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So sad, can't find any more geocaches


lvg4him
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We went geocaching yesterday (for the first time and used the free version of the Geocaching app) and found our first cache. It was great and the girls were so excited, we went looking for another one (again, using the free version of the Geocache app). BOTH were in a neighborhood so I thought it would be easy. We could not find the second cache we were looking for (could not even find the path it was on).

 

Today I went trying again. This time we went looking for a pirate cache and my girls could not have been more thrilled. I got the waypoint before we left in case there was no service (which there was not) in the area. The last person there said his GPS led him right to it. But having an iPhone, and being told by a man just coming off the hiking trail to be sure to stay on the path because he heard a few rattlers, we were a bit nervous. Still I was hopeful that my iPhone would guide me there. Of course the free app would not list this particular cache as a choice for us to find (and even if it had, the fact that service went dead just feet onto the path, the free version would not have helped us anyway).

 

I have Geopher, MotionX GPS lite, and of course google maps and compass. But I could not figure out HOW to use ANY of them. :) I know we were just FEET from it, but being warned to stay on the path, I did not want to get too far off. I guess I needed more hints other than to just start at the trailhead. :)

 

Is there a way to geocache with the iPhone? I read others having success, but we only had the one success (and that was an easy find - there were only two bushes it could be hidden in). But some of these others seem like you need something more. Of course just having spent the money on an iPhone, I have no money for a GPS system right now. My kids, whose enthusiasm was a 10 is now dwindling down to a 4. :) HELP!!!

 

I don't want to become a premium member or pay $10 for the app if my kids don't like this, and I can't find out if they like it or not without being able to find more than one cache. :huh:

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My friend uses it for finding them with so-so success. I tried for exactly 4 caches and decided it would be in my best interest to buy a dedicated GPS and use the official app for the paperless aspect and to locate caches on the go (then enter the coordinates into my GPS).

 

My friend is also looking into a dedicated unit now too. I watched him mess with that at some micro not long ago and wow.

 

That being said...

 

I've also cached with children and had to adjust my normal pattern to suit their attention span. At the end of the day I cache because I like it. If you don't enjoy it it's a guarantee the kids won't enjoy it. So I wouldn't start buying stuff for a family activity if you don't sincerely enjoy it. If the kids don't enjoy it but you do, you can still do it and let the kids join you for some here and there.

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Welcome aboard.

 

You should be fine with the Iphone. When you get close to the cache, you should put the phone away and start the search for the cache. Look around, where would you hide the cache. Look for man made signs, foot prints, crossed sticks, unusual piles of rocks or sticks. Expand you search out in a circle around where the phone thinks the cache is. All gps devices have some error and can be off 20- 30 ft. It will not take you directly to the cache every time. Start with large size caches first untill you get the hang of finding them. The small and micro caches can be very difficult to find, they can be very well hidden. You will get better with a few finds, once you know what to expect. See if you can meet up with some local cachers for a few finds. It wouldn't be fun if some were not hard to find. Even after a couple hundred found I get stumped. There are a bunch i've been back to 4 or 5 times before i found them. Good luck :)

Edited by jbar
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Welcome aboard.

 

You should be fine with the Iphone. When you get close to the cache, you should put the phone away and start the search for the cache. Look around, where would you hide the cache. Look for man made signs, foot prints, crossed sticks, unusual piles of rocks or sticks. Expand you search out in a circle around where the phone thinks the cache is. All gps devices have some error and can be off 20- 30 ft. It will not take you directly to the cache every time. Start with large size caches first untill you get the hang of finding them. The small and micro caches can be very difficult to find, they can be very well hidden. You will get better with a few finds, once you know what to expect. See if you can meet up with some local cachers for a few finds. It wouldn't be fun if some were not hard to find. Even after a couple hundred found I get stumped. There are a bunch i've been back to 4 or 5 times before i found them. Good luck :)

This is true, IF you have iPhone reception. Otherwise, how do you know when you get close? For now, stick to a few caches in town where you won't lose service.

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i only have an iphone for a gps. im using an old 3g. it works just fine. all of my finds are iphone finds.

 

the $10 app is great. you dont need anything else. im not sure what the free app is like though, but i will tell you that my iphone is jailbroken, and i originally didnt pay for the full app. i had the same concerns as you. but after about 20finds or so, i purchased the real app.

