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How do I approach Cache


Vespa Andi
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Hello,

I am new to Geocaching and just found my first Cache. I had problems to find it and it took me a while because I was searching at a wrong position (30 meters off). That was in the woods.

Now I was wondering if someone could give me strategies how to approach a cache. I am using a Garmin etrex Legend.

What I do now is I download the waypoint and use the goto function of my etrex to guide me there. The closer I get to the cache, the pointer of my Gps behaves really strange. It starts pointing to opposite directions.

How do you appraoch Caches? Is there any guidline how to do it best?

 

Thanks a lot in advance,

 

Vespa Andi

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Follow walking paths until you come within 10-15 meters of the cache location.

If you use the arrow, it might look like you have to whack your way through a couple of thick bushes and pass a creek, but the road might just turn and bring you closer to cache if you follow the path a little longer.

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When I go caching with friends, it's usually a foot race.

 

On a more serious note, when I get within 50-100 feet I start looking for likely hiding spots. For instance, is there only one tree in the area? One lamp post in a parking lot? I continue on to the likely spot at a much slower pace and give my GPSr time to catch up. This technique helps to avoid overshooting ground zero. Of course on some days, it means I stopped 30 feet shy of the cache. Add that to variances among hider/finder accuracy and it's all part of the game.

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Check the settings on your Etrex.... Make sure you are using the WGS84 datum setting....it's sort of a data format that the GPS uses. If you are using the wrong datum setting you can be off by a significant distance.

 

Also, understand that the Etrex Legend does not have an electronic compass. It can only determine your direction when you are moving, because it uses frequent updates of your current position to calculate direction. When you start moving very slowly or stand still (like when you have reached the cache location and stop walking), it can't do this and gets a little confused. When this happens, walk away from the cache site 20-30 meters or so and approach it again at a good, walking pace.

 

More expensive models have an electronic compass that works whether you are moving or standing still. The Etrex Legend is a fine unit (I started with one) as long as you understand this minor limitation

 

Finally, don't expect the device to put you right on top of the cache....there's a certain margin of error to be expected. Once you get within about 10 meters of so, stop staring at the screen and start looking for likely hiding spots.

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As you approach, don't head straight for the cache.

I often walk around where the arrow is pointing, and look for 'Where would I hide it?' and possible signs of 'cachers trail' or 'what doesn't look right...' where the arrow points.

 

Often walking around where the arrow points may save you having to bushwack to the cache, then finding there's an easy path out!

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The closer I get to the cache, the pointer of my Gps behaves really strange. It starts pointing to opposite directions.

This statement is the key to your problem. The Legend does not have an electronic compass.

A unit with an electronic compass (if calibrated) will most always show north, one without won't always do so depending upon your "velocity" of movement.

 

The closer you get to the cache, the slower you go. Right?

 

The pointer (it's not really a compass) used on your unit requires a certain velocity of movement. It is reading the satellite signals in order to determine your direction of travel. If you are standing still, or nearly so, it has no idea which way to point.

When approaching the cache hide, do so smartly and with intent.

Upon getting real close, the pointer is going to start jumping all over the place and that pretty much tells you that you have arrived at Ground Zero (GZ). It cannot do more.

Generally, once you see this activity in your unit, it is approaching the time that you should put it away and stop looking at the screen and start looking for the cache -- actually the hiding spot of the cache.

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The closer I get to the cache, the pointer of my Gps behaves really strange. It starts pointing to opposite directions.

This statement is the key to your problem. The Legend does not have an electronic compass.

A unit with an electronic compass (if calibrated) will most always show north, one without won't always do so depending upon your "velocity" of movement.

 

The closer you get to the cache, the slower you go. Right?

 

The pointer (it's not really a compass) used on your unit requires a certain velocity of movement. It is reading the satellite signals in order to determine your direction of travel. If you are standing still, or nearly so, it has no idea which way to point.

When approaching the cache hide, do so smartly and with intent.

Upon getting real close, the pointer is going to start jumping all over the place and that pretty much tells you that you have arrived at Ground Zero (GZ). It cannot do more.

Generally, once you see this activity in your unit, it is approaching the time that you should put it away and stop looking at the screen and start looking for the cache -- actually the hiding spot of the cache.

 

Hi,

What I am not quite sure about is, what role the compass plays when it comes to find the cache. In my opinion the Compass is not used at all because I am going by coordinates rather then geographic directions. But I might be wrong here. What do you think?

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Gitchee Gumme nailed part of the issue. As you approach the cache you tend to slow down and your GPS loses its sense of direction. What I used to do when I had unit without an electronic compass was retreat a hundred feet or so and approach ground zero again at a faster pace. The unit will regain its sense of direction when you do that. You may have to do it several times. That or circle what you think is ground zero walking briskly and watch where your arrow consistently points

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The closer I get to the cache, the pointer of my Gps behaves really strange. It starts pointing to opposite directions.

This statement is the key to your problem. The Legend does not have an electronic compass.

A unit with an electronic compass (if calibrated) will most always show north, one without won't always do so depending upon your "velocity" of movement.

 

The closer you get to the cache, the slower you go. Right?

 

The pointer (it's not really a compass) used on your unit requires a certain velocity of movement. It is reading the satellite signals in order to determine your direction of travel. If you are standing still, or nearly so, it has no idea which way to point.

When approaching the cache hide, do so smartly and with intent.

Upon getting real close, the pointer is going to start jumping all over the place and that pretty much tells you that you have arrived at Ground Zero (GZ). It cannot do more.

Generally, once you see this activity in your unit, it is approaching the time that you should put it away and stop looking at the screen and start looking for the cache -- actually the hiding spot of the cache.

 

Hi,

What I am not quite sure about is, what role the compass plays when it comes to find the cache. In my opinion the Compass is not used at all because I am going by coordinates rather then geographic directions. But I might be wrong here. What do you think?

 

The GPS knows your location (or more accurately, its own location), and the location of the waypoint you are navigating to. What it does NOT know is which way it is facing, unless it has an electronic compass.

 

If you are moving, it knows what direction you are moving. If you are standing still, it does not know.

 

Imagine you are an air traffic controller. You see a little blip on your radar screen. You can easily tell where that object is relative your position. What you cannot see, if it is stationary, is which way it is facing.

 

Don't confuse the function of a compass with the function of the pointer on your GPS. While navigating to a cache, or any waypoint. the pointer is always pointing to the waypoint. Sometimes new folks get confused about the "compass" function...they should call it the "pointer" function, maybe....

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