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using you smart phone to cache


Contra1971
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I use an iPhone 4. It works work casual caching but I will be looking to get a stand alone GPS in the future.

 

i would never hide a cache using my phone.

 

As well, In the month I have been using my iPhone 4 to cache, I have yet to see my phone bill. Shouldn't be a problem but fear of the unknown has set in. Find out in a couple days if it has killed my wallet or not.

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I used to cache with my iPhone but the accuracy can't compare to any of my three Garmins. Both the GC App and the iphone have gotten better since I began over two years ago and I am sure they will continue to improve. But I don't think any smartphone app and GPS will ever be as good as a dedicated GPSr.

 

Last week I got my new GARMIN GPSMAP62 ST and it is SO accurate that older caches are hard to find since they were placed with older, less accurate GPSr's. In heavily wooded areas where my older Colorado 400T would get three or four bars, the new GPSMAP62 ST sticks right on 5 bars.

 

I still use my iPhone to search for nearby caches and navigate to the cache location.

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I use both. If I'm doing a couple of spur-of-the-moment caches when I hadn't planned to do any caching, I'll use the phone. If I'm planning an all-day outing I'll do some preparation and download a PQ to my Garmin Legend (same PQ also goes to the iPhone). I know its battery will get me through a long day of caching and it's better suited to knocking around in the woods. The phone is still with me for hints, descriptions, recent logs, etc., as well as driving directions. I'll usually leave the phone plugged in on the car charger and secure in a window-mounted cradle...when I get out on foot for the final approach I grab the Garmin.

 

As far as accuracy goes, I've found the iPhone 4's accuracy to be comparable to the Garmin. I hear people claiming all the time about their iPhone putting them 30, 50, 100 feet off the mark, but I've never seen anything like that. It's usually right on the money (within the usually acceptable margins of error, anyway). Maybe they are using older versions of the iPhone, I don't know.

 

I found my first 70 or so caches with just the iPhone, no problems whatsoever. I also hid my first cache with it and have received no complaints about the accuracy.

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i would never hide a cache using my phone.

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

 

Smart phones are amazing tools for on the fly caching, as they allow you to see what caches are in your immediate area without having to download a PQ. The latest batch have actual GPS hardware installed, as opposed to the earlier editions which claimed to have "built in GPS", yet in reality had nothing more than software which triangulated cell tower data, so accuracy has improved to the point where they are fine for casual, urban hunting. If you are a P&G junkie, you'll probably never have a need for anything else.

 

The only real problems I see with smart phones are precision and durability.

 

The GPSr antenna in today's smart phones is a patch antenna roughly equivalent in signal absorption to the ones found in the old time yellow eTrex. They are pretty dependent upon clear sky and a favorable satellite constellation. So long as you have both, the antenna will absorb enough signal to make the displayed results manageable. Back in the day, there were many caches hidden with the old yellow eTrex, but considering the availability of more precise tools, I would not recommend using one now. I would not hesitate to hunt for an urban cache using an old yellow eTrex, if that was all I had, but if I had to step into an environment with heavy tree cover, I would acknowledge the fact that my accuracy was greatly reduced, making my hunt that much harder.

 

As for durability, there really is no comparison. Even in the strongest aftermarket case, a smart phone will not take any where near the rough handling that a basic handheld would shrug off. To date I have driven over my 60CSx with my truck, and crashed my motorcycle with it mounted on the handlebar. Both my 60 and my Oregon 300 have left the roof of various vehicles to go bouncing down the blacktop at speeds between 30 and 45 MPH. all three of my handhelds are repeatedly immersed, as I am fairly clumsy, and I always have at least one of them with me in my kayak. Other than some cosmetic damage, they all work fine. I've seen smart phones reduced to overpriced paperweights from simply being dropped.

 

On a related note, I would like to stress to folks who use smart phones and those who use dedicated handhelds, that the so called "accuracy" displayed by the device is a mostly meaningless number. It is generated by various algorithms, depending on the device and the software update, and is there mostly as a feel good addition, designed to give warm fuzzies to the person holding the device. Feel free to giggle at the guys out in the field comparing a smart phone to a handheld, arguing about accuracy, pointing to the displayed EPE (Estimated Position Error) numbers. B)

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As far as accuracy goes, I've found the iPhone 4's accuracy to be comparable to the Garmin. I hear people claiming all the time about their iPhone putting them 30, 50, 100 feet off the mark, but I've never seen anything like that. It's usually right on the money (within the usually acceptable margins of error, anyway). Maybe they are using older versions of the iPhone, I don't know.

