Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 7
Moun10Bike

Can a Smartphone Replace a Dedicated GPS?

Recommended Posts

Basically...you don't know how to use the phone. 14ft this way, 23ft that way. Usually my phone is in my pocket when I'm under 100ft away.

 

But, when I got my Garmin, I would do side by side comparisons while caching in the woods. My iPhone zeroes just fine.

 

Don't fault the device because you don't know how to use it.

For finding caches, putting the phone in your pocket at 20 or 30' from ground zero generally works well for most reasonably seasoned geocachers. But I'm thinking this method might not be very productive for folks who are hiding caches. :P

 

Rather than bash someone who you assume isn't using his phone properly, perhaps you could share some tips? Until I read your post, I actually thought I knew how to use my Casio Gz'One for geocaching. But since my experience yesterday pretty much matched the person you were bashing, I suppose I could use those tips as well.

I placed my very first cache in the woods, using my iPhone 3GS. I've had nothing but good remarks on cache accuracy and placement. I took several, several readings.

 

But. Since then, just to be safe, and PC...and all that...I've used a Garmin to verify all other cache placements since. (All 2 of them!)

 

I don't think telling someone that they don't know how to use their tool is a "bash" but perhaps I have a different tolerance level for 'bash' then most. (I am a nurse. I get bashed on a minutely basis...)

 

Yes.

Put your phone away

Look around

Use your common sense

 

Find cache

 

 

Easy

 

 

There ya go

 

 

Seriously. That's it,

Share this post


Link to post

Put your phone away

Look around

Use your common sense

Find cache,

Thank you for your helpful tips. That pretty much describes how I hunt caches. However, it seems this is actually advice on how to use a pocket. Since I am having the same results as 'the guy who is using their phone wrong', I was hoping to get some tips on using a phone for geocaching. I already know how to use a pocket.

 

In order for you to properly correct my behavior, I should probably describe how I use my phone. Like SirBowan, I use a Casio G'zOne Commando 4G, with the latest Android operating system. The app I use is the free one which shall remain nameless. I open the live map view and select the cache I wish to hunt, read the description, then switch to compass view. Because it has a patch antenna, I hold it flat and level, in my palm. I follow the arrow till I get fairly close, then I stop and let it churn data. After it settles down and gives me a direction & distance, it goes in my pocket. I head over to the indicated location and fire up my geosense. When I fail to find the cache there, I check my phone again, laying it flat and letting it settle. Then I head to the new spot. I lather, rinse, repeat until I either find the cache or it stops being fun.

 

It is not uncommon for me, using this method, to get bounced around like a golf ball in a tile bathroom. Since I am obviously doing it wrong, could you tell me how to do it right? :unsure:

Edited by Clan Riffster

Share this post


Link to post

Put your phone away

Look around

Use your common sense

Find cache,

Thank you for your helpful tips. That pretty much describes how I hunt caches. However, it seems this is actually advice on how to use a pocket. Since I am having the same results as 'the guy who is using their phone wrong', I was hoping to get some tips on using a phone for geocaching. I already know how to use a pocket.

 

In order for you to properly correct my behavior, I should probably describe how I use my phone. Like SirBowan, I use a Casio G'zOne Commando 4G, with the latest Android operating system. The app I use is the free one which shall remain nameless. I open the live map view and select the cache I wish to hunt, read the description, then switch to compass view. Because it has a patch antenna, I hold it flat and level, in my palm. I follow the arrow till I get fairly close, then I stop and let it churn data. After it settles down and gives me a direction & distance, it goes in my pocket. I head over to the indicated location and fire up my geosense. When I fail to find the cache there, I check my phone again, laying it flat and letting it settle. Then I head to the new spot. I lather, rinse, repeat until I either find the cache or it stops being fun.

 

It is not uncommon for me, using this method, to get bounced around like a golf ball in a tile bathroom. Since I am obviously doing it wrong, could you tell me how to do it right? :unsure:

 

Clan, SirBowen here, I gotta say, I love your sarcasm, reminds me a lot like my own. Your description of how you use your phone to cache sounds exactly how I use mine as well. So I will be watching to see if we can be corrected on the proper use of our phones with geocaching. The only difference I can see between you and I is the app of choice. Some times I leave mine out and glance at it as I pretend to be a rubber ball.

 

:drama::omnomnom:

Share this post


Link to post
I follow the arrow till I get fairly close, then I stop and let it churn data. After it settles down and gives me a direction & distance, it goes in my pocket. I head over to the indicated location and fire up my geosense. When I fail to find the cache there, I check my phone again, laying it flat and letting it settle. Then I head to the new spot. I lather, rinse, repeat until I either find the cache or it stops being fun.
I've found that it helps to leave my GPSr or smartphone on when I get close to GZ, rather than putting it in my pocket. I ignore the device for a while, and search for hiding spots. After several minutes (assuming I haven't found the cache yet), I check the device again. If it's pointing somewhere else, then I go there and continue my search. I generally need to do this only once.

