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The iPhone is great isn't it......


The Blorenges
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Went off to do this cache today, GCN2P1. Of course we used the Oregon and got straight to it - actually showed about 19 feet at the cache site; pretty good! I thought I'd try the iPhone geocaching app - to see how it would perform. I've used it before with reasonable success but this time I was rather surprised. Below are 4 screen shots from the main screen showing my location and accuracy of 47 meters. Then searching for caches (picture 2) and selecting the cache itself (picture 3). You'll see from this picture the cache is only some 10 meters away and the coordinates showing are correct. So, picture 4 is what happened after selecting 'Navigate to the cache' and bringing up the compass screen. Seems to be a little bit more than 10 meters away.... Funnily enough when we got home and I checked again it showed the distance as 32Km which was about right. I also tried shutting the app down and even rebooted the phone to no avail.... All the other 'nearby' caches came up with the same result.

 

Chris

 

gpscache.jpg

Edited by The Blorenges
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Went off to do this cache today, GCN2P1. Of course we used the Oregon and got straight to it - actually showed about 19 feet at the cache site; pretty good! I thought I'd try the iPhone geocaching app - to see how it would perform. I've used it before with reasonable success but this time I was rather surprised. Below are 4 screen shots from the main screen showing my location and accuracy of 47 meters. Then searching for caches (picture 2) and selecting the cache itself (picture 3). You'll see from this picture the cache is only some 10 meters away and the coordinates showing are correct. So, picture 4 is what happened after selecting 'Navigate to the cache' and bringing up the compass screen. Seems to be a little bit more than 10 meters away.... Funnily enough when we got home and I checked again it showed the distance as 32Km which was about right. I also tried shutting the app down and even rebooted the phone to no avail.... All the other 'nearby' caches came up with the same result.

 

Chris

 

gpscache.jpg

 

I would hazard a guess that the distance shown in the bottom right picture is correct as the destination is on the Equator/Prime Meridian - or am I missing the point?

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Think you need to upgrade your app and/or the iOS. I posted a thread about this problem when the iOS changed, but since then Groundspeak brought out an update to solve the problem.

 

I also suspect that you are using a 3G phone. Yes, the gps isn't great. If you get an iPhone4 you will be pleasantly surprised at how good it is. I use mine nearly all the time and it is often more accurate than my Garmin, especially under trees.

iPhone4 is the version which actually works. :)

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As Martlakes said, you need to update the version of the app. This started happening after a previous upgrade a couple of months ago. It can be solved by hand if you zoom until you can see the cache's green icon then click on it, but best just to do the update. It was very annoying at the time, but is now working much better. I have found hundreds of caches with my iPhone, and while I do now mainly use a Venture HC I still quite often take only the iPhone if I'm just planning to do a couple of caches, as it's so much easier! Hope you have better luck with it next time you use it!

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I have a can of worms, do you have a can opener? Oh, wait, you already opened it! ;)

 

iPhone 3G by any chance?

 

It's all very well saying "if you get an iPhone4" but what do you do if you can't afford one?

 

Yes, I have the 3G, yes it sucks most of the time for caching. I can get it to work for the odd cache when I have the opportunity, but rely much more on my eTrex for nav and use the GC App for paperless.

 

Anyone got any suggestions for an iPhone version of cachemate or similar that doesn't take 20 minutes to open a DB of 1000 caches when I press the wrong button?

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Think you need to upgrade your app and/or the iOS. I posted a thread about this problem when the iOS changed, but since then Groundspeak brought out an update to solve the problem.

I also suspect that you are using a 3G phone. Yes, the gps isn't great. If you get an iPhone4 you will be pleasantly surprised at how good it is. I use mine nearly all the time and it is often more accurate than my Garmin, especially under trees.

iPhone4 is the version which actually works. :)

It's a 3GS with iOS4 (latest). The Geocaching App was not the very latest (I'm aware of issues with the version I was using). I just find the thing 'flaky' because from time to time it throws up errors like this. I have had it working fine and have found a few caches with it but I wouldn't want to rely on it as my only geocaching device.

