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sydnsue

Garmin vs smartphone

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Nowadays I tend to use my smartphone (Galaxy S8+) for searching. I used to use, and still have, a Garmin Oregon, but with the pre-downloads and the limited cache storage, I have found the phone much better, especially as I log immediately rather than ploughing through them when I return home. How often have I been in an area which is just outside the cache radius I preloaded?

With this in mind, and because there is always the poor signal risk, I contacted Garmin who are close to where I live, and asked if they had any means of linking the Oregon to a phone, or if they had any products to achieve this. They replied stating they had no product or apps that can link with phones or the internet and there was nothing in the pipeline. I find it incredible that they appear to be ignoring the obvious in this online age.

Has anyone found any method of overlaying the live Geocaching.com data onto a Garmin or similar? Am I the only one who has ceased using their handheld and moved over to Geocaching.com by phone?

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Posted (edited)
54 minutes ago, sydnsue said:

They replied stating they had no product or apps that can link with phones or the internet and there was nothing in the pipeline. I find it incredible that they appear to be ignoring the obvious in this online age.

 

It sounds like the person you were talking to isn't very familiar with their product range. The Oregon 700 I bought last year supports their Live Geocaching where it can load caches on the fly from geocaching.com over a wifi connection to a phone or whatever, and I think the new 66S also has that feature. I haven't yet used that functionality as it doesn't really fit my caching style (my typical caching day targets just one or two caches, often in a remote location where there's no mobile data) so I don't know how well it performs. I also generally write long logs (at least 3 or 4 paragraphs) with lots of photos taken along my journey to the cache so logging in the field isn't appealing to me.

Edited by barefootjeff
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I also use a Galaxy S8 to cache. I had an old Garmin GPSr when I cached years ago, which has long since been lost. I've recently been considering buying another dedicated GPS unit, but have not had the justification to spend a couple of hundred pounds when my smartphone has yet to let me down. I'm also planning on upgrading my phone when 5g rolls out in a couple of months.

 

Even with signal loss I find my phones gps can get me to downloaded caches with offline maps on a third party app.

 

I've read a lot of contradicting things, so how do you personally rate the accuracy of your smartphone compared to the Garmin unit?

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I have a number of Garmin GPS devices. None of the full featured handheld GPSr units I have will connect to my smartphone. I did pickup a Garmin GLO, which is a GPS/GLONASS bluetooth receiver. I pair it with my iPod Touch to give my Touch GPS capability. I could pair it with my smartphone, but all it does is provide GPS coordinates to the phone, no overlays, no apps.

 

As for accuracy, it depends. My phone is better in the City, where it can also triangulate on WiFi signals. The Oregon is best under tree cover.

 

In direct sunlight, the Montana is way easier to read than a smartphone. 

 

I have a car mount for the Montana, which also doubles as a charger. Just snap the GPS in place, there are charging contacts on the side of the unit. No car mounts for the smartphone, or the Oregon.

 

I use what fits my needs at the time and place. I will pre-load all of my target caches on my GPSr's, which might be very specific caches for geocaching road trips, and a large radius in my normal operating area. I use the smartphone for a quick, is there a cache in the rest area, type geocaching.

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4 hours ago, barefootjeff said:

It sounds like the person you were talking to isn't very familiar with their product range.

 

Yep.  Though it sounds that maybe they might have been thinking along the lines of linking the OP's older Oregon to a phone.  :)

 66 and the Oregon 700 series sync with your phone.   There's a few threads on them since they came out in the GPS forum.

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5 hours ago, sydnsue said:

They replied stating they had no product or apps that can link with phones or the internet and there was nothing in the pipeline. I find it incredible that they appear to be ignoring the obvious in this online age.

Has anyone found any method of overlaying the live Geocaching.com data onto a Garmin or similar? Am I the only one who has ceased using their handheld and moved over to Geocaching.com by phone?

 

Maybe they didn't understand the question.  Strange that they didn't then say, "but you can connect to Geocaching.com using a wireless connection such as a phone's wifi, with the following Garmin products...".