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I got the waypoint before we left in case there was no service (which there was not) in the area. The last person there said his GPS led him right to it. But having an iPhone...

 

FamilyDNA hit the nail on the head: IF you have iPhone service.

 

If I understand correctly (and part of the reason we went for a Droid rather than switching to AT*T for the iPhone) the iPhone doesn't have a GPS chip, instead depending on the network to estimate your location. So without service, you've got nothing. And with service, the estimate of your location depends on how much service coverage you have - the less coverage, the less accurate the estimate.

 

The Droid still gets low service some places, but since Verizon is more likely to cover rural areas than AT&T (which covers *people* not *area*) we tend to have more success that way. We do have a 20yo sailboat GPS in our bag for backup, but we haven't booted it (a long, slow process) in many caches now.

 

I just introduced another family this week, and their kids (upper single digits through low teens) are having a BALL, and "forcing" mom to go out nearly every evening! I was careful the first day to pick caches that I knew the location of, and that had widely varied features - size, camouflage, muggle factor, difficulty. We didn't have time for a multi or a full-size ammo can, but we'll do that when we get together again next week.

 

Starting on your own, with kids, you might want to stick to caches with low difficulty ratings and especially those that specify "good for young kids." And the thing I learned early is to check the logs before I leave the house! If the last few logs are DNF, I don't even try it unless I'm up for a challenge / possible failure. If the logs say it's really difficult, I read through all the logs for little hints - sometimes the smallest comment can help once you get there. And if I suspect I'm going to lose smart-phone service, I make sure to print off the "hint" (even if I try not to read it) before I leave home. These things are important with my (impatient) kid, even though she's 15.

 

Good luck! Geocaching is a life-long sport, IMHO. So far Geocaching is only 10 years old, but I can see myself doing it forever! And since it's activity, and out of doors, it's good for all of us, and all ages. If we make the first bunch enjoyable, our kids will get hooked and keep going and going. Go for it!

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It never hurts to take the kids out to caches that you have checked out by yourself earlier... then you can let them do the finding with less dissappointment ( you can have a cache dissappear between visits though).

Once they get the idea and tune into the fact that it doesn't always work without effort on their part, it can get better... No one finds them all, ever. The real fun is in searching, finding and enjoying the places one visits... choose good caches in good places to visit for their own appeal... lots of those ones... look for bigger boxes, unless the kids get into 'hard' hides with little swag. Have fun...

 

Doug 7rxc

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I got the waypoint before we left in case there was no service (which there was not) in the area. The last person there said his GPS led him right to it. But having an iPhone...

 

FamilyDNA hit the nail on the head: IF you have iPhone service.

 

If I understand correctly (and part of the reason we went for a Droid rather than switching to AT*T for the iPhone) the iPhone doesn't have a GPS chip, instead depending on the network to estimate your location. So without service, you've got nothing. And with service, the estimate of your location depends on how much service coverage you have - the less coverage, the less accurate the estimate.

 

every iphone except the original has a GPS chip inside. none of the itouches have a gps chip. the gps chip in the iphone will work without service. but it also will work without a gps signal. if it doesnt have a gps signal, it will use the towers to guess where you are. the gps chip is an assited unti, meaning it will use the towers and wifi locations to help the gps locate you quicker.

 

i dont have any experiance though being in a "roaming" area and using the gps. so i cant say how well it works without a network.

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The first question that I would ask is, which iPhone do you have? I have used both the 3G and the 4 to geocache with. The 3G was inaccurate enough that I went out and bought a GPS (though there are plenty of people who have had great success with the 3G unit). The 4 is much better.

 

I would suggest spending the $10 on the full app. It is much better than the free version. It allows you to save a geocache to memory as well. That way, if you know you will be going out of service, it will save the map and cache info for you so you can still look for it. If $10 for the app bothers you because you are not sure yet if you are going to continue geocaching or not, look at it this way, it is a whole lot cheaper than taking the family to the movies! So, if you only use the app for 1.5 hours, you will still be out ahead! :D

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Fear not Young Jedi,

 

I am under the impression that the app for iPhones got broken after the latest and greatest enhancement. The urban myths may be unfounded and indeed the Ooooooopsies might have been fixed. Lots of folks upset and trying to revert to an older LESS improved version. Prior to the 4.0 & ... 4.whatever.

