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Thot

Do iPhone GPSRs degrade?

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I've been caching for 16 years, but with a handheld.  Because so many cache with a cellphone today I'm been trying to use mine.  I've had little success.  I'm using Cachly.  It does not point to or take me to the cache using distance.  It will get me within 400' but after that it's useless.  My iPhone is 4 years old.  It's been suggested that cellphone chips degrade with age and maybe that's the problem.  Any opinions on this?

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At a silicon chip level I suspect a phone and GPSr are pretty similar, and any could of course develop a fault. Have you tried a restart?

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14 minutes ago, lee737 said:

 Have you tried a restart?

 

Thanks for your reply.

 

I haven't restarted because of this but I have restarted since I began using Cachly and the behavior is the same.

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1 hour ago, Thot said:

I've been caching for 16 years, but with a handheld.  Because so many cache with a cellphone today I'm been trying to use mine.  I've had little success.  I'm using Cachly.  It does not point to or take me to the cache using distance.  It will get me within 400' but after that it's useless.  My iPhone is 4 years old.  It's been suggested that cellphone chips degrade with age and maybe that's the problem.  Any opinions on this?

 

Planned Obsolescence?  Maybe.  Anyway, phone parts are embarrassingly trashy.  Sensors tend to arrive defective fresh from the factory, yet capable of being "calibrated".  It is possible for sensors to fail over time, doesn't have to be "The GPS chip" that could create the havoc.  So are Garmin handheld parts for that matter.  But the latter is tuned for a purpose.

 

My iPhone 8s has been as you describe for about a year.  It slews 300 feet away and then wanders, it's pretty bad.  App choice doesn't seem to matter, but The Official App adds some extra screwiness, well-documented in other threads.  It's fine for street routing where being a couple hundred feet off isn't as bad.

 

I don't use a phone for Geocaching precision, not for GPS, unless I don't have my Garmin with me, and confident of the location.  A Phone is great for use as a cache database, messaging,  logs, photos, even as a phone.  The good old Garmin Oregon is reliable for position and cache guidance, except that lately I seem to be re-calibrating the compass at every cache (which would be magnetic sensors).  Distance isn't crazy the way my phone is.  My 750 has some features that overlap with the connected phone, which can help, but still requires both devices on hand.

 

Edited by kunarion
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I use a Nuvi to reach the area, then a Garmin 64s to find the cache.  But, there are times when the phone would come in handy.  The other day I'd left my 64s in the car at the repair shop so I was trying to use the phone.  Hopeless.  I was trying to find a skirt lifter in a large parking lot with many light poles. I could drive from one end of the parking lot to the other, neither the pointer nor the distance changed. 

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3 minutes ago, Thot said:

I use a Nuvi to reach the area, then a Garmin 64s to find the cache.  But, there are times when the phone would come in handy.  The other day I'd left my 64s in the car at the repair shop so I was trying to use the phone.  Hopeless.  I was trying to find a skirt lifter in a large parking lot with many light poles. I could drive from one end of the parking lot to the other, neither the pointer nor the distance changed. 

 

 In the case of a skirt lifter, I switch to the phone's satellite map, and that usually takes care of that.

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57 minutes ago, kunarion said:

 

 In the case of a skirt lifter, I switch to the phone's satellite map, and that usually takes care of that.

Or use the Nuvi.  I started out caching with a Nuvi before buying and Etrex. Oops, the Nuvi is back at the shop with the car.

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15 hours ago, colleda said:

Or use the Nuvi.  I started out caching with a Nuvi before buying and Etrex. Oops, the Nuvi is back at the shop with the car.