 

I think the accuracy of any smartphone depends on the cell tower coverage and terrain of where you are caching. In urban areas I get pretty good accuracy but in in rural or deep woods with a lot of tall hills it can easily be 100 meters off.

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i would never hide a cache using my phone.

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

 

Smart phones are amazing tools for on the fly caching, as they allow you to see what caches are in your immediate area without having to download a PQ. The latest batch have actual GPS hardware installed, as opposed to the earlier editions which claimed to have "built in GPS", yet in reality had nothing more than software which triangulated cell tower data, so accuracy has improved to the point where they are fine for casual, urban hunting. If you are a P&G junkie, you'll probably never have a need for anything else.

 

The only real problems I see with smart phones are precision and durability.

 

The GPSr antenna in today's smart phones is a patch antenna roughly equivalent in signal absorption to the ones found in the old time yellow eTrex. They are pretty dependent upon clear sky and a favorable satellite constellation. So long as you have both, the antenna will absorb enough signal to make the displayed results manageable. Back in the day, there were many caches hidden with the old yellow eTrex, but considering the availability of more precise tools, I would not recommend using one now. I would not hesitate to hunt for an urban cache using an old yellow eTrex, if that was all I had, but if I had to step into an environment with heavy tree cover, I would acknowledge the fact that my accuracy was greatly reduced, making my hunt that much harder.

 

As for durability, there really is no comparison. Even in the strongest aftermarket case, a smart phone will not take any where near the rough handling that a basic handheld would shrug off. To date I have driven over my 60CSx with my truck, and crashed my motorcycle with it mounted on the handlebar. Both my 60 and my Oregon 300 have left the roof of various vehicles to go bouncing down the blacktop at speeds between 30 and 45 MPH. all three of my handhelds are repeatedly immersed, as I am fairly clumsy, and I always have at least one of them with me in my kayak. Other than some cosmetic damage, they all work fine. I've seen smart phones reduced to overpriced paperweights from simply being dropped.

 

On a related note, I would like to stress to folks who use smart phones and those who use dedicated handhelds, that the so called "accuracy" displayed by the device is a mostly meaningless number. It is generated by various algorithms, depending on the device and the software update, and is there mostly as a feel good addition, designed to give warm fuzzies to the person holding the device. Feel free to giggle at the guys out in the field comparing a smart phone to a handheld, arguing about accuracy, pointing to the displayed EPE (Estimated Position Error) numbers. B)

 

I hid a cache with my smartphone, and people have said the coords were right on. I know my phone isn't the most accurate, but I don't think they're as bad as people think they are.

 

Cell phones that use antennas to triangulate location are not accutate in the slightest. That's probably what gives smartphones a bad reputation in general.

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i would never hide a cache using my phone.

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

 

Smart phones are amazing tools for on the fly caching, as they allow you to see what caches are in your immediate area without having to download a PQ. The latest batch have actual GPS hardware installed, as opposed to the earlier editions which claimed to have "built in GPS", yet in reality had nothing more than software which triangulated cell tower data, so accuracy has improved to the point where they are fine for casual, urban hunting. If you are a P&G junkie, you'll probably never have a need for anything else.

 

The only real problems I see with smart phones are precision and durability.

 

The GPSr antenna in today's smart phones is a patch antenna roughly equivalent in signal absorption to the ones found in the old time yellow eTrex. They are pretty dependent upon clear sky and a favorable satellite constellation. So long as you have both, the antenna will absorb enough signal to make the displayed results manageable. Back in the day, there were many caches hidden with the old yellow eTrex, but considering the availability of more precise tools, I would not recommend using one now. I would not hesitate to hunt for an urban cache using an old yellow eTrex, if that was all I had, but if I had to step into an environment with heavy tree cover, I would acknowledge the fact that my accuracy was greatly reduced, making my hunt that much harder.

 

As for durability, there really is no comparison. Even in the strongest aftermarket case, a smart phone will not take any where near the rough handling that a basic handheld would shrug off. To date I have driven over my 60CSx with my truck, and crashed my motorcycle with it mounted on the handlebar. Both my 60 and my Oregon 300 have left the roof of various vehicles to go bouncing down the blacktop at speeds between 30 and 45 MPH. all three of my handhelds are repeatedly immersed, as I am fairly clumsy, and I always have at least one of them with me in my kayak. Other than some cosmetic damage, they all work fine. I've seen smart phones reduced to overpriced paperweights from simply being dropped.

