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stefanwilkens

Multicache on Garmin devices

22 posts in this topic

Posted (edited)

Hey all,

I'm using a Garmin etrex 20x and I've understood that, like with most Garmin devices, the support for multi caches with several child waypoints is a little lacking. For those not informed, there is no obvious way to navigate to the next child waypoint in a multi cache while staying within the geocaching dashboard feature (which allows you to see the cache description and other details).

The only current way that allows you to navigate to the next stage while staying within the Geocaching mode of the device (the only mode that lets you read the cache description / hints etc) is to select "Enter next stage" and manually entering the coordinates of the next stage. This means you'll need the coordinates written down somewhere - which is silly, the device already has the waypoint coordinates.

So I have two things:

  1. Is there a smarter way to do multi cache waypoints on these devices? I've been thinking about making routes. You could navigate to the waypoint but that has two negatives. You lose the geocache dashboard (and so can't read the cache description / hints anymore) and you have to switch mode to some other dashboard type. Very unpractical. Also, with several caches loaded on the device, good luck remembering which waypoint code is the one you need.
  2. Let's all suggest Garmin to improve their Multicache support (https://www8.garmin.com/contactUs/ideas/). You could link to this topic if it helps.

A suggestion on how to "fix" this for Garmin, should they ever read this:

  1. Recognize the child waypoints by understanding that they belong to a multi cache in a certain order
  2. Recognize the type of waypoints (parking, stage, final etc)
  3. Create a new "Select next Stage" feature (as a brother to "Enter next Stage") that allows a user to select a next target waypoint from a list of the child waypoints that belong to the currently active multicache
  4. All the required information, including the child waypoints and the right order of the waypoints is provided in Geocaching.com gpx files

They already provide this feature on their android based "Monterra" device (see image), which shows waypoints linked to the main multi cache. This functionality should be brought to the handheld units as well.

monterra-geocaching-wegpunkte.png

 

Related posts:

https://forums.garmin.com/forum/developers/garmin-developer-information/16746-

https://forums.geocaching.com/GC/index.php?/topic/342916-multi-cache-with-etrex-35/

https://forums.geocaching.com/GC/index.php?/topic/340634-multi-cache-op-etrex-35/

 (dutch)

Edited by stefanwilkens
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Fully d'accord.

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1 hour ago, stefanwilkens said:

They already provide this feature on their android based "Monterra" device (see image), which shows waypoints linked to the main multi cache. This functionality should be brought to the handheld units as well.

+1

I'm surprised to hear that Garmin is already providing this feature in the Monterra.

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Posted (edited)

25 minutes ago, Hynz said:

+1

I'm surprised to hear that Garmin is already providing this feature in the Monterra.

As I've understood, it's an android based device which has a Garmin Geocaching app. This app supports that feature and has supported that since 2014 (!!) I don't know if it was OpenCaching based, but still - at some point this functionality existed.

This german review of the device shows this feature:

https://www.navigation-professionell.de/garmin-monterra-test/

They write:

"Garmin Geocaching App: Die zusätzlichen Wegpunkte sind jetzt mit dem Geocache verknüpft; mit “Abschnitt hinzufügen” wird ein weitere Station hinzugefügt."

Translation:

"Garmin Geocaching App: The additional waypoints are now linked to the geocache; another station is added with "Add Section"."

Knipsel.PNG

Edited by stefanwilkens
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Posted (edited)

This request was originally posted in May 2013 as GPSrChive > Oregon 6x0 > Common Issues > Requested Feature 08, and again as GPSrChive > Oregon 7x0 > Common Issues > Missing Feature 06.

 

I also would very much like to see this incorporated into other Garmin geocaching GPSr, but it seems they are quite reluctant to do this, even after demonstrating that they are capable of doing so.

Edited by Atlas Cached
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2 hours ago, Atlas Cached said:

I also would very much like to see this incorporated into other Garmin geocaching GPSr, but it seems they are quite reluctant to do this, even after demonstrating that they are capable of doing so.

Even worse, the description of the extrex 20x states:

Quote

Find Fun

eTrex 20x supports paperless geocaching GPX files for endless geocaching adventures. Just visit Geocaching.com to download geocaches straight to your device, then start hunting for caches! eTrex 20x stores all the key information, including location, terrain, difficulty, hints and descriptions. By going paperless, you're not only helping the environment but also avoiding the bother of manually entering co-ordinates

However, the "Enter next Stage" option they provide for Multicaches requires exactly that!

5180772534_a768d3f373_o.jpg

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7 hours ago, stefanwilkens said:

This means you'll need the coordinates written down somewhere - which is silly, the device already has the waypoint coordinates.

The traditional multicache required that you visit the posted coordinates to get the next ones. However.... [see my comments below]

6 hours ago, Hynz said:

I'm surprised to hear that Garmin is already providing this feature in the Monterra.

