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LPinTheD

Newbie with a question

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Probably a dumb question, but I can't seem to find an answer. 

 

I've just started back to geocaching, and have been using my Galaxy S7 edge with the Geocaching app. Works great, except that the battery on my phone is horrible, and there's no way I could go more than a few hours before it died - a big reason that I'm considering a regular GPS unit. 

 

The other reason (and this is my question) is that I often go to the Olympic Peninsula in Washington, and if I'm not near a town, I have *zero* phone signal (thanks Sprint). Can a smartphone still be used as a geocaching/GPS device without a cell signal? If not, then I'll have to buy a GPS because I want to cache this summer in the PNW. 

 

Another question - I do not own a PC/laptop computer (I do everything on my tablet and phone) so, how would I connect a GPS to download anything? Can I connect it to my phone or tablet? I know that some GPS units have Bluetooth, would that work. 

 

And my budget for a GPS is about $250, I've been on Amazon for hours reading reviews and frankly, I'm overwhelmed and confused.. 

 

Thanks for any and all input :)

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The GPSs with wireless cache transfer from the web site might be out of your price range. Some can use “OTG” (On The Go) USB connections to a phone or tablet. It may or may not work well for you. I tried it, and it's kind of a chore to send files like that. It's simpler from a PC.

 

The Official App allows saving Pocket Queries and lists for offline use, including map tiles for the cache spots. If you did that on a phone and then switched to airplane mode, the battery should last longer.

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The solution to your first problem is to buy a charging stick and carry it with you. It can be cumbersome, but at least you can charge your phone while you're out and about. Be sure to get one that is quick charge compatible as you might only need 20 minutes to get a significant amount of your battery capacity back.

Yes, smartphones can be used without a phone signal. The official app lets you download caches for offline use and you can store your finds as field notes for logging later. I haven't tried the app with offline caches to see if the map also gets downloaded for offline use, but there are a number of 3rd party apps that can use offline maps along with offline geocaches (Locus Pro is a good example). 

So the short answer is yes, you can use your phone for all of your geocaching needs. That said, a GPS can be easier. But you will need a proper computer to install and manage your caches, waypoints, routes, and maps and install firmware updates. For the most part, you can do this from a public computer, so there are workarounds. As far as geocaching is concerned, you could get away without using a computer with an Oregon 700 as it is the only GPS that can directly connect with geocaching.com, but it is out of your budget.

So I think for now, a usb charging stick is the way to go.

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13 hours ago, kunarion said:

The GPSs with wireless cache transfer from the web site might be out of your price range. Some can use “OTG” (On The Go) USB connections to a phone or tablet. It may or may not work well for you. I tried it, and it's kind of a chore to send files like that. It's simpler from a PC.

 

The Official App allows saving Pocket Queries and lists for offline use, including map tiles for the cache spots. If you did that on a phone and then switched to airplane mode, the battery should last longer.

 

Thanks for the info. I had a feeling that it probably wouldn't be easy to transfer files from a tablet. 

 

Didn't realize I could use offline/airplane mode, the GPS still works then? 

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13 hours ago, Mineral2 said:

The solution to your first problem is to buy a charging stick and carry it with you. It can be cumbersome, but at least you can charge your phone while you're out and about. Be sure to get one that is quick charge compatible as you might only need 20 minutes to get a significant amount of your battery capacity back.

Yes, smartphones can be used without a phone signal. The official app lets you download caches for offline use and you can store your finds as field notes for logging later. I haven't tried the app with offline caches to see if the map also gets downloaded for offline use, but there are a number of 3rd party apps that can use offline maps along with offline geocaches (Locus Pro is a good example). 

So the short answer is yes, you can use your phone for all of your geocaching needs. That said, a GPS can be easier. But you will need a proper computer to install and manage your caches, waypoints, routes, and maps and install firmware updates. For the most part, you can do this from a public computer, so there are workarounds. As far as geocaching is concerned, you could get away without using a computer with an Oregon 700 as it is the only GPS that can directly connect with geocaching.com, but it is out of your budget.

So I think for now, a usb charging stick is the way to go.

 

Thank you! Yeah, a charging stick is probably much cheaper than a GPSr. I was looking at the Oregon 700, it's sweet, but I'm not a hardcore/regular geocacher (yet, haha). When I first started caching 8 years ago, I had an Explorer GC, which I remember was pretty cool, and I almost picked one up from Amazon for under $100 yesterday, but I don't know if the technology is too old, seeing as I had one eight years ago. 

 

I was considering the Garmin 64st as well. I could probably hook it up to my work PC. 

 

I'll give it all more thought. Thanks again. 

Edited by LPinTheD
typo

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9 minutes ago, LPinTheD said:

Didn't realize I could use offline/airplane mode, the GPS still works then?

 

Yes.  Airplane mode is great for saving battery when you're out caching in the woods.  Locus Map (Free or Pro), as mentioned, excels at caching offline.  It seems efficient too; I could get a full day of caching with my old skinny Nexus 5, and now get two full days with my fat-battery Blackview.

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1 minute ago, Viajero Perdido said:

 

Yes.  Airplane mode is great for saving battery when you're out caching in the woods.  Locus Map (Free or Pro), as mentioned, excels at caching offline.  It seems efficient too; I could get a full day of caching with my old skinny Nexus 5, and now get two full days with my fat-battery Blackview.

 

Thanks! I'll have to look into Locus Map, I've never heard of it. 

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1 hour ago, LPinTheD said:

 

Thanks! I'll have to look into Locus Map, I've never heard of it. 

 

Locus Map allows loading maps, and the pro version includes credits for maps.  I loaded maps of a couple of states, something like the Garmin GPS where I've loaded routable street maps of the entire US.  It sure beats wondering if a map tile loaded in the App (or noticing it didn't once you arrive).

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10 hours ago, LPinTheD said:

 

Thanks for the info. I had a feeling that it probably wouldn't be easy to transfer files from a tablet. 

 

Didn't realize I could use offline/airplane mode, the GPS still works then? 

I have used a tablet with GSAK installed to download to GPS. When we travel overseas to different countries I have a cache database on GSAK for each country. This way I can use my Garmin Etrex and not have to worry about roaming charges.

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On ‎5‎/‎7‎/‎2018 at 1:25 PM, kunarion said:

 

Locus Map allows loading maps, and the pro version includes credits for maps.  I loaded maps of a couple of states, something like the Garmin GPS where I've loaded routable street maps of the entire US.  It sure beats wondering if a map tile loaded in the App (or noticing it didn't once you arrive).

 

I downloaded Locus Maps, I haven't had time to really play around with it too much yet, but so far it seems cool! I was even able to load caches to the map easily. Thanks so much!

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Update:  First, I want to thank everyone for your input! I wound up buying a dedicated GPSr, picked up an eTrex 30x on Amazon for $180. I LOVE it! Easy to set up and use, and scarily accurate. Very glad I made the move! 

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