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The Sapsuckers

Geocaching with no cell service

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Hi,

 

I'll be vacationing in the Adirondacks next week and would love to find some geocaches. Many of the places I will be won't have cell service and all I have is my iPhone. I see things like pocket queries and offline lists, but don't have a clue. Can someone please help me out?

 

Thanks,

Mike

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Buy a GPS?

 

Are you seriously a moderator?? No other advice you can offer a newbie geocacher except a smart a** comment? We'll done.

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Buy a GPS?

 

Fantastic response. Thanks, really appreciate it. Anyone else?

 

Would have been my suggestion too. If your cell phone won't work there, get something that will work: Like a GPSr! Or go geocaching somewhere else. Duh!

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Hi,

 

I'll be vacationing in the Adirondacks next week and would love to find some geocaches. Many of the places I will be won't have cell service and all I have is my iPhone. I see things like pocket queries and offline lists, but don't have a clue. Can someone please help me out?

 

Thanks,

Mike

 

sorry Mike i have zero experience with caching on ios. if you had an Android i would be able to guide you through the list of applications I'm very familiar with, and have you going in less than ten minutes.

 

here is a brief summary of what you want to have for offline caching:

1an application (sorry, i know this is obvious) that allows for offline caching , the official gc apps aren't very popular lately.

2 offline maps.... for the entire state you plan to visit. vector maps are tiny, around 100mb per state.

3 caches for the area you plan to visit (sorry i know this is obvious again)

4 USB battery to charge the phone in between caches without having to plug into the cars adapter.

5 drop and or waterproof case.

 

if there is any chance you had an old Android laying around, you could install locus with its geocaching tools and download everything in five minutes.

 

sorry i can't help more than that, the ios exposure I've had amounts to sending a text twice, in five years.

 

I'm sure several of the good people here can get you going there right direction.

 

make sure to test offline a few times in your neighborhood to be familiar with the app.

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While my answer may have been short, I was actually serious - not trying to be a jerk.

 

Geocaching was built on the premise that the GPS signal was world-wide and any GPS device could catch the signal with keying in coordinates. The unit that I used for the first few years didn't have a data cable. I read the cache page on the website, and figured out which caches I would search for. Then I manually keyed in the coordinates by hand to the GPS, and followed the arrow.

  • No pocket queries.
  • No data cable.
  • No bookmark lists.
  • No ignore lists.
  • No iPhone App.
  • No cellular service.

 

GPS units are surprisingly cheap in comparison to most cellular data plans. Cabela's has a Garmin with "Enhanced geocaching features" for $109.

 

If you're heading to an area with no cellular service, I still think buying a simple inexpensive GPS is the best bet as a solution to your question.

Edited by Markwell

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...I read the cache page on the website, and figured out which caches I would search for. Then I manually keyed in the coordinates by hand to the GPS, and followed the arrow.

- snip -

If you're heading to an area with no cellular service, I still think buying a simple inexpensive GPS is the best bet as a solution to your question.

+1

Dated, I know... But I still do that today.

Find caches I'll do. Enter 'em in the GPSr (most times manually). Head out. :)

 

Had phone apps since blackberry and Trimble.

Trimble dying out, and the other 2/3rds went to iOS.

Saw the writing early, and I canned Windows for Android.

- But along with much of our Northern area's dead spots, phone battery life and fragility were issues, and we really do find it simpler to cache with the GPSrs still today.

We save the phones for outskirts of towns. :D

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I would have said the same thing. A GPS is cheap compared to cell phones and data plans. There is no reason to get a top of the line GPS. As stated earlier, a good GPS can be had for about $100, which will be much more durable than a cell phone, tracks the sats better, uses easily replaceable AA batteries in most cases, is water proof, and has absolutely no need for a cell signal.

 

I have a lot of GPSs from over the years, and I always got them cheap or on sale. While I use my phone for spur of the moment caching, when I go to the Adirondacks next month I'll just have my Garmin with me, fully loaded with all the caches in the park.

 

DlnrVPr.jpg

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Hi,

 

I'll be vacationing in the Adirondacks next week and would love to find some geocaches. Many of the places I will be won't have cell service and all I have is my iPhone. I see things like pocket queries and offline lists, but don't have a clue. Can someone please help me out?