I'm not. Programming an android app opens up so many more options, including some API features that are difficult to achieve without changes to gpx files.

 

I would like to see child waypoints associated with geocaches in general. It's not a multi cache specific issue. If I select a traditional cache and want to navigate to its parking area, it would be nice to easily find the associated waypoint. Groundspeak's waypoint naming system doesn't make association immediately obvious. I think it would also be difficult with the current gpx scheme to determine waypoint order. So the easier and more general solution would be to design the "next stage" feature to include a list of associated waypoints to choose from.

Of course, reading cache descriptions for field puzzles on the gps itself is a gnarly task, so my solution for this has been to do download the multicache from the individual cache page and import the gpx into basecamp. I'll then create a route arranging the waypoints in order - or at least in an order that minimizes my walking distance - and just walk along the route while reading the required description and clues on my phone. And for those caches that require extensive math at each stage, or after gathering all of the required information from all of the stages, I just print out a worksheet with all of the instructions. Then I can enter the final destination with the next stage from the geocache dashboard.

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30 minutes ago, Mineral2 said:

...
Groundspeak's waypoint naming system doesn't make association immediately obvious. I think it would also be difficult with the current gpx scheme to determine waypoint order.
...

It's pretty easy to determine the waypoints of a cache in the Waypoint Manager.

Waypoint names will always include the GC code without the 'GC' part.
For example: in cache GC1A2B3C, the parking coordinates will be PK1A2B3C.
The first two letters of both virtual and physical waypoints can be edited by the cache owner, so look for something like 011A2B3C or AA1A2B3C for the first stage.
Just filter your Waypoint Manager to 1A2B3C and you'll see all waypoints belonging to that cache.

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Posted (edited)

What StefandD said*, plus: in most cases additional waypoints of a currently navigating cache are often the most current waypoints in the list of waypoints (or Pois if you're exporting them as such).

Hans

* GC codes do not contain eight characters. That said: the sample Core Code reads: 1A2B3 ;)

Edited by HHL
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Posted (edited)

2 hours ago, Mineral2 said:

I think it would also be difficult with the current gpx scheme to determine waypoint order. 

Looking at a random multi with several predefined stages (obivously for puzzle stages this can't work, in that case we can use the existing "Enter next Stage" feature) I can see this:

GC4T4RJ - Cache ID

P14T4RJ - Parking Waypoint 1

Q14T4RJ - Stage Waypoint 1

Q24T4RJ - Stage Waypoint 2

Q34T4RJ - Stage Waypoint 3

Q44T4RJ - Stage Waypoint 4

I'd say that's fairly easy to implement? If there are more than 9 Stage waypoints, the prefix jumps up one letter. So Q1...Q9, R1... etc. It would have been nicer if waypoints had a stable type of prefix (eg stages are always S, parking always P, virtual always V...) but even with editable stage prefixes, I think this is workable.

That said, the logic has already been implemented in the Garming Geocaching app for their Monterra device - clearly it's possible. Even just a screen which lets you select waypoints releted to the current cache would be a huge improvement.

Edited by stefanwilkens
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1 hour ago, stefanwilkens said:

That said, the logic has already been implemented in the Garming Geocaching app for their Monterra device - clearly it's possible. Even just a screen which lets you select waypoints releted to the current cache would be a huge improvement.

The monterra gives you a dropdown list of associated waypoints, correct? The list is likely sorted in alphabetical order or by closest distance. But does the monterra automatically create a route for you to follow in the order of the waypoints? The thing is that "Stage 1" is a text description field, so is the Q1/P1 in the waypoint ID. These are not fields that denote quantity or order from a computational perspective. And to test my hypothesis, take a look at what happens when there are more than 10 waypoint stages.

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Posted (edited)

I sometimes export the additional waypoints as waypoints. That way I have the waypoint name shown on the map.
And you will also see the appropriate waypoint icons by using the Garmin feature "Custom Symbols" on the unit.

Waypoints_multi.png?raw=1
 

Hans

Edited by HHL
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On 13-4-2018 at 8:58 PM, HHL said:

I sometimes export the additional waypoints as waypoints. That way I have the waypoint name shown on the map.
And you will also see the appropriate waypoint icons by using the Garmin feature "Custom Symbols" on the unit.

Waypoints_multi.png?raw=1
 

Hans

This is a nice approach, I guess you are using some kind of GSAK export macro / smart name to modify the waypoint names? (Dutch I see!)

I have been doing something like this as well, but the problem is that - once you start navigating to a waypoint, the GPS doesn't realize you are navigating to a "Geocache" anymore - and the "paperless" (hints, description etc) become unavailable.

Nice big screen by the way, that's a montana device?

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3 hours ago, stefanwilkens said:

[...] but the problem is that - once you start navigating to a waypoint, the GPS doesn't realize you are navigating to a "Geocache" anymore - and the "paperless" (hints, description etc) become unavailable.