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Thanks everyone!!!

 

I do have a 3Gs (hubby has 4 so maybe he will let us use his?). I was using a compass which works fine even when we have no service, which is why I got the waypoint before leaving the car.

 

The one cache (our second try) we were looking for, I just could not find the path.

 

The other one (our third try and the one we REALLY want to find as it is listed as kid friendly AND has a pirate theme, medium sized container, and easy terrian, easy find), I did not know to read the logs. So this morning I read the logs and think I need to walk through the trail more. The compass pointed right into the bushes, but it might have meant "follow the path and you will get to the other side of the bushes"). I am still trying to figure out how to use a compass. We are going to try the pirate one again later today.

 

Is there a way as a premium member to search for kid friendly caches??

 

It would be so nice with the iPhone becoming more popular as a way to geocache (I heard about geocaching years ago but only did it once we got the iPhone) that you could tag a cache as iPhone friendly (meaning that it was a pretty easy find with the iPhone).

 

We are going to the Geocaching and Dinosaurs geocaching event in CO next Saturday. Hopefully we will get some tips and pointers that will also help us search with kids.

 

Thanks again to EVERYONE who replied!!! :D :D B) I feel much better.

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every iphone except the original has a GPS chip inside. none of the itouches have a gps chip. the gps chip in the iphone will work without service. but it also will work without a gps signal. if it doesnt have a gps signal, it will use the towers to guess where you are. the gps chip is an assited unti, meaning it will use the towers and wifi locations to help the gps locate you quicker.

 

i dont have any experiance though being in a "roaming" area and using the gps. so i cant say how well it works without a network.

Absolutely correct. I'm going to expand on this point and some made in other posts:

 

Your iPhone has a GPS chip and GPS works whether you have a cell signal or not. Each version of the iPhone has gotten better with GPS. The 3G is pretty bad (by other accounts), whereas the new iPhone 4 routinely takes me within 5 feet of GZ (it typically shows 16 feet accuracy).

 

The GeoCaching app is worth the cost. If you're going into areas that are outside of the cell signal, then download a "pocket query" of the caches in the area. A pocket query will give you the information you need without having to have a ready cell signal.

 

But it sounds like a lot of your frustration was with the last cache. There will be frustrating caches. When the search is no longer fun, go on to the next cache. If you're particularly frustrated, go grab an 1-star difficulty cache or stop for the day.

 

Most importantly, there is a little bit of 'art' in reading the GPS and quite a bit of art in spotting caches. It quickly gets easier, but the first few are going to be more challenging until you develop your 'Geosense'. Just hang in there and start with easier caches for a while.

 

Good luck!

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I had a bit of frustration with the free app as well. Viewed some of the caches I wanted to look for on the site then set off for adventure, just to find that the demo wouldn't pull up the ones I was looking for.

 

The official app is SOOO much better. Definitely worth the $10.

 

I'm working with a 1st gen iPhone right now (ancient dinosaur with no GPS at all), while I save up for the iPhone4, so my caching is limited to when I'm out hunting with my boyfriend (and his new Android phone) or urban ones close to home where I can Google Earth the area and see where I'm headed before actually adventuring out.

 

The $10 I spent for the full version of the app has been very beneficial, as I can pull up the cache page, description, recent logs etc while we're out and about, even if my poor tired phone cant GPS us to ground zero, it's really been worth the money. Plus you can log your finds while out in the field.

 

The demo app, was just that. Introduction and a demonstration about what geocaching was about, and I'm glad I checked it out, but once I started getting really interested it was worth the upgrade. It really gives you a TON more than the demo does, and WELL worth the cost.

 

Good luck :D

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I use a 3G iphone for my hunting. I simply plug the coordinates into the Google Maps function on the phone, then save them as bookmarks ( named after the cache) so I can recall easily. Between the roads and then aerials displayed on the Google Maps I have been able to find most all I've looked for. Yes it would be difficult if the cache is in a heavily wooded area, as it will be tough to tell right where it is, but that hasn't stopped me yet. I will also plug the coordinates into the Bing maps to I can look at "birds eye aerials" and get a great look at where it might be.

 

One thing to note. The Google Maps on the Iphone will "snap to" a street address instead of the actual "point" you want... to override this action type in "loc: " before the coordinates and you will get the exact point of the cache.

