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Rocks in my Socks

Help caching with no cell reception

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Hi cachers! I have not yet invested in a GPS and always use the Geocaching app on my cell phone when it comes to locating caches. I have discovered that a lot of times, when we get to a location, I don't get reception and we are all very disappointed that we cannot look for anything. Is there a way to save my searches or do something so that we can still search for caches when I have no cell reception?

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Which app ate you using? I'm not 100% on how the intro app works but the paid app allows you to search for caches before you head out and save them for offline use in the field.

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Is there a way to save my searches or do something so that we can still search for caches when I have no cell reception?

There are "offline" instructions here, with pictures. It works with the paid App (iPhone and Android). It optionally saves map tiles at the chosen caches. If you make Pocket Queries, you can save a huge list all at once, just in case.

Edited by kunarion

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I actually find that my iPhone is generally more accurate in airplane mode. I almost always turn the data/cell off when I get to a cache after I have it downloaded to my phone.

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I can't find a way to save caches for offline use in the free intro app. You definitely can do it in the &10 Pro app. However, the future of the paid app is uncertain as Groundspeak seems to be putting all it's chips on the intro app....presumably the free app will eventually offer this feature before the paid app goes the way of the dodo.

 

So for now, if you want to save caches for offline use, buying the $10 Pro app is a cheaper option than buying a new GPS.

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So for now, if you want to save caches for offline use, buying the $10 Pro app is a cheaper option than buying a new GPS.
Another option would be one of the third-party API partner apps:

http://www.geocaching.com/mobile/partners/

 

I use one myself, but for Android. I am not familiar with the iPhone apps.

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Is there a way to save my searches or do something so that we can still search for caches when I have no cell reception?

There are "offline" instructions here, with pictures. It works with the paid App (iPhone and Android).

 

The described process does not, in fact, you know, actually work.

 

I discovered this fact to my great chagrin when I was in Europe recently and attempted to use the paid app to save some caches offline for use with no cell service. It simply would not save more than one offline list. Period. I did manage to save one PQ but the caches would show up on the map centered round the PQ center, not my position, and it would only show about 20, extending less than a mile. The paid app has to be the worst Android software I have ever had the mispleasure of using.

Edited by fizzymagic

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Is there a way to save my searches or do something so that we can still search for caches when I have no cell reception?

There are "offline" instructions here, with pictures. It works with the paid App (iPhone and Android).

 

The described process does not, in fact, you know, actually work.

 

I discovered this fact to my great chagrin when I was in Europe recently and attempted to use the paid app to save some caches offline for use with no cell service. It simply would not save more than one offline list. Period. I did manage to save one PQ but the caches would show up on the map centered round the PQ center, not my position, and it would only show about 20, extending less than a mile. The paid app has to be the worst Android software I have ever had the mispleasure of using.

On my Samsung Tablet, I have two saved "offline lists", and the current position on the map and number of caches are correct. There's a hardware issue where the screen visibility washes out in sunlight. Maybe I could adjust the with "adaptive brightness", but it's not really an ideal hiking device anyway.

 

One issue is, most of the Apps assume I'm online unless I tell the App otherwise. So I keep having to wait for a time-out when some online thing tries to load. I have the free Demo of "GDAK" which works gracefully offline, and I was able to load offline road maps of two states. It's sort of an App version of my hiking GPSr. Sort of.

 

For an emergency FTF, I have an App that finds and loads the most recently activated cache info, and allows me to go find it offline. Unlike the other two (or three if you count the Official Apps twice), it's fast and convenient to load just one cache and go. But I can't say what that App is. :ph34r:

 

If I was as rich as everybody else with smartphone & data plans, I'd still use the Garmin hiking GPS to save the phone battery, and use the Official App when phone when service was available, when I needed the most up-to-date info. OK, actually a "phone" screen seems too tiny to be useful for many Geocaching functions. Maybe I'd use the phone & App for finding the cache in the appropriate circumstances, and a tethered tablet to do web & email.

Edited by kunarion

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We use a 3rd-party app c:geo on our Androids. You can look up caches in advance, then store them on your phone. Free, but donations requested and deserved.

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We use a 3rd-party app c:geo on our Androids. You can look up caches in advance, then store them on your phone. Free, but donations requested and deserved.

 

And not an approved partner..:ph34r:

 

Most all the available apps will allow for saving caches for off-line use.

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I am a very frugal person in all respects. I only geocache occasionally and my preferred "APP" for maintain a list of caches is called "pen and paper". Prior to leaving I go to the website and locate the caches that I am interested in and jot down the pertinent info. I then go on the search. Afterward I com back and log the info. The money I dont spend on other apps can be used to buy lunch!

