two "workflows":

 

Groundspeak

1. Connect GPSr

2. Upload geocache_visits.txt to gc.com

3. Click "return to field notes"

4. Click on cache

5. Log, click Submit

6. Click "log more caches"

7. Repeat 4 - 6 until done

 

Your workflow:

1. Connect GPSr, automatically copy geocache_visits.txt to computer, run script on it, open page

2. Click "Found It" (might want to change this to "Log", or reflect the correct type)

3. Change date if necessary, log cache

4. Close tab / window

5. Repeat 2 - 4 until done

 

While you can automate more things, it seems that you lose out on 2 important features : having the date and notes captured in the field automatically set for you, and having logged geocaches disappear from the top of the list. With Groundspeak's method, I only need to click the very first "Log". The most troublesome part with Groundspeak's method, in my opinion, is the need to upload the file, then delete it from the GPSr. I wish there is an automatic way of doing this, but for our protection, GreaseMonkey will not automate the uploading of a file, or deleting a file from your local system.

 

I'm very interested in making the whole process of logging through field notes smoother, with fewer clicks or fewer steps. I've already learned something from your post : the ability to pre-set a logtype in the URL. Please share any other observations or tricks you have :D

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While you can automate more things, it seems that you lose out on 2 important features : having the date and notes captured in the field automatically set for you, ...

not an issue in my case, as i always log at the end of each day, so all log dates are always from today. the rare exception is when i'm on the road and don't have access to internet in the evenings (very rare), in which case i can just remember to pay attention to the dates. the web page remembers the day of your last log anyway, so you need to change the day only when moving to a different day in your list. it's possible to make a small addition to the script so it detects those "roll-over" cases in dates and flags the entries accordingly.

 

... and having logged geocaches disappear from the top of the list.

also not an issue, because i use this script wrapped inside a bigger one, which moves the geocache_visits.txt off the garmin before it converts it to HTML. meaning that after running the script and logging all the files, the list will be empty and ready for a fresh start. so a single click (or command) will do everything for me. as for the list itself, the page never closes so the last clicked link stays active, plus the browser puts it in a different color, so i know which one i have to follow next.

 

plus, i can close the tab for each cache/log by hitting ctrl-W (or using a mouse gesture), which i find much better than having to click a link and then wait for the page to load again. also, i don't have to wait for the file to upload to gc.com in the first place, which occasionally can take quite a while (esp. on the weekends).

 

I'm very interested in making the whole process of logging through field notes smoother, with fewer clicks or fewer steps. I've already learned something from your post : the ability to pre-set a logtype in the URL. Please share any other observations or tricks you have :D

that's all i could find really. i did try to find a way to preset the log date and also the log message, but failed. maybe i should pay closer attention to what the page does when going through the regular field notes procedure, there might be a few tricks hidden in there...

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... and having logged geocaches disappear from the top of the list.

also not an issue, because i use this script wrapped inside a bigger one, which moves the geocache_visits.txt off the garmin before it converts it to HTML. meaning that after running the script and logging all the files, the list will be empty and ready for a fresh start. so a single click (or command) will do everything for me. as for the list itself, the page never closes so the last clicked link stays active, plus the browser puts it in a different color, so i know which one i have to follow next.

I'm playing around with an idea to use cookies and GreaseMonkey to remember what is the next field notes entry to go to, so that after I click Submit, I have a link to go to the next one.

 

that's all i could find really. i did try to find a way to preset the log date and also the log message, but failed. maybe i should pay closer attention to what the page does when going through the regular field notes procedure, there might be a few tricks hidden in there...

Each field notes entry has a unique GUID. The log URL refers to that GUID, so not much use if you don't upload field notes. I looked at the field names in the regular log page, but don't see anything obvious. The URL ignores any extra information, so you can always pass in the date in the URL, then use GreaseMonkey to change the date on that page. In your use case, I guess it is not worth the effort.

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i don't use the "geocaching mode" compass screen, as apparently it always wants to navigate to the selected geocache coordinates and not to the active waypoint. it's fine as long as you're doing a traditional cache, but when you're doing a multi or mystery, it's gonna show you the wrong info. not sure if there's a way to fix that.

 

My 450 was delivered today and I discovered exactly this problem. Especially annoying when two of the four caches I did this evening were a multi and a puzzle.

 

The way I'm playing it is to have the geocaching dashboard on my map screen, but NOT on my compass screen. That way I can flick back and forth, using the map to navigate to traditionals, and the compass to go to waypoints.

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