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PinkNosedPenguin

Phone vs GPS

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I thought this would be a very frequent question but am struggling to find helpful answers :huh:

 

My wife and I use our phones for Geocaching (Samsung S8 and S7 respectively) with the Geocaching App. But other Geocachers almost always seem to use dedicated GPS devices, claiming they could mever use their phone as the battery wouldn't last long enough. We rarely have a problem with battery life, and carry a portable charger just in case. We also like being able to geocache on a whim ("Oh look there's a geocache 200m from where we are!") because we've always got our phones on us, right?

 

So my question is, if I was to spend up to £200 on a budget GPS, and be organised enough to download caches onto it in advance, would I benefit from:

1. increased GPS accuracy

2. better signal under trees

compared to a phone?

 

And if the answer to both questions is YES, would you rate the Garmin eTrex 32x device?

 

Thanks in advance :D

Edited by PinkNosedPenguin

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No to both. Your Samsung phones are sufficiently accurate and sensitive. 

I also have a Samsung phone, but still prefer my GPSr for Geocaching. 

If you ever do go the GPSr route, save up and get an Oregon 7x0 or GPSMAP 66 series, as they can also download geocache info on a whim without prior planning and data loading. They can do this via bluetooth connection or WiFi when present.

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2 hours ago, PinkNosedPenguin said:

I thought this would be a very frequent question but am struggling to find helpful answers :huh:

 

My wife and I use our phones for Geocaching (Samsung S8 ad S7 respectively) with the Geocaching App.

But other Geocachers almost always seem to use dedicated GPS devices, claiming they could mever use their phone as the battery wouldn't last long enough. We rarely have a problem with battery life, and carry a portable charger just in case. We also like being able to geocache on a whim ("Oh look there's a geocache 200m from where we are!") because we've always got our phones on us, right?

 

So my question is, if I was to spend up to £200 on a budget GPS, and be organised enough to download caches onto it in advance, would I benefit from:

1. increased GPS accuracy

2. better signal under trees

compared to a phone?

And if the answer to both questions is YES, would you rate the Garmin eTrex 32x device?

 

"Phone vs GPS" is the most-asked question in the forums.      :D      Search "phone" in search of this GPS forums only for an idea.   ;)

A lot I guess don't realize that "GPS" is also already in their phone.

We've called a handheld a GPSr since Trimble had it in the other 2/3rd's information on her first GPS app in '05.   

There's little difference in "accuracy" between a phone and a GPSr these days.   Ten feet is still the average for civilian GPS.

We have no issue "under trees" with a GPSr, and still have signal in our home.    That might be a deciding factor.

You already have a charger "just in case", but do you also have your phone in a case ?    Fragility another factor for me.

 

Like Atlas Cached, I'd save a bit more, now that you know those GPSr folks are talking nonsense,  and pick up a model 66 or 7xx  series if you feel you really need it.   :)

 

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Thanks for answers so far - well I don't feel the need to buy a GPSr at all then! Basically I'd possibly get a better signal under trees, but other than that its just extra hassle (more money, carry round 2 devices, pre-load the GPSr). Or am I wrong anyone . . . ?

Edited by PinkNosedPenguin

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4 minutes ago, PinkNosedPenguin said:

Basically I'd possibly get a better signal under trees, but other than that its just extra hassle (more money, carry round 2 devices, pre-load the GPSr). Or am I wrong anyone . . . ?

 

You're correct.  I pre-load my handheld Garmin GPS (and also pre-load the phone), and usually carry both, although the phone is stashed safely away during a hike.

 

The Garmin eTrex 32x is a very nice unit.  You don't have to pre-load a GPSr, but if you do, a PQ (filtered to your liking) of an entire park or town is pretty convenient.

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8 hours ago, PinkNosedPenguin said:

So my question is, if I was to spend up to £200 on a budget GPS, and be organised enough to download caches onto it in advance, would I benefit from:

1. increased GPS accuracy

2. better signal under trees

compared to a phone?

