Jump to content

Traditional GPSr v.s. iPhone 4 + some other stuff


danno68
Followers 1

Recommended Posts

Fellow Geocachers,

 

I currently own and use an iPhone 4 regularly when I go out hunting for caches. I've only been active in the sport for a little over a week now, and haven't been having any major issues using the Geocaching Application I downloaded from the App Store.

 

For those who are wondering, I did buy the $9.99 full version of the App that allows me access to some features but denies me others.

 

So, to the reason I'm posting this:

 

Once I get more familiar with how everything works (and I've found quite a few more than my current 11), I want to start placing caches of my own. Would any of you recommend I switch to an actual GPSr over my iPhone 4? Does having an actual standalone unit increase accuracy? Moreover...is buying a GPSr worth the money?

 

Thanks,

danno68

Link to comment

Fellow Geocachers,

 

I currently own and use an iPhone 4 regularly when I go out hunting for caches. I've only been active in the sport for a little over a week now, and haven't been having any major issues using the Geocaching Application I downloaded from the App Store.

 

For those who are wondering, I did buy the $9.99 full version of the App that allows me access to some features but denies me others.

 

So, to the reason I'm posting this:

 

Once I get more familiar with how everything works (and I've found quite a few more than my current 11), I want to start placing caches of my own. Would any of you recommend I switch to an actual GPSr over my iPhone 4? Does having an actual standalone unit increase accuracy? Moreover...is buying a GPSr worth the money?

 

Thanks,

danno68

 

I too am pretty new to this and use an Iphone 4. I am seriously considering getting a regular GPSr just because I am a geek like that. There is a lot of talk that the Iphone is just as good as most receiver but I have also heard a lot of talk of never ever using a smartphone for placing caches.

 

I am sure someone with more experience will chime in but that is what I have heard.

Link to comment

My experience with the Android phones I've used (G1 and Nexus One) is that they are roughly comparable to my old yellow eTrex (from before there were multiple eTrex models, and before WAAS and modern high-sensitivity receivers). My understanding is that the iPhone 4 is comparable to these devices.

 

A lot of caches have been placed (with accurate coordinates) using devices of this caliber. But a modern handheld hiking- or geocaching-oriented GPS receiver will be a little more accurate under ideal conditions, and a lot more accurate under poor conditions (where phones and older receivers lose the satellite signals).

Link to comment

My experience with the Android phones I've used (G1 and Nexus One) is that they are roughly comparable to my old yellow eTrex (from before there were multiple eTrex models, and before WAAS and modern high-sensitivity receivers). My understanding is that the iPhone 4 is comparable to these devices.

 

A lot of caches have been placed (with accurate coordinates) using devices of this caliber. But a modern handheld hiking- or geocaching-oriented GPS receiver will be a little more accurate under ideal conditions, and a lot more accurate under poor conditions (where phones and older receivers lose the satellite signals).

 

Thank you for the information. It all makes perfect sense. I have noticed that my iPhone's GPS signal will bounce quite a bit if I'm underneath the canopy of trees or if its less-than-ideal weather outside. Though if I stay in one place for a few seconds, it has located me without difficulty regardless of the conditions.

 

I think what I'll do is keep using my iPhone 4 + GC App combination until it becomes too annoying or inconvenient.

Link to comment

I used an Android phone with the official app for my first 120ish finds and just got a GPS (Oregon 450). I have to say that the GPS is much better. It is easier to use and quicker at loading, more accurate, etc. and doesn't require the use of mobile data to load cache descriptions/maps. I got mine quite cheap (£200) so its worth having a look around if you do decide to get a GPS.

Link to comment

All my finds to date 200+ have been found with iPhone 4, in mountains, with zero cell service, tree canopy, skyscrapers,

 

It does not do well under power lines (the big multiple lines high voltage)

 

Power has let me down twice

 

With triplicate readings for a hide of iPhone and handheld gps coordinates were same however one was perfect and one other was middle of street

 

Bonus for me I can cache on go and never hook to computer

Edited by Team Pixos
Link to comment

What I would recommend, if you decide to try placing a cache using the iPhone, is to get a GPS app that does coordinate averaging. (I don't know if the official app does that or not.) Once you have an idea where you want to hide a cache, get those averaged coordinates and then try navigating to that spot using the app from different directions and see how well you do. (Maybe have a friend or family member who doesn't know the spot try finding a test container at the hide location.)

 

Of course, whether you can get permission to place a cache in a specific spot or not can be a big factor. Some people will probably chime in and suggest finding a few more caches before hiding one. I would suggest specifically trying some harder caches. Geocaching is a sport where you learn a lot finding caches that will help in hiding caches. Don't be discouraged by DNFs either, everyone will get them. And sometimes it turns out you didn't find the cache because it wasn't there to be found. :)

Link to comment

I used an Android phone with the official app for my first 120ish finds and just got a GPS (Oregon 450). I have to say that the GPS is much better. It is easier to use and quicker at loading, more accurate, etc. and doesn't require the use of mobile data to load cache descriptions/maps. I got mine quite cheap (£200) so its worth having a look around if you do decide to get a GPS.

 

I can see how the GPS would perform better, that makes total sense. And just recently I was trying to find a cache in a relatively remote location. When I lost 3G cellular service, the location service still worked with the App, but the mapping system built into it couldn't load anything. I was caching effectively blind but still found it! I can't lie...I was pretty proud of myself. If you don't mind me asking, how long do the batteries last in your Oregon 450?