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On my droid phone, even if I have cell reception. I locate the cache on my phone app, then immediately turn my mobile data/signal off and run my entire hunt that way for each cache. Why? Because even if I have cell signal, I'd be eating up my mobile data which sucks so I simply find caches with mobile data turned off. As long as you "start" with the mobile data/signal turned on, even if you then turn it off once located on app, the 'you are here' dot will follow you regardless. As you will find out, there are some cache locations that, even WITH cell signal/data, will bounce your dot all over the place even when standing still. Not much you can do about that frustration, but as for following the path to the majority of caches, you can do it with cell signal/data on a regular basis. Just use your signal/data to start your hunt before you leave cell coverage. Other than that, only thing I can think of is a good old time compass and count feet but you could end up about 20-50 feet off from the actual location unless you are really used to the phone gps accurate rate lol.

 

Miss C

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"save for offline use" as a term/concept still just kind of irks me. It presumes the app is essentially always in "online" mode, so offline is the exception. I've always preferring Geosphere's method of being an offline app - that is, everything you do is stored in its local database - and when the API was added as a feature, you now have two tabs geared towards online (API) and offline (entirely local) use; even though everything you do via API is still stored automatically for offline. No temporary caching in memory of cache data, no uncertainty of what will disappear or be inaccessible if your phone goes into airplane or loses cell reception (other than map widgets' tiles potentially not loading, which is outside the app's control). If you download caches that aren't already in the local database, they're categorized into a system group; that's about as temporary as it gets.

 

The "online" tab just means when you search, you'll always be requesting recent data via API from Groundspeak. But once you download the results, they're stored in the local database. Just feels like a simpler concept, being 'offline' and making use of online features. Especially with the way people seem to be reporting use of the "offline lists" and whatnot in the official app and others.

 

Alas, you use best what your own brain grasps best :)

 

To the OP, if the official app is "always online" (which it seems), then having no cell reception seems to entirely disable the app, even with stuff saved for offline use. At least on iOS, not sure about Android. But it doesn't sound like the Android experience is much better =/

 

ETA: Whoah, just noticed this was a revived thread from mid last year. jeepers :laughing:

Edited by thebruce0

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To the OP, if the official app is "always online" (which it seems), then having no cell reception seems to entirely disable the app, even with stuff saved for offline use. At least on iOS, not sure about Android. But it doesn't sound like the Android experience is much better =/

 

I have the official app on a Samsung S5 active (Android). After creating PQs for a couple of places where I was traveling I "saved them of offline" use. Then , when I was at those locations I was able to see those caches on a basic basemap and navigate to them, even when the phone was in airplane mode. The app was certainly not disabled.

 

 

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To the OP, if the official app is "always online" (which it seems), then having no cell reception seems to entirely disable the app, even with stuff saved for offline use. At least on iOS, not sure about Android. But it doesn't sound like the Android experience is much better =/

I have the official app on a Samsung S5 active (Android). After creating PQs for a couple of places where I was traveling I "saved them of offline" use. Then , when I was at those locations I was able to see those caches on a basic basemap and navigate to them, even when the phone was in airplane mode. The app was certainly not disabled.

huh, ok maybe that's the Android version. There've been a number of comments from people using the official iOS app and being unable to use the app when there's no data reception. I haven't tried myself, just repeating what I've read. Not sure if they found a way around it either. I don't recall seeing too much detail about what they meant by "not working" either. Just maps not loading? Or the app being entirely non-functional? (as in perhaps trying to log in, being unable, and not continuing) Obviously a search online won't work.

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To the OP, if the official app is "always online" (which it seems), then having no cell reception seems to entirely disable the app, even with stuff saved for offline use. At least on iOS, not sure about Android. But it doesn't sound like the Android experience is much better =/

I have the official app on a Samsung S5 active (Android). After creating PQs for a couple of places where I was traveling I "saved them of offline" use. Then , when I was at those locations I was able to see those caches on a basic basemap and navigate to them, even when the phone was in airplane mode. The app was certainly not disabled.

huh, ok maybe that's the Android version. There've been a number of comments from people using the official iOS app and being unable to use the app when there's no data reception. I haven't tried myself, just repeating what I've read. Not sure if they found a way around it either. I don't recall seeing too much detail about what they meant by "not working" either. Just maps not loading? Or the app being entirely non-functional? (as in perhaps trying to log in, being unable, and not continuing) Obviously a search online won't work.

 

I don't have an iOS device any more but one of the possible problems may be that the location services are configured to use Cell+Wifi+GPS to get a initial fix and determine the location. The device may be trying to get a fix using cell data and without it, it may not "automatically" switch to just using the GPS. Configuring it so that it *only* tries to use the internal GPS may take longer to obtain the initial fix but at least it would not be trying to use Cell+Wifi data that is not available at the time.