 

It seems that it takes the device a while to "settle down". Turning it off or putting it to sleep makes the GPS function start over, Leaving it on lets it collect and analyze more data and get a better fix. And yes, I've seen this behavior with both my smartphone and with dedicated GPS receivers.

Share this post


Link to post

Now and then I use my phone to find a cache but never to place one. My experience is that they just don't do a good job of getting accurate coordinates in any conditions other than perfect as they were for the article. I use my phone for too many other things to risk it to regular caching. And to quote niraD: "The main issues with using a phone in more challenging terrain that I have are durability, waterproofness, and battery life." Yep, and if you lose it the NSA will suck it up with their newest anti-gravitational toy and there goes all your secrets. :rolleyes:

Share this post


Link to post

Now and then I use my phone to find a cache but never to place one. My experience is that they just don't do a good job of getting accurate coordinates in any conditions other than perfect as they were for the article.

Well, others have very different experiences, in less than perfect conditions. Which is 1) why there's disgreement in this thread and 2) why there's an unhealthy general dislike among many of "smartphones" in general.

 

"...I use my phone..." Which phone?

"...they just don't do a good job..." Phones in general? Or your phone?

 

Details matter ;)

Share this post


Link to post

Now and then I use my phone to find a cache but never to place one. My experience is that they just don't do a good job of getting accurate coordinates in any conditions other than perfect as they were for the article.

I think that people's definition of 'good' coordinates can be unrealistic for the game.

 

I started playing this game in 1999 with a Garmin GPS 3+. It was a fine GPSr, for it's time. It worked perfectly well to both find caches and place them. I've since owned many other GPSrs, but that 3+ would still work to hide a cache, if it were still alive. Sure, new models get somewhat better accuracy, but the 3+ was always 'good enough'.

 

My iPhone is a far better GPSr than the 3+ ever was. Therefore, I have to conclude that the iPhone is 'good enough' to hide a cache.

Share this post


Link to post

I think that people's definition of 'good' coordinates can be unrealistic for the game.

That's a good point, which bears remembering. My first handheld GPS stopped its distance countdown at 528'. It only displayed in tenths of miles. I don't recall which model it was. Some kind of Garmin. I called it 'The Brick', due to its size and weight. It's still around here, somewhere. Probably buried in all my other stuff.

 

So, how accurate is accurate enough? Garmin cites 3 meters accuracy for their handheld units. Looking at other handheld manufacturers such as Magellan, Delorme, Lowrance and Rand McNally, that seems to be the ersatz industry standard. 3 meters is certainly good enough for me, when hiding a cache. Can the patch antenna in a phone equal that? Under ideal conditions, and if used properly, (still waiting on the JesandTodd tutorial), I suspect they can. It's been my experience that, as conditions degrade, (poor satellite constellation / blocked view of the sky / etc), the accuracy of both phones and handhelds suffer, though, due to their relatively weaker patch style antennas, the degradation of the phone's precision increases geometrically.

Share this post


Link to post
I started playing this game in 1999

 

I find this interesting since it was my understanding that this hobby didnt come about till after May of 2000. So unless you were military, or some government agency, I will have to call BS on you playing this game since 1999.

Share this post


Link to post

I purchased an ExploristGC but, I find it clunky and cumbersome. The smartphone is just so easy to use, I don't feel the need to switch.

 

It has a lot to do with what you start the game with I expect. I'm sure most new people come to the game with smartphone experience so they are more comfortable with it.

 

In support of the GPSr side:

 

We've had several Garmins and we currently use a Colorado300 and a Map62. I have been Android smartphoned for about four years but for geocaching I use it only as a backup for occasional up-to-date logs and when I have some free time and no GPSr at hand. A handheld GPSr with maps and cache pages loaded is a mighty fun instrument to play the game with.

 

Edit to add: The NW Trails maps by Switchbacks.com can be loaded into certain GPSr units. Thousands of hiking/biking trails in the NW states are then available as an overlay to the onscreen maps which cuts down on a loooottt of bushwhacking.

 

The GPSrs are very easy to use and I am faster with them than with the phone. I don't have any experience with an Explorist but the with handhelds that have maps and auto-routing plus geocaching features built-in such as cache management, cache web page data including some prior logs the game goes very smoothly and I don't need to worry about rain... we do need cache in the rain up here, Pacific Northwet, and all. We also do a lot of caching outside our Verizon data range.

 

My average cache log length has been around 70 words and I can't do that on a phone. On a keyboard I type without looking but I can't consistently hit those little letters on the phone screen well enough to get up any speed. In the field I don't want to spend any time tapping on the little phone screen especially when a big part of the game for me is logging and reading other logs while at home on a computer.

 

...which is no easy task for a new user provided the pathetic "user manual" the explorist came with.

 

I didn't know anybody actually used a manual! :o I've never looked at one for a GPSr or a smartphone. That sounds like a smarta** thing to say and I actually did use one for our first GPSr, a grey-scale Garmin eMap, because it was so new and cool to use in the car before geocaching came into our radar and waaayy before smartphones.