 

All my finds to date 200+ have been found with iPhone 4, in mountains, with zero cell service, tree canopy, skyscrapers,

 

It does not do well under power lines (the big multiple lines high voltage)

 

Power has let me down twice

 

With triplicate readings for a hide of iPhone and handheld gps coordinates were same however one was perfect and one other was middle of street

 

Bonus for me I can cache on go and never hook to computer

 

Despite the loss of service issues (without a doubt a carrier problem), the iPhone 4 + App is quite effective. I haven't really had many issues locating caches because of issues with the GPS signal or accuracy...just my rather newbish geocaching skills!

 

Once I hone them a little more and get more experience with higher difficulty and terrain ratings, I'm sure I'll update to a GPS.

 

What I would recommend, if you decide to try placing a cache using the iPhone, is to get a GPS app that does coordinate averaging. (I don't know if the official app does that or not.) Once you have an idea where you want to hide a cache, get those averaged coordinates and then try navigating to that spot using the app from different directions and see how well you do. (Maybe have a friend or family member who doesn't know the spot try finding a test container at the hide location.)

 

Of course, whether you can get permission to place a cache in a specific spot or not can be a big factor. Some people will probably chime in and suggest finding a few more caches before hiding one. I would suggest specifically trying some harder caches. Geocaching is a sport where you learn a lot finding caches that will help in hiding caches. Don't be discouraged by DNFs either, everyone will get them. And sometimes it turns out you didn't find the cache because it wasn't there to be found. :)

 

I just purchased 5 pre-painted camo lock 'n lock containers from http://www.cacherstoybox.ca that I'm planning on using to place my first caches. I don't think I'll be actively doing this until I get some more experience, but I'm definitely going to get them ready just in case I see a spot that cannot be passed up!

 

When it comes to increasing the difficulty/terrain ratings of my cache hunts, I'm looking into doing that now. Finding one just yesterday that was a 2.5/3 really lifted my spirits and gave me the sense that I am indeed slowly getting better at geocaching!

 

-----

 

I really appreciate everyone's advice and direction. Thank you all!

Link to comment

I use a Blackberry Curve ("Belchberry") with CacheSense and it works well for me. I like being able to SMS my logs in. Coordinates seem accurate and the only added feature I would like is a map display showing nearby caches, in addition to the sorted list it already does. It can handle a good number of caches loaded (I have 2111 loaded right now, and it performs ok, if not instantaneous on the location sorts). It can take a LONG time to get satellite lock the first try of the day, but after that is is pretty quick.

 

I ALWAYS use the Dynamic Map feature on the site page to check my coordinates for my hides, using the Satellite view and zooming it all the way in. I assume Google Earth is going to get it right.

 

I also use the Dynamic Map if I have reason to think the coordinates are off on a cache I have looked for.

 

JW

Link to comment

We started caching with iphones. I quickly changed to a dedicated unit and using the iphone for the paperless features and finding caches on the go for a few reasons.

 

1. I like to cache in rougher terrain. Phones just aren't made for the sorts of beatings that can happen to a unit in the field due to weather or terrain. My unit has gone flying a few occasions into rocks and big puddles. Dropped or banged on stuff etc. The phone would not do well in all that.

 

2. Battery life was a problem and I wasn't willing to invest more into the phone when I could just get a stand alone unit at a reasonable cost.

 

3. The phone just did poorly some areas. Lots of trees here and the phone and trees didn't get a long very well at all.

 

You'll get varying views on hiding caches with it. My friend and i have compared the phone to the unit and it's hit and miss.

Link to comment

Yes.

Yes.

Yes.

 

Having said that, I do carry a Blackberry with Trimble Geocache Navigator for spontaneous caching or to check for new ones when I'm out looking for ones I've downloaded.

I've never dropped my phone on a rock while crossing a stream so far. My GPS, lots of times.

 

It took one near miss with the phone when it slipped out of my hand on a rainy day and that was that. I found myself really concentrating on not dropping the expensive phone instead of looking for caches too.

Link to comment

The advice I normally give is gear for where you cache. If you do 95% 2/2 or less, urban terrain and avoid bad weather, good on you, use your phone. If you leave town, and might get wet, climb trees, climb rocks (or fall from said tall objects) or spend a significant amount of time where you have a decent probability of breaking your phone, get a real GPS that is designed to handle it. I had a PN-30 that quite literally bounced off the rocks, almost 2 feet underwater in a creek, in a state park I had never before set foot in in my life. Had that been an iPhone (or insert any no ruggedized phone here), one of my most needed pieces of survival (and I use the term survival intentionally. Having been Marine Corps infantry in a previous life, I'd have prolly been ok. A lot of people who cache don't have the experience, and may not have been ok after getting lost in a strange area.) gear would not be working. (Although, my phone at that time was waterproof as well. But, no apps on that one.) So, like I said, gear for where you cache. You can always get a cheap yellow etrex, or even a geomate, waypoint your car, and stick it in your pack, just in case.

 

Later!

Link to comment

If I was going to be crossing a stream or something like that, the phone (or GPS) would be put away in a pocket while doing so. And my phone's nowhere near as expensive as an iPhone. :)

 

It might be nice if I could find a waterproof case for it, but all I've found so far that are specific to my unit are bags. I could do the same thing as those with a much cheaper ziplock bag. :P

Link to comment

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Followers 1
×
×
  • Create New...