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Which is the best 3Gs App for beginners?


A Mars Reject
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Hi all, I've just gotten started in caching and am keen to get an app for my iPhone 3Gs to go exploring. I've been playing with the free Geocaching Intro and would like to get a more advanced app, mostly been pondering the full Geocaching app, and similar apps like Geocaching with Geosphere, but I want to be sure I'm getting my money's worth. Could anyone recommend one to go for? I'm in the UK, east midlands area, by the way.

 

Cheers :)

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Hi all, I've just gotten started in caching and am keen to get an app for my iPhone 3Gs to go exploring. I've been playing with the free Geocaching Intro and would like to get a more advanced app, mostly been pondering the full Geocaching app, and similar apps like Geocaching with Geosphere, but I want to be sure I'm getting my money's worth. Could anyone recommend one to go for? I'm in the UK, east midlands area, by the way.

 

Cheers :)

 

I have a 3Gs that I sometimes use for caching. If you are beginning, I recommend the Groundspeak app because that will list the caches near where you are, and give you the full information, without becoming a premium member. If you discover you like the game, I recommend becoming a premium member and also using Geosphere -- its strength lies in the use of pocket queries (which allows members to search for listings up to a thousand caches at a time).

 

I use the Groundspeak app for caching on the fly or logging a cache here or there. It is a lot different than the free app, but I think it is pretty straightforward to use. Geosphere is my "go to" app even when I am caching with my handheld gpsr. There is no better app for filtering and displaying pocket queries -- and I like how it displays cache pages. But you may want to give it awhile to see how you like the game (and whether you want to also buy a handheld) before taking it further.

 

The 3Gs is not as accurate as newer models of the iphone, so you want to be aware of that. Still, it has always gotten me where I need to go. You should take time to let the gps settle in - I have seen people using the 3Gs, wandering in the opposite direction, hundreds of feet from where they need to be. Look at the maps. I generally rely on them to tell me where the cache is located rather than the compass -- both the street maps and the satellite views can be helpful. Read the description, title, and hint carefully. If you are having problems, then also read the past logs.

 

If you are beginning, then start by looking for caches that are easier to find -- rated low for difficulty, larger containers, and the like. You will begin to recognize how caches are hidden and some of the common features of the game.

 

Battery life is somewhat limited with the 3GS, particularly when using the gps features. One advantage of geosphere is that you can turn the gps off from the app when you do not need it. But if I am going to be out for awhile, I sometimes bring along a portable battery charger or a battery case (like the Morphie airpack juice). Magellan has a gpsr/battery case for the 3gs that is supposed to give it better protection, better reception, and longer battery life, but I have not tried it.

Edited by geodarts
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Thanks for the reply! I thought it might come down to Geocaching or Geosphere, what's the major difference between them, though? Does Geocaching do anything significantly better than Groundspeaks own, or is it just that it's more geared towards experienced users? Also, I've seen a lot of iTunes comments by people complaining the search and posting functions don't work at the moment on Geocaching, is that just a rarity?

 

Thanks for the hunting tips, too, I've been noticing the GPS takes a while to settle out, but once it does it's gotten me to a couple of small caches. I've been poring over the maps on the computer first before I go out looking so I know roughly where before I even get the phone out.

Edited by A Mars Reject
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Thanks for the reply! I thought it might come down to Geocaching or Geosphere, what's the major difference between them, though? Does Geocaching do anything significantly better than Groundspeaks own, or is it just that it's more geared towards experienced users? Also, I've seen a lot of iTunes comments by people complaining the search and posting functions don't work at the moment on Geocaching, is that just a rarity?

 

Thanks for the hunting tips, too, I've been noticing the GPS takes a while to settle out, but once it does it's gotten me to a couple of small caches. I've been poring over the maps on the computer first before I go out looking so I know roughly where before I even get the phone out.

 

One of the main differences is that the Groundspeak geocaching app is able to pull up nearby caches on the fly, so that you can see the caches that are closest to you. I have not not had any major problems with searches and logs using it (with the exception of logging in trackables) -- although there are some things that need to be addressed by the developers, it has generally been very functional for me (depending of course on network connection).

 

Logging is another area where the Groundspeak app offers a great deal of flexibility. You can log directly and use the app to post a picture with the cache log, which is a nice feature. You can save individual caches offline and it supports pocket queries for premium members. You can also save maps offline (which geosphere does not yet support apart from the native iphone map caching), but the process has been so slow for me that I gave up on it.

 

Geosphere currently requires premium membership to really shine. With that said, it downloads and imports pocket queries much faster than the Groundspeak app and has very powerful filtering and mapping tools. I can identify the type of caches I want to seek and map out the results with much more flexibility than Groundspeak offers. I also think the cache information is much easier to read and use it even though my handheld gpsr has paperless features.

 

Geosphere has a few things that require more of a learning curve and its developer is working on a new version, using the Groundspeak api, that may address some of these issues. But I often read the feedback section for the Groundspeak app and note people requesting features that geosphere has had for a long time.

 

The two apps can complement each other. I use the Groundspeak app for quick caches or in areas where I have not made a pocket query. I use geosphere when caching with pocket queries, which is one of the major benefits of premium membership. Pocket queries allow you to search for caches within a wide radius, so you can get a bigger picture and are not dependent on network connection. It can be very handy even if you have access to some of this data through the iphone -- and, again, that is where geosphere stands out.

 

Since you are just beginning, I still would recommend the Groundspeak app because that will allow you to get a feel for the game. If caching is something that you like to do, and will be doing, premium membership is a terrific bargain and I cannot imagine caching without it (just like I cannot imagine caching without my dedicated gpsr). But many people find that the Groundspeak app is enough -- and it will certainly will allow you to start to cache in a way that goes beyond the free app.

Edited by geodarts
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I found my first 50 or so caches with the official app, and still use it if I am in an area where I fancy doing a bit of caching and haven't got my GPSr with me. Haven't used the other, so can't comment on it.

I have an Etrex H as my main GPSr, so use the iPhone for paperless usually, until I buy a better one!

Be aware though, the iPhone is great for urban caches, but I found it awful if I went anywhere near trees, and was completely useless in woods

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the wife has an iphone 3g and likes it for geocaching i find that it can be off by up to 25m you can walk for 5m to 10m and it still show that you have not moved but she likes to read the hints and look at photos for hints to help her find a cache. I bought a Magellan Explorist gc that can get you to about 1m of the cache. you can find GPS unit used for about half the cost of new

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