 

I was terrible when walking with the Nuvi.  Mine, in "pedestrian mode", directed me back onto streets, entirely around a park (while standing in the park), then directly through someone's back yard and fences.  No active compass pointer, and the icon stopped at the end of the road, not in the forest.  So my bright idea was to instead look at Lat and Long and watch them count to the cache spot.  One set of numbers was increasing, one was decreasing.  But the trail was a large oval loop.   So the numbers weren't approaching the target, they kept moving away, and it wasn't clear how to make them count toward the cache, wherever it was.  It took me an hour to figure it out, on a cache a quarter mile from the parking lot.  I'm bad at Geocaching as it is, but especially bad at Nuvi caching!

 

But in the case of a lamp post in a shopping center parking lot, I use Waze on the phone (or street routing on GyPSy if it's a short drive), and as soon as I realize it's directing me into vast parking lot, I know it's a skirt lifter so I'm outta there.  I don't even log a DNF in that case unless I'm real angry about it. ;)

 

Edited by kunarion
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3 hours ago, Thot said:

I use a Nuvi to reach the area, then a Garmin 64s to find the cache.  But, there are times when the phone would come in handy.  The other day I'd left my 64s in the car at the repair shop so I was trying to use the phone.  Hopeless.  I was trying to find a skirt lifter in a large parking lot with many light poles. I could drive from one end of the parking lot to the other, neither the pointer nor the distance changed. 

 

If you're IN your car, you'll likely get nothing but general direction from your phone's GPS.  Mine usually shows me driving down roads sideways. Surrounded by all that metal, with an anti-glare mesh in the front windshield. Almost like an inefficient Faraday cage. Car GPSs like Nuvis or Roadmates are designed to work under those conditions, and phones really aren't. 

 

Following directions in Google Maps in a car sort of works better because the software is designed for a different overall task.

 

Just for kicks, look up the instructions for calibrating the GPS & Compass in your phone. Usually, it involves moving it repetitively in a figure-8 pattern, or revolving it three times in each of it's three axes. (I just re-read that, and it sounds like I should be chanting!)

 

It really does work, for me, anyway. I do it when it's obviously pointing me in the wrong direction.

 

It's not an app thing; it's the phone sensors.

 

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18 minutes ago, SamLowrey said:

I use an iPhone 6 and it seems to work fine.  I use the Geocaching app. 

 

Sounds like it's time for me to downgrade! :P

 

I suspect there are lemons, just like with any gadget.  Some will develop issues, some never do.  My plan is to do as much testing as I can right away after purchase, while it's still possible to return the thing, and hope for the best.  But my iPhone 8 (I buy these things used, in as decent a shape as I can afford) worked OK for a couple of years.  They aren't necessarily designed to be heirlooms, you're supposed to trade up to the latest model again and again. :cute:

 

 

Edited by kunarion

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9 minutes ago, TeamRabbitRun said:

It's not an app thing; it's the phone sensors.

 

It seems like Commander Compass and Cachly are "livelier" (something like that), which I prefer, than the Official App.  So the bearing and distance doesn't get "stuck" as long.  Maybe it drives other people crazy if an App is too responsive.  Makes it jumpy.

 

I'd suspect that most any sensor that a phone relies on for its calculation to present the magnetic compass pointer, will create an issue as that sensor begins to fail.  I mean, I've only dropped the phone into a couple of ravines, and went caching during massive tornadoes and stuff.  What could go wrong!  :cute:

Edited by kunarion
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5 hours ago, kunarion said:

 

I was terrible when walking with the Nuvi.  Mine, in "pedestrian mode", directed me back onto streets, entirely around a park (while standing in the park), then directly through someone's back yard and fences.  No active compass pointer, and the icon stopped at the end of the road, not in the forest.  So my bright idea was to instead look at Lat and Long and watch then count to the cache spot.  One set of numbers was increasing, one was decreasing.  But the trail was a large oval loop.   So the numbers weren't approaching the target, they kept moving away, and it wasn't clear how to make them count toward the cache, wherever it was.  It took me an hour to figure it out, on a cache a quarter mile from the parking lot.  I'm bad at Geocaching as it is, but especially bad at Nuvi caching!

