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stijnhommes

Optimal route between mutiple caches

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I'm about to drop into a new town for a day of caching this Saturday. I know I can use a caches along a route PQ, but I really want to find as many caches as I can. I was wondering if anyone knows of computer programs that can calculate the optimal route between a set of cache coordinates, so I can find the most caches in the time I have.

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If you have a Garmin GPS you can download BaseCamp and then load your PQ into BaseCamp and see where they all are on the map. Mathematically shortest distance between caches may not always be the best route, depending on obstacles and other issues. With some cache runs I have drawn in a track for the path I want to take and I download that to the GPS along with the caches.

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Everybody has their method, here's mine. I have a macro in GSAK that automatically exports each cache database to files that can be imported into Mapsource and Microsoft streets and trips. I like to use mapsource because it has the exact same maps as my GPS and I can see where the mapped trails are. I use Microsoft streets and trips because it has better route development tools. Usually I decide the area (town) I plan to cache in, then I select an organization structure (for instance along both sides of a primary road) I will then select caches and build a route in an order that makes sense. I then list the caches in that order on a 3X5 file card and put it in my caching bag. Usually after 2 or 3 finds i'm going completely by caches I drive by on my route to another cache, but the pre estqablished list gets me started and if I come to a "blanki" area without any nearby cacxhes in a reasonable zoom, I can pick up onthe list I have partially completed.

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Classic Traveling Salesman problem. Computer programscan only reasonably do a few caches at a time. I grab a PQ of that area. Upload to Google Earth and manually plan. It's not too hard and with practice you get better at it.

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I thought half of the fun was going in circles and backtracking. :D

:laughing: I love doing that.

 

sorta.

 

When I'm going out after one or two exact caches and nothing else all plan my route.

Most of the time I'll dump a list of caches that I've cleaned up with GSAK into the GPS and then just keep hitting 'Next closest' all day.

I do back track some but it's much more enjoyalbe that way. I'm never quite sure where or what I'm going to do until I hit that button. It makes for a fun filled day with lot's of caches. Plus it's a good way to clear hunks of the map. :laughing:

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Export from GSAK into MS Streets and Trips which has an "optimize route" algorithm...still needs some nursing by eye afterwards but its a good starting point, minimizing left turns etc etc.

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