 

Thanks,

Mike

 

Help center → Premium Membership

2. Pocket Queries

http://support.Groundspeak.com/index.php?pg=kb.chapter&id=28

 

Help Center → Apps

1. iPhone Geocaching® app

http://support.Groundspeak.com/index.php?pg=kb.chapter&id=102

 

1.12. How Do I Save Geocache Lists for Offline Use?

http://support.Groundspeak.com/index.php?pg=kb.page&id=784

 

3. Geocaching Classic iPhone App

http://support.Groundspeak.com/index.php?pg=kb.chapter&id=25

 

3.13. How do I Create/Delete an Offline Lists?

http://support.Groundspeak.com/index.php?pg=kb.page&id=430

 

3.20. How Do I Use Pocket Queries?

http://support.Groundspeak.com/index.php?pg=kb.page&id=280

 

 

B.

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Buy a GPS?

 

Are you seriously a moderator?? No other advice you can offer a newbie geocacher except a smart a** comment? We'll done.

 

Are you seriously offended by an answer that would solve your problem?

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Hi,

 

I'll be vacationing in the Adirondacks next week and would love to find some geocaches. Many of the places I will be won't have cell service and all I have is my iPhone. I see things like pocket queries and offline lists, but don't have a clue. Can someone please help me out?

 

Thanks,

Mike

Before even setting up a lot of Apps and Pocket Queries, I'd suggest selecting a few choice caches, ones that you're likely to hunt on the trip. Save the info, or print the cache pages, whatever. Also load the App “Commander Compass” (the free trial may do), which allows you to type coords and then get bearing and distance. If all else fails, having that simple setup will ensure you can get at least a few caches. If I had a limited time to get a basic offline caching plan going, that's what I might try.

 

There are several iPhone Apps that are great for Geocaching online, with a data subscription. They're fine for that. Once you go off-grid, a handheld GPSr becomes the perfect tool for Geocaching. Trying to shoehorn an iPhone into being an offline Geocaching device, and all in less than a week, that's a tall order.

 

You need to provide more info. Will you be at any Hotspots on the trip, and when? Also, will you be in places with data coverage at times? Are there a lot of caches where you're going? Are they all in within a 100-mile radius, or will you cover more area? If so, what's the route? Can you borrow an android phone to use its Geocaching Apps? Can you borrow a handheld GPSr? Those are for starters, and the plan will change dramatically depending on the answers.

 

I've tried a whole lot of ideas for the iPhone. I have a perfectly good Garmin Oregon, so I have my wifi-only iPhone specifically for its ability to load new data online. For offline use, it looks like there will need to be more than one App, and they tend to not talk to each other. I have Gaia GPS, which has a persistent map, and I've loaded a couple of state maps on it. It has many trails, and it saves waypoints and GPX info (pocket queries) and can guide you to any point, but it doesn't display much in the way of a cache description. I have Looking For Cache Pro, Cachly, Geosphere, and the new and old Official Geocaching Apps, all of which can save a pre-loaded Pocket Query. None of them has persistent maps, that is they aren't permanently saved entire areas to overlay caches onto, so you may arrive at a distant location, and surprise! No map. And even when you followed the special steps that SHOULD cause the map tiles to be there, nope, no map. So if you have Gaia GPS and a map pre-loaded (just for its mapping ability), you then can use most any App that loads PQs to get a compass for bearing and distance, even if they can't show a map. Geosphere might do. But for any such plan to work, you'd need to get up to speed on Pocket Queries, pronto.

 

I also have Pocket Earth, and while it has persistent maps (and trails), it forgets all the waypoints. I think that's a feature, not a bug :anicute:. So I guess, load a PQ in Pocket Earth, but don't close it. Something like that.

 

Android has a killer App, "Locus Maps Pro" that I've loaded a couple of states into (I'm trying to decide iPhone vs. Android by using each). Locus is a great mapping App, and has nice Geocaching features. It's complicated. But it can work fully offline for Geocaching, about as close to being a handheld GPSr as Apps get. That's why I asked about Android.

