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MathisEZ

Are I-Phone Map coordinates sufficient for Hiding a cache

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Are I-Phone Map coordinates sufficient for Hiding a cache?  I have a I-Phone 6S.  I've been caching for a little while now, and would like to start hiding a few.  I read through the rules and got the concept.  However, I am trying to figure out how to get the exact coordinates from a SmartPhone (I-Phone 6S).  I don't want to create a cache and find out the coordinates are wayyyyyyy off.  Thus far, I've found 2 ways to get coordinates.  On the I-Phone map, I can drop a pin, and get the coordinates that way.  Or, in the Geocache app, I can get the coordinates by navigating to random cache, then clicking the compass and my current coordinates are listed under "My location".  I would like to know if anyone has any experience using either one of these 2 methods....are they accurate???  Thanks a million!!!

 

Or is there another free app that a lot of Geocachers use to get the ACCURATE hiding coordinates?  Thanks again!

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The answer used to be an emphatic No!, but nowadays I'm not so sure.  GPS enabled smart devices like phones and such are so ubiquitous that it's becoming more and more common for caches to be placed with the aid of a phone.  The only caution I would urge is to check the maps before submitting, as a double check that the placement makes sense for what you remember the surroundings to be like, and to make sure you haven't "fat fingered" the coordinates by accident.

 

I would also be wary of tall buildings and dense tree cover that might obscure your reception.  Other than that, be patient and take several readings, approaching from different directions (if possible).  With a clear sky view,  and a  helpful Hint (just in case), you should do reasonably well.

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I can't say for an iPhone, but the last time I listed a geocache, I got coordinates both using my eXplorist and using my Android phone with an app that did waypoint averaging. The coordinates I got using the two devices were virtually identical.

 

But it isn't all about the device. It's also about how you use it. For more info, see the Help Center article How to get accurate coordinates.

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4 hours ago, MathisEZ said:

Or is there another free app that a lot of Geocachers use to get the ACCURATE hiding coordinates?  Thanks again!

 

There are free Apps, including the free Official Geocaching App.  There's a "free" version of Commander Compass, and that version does about what the Official App does, captures a waypoint.  Search for "Free GPS" in the App store for several.

 

Although my handheld GPS has a GPS averaging function, I always just take a whole bunch of waypoints at my caches over several trips while setting up a cache and test them to decide which one I like best, so one single waypoint is not enough for me.  My compromise on my iPhone is to use "GPS Averaging" to gather hundreds of waypoints.  The App I found is called, surprisingly, "GPS Averaging" :P.  I can continue the averaging over as many trips as I like.  So far, comparing the results to the old manual method I was using, the produced average is... reasonable!

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20 hours ago, MathisEZ said:

  On the I-Phone map, I can drop a pin, and get the coordinates that way.  THIS IS A BIG FAT NO!  THE MAP SHOULD ONLY BE USED TO CONFIRM THAT THE COORDINATES TAKEN IN THE FIELD ARE REASONABLE.

 

Or, in the Geocache app, I can get the coordinates by navigating to random cache, then clicking the compass and my current coordinates are listed under "My location".  YES, BUT SOME CONDITIONS (DEEP CANYONS, TALL BUILDINGS, ETC) CAN INTERFERE AND PREVENT GOOD RESULTS.)

 

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On 6/30/2019 at 3:19 PM, MathisEZ said:

Thus far, I've found 2 ways to get coordinates.  On the I-Phone map, I can drop a pin, and get the coordinates that way.  Or, in the Geocache app, I can get the coordinates by navigating to random cache, then clicking the compass and my current coordinates are listed under "My location".  I would like to know if anyone has any experience using either one of these 2 methods....are they accurate???

 

The first way, dropping a pin and using those coordinates, should only be used as confirmation that your coordinates are correct.  I use google maps satellite view to drop a pin after the cache is hidden and we have what we feel are accurate coords (in our head averaging or taking the most common #'s we get), and I see what that gives me.  If it's close, I'll use the readings we took while we placed the cache with our phones (Androids).

 

Typically, we scope out an area, and get several readings by using the app, and compass for "my location", and setting those as waypoints on a nearby cache.  Then, when we come back to actually hide the cache (usually another day), we'll navigate using the waypoints we put in previously to see if it gets us close enough; with two phones on at least two different days, we generally have a good idea of what the coordinates are.  Once the cache is hidden and I'm finalizing the cache page for submission, I double check the position on the GC map, and then I'll go to Google maps and see where that puts it.

 

Only once has someone questioned our coordinates, and no one else seemed to have issues with that particular cache.  We haven't changed them from the original coords.

 

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At least around this area, it’s pretty common for someone to hide a cache using phone coords, state that on the web page, then the old hands with their fancy satnav receivers will supply accurate coords.  Page can then be updated.

 

I use an iPhone and Garmin — the phone’s pretty good, but the Garmin usually wins out for the last few metres of accuracy, or even more under tree cover, etc.

