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Guest dan_edwards_1966

What would be the PERFECT Geocaching GPS software

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Guest dan_edwards_1966

I have several programs for my Handspring Visor and Magellan GPS, and they work well enough, but I want one program that does it all. I was thinking of getting into programming again and this seamed like a project that could suck my life away ;-)

 

I am pretty new to geocaching, and have some ideas as to what my dream GPS would be, but I was wondering what others thought.

 

If you had a magic wand, what feature would you add to your GPS. Who knows, maybe would could get GPS companies to look at this list too. I am looking for ideas to help with Geocaching mostly, but anything that would make everyday use of GPS better would be cool too.

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Guest Iron Chef

It would be nice if it was affordable, something like 20 or 25 bucks so that people would pay the licence fee and not try to steal/hack the program.

 

And I keep dreaming...

 

------------------

-Iron Chef

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

agefive.com/geocache/ ~ Fe-26

Lets Drive Fast and Eat Cheese!

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Guest PneumaticDeath

You might want to take a look at the software that others have put out for the home GPS user.

 

www.expertgps.com

www.easygps.com (free-like-beer)

 

As another programmer who has thought about this, here's some of the requirements that have come to mind.

 

You want a cheap (maybe free) product, that will add functionality that isn't practical inside the GPSR itself, such as larger, more detailed maps, automatic navigation, etc.

 

You want the application to be lightweight engough that it will run on older hardware. (A lot of people might pick up an old pentium laptop just to take geocaching with them, but they won't take one that is worth more than $200, since there is a good chance it's not coming back in one piece. So, the code should run on old hardware with only 16 or 32 MB of RAM. I think 500MB, or maybe a CDROM's worth of data should be the most it will take up on disk, and most of that should be map data rather than code. ExpertGPS does a very good job at fetching and caching MAP data from online sources, but currently doesn't fetch shapefiles or allow you to navigate.

 

It might seem like a good idea to use a haldheld like a Palm or an iPaq, but there are several problems I see:

1) There isn't a good interface standard between these units and peripherals, making it a thorny problem.

2) The units typically don't have much more processing power or memory than the GPSR itself, and this means that it can't handle signigicantly larger problems than the GPSR itself can. About the only advantage that I can see is that most handhelds have a slightly higher resolution screen, but given above problems, I don't think it's worth the trouble... and others already have done the work. There is some good GPS software out for the Palm, et. al.

 

Anybody else have some bright ideas?

-- Mitch

 

[This message has been edited by PneumaticDeath (edited 25 July 2001).]

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Guest dan_edwards_1966

quote:
Originally posted by PneumaticDeath:

You might want to take a look at the software that others have put out for the home GPS user.

 

You want a cheap (maybe free) product, that will add functionality that isn't practical inside the GPSR itself, such as larger, more detailed maps, automatic navigation, etc.


I was thinking more specific to Geocaching. Such as a multipoint caching utility that would note waypoints, answers to questions or other notes, heavy averaging of the waypoint readings.

quote:

It might seem like a good idea to use a haldheld like a Palm or an iPaq, but there are several problems I see:

 

1) There isn't a good interface standard between these units and peripherals, making it a thorny problem.


From what I understand it's just a matter of opening the serial port and reading the data for most GPS's. If the GPS does not support that then I would not worry about that model. I would start by writing this for my own use, and then see where it goes.

quote:

2) The units typically don't have much more processing power or memory than the GPSR itself, and this means that it can't handle significantly larger problems than the GPSR itself can. About the only advantage that I can see is that most handhelds have a slightly higher resolution screen, but given above problems, I don't think it's worth the trouble... and others already have done the work. There is some good GPS software out for the Palm, et. al.


Very true on the processing power, but with the price of a Visor and a GPS only a little more expensive then a mapping GPSR I really can't see a reason to by a GPSR myself. You are also missing the main benefit of a palm device, seamless syncing of data to your desktop PC. One of the features I was thinking of creating was to have it write a basic cache entry for you. You just supply the cache name, enter the contents, and when you sync the palm it would create a web page for you with the data entered for you. No fat finger errors, great for someone who wanted to create a bunch of caches on a road trip and then enter the pages when they got home, or with wireless, the next time they are in range. Your also very right about other programs being available for the palm, and they are quite good, but nothing that really helps me geocaching, and that is what I was shooting for. I find the basic software that comes with it works pretty well, but I find its ability to integrate that data very limiting.

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Guest Exocet

f say three separate waypoints) and have them auto-average them. That would save a little time vs the built-in calculator.

 

When I'm placing a cache, it would be nice to have something where I could have that auto-average feature there (my GPS software doesn't do that), along with what's in the cache, special notes about the area, time and temp again, etc.

 

The ability to make a web page on the fly is awesome but not something the majority of the PalmOS users are going to need, IMO. I can usually wait until I get home.

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Guest dan_edwards_1966

quote:
Originally posted by Exocet:

If someone would like to write a datum conversion program (NAD27 to WGS84 and vice-versa) ...or have such a feature available in whatever program they write ...I'd love it.


If you don have it already you might think about ThinkDB. It is free for the palm, but it's $50 if you want to sync to your desktop. That's not as bad as it seams because the palm version allows you everything you can on the desktop version. Including fields with math.

quote:
Keep in mind, though, that the use of multi-waypoint caches and how they are done are subject to pretty severe changes. These types of caches are new and people will be trying to figure out ways to keep them interesting - which means instead of doing some math, you solve a riddle at waypoint #2.

Good point about the math, I was also going to have it have a "notes" field so that you could take down notes that go with a certain waypoint.

 

quote:
But if you're going to write a specific program to do some of the stuff I've been doing in a bunch of separate programs...

 

It'd be nice to have a place to note the time, temp, who took what and left what, comments about the area (and the cache), etc.

 

It would also be nice to plug in a bunch of coordinates (lat, lon of say three separate waypoints) and have them auto-average them. That would save a little time vs. the built-in calculator.

 

When I'm placing a cache, it would be nice to have something where I could have that auto-average feature there (my GPS software doesn't do that), along with what's in the cache, special notes about the area, time and temp again, etc.


Once again I think a ThinkDB database could do most of what you're looking for. That is what I am looking for too, so I think my first project would be to create a ThinkDB database for GeoCaching. It has a plugin available to take input direct from a GPS, and it also has a plug in to work with the Eyemodule. It would be pretty simple to create a database that kept track of all that you mentioned, auto averaged, converted GPS data types, temp, lat & lon, averaged, and stored a picture of the site.

 

quote:
The ability to make a web page on the fly is awesome but not something the majority of the PalmOS users are going to need, IMO. I can usually wait until I get home.

 

Yea it's pretty low on my priority list, mostly I just want the data to be really easy to get to on my desktop.

 

[This message has been edited by dan_edwards_1966 (edited 28 July 2001).]

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