 

I am rambling on so I'd better cut it short. I do love the smartphone era but, for me, it will not likely replace a quality GPSr in the field and a good evening of logging finds at home on the computer.

Edited by Team Sagefox

Share this post


Link to post

A handheld GPSr with maps and cache pages loaded is a mighty fun instrument to play the game with.

 

That is probably the ultimate answer to this thread. Some people find it is most fun to cache with a handheld, some have more fun with a smartphone.

 

I went out with both the other day. I started out with my handheld (Oregon 600), but the iphone (Geosphere) was taking me closer to the actual caches even when out of service areas under tree cover, provided both voice routing and trail maps, allowed me to take advantage of photo opportunities, gave me an easier to read screen for the cache descriptions (important for detailed letterbox hybrids), easier offline cache storage, and automatic field note uploading. I found myself putting the Oregon in my pocket. On that trip, the answer to the topic question was "Yes."

 

On the other hand, using the handheld can be a great way to play the game. It can be a very fun instrument to use. And there have been times in the past year where the answer to the question was different for me. We are planning some all day hikes and a trip to some remote areas of the southwest. The answer might be different then.

 

You can't go wrong as long as you find that what you use is a fun way to play the game.

Share this post


Link to post

Here's a question I've always been curious about...

 

For smartphone cachers: Do you use your app's compass (distance/bearing) display, or do you navigate by observing the overhead map (satellite or otherwise)?

 

For GPSr caches who've tried smartphones: Did you default to using the compass display, or did you try other means of navigating to a cache?

 

Personally, I hate distance and bearing. When a map showing the location of a waypoint compared to the location of me is right there, it's unbelievably easier, even with the 'accuracy bubble' to navigate towards gz. The bubble view provides a much more dependable interpretation of the numbers than the compass (like the difference between "you're this accurate" vs "you're this inaccurate"). Navigating by numbers that imply "it could be anywhere within this region/angle" as opposed to "here it is on a map, and here is my best guess of where you are" -- it's night and day.

Especially when the compass(orientation) either depends on your motion or for properly-equipped devices a correctly calibrated digital reading.

 

Part of me thinks that most GPSr users who try (and subsequently hate) smartphones only defaulted to the standard compass navigation which is why accuracy readings are so important and significant and also likely why the experience was so frustrating... maybe I'm wrong. But it's just a curious question :)

Share this post


Link to post

 

For smartphone cachers: Do you use your app's compass (distance/bearing) display, or do you navigate by observing the overhead map (satellite or otherwise)?

 

 

 

Yes

 

Distance and bearing

 

Since I'm often caching in the woods, I rarely look at the sat map....it's useless. Trees, trees, trees,

 

At about 100ft...I put the iPhone away and start looking.

 

Go hawks!!! Super Bowl champs!!!

Share this post


Link to post

Here's a question I've always been curious about...

 

For smartphone cachers: Do you use your app's compass (distance/bearing) display, or do you navigate by observing the overhead map (satellite or otherwise)?

 

For GPSr caches who've tried smartphones: Did you default to using the compass display, or did you try other means of navigating to a cache?

I'm not sure where you would classify me. I am both a phone cacher and a GPS cacher. When I started this hobby, there was no phone option. Until about a year ago, the phone I had was way too dumb to cache with. When we were issued smart phones, the first app I downloaded was for caching. Which one I use depends largely on circumstances.

 

On a related note, I use the compass regardless of which device I use.

 

Personally, I don't believe one is more, or less, effective than the other. I believe that both utilize the same data, displaying it in a different format. Kind of like comparing a circle graph to a bar graph. They do the same thing. Some folks prefer circles, others prefer bars. Nothing wrong with either graph.

Share this post


Link to post

Compass arrow and distance. With the handheld, I use small data fields on the map page. With the phone I go to the app's target navigation page. I used to use the map with the 3GS because I did not trust it to accurately show where I was, so it was easier to orient myself to where the cache was supposed to be.

 

In any event, I start searching considerably closer than 100 feet away. If I think I might be that far way I end up reading the description, hint, and any past logs - but to me the search is the least interesting part of the game.

Share this post


Link to post
For smartphone cachers: Do you use your app's compass (distance/bearing) display, or do you navigate by observing the overhead map (satellite or otherwise)?
The default view for targeted geocaches in Neongeo is a hybrid. It's a map (or satellite) view, with a small compass indicating direction and distance to the targeted cache at the top, and with summary lines for a few geocaches at the bottom. I've configured mine to use Open Street Maps at zoom levels 18 and lower, and to use Google's hybrid view (satellite images with streets marked) at zoom levels 19 or 20.

Share this post


Link to post

Distance and bearing

Since I'm often caching in the woods, I rarely look at the sat map....it's useless. Trees, trees, trees,

At about 100ft...I put the iPhone away and start looking.

