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Run4thetop

Finding exact coords for placing cache.

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Hello fellow cachers!

 

SO far i have successfully hidden 7 caches. I use a Samsung Galaxy S4 With a coordinate app to find exact coords +/- 3-5meters.

The caches have been found most of the times. But i see that It should be even more accurate. Is there a way to get really accurate coordinates With just a Smartphone? I mean how much better is a GPS compared to a smartphone these days? Smartphone gps have improved alot the latest years haesnt it?

 

I plan to buy a Gps sometime in the future anyways, but for now i am stuck With my Samsung, and i really enjoy hiding caches :-)

 

Also any tip for a easy-to-use gps for geocaching is much appreciated.

 

Thanks!

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To get really accurate coordinates you'll have to take several readings and calculate the average. There are probably some apps for your device that will do this for you. It's also advisable to go out on at least two or three different days to allow for slight variations in the satellite coverage. Just grabbing a single, momentary reading will not yield maximum accuracy, regardless of the device used. The longer your sample time and the greater the number of samples, the better your coordinates will be.

 

Accurate coordinates can be obtained with today's smart phones....it is more a result of the care and patience of the hider than the accuracy of the device.

Edited by Chief301

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To get really accurate coordinates you'll have to take several readings and calculate the average. There are probably some apps for your device that will do this for you. It's also advisable to go out on at least two or three different days to allow for slight variations in the satellite coverage. Just grabbing a single, momentary reading will not yield maximum accuracy, regardless of the device used. The longer your sample time and the greater the number of samples, the better your coordinates will be.

 

Accurate coordinates can be obtained with today's smart phones....it is more a result of the care and patience of the hider than the accuracy of the device.

 

This is good advice Chief301, thank you. It makes sense to take several readings. Ill be a bit more patient with my next hides :-)

Good news for my Smart phone and wallet aswell :-)

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If you're uncertain of your coordinates, then test them. Enter your coordinates into your device and use it to navigate to the cache location. As you approach from at least 100ft away, the arrow should point right at the cache location. Then repeat the test, approaching from various directions. No matter which direction you approach from, the arrow should point right at the cache location.

 

If it doesn't, then adjust your coordinates and repeat the test.

 

Bonus points for repeating the test on a different day, when the satellites are in a different configuration.

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I also use my smartphone for hiding caches. What I do is use a GPS app on my phone, text myself the coordinates, then compare the coords I have from my phone with a GPS website, using satellite view. This way, I can tweak the coords until the arrow is right over the place where I hid my cache.

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I also use my smartphone for hiding caches. What I do is use a GPS app on my phone, text myself the coordinates, then compare the coords I have from my phone with a GPS website, using satellite view. This way, I can tweak the coords until the arrow is right over the place where I hid my cache.
Use a GPS device to confirm your coordinates, not satellite imagery. Sure, you can use satellite imagery to give you a general idea of where the coordinates are. And in some areas, the satellite imagery is indeed detailed and well-calibrated. But I've seen other areas where the satellite imagery has been off by hundreds of feet.

 

Besides, as the guidelines say, "You must visit the cache location and obtain the coordinates with a GPS device."

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I also use my smartphone for hiding caches. What I do is use a GPS app on my phone, text myself the coordinates, then compare the coords I have from my phone with a GPS website, using satellite view. This way, I can tweak the coords until the arrow is right over the place where I hid my cache.

 

Don't ever "tweak" the coordinates based on what the satellite image shows. That's as bad as not going out to get coordinates at all. The Guidelines clearly state that you must use a GPS device to obtain your coordinates, so those are the coordinates you should use. As niraD pointed out, sometimes the satellite imagery can be off and not lined up precisely with the actual coordinates.

 

I'll sometimes use coordinates from Google Earth just to plug in some numbers while I'm designing the cache page, but I ALWAYS replace those numbers with my actual field coordinates before I submit for review.

Edited by Chief301

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Even though a smart phone says it has GPS, that does not mean much.

Many smart phones do not have a true GPS chip and reciever.

These phones get thier GPS data from cell tower triangulation. I have seen mine show up to 200 feet

away from where I am standing. A true GPS enabled smart phone can get GPS signal even when not

in cell tower area. I use a Delorme PN60, I have gotten +/- 5 feet. Many who find my hides

say they were right on top of it with these coords. But coords do tend to move over time.