 

I also do not bother with the "gps location" function i.e. the "you are here" blue dot. After recent Iphone software upgrades its unreliable.. better to just rely on physical landmarks.

 

I'm hooked..

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The one cache (our second try) we were looking for, I just could not find the path.

 

LOL. I have done that so many times. And still do it after 660 finds.

 

"Follow the arrow" is what they say but sometimes you have to look where the arrow is taking you and see if there is a path to folllow, like you say, that may take you in the wrong direction at first but will get you to where the arrow is pointing without you having to swim a rivver or cross a canyon :D

 

Always look at the distance as well as the direction.

If the arrow is pointing directly to your right, and to your right is heavy plant cover, then look at the distance indicated. If it says 10 feet, chances are you have to delve into the shrubs.

If the distance says 0.2 miles then chances are there is a route that will get you to the other side of the bushes, river or whatever is in your way.

 

Walk on a bit and see if the path takes a turn round to the right a little further on.

 

Will you still have times when you 'can't even find a way in'? Probably. It's frustrating, but it happens, but you get better at it with time.

 

Welcome to the mad world.

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We have two iPhone 4's and bought the $10 app. We've been having a ball geocaching. Although I cannot comment on real GPS unit comparison, we have had no problems locating GC. We are doing urban and city park caches-->not in the mountains.

 

Our only problem, we are obsessed.

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We have two iPhone 4's and bought the $10 app. We've been having a ball geocaching. Although I cannot comment on real GPS unit comparison, we have had no problems locating GC. We are doing urban and city park caches-->not in the mountains.

 

Our only problem, we are obsessed.

this is ONE of the main reasons im going to upgrade my iphone next week. i mean the retina display and facetime are cool and stuff. but my jailbroken 3g is more than enough for my needs. but the GPS on it doesnt compare to the new iphone4 gps chip.

 

plus, im out of contract anyway, so a new iphone 4 is $200, and i can turn around and sell my 3g to get some of my $$ back. :)

Edited by RandomH3ro
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Well we finally found it today!! :o Borrowed a GPS from the neighbor and went out. Bought the $10 app to compare. The area was not heavily wooded, but the app, when the GPS unit finally got us to the cache, the app/phone said we were still 7.7 miles off. I restarted the phone just to make sure, but it still said 7.7 miles. I did use the GPS with just the satellite map and had the iPhone on compass. We used the compass for the most part (even though at times it was dead on saying only .3 miles to cache and other times was way off with distance saying 11 miles to app) until we got closer and then switched solely to GPS unit. Was thankful I had mapped out with google maps and earth where we were going BEFORE I left, otherwise I would have had no idea.

 

I am so thankful we finally found it, but I definitely don't think we will go caching again with just the iPhone unless it is in a neighborhood.

 

Thanks to EVERY ONE for the replies!! It makes me feel good to know I have support! ;)

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Well we finally found it today!! :o Borrowed a GPS from the neighbor and went out. Bought the $10 app to compare. The area was not heavily wooded, but the app, when the GPS unit finally got us to the cache, the app/phone said we were still 7.7 miles off. I restarted the phone just to make sure, but it still said 7.7 miles. I did use the GPS with just the satellite map and had the iPhone on compass. We used the compass for the most part (even though at times it was dead on saying only .3 miles to cache and other times was way off with distance saying 11 miles to app) until we got closer and then switched solely to GPS unit. Was thankful I had mapped out with google maps and earth where we were going BEFORE I left, otherwise I would have had no idea.

 

I am so thankful we finally found it, but I definitely don't think we will go caching again with just the iPhone unless it is in a neighborhood.

 

Thanks to EVERY ONE for the replies!! It makes me feel good to know I have support! ;)

hmmm.... this strikes me as odd. i use an old 3G to do my caching. and today i took it out to a rural area that was heavily wooded, and i had no problems getting within feet of the caches.

 

out of the 4 i looked for today i only DNFd on one, and it was a micro that actually has a lot of recent DNFs.

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I have an iPhone 3G and an entry-level Garmin GPS unit. I have the full paid app on my iPhone.

