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canyonlander

GPSMAP 64s questions

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I just bought a GPSMAP 64s and had some questions. I used to have a Vista C and am generally familiar with geocaching, but haven't used it in about 5 years.

What is the best way to get geocaches loaded into my unit? I loaded the Garmin Communicator plug in onto my computer and it seems to verify that the file downloaded properly to my GPSr. However, the geocache doesn't show up as either a waypoint or in the Geocaching page of my unit.

I do see the geocache as having been saved in the GPX directory, but it's not showing up in my unit.

Once I get that to work, then how does the unit put something into the "Geocaching" screen versus just a regular waypoint?

Do I need a premium membership in order to load more than one geocache at a time into my unit?

Is there any wireless way to get geocaches into my GPSr? I kind of thought that's what the Bluetooth connectivity was for, but from reading, it seems that it's mostly for interfacing with a cell phone. Any way to use the Bluetooth connectivity of my PC to load files rather than having to use a USB cable?

Thanks so much for any assistance!

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There is a lot here so I will try to adddress some of the issues.   

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I do see the geocache as having been saved in the GPX directory, but it's not showing up in my unit.

Are the caches far away from you?   If you are further than 150 miles or so away you will have to scroll to that area on the map before caches will list.

Check the filter settings on the geocache page to make sure that caches are not being blocked.

Did you see the caches that were preloaded into the unit?  Although I would delete those caches, if you cannot see them it would point to problems with location or filters rather than how caches are being loaded.

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What is the best way to get geocaches loaded into my unit

That is somewhat individual.  I have always done it manually by saving files to the unit without the communicator - whether individual files using the buttons on the cache page or files containing multiple caches.  Some use third party tools such as GSAK.   I generally export caches directly to my Garmin from the caching app I use from the iPhone.  

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Do I need a premium membership in order to load more than one geocache at a time into my unit?

The short answer is no.  For instance, you can take a list of caches on the website, check them all and download the waypoints. Or you can use a tool such as GSAK that uses the Groundspeak API (geocaching live) and transfer files from there.  Basic members will be limited in how much information will be displayed if you load more than a limited number of  caches. The "light" listing will include basic information, such as the coordinates and terrain or difficulty.   The full information includes the cache description, hints, and logs.   

i have always been a premium member from the day I signed up, but there are many people who cache just fine as a basic member.   In many ways, the basic member features are similar to the type of information that was available to me at the time, back in the old days.  But I'll leave any detailed answers to those with more experience on that end.

 

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Is there any wireless way to get geocaches into my GPSr?

You could use wireless to transfer basic cache information  from one similarly equipped garmin unit to another, so technically the answer is yes.   But for what your question really asks, the answer would be no.   For instance, I use an iPhone caching app to export caches to my garmin, but it has to be hooked up with a usb cable to a small wifi router.  On an android, I would have to use an otg cable.  On a computer, a usb cable.

Edited by geodarts

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10 hours ago, canyonlander said:

What is the best way to get geocaches loaded into my unit?

I agree, it depends.  Most of the time, I do use PQs, but there have been lists & single files I've loaded singly/separately.  Each cache page has a button to send a .GPX file (which contains the most information) to your computer/unit.  There's also an option (under LOG GEOCACHE) to add a cache to a list you can download later.  I think you can do that as Basic Member, but not positive.

I've never used Basecamp or any other software (I've downloaded GSAK, but haven't figured it out yet) for getting files from here and putting them on my 64st.  So far, I've gotten along fine.  YMMV.

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I do see the geocache as having been saved in the GPX directory, but it's not showing up in my unit.

I've been having some problems with that, that I haven't exactly figured out myself.  It may have to do with (not) disconnecting your GPSr in safe mode, or needing to reload it.  See GPX or GGZ (toward the end).

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Once I get that to work, then how does the unit put something into the "Geocaching" screen versus just a regular waypoint?

It knows the difference.  It helped me to set the unit up with the geocaching "profile" and geocaching "dashboard", but IIRC, caches should still show up when you select geocaching from the menu.