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Posted (edited)

Be careful...there is an article in the Help section that explains coordinate formats.  It cautions using the compass app on your phone. "Don’t use the iPhone compass app to record coordinates for your hide. The iPhone compass app uses the DMS format without the decimal portion of the seconds. This format is not accurate and can cover an area of up to 1000 square feet (100 square meters)."

The geocaching app can give you correct coordinates most of the time.  But for several years I have had problems with one cache and getting accurate coordinates.  It's in a large open meadow at 10,000' elevation, and after more than a dozen attempts, we still can't get it on the right place on the map.  It's off as much as a mile!  Don't know why, just is.  Good luck.

Edited by Mountain Hikers 1032
I'm an English teacher and I hate uncorrected typos!
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I use my Oppo R11s and the official geocaching app for hides. Works perfectly well, no issue with people saying that my coords are out. Just select the closest cache to the one that you want to hide, press navigate and then go to compass and it will tell you your location. I do average out way points (walk away from GZ 5 or 6 times and return, take the reading again and average them out at the end) 

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I use an app called GPSdiagnostic. It’s not free but it is pretty cheap. I prefer it over the navigate to cache/compass page because it allows you to force your GPS to reset rather than just walking away and it gives signal strength on your fix. It also tells you whether or not your device is using GPS for your coordinates or a combination of cell/Bluetooth/wi-fi. I’ve used it to hide many caches on an iPhone 6 and 8 with only 1 issue (which I should have predicted based on tree cover). Screen cap attached to this post. I’ve used it side by side with my Garmin 650s and found them to be just as good in areas with clear access to satellites. In bushy or built up areas YMMV.

67F64FF4-1894-4074-8E54-3AAA9C32446C.jpeg

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That's interesting, because I recall learning that iOS doesn't report the number of satellites that are detected via its core location API. However that was a few iOS versions ago so maybe that's changed?

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11 hours ago, thebruce0 said:

That's interesting, because I recall learning that iOS doesn't report the number of satellites that are detected via its core location API. However that was a few iOS versions ago so maybe that's changed?

 

Couldn't say for certain whether it is available now, though you are right it definitely wasn't available back in earlier iOS versions. The satellite graph was introduced to the app in V2.0, late 2015. It is possible they are reverse engineering an educated guesstimate based on horizontal and vertical data from CLLocationAccuracy. I haven't trawled the iOS/SDK release notes to see if it became available circa iOS9 or not.

 

Either way, i've found it to be pretty good overall. Anytime my accuracy  is +/-5m and satellites have been +90% I haven't had issues with my published coordinates. The one time I did, the last bar on the graph was red & wasn't as high as it usually is (I was still only 5-10m out). Hardly scientific proof of its accuracy but IME im more than happy with it. I've also occasionally used the reset function when I had trouble settling on coordinates when finding caches.

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12 hours ago, thebruce0 said:

That's interesting, because I recall learning that iOS doesn't report the number of satellites that are detected via its core location API. However that was a few iOS versions ago so maybe that's changed?

 

There are Apps that can make a map of satellite positions.  Also, I have a Bad Elf dongle for my non-GPS iPad, and it has a built-in ability to show satellites.  But I read that Apple likes to keep such info as out of view as possible.  For one thing, location is obtained from several sources.  And another thing, Apple doesn’t need you to know how many ways they can track you.

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Yes! I use my iPhone for placing caches and have been told that my coordinates were"spot on!" I use the screen shot to take and save about save 5 or 6 photos of the coordinates from the iPhone app. Each time I take a reading, I walk away and return to the spot to make sure that it recalculates the coordinates. Then, I use a coordinate if it shows up the same 3 or 4 times or I average them.

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On 8/28/2019 at 1:37 PM, kunarion said:

 

And another thing, Apple doesn’t need you to know how many ways they can track you.

 

Got any proof for that bizarre accusation?

Edited by barefootguru
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1 hour ago, barefootguru said:

 

Got any proof for that bizarre accusation?

 

It just seemed like a reasonable explanation for why we don't know where the position comes from.  As it applies to this thread :ph34r:, if the phone is using wifi at the time, you can be off by miles.

 

Also, yes.

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7 hours ago, kunarion said:

 

It just seemed like a reasonable explanation for why we don't know where the position comes from.  As it applies to this thread :ph34r:, if the phone is using wifi at the time, you can be off by miles.

 

Also, yes.

This quoted article is 8 years old.  Yes, 8.  Phone technology is light years ahead of that now.

 

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18 minutes ago, JohnCNA said:

This quoted article is 8 years old.  Yes, 8.  Phone technology is light years ahead of that now.

 

While there may be some other newer techniques being used for A-GPS these days, I'm sure some of the ones described in the article are still in use. Regardless, the general concept of A-GPS remains the same: use alternate sources to improve time-to-first-fix.

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