I have seen some move by 40 feet over the past year after placement.

Some have been mine some have been others. Right after the Japan earthquake I recorded a 30 foot move

on a cache that I had trouble finding before it happened. Then after the quake I found the cache located

at GZ that was before the quacke. After the quake GZ moved 30 feet. Then I read geologist confirmed

Earth crust shift by 30 feet. Try like others have said average your coords, but I would recomend a GPS.

Battery life would be better and accuracy better. Plus a GPS has an average function, I take 40 to 100 hits

to get good numbers. Have fun.

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I want to hide my first one today... Can I just use the app that shows my location?

 

You need to get accurate coords. Acceptable is +/- 30 feet, but closer is better find a way to average them.

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Must urban/suburban caches are easy to verify because you can plug the coordinates in with Google Maps and the aerial images are 90% or more accurate with the coordinates.

 

Example...you place the all to loved (sarcasm) lamp post cache (LPC). When publishing, or editing the cache page, check the aerial image. If the "icon" isn't right at the spot, good chance you need to adjust the coordinates). Using the aerial images is a very good source for verifying coordinates, especially if you can't return to the site immediately.

 

Yes, averaging over many minutes walking away and then back to the cache and then giving plenty of time for the GPS/Phone to settle.

 

I've had nearly 200 caches over my 12 years of caching and except for the few in the early days, all of my caches are ROCK SOLID as indicated by many found it logs saying as much. I almost always use the cell phone primarily for coordinates, but when possible, also use a GPS (Garmin GPS V, 60CSX current).

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I want to hide my first one today... Can I just use the app that shows my location?

 

You need to get accurate coords. Acceptable is +/- 30 feet, but closer is better find a way to average them.

 

So if my app says within the 30 ft, I'm ok? most of the time when we are searching my Iphone will get as close as 3 ft and its pretty dead on... (sometimes)

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I want to hide my first one today... Can I just use the app that shows my location?

 

You need to get accurate coords. Acceptable is +/- 30 feet, but closer is better find a way to average them.

 

So if my app says within the 30 ft, I'm ok? most of the time when we are searching my Iphone will get as close as 3 ft and its pretty dead on... (sometimes)

 

The idea is to provide as accurate coordinates as you can. 30 feet is sometimes the best you can manage under some circumstances, but you should try to do better than that. As already mentioned, you won't get very accurate coordinates by just jotting down what your app says at the moment. You need to grab several coordinates (the more the better, and preferably on different days) and calculate the average.

 

I see you are using the iPhone. Try a free app called Perfect Mark that is designed to do exactly this.

Edited by Chief301

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If you aren't certain about your coordinates, then test them. Enter them into your device, and then use it to navigate to your cache location. Approach the cache location from at least 100ft away. The arrow should point directly at the cache location as you approach it. Repeat the test, approaching from various directions. No matter what direction you approach from, the arrow should point directly at the cache location as you approach it.

 

If it doesn't, then adjust your coordinates until it does. Bonus points for repeating the test on a different day, when the GPS satellites are in a different configuration.

 

And be careful using the satellite images from Google Maps and other online sources. Sometimes they are very accurate. Sometimes they aren't. My experience around here is that Google's satellite images are at least as accurate as a handheld GPS, but I've seen areas where they have been off by 100ft or more, or where they don't have enough resolution to tell whether they're accurate or not.

 

Besides, according to the guidelines, "You must visit the cache location and obtain the coordinates with a GPS device."

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Theres also an option to suggest more accurate coordinates to the cache owner. (You can add coordinates to a log on the cache's page) So after all your checks, if its still slightly out, a friendly geocacher can alert you to more accurate coords that they received :)

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Theres also an option to suggest more accurate coordinates to the cache owner. (You can add coordinates to a log on the cache's page) So after all your checks, if its still slightly out, a friendly geocacher can alert you to more accurate coords that they received :)

 

This is true, but some cachers grab hasty coordinates and rely on the community to "correct" them. Some even request such in the cache description.

 

Don't even get me started on the ones who deliberately submit "soft" coordinates to make the cache "harder" 😠

 

Bottom line, it's the owners responsibility to obtain as accurate coordinates as they are able, BEFORE submitting the hide for publication.

