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Why do you use GSAK?


hidenseek581
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I am deciding whether to install GSAK. I know that there is a 21 day free trial, and I have downloaded it. It seems to have a bit of a learning curve. I see it is more powerful for sorting, but so what? So my question is, for those people who do use it, why do you use it? Is it useful for anything other than stats. collection? What are the benefits over just using the geocaching.com website?

 

Thanks in advance

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I "HAVE" to use it. I just got a Magellan Explorist GC, and there is no manufacturer program that allows for the importing of the caches from the website. I am still figuring out how to use it. I have yet to figure out how to get hints and descriptions to my unit. So far the only free program Ive found that works for my issue.

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I am deciding whether to install GSAK. I know that there is a 21 day free trial, and I have downloaded it. It seems to have a bit of a learning curve. I see it is more powerful for sorting, but so what? So my question is, for those people who do use it, why do you use it? Is it useful for anything other than stats. collection? What are the benefits over just using the geocaching.com website?

 

Thanks in advance

 

I also HAVE to use it but I also cant live without it. I have no way to get the correct file format to load to my GPS and get maps without first downloading info from Geocaching.com to GSAK, then to Mapsource and THEN I can upload to the GPS. But it is the only way to prepare for a day of caching. You can sort by bearing, meaning if you want all caches going south from you you can get a list to go by which you can really do otherwise. What I also do is keep a master listing of unfound caches that I can update right from GSAK and I can choose a listing of caches to go for that day. THere are so many things you can do with GSAK that it would take too long to list them. And it is not hard to learn at all! It is so worth it!

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Unknown/Puzzles, solved at home, or multis that you work out the final location but don't find (yet!) just add a 'Corrected Co-ordinte' log, and that will send your final location to the GPS, but still keeep the co-ordinates listed at the top of the cache page.

 

The Groundspeak API is VERY handy for updating caches.

 

GSAK has a very nice macro for caches along a route, and is editable, unlike the Groundspeak CAaR PQ...

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GSAK is a complex piece of programming.

My husband uses it for a variety of things.

Uploading caches into our Oregon, 62s, and Nuvi

Creating our profile page.

Sorting thru our FINDS to meet criteria for different puzzle challenges and keep track of what's been done and what we need to do.

Filtering thru the database to find caches to for any possible criteria

He's used it to help plan a route for a road trip

 

GSAK is powerful and very complex to learn. It does sooooo many things. It's definately worth it if you can muster up the challenge it takes to learn and understand how to use it!

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Microsoft Excel and Word are very complex programs that require a learning curve. GSAK is a complex program that requires a learning curve. But if you limit yourself to one or two features at a time you will find the learning curve quite easy. Don't dive into the wonderful world of SQL queries and Regx programing on the first few sessions and you will be fine.

 

As to why I use it? The API interface rocks! Downloading caches from areas I go caching and the rectangular search area is really nifty. Building bookmarks with one click is really cool. And the publish logs interface is priceless. The FindstatGen stats macro is really cool, and yeah, all the macro to do really spiffy. If I have a database of a wide area I can trim it down without losing it all and just export what I want to my GPS. After I download a bunch of caches, especially in a new area I can filter out all the questionable caches, you know the ones with the last four being DNF, and delete them out of the database. Do that with a PQ downloaded to your paperless unit. Oh, did I mention mapping? I can map all the caches in a database, or s subset. Can't really do that on geocaching.com. So many things, I can't imagine not having it.

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Thanks for asking about GSAK. I've used it for a number of years but like a camera or phone I just used the basics. I had no idea of all the goodies until a few minutes ago! I can now down load a query, do all my filtering and just prior to a trip or even during the trip can get the latest logs, status, etc. without having to mess with another query. The Geocaching.com Access is fantastic!

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As to why I use it? The API interface rocks! Downloading caches from areas I go caching and the rectangular search area is really nifty.

 

How is this accomplished with GSAK?

Version 8, if your not using it. Geocaching.com access->Get Geocaches ...

 

On the basic tab click the rectangular radio button, to the right click the Google Map button and diddle away getting the map how you want it, click return coordinates, click okay at the bottom and sit back and watch the flashing lights. Many options on this dialog, read the help for the dialog.