 

But in the case of a lamp post in a shopping center parking lot, I use Waze on the phone (or street routing on GyPSy if it's a short drive), and as soon as I realize it's directing me into vast parking lot, I know it's a skirt lifter so I'm outta there.  I don't even log a DNF in that case unless I'm real angry about it. ;)

It's been a while, over eight years, since I used the Nuvi to find a cache but IIRC, after parking I switched it to Off Road mode. I loaded caches on it using GSAK. I still use it in one of my vehicles and it still navigates just fine.

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4 hours ago, colleda said:

It's been a while, over eight years, since I used the Nuvi to find a cache but IIRC, after parking I switched it to Off Road mode. I loaded caches on it using GSAK. I still use it in one of my vehicles and it still navigates just fine.

 

GSAK would be a good way to load them.  A PQ has tons of data that a Nuvi can't even display, and limited memory.  I used "Poi Loader" for my StreetPilot a few years ago, then realized it was a chore to delete the POI's.  So lately I just manually load a parking area or two, just to get into a new area.

 

But you really gotta watch out when using a device that sticks to streets.  Double-check those settings, or you can be way off.

 

Edited by kunarion

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11 hours ago, SamLowrey said:

I use an iPhone 6 and it seems to work fine.  I use the Geocaching app. 

I have an IPhone 5s, and it works perfectly fine for caching. I've been using Cachly.

:lol:

 

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What I normally do is use the main iMac computer to find caches, look at directions so I get a good idea where to go, then use the Garmin GPS ( car unit)  to get there. Once near the area I use the iPhone app with its Navigate feature. That gets me very close, 90-95% of the time. I do use a Garmin handheld at times , sometime by itself but mostly in conjunction with the  iPhone.

 

I recently, within past three months,  learned a few tricks on how to use both better. They are probably old hat to most .

 

On the iPhone when Navigating to the cache, especially when it appears to be be a non-obvious spot, on the Navigate screen where you see the cache spot indicated and your current location with a straight shot line between them, on the top of the screen press the compass icon, (the center icon between a car symbol and menu selection icons) and you will see a standard compass reading with distance indicated, may be a better help than the first screen .

 

On the Garmin Etrex 30 go to the geocaching icon, select the desired cache, then select GO TO. Once you get that screen,  use the back button to find and select the Compass Icon. 

That will give you a compass reading and distance instead of the confusing track  indicated on the first screen. 

 

I do have the Compass Calibration ( Settings - Privacy - Location Services - System Services - Compass Calibration ) set to on. As many have found the iPhone and the handheld unit used together may indicate two different spots. The final spot may seem to change even drastically on the iPhone as you look. If you do have good reception  and a good signal it still may vary.

 

What I try to do when going to any cache is to look for an obvious spot, or a place where I would place a cache. 

 

I know this is not exactly on topic, but using this method even with a bit if signal drift etc, I usually can get close enough to claim a find. Unless I see remnants of one that is, or what appears to be remnants. I have thought of making a cache where somewhere in the vicinity is a red herring or two with what appears to be a ruined cache. But then someone may do CICO!

 

Happy New Year all.

 

 

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12 hours ago, kunarion said:

But in the case of a lamp post in a shopping center parking lot, I use Waze on the phone (or street routing on GyPSy if it's a short drive), and as soon as I realize it's directing me into vast parking lot, I know it's a skirt lifter so I'm outta there. 

I don't even log a DNF in that case unless I'm real angry about it. ;)

:D

The other 2/3rds gave me a "I need this day for the grid !" notice from work, and gave me the  cache and driving coordinates.

I left without looking, and now I have one lamp post found.    The brat did the same for my first/last guard rail hide too.      :laughing:

I just picked up a 12 mini, so I might have to try phone caching again sometime in the (far) future.  Windows phone was so simple...

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Natural degradation? As much as any other device.

Planned obsolescence in GPS? Extremely unlikely.