 

Your problem seems to be GPS receiving sensitivity. The best solution is Garmin GLO https://buy.garmin.com/en-US/US/p/645104/pn/010-02184-01

It gives the state of the art sensitivity and accuracy to your phone without any compromise.

Edited by arisoft
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10 hours ago, arisoft said:

 

Your problem seems to be GPS receiving sensitivity. The best solution is Garmin GLO https://buy.garmin.com/en-US/US/p/645104/pn/010-02184-01

It gives the state of the art sensitivity and accuracy to your phone without any compromise.

 

So you connect the GLO to your phone by bluetooth? I did try another similar unit, but found it very tricky to setup, and the end result was worse than just using the phone on its own. Maybe the GLO is different? Do you use it successfully yourself @arisoft ? Or anyone else? Do you find it improves signal under trees and/or general accuracy over the phone on its own?

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Just another device with a lithium battery that may need to be recharged in the field requiring you to carry an auxiliary battery pack and cables 'just in case'.

 

And, no. GPS accuracy under cover will likely be no better, if not worse than your phone.

 

Save your $$ until you can get an Oregon 7x0 or GPSMAP 66, both of which can be 'recharged' instantly with a simple pair of AA batteries.

 

The bitterness of poor performance far outlasts the sweetness of low price.

 

 

Edited by Atlas Cached
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Do the dedicated GPRs (Oregon 7x0 or GPSMAP 66 ) have better antenna, reception, sensitivity?  

Can they connect to more satellites? 

Can they connect to all the new or non-US satellite systems?

Do U.S. phones use GLONASS?

WAAS?

Phone Apps requiring subscriptions?

Edited by jakewa

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There are phones that can connect to GLONASS and/or Galileo just as the latest Garmin units do.
It really does depend on the phone model and age of the phone, but generally speaking, they have comparable reception and sensitivity when it comes to the GPS antenna. Phones have an added advantage of being able to utilize wireless network signals to aid with the GPS for location services, but even outside of cell service range, the GPS antenna works just as well as a dedicated GPS receiver. 

Apps vary in quality, most don't require subscriptions. But at least with a phone - an android phone anyway - you have those choices. The choices seem to be fewer for iOS devices, at least when it comes to geocaching, but they are quality apps. With a dedicated Garmin, you're limited to what Garmin provides you for interface and usage. Granted, they give you more than enough to use it for navigation and orienteering, let alone geocaching, and there are plenty of community-made free maps to put on these devices as well. 

The debate over phone vs. GPS has entered the realm of personal preference rather than one being inherently better than the other. 

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12 hours ago, PinkNosedPenguin said:

So you connect the GLO to your phone by bluetooth? I did try another similar unit, but found it very tricky to setup, and the end result was worse than just using the phone on its own. Maybe the GLO is different? Do you use it successfully yourself @arisoft ? Or anyone else? Do you find it improves signal under trees and/or general accuracy over the phone on its own?

 

I have used BT GPS devices almost ten years. Accuracy is same as with handheld GPS devices especially in the woods where many mobile phone GPS receivers are unusable and sometimes even better, because in difficult areas you can carry the receiver over your head to get the best reception.

 

Setup depends. If you use Locus App you need only to select the BT GPS device from the app. No additional setup is needed. For other uses you need a special app to replace internal GPS with the external one.

Edited by arisoft

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3 hours ago, jakewa said:

Do the dedicated GPRs (Oregon 7x0 or GPSMAP 66 ) have better antenna, reception, sensitivity?  

 

Yes, they do have much larger antenna. There is no enough space for sensitive antenna in mobile phones.

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On 2/16/2020 at 11:19 AM, Mineral2 said:

The debate over phone vs. GPS has entered the realm of personal preference rather than one being inherently better than the other. 

