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Spoiled by the iPhone

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Sadly we have been spoiled by the iPhone app, but we are heading out of the country for a few weeks and caching is extremely important to us while we are gone. Getting a data roaming plan seems to be cost prohibitive and probably very spotty. We are thinking about getting the Magellan explorist GC since it seems to be the closest to caching with the iPhone and is very cheap. Is this the right course of action for spoiled iPhone cachers or am I missing a better option?

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I don't think you'll regret getting a dedicated GPSr in any case, although I can't speak for the Magellan in particular. Battery life, ruggedness/water resistance, ability to cache in areas with poor or no cell signal are all advantages to a handheld unit.


However, you should not expect the same level of lead-you-by-the-hand simplicity you're used to with the iPhone. At least not right out of the box. Expect a bit of a learning curve and spending some time getting familiar with the unit, setting it up like you want it (I don't know how "customizable" the Magellan is), loading PQ's etc.


Long story short, plan on spending some time with it before you go on your trip or you may get frustrated.

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I am traveling abroad quite a bit and can impart some advice: calculate the price of using maps into your purchasing decision. For some GPSrs you cannot get maps for other countries, or these drive up the cost considerably. You can get free OpenStreet maps for Garmin GPSrs for nearly any place on earth. When traveling in foreign locations it is VERY useful to have a unit that will route you and show you on the map where you are; even if you are not geocaching.

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:):lol: There is NOTHING about a phone that spoils me. Ringing, buzzing, beeping, texts, messages -- you name it. Sadly, I have a friend that I have renamed "Mr. Inopportune", 'cuz that is always when he calls. :lol::)


Nah.... you can keep your phone (and the NSA along with it)!



As a side note: I never recommend buying something just because it's cheap.

I hope you aren't buying the sales pitch: Pre-Loaded with the Most Popular Geocaches






**Was that a black helicopter that I just saw?**

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I have an iphone 4s and a Magellan Explorist GC. If you have the latest firmware on your Magellan (2.17) you can download and install maps from www.maps4me.net. It doesn't cost much (around $7USD) and, for me in Australia, the maps are very good (they are based on Open Cycle Maps and Open Street Maps).


I found the accuracy of the two devices quite similar in most conditions, although the Magellan does a bit better when coverage isn't so good. Having said that, I now do my caching with the iphone (and geosphere app, which is better than the Groundspeak app imo). You spend a lot of time using the joystick on the Magellan and you don't want to be uploading logs from it or you will be getting RSI.


So my conclusion is that the Magellan is OK as a backup for overseas use but is not nearly as easy to work with as the iphone. Hope this helps.

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I am planning a trip to another country. Since I have a handheld Garmin with good mapping I expect to use it there. But I also plan on loading pocket queries into my iphone. I am more likely to use Geosphere rather than the Groundspeak app because it has strong filters and I like the way it displays caches better than anything else I have seen. I should be able to cache maps using wifi or link caches to offline maps.


Either way, the phone and a GPS can be a good combination but before buying a unit, I would make sure the Magellan has the maps I would need.

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I like the phone app for urban caches where the car is in view, and for when I know I'm going to have a charger. For going in the backwoods I prefer a dedicated GPS. People talk about accuracy a lot but your most accurate coordinate is only as accurate as the unit used to PLACE the cache. So if your iphone is within ten feet, but the hider used a GPS that was off by 30 feet, then you can still be forty feet off, which is a big circle. GPS batteries last so long compared to phone batteries, and GPS units are usually a bit more rugged and waterproof. To protect your iphone from a little rain you might have to buy a hundred dollar "life proof" case. a hundred bucks is half of a GOOD gps unit. I hiked for two days in the rain, my delorme GPS happily in my pocket, wet the whole time.

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Ah the debate rages on :P

Use whatever you're comfortable with.


Aushiker: That's a common solution yeah. I haven't done that yet, but may in the future. My only beef with buying a local SIM is it's no longer really 'your' phone; new # and all that, so main communication is still off (phone & txt), iirc.



re Accuracy - exactly! You could have the Best Ever GPS device with 100% accuracy, but if the placement is off, it won't help a lick. Geosense is your friend near GZ, presuming the coords are even remotely accurate :) often the one using geosense with a cheap device can find a cache faster than someone focused on finding the most accurate GZ instead of the actual cache. :)


re Batteries - you can buy external battery packs. They bump the overall price for your phone, but people forget that the phone does MUCH more than just geocaching ;) I used to get proprietary packs that are one-use before needing recharging at an outlet; but have since moved to AA packs with which you can share batteries with other devices. This one for example is wonderful! Consider it an investment for your phone, rather than comparing price to a GPS device.


re Rain - I find people with GPSrs like to hang them around their necks. In which case, rain may be an issue and a factor in the 'durability' rating. But hopefully people with smartphones don't do that. I keep mine in my pocket (as you said you do with your GPSr), realizing I don't need it until I need to check my location or orientation. That's sufficient protection from rain, by my experience at least, and especially if the pocket is zipped, it protects against swinging into rocks, or dropping off the lanyard, etc. It totally depends on the type of jacket you have and the protection of the pocket. But rain, imo, is a non-issue, if you treat the phone like a valuable piece of electronics (and dress accordingly for the weather with such a device ;) - I wouldn't go into pouring rain for more than a short period of time without a jacket that can keep my device(s) dry) (even though accidents can still happen). And again, fi you invest in a protective casing, don't compare the total price against a GPSr, because you're protecting a device that does MUCH more than just geocaching.

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