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smiles56

Using smart phone for geocaching

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Hi! I am brand new to geocaching and I already love it! I don't really know anything except what I have read in the beginner information. My question is what app do I use on my phone for geocaching?

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Oh thank you sooo much for the quick reply!! I guess my question now is..there are quite a few apps that I can see...does anyone have a recommendation for which one is the best? I see that they all have positive and negative comments...like anything else...but it is hard to decide...any advice? By the way...this is an awesome community! I logged my first geocache yesterday and, sadly, i was unable to find it..and someone already sent me a message of encouragement to keep looking...that was so nice!! Thank you.

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If you let us know what type of phone you have someone may be able to help you with your choice of app. Personally I use a Blackberry Z10 running cachesense when smartphone caching. Also available on android.

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I use a Droid Razr Maxx and downloaded "c:geo" yesterday. Went out for about an hour and found one cache right away. Went out after lunch today and found another within minutes. Then, went to a third cache location and got to within five feet of the cache. While I was standing there looking at the compass screen, the distance to the cache suddenly increased to twenty feet. Circled around for a few minutes with no positive results and decided to call it a day.

 

Guess I am disappointed in my Droid. Cannot figure out why I got these confusing results. Will try again tomorrow.

 

Anyone else using a smartphone with "c:geo" have similar results? :unsure:

 

Also, I wonder if I upgraded to a REAL gps if I would have better luck?

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I use a Droid Razr Maxx and downloaded "c:geo" yesterday. Went out for about an hour and found one cache right away. Went out after lunch today and found another within minutes. Then, went to a third cache location and got to within five feet of the cache. While I was standing there looking at the compass screen, the distance to the cache suddenly increased to twenty feet. Circled around for a few minutes with no positive results and decided to call it a day.

 

Guess I am disappointed in my Droid. Cannot figure out why I got these confusing results. Will try again tomorrow.

 

Anyone else using a smartphone with "c:geo" have similar results? :unsure:

 

Also, I wonder if I upgraded to a REAL gps if I would have better luck?

 

Most cellphone GPS units are pretty accurate, the 'jump' is due to the loss of signal from one or more satellites. Longer observing sessions 'GPS-wise' help produce more stable coordinates, as well as turning on 'Assisted GPS'.

 

There are setting that you can't get to 'normally'. Download "GPS status" (this app https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.eclipsim.gpsstatus2) and leave it running in the background while using c:geo. The options you want to set are in the "GPS & Sensors" setting menu, specifically...

 

"Auto-download AGPS data" - for faster time to first fix on a 'warm start', prevents having to download orbit data from satellite

"Sensor filtering" - set to 'strong' - this will give a slightly slower fix time, but more stable results when you lose satellites.

 

If the GZ is in an area of poor satellite reception (like trees that were bare when the cache was left) you can also use the method of marking waypoints at the same latitude and longitude a short distance away, and using the compass feature to locate GZ...i.e. "due north from this point 50 feet, due west from this point 50 feet".

 

As far as a 'real' gps, I don't remember the link offhand, but there was actually a formal study about the accuracy of smartphone gps...they actually tend to be somewhat more accurate than a "low-end" consumer GPS. Your phone and the GPS are both using 'hardware" GPS (i.e. dedicated chips) but the phone is likely to be a more recent design, and thus use a faster, better chip.

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Really appreciate the very complete answer. I'm going back to that cache location tomorrow to try again. May be some anomaly that I won't run into next time . . . :rolleyes:

 

Thanks!

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I use a Droid Razr Maxx and downloaded "c:geo" yesterday. Went out for about an hour and found one cache right away. Went out after lunch today and found another within minutes. Then, went to a third cache location and got to within five feet of the cache. While I was standing there looking at the compass screen, the distance to the cache suddenly increased to twenty feet. Circled around for a few minutes with no positive results and decided to call it a day.

 

Guess I am disappointed in my Droid. Cannot figure out why I got these confusing results. Will try again tomorrow.

 

Anyone else using a smartphone with "c:geo" have similar results? :unsure:

 

Also, I wonder if I upgraded to a REAL gps if I would have better luck?

 

If you are at GZ (within 5 ft!) then why are you looking at your compass?

 

Put your phone away, and start looking for the cache! The phone has done its job, it's lead you to GZ. Now do your job, and find the cache.

 

Remember, GZ is decently wide, one you get so close the compass may start to 'spin' as it's pointing to all parts of the circle, so to speak.

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Once your compass starts spinning and jumping around like that, that means you're about as close as it's going to get you. Don't walk around in little circles trying to get it to read a perfect "0". We call this the "drunken bee dance". Put it away and start looking (and feeling) for likely hiding spots.

 

The best GPS devices will only put you within about 10-15 feet most of the time....don't expect much better than that. Sometimes it'll be dead on and you'll a little closer than that, and sometimes it'll be worse. Also remember that you don't know how accurate the HIDER'S coordinates were in the first place.

