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IPhone or GPS...


RGnVA
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So I'm going to serious date myself but I've been caching for years but started in the mid 2000's (2007 to be exact) which was before the iphone what it is today. I always cached with a Garmin handheld and download files to it and cached from there. 

 

Fast Forward to 2021 and after taking at least 7 good years off I'm primarily using my IPhone after just getting back into it. 

 

How many folks do it still old school with a handheld Garmin or whatever or do cachers primarily use a smart phone now. I just wonder how accurate the GPS is, seems like on my last few caches the coordinates were not as close as they used to be. I'm thinking that's because people are using their phone GPS to hide them and the coords are off from the get go.... 

 

I'll charge up the old Garmin and do a side by side to confirm my suspicions... 

 

Curious what other old school (or just plain old) cachers are seeing and doing....

 

RGnVA... 

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7 minutes ago, RGnVA said:

I'm thinking that's because people are using their phone GPS to hide them and the coords are off from the get go.... 

 

Close. My opinion is that people are lazier and take less pride, so they get one set of coords and call it done. Rather than getting several sets of data on different days and averaging them. That would be a bigger contributor to "off" coords on new caches to my mind.

 

I believe (and could be horribly wrong) that the sensor chips in phones and GPS units are basically the same, where the quality varies is when the manufacturer puts in the gps chips in their phones as an afterthought rather than devoting enough processing power. A lot of phones tend to "cheat" and use wifi and telephone signals to guess where they are so that they can seem more accurate to the user, rather than waiting for a full lock on to the satellite signal. Keep in mind I read this on the internet, and everything on the internet is true.

 

In the phone manufacturer's defense, the majority of people who use gps on their phone are doing it for navigation, so it does not really matter if the phone is wrong about the user being in the right lane or the left lane, so long as it is the right street and block. For people like us who are trying to find something smaller than a shoebox deep in the woods, it's definitely a "non-standard use".

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15 minutes ago, Unit473L said:

Close. My opinion is that people are lazier and take less pride, so they get one set of coords and call it done. Rather than getting several sets of data on different days and averaging them. That would be a bigger contributor to "off" coords on new caches to my mind.

 

I rarely use my phone (an Android) for caching, but when I have (usually because the cache hunt was a spur of the moment thing and I either didn't have it loaded on my Garmin or didn't have it with me) I've always struggled a bit. One thing I've noticed a few times is that it seems to stop taking readings when it thinks I'm not moving, and I then have to move a considerable distance away to get it to start taking readings again. This might not matter much when searching for a cache, since you're generally moving until you get close enough to GZ to put the phone down and start searching with your eyes, but it can be problematic when placing a cache. I was once sussing out a location for a multi but had forgotten to bring my GPSr so was using my phone to take waypoint coordinates, and it recorded the same coordinates for two locations that were about 14 metres apart. I returned another day and did it properly with the Garmin.

 

Back to the OP's question, I started caching in 2013 with a Garmin GPSMAP 62s (I didn't even own a smartphone then), updating it to an Oregon 700 in 2018 when I'd just about worn it out (all the rubber around the casing started perishing and peeling off, which caused the power button to drop out and get lost). I plan my caching trips in advance, usually the night before, reading the cache pages on my PC and downloading the GPX files onto the Garmin, but I rarely target more than a handful of caches on a trip (often it's just for one cache). So I guess I'm not your typical cacher.

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2 hours ago, Unit473L said:

A lot of phones tend to "cheat" and use wifi and telephone signals to guess where they are so that they can seem more accurate to the user, rather than waiting for a full lock on to the satellite signal. Keep in mind I read this on the internet, and everything on the internet is true.

 

Not exactly true. Phones can use A-GPS (Google that) which combine GPS with triangulation and network servers that provide location data to enhance the GPS readings. It's not a cheat, but an actual improvement over dedicated GPS devices.

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21 minutes ago, SpiritGuide said:

 

Not exactly true. Phones can use A-GPS (Google that) which combine GPS with triangulation and network servers that provide location data to enhance the GPS readings. It's not a cheat, but an actual improvement over dedicated GPS devices.


Not exactly true B).  I have an iPad (granted, it’s not a phone) that uses WiFi signals for location and that’s about it, no cell tower, no GPS.  And it’s not clear what any iThing is using for location info at any given moment, the device won’t say.  But It’s not improving anything when it’s WiFi only, for example when a phone is not getting a decent GPS signal.  Mine wasn’t, it didn’t have the circuitry.

