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VAVAPAM

Bring Your GPSr

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Posted (edited)

In another thread, I noticed quite a few people weighing on the topic of where cell service is marginal to non-existent.  I think that's really useful to know if you're planning a caching expedition.

 

Would you please note whether you can depend on using a cell phone to locate caches "on the fly" in areas that you may know?

 

I can tell you that in central Southside Virginia (bordering NC), there are many areas where you will be unable to access cache info, unless you are directly in a town.  I strongly recommend pre-trip downloads and GPSr here.

Edited by VAVAPAM
thanks to input

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You don't need cell service to use a smartphone for geocaching. You just need to be sure to download cache data (and possibly map data) while you still have a data connection.

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Posted (edited)

Thanks for that info.  I cannot receive map data while in "the wild" here.  I am basically going from a dot (me) to another dot (the cache) in a field of white and grey checkerboard.

 

Edit to include that I do download all before heading out.

Edited by VAVAPAM

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Are you on Android, or iOS?  (Or lordy, something else?)

 

There are several very capable caching apps that work very well completely offline.  As with a GPS unit, you pre-load everything you need in advance: maps and caches, maybe even spoiler pictures.

 

Even the default app ("the app") does, if you set it up properly.  Not sure how well that one works in that mode, but apparently it does.

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Normally, I use Android phone ... for phone.  The app I normally use doesn't seem to have static maps anymore, here recently.

 

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Thanks to you both, I am rewording OP slightly.

 

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1 hour ago, VAVAPAM said:

I am basically going from a dot (me) to another dot (the cache) in a field of white and grey checkerboard.

I've used basic GPS receivers that didn't give much more than that. They included a base map, but once you got anywhere near the cache, you were just trying to find the dot.

 

I've used Android apps that supported offline maps nicely, but they no longer work. I'm in the market for a new Android app myself, one that supports offline maps nicely. But that may be a different thread...

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We've been doing a lot of caching last minute around the SE lately. I've just gotten in the habit of either downloading a bookmark in advance, or doing it on the fly while driving. I don't want to take a chance of ending up in a dead zone. If we're driving away from bigger towns, it's a good bet that there will not be cell service. A lot of my caching lately has been using downloaded lists on my phone or gps. Of course, we tend to be going to places that are fairly remote (there's a lot of that down here!).

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10 hours ago, niraD said:

You don't need cell service to use a smartphone for geocaching. You just need to be sure to download cache data (and possibly map data) while you still have a data connection.

 

I think that's the point.  If one just uses a GPSr, there is no question as to whether or not you'll need to download  cache data (and maps). It's an requirement.  For smart phone users,   many are most likely not in the habit of downloading cache data for offline use because most of the time they don't have to.  Its that unknown whether or not cell phone services will be available that can be problematic.

 

A few years ago I was staying for a few days in a house in the Adirondacks.  I went out and did a few caches, then looked on my phone for others to find.  I saw a couple about 10 miles away on the other side of the lake (just off the major highway the runs through the area).  I headed off to the area, pulled into a trailhead parking lot, only to discover that there was no cell service.    No maps, and the caches I'd seen earlier when I had cell services where not available.

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1 hour ago, NYPaddleCacher said:

A few years ago I was staying for a few days in a house in the Adirondacks.  I went out and did a few caches, then looked on my phone for others to find.  I saw a couple about 10 miles away on the other side of the lake (just off the major highway the runs through the area).  I headed off to the area, pulled into a trailhead parking lot, only to discover that there was no cell service.    No maps, and the caches I'd seen earlier when I had cell services where not available.

 

Usually, if the caches show up on my map while in service, they are still there when I lose service. I can't get any new caches to show up, but those that are there still have info. Sometimes all of the info is there, but sometimes I only have partial info (cache description but no cache logs, for instance). At the very worse, all I have is the cache icon on the map, and I can get myself there and search for it blindly. That's happened to me a fair amount of times. Things are much better now that I download things as a kind of knee jerk reaction to these events.:)

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Posted (edited)

I forgot to mention, if you open the cache info while in service, it will all stay there when you go out of service. As long as you don't close the app. This is using the official app.

Edited by Ambrosia
Clarification
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50 minutes ago, Ambrosia said:

 

Usually, if the caches show up on my map while in service, they are still there when I lose service. I can't get any new caches to show up, but those that are there still have info. Sometimes all of the info is there, but sometimes I only have partial info (cache description but no cache logs, for instance). At the very worse, all I have is the cache icon on the map, and I can get myself there and search for it blindly. That's happened to me a fair amount of times. Things are much better now that I download things as a kind of knee jerk reaction to these events.:)

 

I suspect that I probably tried searching again when I got to the trailhead, and at that point the app wouldn't return anything, nor download higher resolution map tiles.    The solution is rather simple though.  Just get in the habit of download caches for offline use before leaving home or while you have access to data.  

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6 hours ago, NYPaddleCacher said:

A few years ago I was staying for a few days in a house in the Adirondacks.  I went out and did a few caches, then looked on my phone for others to find.  I saw a couple about 10 miles away on the other side of the lake (just off the major highway the runs through the area).  I headed off to the area, pulled into a trailhead parking lot, only to discover that there was no cell service.    No maps, and the caches I'd seen earlier when I had cell services where not available.

Was this using Groundspeak's Geocaching app? Because all the other apps I've seen have cached the data for the geocaches that you've viewed. I wouldn't be able to get new data, but I would have at least had the data that I had already viewed.

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On 7/11/2019 at 9:17 PM, niraD said:

Ive used Android apps that supported offline maps nicely, but they no longer work. I'm in the market for a new Android app myself, one that supports offline maps nicely. But that may be a different thread...

Locus Pro and GCDroid both handle offline caching quite well. Well enough that I haven't used my Garmin in over a year. My favorite is Locus Pro.

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On 7/12/2019 at 10:23 AM, NYPaddleCacher said:

The solution is rather simple though.  Just get in the habit of download caches for offline use before leaving home or while you have access to data.

 

My muggband always wonders why it takes so long for me to plan "our" vacation route.  heh heh

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Interesting, I didn't even realize that the GPS capabilities on a phone would not work in remote areas.  My GPS takes no data, and it works 100% of the time, regardless of where I am.  Sometimes I am unable to post logs, but the caches always show up fine.  I use c:geo on an LG Stylo.

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15 minutes ago, Ageleni said:

Interesting, I didn't even realize that the GPS capabilities on a phone would not work in remote areas.

The GPS of a phone DOES work in remote areas without a cell/data connection. Many phone apps don't handle being offline very well, but that's a different issue.

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