 

Chris MrB

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I've been using the iPhone app for ages on 3G and 3GS... Yes it lets you down in heavily wooded areas but when i'm at work its a great way of taking a break and prob 99% of the time i find the caches as long as you can get a signal.

 

I also use it when i go out with my daughter, before we go we set up a hit list of caches we want to do and if we finish in time whack the iPhone on and do some more

 

And i find the "it is impossible to use as a GPSr for caching" statement utterly wrong, the company i work for use all Apple devices from computers to iPhones, we have over 15 3GS iPhones out being used and 5 of those are being used for Geocaching with no problems

 

I've used mine to find caches on the BLACK MOUNTAIN and other odd places and also used it to navigate in the Beacons and Knoydart,Torridon in Scotland just to see how it preforms

 

I dont use it as my Main GPS unit.. BUT then it was never designed or meant to be a dedicated GPS! it is after all a Smart Phone with a very handy and nifty cacheing App

 

2489 ratings in the app store with a score of 4 ouuta 5 aint bad

 

and i'm sure more than that are using it.

 

My old man used to say "a Bad workman always blames his tools" ;)

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There is one thing I can say with complete confidence, so much so in fact I could have it carved in stone, bordered in white marble and mounted on a plinth on top of a hill for all to see....

 

If you use the iPhone to TAKE the coordinates when you place a cache it can be really (really) bad. The worst error so far I've had is over 2 miles. Anything from half a mile to a couple of hundred feet is quite a normal error. I frequently have to update the coordinates of a cache after publishing it when it's clearly been done with a smart phone.

 

Why? Because when you open the app it shows you coordinates of where you are and it is very inaccurate at that point. I've tested it against my Oregon and it can take 5 minutes or more sometimes to get a satisfactory satellite signal and some degree of accuracy. Initially it uses the mobile signal to triangulate where you are and that is not accurate. But it still gives you a set of coordinates in the display (main display or the compass screen). So you assume it is correct because there are the coordinates after all. This isn't a case of a bad workmen blaming his tools ( ;)) but more user error, not fully understanding the information you are presented with.

 

Chris

Graculus

Volunteer UK Reviewer for geocaching.com

UK Geocaching Information & Resources website www.follow-the-arrow.co.uk

Geocaching.com Knowledge Books

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I think the issue is more about the ease of entry to geocaching that phones produce. You've got a phone, hear about geocaching, get a £5 app and away you go. Unfortunately, you probably know very little about the game or how to use the equipment in your hand. Previously, you had to be fairly nerdy to have gone out and bought a GPS as 'normal' people don't need them, but lots of folk now have phones with GPS.

 

As I've said, the iPhone4 is actually very good. I've not used my Garmin to find or set caches for quite a few months because I need to fix the battery connector that has come adrift. The iPhone4 has been a perfectly fine substitute (apart from once when it ran out of juice!). My previous 3G was pretty poor and not a great bit of kit for caching. But with the v4 there's little impetus to fix the Garmin at the moment but I still want to as it's more waterproof and robust for those extreme days out.

 

So, try and educate newbies rather than waffle on about how bad the iPhone is (v4 at least). And if you don't have a v4 then two choices, cough up £500 or sign up to an 18 month contract, or just go and buy a cheap GPS. In the meantime, always treat newbie caches with caution cos even with a dedicated GPS they may well make a mistake or two. With the great spread of geocaching in the last year or so, which will probably continue, it's no surprise that a lot of technically unaware folk are now entering the game.

 

(And no, I'm not an Apple fanboi, but it's a shame to see a good bit of kit needlessly slandered!) :P

Edited by martlakes
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I have a can of worms, do you have a can opener? Oh, wait, you already opened it! ;)

 

iPhone 3G by any chance?

 

It's all very well saying "if you get an iPhone4" but what do you do if you can't afford one?

 

Yes, I have the 3G, yes it sucks most of the time for caching. I can get it to work for the odd cache when I have the opportunity, but rely much more on my eTrex for nav and use the GC App for paperless.

 

Anyone got any suggestions for an iPhone version of cachemate or similar that doesn't take 20 minutes to open a DB of 1000 caches when I press the wrong button?