Edited by kunarion

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I do most of my geocaching with my Android phone. I do most of my geocaching in areas with no cell service with my Android phone. There are reasons why I sometimes use a handheld GPSr, but a lack of cell service isn't one of them.

 

The main difference a lack of cell service makes is that I have to load data (cache data, and maybe map data) in advance, when I have cell service or a wifi connection. I also switch to "airplane mode", which turns off the cell/data antennas, but leaves the GPS antenna on. That keeps the phone from wasting battery power trying to contact distant cell towers that it won't be able to connect to.

 

Unfortunately, I can't suggest any particular iPhone app, because I've never used one. But as you can see from what others wrote, there are iPhone apps that work well without cell service. Just be sure to work out the details of loading data in advance, and make sure you can use the app successfully without cell service.

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Hi,

 

I'll be vacationing in the Adirondacks next week and would love to find some geocaches. Many of the places I will be won't have cell service and all I have is my iPhone. I see things like pocket queries and offline lists, but don't have a clue. Can someone please help me out?

 

Thanks,

Mike

 

Where are you going in the Adirondacks? I may be able to offer some suggestions for caches. I've been looking to get this one for a decade (https://coord.info/GCE152) as it's one of the few remaining travelling caches, but it's never where I am at the same time.

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My Iphone 5S with the paid App works fine without cell coverage.

 

That app unfortunately does not exist anymore.

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My Iphone 5S with the paid App works fine without cell coverage.

 

That app unfortunately does not exist anymore.

 

+1

And to add a little to that...

Sooner or later, the "classic" app will no longer function for those who have it. :)

As per the Help Center...

"On March 23, 2016, the Geocaching Classic app will no longer be available to purchase or download in the Apple or Google Play stores. For those who currently have the app, it will continue to be supported through September 2016. Then, anyone contacting us for support will be directed to the new Geocaching® app. We'll stop doing bug fixes or other work on the Classic app so that we can focus our full attention on the new Geocaching® app.

 

The Classic app will have access to Geocaching functionality through September 2016. However, updates to your phone may cause the app's features to stop working. We can't guarantee the Classic app will work if you update your device after September 2016. We will keep you updated in case anything changes along the way."

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I would have said the same thing. A GPS is cheap compared to cell phones and data plans. There is no reason to get a top of the line GPS. As stated earlier, a good GPS can be had for about $100, which will be much more durable than a cell phone, tracks the sats better, uses easily replaceable AA batteries in most cases, is water proof, and has absolutely no need for a cell signal.

 

I have a lot of GPSs from over the years, and I always got them cheap or on sale. While I use my phone for spur of the moment caching, when I go to the Adirondacks next month I'll just have my Garmin with me, fully loaded with all the caches in the park.

 

DlnrVPr.jpg

 

The problem is, not many stores have those anymore. Many have been shutdown too.

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I downloaded the classic app this morning on to my old IPhone 4, works no problem. Had the app on my 5S for over a year.

 

I will make sure that I don't update the 4S

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Offline iPhone caching can be done technically with as little as Google Maps.

 

Really, a handheld GPSr is an offline device, so all you need is to have what you need for caching for use offline on your phone (just like a GPSr). Cell signal isn't required for caching, so it's just a matter of how good your device's GPS reception is that distinguishes it fundamentally from a handheld.

 

So that said, Google Maps automatically caches map tiles. At the very least, if you know where you're going, you can scroll around the area at the most important zoom levels to store those tiles locally, though temporarily and up to a maximum memory cache size. You can test it by switching to Airplane mode to find out which tiles have been stored locally for use offline. To navigate, you can manually enter the coordinates into the entry field, like this: loc:N42 12.345 W85 12.345 - that will put a pin on your target.

 

Above, that is the absolute minimum in order to cache offline. Not very feature rich or optimal for a good geocaching experience, but it's doable that simplistically.

 

There are apps that will actually explicitly download map regions and tiles at various degrees (not a temporary memoty cache) for offline use. And of course numerous geocaching apps that should work without a data signal. Again if you're unsure you can test any app by entering airplane mode and trying out caching in your local area. GPS reception on iPhone will continue to work in Airplane mode, no need for data.

 

Are you seriously offended by an answer that would solve your problem?