Late last fall, we saw the Garmin Etrex30x at Costco for $130.  We have used our phones for geocaching since we started in March 2017, but for that price, we figured we'd see what this GPSr stuff was all about.  For the last few months I've been running a PQ of all our unfound caches near us, and prepping for road trips and outings by downloading the area caches where we are headed.

 

In our local area, I "practice" with the GPSr while hubby uses the phone (forcing myself to NOT use my phone!).  Both get us to the caches, and accuracy seems just as good with either one.  It is a bit of a learning curve to use the Etrex; the phone is definitely faster, but I think that's only because that is what I am familiar with.  On a recent hike with friends who use GPSr's and NOT phones, I was able to share solved coordinates for a couple of puzzles via BT on MY GPSr - that was pretty cool.  No typing of coordinates, it just sent them to their devices.  

 

While I still prefer the phone, I like the "smallness" and one handed operation of the Etrex, the battery life is days/weeks rather than hours, it;s way more rugged than my phone, and if I've preloaded the area, it finds the caches just as accurately as the phone.  Plus if we are ever without phone signal, and we haven't prepared by saving any data for offline, I will likely have all the area caches on the Etrex.

 

It's more of a backup device for now; and I still use my phone for a quick cache or two while we are out running errands and have a bit of time to spare.

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You bring up an excellent point. Many people will buy the most expensive phone they can afford but the least expensive GPSr, then compare the two unfairly.

 

Both do things the other can not, neither do it all.

 

Glad you are enjoying tour eTrex.

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5 hours ago, CAVinoGal said:

Late last fall, we saw the Garmin Etrex30x at Costco for $130.  We have used our phones for geocaching since we started in March 2017, but for that price, we figured we'd see what this GPSr stuff was all about.  For the last few months I've been running a PQ of all our unfound caches near us, and prepping for road trips and outings by downloading the area caches where we are headed.

 

In our local area, I "practice" with the GPSr while hubby uses the phone (forcing myself to NOT use my phone!).  Both get us to the caches, and accuracy seems just as good with either one.  It is a bit of a learning curve to use the Etrex; the phone is definitely faster, but I think that's only because that is what I am familiar with.  On a recent hike with friends who use GPSr's and NOT phones, I was able to share solved coordinates for a couple of puzzles via BT on MY GPSr - that was pretty cool.  No typing of coordinates, it just sent them to their devices.  

 

While I still prefer the phone, I like the "smallness" and one handed operation of the Etrex, the battery life is days/weeks rather than hours, it;s way more rugged than my phone, and if I've preloaded the area, it finds the caches just as accurately as the phone.  Plus if we are ever without phone signal, and we haven't prepared by saving any data for offline, I will likely have all the area caches on the Etrex.

 

It's more of a backup device for now; and I still use my phone for a quick cache or two while we are out running errands and have a bit of time to spare.

Yes, it's what you are used to. I have an etrex30 and find it so much quicker and user friendly than my phone. I find the phone clunky, and certainly wouldn't log on it, except if I had no choice. I like to write good logs and on a phone that takes too long. And I have no idea how to quickly copy and paste text on a phone.

Edited by Goldenwattle

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5 hours ago, Goldenwattle said:

And I have no idea how to quickly copy and paste text on a phone.

Long-press over the text to highlight and copy. Long-press in an empty text box to paste. On the rare occasion when I do log from my phone, I will speak my log. Otherwise I'll save my log as a draft and finish it later from a computer. Typing out a log on a GPS is even more arduous, so I'm assuming you prefer the GPS for simply uploading drafts, which phone apps can do as well.

Edited by Mineral2
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I do not do any logging from my phone or GPSr. Too much time required in the field. I may type a quick note for myself, but all logging is done from a PC at home.

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41 minutes ago, Atlas Cached said:

I do not do any logging from my phone or GPSr. Too much time required in the field. I may type a quick note for myself, but all logging is done from a PC at home.