 

On a related note, I would like to stress to folks who use smart phones and those who use dedicated handhelds, that the so called "accuracy" displayed by the device is a mostly meaningless number. It is generated by various algorithms, depending on the device and the software update, and is there mostly as a feel good addition, designed to give warm fuzzies to the person holding the device. Feel free to giggle at the guys out in the field comparing a smart phone to a handheld, arguing about accuracy, pointing to the displayed EPE (Estimated Position Error) numbers. B)

 

I hid a cache with my smartphone, and people have said the coords were right on. I know my phone isn't the most accurate, but I don't think they're as bad as people think they are.

 

Cell phones that use antennas to triangulate location are not accutate in the slightest. That's probably what gives smartphones a bad reputation in general.

 

All phones use an antenna. Same with GPSs. Some just work better than others.

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I use both but for different reasons.

 

I use my Garmin 62s to drive to the cache site and then to find the cache. The GPS is paperless so I also use it to read the description, logs and hints.

I use my Blackberry Curve cell phone to use CacheSense for organizing my photos and field notes. I've used it a couple of times to hunt for caches but it chews up battery power. I prefer the accuracy of my GPS unit.

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i would never hide a cache using my phone.

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

 

Smart phones are amazing tools for on the fly caching, as they allow you to see what caches are in your immediate area without having to download a PQ. The latest batch have actual GPS hardware installed, as opposed to the earlier editions which claimed to have "built in GPS", yet in reality had nothing more than software which triangulated cell tower data, so accuracy has improved to the point where they are fine for casual, urban hunting. If you are a P&G junkie, you'll probably never have a need for anything else.

 

The only real problems I see with smart phones are precision and durability.

 

The GPSr antenna in today's smart phones is a patch antenna roughly equivalent in signal absorption to the ones found in the old time yellow eTrex. They are pretty dependent upon clear sky and a favorable satellite constellation. So long as you have both, the antenna will absorb enough signal to make the displayed results manageable. Back in the day, there were many caches hidden with the old yellow eTrex, but considering the availability of more precise tools, I would not recommend using one now. I would not hesitate to hunt for an urban cache using an old yellow eTrex, if that was all I had, but if I had to step into an environment with heavy tree cover, I would acknowledge the fact that my accuracy was greatly reduced, making my hunt that much harder.

 

As for durability, there really is no comparison. Even in the strongest aftermarket case, a smart phone will not take any where near the rough handling that a basic handheld would shrug off. To date I have driven over my 60CSx with my truck, and crashed my motorcycle with it mounted on the handlebar. Both my 60 and my Oregon 300 have left the roof of various vehicles to go bouncing down the blacktop at speeds between 30 and 45 MPH. all three of my handhelds are repeatedly immersed, as I am fairly clumsy, and I always have at least one of them with me in my kayak. Other than some cosmetic damage, they all work fine. I've seen smart phones reduced to overpriced paperweights from simply being dropped.

 

On a related note, I would like to stress to folks who use smart phones and those who use dedicated handhelds, that the so called "accuracy" displayed by the device is a mostly meaningless number. It is generated by various algorithms, depending on the device and the software update, and is there mostly as a feel good addition, designed to give warm fuzzies to the person holding the device. Feel free to giggle at the guys out in the field comparing a smart phone to a handheld, arguing about accuracy, pointing to the displayed EPE (Estimated Position Error) numbers. B)

 

I hid a cache with my smartphone, and people have said the coords were right on. I know my phone isn't the most accurate, but I don't think they're as bad as people think they are.

 

Cell phones that use antennas to triangulate location are not accutate in the slightest. That's probably what gives smartphones a bad reputation in general.

 

All phones use an antenna. Same with GPSs. Some just work better than others.

Some phones use cell towers to triangulate where they are, and some use GPS satellites. That's the difference.

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I use a Motorola Droid with great success. GPS Status app tells me I frequently get +/- 6ft accuracy. I've had several compliments about coordinate accuracy; I think the only complaint I recieved was one was a data entry issue (not the GPS). I get about 6 hours battery life using the GeoHunter app with Pocket Queries. It doesn't handle tree cover real well though, but I can usually compensate accordingly.

 

I'm looking at possibly getting an actual GPS for kayak trips, very rural areas (even if GPS signal is strong the phone will search for signal & bringing up the map image is super slow), and long hikes.

 

Generally speaking, most (all?) Droid phones have an actual GPS reciever so accuracy is good. iPhone 1-3 gave smartphones a bad name because their accuracy is poor. I think the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4 (and later models) resolved this issue as they have an actual GPS reciever as well. In either case, you need to make sure the GPS is turned on.

Edited by Joshism
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 I know my phone isn't the most accurate, but I don't think they're as bad as people think they are.

