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i phone or GPS


THOMASONES
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I am currently using an i phone 3 gs for my geocaching - It is a bit slow and not the most accurate, but I do like the live interactivity - If I visit a new area I can just open the Geocaching app to see if there are any caches nearby. If I find one I can log it there and then.

 

I am considering purchasing a GPS - What are your thoughts - I am looking for more accuracy and faster reactions but like the I phones connection to the web site.

 

I am thinking that I could use them side by side - Has any one any reccommendations

 

Ade (THOMASONES)

Edited by THOMASONES
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Hi Thomas, I think having both devices handy is a great choice, though when you are able, you might want to switch up to the iPhone 4. My kids did that recently, and the difference is akin to that between an old yellow eTrex and a 60CSx. According to the dude at the AT&T store, although the 3GS claimed to come with a built in GPSr, that was not a technically accurate claim. (Qualifier: I acknowledge that AT&T dude could very well have been prevaricating himself, just to sell more phones) He said that, from a component viewpoint, there was no difference between the 3G and the 3GS, and that the only difference was in the software. With the software change, the 3GS pretended to have a GPSr, even though it was just triangulating from cell towers just like the 3G.

 

I haven't opened them up myself, so I can only parrot what the salesman claimed.

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Nearly every serious cacher I know uses a handheld GPS for most cache hunts, even if they own a smart phone. The longer battery life, durability, water resistance and excellent reception in all conditions are the selling points.

 

Smart phones have the advantage of providing real time cache info, which is nice, and they are fine for urban/suburban hunts where you won't be far from a charger and the terrain isn't too difficult, but for those cachers who like to get off the beaten path, the handheld GPS is the better tool.

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I use both the iPhone and a handheld gpsr. Like the OP I have been using the 3Gs (and will continue to do so for at least another week or so). It has a gpsr chip and although its accuracy is not equal to my handheld, it generally gets me close enough. It offers great caching tools - the Groundspeak app for caching on the fly; Geosphere for handling pocket queries (filtering, mapping, and displaying caches) like nothing else I have used. And there are some nice topo and routing apps that I use on the trail or when driving to a cache location.

 

Still, I also have a 62s and a 60csx (as an older backup unit). The handheld offers all the advantages discussed by others. I cannot imagine caching without one - speed, durability, accuracy, and the overall flexibility in incorporating pocket queries make them ideal for caching.

 

It really depends on the kind of caching you enjoy. For many, a smartphone will be enough. It would not be for me. I think of it like a camera. There are times when the phone's camera is all that I need and there are some really fun apps for it. But there are also times I want a dedicated camera.

Edited by geodarts
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Nearly every serious cacher I know uses a handheld GPS for most cache hunts, even if they own a smart phone. The longer battery life, durability, water resistance and excellent reception in all conditions are the selling points.

 

Smart phones have the advantage of providing real time cache info, which is nice, and they are fine for urban/suburban hunts where you won't be far from a charger and the terrain isn't too difficult, but for those cachers who like to get off the beaten path, the handheld GPS is the better tool.

 

Thanks for the benefit of your experience - You have confirmed what I thought was the case. I have never owned a hand held GPS though have used a few over the years. I am looking for a good reliable mid range unit that has good functionality and is easy to use. Looking for something better than entry level that I will need to replace soon but I will not need an all singing and all dancing unit either - Can you make any recommendations, and are there any differences between the US and Europe as I am based in the UK.

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I use both the iPhone and a handheld gpsr. Like the OP I have been using the 3Gs (and will continue to do so for at least another week or so). It has a gpsr chip and although its accuracy is not equal to my handheld, it generally gets me close enough. It offers great caching tools - the Groundspeak app for caching on the fly; Geosphere for handling pocket queries (filtering, mapping, and displaying caches) like nothing else I have used. And there are some nice topo and routing apps that I use on the trail or when driving to a cache location.

 

Still, I also have a 62s and a 60csx (as an older backup unit). The handheld offers all the advantages discussed by others. I cannot imagine caching without one - speed, durability, accuracy, and the overall flexibility in incorporating pocket queries make them ideal for caching.

 

It really depends on the kind of caching you enjoy. For many, a smartphone will be enough. It would not be for me. I think of it like a camera. There are times when the phone's camera is all that I need and there are some really fun apps for it. But there are also times I want a dedicated camera.