 

Yep.  At the end of the day, I like to relax, have a coffee, and take my time.   :)

Maybe it'd be different if we still did nondescript roadside or urban hides, where there's little different about them to warrant mention.

The other 2/3rds logged those back then...

 

 

 

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9 hours ago, Atlas Cached said:

Many people will buy the most expensive phone they can afford but the least expensive GPSr, then compare the two unfairly.

 

We see that a lot.   Comparing an iPhone 10  with a blue legend was the last we heard another mention at an event.

I stepped in to say we replaced that model after our first year, and that's not a fair comparison. 

He looked at us like he was busted instead of incorrect, and I feel it's done on purpose in a few cases.            

Lots of us remember a time when phones were horrible for this hobby.  That hasn't been true though in some time.

We still see some here, mostly comparing new phones with etrex 10, or long-discontinued models, after reading a pre-'12 or so thread.    :)

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7 hours ago, Goldenwattle said:

I find the phone clunky, and certainly wouldn't log on it, except if I had no choice. I like to write good logs and on a phone that takes too long. And I have no idea how to quickly copy and paste text on a phone.

 

Logging my finds is a whole 'nother issue!  As previous posters,  I usually log a quick draft on the phone, a couple of keywords to help me remember details to include in my log, time and who was there, etc.  Then I log from my computer when I get home later that day, or the next, when I have time to sit down and compose a proper log from my drafts.

 

The Etrex lets me hit the Log it, Found it (or Didn't find it), and I'm on to the next cache (with paper notes if I need to remember anything outstanding).  At home, hook up the Etrex to my computer, Fetch the days activity using GSAK, THEN write my logs as usual with my Find Count and timestamp auto added.  I wouldn't even begin trying to write a proper log on the Etrex (hunt and peck with the joystick, ugh!!)  and I make too many typos in the field to log on my phone.  And I have never gotten comfortable speaking to my phone (not sure why) to send email, text, or logs.  Hubby does it all the time, I just type when I get home!!

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37 minutes ago, cerberus1 said:

We still see some here, mostly comparing new phones with etrex 10, or long-discontinued models, after reading a pre-'12 or so thread.

 

I'm a smartphone evangelist, and I still feel compelled to say that the best handheld GPSrs should on principle perform better for GPS use than smartphones - it's what they're explicitly designed to do. If/when smartphones outperform handhelds on the general market, that will be the end of handhelds.  Right now, yep, both classes of devices have their strengths; both (on the average) are more than sufficient for general geocaching; both can fail utterly if users don't know how to use their devices properly :)

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4 hours ago, CAVinoGal said:

 

Logging my finds is a whole 'nother issue!  As previous posters,  I usually log a quick draft on the phone, a couple of keywords to help me remember details to include in my log, time and who was there, etc.  Then I log from my computer when I get home later that day, or the next, when I have time to sit down and compose a proper log from my drafts.

 

The Etrex lets me hit the Log it, Found it (or Didn't find it), and I'm on to the next cache (with paper notes if I need to remember anything outstanding).  At home, hook up the Etrex to my computer, Fetch the days activity using GSAK, THEN write my logs as usual with my Find Count and timestamp auto added.  I wouldn't even begin trying to write a proper log on the Etrex (hunt and peck with the joystick, ugh!!)  and I make too many typos in the field to log on my phone.  And I have never gotten comfortable speaking to my phone (not sure why) to send email, text, or logs.  Hubby does it all the time, I just type when I get home!!

I do much the same with my Etrex. Sometimes I'll add a word or two in "Add Comment" as a memory jogger or if there is a maintenance issue with the cache to remind me to mention it in my log (minor) or log NM (major). On the rare occasion that I log on my phone I find I am somewhat briefer as I really suck at typing on a phone.