 

AND my iPhone 8 seems to get confused by signals other than GPS when calculating its location. I have one of the phones that is 200 feet off in one direction, then 200 feet off in the other direction when using The App (and possibly in other cases).  There’s an unaddressed thread about it.  Not to wade too far into the deep grass on that issue, it seems like removing the SIM card helps — therefore removing ground based triangulation?  Or something.

 

Anyway, yes and no. :anicute:
 

Edited by kunarion
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4 hours ago, RGnVA said:

So I'm going to serious date myself but I've been caching for years but started in the mid 2000's (2007 to be exact) which was before the iphone what it is today. I always cached with a Garmin handheld and download files to it and cached from there. 

Fast Forward to 2021 and after taking at least 7 good years off I'm primarily using my IPhone after just getting back into it. 

How many folks do it still old school with a handheld Garmin or whatever or do cachers primarily use a smart phone now. I just wonder how accurate the GPS is, seems like on my last few caches the coordinates were not as close as they used to be. I'm thinking that's because people are using their phone GPS to hide them and the coords are off from the get go.... 

 

The other 2.3rds cached with a blackberry and Trimble in 2005, went to iphone in 2008, and IIRC, upgraded again in 2012.

Every new one's better, and there is no difference in GPS accuracy in any modern phone vs a GPSr.

We both started with Garmin blue Legends in '04, got tired of having to find a clearing after every tree canopy would lose signal, and upgraded GPSrs to 60csx.  I still use a 60csx, and load caches manually.

When the other 2'3rds still cached, she preferred phones except when near rock, or longer distances (battery).

I just swapped a 12 mini for a 13, and find it way-more convenient than the 60csx, and just as "accurate".  

I might use it when in areas I didn't plan to cache in (just to see if caches around), otherwise simply I prefer a GPSr.  Most times the phone's off.

 

We feel caches way-off are people not understanding the importance of going  back a few times to check their coordinates.  Averaging helps.

Pre GPS phone days, phone hiders were pretty-much a pain-in-the-can.  They didn't notice that "need a GPS" in the "hide" section.  :)

We've found some are just as unconcerned about their coordinates years ago as today.   It's not the phone...

The other 2/3rds gave up the hobby because of a newb phone cacher with no hides/finds.  400 feet off. 

 - She found it a took a break from the hobby that day.   Really into the FTF side game, beta-testing for newbs finally burned her out.

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3 hours ago, SpiritGuide said:

Not exactly true. Phones can use A-GPS (Google that) which combine GPS with triangulation and network servers that provide location data to enhance the GPS readings. It's not a cheat, but an actual improvement over dedicated GPS devices.

 

Maybe the location information being transmitted by the phone towers around here isn't all that accurate, but I've had a lot of trouble getting good positioning when the phone tries to use them to augment its GPS reception. Earlier in the year I was with a group doing a puzzle which required everyone to be within a certain radius of the waypoints while logged into a website that read the phone's position. The only way I could get it to work was to set the phone to use only GPS, otherwise I kept being hundreds of metres off no matter which way I went.

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15 minutes ago, barefootjeff said:

 

Maybe the location information being transmitted by the phone towers around here isn't all that accurate, but I've had a lot of trouble getting good positioning when the phone tries to use them to augment its GPS reception. Earlier in the year I was with a group doing a puzzle which required everyone to be within a certain radius of the waypoints while logged into a website that read the phone's position. The only way I could get it to work was to set the phone to use only GPS, otherwise I kept being hundreds of metres off no matter which way I went.


Where is the setting for “only GPS”?  Is this on particular iPhones only?  I’d like to try it on my iPhone 8.  Removing the SIM card seemed to help, but that’s kind of drastic for a phone.

 

My phone is the poster child for “phones not suitable for Geocaching”.

 

 

Edited by kunarion
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4 minutes ago, kunarion said:

Where is the setting for “only GPS”?  Is this on particular iPhones only?  I’d like to try it on my iPhone 8.  Removing the SIM card seemed to help, but that’s kind of drastic for a phone.

 

Sorry, mine's an Android. For that, it used to be easy to find with clear settings that said words like "GPS only", but they changed it and now to get it to only use GPS you have to turn off "Google Location Accuracy".

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1 minute ago, barefootjeff said:

 

Sorry, mine's an Android. For that, it used to be easy to find with clear settings that said words like "GPS only", but they changed it and now to get it to only use GPS you have to turn off "Google Location Accuracy".


Ok, yeah.  I do remember some settings on Android.

 

But I have two external GPS sensors.  If the Apps still work, I might look for extra settings that the iPhone doesn’t natively present.