That's why I said map, not necessarily sat view :P It was the difference in depiction of the data I was curious about... (cont)

 

I use the compass regardless of which device I use.

 

Personally, I don't believe one is more, or less, effective than the other. I believe that both utilize the same data, displaying it in a different format. Kind of like comparing a circle graph to a bar graph. They do the same thing. Some folks prefer circles, others prefer bars. Nothing wrong with either graph.

 

Right, as mentioned, it's different views, different visualizations of the same data. And yeah, I suppose it's preference, ultimately, but I tend to find that (as mentioned) seeing the destination and current location of me on a static map is more helpful than attempting to determine a direction to travel based on the 'accuracy reading' of orientation between X and Y angle forward...

Sort of like... the difference between tuning a piano to a piano tuned to another piano, versus every piano tuning to a single piano. Or digital versus analog, perhaps. *shrug* Having that greater view of the area with a pinpoint location, I have a better idea of where to go based on my estimated location, than trying to mentally picture a possible location with a less-than-100% accurate distance and bearing from my estimated location.

 

It is preference... but I was curious, just to see how much of the segment of people who've had bad experiences with 'smartphones' utilize the compass vs overhead navigation method. Not scientific in any way, just wondering how 'different' I am in my preference, and whether nav method may be a determining factor in any way :P

Edited by thebruce0

Share this post


Link to post

And yeah, I suppose it's preference, ultimately, but I tend to find that (as mentioned) seeing the destination and current location of me on a static map is more helpful than attempting to determine a direction to travel based on the 'accuracy reading' of orientation between X and Y angle forward...

Could be? One of my caching buddies uses a phone almost exclusively. His phone is an Apple product, with the official Groundspeak app. He uses the satellite view, on the map, when hunting caches, as that helps him visualize where he is, in relation to visible landmarks and such, as well as where the cache is. His first hundred or so caches were found with no GPS at all, not even a phone. He just printed out a Google Earth image, with the cache marked as a waypoint, and used that to conduct his hunt. I don't know if this is why he is more comfortable using the map view as opposed to the compass. I have heard him explaining geocaching to others, using the method you described: "I'm somewhere within this circle. The cache is somewhere within close proximity to that icon on the map. I walk till the circle overlaps the icon and commence searching."

 

It works for him. :unsure:

Share this post


Link to post

Map view until I'm within the 528' radius. Compass as I get closer. I generally rely on it to get as close as possible...100' is just too far out to do any good, especially in an urban or suburban setting. I usually have it get me to within 20' then let it circle me around for a while until I have a good feel for where it is intending me to be. THEN I put it down. Nine times out of ten I'm successful that way. If I don't see it, I then will go back to the description, the previous logs and the hint to help me narrow it down.

 

Biggest problem I have with the map is once one gets within a certain distance, the little icons will overlap and the fact that the phone doesn't have an electronic compass makes zeroing in a bit trickier. In compass view, I can keep moving and keep my eyes on my surroundings more than if I'm trying to adjust my bearings according to the map...the added advantage being the movement helps the phone's compass get a better reading.

Share this post


Link to post

Clan, definitely preference :P

 

Biggest problem I have with the map is once one gets within a certain distance, the little icons will overlap and the fact that the phone doesn't have an electronic compass makes zeroing in a bit trickier. In compass view, I can keep moving and keep my eyes on my surroundings more than if I'm trying to adjust my bearings according to the map...the added advantage being the movement helps the phone's compass get a better reading.

The map should zoom... if you can't zoom in enough and the two dots/icons are still overlapping, either switch to a map that has a decent zoom, or you're not going to get any better reading anyway - put it away and use the sense :)

 

The problem is, at that close distance, the compass is going to be all over the place. As the estimated centerpoint moved and bounces in relation to GZ (however little or much) the distance and bearing is going to go all crazy wonky. That's generally the point people will say - put the device away and start searching. On the map, you can see how your 'bubble' hovers over or around a location, and do a sort of mental averaging. I've never used an app that does GPS coordinate averaging either. The map takes care of that...

 

The smartphone app's UI would also play a big role in how pleasing the compass and/or map navigation experiences are... I <3 Geosphere! (since geosphere, I've never looked back at GS's geocaching app. ick :ph34r:)

Share this post


Link to post

The map only zooms so far.

I just don't see as much value in the map view when I am closer in.

Ditto. That's when I start searching ;P

Share this post


Link to post
The map only zooms so far.
Yep. That's why I've configured mine to switch to the hybrid/satellite view when it zooms in more than the maps will zoom in.

Share this post


Link to post
The map only zooms so far.
Yep. That's why I've configured mine to switch to the hybrid/satellite view when it zooms in more than the maps will zoom in.

 

Not sure if you folks are trying to convince me of anything...but I do what works best for me. I've tried both ways and I prefer the compass view once I'm within a few hundred feet. I was just answering bruce0's question and wasn't really telling anyone how they ought to.