 

We went caching last weekend and hit up 4 caches, and on every one of them I compared the GZ as read by my iPhone to the GZ as located by the GPS unit. All of the caches were within Calgary, AB (not a small city), and in most cases the iPhone led me to an area approximately 20-30 feet from where the GPS led me. Now, when you are hunting in an open park and there is only one bunch of trees nearby that must be hiding the cache this isn't so bad, but when there is a huge bunch of bushes and trees it really helps to reduce the accuracy by those 20-30 feet. The most extreme result of using my iPhone as a GPS was one cache where it insisted I was still nearly 200m away from the cache when I was holding it in my hand...

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I find it really strange that you have had so much trouble with your iPhone. My husband and I both have iPhone 3GS's and we have never been caching with anything else. We have only have a few DNF's and most of them were running out of time, rather than poor GPS signal. We have the full geocaching app installed and we save/download the maps for the caches that we are intending to attempt before we leave home.

 

Perhaps there is a significant difference in reception in UK and US?

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I had a 3GS iphone for a while and cached with it, I had no issues finding many caches because I knew to put the phone away when I got to 30' of the cache since IMO that the iphone lacks good sensitivity that a real GPSr has. The iPhone was used primarily when I didn't have my GPSr with me or a new cache came in.

It was well worth the $10 and premium membership (which I have had for many years)

Lastly, to OP, perhaps you didn't find the path you sought because it was running in a different direction or to find the cache it necessitated a high degree of bushwacking.

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Well, you're at 50%. Pretty darn good, especially if you're looking for micros. I find about 60-75% of the caches I look for, but I tend to give up easy. Sometimes I go back, but normally we just cache on vacation, so if you don't find it, you don't find it. It can be frustrating, but the fun is in the chase, I think.

 

CArl

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I also don't get the trouble you're having with the iPhone. I have an iPhone 4 and it works just fine, most times gets me within 10 feet or so. I also agree that the paid Geocaching app is well worth the money, it's great for caching on the fly. I probably will be buying a dedicated GPS in the near future, though, just for the improved sensitivity and the battery life.

 

I think I read somewhere that a real GPSr uses 12 or so satellites at a time to determine position, while the iPhone only uses 1 or 2 at a time. So your odds of getting a good satellite fix, especially under tree cover or around tall buildings, decreases. Still, I haven't had a problem. Being 7.7 miles off seems like a glitch of some kind.

 

I haven't had to deal with areas with no cell signal much...weak signal sometimes, but never none at all. So I'm not sure how well the GPS-only navigation works. I guess that if you have no cell signal and no data, then you can't do the "Find Nearby Geocaches" thing out in the field. But if you plan your trip and save a bunch of caches as Favorites and save the maps before you go out, you should be able to pull them out of the Saved folder and hunt them without data connection. At least I think that's how it works, like I said I almost always have at least some data.

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I think I read somewhere that a real GPSr uses 12 or so satellites at a time to determine position, while the iPhone only uses 1 or 2 at a time. So your odds of getting a good satellite fix, especially under tree cover or around tall buildings, decreases. Still, I haven't had a problem. Being 7.7 miles off seems like a glitch of some kind.

 

Though I couldn't find the iPhone GPS specs with a quick Google search, the way GPS technology works it would need a minimum of 3 satellites to triangulate the position so this would not even be possible.

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I am an iphone 4 geocahcer and its accuracy is phenomenal, I went with my brother with his old non-paperless GPSr and the eXplorist GC of my wife and he was blown away by the accuracy of my phone. I initially went caching with the free app, and after the first couple of finds I realized it was time to upgrade to the full app. it's a great deal at ten bucks.

 

The one thing to keep in mind the GPS will give you as the bird flies directions in a straight line. It does help to check the maps. Occasionally in the full app I will switch to a satellite map in order to get a better idea of where it might be and how to get to the cache.

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I think I read somewhere that a real GPSr uses 12 or so satellites at a time to determine position, while the iPhone only uses 1 or 2 at a time. So your odds of getting a good satellite fix, especially under tree cover or around tall buildings, decreases. Still, I haven't had a problem. Being 7.7 miles off seems like a glitch of some kind.

 

Though I couldn't find the iPhone GPS specs with a quick Google search, the way GPS technology works it would need a minimum of 3 satellites to triangulate the position so this would not even be possible.

 

Which goes to show just how much I know about GPS :rolleyes: But I do seem to recall that it gets its fix from a lesser number of satellites than a true GPSr.

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