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31 minutes ago, barefootjeff said:

 

Maybe the location information being transmitted by the phone towers around here isn't all that accurate, but I've had a lot of trouble getting good positioning when the phone tries to use them to augment its GPS reception. Earlier in the year I was with a group doing a puzzle which required everyone to be within a certain radius of the waypoints while logged into a website that read the phone's position. The only way I could get it to work was to set the phone to use only GPS, otherwise I kept being hundreds of metres off no matter which way I went.

 

3 hours ago, SpiritGuide said:

 

Not exactly true. Phones can use A-GPS (Google that) which combine GPS with triangulation and network servers that provide location data to enhance the GPS readings. It's not a cheat, but an actual improvement over dedicated GPS devices.

 

A-GPS is a function used to speed up the determination of position. The GPS receiver obtains Aiding-Data via a communications network like a cell tower.  The data includes:  
   Satellite constellation (Almanac)
   Precise orbital data (Ephemeris, orbits)
   Time information
   Doppler frequency and frequency-offset (error) of the GPS receiver

With the availability of this Aiding-Data the GPS receiver can very quickly determine position, even under poor signal conditions.  

 

In a way it is similar to WAAS that corrects for GPS signal errors caused by:
   Ionospheric disturbances
   Timing errors
   Satellite orbit errors
   Satellite health

WAAS information is collected at various reference ground stations and transmitted to one of two geostationary satellites where it is transmitted to GPS receivers.

 

I don't think telephone companies can use triangulation to provide you location data.  However, they can ping your telephone if they have your phone number.  By timing the return time of the ping they can estimate the radial distance from their tower.  Using three towers they can roughly determine your location.  Usually for SAR work.

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9 hours ago, RGnVA said:

I'll charge up the old Garmin and do a side by side to confirm my suspicions...

That's the way to go.

Personally, I started out in 2012 using a Garmin Etrex and still do. My Android Motorola G4 is OK but hindered by battery life (short), fragility if dropped and poor screen in bright sunlight.

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I was given a Garmin Montana 680t, and I was given it FOR FREE relatively recently by a friend who wasn't using it, and I think it's a pretty good receiver.  But, it's pretty complicated and I often find it easier to just use my iPhone.  I'm still trying to figure out how to use the Montana well, like how to select my next cache, etc.  I'm tech savvy but the menu options on the Garmin don't seem to be user friendly.

 

If I'm going to spend the day geocaching, I'll use my Garmin so I don't kill my phone battery.  If the phone winds up being used for driving directions and geocaching and photos and video, it doesn't last all day without some sort of power bank.  So I'll use the Garmin for geocaching then.  If I'm going for a single cache, it's easier to just use the phone.

 

I've mentioned this before, but one thing I like about my iPhone is that when I go out of the country, I can download Google Maps and geocaches for a very large area (like all of London when I was there last time), put my phone on airplane mode while out of the US (so as not to use data), and use my phone for Google Maps and geocaching while I'm there.  GPS works just fine on my iPhone on airplane mode, so it's very convenient.  And I'll update cache information at a place with Wi-Fi.

 

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Ever since I could cache with a phone, I have. I've never had an issue and the more recent phones have much better battery. 

 

There are pros and cons, it just depends on your caching style. I've cached in areas with no cell service and in the middle of cities. Makes no difference. I've gone out with people that use a dedicated GPSr unit... somedays I'm a few feet off, other days they are a few feet off. 

 

As far as placing a cache, I have a GPS Averaging app that works just fine.

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I do use both -- on planned outings I use my loaded GPS.  If I end up somewhere that I didn't plan, I try my cell.  It works OK, but I often end up frustrated because of a lack of cell signal.  If I have trouble with the accuracy, I often type the coordinates into the GPS.   So yes, I find that the handheld GPS is much more accurate.

 

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I mainly use my phone to cache (Easier for me) and I use a Garmin when caching in wooded and/or low service areas 

 

When I hide caches, I use my Garmin because its more accurate with GPS Cords, Unfortunately like you said, most hiders use their phones, which means the gps cords can be off, especially when doing it in low service areas. I've noticed this many times when caching also. 

 

So yeah, a Handheld GPS is more accurate 

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2 hours ago, GeoElmo6000 said:

I was given a Garmin Montana 680t, and I was given it FOR FREE relatively recently by a friend who wasn't using it, and I think it's a pretty good receiver.  But, it's pretty complicated and I often find it easier to just use my iPhone.  I'm still trying to figure out how to use the Montana well, like how to select my next cache, etc.  I'm tech savvy but the menu options on the Garmin don't seem to be user friendly.

 

If I'm going to spend the day geocaching, I'll use my Garmin so I don't kill my phone battery.  If the phone winds up being used for driving directions and geocaching and photos and video, it doesn't last all day without some sort of power bank.  So I'll use the Garmin for geocaching then.  If I'm going for a single cache, it's easier to just use the phone.