Defect with the iPhone brand? Definitely not.

Defect with your phone? Potentially.

Issues with software/use? Probably the most likely.

I've been using iPhone since I began in 2009 with the 3GS. I typically have a 2 year upgrade cycle, but I had my 8+ an extra cycle, and still have it, no issues. I'm on 12 pro max now.  I'd suspect it's as others have mentioned - related to the apps you're using or calibrating the compass.  At absolute worst, if you were to upgrade your phone, you'd have no more issues (or if you were to replace with a new one of the same model).  Unless of course it is the apps you're using, in which case the problem will arise again ;)

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45 minutes ago, thebruce0 said:

I had my 8+ an extra cycle, and still have it, no issues. I'm on 12 pro max now.  I'd suspect it's as others have mentioned - related to the apps you're using or calibrating the compass.  At absolute worst, if you were to upgrade your phone, you'd have no more issues (or if you were to replace with a new one of the same model).  Unless of course it is the apps you're using, in which case the problem will arise again ;)

 

  "Calibrating the compass" cannot affect distance calculated by GPS circuits.  Right?

 

Here's a thread in bug reports:

 

It's more about The Official App, not for "Cachly".  But the drifting issue seems to be on any Apps.  I haven't done much testing because once I realized the guidance was wrong, I don't trust it anymore, and don't use "The Compass" nor the distance display (also, TPTB have said boo about the glitch, which turns me off).  I see the same issue others report, it's happening and I can demonstrate it, including the 90-dregree-off thing when the phone is not held flat.  If you DON'T have any issue in iPhone 8, that might be useful info in that thread.  Something's different with your phone for sure.  Because I see this effect happening in real-time right now, I not only cannot advise people to rely on "phones", I'm concerned how many new people give up Geocaching because the "precision" is so lousy (so they quit and never mention it in The Forum).  If the glitch happens to some of us, it happens to others.  That would frustrate new users, especially when there's not really any mention of it, an actual real-time bug, unaddressed.

 

I've kinda sorta supposed that it's an IOS version thing, where some "adjustment" to the GPS and magnetic compass sensor code has occurred, and messed up pinpoint precision.  And that a future update might address it.  That's why it's important to know that it doesn't affect all phones of certain models with the same software.  That's a clue.

 

Edited by kunarion
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2 minutes ago, kunarion said:
45 minutes ago, thebruce0 said:

I had my 8+ an extra cycle, and still have it, no issues. I'm on 12 pro max now.  I'd suspect it's as others have mentioned - related to the apps you're using or calibrating the compass.  At absolute worst, if you were to upgrade your phone, you'd have no more issues (or if you were to replace with a new one of the same model).  Unless of course it is the apps you're using, in which case the problem will arise again ;)

 

  "Calibrating the compass" cannot affect distance calculated by GPS circuits.  Right?

 

No, it's just the compass, but functionally it might affect the software/app, maybe do some connected resets. *shrug* It's kind of like "did you try turning it off and back on again" :laughing:

I stand by the point though, it's certainly not a brand or model thing, and most likely specific to the device, or the apps/software being used.

 

4 minutes ago, kunarion said:

I don't trust it anymore, and don't use "The Compass" nor the distance display

 

Likewise, I hate compass navigation on digital devices. IMO, the birds eye view (not necessarily satellite imagery) is much more practical and effective for geocaching, even if it's not 'purist' :P And if the compass needs calibration, it doesn't affect the navigation unless you trust the little direction indicator (which is much less important than your position relative to the target).

But anyway. 

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2 hours ago, TmdAndGG said:

 

I have an IPhone 5s, and it works perfectly fine for caching. I've been using Cachly.

:lol:

 

 

My 5s popped open when the battery pack expanded to double its width.  Layers of the front screen are dangling.  Touch screen's OK, but now the whole thing is no good in a pocket.  Been considering repair options.  It's about $150 for a new screen and battery installation.  That's about what a decent used 5s might sell for.  With a battery that's as old as the 5s...