I'm sure perception is part of the issue, but that's likely true on both sides of the fence. Those folks who remember the horrible coords given by the iPhone 3 might still insist that phones totally suck for caching, which simply isn't true any more. But likewise, those cell phone proponents who insist there phone is every bit as precise as a high end hand held are also living a fantasy.

 

For the most part, phone makers are choosing the tiny patch antenna for two reasons:

1 ) There really isn't a whole lot of room inside a cell phone. Squeezing in a high end antenna, which are considerably bulkier than the lower end of the spectrum, just isn't going to happen without the phone getting a lot bigger. Market research has shown the manufacturers how large phones can get and still be embraced by Joe Public.

2 ) The low end antennas can be bought in bulk for a tenth of the price of a high end antenna.

 

Until a phone manufacturer includes a high end antenna, a phone will not be as accurate as a quality handheld.

 

GPS Status app tells me I frequently get +/- 6ft accuracy. 

Josh, I'm reminded of this bit from an earlier post:

On a related note, I would like to stress to folks who use smart phones and those who use dedicated handhelds, that the so called "accuracy" displayed by the device is a mostly meaningless number. It is generated by various algorithms, depending on the device and the software update, and is there mostly as a feel good addition, designed to give warm fuzzies to the person holding the device. Feel free to giggle at the guys out in the field comparing a smart phone to a handheld, arguing about accuracy, pointing to the displayed EPE (Estimated Position Error) numbers.

:ph34r::lol::anibad:

 

I think the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4 (and later models) resolved this issue as they have an actual GPS reciever as well.

When the iPhone 4 came out, I had an Apple Rep tell me that the 3GS did not have a physical GPS inside, contrary to Apple's earlier claims. He said it had a slightly better antenna to receive cell tower signals, and software to simulate an actual GPSr. I have no idea if this is true, as I seldom trust guys who are trying to sell me something.

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I hid a cache with my smartphone, and people have said the coords were right on. I know my phone isn't the most accurate, but I don't think they're as bad as people think they are.
Clan Riffster's comparison to an old yellow eTrex matches my experience with my Android devices (a G1 and a Nexus One) and with my old yellow eTrex. Modern standalone GPS receivers will be more accurate, especially in adverse conditions.

 

But with that said, a lot of caches have been published with accurate coordinates obtained by owners using old yellow eTrex devices, and other devices of similar capabilities. As you've demonstrated, it can still be done.

 

Cell phones that use antennas to triangulate location are not accutate in the slightest. That's probably what gives smartphones a bad reputation in general.
Actually, the "coarse location" obtained from cell triangulation and WiFi locations is separate from the "fine location" obtained from the GPS receiver. And some phones (iPhone before the iPhone 4, and some cheap Android phones) really don't have very good GPS receivers. They might be okay for navigating city streets, where the device has to figure out whether you're driving down Fifth St or down Sixth St. But for geocaching purposes, they're pretty bad, comparable to some of the early consumer devices that were accurate to only 50' or so on a good day.
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how many people use their phones to geocache, and do you also have a regular GPSr

 

if so how do you find the accuracy of the phone, and what kinda phone?

I do not own a conventional GPS unit, we cache solely with my iPhone 4. I find it to be quite accurate. It consistently gets us within 5 ft. of the cache, oftentimes right on it. On a below average day, it's usually about 10 ft. It's far more than just an urban caching tool, as others like to claim. We live in a very rural area and often we're caching in wooded areas. It's true that it's accuracy drops in thicker woods, but it isn't as bad as others say, at least not for me. On a bad day, it still gets me within 20 ft. and that's easily manageable if you ask me. That's where experience comes into play. I have no doubt smartphones can be much more than "on the fly" caching tools and are good not only for finding nearby caches, but planning longer outings as well.

 

No, they aren't as accurate as many high end GPSr's, but they are as accurate (and even more accurate) than many out there. Everyone gloats about the accuracy of their GPS units over smartphones...I hope they're accurate, that's their job. By themselves, smartphones are also not as durable as GPSr's, but that doesn't have to stop you. For the longest time all I had on mine was a basic hard plastic case with no screen protection. We caches all different terrains, it just takes a little extra care & precaution. But durability can be remedied with a tough case. I now have an Otterbox Defender series on mine and it makes a big difference as well as provides peace of mind. GPS units have a longer battery life, but we've cached all day with my iPhone...it just takes a little extra doing. Charge it between caches if possible. There are also cases you can buy with external battery packs on them that can practically double your phone's battery life.