 

The thing that's cool about Garmin handhelds is they can be customized for specific activities.  Sometimes down to moving the most used menu icons onto the first screen.  I don't know about the Montana, but the Oregon line from about the 650 on, have entire modes to choose, and they vastly affect the way the menus work.  I set mine up so I'm maybe a couple of taps away from any function I often use.  The iPhone Apps, and worse, the Android Apps, are an unchangeable maze.  And I sometimes try Cachly instead, and it's set up completely differently.  But for cache research, messaging, logging, and satellite photos, of course the phone is great for that.  If you can find the functions.

 

Your Montana would be ideal for driving directions, with the right maps.  It has a great car dock.  I found a decent car charging dock (wireless charging) for my iphone, to keep it nice and charged.  It does go dead on a hike.  I usually just plan to get it back into the charger.  And I've typically had the Garmin running and tracking the entire hike.

 

I can't seem to get "maps" to exist properly for offline Geocaching on my iPhone 8 (my Garmin has a map chip for the entire US, plus Topo).  But the iphone also has that bug where it's 200 feet off and wandering and compass flipping to 90 and 180 degrees out, so I don't bother with the buggy parts.  I used the phone these past couple of weeks for "getting a quick cache", and got a suitable reminder why I don't use "a phone" for the actual search. :anicute:

Edited by kunarion
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Great comments and discussion. 

 

I did take my old Garmin Etrex HCx out and did a side by side with the GPSr and 2 iphones (one an Iphone X and another a 12 Max). I let them sit outside under a clear sky and the coords displayed were basically spot on. 

 

I think the comment about averaging with a GPSr is spot on. When I would place a hide with my GPSr I would average and let it sit for at least a few minutes and the coords seemed to be spot on. 

 

I plan on placing a waypoint in my yard with my GPSr and then track to with my iphones and see how close they get me. 

 

BTW, I completely forgot how to download gpx files to my old HCx. the new Garmin updater won't recognize the HCx because its too old. 

 

I remember having a 3rd party loader to load pocket queries back in the day but can't recall what it was. Anyone know of any good 3rd party programs to dump a gpx list to an old legacy garmin HCx?

 

R- 

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21 minutes ago, RGnVA said:

I think the comment about averaging with a GPSr is spot on. When I would place a hide with my GPSr I would average and let it sit for at least a few minutes and the coords seemed to be spot on. 

The last time I took coordinates for a cache listing, I used an Android app that averaged readings for a few minutes, as well as a handheld GPS receiver that also averaged. The coordinates that I got for the various waypoints were basically identical.

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2 hours ago, niraD said:

The last time I took coordinates for a cache listing, I used an Android app that averaged readings for a few minutes, as well as a handheld GPS receiver that also averaged. The coordinates that I got for the various waypoints were basically identical.


I’ve bought a couple of those Apps for Android and iphone.  Those Apps tend to immediately become abandonware.  Except I think the function is available on Locus Maps.

 

The issue with perfect coordinates as it applies to Geocaching is, COs who care about “accuracy” will let their best GPS device settle down, and they test their coords several times, coords suitable for cache finding.  The extra work required to properly “average” (supposedly what will pinpoint a spot) is overkill, not useful at all.  And everyone else just takes one waypoint, and it’s roughly within GZ, and that’s also just fine.  Or if it isn’t, the first finders post better coords, based also on a single reading.

 

I don’t want an average of readings, I want the precise spot.  So I use a variety of methods to compare.  If I feel like it.  Anyway, most of my caches have coords that will get you right there.  But it’s also OK when coords get you “close enough”.

 

Edited by kunarion
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I have an iPhone 11, a dual frequency Android, and Oregon 600.  To me the difference is primarily in the maps and display. I like Locus maps on the Android although the premium maps using Cachly are very good as well.

 

 I use the Oregon or a very rugged Android (4 satellite systems but without dual frequency) for kayaking.

 

In a completely unscientific test I compared readings - measured by the resulting maps without averaging.  The dual frequency Android placed me closest with the other rugged Android being the farthest.  With a little care, however, all of these would work within standard margins of error for placing caches. 
 

Closeness with published coordinates is hard to determine because there are so many variables.   

 

 

Edited by geodarts
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5 hours ago, RGnVA said:

 

I remember having a 3rd party loader to load pocket queries back in the day but can't recall what it was.

 

(From memory, sorry.) For the trusty 60CSx, I used a GSAK macro called GarminPOIexport (or somesuch), which created a POI file containing the caches, thus working around the artificial limit on geocaches. Step two was using the Garmin POI loader to push that file into the unit. 