The OP was asking for help given the context of having an iPhone. Almost guaranteed "buying a GPS" was not an unknown "solution", so merely stating "buy a gps" did indeed come across quite dismissive of the actual problem and request for actual help. Given the OP has an iPhone, are there tips for geocaching offline? Of course there are! "Buy a GPS" smacks of the device wars, not legitimately helpful guidance.

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Does anyone know if the IPhone 4 is less GPS acurate than a 5S

 

Yes.

:)

 

I started with the 3GS in 2009, upgraded to 4S, 5S, and am now at 6S Plus. Every model has slightly improved, usually in speed though, but that's the processor effect on apps. For accuracy, I've noticed a discernable improvement in general GPS capability.

 

4 and 5S both have a GPS chip and the Assisted GPS feature. The 4S and up gained GLONASS support. There have been a few GPS hardware improvements between the iPhone 4 and iPhone 5S (chipset updates) and the processor and other hardware (and OS) improvements make the 5S certainly better at GPS use than the 4.

Edited by thebruce0

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Thanks for a great reply. I have been using a Duel XGPS antenna which boosts the signal. Have you had any experience with these gadgets ?

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Never used an external accessory to boost GPS. Closest I'm at for getting an accessory is one that supports Chirp :P

 

Which one do you have? This, or this?

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I would have said the same thing. A GPS is cheap compared to cell phones and data plans. There is no reason to get a top of the line GPS. As stated earlier, a good GPS can be had for about $100, which will be much more durable than a cell phone, tracks the sats better, uses easily replaceable AA batteries in most cases, is water proof, and has absolutely no need for a cell signal.

 

I have a lot of GPSs from over the years, and I always got them cheap or on sale. While I use my phone for spur of the moment caching, when I go to the Adirondacks next month I'll just have my Garmin with me, fully loaded with all the caches in the park.

 

DlnrVPr.jpg

 

The problem is, not many stores have those anymore. Many have been shutdown too.

 

There are tons of online stores where one can buy a handheld GPS. Bigbox outdoor gear stores like Cabela's, Bass Pro Shop, and others still sell them.

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Update!

 

Thanks to everyone who responded. The purpose of this thread was to ask if I could geocache with just my iPhone. I was planning a week in the Adirondacks and was definitely going to be in places without cell service. I ended up buying a Garmin Etrex 20. I also created a few offline lists on my iPhone. A week later and the Garmin is still in the box. My iPhone worked awesome. I switched it into airplane mode when I didn't have cell service and everything worked incredibly well! So to answer my initial question, yes, you can geocache with your iPhone with no service.

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I also created a few offline lists on my iPhone.

Was this the Official Free Geocaching App? It can load map tiles when loading Pocket Queries, but my iPhone 5 takes so long to do that (on WiFi), I haven't tested it with distant caching areas. For most Apps, when I think I loaded the map tiles, when the map looks good and all seems fine, there's no map when I arrive. On one the map was oh-so-close to the cache area. I could almost use it. :anibad:

Edited by kunarion

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I also created a few offline lists on my iPhone.

Was this the Official Free Geocaching App? It can load map tiles when loading Pocket Queries, but my iPhone 5 takes so long to do that (on WiFi), I haven't tested it with distant caching areas. For most Apps, when I think I loaded the map tiles, when the map looks good and all seems fine, there's no map when I arrive. On one the map was oh-so-close to the cache area. I could almost use it. :anibad:

 

I set my wife up with "Looking4Cache" on her iPhone, based on a few offline features that her current app did not have, plus a friend's review. The offline map feature in L4C lets you download an entire state OSM map at once. So for a recent road trip, it only took a few minutes ahead of time to fetch the entire state maps of Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota. No panning, scrolling or messing with tiles downloads. And they are there until you delete them. She set her phone in Airplane mode any time we were in the preserves/boonies, but still entered her field notes while hiking. When we would get back to a decent reception area (or on WiFi) it would upload all the saved field notes at once.

 

You can try the basic app for free, but you have to buy it in order to 'switch on' the offline map and GPX PQ import/export features. She's very happy with it.

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I also created a few offline lists on my iPhone.