Nice big screen by the way, that's a montana device?

Yes, it's a Montana screen shown here. There are some workarounds with the Geocache Mode:
1. On my Montana I just change the Dashboard with a shortcut that changes the Profile (from Geocaching to Wandern - and vice versa). The shortcut is started by double tapping the powerkey. That way I have the dashboard "Small Data Fields" when navigating to a waypoint (with profile "Wandern")
2. My wife's Oregon 600 lets you easily change the dashboard with this shortcut: Tap and hold the dashboard. A list of dashboards is showings up for instant change.

Hans

Edited by HHL
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19 hours ago, HHL said:

Yes, it's a Montana screen shown here. There are some workarounds with the Geocache Mode:
1. On my Montana I just change the Dashboard with a shortcut that changes the Profile (from Geocaching to Wandern - and vice versa). The shortcut is started by double tapping the powerkey. That way I have the dashboard "Small Data Fields" when navigating to a waypoint (with profile "Wandern")
2. My wife's Oregon 600 lets you easily change the dashboard with this shortcut: Tap and hold the dashboard. A list of dashboards is showings up for instant change.

Hans

I don't understand how this is a workaround for staying in "Geocaching Mode"

On my Oregon 600 as soon as you "GoTo" to something other that the actual geocache you are loosing what I would call "Geocaching Mode" which is having access to the 6 cache specific icons (Description, Logs, Hint, Chirp, Coordinates, Log)

While it's cumbersome but still possible to access the combined Description+Logs of every geocache the Hint for instance is only viewable after a GoTo for the specific geocache.

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13 minutes ago, Hynz said:

I don't understand how this is a workaround for staying in "Geocaching Mode"

[...]

It's not for "staying" in Geocache Mode (which actually is not a mode but the use of a specific dashboard) but quickly change the dashboard.
When navigating to a waypoint there is no need (at least not for me) to check the cache's hint.

Hans

Edited by HHL
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4 minutes ago, HHL said:

It's not for "staying" in Geocache Mode (which actually is not a mode but the use of a specific dashboard) but quickly change the dashboard.
When navigating to a waypoint there is no need (at least not for me) to check the cache's hint.

Hans

What I and as I understand stefanwikens want to have is to navigate to a random waypoint or POI (eg an additional geocaching waypoint provided by an GSAK export) and still have (quick) access at least to the description of the current cache we are up to.

The Geocaching Dashboard (and quick access to it) does not help *at all* for this to a achieve so I wondered If I was missing something in your advice.

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11 minutes ago, Hynz said:

What I and as I understand stefanwikens want to have is to navigate to a random waypoint or POI (eg an additional geocaching waypoint provided by an GSAK export) and still have (quick) access at least to the description of the current cache we are up to.[...]

Yes, that's what I wanted too. But it's not doable at the very moment with Garmin software. That's why I called my personal way a workaround - and not a solution. The difference should be obvious, right?

Hans

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46 minutes ago, Hynz said:

What I and as I understand stefanwikens want to have is to navigate to a random waypoint or POI (eg an additional geocaching waypoint provided by an GSAK export) and still have (quick) access at least to the description of the current cache we are up to.

The Geocaching Dashboard (and quick access to it) does not help *at all* for this to a achieve so I wondered If I was missing something in your advice.

As far as I'm aware, and I think HHL confirms that for us, navigating to a child waypoint while still being in geocaching mode is simply not possible at the moment.

Even worse - the GPS isn't even aware that these waypoints are children of the geocache, they are just imported as random waypoints. What HHL suggested was a "quick" way to navigate to the waypoint and then relatively quickly jump back to the geocaching mode to read the descriptions. This is possible because the Montana devices have a quick profile switch, something the etrex devices do not have. But it does involve leaving the geocache mode, which is not ideal - but workable I suppose. On those devices anyway.

And just to clarify - yes, we want garmin to give us these multicaching features. They have them available in their android based devices, bringing that to the Montana / etrex devices would be great. They advertise "paperless" caching but they could do a better job here I'd say.

The only thing we can do is request this feature from Garmin, here:

https://www8.garmin.com/contactUs/ideas/

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@HHL do you use a specific way to export the waypoints to your device? I see they are named Q1 <question>, Q2 <question>... is that a custom GSAK name or something?

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4 minutes ago, stefanwilkens said:

@HHL do you use a specific way to export the waypoints to your device? I see they are named Q1 <question>, Q2 <question>... is that a custom GSAK name or something?

Yes, I use a custom name. Q2 is the additional waypoints' prefix.

553f194d5a21953a6a261ddd95821b71.png

Hans

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11 minutes ago, HHL said:

Yes, I use a custom name. Q2 is the additional waypoints' prefix.

Very informative, thank you.

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