 

Good luck. :)

 

EDIT: GarminCsvPoiExport? 

 

Edited by Viajero Perdido
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Smartphones are much better now than 10 years ago.

 

Using a Garmin basically comes down to where and how much you'll be caching. Hiking or paddling? You want that waterproof GPS. But if you're doing park-n-grabs then you don't need the Garmin.

 

I use my Droid to navigate to trailheads and on-the-fly caching, but my Garmin when on the trail.

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1 hour ago, kenttela said:

Here is my 2 cents.

The smartphone is a PHONE. The Garmin is for navigation to a spot.

Of course, as a geocacher once said, "When I get within 10 feet I stop using the GPSr."


+1

 

My iPhone 8 is infested with the App glitch where the compass and distance wanders in various directions as far as 300 feet off.  Unaddressed by TPTB in 3 years.  So I know full well that a phone is best used as a phone (or for looking stuff up online, for example).  I have never seen the handheld Garmin flip 180 degrees and scroll around all over the place.  The Garmin is designed for bringing me to a spot, and any bug that makes that not happen is a top priority for a fix.  Top.  Priority.

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On 10/25/2021 at 4:27 PM, RGnVA said:

How many folks do it still old school with a handheld Garmin or whatever or do cachers primarily use a smart phone now.

I know many geocachers in my region who swear by their dedicated handheld. A few favour it over smartphones, the rest couldn't be bothered with the smartphone :P But, most have been geocachers for many years and began with a GPSr, not a smartphone.  Today, it shouldn't be an issue. But I think the 'old school' will always feel a stigma against smartphones, hehe

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On 10/25/2021 at 4:27 PM, RGnVA said:

How many folks do it still old school with a handheld Garmin or whatever or do cachers primarily use a smart phone now. I just wonder how accurate the GPS is, seems like on my last few caches the coordinates were not as close as they used to be. I'm thinking that's because people are using their phone GPS to hide them and the coords are off from the get go....


Lots of the threads around here are about The App, and the Handheld GPS area is small.  So either most people are using The App, or people have a lot more trouble with The App. :anicute:

 

But what if like with my phone, their phone is super lousy at guiding them to caches?  How many people give up Geocaching immediately?  I wonder.

 

But plenty of cache coordinates have been off since long before Apps and Smartphones.  Most of that issue is caused by people not taking care to test their own coords, or at least not understanding what their device is telling them.

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Okay, I've been caching since 2009, just passed 17,000, and began with an iPhone 3GS, upgrading essentially every 2nd major update, and now on iPhone 12 Pro Max. I've only ever cached with an iphone.  So I can say first hand that the [iphone] smartphone is itself more than sufficient for finding and placing geocaches -- if you use it properly. And therein lies the rub.  However that same issue exists for dedicated devices.

I've always said - a dedicated GPS device should always fair better than a smartphone of the same/similar generation, because it's dedicated to gps use. However, that does not imply that one is objectively better at geocaching than the other.

 

Whatever you choose to use, you just need to understand how to use it optimally for the hobby. Not only the technology, but your own habits, and your region.

 

--

 

As for GPS, A-GPS was described in better detail above. In short, A-GPS simply gives a faster approximation of your location by using cell towers for triangulation, before the device is able to lock on to GPS satellites and calculation actual GPS location from that data, which is far more accurate than cell tower triangulation.  When out of cell reception, you can turn on airplane mode and that effectively turns your phone into GPS only.  I'm not sure if A-GPS is still effective if there are in fact towers around even if airplane mode is on.  On iOS there's no GPS enabling or disabling. There's airplane mode, and there are location services for software use, but that interaction is explained a bit better below.

 

--

 

As for iPhone GPS averaging - I looked this up some time back, and to my best knowledge, Apple does all the GPS work at the OS level, and any app that "averages" gps location literally just sits there waiting for iOS to feed it GPS readings. A lot of the time those readings may be the same because iOS hasn't decided to update its latest 'best' reading.  So AFAIK, iOS GPS averaging apps are effectively performing a redundant function that the hardware is already doing.

When it comes to Cachly on iOS, you have the option to boost the GPS reading in the app - this just tells the app to continue polling iOS for a GPS reading when the app is in the background, and I believe a little more often.  Whether that's on or off, you can view the map and watch as your location pin 'hovers' around where you actually are standing. Averaging at that point is basically just doing another math calculation on each location point you see the pin move to. It becomes redundant. Mathematically, the question just becomes how many readings from iOS do you want to include in the averaging calculation?  iOS already does it, and Cachly and likely other geocaching apps effectively also do it.