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I live at the edge of the area that I regularly search for caches in. If I make a PQ centered on my area and load it straight to my GPS, It will reach it's capacity with caches that are in the area that I don't want to search in, and exclude caches in the area that I do want to search in. Loading all of the data into GSAK and then applying a saved polygon filter gives me only the caches that are in that predefined area. If I find myself hiking a trail that is out of that area, I can create a polygon filter on the fly that encompasses that trail and then load only those caches.

 

This was the main reason for using GSAK over the years. Now that it can directly access the GC api, writing my logs in one handy window and then clicking one button and having them uploaded, saves me from opening countless cache pages and the clicking log for the next page and the Submit to actually submit it. It gives me more time to actually write meaningful logs instead of web browsing for everything.

 

I can download all of the logs for my owned caches and get meaningful stats. PQs only give you the last five logs and individual GPX files give you twenty. I can filter for just my caches with a double click, two clicks on the menu and two in the Get Logs dialogue and then sit back and let it do it's magic.

 

When I'm getting ready to go on a run, or hike a trail, I can export the caches in the general area to a Google map then select the caches that I want to hunt for in the order that I plan on looking for them, have it update the User Sort field in GSAK, then back in GSAK, filter for just the caches that have a User Sort #, sort them, then print a list of the cache in the order that I plan to find them in. I can also append that # to the beginning of the cache name so that they sort properly on my GPS, and on my PDA.

 

When I started using GSA, I was completely clueless. I started browsing the GSAK Support Forum on an almost daily basis and started seeing people ask about how to do things, and getting easy to understand answers. Useful things that I never even considered. While the program may look intimidating, the people on the support forum are not. Even if you never ask a question, you start to understand what the program is capable of and how to use those capabilities.

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As to why I use it? The API interface rocks! Downloading caches from areas I go caching and the rectangular search area is really nifty.

 

How is this accomplished with GSAK?

Version 8, if your not using it. Geocaching.com access->Get Geocaches ...

 

On the basic tab click the rectangular radio button, to the right click the Google Map button and diddle away getting the map how you want it, click return coordinates, click okay at the bottom and sit back and watch the flashing lights. Many options on this dialog, read the help for the dialog.

 

OMG, thank you!

 

With this functionality, is there still any reason to run PQ's?

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As to why I use it? The API interface rocks! Downloading caches from areas I go caching and the rectangular search area is really nifty.

 

How is this accomplished with GSAK?

Version 8, if your not using it. Geocaching.com access->Get Geocaches ...

 

On the basic tab click the rectangular radio button, to the right click the Google Map button and diddle away getting the map how you want it, click return coordinates, click okay at the bottom and sit back and watch the flashing lights. Many options on this dialog, read the help for the dialog.

 

OMG, thank you!

 

With this functionality, is there still any reason to run PQ's?

yeah, I have a couple old PQ's that I still run. Mostly for a couple counties around me. They work and I don't have many caches in the area so I still use them. Caches along a route for when I go on the road, although lignumaqua published a macro that uses a Google interface and getcaches that does it also. When you go caching with friends the ignore caches found by: feature is killer.

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Quick GSAK question. I've been playing around with it today and noticed something I haven't before. Some of the Waypoint Names are in bold letters. Is there any significance to that?

 

I have often wondered this myself!

 

Caches with bold names do have children.

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Quick GSAK question. I've been playing around with it today and noticed something I haven't before. Some of the Waypoint Names are in bold letters. Is there any significance to that?

 

I have often wondered this myself!

 

Caches with bold names do have children.

 

GSAK calls them "child waypoints", geocaching.com calls then "additional waypoints". The caches in bold have them. (Parking, trailhead, etc)

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To the party who said they HAVE to use GSAK because the manufacturer for the Magellan Explorist GC doesn't make a program, Contrary.. there is VantagePoint, which is free. [Download Page] which DOES allow migration from pocket queries, and image grabbing. It has its advantages, and its detractors.. I use both, VantagePoint & GSAK, but mainly GSAK because it has the capacity and record keeping, while VP has its visual map.. I still export my databases from GSAK, and display them on another mapping program, though.. (DeLorme Street Atlas USA).. Mainly because it has the direct reading of the GPS, and placing your location on the map. I use the GPS-Babel program from GSAK, to handle translation from the GPX to Delorme's 'Draw' format..

 

GSAK has the raw size ability, (looking at a 32K+ record database from around 200-miles from me.).. the API has been helpful in getting new caches included, as well as bulk updating up to 6000 caches, so I know wether or not they've been active, gone Missing, or archived...