 

Thanks for the benefit of your experience - You have confirmed what I thought was the case. I have never owned a hand held GPS though have used a few over the years. I am looking for a good reliable mid range unit that has good functionality and is easy to use. Looking for something better than entry level that I will need to replace soon but I will not need an all singing and all dancing unit either - Can you make any recommendations, and are there any differences between the US and Europe as I am based in the UK.

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Nearly every serious cacher I know uses a handheld GPS for most cache hunts, even if they own a smart phone. The longer battery life, durability, water resistance and excellent reception in all conditions are the selling points.

 

Smart phones have the advantage of providing real time cache info, which is nice, and they are fine for urban/suburban hunts where you won't be far from a charger and the terrain isn't too difficult, but for those cachers who like to get off the beaten path, the handheld GPS is the better tool.

Yep.

 

I use the hand-held unit for finding, and the iPhone for logging.

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Nearly every serious cacher I know uses a handheld GPS for most cache hunts, even if they own a smart phone. The longer battery life, durability, water resistance and excellent reception in all conditions are the selling points.

 

Smart phones have the advantage of providing real time cache info, which is nice, and they are fine for urban/suburban hunts where you won't be far from a charger and the terrain isn't too difficult, but for those cachers who like to get off the beaten path, the handheld GPS is the better tool.

Yep.

 

I use the hand-held unit for finding, and the iPhone for logging.

 

wHICH HAND HELD do you use

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Can you make any recommendations, and are there any differences between the US and Europe as I am based in the UK. [/font][/font][/size]

 

Since you have an iphone, "paperless" might be less important. Geosphere does a far better job of displaying caches than my 62s - as long as you do not mind carrying around two different gadgets, then any gpsr with a high sensitivity receiver should do just fine. If you get a chance, test out a few.

 

Most gpsr units will get you to the cache, so from there you have to figure out what is important for you. Some people like touchscreens -- so the Dakota or Oregon series works well for them. I like buttons and have enjoyed the 60csx (now discontinued but rock solid) and the 62s. Garmin is just coming out with new etrex models. I switched from Magellan a few years ago, so I am not sure how the newer explorists would compare.

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I have an iPhone 4 and an Oregon 450 and quite frankly I couldn't be without both. When I'm out and about the iPhone is great for spur of the moment caching or if my wife takes me somewhere and I have time to kill waiting for her. Also it's great to have if new caches get released near me.

 

On my days off I do a lot of hiking where there is no cell reception most of the time, add to that the risk of dropping a $600 phone onto some rocks or into water and a dedicated GPSr is the only sensible thing to have. As most my hikes are 6 hours+ battery life also come into play.

 

There have been times when I couldn't get a good signal so using both actually helped make the find.

 

Each option has it's pros and cons so which is better depends on how you cache, all I can say is the best is to have both.

Edited by [Roman]
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I use both .... iphone for the paperless stuff/cache descriptions if I need it and GPS for actually navigating. When you want to be outside most of the day it's battery life that is the clincher, not to mention the amount of times I've dropped my GPS on the ground :lol:

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If you use your iPhone a lot... make sure to get an otterbox to protect it. Remember.... with an iPhone as a GPSr, there is still the dual function to use it as a phone. If you drop and bust the iPhone GPSr, then there will be no phone.

 

I am using my motorola Bionic for most caches (has the otterbox defender case).... and still use my magellan explorist for deep woods adventures.

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So what about the visuals you receive via iPhone compared to a dedicated GPS unit? I'm currently using an iPhone 3GS but am wanting to upgrade to a dedicated unit because the accuracy is pure crap once you step off the beaten path. But, at the same time, I like that with the iPhone you get google maps and can zoom in and pick out landmarks. I found a cache one time just by looking at where it was marked on my map. The spot it had me at was pretty far away, back to accuracy issues here. So, what are the maps like in these things? Unfortunately, here in Japan, especially where I'm at, shops don't sell GPS units so I can't just run over to North Face and take a peek at them. If I get one it's a total leap of faith from ordering online. I've pretty much settled on the Garmin GPSMAP 62s, which is probably more unit than I really need, but I figured "Go big or go home" so I don't get screwed from ordering online and end up getting something that is missing something.

MULLY

real curious about what the maps look like

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One thing I have notice using the iPhone for finding urban caches is that no one gives you a second glance when you are wandering the city with an iPhone in your hand. You're just one of hundreds of others doing the same thing.

 

If you have a device that isn't common (or is bright yellow) in your hand, you might draw a bit more curiosity.

 

Of course, if you are walking along holding the iPhone horizontally in front of you, and staring at it as you walk, you might be thought of as a bit odd, but that's not the device's fault. ;)

 

My $.02 as a newbie to geocaching.