 

tl;dr:

In short, there's no way on iOS, to my understanding, for an app to force the operating system to take a new hardware gps reading on demand. It can only ask iOS to provide its latest best GPS reading, as often as it likes.  This does allow for gps averaging, but also makes it relatively redundant. An app can enable or disable GPS activity, and maybe some level of intensity of reading, but not a "read gps now" type of command that would be desirable for effective gps averaging.

 

Maybe things have changed now or I misunderstood what I've studied, but that's how I understand gps use on iOS

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7 minutes ago, kunarion said:

But what if like with my phone, their phone is super lousy at guiding them to caches?  How many people give up Geocaching immediately?  I wonder.

 

Yep, I honestly believe that many people who try a smartphone for geocaching (whether for the first time or coming from a dedicated handheld) are turned off not because of the smartphone, but because the user experience of the app they're using was below their expectation; and then they blame smartphone devices, rather than the app/interface they were using. /shrug/

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On 10/25/2021 at 4:42 PM, Unit473L said:

My opinion is that people are lazier and take less pride, so they get one set of coords and call it done.


+1

 

But typically one shot is perfectly fine, as it applies to Geocaching. But regardless of how carefully I got my coords, I can’t imagine not testing that I’m guided back to GZ.  I like to get mine down to the last square inch, but that’s just me. :anicute:

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7 minutes ago, thebruce0 said:

 

Yep, I honestly believe that many people who try a smartphone for geocaching (whether for the first time or coming from a dedicated handheld) are turned off not because of the smartphone, but because the user experience of the app they're using was below their expectation; and then they blame smartphone devices, rather than the app/interface they were using. /shrug/


At least it’s free.  There’s not even a penalty for trying it out — you don’t have to verify your email address first and risk Spam forevermore (I’m looking at you, Adobe).

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11 minutes ago, kunarion said:

But regardless of how carefully I got my coords, I can’t imagine not testing that I’m guided back to GZ.  I like to get mine down to the last square inch, but that’s just me. :anicute:

 

Yeah, that is one benefit of a separate gps app. You'd want one that actually provides a higher precision coordinate than the standard DD MM.MMM geocaching format with 3 decimals. 

Cachly supports use of decimal degrees, but of course has to convert them when in the context of geocache data. Even so, 3 decimal precision is (typically) sufficient to find a geocache anyway, assuming the digits are as accurate as they can be. A couple of meters is all you really need. Dedicated devices and smartphones can now all get more precise than 3 decimal minutes provides, but speed is the smartphone's strength, and reliability (ability to detect satellite signal in difficult environments) is the handheld's strength, imo. Mainly.

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It all comes down to what you like. GPSr users need to stop bashing those the use a smartphone. And smartphone users need to stop trying to convince GPSr users that they need to switch.

 

Both are perfectly acceptable options. 

Edited by igator210
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18 hours ago, kunarion said:

I’ve bought a couple of those Apps for Android and iphone.  Those Apps tend to immediately become abandonware.

I wouldn't say "immediately", but yeah, once again, I need to choose a new app for geocaching. In the meantime, I'm getting by with Groundspeak's Geocaching app, but I'm not doing much geocaching, so it's good enough.

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2 minutes ago, niraD said:

I wouldn't say "immediately", but yeah, once again, I need to choose a new app for geocaching. In the meantime, I'm getting by with Groundspeak's Geocaching app, but I'm not doing much geocaching, so it's good enough.

 

I mean the specialized "GPS Averaging" Apps, not Geocaching Apps in general.  Averaging Apps seem to require a sweet spot with users, somewhere between not understanding how to take good readings and being reasonably good at it -- while having a ton of extra time to fiddle with an App -- yet before you no longer want to waste all that time for "Perfectly Average Coordinates" for each cache.

 

I meant that it's the averaging Apps that seem to appear and then disappear.  But I also bought several real Geocaching Apps over the years that seemed to stall immediately upon purchase, hang out abandoned in the Store for another 3 years or so, and then vanish.

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2 hours ago, igator210 said:

It all comes down to what you like. GPSr users need to stop bashing those the use a smartphone. And smartphone users need to stop trying to convince GPSr users that they need to switch.

 

Both are perfectly acceptable options. 

 

Not if the Smartphone is 300 feet off and pointing in random directions.  People need to stop saying "a smartphone is acceptable" without then also saying which smartphone is acceptable.  And they need to agree that some are not acceptable.

 

My iphone 8 is NOT acceptable.  If that's "bashing smartphones", then so be it.  There are very likely new users who quit Geocaching because smartphones that don't work are claimed to be "acceptable" or especially that models that are not acceptable are not sufficienty bashed.