Edited by Chief301

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Theres also an option to suggest more accurate coordinates to the cache owner. (You can add coordinates to a log on the cache's page) So after all your checks, if its still slightly out, a friendly geocacher can alert you to more accurate coords that they received :)

 

This is true, but some cachers grab hasty coordinates and rely on the community to "correct" them. Some even request such in the cache description.

 

Don't even get me started on the ones who deliberately submit "soft" coordinates to make the cache "harder" 😠

 

Bottom line, it's the owners responsibility to obtain as accurate coordinates as they are able, BEFORE submitting the hide for publication.

I've seen where a CO will change the coordinates in the listing based solely the log another geocacher.

 

1] Is this because of laziness on the part of the CO?

2] Is it because of the CO trusting their readings less than those of the finder's readings?

 

 

If 1] is the reason -- they haven't the responsibility ethic to maintain a cache.

If 2] is the reason -- they haven't the responsibility ethic to maintain a cache.

 

Take your pick.

 

I do agree with you, about suggesting the coordinates are off -- Not a problem. The problem is when a CO decides to rely on others' readings. It is their responsibility to obtain the best GPS coordinates possible (as per the guidelines), not let others do it for them.

If they cannot properly maintain it... they shouldn't place it. Sort of akin to: "If you can't do the time, don't do the crime."

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So...has anyone successfully placed a cache with their Iphone? I'm not getting a GPS anytime soon. I want to place a cache soon as I near my 100th find.

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So...has anyone successfully placed a cache with their Iphone? I'm not getting a GPS anytime soon. I want to place a cache soon as I near my 100th find.

 

Yes. My very first hide was placed with an iPhone. Never had a complaint about the coordinates. The important thing is to get several readings (preferably on a couple of different days, to compensate for slight variations in the satellite positions) and calculate the average.

 

There's a free app called Perfect Mark that will do the mathy stuff for you.

 

It used to be frowned upon to get coordinates with a smartphone. The early ones didn't have an actual GPS chip, but pretty much all the newer ones do. Just take your time getting your coordinates, then test them by navigating to the cache from a couple of different directions and see how close you get. If your coordinates get you within 10-15 feet or so you should be good to go.

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There's a free app called Perfect Mark that will do the mathy stuff for you.

 

 

Thanks! I'll check it out :)

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Even though a smart phone says it has GPS, that does not mean much.

Many smart phones do not have a true GPS chip and reciever.

These phones get thier GPS data from cell tower triangulation. I have seen mine show up to 200 feet

away from where I am standing.

 

Actually these days many do have a Gps chip. Most of the time it is a part of the radio chip that also includes the FM radio reciever and another reciever as well. On top of this they also use comms towers to triangulate and if you are in an urban setting they can use wifi to place themselves.

 

Biggest issue is the crappy antennas phones have which accounts for most of the issues.

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Even though a smart phone says it has GPS, that does not mean much.

Many smart phones do not have a true GPS chip and reciever.

These phones get thier GPS data from cell tower triangulation. I have seen mine show up to 200 feet

away from where I am standing.

 

Actually these days many do have a Gps chip. Most of the time it is a part of the radio chip that also includes the FM radio reciever and another reciever as well. On top of this they also use comms towers to triangulate and if you are in an urban setting they can use wifi to place themselves.

 

Biggest issue is the crappy antennas phones have which accounts for most of the issues.

I will stand by my statement about Smart phones and GPS.

 

I do understand that the Iphone does have this chip. But many in the Android operating system do not.

A good way to prove it is to take your phone way out off the grid and see if you have GPS reading.

The phones are getting better but there are still many that go the cheap route and use cell towers.

Bottom line is to read the data sheet for your phone and see if it is true GPS or not.

I know that mine is not true GPS.

But I would still rather use a stand alone GPS over a phone GPS.

The battery life is much better on a GPS than a phone. and you can change out the batteries.

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Perfect mark isn't in the App Store...any other suggestions?

 

Hmmm....so it isn't. I'll have to stop recommending that one.

 

Just search for Waypoint averaging or something along those lines.

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Perfect mark isn't in the App Store...any other suggestions?

 

Hmmm....so it isn't. I'll have to stop recommending that one.

 

Just search for Waypoint averaging or something along those lines.

 

I promise it was there last week but it cost a buck! I don't know why I didn't grab it!

I found one called GPS averaging...seems to do the job. How many measures do I need?

 

(Also, to those saying just get a GPS, I wish I could! It's not in the cards right now. Maybe someday!)