 

But many Apps no longer install nor update, because the 5s IOS also is not updated.  Cool that Cachly still works!

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46 minutes ago, thebruce0 said:

 

No, it's just the compass, but functionally it might affect the software/app, maybe do some connected resets. *shrug* It's kind of like "did you try turning it off and back on again" :laughing:

I stand by the point though, it's certainly not a brand or model thing, and most likely specific to the device, or the apps/software being used.

 

 

Likewise, I hate compass navigation on digital devices. IMO, the birds eye view (not necessarily satellite imagery) is much more practical and effective for geocaching, even if it's not 'purist' :P And if the compass needs calibration, it doesn't affect the navigation unless you trust the little direction indicator (which is much less important than your position relative to the target).

But anyway. 

 

There's something going on with the position sensors (accelerometers).  If I stand my phone on its side, the compass flips 90 to 180 degrees until I raise it with the front vertical, then I may lay it flat.  Just for the compass, not for the distance.   That's part of the glitch mentioned in that Bug Thread (for the Official App).  It's an issue for people who place a phone into a holder sideways, then pull it out expecting to see the proper direction.  Or not realizing the direction is now 90 or 180 degrees off.  But even with compass calibrated, there's still that wildly wandering distance.  Weird.

 

I've read that people start the Apple Compass and then get better results by leaving it "running" and then switching to a Geocaching App.  I guessed that is because if you "use the compass" for a while, it settles down.  That is, the longer the phone is displaying a compass, the better.  So "starting another App" simply adds compass activity time, the same as using the current App longer.  I dunno.  That was my theory.

 

Anyway, maybe the issue is that there's a mix of Apps that are and are not being used.  The iPhone runs a lot of stuff in the background that are not on screen as "active Apps".  I wonder if I shut off a lot of background things if that would change it.  And how to know what's good to shut off.

 

Edited by kunarion

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17 minutes ago, thebruce0 said:

IMO, the birds eye view (not necessarily satellite imagery) is much more practical and effective for geocaching, even if it's not 'purist' :P And if the compass needs calibration, it doesn't affect the navigation

 

That's the advantage of a phone (assuming there's cell service and the map is not just a the tops of a buhzillion trees).  That's fine for the OP's issue, in a parking lot.  If the icon is anywhere near a couple of parking lot islands, then yeah.  It's in one of the nearby lamp posts.  No compass/distance needed.  :cute:

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19 hours ago, Thot said:

It will get me within 400' but after that it's useless.

 

If the distance seems to wander by 300 feet or so, sometimes being pretty OK, sometimes being way off while at a cache site, try this:

 

Turn the iPhone off.  Remove the SIM card.  Turn the phone back on and test it.

 

This is based on what I found in this thread this afternoon:

https://developer.apple.com/forums/thread/93746

 

I tried it just now with my phone.  I used The Official App as usual (I didn't test Cachly at all this time).  A local cache that is 325 feet away was scrolling off until it was 458 feet away. The distance was changing as typical, without moving the phone.  Next I powered down and tried it without the SIM card, and fired up The App again.  The distance remained rock solid at 325 feet.  I then powered down and tried it with the SIM card installed.  And the results are reasonable at this time!  The linked thread has replies that say this would happen.  Sure, it could start wandering off again, because that's what this glitch does -- it seems OK, then it gets VERY NOT OK.  If my issue is actually gone (the distance thing, not the compass being off 90 to 180 degress thing, that's still there), I'll post an update if anyone's interested.

 

Be warned, when you read the threads online about "fixes", you can quickly go straight down a rabbit hole of crazy things to try, after everything changes ("AHA!  That was an old answer, that doesn't apply today", or whatever).  And I don't even know which iPhone you have.  It's just one thing that's relatively easy.  I'm not sure why it would work, nor even if it really did.  But I thought it was worth a shot.