 

I also use a Garmin eTrex Vista HCx as my main tracking GPS, though the GC has its accuracy, I'm still not liking the screen jumping.. Also, comparing between the two, I have a better chance of finding the cache because the cache owner may've used a similar model (Magellan Or Garmin.), and the actual location may be off by as much as 20-30 feet.

 

Honest truth, the cost is one-shot (except for major upgrades, and those are fairly low priced.).. VP's map is crude, rudimentary.. Also with VP, it's all that are in the database, or not, while GSAK allows you to select. (and the GC DOES have that 5000 record limit!)

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I "HAVE" to use it. I just got a Magellan Explorist GC, and there is no manufacturer program that allows for the importing of the caches from the website. I am still figuring out how to use it. I have yet to figure out how to get hints and descriptions to my unit. So far the only free program Ive found that works for my issue.

 

This isn't true read the post by gelfling6. Also if you use the included USB cable you can upload any .GPX file, for example pocket queries, directly to the unit. The direct upload method the one I use because, even tho GSAK does a lot of fancy things, I really don't have a need for any of those fancy thing. I do know some people that will take a pocket query and use GSAK to apply filtering that the geocaching website doesn't. Like filtering out any cache with 3 or more DNFs.

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Why I use is it all of the above (well the positive ones :lol: )

I use the API to get my closest to home, 4,000 ish to find within 30 miles :blink:

Store coords for solved puzzles also store notes on specific caches, extra hints/reminders etc.

Add parking/trailhead coords for specific caches

When planning a walk I can filter and then scan down for any that are getting lots of DNF's or where the D/T stands out, ever been caught out doing a walk of terrains of 1.5 and 2's then suddenly coming across a terrain 4 that is up a tree, it allows you a quick overview of the caches and to be prepared that would require more research.

Stats, plus I have found a few travelling caches, GSAK allows me to correct its location to where I actually found it so it does not look like I have been to Texas for a cache that I actually found in Yorkshire (England) (nothing wrong with Texas) :D .

I have a few puzzles near home that I am still to solve, if I was using a PQ I might have to add them to my ignore list, using GSAK I can stop them loading but can still see them on the GC map so I know they are still waiting for me.:o

I upload the file to my GPSr and also to my Tomtom where it shows cache name, type, D/T and the hint, very handy for driveby types. This allows me to decide if a diversion from my route is permissable.

I run several databases so can load more than one to the GPSr. I also keep a database with trig points (like a benchmark) so I can maintain that and load to Tomtom/GPSr.

I store corrected coords for found caches and load my found and placed caches as POI's onto my GPSr so can revisit them if passing, so can fairly easily have upto 12,000 caches still to find and my 6,000 plus finds with me at all times.

I very occasional run PQ's but tend to use them these days to store bookmark lists and allow me to view them on the map.

 

I have been using GSAK for over 5 years now and would struggle without it.B)

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I've also used GSAK for a few years. Initially got it to support formatting of pocket queries so they could be loaded as POI's on a Garmin Nuvi. We are able to setup proximity alerts for gc's based on how close they are (current set to 1500 feet). This has become something we can't live without. Currently using this on 2 Nuvi's for both vehicles. If we are within 1500 feet of a cache, we get an alert from the GPS, with a small window pop-up. We can click the pop-up and read the cache details (description, logs and hint if needed). This makes for some great unplanned caching, especially if we are in an area away from home.

 

Initially we had simple PQ's loaded for various locations around the state, but this past year we figured out how to get the entire state of NJ loaded on the Nuvis using a series of 14 PQs (using date placed filters). I loaded all PQ's into GSAK and generate a single gpx file formatted for the garmin. Currently there are close to 12k. Thankfully both Nuvis can handle that many POI's.

 

Also use GSAK to track stats and update gc.com profile page for more than 20 statistics including FTF's, finds by state, county, country, etc.

 

It's a great tool that I don't think we could live without.

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NJPugs -

 

I do not claim to be anything other than a rank amateur, but believing a picture is worth a few words at least...

 

GSAK ver 8

 

Click on Geocaching.com access and you get the following screen (1st image).

Click (select) the various geocache search options, then click on Google Map, move the circle to where you want, press "return Coordinates", then OK (2nd image).

 

GSAK automatically retrieves caches within the area you specified - slick.

 

Thanks to Atlat_Cached in post 11 for talking about this excellent feature.