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On 2/19/2020 at 4:53 PM, thebruce0 said:

 

I'm a smartphone evangelist, and I still feel compelled to say that the best handheld GPSrs should on principle perform better for GPS use than smartphones - it's what they're explicitly designed to do. If/when smartphones outperform handhelds on the general market, that will be the end of handhelds.  Right now, yep, both classes of devices have their strengths; both (on the average) are more than sufficient for general geocaching; both can fail utterly if users don't know how to use their devices properly :)

 

Yes this is getting more to the heart of my question; so you think a decent GPSr will still outperform a decent phone FOR ACTUAL GPS USE?

 

It's a bit like we don't bother with a point-and-shoot digit camera anymore as our phones have way better ones in them nowadays - but we also don't expect our phones to take as good a picture as my Nikon DSLR with a decent lens :D (although of course that camera is lot more bulky!)

Edited by PinkNosedPenguin

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44 minutes ago, PinkNosedPenguin said:

Yes this is getting more to the heart of my question; so you think a decent GPSr will still outperform a decent phone FOR ACTUAL GPS USE?

 

Another smartphone evangelist chiming in.

 

In a scientific comparison, I suppose a GPSr unit would win.  By a small margin.

 

In the real world, with some geo-sense around GZ, I find phone and GPS roughly equivalent.  I've done some side-by-side tests where I couldn't tell the difference, before demoting the Garmin to a dust-collection experiment.

 

Your choice of app will matter.  The one I use, Locus Map Pro, is so full-featured, I consider it a complete Garmin replacement.

 

Edited by Viajero Perdido
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"Outperform" I feel isn't the issue today.     "GPS" is pretty-much the same, no matter what container it's housed in. 

The difference is battery life and  ruggedness...

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47 minutes ago, PinkNosedPenguin said:

Yes this is getting more to the heart of my question; so you think a decent GPSr will still outperform a decent phone FOR ACTUAL GPS USE?

 

It's more like needing to be an audiophile to detect subtle quality differences in most modern average to higher speakers and home audio equipment, when the vast majority of people won't be able to tell a difference let alone need that difference to matter for their relatively generic everyday use.

 

At some point in all the tech races, the cost isn't justified by the technological lead because most people don't need that added benefit.  When the gap was bigger and the tech was growing fast and noticeably, it was much more compelling. Think TV quality. The move from analog to digital was noticeable. From 720 to HD 1080p, still noticeable but not as compelling. 1080p to 4K, arguably most relevant to gamers or people who wanted very large screens. Now 8K?  Add on top of that the fluctuating and slowly decreasing cost over the years to weigh in to the purchase.

 

Similarly, when GPS opened, handhelds dominated the market. The tech gap between smartphones and handhelds shrunk over the years, but the cost was still higher for smartphones; and justification had to be made about whether the rest of the phone's ability was worth the added cost. Now the tech gap is fairly small in the general market, the cost is much lower, and if you really care, you might be able to notice the tech divide for GPS between device performance. But now really the biggest factor in cost justification is what else the device can or can't do - not merely GPS. It's a complex equation :P (depending on who you ask)

 

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1 hour ago, Viajero Perdido said:

In a scientific comparison, I suppose a GPSr unit would win.  By a small margin.

 

It is better to know than suppose. When signal strength is good enough, both units should work equally. When signal is weak, the more sensitive unit continues to work and the other drops.

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10 hours ago, Viajero Perdido said:

Your choice of app will matter.  The one I use, Locus Map Pro, is so full-featured, I consider it a complete Garmin replacement.

 

This is the most important point.  The Official Geocaching app is quite poor in this respect; it tends to "lock up" and the GPS position stops updating for minutes at a time.  Locus Map Pro does not exhibit this behavior. 

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One point I would like to mention. Ground zero of a geocache is also measured with some device with a measuring error. Thus the coordinates of the geocache also will always have an error (from very small to big).