 

Anyway, let's say it fixes things.  Does that mean it affects certain phone companies?  Is it a Location Services glitch that has issues with cell certain towers or their signals?  Or do we just do that phone reset trick (SIM card out/in) for particular phone models upon receiving a new software update, and then it works?  Yeah.  Rabbit hole here we come.

 

Edited by kunarion
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On 12/31/2020 at 9:37 AM, cerberus1 said:

The other 2/3rds gave me a "I need this day for the grid !" notice from work, and gave me the  cache and driving coordinates.

I left without looking, and now I have one lamp post found.    The brat did the same for my first/last guard rail hide too.      :laughing:

I just picked up a 12 mini, so I might have to try phone caching again sometime in the (far) future.  Windows phone was so simple...

Cerberus1 doing a guardrail hide...  Film at 11!

 

Never saw that coming...

 

The thought of that makes me shiver, or maybe it is the 25 degree weather on yesterday's 8 mile hike in Sgl 135

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On 12/30/2020 at 9:04 PM, kunarion said:


I was terrible when walking with the Nuvi.

Years ago my son and I found a bunch of caches by using our Nuvi and a compass.  We would walk in as straight of a line as the terrain allowed until we hit the lat or long number and then used the compass to walk a line either N-S or E-W till we got to the posted coords and then started searching.  That worked surprisinly well and improved our compass skills a bit.

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48 minutes ago, mac367 said:

Years ago my son and I found a bunch of caches by using our Nuvi and a compass.  We would walk in as straight of a line as the terrain allowed until we hit the lat or long number and then used the compass to walk a line either N-S or E-W till we got to the posted coords and then started searching.  That worked surprisinly well and improved our compass skills a bit.


Yes, that would be better! :D

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Posted (edited)
On 12/30/2020 at 1:45 PM, Thot said:

I've been caching for 16 years, but with a handheld.  Because so many cache with a cellphone today I'm been trying to use mine.  I've had little success.  I'm using Cachly.  It does not point to or take me to the cache using distance.  It will get me within 400' but after that it's useless.  My iPhone is 4 years old.  It's been suggested that cellphone chips degrade with age and maybe that's the problem.  Any opinions on this?

 

Industry standard is for silicon parts to last 10 years of constant usage. Though other failures are possible sooner my iPhone needs repair after just 1.5 years keeps on rebooting itself. Though that is probably caused by dropping and other damage I slipped on some mud the other day and hit the ground pretty hard. If it was newer I'd complain but 4 years there is not much they will do.

Edited by MNTA
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On 12/31/2020 at 11:22 AM, kunarion said:
On 12/31/2020 at 11:00 AM, thebruce0 said:

IMO, the birds eye view (not necessarily satellite imagery) is much more practical and effective for geocaching, even if it's not 'purist' :P And if the compass needs calibration, it doesn't affect the navigation

 

That's the advantage of a phone (assuming there's cell service and the map is not just a the tops of a buhzillion trees).  That's fine for the OP's issue, in a parking lot.  If the icon is anywhere near a couple of parking lot islands, then yeah.  It's in one of the nearby lamp posts.  No compass/distance needed.  :cute:

 

I use it all the time. Yes, even in deep forests where satellite imagery is uniformly green with no landmarks. It's not the imagery I'm referring to, but the approach to locating a waypoint from a birds eye view vs 1st person. It's like digital vs analog.  In birds eye, your waypoints are pinpointed at mapped locations, like anchors. Sure, your personal location may waver as it settles by gps, but it's like you're bearing down on an unmoving object, gz. In compass/first-person mode, you only use your wavering location combined with the uncertainty of compass direction, and your destination gz wavers with both location and bearing; no anchor.