Share this post


Link to post
The map only zooms so far.
Yep. That's why I've configured mine to switch to the hybrid/satellite view when it zooms in more than the maps will zoom in.

 

Not sure if you folks are trying to convince me of anything...but I do what works best for me. I've tried both ways and I prefer the compass view once I'm within a few hundred feet. I was just answering bruce0's question and wasn't really telling anyone how they ought to.

 

I would think the maj. of folks are using the compass screen once within a few hundred feet, at least with a GPS unit. I do it also with my iPhone the few times I use it to walk to a cache.....I muck prefer a dedicated GPS for caching rather than my iPhone.

Share this post


Link to post
The map only zooms so far.
Yep. That's why I've configured mine to switch to the hybrid/satellite view when it zooms in more than the maps will zoom in.
Not sure if you folks are trying to convince me of anything...but I do what works best for me. I've tried both ways and I prefer the compass view once I'm within a few hundred feet. I was just answering bruce0's question and wasn't really telling anyone how they ought to.
No, I'm not trying to convince anyone of anything. I'm just explaining what I use. And I find myself switching back and forth between paying attention to the map/satellite view and paying attention to the bearing–distance "compass" indicator until I'm right at GZ (i.e., within 20-30ft, the distance at which I start looking for hiding spots). At that point, I stop paying attention to the device until I've searched a while. Then, if I still haven't found it, the device has had time to settle down a bit, and I look at the bearing–distance "compass" indicator to adjust my GZ if necessary.

Share this post


Link to post

I would think the maj. of folks are using the compass screen once within a few hundred feet, at least with a GPS unit. I do it also with my iPhone the few times I use it to walk to a cache.....I muck prefer a dedicated GPS for caching rather than my iPhone.

Thanks, that's exactly the situation I was curious about... if somehow the use of compass is any factor in people not preferring 'smartphone' over gpsr (not that it is for you, or that it's all or nothing, or that it's the primary cause, or anyone's preference is better than anyone else, or whatever whatever, just that maybe it's a possible factor). Mainly because for my experience, I avoid the distance/bearing compass at all costs, and have never felt frustrated; likewise, on trying out a gpsr, the two main things that frustrate me are always the clunky UI and the compass :P

There seems to be (from what I read in forums) a surprisingly common factor in that people who dislike smartphone caching tend to favour compass over map view. Again, this is not a scientific study. :P

Edited by thebruce0

Share this post


Link to post

In this discussion, I'm wondering if people are searching with their nose on the display of the gps (or phone) and if they never just look around. When I'm arriving at GZ, I look on the GPS and then I see it is 20 metres away. Then I look up: "oh, it must that tree over there" or "it must be that lamp post in the south west corner of the Walmart car park". It is only very rare that I need precise location to a sqare metre. Besides, I think it is good to have a training in guessing distances. For the rest I agree with everything from thebruce0.

Share this post


Link to post

wondering if people are searching with their nose on the display of the gps

I've seen a few new players over the years who cached that way. I suppose they held some belief that the gadget will bring them directly to the cache. By a vastly huge margin, those with a bit of experience pocket their gadget once they get fairly close, and switch to their geo-sense.

Share this post


Link to post

As I often recount, it's surprisingly common when I'm out caching in a group that everyone's wandering around the area at gz, looking down at their devices (mostly GPSrs), calling out and comparing various distance readings (which don't make sense or can't provide or even estimate an actual gz). ...One or two of us are actually searching, if not already having found the cache =P

Edited by thebruce0

Share this post


Link to post

I have the iPhone 4s. I find it works pretty well. I use the compass feature when I within that 528 ' range. I have noticed that it does take a while for it to settle, especially the faster you walk. But of course, the old Garmin I have does the same thing. I placed a cache recently, but did not use the phone for it. I used the Garmin. I've noticed on the GC app for the iPhone that the accuracy it says is just a little too much for me.

Share this post


Link to post

Interesting. I tend to prefer the map screen over the compass screen (based on amount of time used). But it doesn't have to do with whither I'm using a smartphone of a GPSr. It has to do wither the device has a differential compass or an electronic compass. If it has a differential compass I use the map screen exclusively. If it has an electronic compass I may start with compass screen and then switch to the map screen as I get closer. Also, based on some of the comments about map screen resolution, I don't seem to use the map screen like some others on here do. When I'm within a couple hundred feet of the cache and using the map screen I don't really care about any of the landmarks on the map. In fact if the maps where all gone and there were no landmarks on the map making them completely blank it wouldn't make a difference. At that close of a distance it is all about getting as close as I can the cache symbol on the map to the symbol that indicates my current position.

Share this post


Link to post
When I'm within a couple hundred feet of the cache and using the map screen I don't really care about any of the landmarks on the map. In fact if the maps where all gone and there were no landmarks on the map making them completely blank it wouldn't make a difference. At that close of a distance it is all about getting as close as I can the cache symbol on the map to the symbol that indicates my current position.