Was this the Official Free Geocaching App? It can load map tiles when loading Pocket Queries, but my iPhone 5 takes so long to do that (on WiFi), I haven't tested it with distant caching areas. For most Apps, when I think I loaded the map tiles, when the map looks good and all seems fine, there's no map when I arrive. On one the map was oh-so-close to the cache area. I could almost use it. :anibad:

 

I set my wife up with "Looking4Cache" on her iPhone, based on a few offline features that her current app did not have, plus a friend's review. The offline map feature in L4C lets you download an entire state OSM map at once. So for a recent road trip, it only took a few minutes ahead of time to fetch the entire state maps of Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota. No panning, scrolling or messing with tiles downloads. And they are there until you delete them. She set her phone in Airplane mode any time we were in the preserves/boonies, but still entered her field notes while hiking. When we would get back to a decent reception area (or on WiFi) it would upload all the saved field notes at once.

 

You can try the basic app for free, but you have to buy it in order to 'switch on' the offline map and GPX PQ import/export features. She's very happy with it.

I am starting to get the hang of Looking4Cache. Some issues were, it opens the map in the area of Cartersville, while I'm standing 100 miles south of there. It had a "Search Icon" near the middle of the map screen (turns out, that's a feature, not a bug, and there's a somewhat unintuitive process to remove the thing). But I like being able to have a persistent map, and not discovering upon arrival that some "map tiles" somehow didn't get loaded. So I'll probably end up on their Forum (if any) and try to get some questions answered. Due to being "in Cartersville" when I'm not there, I've been using L4C mainly as a backup cache database while I cache with my Garmin GPSr. Otherwise, it's one of the best iPhone Apps that work completely offline.

Edited by kunarion

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I am starting to get the hang of Looking4Cache. Some issues were, it opens the map in the area of Cartersville, while I'm standing 100 miles south of there. It had a "Search Icon" near the middle of the map screen (turns out, that's a feature, not a bug, and there's a somewhat unintuitive process to remove the thing). But I like being able to have a persistent map, and not discovering upon arrival that some "map tiles" somehow didn't get loaded. So I'll probably end up on their Forum (if any) and try to get some questions answered. Due to being "in Cartersville" when I'm not there, I've been using L4C mainly as a backup cache database while I cache with my Garmin GPSr. Otherwise, it's one of the best iPhone Apps that work completely offline.

 

I seem to recall that just opening the map opens at the last place it was opened? Then she taps the bulls-eye (or is it the cross-hair) to center on the current position. I'm pretty sure if she selects Navigate To (Set Target?) on a cache or waypoint, it opens the map centered on the current position. With any software, there's a learning curve, and mine is a little harder because I'm an Android guy and I have to also remember the iOS UI conventions.

 

There is a support forum and I got a few answers from there, myself. I use an Android app myself, with a Garmin doing 99% of the navigating. When we go caching, I do all the setup for both of us. Generate a PQ, download to the Garmin and upload it to Dropbox. On both of our phones, we download the GPX from Dropbox into our respective phone apps. That way, all three devices are working off the same GPX file. I think that's pretty slick.

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On both of our phones, we download the GPX from Dropbox into our respective phone apps. That way, all three devices are working off the same GPX file. I think that's pretty slick.

Yes, that's a great way to do that! I have Locus Maps Pro on Android (now testing an old beat-up Casio G'zOne as a waterproof alternative to my tablet), and I like that App (that phone, not so much). But I had a wild hair to try a used iPhone due to owning Apps that would be great for Geocaching, especially photography Apps. But I'm thinking, I'd probably go for a more modern Android phone and Locus Maps Pro, and other good Apps.

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On both of our phones, we download the GPX from Dropbox into our respective phone apps. That way, all three devices are working off the same GPX file. I think that's pretty slick.

Yes, that's a great way to do that! I have Locus Maps Pro on Android (now testing an old beat-up Casio G'zOne as a waterproof alternative to my tablet), and I like that App (that phone, not so much). But I had a wild hair to try a used iPhone due to owning Apps that would be great for Geocaching, especially photography Apps. But I'm thinking, I'd probably go for a more modern Android phone and Locus Maps Pro, and other good Apps.

 

sync your /sdcard/locus/data/database across your devices and it's all the same.... from tracks to waypoints to caches.

 

foldersync works really well at this.

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