 

 

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To the OP, if the official app is "always online" (which it seems), then having no cell reception seems to entirely disable the app, even with stuff saved for offline use. At least on iOS, not sure about Android. But it doesn't sound like the Android experience is much better =/

I have the official app on a Samsung S5 active (Android). After creating PQs for a couple of places where I was traveling I "saved them of offline" use. Then , when I was at those locations I was able to see those caches on a basic basemap and navigate to them, even when the phone was in airplane mode. The app was certainly not disabled.

huh, ok maybe that's the Android version. There've been a number of comments from people using the official iOS app and being unable to use the app when there's no data reception. I haven't tried myself, just repeating what I've read. Not sure if they found a way around it either. I don't recall seeing too much detail about what they meant by "not working" either. Just maps not loading? Or the app being entirely non-functional? (as in perhaps trying to log in, being unable, and not continuing) Obviously a search online won't work.

 

the biggest problem is not the phones , stand-alones, or applications. instead, it is the user that does not know the difference between

data

GPS

maps

and finally...

which one is actually their issue.

 

"it doesn't work"usually means they have no idea about what actually is the issue, kind of like when"my car broke" is not exactly helpful as a description of events.

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I wish I had the link to the comment. It was in one of the smartphone threads, iirc. And of course, GPS vs Data was noe of the first responses. If I recall they did say they knew the difference, and explained that the app itself would just hang, wouldn't actually get to anything geocaching; stuck as if it were trying to get an update from the server (instead of actually 'working' offline). I don't recall if it was resolved or not, I just recall thinking, glad I use geosphere :)

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To the OP, if the official app is "always online" (which it seems), then having no cell reception seems to entirely disable the app, even with stuff saved for offline use. At least on iOS, not sure about Android. But it doesn't sound like the Android experience is much better =/

I have the official app on a Samsung S5 active (Android). After creating PQs for a couple of places where I was traveling I "saved them of offline" use. Then , when I was at those locations I was able to see those caches on a basic basemap and navigate to them, even when the phone was in airplane mode. The app was certainly not disabled.

huh, ok maybe that's the Android version. There've been a number of comments from people using the official iOS app and being unable to use the app when there's no data reception. I haven't tried myself, just repeating what I've read. Not sure if they found a way around it either. I don't recall seeing too much detail about what they meant by "not working" either. Just maps not loading? Or the app being entirely non-functional? (as in perhaps trying to log in, being unable, and not continuing) Obviously a search online won't work.

 

the biggest problem is not the phones , stand-alones, or applications. instead, it is the user that does not know the difference between

data

GPS

maps

and finally...

which one is actually their issue.

 

"it doesn't work"usually means they have no idea about what actually is the issue, kind of like when"my car broke" is not exactly helpful as a description of events.

 

I definitely know the difference between Data, GPS, maps and the potential impact when access to real time data via cellular data or through a wife connection could cause an issue.

 

What I don't know, because I don't have access to the code, is how any specific application is going to handle is situation when it requests Location information and it doesn't get a response. One might wait 5 minutes, and allow the user to go to a map page or view offline lists even though it doesn't know where the user is located. Another application might wait 3 minutes, and use the last known location for displaying a map (of course, the last known location could be thousands of miles for where the user is now). What I also don't know is if an application requests Location information and the location service is configured such that it should use Cellular Data+Wifi+GPS data, and there *isn't* a cellular or wifi connection (e.g. aGPS is not available), will it keep trying to get a approximate location using cellular data "forever" or will it try for 3 minutes then determine that cell towers are not responding, and just try use the GPS to return a set of lat/long coordinates. The answer that the location services may give could be a set of lat/long coordinates, some sort of messages which indications "I don't know", or it may never respond. Any application which uses location data may behave in a different manner if the answer is "I don't know" or never gets a response.

 

 

 

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To the OP, if the official app is "always online" (which it seems), then having no cell reception seems to entirely disable the app, even with stuff saved for offline use. At least on iOS, not sure about Android. But it doesn't sound like the Android experience is much better =/

I have the official app on a Samsung S5 active (Android). After creating PQs for a couple of places where I was traveling I "saved them of offline" use. Then , when I was at those locations I was able to see those caches on a basic basemap and navigate to them, even when the phone was in airplane mode. The app was certainly not disabled.

huh, ok maybe that's the Android version. There've been a number of comments from people using the official iOS app and being unable to use the app when there's no data reception. I haven't tried myself, just repeating what I've read. Not sure if they found a way around it either. I don't recall seeing too much detail about what they meant by "not working" either. Just maps not loading? Or the app being entirely non-functional? (as in perhaps trying to log in, being unable, and not continuing) Obviously a search online won't work.

 

the biggest problem is not the phones , stand-alones, or applications. instead, it is the user that does not know the difference between

data

GPS

maps

and finally...

which one is actually their issue.

 

"it doesn't work"usually means they have no idea about what actually is the issue, kind of like when"my car broke" is not exactly helpful as a description of events.