 

Hiding caches with accurate coordinates with a smartphone can be and has been accomplished time & time again. Let us not forget that many caches out there with bad coordinates have been hidden by handheld GPS units as well. Take your time, get more than one reading (there are apps that can average multiple readings into a more accurate one), and once you get your coords, treat it as if it were someone else's cache and "hunt" for it to ensure their accuracy. If they are off at the time it's published, I don't think it's the end of the world. Just be sure to correct them as soon as possible.

 

Smartphone cachers will probably continue to take a lot of heat in here, a lot of it unjustified. Personally I think it has more to do with the individual than the device they use.

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I have found every single find with my iPhone. For the first ~750 it was with my 3GS. Last hundred or so with iPhone 4. iPhone 4 is SOOoooooo much better! I live here in the PacNW, and it works just fine with clouds ad rain. And spiderwebs or clouds.

 

I've never used anther gps. But I have cached plenty with other users who have traditional gsps'. I see very little difference in accuracy. IPhone outshines most of them where everything else is concerned. Meh.

 

.

 

Smartphone cachers will probably continue to take a lot of heat in here, a lot of it unjustified. Personality I think it has more to do with the individual than the device they use.

 

This. I couldn't agree more...I've read all kinds of comments about smartphone caching. "its no good in the rain" "it will never find a micro" "it can't work in the woods" "it's only good for casual caching" blah blah blah. It does all that and then some.

 

And I've hidden a cache with it. In the woods. Under trees...

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I use a (T-Mobile) MyTouch 4G all the time. Works great, apparently very accurate. On Monday I found a multi-cache where I eventually had to go to a certain described location, and add specified values to the co-ordinates my 'GPS' displayed at that spot, in order to derive the co-ordinates for the final.

 

I arrived within five feet of the correct location.

 

That being said, I'm not giving up my dedicated handheld GPSr quite yet.

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IPhone outshines most of them where everything else is concerned.

Let's take a look at "everything else".

You've already mentioned that you see very little difference in accuracy. Based on the posts by folks who have done side by side comparisons of a high end GPSr and a cell phone, I'm guessing the "little" difference is in favor of the dedicated handheld?

What other aspects can a device be measured by?

 

Durability.

Both my 60CSx and my Oregon 300 have survived more than one trip off the roof of my vehicle, bouncing off the blacktop at 45 MPH. I have driven over my 60CSx with my truck. I have had my 60CSx mounted on the handlebar of my motorcycle when I wrecked it.

Is anyone willing to let me borrow their iPhone to see how it handles similar conditions? Even in an Otterbox case I'm betting the answer is "No".

 

Battery life.

My 60CSx lasts roughly 20 hours of continuous use on a single set of batteries. My Oregon 300 drains them much faster, only lasting about 16 hours.

My daughter's iPhone 4 is only good for about 4 or 5 hours of continuous use with the GPSr engaged.

Sure, both can have their use extended through various means, but for comparison purposes, I'd rather look at how they perform straight out of the box.

 

Data access.

With the iPhone's ability to access Groundspeak through the Geocaching App, there simply is no comparison.

If I load them as POIs, the only real limit to how many caches I can load onto my 60CSx is how many PQs I can run. Presuming I can extend the range of each PQ so it captures 1000 caches, at 5 PQs a day, over 7 days, that's 35,000 caches. With just a flick of the power button, an iPhone can put that number to shame.

 

So, out of "everything else", a phone wins one out of three. <_<

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Droid x2 - GPS not too reliable but sometimes works, great for entering logs when have cell signal.

 

Magellan Explor GC - Great little guy if I remember to load caches, also tends to lose signal more than old trusty.

 

Garmin eTrex H - dubbed "old trusty" has never failed me but all user input

 

I bring all 3 to cache

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I have 2 etrex and a droid 2. They have comparable accuracy as far as I'm concerned. When hiding caches, I take at least 3 readings from each and average them. If there is a big disagreement between the two, I come back on a clearer day. Both have days when they are consistently off. The difference between the phone and the etrex is that I can look at Google maps on the phone and see my position relative to landmarks and see which direction I'm off and with the etrex I have to poke around and figure it out by trial and error. They both go everywhere on planned caching outings. A watertight box holds the phone when needed.

Part of my reliance on the phone is that the prep that is required to cache with the etrex almost takes the fun out of it. (lazy... maybe) The map view, finding nearby caches, finding new caches, uploading photos, posting needs maintenance logs etc etc, all without going home to visit a pc are all great features. I usually wait to get home before posting my found and DNF logs so that I can type something meaningful.

The only two things that annoys me about it are 1. the short battery life (i bought 2 extra batteries for $15 to solve that) and the reliance on 3G.