 

You'll learn over time not to rely so much on the device, whatever it is. It only gets you to the area, your skill and persistence will locate the cache. Good luck!

Edited by Chief301

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I use a Droid Razr Maxx and downloaded "c:geo" yesterday. Went out for about an hour and found one cache right away. Went out after lunch today and found another within minutes. Then, went to a third cache location and got to within five feet of the cache. While I was standing there looking at the compass screen, the distance to the cache suddenly increased to twenty feet. Circled around for a few minutes with no positive results and decided to call it a day.

 

Guess I am disappointed in my Droid. Cannot figure out why I got these confusing results. Will try again tomorrow.

 

Anyone else using a smartphone with "c:geo" have similar results? :unsure:

 

Also, I wonder if I upgraded to a REAL gps if I would have better luck?

 

No, a 'real' GPS won't necessarily do any better. It's common for the distance to 'jump' especially if you're in a bad spot, like a ravine, on a slope or next to a building or rock face. If you think a 15 foot (5 meters) jump is bad, that's nothing. I once was trying to hide a cache and the coordinates jumped 80 meters. Let's just say that one needed flagging and an excellent hint. :rolleyes:

 

Also, if you're within 10 meters of the cache, you should be looking at the hint, not your GPS.

Edited by The_Incredibles_

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You all make good points. I have a lot to learn! :rolleyes:

 

The cache is located in a field with weeds and briars about waist high . . . so no interference with a satellite signal (I don't think). This site is only about two miles from my home so I will stop there again soon and give it another try.

 

Appreciate the tips . . .

 

Thanks!

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It's unlikely the cache is just by itself in the middle of a field (not impossible, just unlikely). Is there some other object in the vicinity, even if the coordinates seem way off? A fence, a tree, anything like that? If so that's where you need to focus your search.

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The cache is located in a field with weeds and briars about waist high . . . so no interference with a satellite signal (I don't think).
Never say never.

 

Usually weird jumps in my reported coordinates have occurred in situations where you'd expect problems: under heavy tree cover, in steep canyons, among buildings that form "urban canyons", and so on. But once I saw it happen on an open hilltop with a clear 360° view of the sky. Following the arrow took me to a spot near a few small trees, but the cache turned out to be 50-60 feet away. (I found it by reading the past logs, after searching the area around my original ground zero.) I was about to report better coordinates, but my GPSr showed coordinates that were within 0.001 minute of the cache's posted coordinates. It made no sense to me, but it happened anyway.

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Loss of satellites (jumps) can also happen due to momentary fluctuations in the ionosphere....that's why 'professional' GPS users take longer observations, and then compare them to the data from well-surveyed reference receivers (CORS sites). The relatively close locations are assumed to have the same atmospheric conditions, and then they average over the whole period.

 

So blame it on the sunspots. :P

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We live & learn, don't we? :D

 

I'm an Xtra Class amateur radio operator, so I understand sunspots . . . and I agree with the 'never say never' philosophy.

 

Appreciate the tips! :)

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You all make good points. I have a lot to learn! :rolleyes:

 

The cache is located in a field with weeds and briars about waist high . . . so no interference with a satellite signal (I don't think). This site is only about two miles from my home so I will stop there again soon and give it another try.

 

Appreciate the tips . . .

 

Thanks!

 

:lol: In this case I'd go looking for an area where the weeds are flattened more in 1 spot than in surrounding spots.

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ok, for an android phone, I use NeonGeo as my main app, you can also get the official geocaching app if you like, or stay with c:geo, I use that one for a back up or when caching with the kids so I can log them into their accounts to log a find while still being able to maintain my info in Neongeo. I know there are more than a few options available... I started with Geobeagle, but quickly looked for another as that one acts more like a real GPS where you have to manually input coords or download PQs. As to the accuracy of the cell GPS's, I can usually find what I am looking for, I have read and put into practice, that once your device gets you with in about 20-30 feet of your target, put it away and start looking for the cache. There are variances in GPS location between units or devices. Also remember, cloud cover plays a roll in accuracy as well as battery life and canopy thickness. So while a dedicated GPS device may have an edge over a cell phone, it is not a guarenteed and bulletproof solution.

 

Hope this helps answer your questions.

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I use a Droid Razr Maxx and downloaded "c:geo" yesterday. Went out for about an hour and found one cache right away. Went out after lunch today and found another within minutes. Then, went to a third cache location and got to within five feet of the cache. While I was standing there looking at the compass screen, the distance to the cache suddenly increased to twenty feet. Circled around for a few minutes with no positive results and decided to call it a day.

 

Guess I am disappointed in my Droid. Cannot figure out why I got these confusing results. Will try again tomorrow.

 

Anyone else using a smartphone with "c:geo" have similar results? :unsure:

 

Also, I wonder if I upgraded to a REAL gps if I would have better luck?

Any device will have some fluctuations in readings. Sometimes it helps if you walk away a bit & walk back at a slow, steady pace. Keep moving.

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