Ditto. imo, the compass is less reliable than the map the closer you are to the waypoint. Much easier to watch your estimated position as you move and mentally 'estimate' your actual position relative to the waypoint visually, until you're satisfied (to whatever your personal preference is) to put the device away and start looking :)

Share this post


Link to post

I have not cached to a GPSr yet, but I have cached with my smartphone, on the phone, I have only used the map view. I will have to discover other views within my caching app to see if what ones like better. I am thinking that I am primarily going to use the compass view on the GPSr when I get around to trying it out.

 

Now to give a side twist to this debate, let's toss tablets into the mix. They are similar to a smartphone but without the ability to make a phone call. The somewhat basic tablet I have, I have tested out against my smartphone and I must say that under perfect conditions, it will work in a pinch, however, I would not choose to use it over my smartphone or a dedicated GPSr. I found the accuracy to be noticeably worse than my phone. The one cache I had went looking for, for my test comparison, the Tablet had be about 30-50 feet further off than my phone. The phone placed me within about 10 feet of the actual cache container.

 

On my next cache in ideal conditions, I will have to break out all three devices (Casio Commando 4G LTE, Verizon Ellipsis 7, and Garmin eTrex) and see what one brings me closest to the cache container I am seeking.

Share this post


Link to post

Ditto. imo, the compass is less reliable than the map the closer you are to the waypoint. Much easier to watch your estimated position as you move and mentally 'estimate' your actual position relative to the waypoint visually, until you're satisfied (to whatever your personal preference is) to put the device away and start looking :)

 

This. This is exactly how I do it.

Share this post


Link to post

On a related note: a long time cacher friend uses what I consider to be a rather bizarre method for arriving at ground zero. Using his 60CSx in Data Screen mode, he has two windows displaying information. The top window shows his (estimated) position coordinates. The bottom window displays the cache coordinates. He walks until the two sets of numbers match. When I questioned him on this method, he seemed surprised that everybody didn't do it that way.

Share this post


Link to post

...The top window shows his (estimated) position coordinates. The bottom window displays the cache coordinates. He walks until the two sets of numbers match.

 

Hey, that's what we did at first! I just told a friend about this method this afternoon when we had him out caching for the first time. We were talking about how we did it in the "old" days when we were new at the game. We did just exactly that for our first 10 or 12 finds. Yep, line up on the north coordinates and then work your way to the cache, what's a little poison oak among friends?

 

Then we learned about entering waypoints and boy did that speed up our game. That was in January of 2002. I don't recall exactly when downloading waypoints (not cache pages) directly to the gps was made available but it was not long before we were doing that. A couple of months later the Premium Membership was launched and perhaps that is when PQs came into being.

 

When I questioned him on this method, he seemed surprised that everybody didn't do it that way.

 

Yep. By mid-January my brother was into the game and had figured out waypoint entry.

Share this post


Link to post

Ditto. imo, the compass is less reliable than the map the closer you are to the waypoint. Much easier to watch your estimated position as you move and mentally 'estimate' your actual position relative to the waypoint visually, until you're satisfied (to whatever your personal preference is) to put the device away and start looking :)

 

This. This is exactly how I do it.

 

I will have to give this more of a try next time.

Share this post


Link to post

On a related note: a long time cacher friend uses what I consider to be a rather bizarre method for arriving at ground zero. Using his 60CSx in Data Screen mode, he has two windows displaying information. The top window shows his (estimated) position coordinates. The bottom window displays the cache coordinates. He walks until the two sets of numbers match. When I questioned him on this method, he seemed surprised that everybody didn't do it that way.

 

Or you can do like the user waldenrun did it or does it. Not sure if he still caches or not. But when I lived up in Massachusetss, he would print out maps and go off of those. No GPS used. And the last I had looked at his profile, he had 3000 finds. Met him once or twice on the trail or at an event. Can't remember exactly.

Share this post


Link to post

Ditto. imo, the compass is less reliable than the map the closer you are to the waypoint. Much easier to watch your estimated position as you move and mentally 'estimate' your actual position relative to the waypoint visually, until you're satisfied (to whatever your personal preference is) to put the device away and start looking :)

 

This. This is exactly how I do it.

 

This is how I do it as well, and for many caches it works quite well. In some cases, I've been well over 100' from the cache and identified an object where the cache was located. However, there are also lots of cases where there are so many potential hiding spots that even when you're within 20 feet of the cache there isn't an obvious to search. For example, a cache on a long metal fence might require consulting the GPS a lot more often in order to narrow the search area. Urban caches along narrow streets have often ended up on the other side of the road from where I initially started searching due to signal bounce between buildings.

Share this post


Link to post
However, there are also lots of cases where there are so many potential hiding spots that even when you're within 20 feet of the cache there isn't an obvious to search. For example, a cache on a long metal fence might require consulting the GPS a lot more often in order to narrow the search area.