I've had noses turned up at my at events for using a phone but I personally believe that those who don't have them, don't know what they're missing. But again, that's the nice thing about caching. To each his own.

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My wife and I use the iphone 4. We also have an Explorist GC. To date the only caches we haven't found were either just not there, or so cleverly hidden that we decided to give it up.

 

I will agree that the battery life sucks and it can get really hot with heavy use, and while in an area with a bad cell connection I won't be trying to find anything. But since I am generally an urban cacher this isn't really a problem for me.

 

I am looking at getting my own standalone GPSr in the future, but for now it works well.

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With the iphone app I can read as many log entries (for clues) as I want. Our Garmin Oregon 450t only shows a set number of logs. The iphone app will find nearby geocaches so even if we didn't plan on geocaching we are able to. The Garmin is way more accurate and signals when arriving at GZ - doesn't mean that it is actually where the cache is hidden only that it has arrived at the coordinates posted. We bought the Garmin after caching a bit with the iphone because we wanted more capabilities as far as battery and accuracy with some nearby nanos.

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IPhone outshines most of them where everything else is concerned.

Let's take a look at "everything else".

You've already mentioned that you see very little difference in accuracy. Based on the posts by folks who have done side by side comparisons of a high end GPSr and a cell phone, I'm guessing the "little" difference is in favor of the dedicated handheld?

What other aspects can a device be measured by?

 

Durability.

Both my 60CSx and my Oregon 300 have survived more than one trip off the roof of my vehicle, bouncing off the blacktop at 45 MPH. I have driven over my 60CSx with my truck. I have had my 60CSx mounted on the handlebar of my motorcycle when I wrecked it.

Is anyone willing to let me borrow their iPhone to see how it handles similar conditions? Even in an Otterbox case I'm betting the answer is "No".

 

Battery life.

My 60CSx lasts roughly 20 hours of continuous use on a single set of batteries. My Oregon 300 drains them much faster, only lasting about 16 hours.

My daughter's iPhone 4 is only good for about 4 or 5 hours of continuous use with the GPSr engaged.

Sure, both can have their use extended through various means, but for comparison purposes, I'd rather look at how they perform straight out of the box.

 

Data access.

With the iPhone's ability to access Groundspeak through the Geocaching App, there simply is no comparison.

If I load them as POIs, the only real limit to how many caches I can load onto my 60CSx is how many PQs I can run. Presuming I can extend the range of each PQ so it captures 1000 caches, at 5 PQs a day, over 7 days, that's 35,000 caches. With just a flick of the power button, an iPhone can put that number to shame.

 

So, out of "everything else", a phone wins one out of three. <_<

You keep referring to "high end" units. That's fine, any rational smartphone cacher will concede that yes, high end GPS units far outshine the accuracy of a smartphone. But as I mentioned, and has been mentioned multiple times by those who have done side by side comparisons, smartphone accuracy can be equivalent to and more accurate than many of the older & lower end GPS models. What aggravates me is all the threads that pop up in this forum complaining about hiding caches with smartphones, but those same people never complain about hiding with a GPS that's only as accurate or less accurate than many phones. So for many here, it seems like it's just the general idea of a smartphone cacher that they dislike. Almost as if to say, we don't mind your inaccuracy as long as it's not with a smartphone.

 

I bought my iPhone 4 shortly after they came out, so I've only had it for a little more than a year. But I've had other cell phones for several years. Not once have I left them on the roof of my car as I drove away. I also don't ever intend to run it over. I have cached on my motorcycle, but don't strap my phone to the handlebars. Even if I had a GPS unit, I wouldn't. It's nice that yours survived, but in all honesty, those are extreme cases of abuse that most people will probably never encounter. More than likely devices will be dropped on the ground, on concrete/pavement, rocks, etc. My iPhone + Otterbox can & has easily survived the more common caching device accidents. Another common problem is getting wet. There are waterproof cases for smartphones, but the ones I've seen are pretty expensive. I've cached in the rain without any problems. The Otterbox isn't waterproof, but protects it from the elements quite well. If I did own a GPS unit, knowing that it can handle more doesn't mean I'd treat it any differently. I'd treat it as carefully as I do my phone, that's just the way I am.

 

I don't have any problems listing the cons of smartphone caching. When someone asks about caching with one, I'll gladly tell them the downsides. But plenty of us have proven that those downsides shouldn't discourage anyone who wants to take up Geocaching as a regular hobby.

 

From what I've read in the forums the aggravation comes when cell phones are used to hide caches. Using a cell phone to find a cache has no effect on other cachers.