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Do I need a premium membership in order to load more than one geocache at a time into my unit?

I don't recall if there's a limit on how many you can load individually, or if there's a limit on lists.  Trial & error or checking out the sections on membership privileges.

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Is there any wireless way to get geocaches into my GPSr?

The only way I've used that feature so far was when I was at an event, and another geocacher wanted a cache that was on my unit.  I set mine to send, he set his to receive, and AFAIK, he got the whole file for that cache. (He checked after the transfer).

 

Edited by RufusClupea

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10 hours ago, canyonlander said:

What is the best way to get geocaches loaded into my unit? I loaded the Garmin Communicator plug in onto my computer and it seems to verify that the file downloaded properly to my GPSr. However, the geocache doesn't show up as either a waypoint or in the Geocaching page of my unit.

The Garmin Communicator plugin is effectively dead. There are tons of posts on this topic and it's an issue that comes up weekly (for a while, daily). That's ok, because it was kind of a crappy method for loading caches anyway.

The best way to load geocaches onto your unit is through Pocket Queries. These let you load up to 1000 at once in a single GPX file.

10 hours ago, canyonlander said:

I do see the geocache as having been saved in the GPX directory, but it's not showing up in my unit.

I guess you're still using an outdated browser that supports the insecure communicator plugin. If the GPX file is there, the geocache is there. The most common problem is that your filters are set in such a way that geocaches aren't showing. Try a few things:

1. Are you just looking for it on the map, or are you looking through the geocache list?
2. Did you switch over to the geocaching profile? I once played with a friend's 64 and couldn't see the geocaches until I changed to the geocaching profile.
3. Check the geocaching filters and make sure that "Show All" is selected, or something to that effect.

 

10 hours ago, canyonlander said:

Once I get that to work, then how does the unit put something into the "Geocaching" screen versus just a regular waypoint?

 That's encoded in the GPX file. If you were to open it in a plaintext editor, you'd see XML code. Geocaches have special tags that denote them as geocaches, and the GPS knows to handle them differently than waypoints.

10 hours ago, canyonlander said:

Do I need a premium membership in order to load more than one geocache at a time into my unit?

I'm going to disagree with @geodarts above and say that the short answer is yes, for now. Though you have gotten the communicator plugin to work, you are limited to the one-at-a-time download, or if using an API program such as GSAK or iCaching, 3 full downloads a day. But if you want to use pocket queries and the API effectively, you'll want a premium membership. And if you ever upgrade your browser to the latest version (recommended), you'll lose the ability to use the communicator plugin (recommended).

10 hours ago, canyonlander said:

Is there any wireless way to get geocaches into my GPSr? I kind of thought that's what the Bluetooth connectivity was for, but from reading, it seems that it's mostly for interfacing with a cell phone. Any way to use the Bluetooth connectivity of my PC to load files rather than having to use a USB cable?

You will need an Oregon 700 series to load wirelessly direct to the GPS. I suspect that Garmin will release a gpsMAP 66 series soon with the same direct connectivity. But on the 64 series, you're stuck with an old-fashioned USB cable to a computer. Don't complain just yet - the Oregon 700 folks seem to keep having problems with the wireless capabilities.

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... cache visibility is also dependent from your map settings, specifically the zoom levels.

Main Menu > Settings > Setup map > Advanced Settings > Zoom Levels > Set user waypoints and geocache to a higher level (e.g. 1 mile).

Hans

Edited by HHL

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Thank you everyone for your responses. I think what was going on with the caches not showing up is that I had downloaded some 'sample' ones that were about 200 miles from my present location. I finally found them once I moved the cursor closer to that location. I've owned Garmin GPSr's since the 1980s and am constantly astonished at how they program their units. I can understand the need to not populate the search engine with too many items, but then they need to mention this 'feature' in what they call a manual.

I used my 64s in the backcountry in Utah last month and spent quite a bit of time prior to my trip simply finding out how to mark a new waypoint at the cursor location- not intuitive at all, and a feature that is very useful when backpacking.

Thank you for all your advice on downloading multiple caches. I think I'll go with a premium membership like I had years ago.