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1 hour ago, kunarion said:

I meant that it's the averaging Apps that seem to appear and then disappear.  But I also bought several real Geocaching Apps over the years that seemed to stall immediately upon purchase, hang out abandoned in the Store for another 3 years or so, and then vanish.

Ah, got it. Well, the third-party geocaching apps that I've used have included waypoint averaging features. They may not have included them at first, but the developers responded to user feedback and added them. But eventually, they became abandonware, Groundspeak changed the API, and the apps stopped working.

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2 hours ago, kunarion said:

My iphone 8 is NOT acceptable.  If that's "bashing smartphones", then so be it. 

 

Well, I didn't say that not liking something is "bashing smartphones", but your statement is an objective one. And I can tell you right now that iPhone 8 is plenty sufficient, as I used it between my 6 and 12, and years after I began with 3GS.

So, once again, it's a matter of preference - you didn't like iPhone 8, but that's different than saying iPhone 8 is not acceptable. That type of language is why these debates keep raging. Even if you meant "not acceptable to me", it can give the wrong impression to those who are asking about which devices can be used for geocaching - before having that hands on experience to decide if it's good for them. And it prompts defenders to jump in with first-hand experience rebuttles.

 

So yes, iPhone 8 is more than sufficient hardware for geocaching. Whether one prefers the combination of that hardware with the app(s) being used, that's a personal judgment call.

 

I hate using handheld GPSrs. But I'd never say it's not acceptable. Quite the contrary, per my prior comments.

Edited by thebruce0
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3 hours ago, thebruce0 said:

Well, I didn't say that not liking something is "bashing smartphones"

 

I didn't say you did. I quoted the statement to who

 I was replying.  It includes the user name.

 

 

3 hours ago, thebruce0 said:

And I can tell you right now that iPhone 8 is plenty sufficient, as I used it between my 6 and 12, and years after I began with 3GS.

 

 

I also used the iphone 8 for compass navigation, up until about 4 years ago when it became unacceptable.  I still use it, but not for the compass, unless I grabbed it for a quick cache because how bad could it be.  And I wander the forest wishing I'd grabbed the Garmin instead.  But it's still fine for the online things, while I have a signal.  And even offline, for Lists that I use as a handy way to group or highlight caches in an area.  And I can sometimes find a cache if the compass is pointing way off and far away, because I'm awesome like that.  But it's better if it's better.  So as mentioned, various devices have various capabilities, and most work reasonably well for Geocaching.

 

But I'm literally looking at my iphone 8 pointing the wrong way and a hundred yards off.  Unacceptable.  The hardware is probably plenty good, as you say.  It used to work great, back when the phone was acceptable and unbashable.  I'm guessing it's software.  Maybe.  It's sure frustrating, to then be told to "stop bashing smartphones"... I'll bash it, because it is bashable.  It doesn't work, and I will not stop saying so.  It's probably fixable, simply unacceptable.  We need to start my admitting there's a problem.

Because it's not just unacceptable to me, it's unacceptable to all who have this issue.  And to many more who don't enter the Fori.

 

Edited by kunarion
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6 minutes ago, kunarion said:

I also used the iphone 8 for compass navigation, up until about 4 years ago when it became unacceptable.  I still use it, but not for the compass, unless I grabbed it for a quick cache because how bad could it be.  And I wander the forest wishing I'd grabbed the Garmin instead.  But it's still fine for the online things, while I have a signal.  And even offline, for Lists that I use as a handy way to group or highlight caches in an area.

Well, sorry you had an experience that wasn't up to your expectations.  I had no problems through the life of my iPhone 8 use, and I stand by it.

If the norm was bad, the product would not have done nearly as well as it did.

 

8 minutes ago, kunarion said:

But I'm literally looking at my iphone 8 pointing the wrong way and a hundred yards off.  Unacceptable.

Ok. No context and no ability to diagnose the problem means the report isn't all that helpful.  But, as they say, your opinion is noted - really, it's good to have first-hand reports so people can make their own decisions.

 

9 minutes ago, kunarion said:

Again, there are SO MANY FACTORS that could be the cause of something like a compass in the wrong direction, on the rare occasion it does occur. But to then use that instance as a blanket criticism of a device in general is disingenuous and unhelpful. (and we all know that forum posts will always weigh heavy to the negative, not being an accurate representation of proportion of the general community).

 

There are solutions and ways to address the problem (whatever device is in question), anything from figuring out what the user is doing wrong, can do better, to determining that there's a hardware fluke that could get fixed or replaced.

 

Guaranteed, the iPhone 8 - as a product in general - is not problematic, despite your dislike for it. Which of course is not to say the device is 'perfect' (no device is) or that it's right for everyone.