For the most part, yes, but there's just an overall, general dislike of smartphone cachers. Along the lines of accuracy (or inaccuracy) as I said above, no one complains about caches hidden with GPS units with inaccurate coordinates. It's immediately blamed on smartphones. Inaccurate coords, it must have been a smartphone. More micros hidden, it must be all these new smartphone cachers. Every time someone asks for advice about caching with a smartphone, they're inundated with GPS users telling them not to and to go out & buy a GPSr. So there's more to it than just hiding with one. Whatever the hang up is, smartphones aren't going away, so some people will just have to get over it. I'm not saying it's an excuse for a bad hide...bad hides come from smarthpones AND GPS units. That's why I say it's more about the individual than the device. The point I was trying to make above is that we, as smartphone cachers, know our devices downfalls & limits (or at least you should know them). That's why I try to educate those who are interested in caching with one. Give them the information that enables them to make up their own minds. On the flip side, many GPS users would rather discourage smartphone use and suggest buying a handheld. If you don't want to use a smartphone to cache, great, go have fun with your GPS. I'm not knocking anyone for that. But don't discourage someone from using a phone just because you don't like them.

 

 

Is anyone willing to let me borrow their iPhone to see how it handles similar conditions?

 

While I agree that my cellphone is less durable than your 60CSx, I am indeed willing to let you attach it to your handlebars while you wreck another motorcycle.

I'm sorry, I know it sounds bad but I laughed. I don't wish for him to wreck his bike again and it's too bad it happened, but when he asked to borrow someone's iPhone, I pictured him saying, C'mon I'll prove your phone is less durable. I'll strap it to my bike & wreck again. Forgive my sense of humor, sometimes it's a bit twisted.

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I haven't placed a ton of caches but probably half of them were placed with my iPhone3GS. There was a few months when I was either between GPSr models or had it undergoing warranty work and decided to use my iPhone to place. I would never tell which are which. It seems though that for the most part my caches come in as fairly accurate and that there isn't really a differentiation between placing caches with one or the other.

 

I still use both for caching since I am often in areas that are "hit or miss" for cellular reception. I think it is about the user knowing how to use the product. Are these ones averaging out their readings on multiple visits under different conditions? I find if I apply due diligence I can get a fairly good result with either methods.

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My phone's GPSr system likes to give out ESE values of +/- 3 feet. :laughing:

 

As with everything else in the universe, phones are convenient and work very well except for where they don't. Mine's fine in the wide open spaces, but throw a few trees or buildings in the mix and it bounces like crazy. When it's cloudy my experience is it is only good to +/- 25 feet. Of course, it still says +/- 3 feet. :rolleyes:

 

My 60CSx tells fewer lies and the batteries last all day.

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My phone's GPSr system likes to give out ESE values of +/- 3 feet. :laughing:

 

As with everything else in the universe, phones are convenient and work very well except for where they don't. Mine's fine in the wide open spaces, but throw a few trees or buildings in the mix and it bounces like crazy. When it's cloudy my experience is it is only good to +/- 25 feet. Of course, it still says +/- 3 feet. :rolleyes:

 

That precisely matches my experience.

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We got a cacher here that hide their caches via Iphone and its always always off. I am talking about way way off. Someone with a better unit always have to send him a better coordinates. :unsure: I wish there is guideline line that if your only GPS is a Iphone, u cant hide any caches.

 

Oh man, you didn't just go there, did you? :P I hope TL&Min etc... realizes I was just messing around. However, I do remember an official Groundspeak stance that they didn't consider the Iphone app accurate enough to HIDE caches. But that was when it first came out. Anyone remember this, or know the linky if it still exists?

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You keep referring to "high end" units. That's fine, any rational smartphone cacher will concede that yes, high end GPS units far outshine the accuracy of a smartphone. But as I mentioned, and has been mentioned multiple times by those who have done side by side comparisons, smartphone accuracy can be equivalent to and more accurate than many of the older & lower end GPS models.
Older GPS models? Sure. But if you're buying a new handheld hiking- or geocaching-oriented GPSr today, you're almost guaranteed to have a modern high-sensitivity receiver that outshines smartphones and older receivers.

 

[edit: clarity]

Edited by niraD
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During my first week of geocaching i dropped my iPhone and it slid down a hill stopping an inch short of a pond. At $600 I was not prepared to take that chance again and the next day I bought an Oregon 450. For quick city caching i love the convenience of the iPhone but I prefer hiking to different mountaintops and mostly have no signal so the GPASr is a must. Also if there is any chance of getting my iPhone wet I'll use the GPSr.