Oh, in those cases, I wouldn't rely on GPS to direct me to the spot. For one, I have no guarantee that the coordinates themselves (published by the owner) are accurate. Secondly, that's once again a plus for the geosense. The more honed, likely the faster you'll make a find by prioritizing most likely places in the area and searching down the line, instead of constantly trying to get an accurate reading, failing, and re-trying until you're either satisfied or give up. If you're within 20 feet and the hide method isn't obvious, I honestly don't think GPS accuracy will make much of a difference, generally speaking. Break out the hands-on searching! (plus, it's more fun that way too :)

Share this post


Link to post
When I'm within a couple hundred feet of the cache and using the map screen I don't really care about any of the landmarks on the map. In fact if the maps where all gone and there were no landmarks on the map making them completely blank it wouldn't make a difference. At that close of a distance it is all about getting as close as I can the cache symbol on the map to the symbol that indicates my current position.

Ditto. imo, the compass is less reliable than the map the closer you are to the waypoint. Much easier to watch your estimated position as you move and mentally 'estimate' your actual position relative to the waypoint visually, until you're satisfied (to whatever your personal preference is) to put the device away and start looking :)

So the same data, with it's "inaccuracy", displayed in a different way is more reliable? Why "mentally 'estimate' your actual position to the waypoint" when you can see an arrow pointing right to the waypoint with distance listed? I use a hybrid often, the map (for trail map) with two data fields: pointer and distance.

 

BTW, do you use 'North Up' or 'Track Up' on the map?

Share this post


Link to post
When I'm within a couple hundred feet of the cache and using the map screen I don't really care about any of the landmarks on the map. In fact if the maps where all gone and there were no landmarks on the map making them completely blank it wouldn't make a difference. At that close of a distance it is all about getting as close as I can the cache symbol on the map to the symbol that indicates my current position.

Ditto. imo, the compass is less reliable than the map the closer you are to the waypoint. Much easier to watch your estimated position as you move and mentally 'estimate' your actual position relative to the waypoint visually, until you're satisfied (to whatever your personal preference is) to put the device away and start looking :)

So the same data, with it's "inaccuracy", displayed in a different way is more reliable? Why "mentally 'estimate' your actual position to the waypoint" when you can see an arrow pointing right to the waypoint with distance listed? I use a hybrid often, the map (for trail map) with two data fields: pointer and distance.

 

BTW, do you use 'North Up' or 'Track Up' on the map?

 

 

North up 'always' on my 62s

almost always north up on the iPhone except...

 

Track up when I'm super close but I'm: under 100ft, have searched, have not found, and am now referring back to iPhone for assistance.

 

Why mentally estimate my position? Why not!

 

Yesterday I was caching. Trails were very twisty and narrow so I couldn't put the phone down at 100 ft as usual. So I kept it on until 75ft. Looked onward down the trail, estimated 75ft away, left my phone on in my pocket and walked towards the stump 75ft~ish away. Found cache immediately, looked at my phone, it stills said 45ft.

 

If I'm just simply looking at my device, instead of actually looking around and estimating/guessing my location vs possible cache location, I would have overshot it. And yes, my Garmin does this too. Oh yes. (the 62s seems a bit better than the 60CSx fwiw.)

 

Left my iPhones on the ground. Signed log. Replaced cache, looked at iPhone, said <20ft with 16 accuracy.

 

 

I'd say I'm doing it right., so is my iPhone.

 

Besides. I like estimating distances. It's like a fun side game for me.

Share this post


Link to post

Ditto. imo, the compass is less reliable than the map the closer you are to the waypoint. Much easier to watch your estimated position as you move and mentally 'estimate' your actual position relative to the waypoint visually, until you're satisfied (to whatever your personal preference is) to put the device away and start looking :)

So the same data, with it's "inaccuracy", displayed in a different way is more reliable? Why "mentally 'estimate' your actual position to the waypoint" when you can see an arrow pointing right to the waypoint with distance listed? I use a hybrid often, the map (for trail map) with two data fields: pointer and distance.

Notice I did say "reliable" not "accurate". It's not that any particular view provides better information.

Speaking only for myself, yes most definitely - that different view of the same data makes a huge difference in how I mentally interpret it, and the confidence with which I feel I can locate "gz". It's the difference between asking someone to point to where I want to go from a mile away, versus him showing me a map in his hand with a pin-pointed destination and saying 'you're right about here'. As we get closer, he may start waffling about the where exactly the point is "well it's ahead, but somewhere between here and here (with hands pointing two slightly different angles, growing wide the closer we get)" - but on the map the pin-point never changes, and I have a different 'overhead' view of my location, whether he can pinpoint my location accurately or not. My reliance is less on 100% his pointing, and more on my own interpretation of my surroundings in relation to an exact location.

 

Or another way to look at it: the compass doesn't tell me precisely where the waypoint is - it only estimates my location, and tells me an estimated distance/location to the waypoint. The map view shows me precisely where the static waypoint is, and it's only my location that may be a variable estimate.