Edited by kent_eh
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So, what are the maps like in these things? Unfortunately, here in Japan, especially where I'm at, shops don't sell GPS units so I can't just run over to North Face and take a peek at them. If I get one it's a total leap of faith from ordering online. I've pretty much settled on the Garmin GPSMAP 62s, which is probably more unit than I really need, but I figured "Go big or go home"

Well, as you probably saw on Garmin's website, the 62s comes with Garmin's standard worldwide basemap (there are images of it on that site), but you can buy more detailed maps from Garmin. Because the 62s lets you add maps, you could also add free ones from GPSFileDepot. You'd have to check the Garmin and GPSFileDepot websites to see what's available for Japan.

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I am currently using an i phone 3 gs for my geocaching - It is a bit slow and not the most accurate, but I do like the live interactivity - If I visit a new area I can just open the Geocaching app to see if there are any caches nearby. If I find one I can log it there and then.

 

I am considering purchasing a GPS - What are your thoughts - I am looking for more accuracy and faster reactions but like the I phones connection to the web site.

 

I am thinking that I could use them side by side - Has any one any reccommendations

 

Ade (THOMASONES)

 

I use both together. When I am in an area where no caches are loaded in my GPS, I use my iPhone 4 to see what's around. My Garmin 62s is more accurate and the iPhone uses battery time up quickly when using apps. They both serve a purpose for geocaching.

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I picked up a Garmin GPSMAPS 60CSx a couple years back. The 62-series was to be released in the near future so I picked up a brand new 60-series for a very good price from REI. This is my first GPS and I have to say I love this GPS! Doesn't do everything the newer GPS's do, but for what I use it for and my skill level I'm happy.

With that in mind I use the GPS most of this time while caching. Accuracy and battery life are the biggest reasons. Another is the fact that the GPS is more durable in an outdoor environment.

The smart phone is a great device. I do use it for caching from time to time, especially if a new cache pops up and I don't have my GPS with me.

Both shine in certain situations. However, if I had to pick one over the other, it would be the GPS...HANDS DOWN NO DOUBT ABOUT IT!

CP Columbus

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Chiming in again. I cache exclusively with an iPhone 3GS, approaching 1200 finds now. I'm doing an ironman 365 day caching challenge as well. I've cached in forests, in a desert (accessed via a cave), underground, over water... really, ultimately, it's perfectly fine for geocaching. The GPS is accurate enough (though having a honed geosense makes up for the lesser speed/accuracy of high end handhelds).

 

I'm also looking to upgrade to a 4S, which will, in my opinion, effectively render any feasible reason to convert to or utilize a handheld GPS (for geocaching) moot.

 

There are many benefits to caching with a smartphone, but as with handheld GPSs, the quality of the device ranges dramatically from the low end to the high end. Is a "hand held GPS" better than a "smartphone"? There is no right answer. Name brands, models, firmware, your own location and satellite coverage - all of it factors into the equation :) Use what you're comfortable using, really.

 

But from first-hand experience, I can say that the 3GS is indeed sufficient for geocaching.

Edited by thebruce0
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Nearly every serious cacher I know uses a handheld GPS for most cache hunts, even if they own a smart phone. The longer battery life, durability, water resistance and excellent reception in all conditions are the selling points.

 

Smart phones have the advantage of providing real time cache info, which is nice, and they are fine for urban/suburban hunts where you won't be far from a charger and the terrain isn't too difficult, but for those cachers who like to get off the beaten path, the handheld GPS is the better tool.

I agree ... but personally have a slightly different compromise: I have added a Bluetooth GPSr logger and the "Bluetooth GPS" application to my Android phone, and its accuracy now matches a dedicated GPSr. Still two devices, but one of them is smaller. And when I'm in urban areas, I'm just looking at a phone and the logger is in my pocket.

 

Regarding robustness: I have dropped my phone (day two after buying it) and had the back pop off. Fortunately no damage, but I can't count how many times I've dropped GPSrs and other gear while geocaching. As the phone is cheap and I drop and destroy phones anyway I'm not too bothered. With a top of the line iPhone or similarly priced unit I'd be more concerned.

 

Finally, when attempting (and finding!) a terrain 5 cache involving water recently, my phone didn't go near GZ and my reliable old Geko 201 (talk about bright colours) came out for the day. Happily I didn't need the high sensitivity of the newer units or maps so the Geko sufficed.

 

My 2c.

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