I wish Garmin had more stability in their product line. It seems that every GPSr I've purchased had older supporting software that was discounted before it's time.

I did manage to find an "open map" product for getting in a more comprehensive routable street map. I have an auto GPSr for my car and appreciate the 'free' updates that are available after the initial purchase. I guess they don't sell as many hiking units and that's why the data is outrageously expensive.

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46 minutes ago, canyonlander said:

 I guess they don't sell as many hiking units and that's why the data is outrageously expensive.

Given the number of models they have for handhelds vs. cars, I wonder.  I really don't know how much competition they have in the auto market, but from what I've read here, they seem to have pretty much of a lock on handhelds, so it could be a matter of what they can get away with, (i.e. when you're the only game in town...)

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I used my 64s in the backcountry in Utah last month and spent quite a bit of time prior to my trip simply finding out how to mark a new waypoint at the cursor location- not intuitive at all, and a feature that is very useful when backpacking.

:lol:  I'm sorry, but that really struck me funny.  Out of curiosity, what did you think the "MARK" button did/was for?  (It's very useful when geocaching as well. ;))

BTW, another thing my unit didn't seem to like is when I reconfigured it (move/delete a lot of menu items to make it more efficient/usable for me).  A couple times, after setting things up the way I wanted them, the cache files all seemed to disappear, even though they were still there in the directory.  I still haven't figured that all out, but following advice from the other thread (I tried everything suggested) I found out someone had--unbeknownst to me--messed with the filter, and I wound up putting all the caches on a microSD, so I could pull it and reinstall in case the "bug" or whatever occurred in the field.

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:lol:  I'm sorry, but that really struck me funny.  Out of curiosity, what did you think the "MARK" button did/was for?  (It's very useful when geocaching as well. ;))

 

No problem, it looks funny by I probably didn't explain it well enough. The MARK button will create a waypoint at the present positition, regardless of where the cursor is on the screen. Intuitively, you'd expect to be able to move the cursor to a location on the map and choose the MARK button to create a waypoint at the location of the cursor. Instead, you have to choose "ENTER", then ignore the "GO" prompt, then choose "MENU", then save as waypoint. The "MARK" button isn't even used to MARK a new waypoint other than the present location.

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I've never tried that.  Every time I've moved the cursor, it's gotten me messed up somehow (not a biggie).  I can't (offhand) think of a reason I'd want/need to do what you describe for geocaching, but I'm sure someone can...

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11 minutes ago, RufusClupea said:

I've never tried that.  Every time I've moved the cursor, it's gotten me messed up somehow (not a biggie).  I can't (offhand) think of a reason I'd want/need to do what you describe for geocaching, but I'm sure someone can...

Not so much for geocaching. But when hiking and backpacking, you might want to mark target points along your route, especially if you are climbing mountains for which there is no trail. It can be easy to lose track of your intended spot to reach a saddle or ridge, for example, so having that point marked in your GPS can help keep you from veering up the wrong chute. Most of the time we pre-plan and mark these points on the computer and transfer them over to the GPS before ever setting foot on the trail. But there are occasions when you need to look at your route in person and find those spots on the map/gps just before leaving the established trail. Admittedly, this process is much easier with the touchscreen models.

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It's also very useful when you visually spot an area that you'd like to hike to. In canyon country, it's possible to see something yet lose site of it as you walk through the ups and downs of the topography. So I might see a neat canyon that I want to hike to. I'll find it on my topo map that's loaded in my GPSr and then put a waypoint on it. Once I start hiking towards that waypoint then I no longer have to be concerned that I can't see it while enroute. This ability is something very frequently used when bushwhacking in the backcountry.

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OK, this may be a stupid question. where in the 64s do I put the GPX file? just lob it into the GPX folder or GPX/Current? or GPX/Archive or create its own folder?

Just bought a premium membership and I have been here for 3 hours trying to get PQs to work and figure this all out. I have not been this frustrated in a very long time. Their step by step video is nothing but a smarmy couple on a road trip.

Thanks

I'm going for a walk and look at leaves :)

 

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