 

Overhead map isn't for everyone. But I tend to find it much easier, simpler, reliable, and quicker to navigate to a waypoint that way than by compass alone. Some people just like the raw challenge the compass provides :)

 

BTW, do you use 'North Up' or 'Track Up' on the map?

Oh north up all the time. Auto-rotating map isn't helpful to me. But that's a UI thing. You don't need to rotate the map if you have a header overlay on your location (if you find that piece of info useful :P). I use my nose for heading along with my motion on the map.

Edited by thebruce0

Share this post


Link to post

 

For smartphone cachers: Do you use your app's compass (distance/bearing) display, or do you navigate by observing the overhead map (satellite or otherwise)?

 

 

 

Yes

 

Distance and bearing

 

Since I'm often caching in the woods, I rarely look at the sat map....it's useless. Trees, trees, trees,

 

At about 100ft...I put the iPhone away and start looking.

 

Go hawks!!! Super Bowl champs!!!

 

You know, I slightly misunderstood your question (must have been Super Bowl euphoria). I read it as sat map vs compass.

 

I had forgotten that in the woods I exclusively use OSM/OCM. The cycle maps actually provides the trails.

Share this post


Link to post

So the same data, with it's "inaccuracy", displayed in a different way is more reliable? Why "mentally 'estimate' your actual position to the waypoint" when you can see an arrow pointing right to the waypoint with distance listed? I use a hybrid often, the map (for trail map) with two data fields: pointer and distance.

Because the "inaccuracy" causes the location to jump around, the compass arrow often results in the user doing the bee dance.

 

On units that don't have a magnetic compass, the position jumps get interpreted as movement and a new heading is compute. A map (set to north up, not heading up) will not jump around the way the arrow on the compass can.

 

Devices with magnetic compasses don't have as much of a problem with the arrow changing directions, but for those that don't the compass screen gives confusing inputs that don't occur on the map screen or even just looking at bearing and distance (or comparing the latitude/longitude reading).

Share this post


Link to post

 

Or another way to look at it: the compass doesn't tell me precisely where the waypoint is - it only estimates my location, and tells me an estimated distance/location to the waypoint. The map view shows me precisely where the static waypoint is, and it's only my location that may be a variable estimate.

 

 

This is a good point.

 

I use both the map and the compass (and both together) at various times. But there are cases where the map is important. The other day I was looking for a cache which was on the bank of a river and also shielded by tall buildings. My GPSr was having trouble figuring out where I was, and at one point seemed to indicate (on the compass) that the cache might be on the other side of the river. But from the map view (assuming the coordinates were correct) I could see the cache indeed was on the side of the river where I was. (And that the GPSr was confused and had me in the river or on the other side).

Share this post


Link to post

A map, set to north up, will not jump around the way the arrow on the compass can

My tracklog feels differently. When my 60 settles down, and gets a good satellite lock, I can place it in a fixed location, zoom the map all the way in, and turn on the tracklog. If I leave it alone for five minutes, I have a mini tracklog bouncing around, doing the drunken bee dance, without the GPSr moving. I suspect that neither the map method, nor the compass method provides any higher degree of precision. Rather, I think it's more a matter of preference.

Share this post


Link to post

A map, set to north up, will not jump around the way the arrow on the compass can

My tracklog feels differently. When my 60 settles down, and gets a good satellite lock, I can place it in a fixed location, zoom the map all the way in, and turn on the tracklog. If I leave it alone for five minutes, I have a mini tracklog bouncing around, doing the drunken bee dance, without the GPSr moving. I suspect that neither the map method, nor the compass method provides any higher degree of precision. Rather, I think it's more a matter of preference.

When using the compass screen without a magnetic compass, in addition to the position jumping around your heading chages. The unit determines which way you are moving, and therefore which way you are facing, based upon changes it detects in your position. If you turn off the magnetic compass on your 60CS, the arrow on the compass will jump around just like your position does.

 

A geocacher following the arrow will find that as you slow down the arrow starts pointing different places. This is not just when you are close to the cache. Someone moving slowly toward a cache will find the arrow is not always pointing to where they want to go. The map page and data display don't have this problem. Nor does a unit with a propery calibrated magnetic compass.

Share this post


Link to post

The map page and data display don't have this problem.

Of course they do. The 'problem', if you will, arises not from which screen happens to be displayed on your GPSr. Rather, the 'problem' arises because, regardless of what screen you use, at any given time your GPSr does not know precisely where you are. Your estimated position is an ever changing datum, even if you are standing still. The waypoint you are navigating toward, on the other hand, does not change position. Because your position is constantly bouncing around, in all directions, relative to the waypoint, your direction and distance also constantly change, even if you are standing still.

 

It doesn't matter what screen you use.

 

If you are used to using the map screen, you have likely learned to compensate for the fact that your estimated position changes several times a second. If you are used to the compass screen, you have likely learned to compensate for the fact that your estimated position changes several times a second.

Edited by Clan Riffster

Share this post


Link to post

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 7

×
×
  • Create New...