I just find birds eye SO much more reliable, especially if gps reception is poor.   Personal preference after 12 years geocaching with the smartphone :)

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59 minutes ago, thebruce0 said:

 

I use it all the time. Yes, even in deep forests where satellite imagery is uniformly green with no landmarks. It's not the imagery I'm referring to, but the approach to locating a waypoint from a birds eye view vs 1st person. It's like digital vs analog.  In birds eye, your waypoints are pinpointed at mapped locations, like anchors. Sure, your personal location may waver as it settles by gps, but it's like you're bearing down on an unmoving object, gz. In compass/first-person mode, you only use your wavering location combined with the uncertainty of compass direction, and your destination gz wavers with both location and bearing; no anchor.

I just find birds eye SO much more reliable, especially if gps reception is poor.   Personal preference after 12 years geocaching with the smartphone :)

Yup, I %100 agree. I rarely ever use the compass.

I especially like it for finding trails, so I don't have to hope the trail that I choose is the right one.

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1 hour ago, thebruce0 said:

Sure, your personal location may waver as it settles by gps, but it's like you're bearing down on an unmoving object, gz.

 

I haven't really tried that since my iPhone went crazy, plus I still need to test the current SIM card idea to see if the whole problem cleared up.  It has proven so very unreliable, I'm actually NOT trusting what my phone tells me anymore, rather than kinda using it for guidance.  YMMV.

 

But with my sense of direction, I need a compass pointer.  Watching a dot meander around another dot, how do I know which direction to head?  Never mind knowing where I am.  If it's 300 feet off to the wrong side of GZ, that's a lot of random hiking to do.  Or does in NOT drop the dot in the opposite direction like the compass does?  If not, that could be handy.

 

I do a sort of modification of your plan.  GyPSy points "to that tree, 100 feet away", so I use that as my landmark and go there before I check for a new update.  The tree doesn't move around feet away in the meantime.  :cute:

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8 minutes ago, TmdAndGG said:

I especially like it for finding trails, so I don't have to hope the trail that I choose is the right one.

 

Yes, if there's a trail map of the place, that phone map is much more useful than a compass pointing to the cache.  At least til you're a few yards from it.

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Posted (edited)
12 hours ago, kunarion said:

But with my sense of direction, I need a compass pointer.  Watching a dot meander around another dot, how do I know which direction to head?  Never mind knowing where I am.  If it's 300 feet off to the wrong side of GZ, that's a lot of random hiking to do.  Or does in NOT drop the dot in the opposite direction like the compass does?  If not, that could be handy.

 

I believe all the apps have a bearing indicator on your location pin. I use that as I'm hiking as a general guide; sometimes it's 180 degrees opposite =P  But if I'm hiking and looking for an entrance, I'll often watch the bearing arrow on my location, and turn the phone to point in its direction (the arrow will point to the top of the phone) and that helps decide if I'm passing perpendicular to the cache on the trail. I don't rely on it heavily, but it has come in handy when it appears to be sufficiently accurate. But that's about as far as my digital-bearing goes. 

 

12 hours ago, kunarion said:

I do a sort of modification of your plan.  GyPSy points "to that tree, 100 feet away", so I use that as my landmark and go there before I check for a new update.  The tree doesn't move around feet away in the meantime.  :cute:

 

Yep, that's exactly what I do most of the time. Caching with a group, others are often using a gpsr with non-imagery, so we pull into parking, I look across the field and compare with the birds eye, and more often or not the gz pin is spot on a tree. Phone goes in the pocket and I head over; often they're still getting their bearings :P Or in a forest or roadside, the pin is almost always smack on some slightly different landmark, and the birds eye just makes it SO much easier to gauge bearing by looking around, and where the destination is.