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Perfect mark isn't in the App Store...any other suggestions?

 

Hmmm....so it isn't. I'll have to stop recommending that one.

 

Just search for Waypoint averaging or something along those lines.

 

I promise it was there last week but it cost a buck! I don't know why I didn't grab it!

I found one called GPS averaging...seems to do the job. How many measures do I need?

 

(Also, to those saying just get a GPS, I wish I could! It's not in the cards right now. Maybe someday!)

 

Short answer, the more the better. I'm not familiar with the app in question, but in general terms, for each individual reading, the longer the sample time the better that reading will be, and the more readings you get the better your coordinates will be.

 

It is also recommended to get readings on two or three different days, to allow for slight variations in the satellite coverage. Just add more samples to your waypoint.

 

What I'll usually do is take one set of readings the first time I visit the site to scout out where I want to place my cache, stop by another day to get a second set, then grab a third set on my final visit to actually place the cache. Then I'll go home and edit whatever preliminary coordinates I put on the cache page to my "final" coordinates, before I submit it for publication.

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I will stand by my statement about Smart phones and GPS.

 

I do understand that the Iphone does have this chip. But many in the Android operating system do not.

Are you sure about that? Because (real) GPS functionality has been required since at least Android 1.6 (Donut). Actually, I expect it's always been required. It was even in the beta-test phone I used while working at Google. But Donut was the earliest spec I found with a quick search. (Assisted GPS is recommended, but optional.)

 

A good way to prove it is to take your phone way out off the grid and see if you have GPS reading.
Check. Every one of my Android phones has had a real GPS system, and has been able to get a GPS reading even when I had no cell signal, or when it was in Airplane Mode.

 

Maybe you're thinking about devices other than iPhone or Android. Except the iPhone 3 and earlier, of course. A friend has an iPhone 3 and yeah, its location triangulation is terrible for geocaching.

 

Or maybe you've seen Android devices with GPS functionality disabled. My current phone has a "health check" app that tells me to turn off GPS to conserve battery. But even with GPS enabled, I usually don't have problems with battery life unless I'm actually using the GPS. The exception is that occasionally a GPS-using app won't exit cleanly, and the GPS antenna will stay on. If I don't notice the "using GPS" icon on the status bar, then my battery is dead within a couple hours.

 

But I digress...

 

But I would still rather use a stand alone GPS over a phone GPS.

The battery life is much better on a GPS than a phone. and you can change out the batteries.

For me, it depends on what kind of geocaching I'm doing. For a quick cache on the way home from work (or whatever), my phone is just so much more convenient. For an InterCache or a Wherigo, my phone is the only way I can do them.

 

But yeah, I'm going to take my handheld GPS unit on a geocaching hike longer than a couple hours, or on a geocaching boat trip, or on a longer camping trip where I geocache occasionally, or on a hike in a redwood forest, or on geocaching trips like that.

 

[edit: greengrocer's apostrophe]

Edited by niraD

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We use Android phones and dowloaded an average gps app. We have found that the walk away and come back to gz seems betternthan the app to average. Have also found that asnstated above coming diffent days if you can really seems to narrow the average tight. Even coming back and getting more averages several hours later helps. Our problem is dense tree coverage, can never seem to get very acurate with our phones.

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Even though a smart phone says it has GPS, that does not mean much.

Many smart phones do not have a true GPS chip and reciever.

These phones get thier GPS data from cell tower triangulation. I have seen mine show up to 200 feet

away from where I am standing. A true GPS enabled smart phone can get GPS signal even when not

in cell tower area. I use a Delorme PN60, I have gotten +/- 5 feet. Many who find my hides

say they were right on top of it with these coords. But coords do tend to move over time.

I have seen some move by 40 feet over the past year after placement.

Some have been mine some have been others....

Try like others have said average your coords, but I would recomend a GPS.

Battery life would be better and accuracy better. Plus a GPS has an average function, I take 40 to 100 hits

to get good numbers. Have fun.

What smart phones are you talking about. The last phone to not have a GPS was made what, 10 years ago. That said, not all phones are created equal. The real trick is to get to know your phone; it's strenghts and weeknesses. Static Navigation can really be a killer. It is designed to make use while driving nicer, but it will kill you when geocaching. Also, like you mentioned, if the GPS hasn't locked in yet, it will use cell tower and wifi triangulation. That is definatly not accuriate and should never be used.

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