 

 

It's good to keep in mind, sometimes even the simplest fixable problems can be frustrating to people who for whatever reason couldn't be bothered with making an effort to diagnose and work through it. When that happens good R&D shouldn't blame the user, but within reason try to find and improve the process to either help the user fix it, or get rid of the problem or misunderstanding altogether. UX 101.

 

In 100 devices, 1 could have an easily fixed problem, but if its user is loud about hating that there even was a problem, that that's a problem, even if only for perception. But to say that the 99 others are objectively just as bad is simply wrong.

 

 

So once again - pick a device that works for you and fits your style and use case. It's okay to just not like something and use something else. And when it comes to gps-capable devices today, most any current, even last-gen devices (whether handheld or smartphone) are absolutely sufficient for geocaching, hiding and finding, especially when used optimally.  Keeping in mind, unfavourable experiences are everywhere, but generally avoidable, and that's to be expected.

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2 hours ago, kunarion said:

 

Not if the Smartphone is 300 feet off and pointing in random directions.  People need to stop saying "a smartphone is acceptable" without then also saying which smartphone is acceptable.  And they need to agree that some are not acceptable.

 

My iphone 8 is NOT acceptable.  If that's "bashing smartphones", then so be it.  There are very likely new users who quit Geocaching because smartphones that don't work are claimed to be "acceptable" or especially that models that are not acceptable are not sufficienty bashed.

 

So, based upon just your posting, I would say that your personal phone is the problem and not smartphone in general. Maybe the GPS chip is damaged. Or maybe its the antenna. Maybe some internal setting is configured incorrectly.

But, just because the phone that is physically in your hand is not working to your expectation, does not mean that fundamentally they are all like that. If your GPSr malfunctions, do you blame the unit or all GPSrs?

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2 hours ago, igator210 said:

 

So, based upon just your posting, I would say that your personal phone is the problem and not smartphone in general. Maybe the GPS chip is damaged. Or maybe its the antenna. Maybe some internal setting is configured incorrectly.

But, just because the phone that is physically in your hand is not working to your expectation, does not mean that fundamentally they are all like that. If your GPSr malfunctions, do you blame the unit or all GPSrs?


It’s not exclusive to my personal phone.  I’ve posted the link to the issue twice.  It affects many people on at least two models of iPhone.  The link to the issue is in my reply that you quoted.  If my GPSr malfunctions, I might post that it is unacceptable.  Some phones won’t work just as some GPSrs won’t.   Yet if then people say, as with phones, that I need to stop bashing GPSrs, they need to stop saying that.

 

Edited by kunarion
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1 hour ago, thebruce0 said:

Well, sorry you had an experience that wasn't up to your expectations.  I had no problems through the life of my iPhone 8 use, and I stand by it.


So did I.  The iPhone 8 was fine until some previous update (or combination of updates).  But I use the phone for what a phone can do (even street routing is fine), and the GPSr for the compass.

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On 10/25/2021 at 1:27 PM, RGnVA said:

How many folks do it still old school with a handheld Garmin or whatever or do cachers primarily use a smart phone now...

 

Curious what other old school (or just plain old) cachers are seeing and doing....

 

Our son wanted a GPSr for his 20th birthday, back in 2005, to help him navigate on his motorcycle.  A little booklet in the GPS box gave geocaching as a potential use for the GPSr, he signed up and he was hooked, recently celebrating his 10,000th find and he still uses, primarily, a GPSr (Montana, Monterra, Oregon - I forget which one he has now).

 

Fast forward to 2017 - he and his wife (met through geocaching!) moved to Phoenix from N. Calif., leaving well over 100 cache hides to maintain...he convinced his Dad and I, recently retired, to sign up so we could find and then help him maintain the caches he and his wife had hidden in our area.  He taught us to find and hide, and maintain, using the website and the app on our Google Pixel smartphones.  For the first few years, we used our phones and the website without issues.

 

We did buy a Garmin Etrex30x, just to learn how to use it, and also to teach scouts how to use it for their geocaching merit badge.  I find it helpful when placing caches - we get coordinates from both our phones (now Google Pixel 4a) and the Garmin GPSr and that seems to work well.

 

I use the phone for finding and taking photos, the computer for logging,  and the GPSr for finding at times, and placing.

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10 hours ago, niraD said:

Ah, got it. Well, the third-party geocaching apps that I've used have included waypoint averaging features. They may not have included them at first, but the developers responded to user feedback and added them. But eventually, they became abandonware, Groundspeak changed the API, and the apps stopped working.

 

Most likely the effort to maintain the apps was higher than the revenue gained from app sales so developers finally give in and quit. 

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