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Geo-Boyds 123

Tree coverage?

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Hey! Whenever I search for a cache that's located in woodlands or forests my GPS always gets jittery to the point where it can't be used under trees. Is there anything I can do to help the accuracy under woodland coverage? I use a Garmin Etrex if that helps? Would a more expensive GPS be better at this? Thank you!

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I have the same problem but I have not found a good way around it besides thinking like you are going to hide a cache there and cover more ground looking for the cache. (witch some times is 50ft + from where the GPS is saying in wooded areas) 

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Yeah, heavy tree cover is one of the places where better GPS receivers outshine more basic GPS receivers. In the redwood forests around here, I've seen better GPS receivers get signal (with a slightly larger estimated error than normal), while basic GPS receivers and phones with built-in GPS got no signal at all.

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If the CO placed the cache with a device that has poor accuracy under leaf cover your (the searcher) more accurate GPSr is not going to solve that problem. You may also want to check when the cache was placed (assuming deciduous forest) winter vs summer. 

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1 hour ago, Geo-Boyds 123 said:

Hey! Whenever I search for a cache that's located in woodlands or forests my GPS always gets jittery to the point where it can't be used under trees. Is there anything I can do to help the accuracy under woodland coverage? I use a Garmin Etrex if that helps? Would a more expensive GPS be better at this? Thank you!

 

Which etrex ?

We had issues with tree canopy when we started with blue legends.   Always looking for clearings...

Just a year later had no issues with another long-discontinued GPSr model, a 60csx.  

 Realized it was gonna be different when I fired it up first time and got signal in my basement .  :)    Still use 'em today. 

Tree cover not an issue,  river gorges and cities may get a little bounce.  

I'd think most modern GPSrs are similar.

 

 

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1 hour ago, Geo-Boyds 123 said:

Hey! Whenever I search for a cache that's located in woodlands or forests my GPS always gets jittery to the point where it can't be used under trees. Is there anything I can do to help the accuracy under woodland coverage?

The signal gets messed with by the leaf canopy overhead , then your  GPS accuracy depends on a combination of  the signal  quality, the antenna of the GPS and the software it runs. Wet leaves seem to be even more disruptive of the signal than dry ones too.

 

Flippant answer : climb a tree to give the device a better view of the sky & therefore the GPS satellites ... more sensible answer: schedule your deciduous woodland caching for winter.

Overly detailed answer : here is more technical information about the effect than anyone needs. Interesting reading though.

 

Practically though, I've found in dense woodland that when the etrex 10 pointer rotated wildly,  and I couldn't duck out into  a clearing or back to the edge of the woodland to give it a chance to establish a better lock onto the signal , sometimes it could be helpful to switch to the map screen, enlarge it to the maximum and use that to steer me to the cache. I don't know if there is any difference in more expensive models of GPS,  but I've been using an etrex 30 for a while now, and it seems a little less confused than the 10 was, altho'  that may be down to the 30's  inbuilt electronic compass , or possibly my increased caching experience (which, to be honest I've seen no other effect from ! Still loads of DNFs ... ) No GPS , however expensive can give you a precise reading without a good signal, I doubt spending double on a more advanced device would give a substantial improvement unless your ettrex is really old ( e.g. a non-usb model )

 

When you consider that the setter will have had a similar lack of accuracy (unless they placed the cache when the trees were just seedlings) you just have to hope to goodness that they hid something bigger than a micro, and they gave you a decent hint to help you as you stumble around searching  . Not 'base of tree' for instance.

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Posted (edited)

One way to do it is to use old-fashioned Orienteering techniques.  From a place which has clear view of the sky, note the magnetic compass-bearing to the cache. (Note:  your equipment might present a "True" bearing, obliging you to know the magnetic declination offset in your area and how to use it to obtain a "Magnetic" bearing.)  Break out your trusty magnetic compass – surely you remembered to bring one – and pace the distance along the bearing line.  (Or, use your 100' measuring tape.)

 

We once used this technique to quickly locate a "very difficult" cache 500' away in a dense evergreen thicket.  When the CO's (who had noticed us) arrived to "help us," we were standing beneath the correct tree.  Puzzled, they asked us where our GPS was.  I casually replied, "oh, we left it in the car." :cool:  (And we had.)  (I'm never quite sure how they managed to arrive at those coordinates in the first place ...)

 

P.S.:  If you love Geocaching as a source of challenges, be sure to check out Orienteering!  "Map & Compass, no GPS."  Serious fun.

Edited by Team Bear-Cat
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