Heck even driving from a few km away, you can look ahead and know which side of the road it's on, or the trail, while compassers are trying to read the device bearing to gz to determine which side they should be on. It just makes life so much easier. :)

 

Edit: Another way to use birds eye without compass is to do the walk around and just observe where your location pin is in relation to the waypoint. Without compass you still mentally determine your orientation and direction by your movement. I've done that occasionally if the compass isn't calibrated and no imagery/map is helpful.  Take a little more time, but still doable (and imo still way more reliable than a smartphone in compass mode)

Edited by thebruce0
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8 hours ago, thebruce0 said:

Another way to use birds eye without compass is to do the walk around and just observe where your location pin is in relation to the waypoint. Without compass you still mentally determine your orientation and direction by your movement. I've done that occasionally if the compass isn't calibrated and no imagery/map is helpful.  Take a little more time, but still doable (and imo still way more reliable than a smartphone in compass mode)

 

If the phone or GyPSy just plain cannot settle down at GZ, I sometimes walk around anyway.  Bee-dance.  Or just poke around or whatever.  At some point, I realize I've been to this one particular tree several times.  So I concentrate my search right there.  That gets the cache.  Sometimes.

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Posted (edited)

I've had an iPhone 8+ for some years now. Especially in the beginning, the GPS location could be way off. And I remember some comment from Apple at the time that this was indeed confirmed to be an issue, and that it would be rectified. Since then, GPS locator service has improved quite a bit. So I'm with Kunarion on this that I think that individual IOS versions may mess a bit with the locator service and make it more or less reliable.

 

By now, the GPS is very useable but still not always correct. I suppose that the GPS receiver in the iPhone is more prone to disturbances like reflections from tall buildings and not properly finding the satellites in wooded areas than most handheld GPSes are. Being aware of that, I usually keep checking the background map to decide where I'm supposed to be besides just blindly following the not always very correct GPS location dot. Especially in urban area's, using a good background map where you can see all the buildings and compare to where you are in the field is just more useful and makes me find the cache. And experience in finding good / usual hiding spots helps a lot too of course.

Edited by NLBokkie

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On 1/5/2021 at 9:52 AM, kunarion said:

If the phone or GyPSy just plain cannot settle down at GZ, I sometimes walk around anyway.  Bee-dance.  Or just poke around or whatever.  At some point, I realize I've been to this one particular tree several times.  So I concentrate my search right there.  That gets the cache.  Sometimes.

 

Well you always have to deal with the uncertainty of cache owner coordinate accuracy, and the limited precision of 3 decimal coordinates in the first place :) But I do the same as you. Most often the Me-pin hovers around gz for a few meters; I just keep walking (if it's not obvious where the cache is yet) until I'm relatively confident of a spot that's a few meters wide, then break out the geosenses...  and widen from there if necessary.

 

 

11 hours ago, NLBokkie said:

Especially in urban area's, using a good background map where you can see all the buildings and compare to where you are in the field is just more useful and makes me find the cache.

 

Yep. Unless of course the CO used GPS to read the coordinates in which case the pin could be way off anyway :P Hopefully anyone placing a cache in tall urban areas understands the nature of gps. More often than not I've found such cache placements to actually be more accurate - because they use satellite imagery which is usually Google and in that setting using overhead Google imagery means the pin is likely pixel perfect on pole or fence or building corner or something obvious like that. Then I just chuckle and say "yup, placed by sat imagery" heh

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On 1/4/2021 at 10:38 AM, thebruce0 said:

 

I use it all the time. Yes, even in deep forests where satellite imagery is uniformly green with no landmarks. It's not the imagery I'm referring to, but the approach to locating a waypoint from a birds eye view vs 1st person. It's like digital vs analog.  In birds eye, your waypoints are pinpointed at mapped locations, like anchors. Sure, your personal location may waver as it settles by gps, but it's like you're bearing down on an unmoving object, gz. In compass/first-person mode, you only use your wavering location combined with the uncertainty of compass direction, and your destination gz wavers with both location and bearing; no anchor.

I just find birds eye SO much more reliable, especially if gps reception is poor.   Personal preference after 12 years geocaching with the smartphone :)

 

Since re-starting my geocaching in the smartphone era that is all I have done and I figured everyone used it that way.

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