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Bless you, @Twentse Mug.  If I understand your sentence correctly, you may be one of the few that have used "ground zero" in a sensible way in a long time here.  gc.com has perpetuated a strange use of the phrase where it is meant to express the posted location of a cache.  Use of the phrase "ground zero" in any other context is where the bomb actually drops, not where it was intended or expected to be.  Current use is so counterintuitive that it's a wonder that new members aren't thoroughly confused when reading "ground zero" and thinking it's where the cache is actually situated vs. some documented location.  Makes a big difference in cache logs!

 

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23 hours ago, cerberus1 said:

"Outperform" I feel isn't the issue today.     "GPS" is pretty-much the same, no matter what container it's housed in. 

The difference is battery life and  ruggedness...

I don't care about battery life and ruggedness (happy with my phone on both counts)

21 hours ago, arisoft said:

It is better to know than suppose. When signal strength is good enough, both units should work equally. When signal is weak, the more sensitive unit continues to work and the other drops.

Yes, I find my phone almost unusable under very heavy tree cover where there is no direct sight to the sky - sometimes I have to keep emerging from the trees to get a signal, and then go back in with a better idea of where GZ is! Would a GPSr perform better here? It has a bigger/better antenna so I think it would?

23 hours ago, Viajero Perdido said:

Your choice of app will matter.  The one I use, Locus Map Pro, is so full-featured, I consider it a complete Garmin replacement.

 

13 hours ago, fizzymagic said:

This is the most important point.  The Official Geocaching app is quite poor in this respect; it tends to "lock up" and the GPS position stops updating for minutes at a time.  Locus Map Pro does not exhibit this behavior. 

Now this is interesting! I use the Geocaching App and did not think a different app would make hardly any difference. Locus Map Pro at £8.99 is slightly cheaper than a GPSr :lol:

Edited by PinkNosedPenguin

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1 hour ago, PinkNosedPenguin said:

I find my phone almost unusable under very heavy tree cover where there is no direct sight to the sky - sometimes I have to keep emerging from the trees to get a signal, and then go back in with a better idea of where GZ is! Would a GPSr perform better here?

 

It might. So might a better phone :ph34r::D

But seriously, I rarely have issue with tree cover so much that I can't find a geocache because of it; and if it does cause a bit of a problem, people I'm with are also having difficulty.  One thing to try (if you do this) is not using the compass view but using the overhead map. That way the pin is absolutely in place by its coordinates, in relation to the map tiles, and if it seems like your device can't get a pinpointed self location to sufficient accuracy, you can eyeball the cache location much faster, especially if there are visible landmarks (whether or not using satellite tiles).  I abhor using the compass for this reason - the world is entirely depicted on uncertainty (location, heading, orientation). It's like night and day!  I wager that many people's frustrations or difficulties with using a smartphone is because they use the compass; I even see videos of relatively new users on their phones trying to get their phone to point to the cache location, and I get irked :P

Anyway, sorry for unload, no idea if it's relevant to your case, heh

A more sensitive device could stand a better chance of performing better under heavier tree cover. And some phones seem to fare worse than others.

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One feature, rather than raw sensitivity, that I'd like to see tested and compared is ability to handle multipath (especially short delay) error.  Get into an urban canyon with satellite signals bouncing all over the place and you can wind up with 100' errors in every direction.  Who puts the best silicon in their devices?

 

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The thing is, correcting for multipath means having some way of knowing that the distance (time) the signal traveled has been extended due to bouncing off of other surfaces. Phones can take care of this if there are wifi or cell antennas and your location preferences are set to high accuracy to use GPS + service signal + wifi to pinpoint your location. A handheld GPSr won't unless it somehow receives multiple pings from the same satellite that originated at the same time, in which case the software could use the first one and filter out any subsequent hits from the same signal.

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The latter situation (one satellite, one or more reflected signals) is the most common, but not all chips have firmware or band coverage to deal with it, and some algorithms perform better than others.  One of the major problems is that you may have either one or two signals from one satellite, and NEITHER of them are direct, unreflected signals. 