 

JOSSS introduced me to an absolutely fabulous app for paperless caching, geosphere.

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Speaking as a noob who is using an iPhone 3GS and the official app, it is fine, provided (as per Graculus) you are patient with the GPS acquisition.

 

But then, I haven't done any where I've needed to get closer than about 20 feet to find any.

 

Looking at the satellite maps helps significantly, the GPS is a tool and not the cache. I think that is called "navigation" :laughing:

 

I'm not sure that I need a dedicated GPS unit at the moment, and if I upgrade my phone in due course, I may never need one. But then I'll be caching with my kids (tinies) for at least the next few years, with urban micro's when I'm on my own. :ph34r:

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JOSSS introduced me to an absolutely fabulous app for paperless caching, geosphere.

 

I use Geosphere too and LOVE IT!

 

Sometimes I have trouble with iPhone (4) accuracy, but have used it for the last few finds and am gaining more confidence in it.

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JOSSS introduced me to an absolutely fabulous app for paperless caching, geosphere.

 

I use Geosphere too and LOVE IT!

 

I also use Geosphere which, for me, has the advantage of being able to receive PQs so doesn't necessarily need a satelite signal. :D There are many places in Northumberland, and I'm sure other places, where I just can't get a phone signal. :o

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I can only see that GC.com were trying to Cache In on the use of the iPhone.

Experienced cachers are well aware of the many problems the GC.com app has had over the last couple of years. Just look at the threads. They even had the audacity to enter the app for some kind of prize.

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I also use Geosphere which, for me, has the advantage of being able to receive PQs so doesn't necessarily need a satelite signal. :D There are many places in Northumberland, and I'm sure other places, where I just can't get a phone signal. :o

 

I use Geosphere and have recommended it to a couple of fellow cachers ;)

 

I find both the official app and the Geosphere app have their pros and cons a couple being:

 

Geosphere

 

:cool: Geosphere allows you to turn off the GPSr within the app so save battery.

:cool: Compass interface, I like the 'Accuracy' ring on the compass.

:cool: PQ's, once downloaded are a breeze to search and select.

 

:bad: Geosphere can't download maps before you set off (you need a constant data connection) which in the Northumbrian hills is not good at the best of times!

:bad: Logging field notes can be a pain while....out in the field.

:bad: Requires a Gmail/Yahoo mail account to download GPX files

 

Official App

 

:cool: Plan your day, I download all the maps over Wifi before we go out that way I can save battery by switching off the data connection until I need it.

:cool: Everything in one place (as it should be with an official product)

:cool: Direct links to trackables

:bad: Sucks the battery badly! So much so I now have 2 external batteries plus a solar panel to recharge them. They really need to make it easier to turn off the GPSr like Geosphere.

:bad: Personal problem, recently it's started not updating my position, the GPSr seems to lock up until I switch to another app that uses the GPSr, switching back to GC app then updates my new co-ords. I have the latest OS and the latest GC app I think another re-install is on the cards.

 

I've used my 3GS for all my caches - it was one of the reasons we got into Geocaching after being introduced to it by a friend, I've never had a problem locating a cache even overseas it takes me to within about 10-15ft. I haven't placed many but one of my caches is a 10 stage multi and so far no-one has had any problems finding the answer co-ords - I agree with giving the Iphone time to get a good fix and I always cross reference any co-ords in Google maps - not perfect but seems to work for us.

 

I bought my son a Dakota 10 so he can go paperless, I'll borrow it and compare the two :)

 

:ph34r::ninja::ph34r:

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I've used my 3GS to find about 50 caches and I think it's great.

 

I can head out without any preplanning, whip out the phone, search for nearest caches, locate it and immediately post a Found It note. The convenience and simplicity is tremendous.

 

As stated, under tree cover it's not so good, hopeless really. But if you back up and take a couple of bearings, it can add to the adventure. Many times the accuracy is as good as 2 feet though, so no complaints here!

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. . . it is impossible to use as a GPSr for caching . . .

 

If this is even close to the truth, why do so many people use an iPhone to cache?