 

Sometimes if I'm getting a lot of bounce I'll use both.

 

It's always better to have options.

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My wife and I use our iPhone 4s exclusively to cache at the moment. We have yet to purchase a legit GPSr as we have other items on our list of wants that are above it. We stated with 3Gs and dealt with the very inaccurate GPS chip and managed to find over 150 with that before upgrading to the 4, which has a much more accurate chip, but still less accurate than a GPSr. We're becoming more enticed with the harder terrain difficulties and I am finding myself getting nervous about using my $600 (replacement cost) lifeline as a means to cache. In the end we just might have to bump up the GPSr on the list. I've been eyeballing the DeLorme Earthmate PN-60.

 

Josh

1/4 of Geo Minions

Edited by Geo Minions
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I've finally convinced myself to buy a smart phone, most likely an Android of some species or other. I use an Oregon 550t for my primary GPSr, and that won't change after I get the smart phone, even though geocaching is one of the reasons I want a smart phone. I'm hoping for the best of both worlds.

 

I'll continue to use pocket queries as the basis for most of my caching, and load up my GPSr with cache data before I leave home. I'll also use the more-rugged GPSr when I'm in the woods and on the trails. I'll use the smart phone to get access to live geocache data while I'm away from home and away from my computer (but within cell range). The 550t will still be my workhorse, simply because (IMHO) it's still more accurate, especially in tree cover, and it's certainly more rugged than any of the smart phones I'm looking at. I'm also expecting that the smart phone will come in very handy on those occasions when I find myself in an area that wasn't covered by my pocket queries.

 

--Larry

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One thing that isn't really being said - but probably should be said: I have anecdotally seen that even the best smart phone positioning is not nearly as accurate as the worst dedicated GPS units. I've noticed it with cache placements on those that place using iPhones, and I've noticed that using my iPhone will get me to within maybe 50 feet, while my Garmin 76Cx will get me within 10-20 feet.

 

Anyone have access to this article?

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We use our iPhone 4 exclusively. It usually gets us to within 10 feet of the cache and very often right on top of it. It does bounce some under trees, but usually if I stand still for a minute or two, it finds us. I love the new feature of the app that allows us to save caches so we can access them even without cell service. Bravo!

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We are using Blackberry 8900 and the Trimble software and it drops us onto of the cache everytime. :-)

I tried with our Blackberry bold 9700 but it was off by 40m

Then I used our 3 androids

Galaxy Tab- 4m

HTC Sensation- 2m

HTC Legend- 3m

It does drain battery though but for a cache just into the bush it's great. Only problem is if you're out of 3g range if you haven't saved for offline use. I have also compared them to a Garmin Oregon 300 and a Geomate Jr. All very accurate but Garmin is my pick if you're in the middle of nowhere.

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Is anyone willing to let me borrow their iPhone to see how it handles similar conditions?

 

While I agree that my cellphone is less durable than your 60CSx, I am indeed willing to let you attach it to your handlebars while you wreck another motorcycle.

Well, technically, it would be the same motorcycle, not another one. Kawasaki KLR-650. It's been through quite a lot. I expect it will go through a lot more before it finally gives up the ghost. I'll be riding it on the ATV trails in the Ocala National Forest over the next month or so. Based on my past history riding in that area, I expect to have an up close and personal encounter with at least one pine tree in the next month. Probably more than one, as I'm really not a very good rider in off road conditions.

 

Should I PM you my address? :unsure::lol:

 

<Snip for brevity>...there's just an overall, general dislike of smartphone cachers</Snip>

Sorry Brother. While you and I are mostly saying the same thing, (New phones aren't all that bad, and the features often trump the negatives), I gotta call "Bunk" on that statement. From what I've seen in person, as well as what I've read on these forums, most folks like smartphone cachers just fine, though they are a lot of fun to pick on, as they get flustered really quick. The four folks I most regularly cache with all have smartphones, and cache with them often, leaving their handhelds in their packs. I can often be found in their midst whipping out my iPad to bring up local hides. Those who are consistently vocal about the evils of smartphone cachers are in a decided minority. As are those smartphone cachers who insist that their devices are every bit as good as a handheld. Two minorities who yell at each other from time to time. If you listen to the first group, filtering out all the responses which refute the claims made by the minority, it might appear that you have some kind of complex. Not judgin', just sayin'. :ph34r:

 

...no one complains about caches hidden with GPS units with inaccurate coordinates.

"Bunk" again. Stick around long enough and you'll discover that most cachers dislike inaccurate coords. They don't give a pass to those folks who publish inaccurate coords obtained with a dedicated handheld.

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