 

I hear STMicro may have been the first to introduce tri-band (L1.L2.L5), which may help even more than dual-band. 

 

None of this, BTW, requires any other external RF reference (e.g., cell or WiFi sites) to sort out.

 

And before we go down the road with that one, I'm in pre-emptive mode this time.

 

 

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Edited by ecanderson

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On 2/20/2020 at 1:01 AM, Mineral2 said:

Long-press over the text to highlight and copy. Long-press in an empty text box to paste. On the rare occasion when I do log from my phone, I will speak my log. Otherwise I'll save my log as a draft and finish it later from a computer. Typing out a log on a GPS is even more arduous, so I'm assuming you prefer the GPS for simply uploading drafts, which phone apps can do as well.

I log on a computer.

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Rarely does a " do it all " device do a specific task as well as a device dedicated to that single task. My wife and I both have phones in Otter Box Defender cases.....you could drop them all day long in the woods and do no damage. Still caching 8 hr plus is a pain with battery packs, etc. Then in bright sunlight it is VERY difficult to see a phone screen.

Re finding caches, accuracy, etc. I much prefer our 60 and 78 series units ( or just about any other dedicated GPS ) to smartphones.

The phones are great for spur of the minute caching or if I need info. I can't get on the GPS.

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Another reason why experiences and desires are extremely different from person to person.

I've never used a protective case (I only currently have one because my screen is cracked and it helps keep things more solid) and I only have battery packs for emergency all-day use when there's no chance of plugging in and it's been used constantly and I have every little annoyance as reflection of the screen.

There are far too many subjective factors to state one is objectively better than another.  And that's why it's excellent to hear people's personal experiences and what they prefer and why. It's just like reading movie reviews - the reviewer may not like what you like, and if you listen to them criticize a movie and not see it, you may miss out on a film you'll greatly enjoy! And if you come to trust a reviewer because you seem to enjoy all the same stuff, there's a better chance you'll pay more attention to their reviews.

 

Just try a device, for a while, and find out if it works for you, whether you're willing to put extra $ into accessories or use it barebones, or whether the additional functions outweigh the dedicated functionality, etc etc. It's best to just understand that each device can be legitimately phenominal - if that person thinks it is, but could be a complete bust to someone else.  This isn't a place for fanboy debates :) No one is better by association, "my daddy isn't better than your daddy" lol.  Explain what makes your device your device of choice, that's what's most valuable in these little chats

= )

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Wow -- just had a fellow cacher asking me about GC6RVQD.  They're using the 'official' app on a phone.

 

Geez, I looked at it, and no ability to change notation from decimal minutes, no datum changes from WGS84.  Had to recommend a PC app and/or online tool for their PC to work through it.

Geez, I looked at it, and STILL no ability to do waypoint averaging for hiding a cache.  So much for best practice...

Geez, I looked at it ... and well, it's pretty miserable in a lot of respects.  It does seem to tie in well with the gc.com web site features, but that's about it.

 

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[off topic] GC6RVQD seems to be misclassified and should have been published as a mystery/unknown cache rather than a multicache.

BTW, any website that can be accessed by a computer can be accessed by a smartphone. So just because the official app may be light on features does not mean a smartphone is.

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You'd think they would at least have a decent feature for marking/averaging a waypoint for hiding a cache so that yet another app wasn't necessary for THAT basic function.  Or does that come with the platinum version? :lol:  Code for features of that sort isn't complex, and if you're going to try to replace a GPSr for this game with a phone app, you'd think certain minimum features would be at the top of the spec, rather than having users chasing elsewhere for the functionality you need in the field.  I use a phone for 'impromptu' caching, but nothing more.  It's too much easier to hide a cache or project a waypoint with my Garmin.

 

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18 hours ago, Mineral2 said:

BTW, any website that can be accessed by a computer can be accessed by a smartphone. So just because the official app may be light on features does not mean a smartphone is.