 

Well, lots of people buy mobile phones. To try and get you to buy coffee from your nearest retailer, many of them have gps, digital compasses, wibbly wobbly web access, maps and an app store full of toys (some of them probably still make telephone calls? :D)

 

It's kind of an obvious step from having the capability as part of something else to trying it out I suppose.

I think the first time you see it in action it looks quite amazing. Google Street view that reacts to the way you're pointing the phone?

 

After all phones are new, and perhaps car sat nav is old hat, but maybe just as being able to walk around and make a phone call amazed people in the early 90s (late 80s if you were a yuppie) I'm guessing walking around with something that tells you where you are is a novelty for many people.

 

It's all very well saying "if you get an iPhone4" but what do you do if you can't afford one?

 

An apple owner saying "what if you can't afford something?" - That's irony :) Steve Jobs will have visibly aged.

 

But, TBH, I can't see the point in buying an iphone 3 or 4 to geocache.

Why? Well, it has few advantages over your common or garden GPSr.

 

How about "Get a £99 android phone." instead?

 

That does have some

 

- It's cheaper than many (most?) paperless gpsr devices

- It's got wibbly wobbly web connectivity, phone connectivity, gps, digital compass and more besides.

- Maps. Street view. Navigation.

- You can run whatever software you want on it to do your geocaching (or anything else) including writing your own software.

 

There's no Steve Jobs to tell you what apps you can and can't have. No Garmin / a.n.other gpsr manufacturer giving you a "take it or leave it" application either. "This model can store 500 caches. On this model we change the 500 to 2000, recompile and charge you £100 more. But that's nothing, wait till you see the price of our maps" :)

 

Compared with most outdoor gps it has 2 possible downsides

- Battery life

- Ruggedness

 

Although there are probably android phones that address one or both of those.

 

I've got a Dakota 10. It's great for what it is but my son recently bought a Samsung i5500 android phone and, for everything except battery life and ruggedness, I'd say it's better. I was amazed at just how good it was. And its not the only one by any stretch. so you can add :-

 

- pick your own hardware. Cheap, expensive. Big or small.

 

Although you might lose the price advantage (Not for long though I suspect as I said above, lots of people buy phones)

 

If someone brings out an android phone that'll survive a 25mph head first exit from a cycle as my Dakota did last summer (my phone survived too, but that was tucked away) I'd say Garmin would have a lot to worry about. They don't really do anything now as far as I can see. In the sense that if they turn their outdoor gps devices into a phone / app store / computer in the way that phone manufacturers have basically turned their phone / computing devices into gps receivers, at best they'd be another phone manufacturer.

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Geosphere

 

:bad: Requires a Gmail/Yahoo mail account to download GPX files

It never REQUIRED a Gmail/Yahoo mail account, that was just one of several ways to download GPX files. Admittedly, they all used to be slightly inconvenient for me, but that was Apple's fault for imposing a bunch of ridiculous political limitations on developers.

 

However, for some time now the easiest way for me has been just to drag the GPX file across from Explorer to GeoSphere in iTunes.

 

Rgds, Andy

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Geosphere

 

:bad: Requires a Gmail/Yahoo mail account to download GPX files

It never REQUIRED a Gmail/Yahoo mail account, that was just one of several ways to download GPX files. Admittedly, they all used to be slightly inconvenient for me, but that was Apple's fault for imposing a bunch of ridiculous political limitations on developers.

 

However, for some time now the easiest way for me has been just to drag the GPX file across from Explorer to GeoSphere in iTunes.

 

Rgds, Andy

 

Hi Andy, I agree it isn't required while you have access to a PC but a weekend away camping means it's certainly preferable. I used to use 'Dropbox' but you still have to drop the zip/gpx file into the Dropbox to access it from Geosphere.

 

Regards :)

 

:ph34r::ninja::ph34r:

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Hi Andy, I agree it isn't required while you have access to a PC but a weekend away camping means it's certainly preferable

How many caches do you need for a weekend away? You can put a hundred thousand or so into GeoSphere before you leave if you think you'll need that many :rolleyes: .