 

gsak1.jpg

 

 

gsak2.jpg

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I am deciding whether to install GSAK. I know that there is a 21 day free trial, and I have downloaded it. It seems to have a bit of a learning curve. I see it is more powerful for sorting, but so what? So my question is, for those people who do use it, why do you use it? Is it useful for anything other than stats. collection? What are the benefits over just using the geocaching.com website?

 

Thanks in advance

 

There's loads of features that although you think meh, they are actually very useful. If you lived in England you could have come to a training event last Saturday run by Cass who spent 3 hours showing us all that it could do. We also got a 78 page instruction guide as well :)

 

Her personal website is here which has some info on version 8.

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No mention of using GSAK to log caches??? You can connect it to your gps, (I have only used it with my Garmin) fetch the caches from the gps, apply my template with variables to the found and dnf caches and have it log (GSAK calls it publish) them all with the click of a mouse. Some may want more individualized logs but it is great for logging a 100 cache or more run. I have even logged a cache run from the car with my laptop tethered to my cell phone on the ride home. Great stuff, a very powerful program.

 

David

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No mention of using GSAK to log caches??? You can connect it to your gps, (I have only used it with my Garmin) fetch the caches from the gps, apply my template with variables to the found and dnf caches and have it log (GSAK calls it publish) them all with the click of a mouse. Some may want more individualized logs but it is great for logging a 100 cache or more run. I have even logged a cache run from the car with my laptop tethered to my cell phone on the ride home. Great stuff, a very powerful program.

 

David

 

I guess you missed this part.

 

This was the main reason for using GSAK over the years. Now that it can directly access the GC api, writing my logs in one handy window and then clicking one button and having them uploaded, saves me from opening countless cache pages and the clicking log for the next page and then Submit to actually submit it. It gives me more time to actually write meaningful logs instead of web browsing for everything.

 

Or, were you more concerned about posting identical logs to 100's of caches? A thread started yesterday about that,

 

http://forums.Groundspeak.com/GC/index.php?showtopic=302447

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One of the great things about using GSAK is the ability to do a mass upgrade of your cache listings with the "Attrib_to_UserNote.Gsk" Macro, which converts the attribute icons into text so they will be exported into gps' like the Etrex 20..series. Then when you are in the field you can read on your gps that the cache is, for example, "Available during winter" or "requires swimming" (??) etc.

Stan

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I've been using GSAK for some years now & by running one macro can keep all of Australia's 'unfound by me' caches up to date just by using Groundspeak's PQs & Geocaching Australia's (GCA) Queries. I then use polygon filters to eliminate caches in Capital cities & the like as I prefer travelling in regional areas. I will investigate setting up routes using GSAK though. I haven't upgraded to V8 as no need.

 

The filtering ability of GSAK alone is worth the purchase.

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Related Question...

 

I don't use a GPS. Is there a way to export from GSAK to my iPhone?

 

Also, Is there a way to sort the caches in a way that they can be most efficiently found? (least amount of driving say in a 10 mile circumference. Starting point and end point being the same)

 

Thanks.

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Related Question...

 

I don't use a GPS. Is there a way to export from GSAK to my iPhone?

 

Also, Is there a way to sort the caches in a way that they can be most efficiently found? (least amount of driving say in a 10 mile circumference. Starting point and end point being the same)

 

Thanks.

 

You can -I think- export as an HTML file. Will the phone then read it?

Do you have a caching app installed that will import GPX files?

 

Routing? Yes. There's a macro for that!

Edited by Bear and Ragged
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I also HAVE to use it but I also cant live without it. I have no way to get the correct file format to load to my GPS and get maps without first downloading info from Geocaching.com to GSAK, then to Mapsource and THEN I can upload to the GPS. But it is the only way to prepare for a day of caching. You can sort by bearing, meaning if you want all caches going south from you you can get a list to go by which you can really do otherwise. What I also do is keep a master listing of unfound caches that I can update right from GSAK and I can choose a listing of caches to go for that day. THere are so many things you can do with GSAK that it would take too long to list them. And it is not hard to learn at all! It is so worth it!

 

I am new, just got my membership, I have GSAK installed and wonder the same thing as the poster why use? I was putting qp's strait into CacheMate on my pocket pc without using GSAK, I going to try it to see, when you said " get maps without first downloading info from Geocaching.com " does this mean that you can get maps from GSAK? it so that's what a really need my pocket PC has a hard time loading geocaching.com web site.

Jimmy

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