Yep, I'd even suggest that a vast majority of complaints about "smartphones" could actually be directly squarely at whatever app they chose to use and whether they liked it.

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So...relatively inexperienced cacher here. I've only ever used the Geocaching app, and am perpetually frustrated. The other day it said I was 27 ft from my cache when it was literally in front of my toes. Reading this thread, I'm guessing I should try a different GPS app? 

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30 minutes ago, LizzyandCo said:

So...relatively inexperienced cacher here. I've only ever used the Geocaching app, and am perpetually frustrated. The other day it said I was 27 ft from my cache when it was literally in front of my toes. Reading this thread, I'm guessing I should try a different GPS app? 

 

You can try some Apps, see what you like.  Some might update the position faster than others, which is good and bad (how many places do you want it to point quickly?).  They all present the various functions in their own ways.  You need to look at all the available information. 

 

Remember that if your position is a little off, and the hider's position was a little off, that all adds up.  The main thing is you're at the cache site.  Now look for likely spots. Does the title have a clue like "Stumped" (check the nearby "stump"). Is there a cache hint?  Look at the satellite map, you might get a better idea of where the container is.


 

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Posted (edited)
54 minutes ago, LizzyandCo said:

So...relatively inexperienced cacher here. I've only ever used the Geocaching app, and am perpetually frustrated. The other day it said I was 27 ft from my cache when it was literally in front of my toes. Reading this thread, I'm guessing I should try a different GPS app? 

 

Perfect!

 

Typical GPSr accuracy is +- 15 feet on any given day, and if the GPS the geocache owner used was off in the opposite direction as yours is today, that can easily account for +-30 feet of 'wiggle room'. Any time you get to within 30 feet of the cache coordinates, it is always time to put the GPSr (or smart phone) down and start using the fancy computer between your ears!

 

 

Edited by Atlas Cached

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36 minutes ago, Atlas Cached said:

 

Perfect!

 

Typical GPSr accuracy is +- 15 feet on any given day, and if the GPS the geocache owner used was off in the opposite direction as yours is today, that can easily account for +-30 feet of 'wiggle room'. Any time you get to within 30 feet of the cache coordinates, it is always time to put the GPSr (or smart phone) down and start using the fancy computer between your ears!

 

 

Ohhhh. So basically I'm expecting too much accuracy. Guess I need to go back and try again on a couple of my DNFs. 

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Sometimes you get lucky and the GPSr will place you right over the geocache, but that is just luck, and not reliably reproducible.

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1 hour ago, thebruce0 said:

Yep, I'd even suggest that a vast majority of complaints about "smartphones" could actually be directly squarely at whatever app they chose to use and whether they liked it.

 

Also, the "Apps" deprecate and then go away.  The "free" or one-time-pay ones do, without funds to sustain them.  The App and its whole company kind of evaporates, you notice no updates in 3 or 4 years yet the phone's OS changes and the API changes, and the App you preferred, eventually stops working.

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8 minutes ago, LizzyandCo said:

Ohhhh. So basically I'm expecting too much accuracy. Guess I need to go back and try again on a couple of my DNFs. 

hehe welcome to the hobby :)

 

Yes the most important thing to keep in mind is that there are fundamental limitations on geocaching that have nothing to do with the accuracy of any device. Coords we're given are to 3 decimal places - more accurate devices can't take to you any more accurate location than the coordinates provide. A variety of devices exist out there, and knowing that minimal possible accuracy combined with an unknown hardware accuracy of the one who placed it means arguing which device is better for geocaching is pretty fruitless, since even the best devices can only get so close.

General rule of thumb - get within 5-10m and started looking.  Sometimes coordinates may seem spot on, sometimes they'll be off and there's nothing that can be done.  Sometimes a group of people will have have GZ's at different locations each declaring that is where the cache should be :) Those are fun times.

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