 

Rgds, Andy

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How many caches do you need for a weekend away? You can put a hundred thousand or so into GeoSphere before you leave if you think you'll need that many :rolleyes: .

 

If it was up to the wife then that number would be about right lol. What I actually meant was we have been to a couple of meets where new caches are published on the day or, as in the Mega, while we were camping, how would you suggest we get those caches into Geosphere without having the GPX via Gmail/Yahoo etc - if it can be done without carrying around a netbook or similar then please let me know :)

 

Don't get me wrong I love Geosphere I just wish I could have the best of the GS App married with the best of the Geoshpere App :)

 

:ph34r::ninja::ph34r:

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What I actually meant was we have been to a couple of meets where new caches are published on the day or, as in the Mega, while we were camping, how would you suggest we get those caches into Geosphere without having the GPX via Gmail/Yahoo etc - if it can be done without carrying around a netbook or similar then please let me know :

Ah, you have me there :huh:

 

Rgds, Andy

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. . . it is impossible to use as a GPSr for caching . . .

 

If this is even close to the truth, why do so many people use an iPhone to cache?

 

Well, lots of people buy mobile phones. To try and get you to buy coffee from your nearest retailer, many of them have gps, digital compasses, wibbly wobbly web access, maps and an app store full of toys (some of them probably still make telephone calls? :D)

 

It's kind of an obvious step from having the capability as part of something else to trying it out I suppose.

I think the first time you see it in action it looks quite amazing. Google Street view that reacts to the way you're pointing the phone?

 

After all phones are new, and perhaps car sat nav is old hat, but maybe just as being able to walk around and make a phone call amazed people in the early 90s (late 80s if you were a yuppie) I'm guessing walking around with something that tells you where you are is a novelty for many people.

 

And how does this address the supposed imposibility of using an iPhone to cache?

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How about "Get a £99 android phone." instead?

 

 

If someone brings out an android phone that'll survive a 25mph head first exit from a cycle as my Dakota did last summer (my phone survived too, but that was tucked away) I'd say Garmin would have a lot to worry about. They don't really do anything now as far as I can see. In the sense that if they turn their outdoor gps devices into a phone / app store / computer in the way that phone manufacturers have basically turned their phone / computing devices into gps receivers, at best they'd be another phone manufacturer.

 

I have just purchased a Motorola Defy Android which is Waterproof [1 m] shock proof and has a non scratch 'Gorilla' screen.

I purchased it as I am fed up with being told that the phone warranty does not cover droppage , water , ' normal' use etc unless you take out insurance. I pay £25 pm and so far so good. Had thought about a I phone 4 but cannot see the point given the apps and functions on this new phone [and I save quite a few bob !]

Edited by Cache U Nutter
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HI, We've done all our geocaching on the iphone, first on the 3gs then the iphone 4 which was ideal for us as we had the phone anyway and only paid £5 for the app, so better than buying a dedicated gps while we got into it and to be honest I'm happy sticking with the iphone as we've had no probs! it does suck the life out of the battery (so we save data via wifi at home before we go) and sometimes its a few feet off but to be honest we love the challenge of searching around!

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:bad: Personal problem, recently it's started not updating my position, the GPSr seems to lock up until I switch to another app that uses the GPSr, switching back to GC app then updates my new co-ords. I have the latest OS and the latest GC app I think another re-install is on the cards.

 

 

I've noticed the exact same thing recently. It is a right pain, all of a sudden your position will just not update. I resort to going into the iPhone settings and turning off/on the location services for the Geocaching app.

 

grrrr!!!

 

:(

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I thought the iPhone was great when I started a couple of weeks ago BUT I am afraid I have gone right off it now and ordered an Oregon.

 

The iPhone is not updating my location,not downloading all the info all of the time (hints etc)and worst of all is the signal which was always going to be a problem. I think I may still use it from time to time but plan to use the Garmin.

 

I am also scared of losing my phone or damaging it which I could do quite easily when I get down and dirty with my caches. I plan to put the oregon on a lanyard round my neck as it is more expensive than the phone!!

 

What started out as a bit of a cheap hobby is all going horribly wrong and turning into an expensive obsession!!

 

Jane

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