 

Anyway, yes, some newer Garmin GPSs can use a wireless connection to load caches from Geocaching.com.  I've done that with my Oregon 750.  I can scroll to a spot on the map (or arrive there), and VIOLA! …the blank map can fill with caches that I didn't load in advance.  Pretty cool!  It's all kinda new, and there's of course a lot that can and does go wrong.  Plus, the whole point of bringing my GPS is I don't need the phone data, and especially that I might not even have phone service.  But I could see it coming in handy.

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14 hours ago, sydnsue said:

..... asked if they had any means of linking the Oregon to a phone, or if they had any products to achieve this. They replied stating they had no product or apps that can link with phones or the internet and there was nothing in the pipeline.

One way to link older (but not the really old) GPS units with an Android phone is with an OTG cable to connect the phone and GPS. Some of the things you could do with that while you are in the field are:

* Depending on the phone app, you could pan & zoom the phone screen map to an area of interest and have it save a GPX file of all the caches on the screen directly to your Garmin.

* You can go to the web site and create/download a PQ and copy it to the Garmin.

* You can download OSM/TOPO maps and copy to the Garmin.

* You could send or receive a GPX file to or from a friend. 

This is not the most efficient way to do things of course but it can allow using a "non-internet-connected" Garmin in a more 'spur of the moment' fashion when needed. There isn't going to be any live interaction between the phone and GPS but you can at least go online with your phone, acquire information and save it to the Garmin. 

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I have a Galaxy S8, but got a Garmin Etrex 30 a couple years into my caching and don't plan to get rid if it.

 

I find the phone great for navigating in the car and on-the-fly caching. But when trying to find GZ or when going for a hike I much prefer my Garmin. The Etrex 30 can handle 5000 waypoints so I keep a very large area loaded at any given time so that I'm prepared. Note that I use GSAK to maintain a database of caches I want to find so I can load almost the entire state of Florida in one go (the state has 40,000 or so active caches but my database only has about 4,000 caches from around the state).

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Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, kunarion said:

and VIOLA!

 

Had to laugh a bit at this as I just dropped off my oldest at an orchestra rehearsal.  😁  Didn't expect to see a string reference here in the forums!

 

The Monterra does the same - can connect via wifi.

Edited by coachstahly
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16 hours ago, sydnsue said:

With this in mind, and because there is always the poor signal risk, I contacted Garmin who are close to where I live, and asked if they had any means of linking the Oregon to a phone, or if they had any products to achieve this. They replied stating they had no product or apps that can link with phones or the internet and there was nothing in the pipeline. I find it incredible that they appear to be ignoring the obvious in this online age.

Has anyone found any method of overlaying the live Geocaching.com data onto a Garmin or similar? Am I the only one who has ceased using their handheld and moved over to Geocaching.com by phone?

 

I am actively using Garmin GLO and it is just the "missing link" they they "do not have".

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18 hours ago, sydnsue said:

Am I the only one who has ceased using their handheld and moved over to Geocaching.com by phone?

It's a bit ironic - our son and daughter-in-law, early 30's, have been caching since their teen years, using various GPSr's.  They still use, and seem to prefer those devices.  Hubby and I began caching in 2017, using our smartphones (Google Pixels), and have considered buying a GPSr.  We haven't really seen the need for it.  Granted, we live in an urban/suburban area with a lot of caches and good cell reception.  If we are venturing up to the mountains, we'll download stuff for offline use.  

 

So the younguns are using the GPSrs and us 60 somethings are using our smartphones.  It all works for all of us!

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18 hours ago, sydnsue said:

Am I the only one who has ceased using their handheld and moved over to Geocaching.com by phone?

 

You say that, even though you're concerned about "poor signal risk" ?  :D

I guess depending on whether I wanted to cache closer to towns and cities, I might too. 

We  have so many dead spots that it's an iffy day when using only a phone.  We've found the same in a couple states.

A "natural" thing I guess, a very large park nearby with two cities only two miles away,  has no service once you leave parking.

You'd need to know that if you didn't already load caches you were headed to offline.    There goes "I log immediately" too...

If you already own a rugged device with longer battery life  that holds the same caches,  that phone could stay safely in your pocket. 

The other 2/3rds has cached with a phone since '05,  yet she knows there are times to grab the GPSr again.   :)

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