 

1 I definitely know the difference between Data, GPS, maps and the potential impact when access to real time data via cellular data or through a wife connection could cause an issue.

 

2 What I don't know, because I don't have access to the code, is how any specific application is going to handle is situation when it requests Location information and it doesn't get a response. One might wait 5 minutes, and allow the user to go to a map page or view offline lists even though it doesn't know where the user is located. Another application might wait 3 minutes, and use the last known location for displaying a map (of course, the last known location could be thousands of miles for where the user is now). What I also don't know is if an application requests Location information and the location service is configured such that it should use Cellular Data+Wifi+GPS data, and there *isn't* a cellular or wifi connection (e.g. aGPS is not available),

 

3 will it keep trying to get a approximate location using cellular data "forever" or will it try for 3 minutes then determine that cell towers are not responding, and just try use the GPS to return a set of lat/long coordinates. The answer that the location services may give could be a set of lat/long coordinates,

4 some sort of messages which indications "I don't know", or it may never respond. Any application which uses location data may behave in a different manner if the answer is "I don't know" or never gets a response.

 

1 of course you do but very few others share your knowledge.

2 app to app, this will change

3 my experience is that the radios are still used, and the app in question determines how often the status is reported to the user. this coincides with higher battery drain seen while using cellular services I remote areas.

4 I think that's generally the 'loading' animation.

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We use a 3rd-party app c:geo on our Androids. You can look up caches in advance, then store them on your phone. Free, but donations requested and deserved.

 

And not an approved partner..:ph34r:

 

Most all the available apps will allow for saving caches for off-line use.

 

Maybe I'm clueless (and hopefully not to far off topic) but isn't anything NOT the groudspeak-R app just an app? If its not the official GS app how can it be "approve" or not?

I use a non-groudspeak app (because I like my app to actually function), I do use it in 'offline mode' (I have no data on the phone) and just assumed all non GS R apps were the same in GS eyes...what does "Approved partner" mean and what difference does it make?

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Maybe I'm clueless (and hopefully not to far off topic) but isn't anything NOT the groudspeak-R app just an app? If its not the official GS app how can it be "approve" or not?

I use a non-groudspeak app (because I like my app to actually function), I do use it in 'offline mode' (I have no data on the phone) and just assumed all non GS R apps were the same in GS eyes...what does "Approved partner" mean and what difference does it make?

There are approved "API Partners":

https://www.geocaching.com/mobile/partners/

 

There's at least one App that scrapes the web site, loading a mass of pages directly and then discarding the parts it doesn't need to create the database. This could create quite a load on the web servers if a lot of people load a lot of pages at once. It's not listed among the approved Apps.

 

According to the Terms Of Use, which you must agree to abide with, in order to use the site,

"You agree not to: i.Use any robot, spider, scraper or other automated means to access our services for any purpose without our express written permission."

 

If you are not using the web-scraping features of a web-scraping App, that won't run afoul of the TOU. Enjoy. More power to ya. But an App that's specifically designed to stick it to Geocaching.com, I won't touch that. It may be free and cool and funky and all anti-establishment, but I tend to be a lot more careful about what Apps I install.

 

Back on topic, for Android, I installed Locus Maps Pro after trying GDAK and a couple of other Apps that supposedly work entirely offline (as in, no pop-up warning that I'm offline all the time, nor having a blank map when I arrive at the cache, etc. :yikes:). It's pretty cool as a backup, or a way to load an emergency cache for FTF, but I much prefer my GPSr for serious cache hunting.

 

For iPhone, I'm still looking. Now I'm testing the good old-fashioned "Geocaching Classic". But it looks more like I'll be using a combination of Pocket Earth (I really need persistent maps, disappearing flakey maps are super annoying), Commander Compass (start a compass directly from any cache page), and for navigation in the field, most any stable App that loads Pocket Queries.

Edited by kunarion

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For iPhone, I'm still looking. Now I'm testing the good old-fashioned "Geocaching Classic". But it looks more like I'll be using a combination of Pocket Earth (I really need persistent maps, disappearing flakey maps are super annoying), Commander Compass (start a compass directly from any cache page), and for navigation in the field, most any stable App that loads Pocket Queries.

 

Geosphere. Even on iOS 9 with a pre-iOS9 interface it's one of if not the most flexible and capable ios geocaching apps. It has a couple of minor interface issues with ios9 update, but IMO it's stillw orth the $8, and if the deve sees people are still buying it it may push him to finish the next major version he promised :)

(no I'm serious, it really is worth the $8, and while it has a slightly longer learning curve because of its flexibility and UI, once you find the groove for your own use, it's huge)

And it has a great, helpful, responsive community forum.

 

(by flexibility I mean it has some hidden settings, a robust database and categorization system, and also easily ties into other specialized apps, such as for road navigation, or alternate map sources beyond the typicaly google/apple, etc)

Edited by thebruce0

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