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A Geocacher's Dream GPSr

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Although low price and 1 meter accuracy would be nice, are there other features that would be part of your ideal GPSr. Many features that I would like are a matter of software and memory. Would Garmin or Magellan pay any attention to geocacher type features?


It seems like it should be straightforward to implement a directory structure for waypoints. There are certain ones that I like to keep even after deleting those that were of a passing interest.


A PDA like cradle would be nice for connecting the GPSr to my PC and a power source for recharging its batteries.


When in the field entering new way points or leaving bread crumbs, there are times when I really wish I had some sort of keyboard instead of my Garmin emap's clunky and slow sequential method of entering characters.


The upcoming GPSr/PDA might address some of these wishes as might some of the PDAs that can attach a GPSr. Still that seems backwards. I want a GPSr with more features, not another Palm device that has an expensive GPSr add in!


What do you want in a GPSr? What do you want in a GPSr that seems technically feasible that isn't in most models and that is of special relevance to geocachers?


Team Geo-Jedi, Searchers 4 Ground Truth

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I like it, I like it!! The only other thing that I would want to see is a non-propietary map standard, so that people, especially those of us outside the US can load up the best possible map, vice whatever the software company decides to produce.


The only question is cost? First-born and right arm, or first-born only? icon_biggrin.gif

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I've seen other posts that suggest that the iQue 3600 might not be suitable for field work even though it sounds like it would be great around town and in the car.


The geocacher GPSr would need to be ruggedized and waterproof (should it float?).


The ability to use non-proprietary memory products would be key. My Garmin emap requires that the batteries have to come out to access the memory !?? The device should be designed to make the memory hot-swappable.


A USB or firewire port might be cool. I think I'd prefer to use a standard cable than a proprietary one. Think of being able to plug in a small USB memory fob to move data around between PC and GPS or GPS and GPS.


How about a bluetooth or an infrared connection to transfer selected data between GPS's?


Would it be too much to ask for a Linux based OS and a published set of interfaces to make it easier to run custom applications?


Should the GPS support GPX?


Team Geo-Jedi, Searchers 4 Ground Truth

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Well I really like my Garmin V. The formfactor is nice as it is just right for my hand.


What features I would like to see are :


Tad larger screen, in Color

Memory card support

Better Antenna for under tree cover

Touchscreen for entering data

USB Interface or Cradle type station

IR Send/Recive for sending way points to other units OR Palm / PPC devices

More way points and or GPX support


Just some from the top of my head.



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Just an alarm - we're dreaming. How about an announcement "Waypoint GCGR8T - range 3 miles at 30 degrees."


I think I'd want to limit it to a selected set of waypoints so I could exclude Found caches, etc.


The audible alarm made me think that we should want not just an alarm and other auditory output but also voice input. This would certainly trump the notion of one-handed operation that could be important.


Team Geo-Jedi, Searchers 4 Ground Truth

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Most of these have already been said, but Garmin, Magellan, and Lowrance are you listening?


I want a GPS with the features of a Garmin V, Garmin Rino (FRS), and a Magellan Meridian Platinum, but in color, and a few other items including FM radio. Yes, I want it all, but I bet the first one to come out with the "ultimate GPS" would sell a bunch of them. How hard could it be, the technology is already there, all they have to do is build the dang thing. Besides, all of the Garmin vs. Magellan wars would be over once the company came out with the GPS that trumped all others.


I E-mailed a big consolidated wish list of ideas to Magellan for the Platinum a while ago and never heard back. Don't know if they are incorporating any of them, or if they just trashed the E-mail. Some of these are from that list.


I want (in no particular order):


1. Auto-routing.


2. Quad-helix antenna with the fast satellite acquisition speed of my 315.


3. Plug in for second antenna.


4. Real waterproof, not the pseudo waterproof, don't actually drop it in the lake or it'll be fried IPX7 stuff.


5. SD card support.


6. Compass that works at any angle.


7. 0-9 number keys and backspace key.


8. Small size (could be between the Meridian and SporTrak in size).


9. Street maps that actually match the streets (I know this is not necessarily the GPS makers fault).


10. Software to allow us to make and upload our own COLOR Icons that actually matches what we use them for. The additional icons could be added to the memory like waypoints are (or on the SD card), not to the firmware. We could also make, trade icons, and share them with the GPS manufacturer so they could add them to future models or firmware revisions. Let us also delete the ones we know we'll never use.


I want icons like Geocaching Treasure box icon, Car icon (where did it go on the Platinum, the 315 has it), trailhead icon, Dock icon.


11. Personalize setting to add our name, phone number, reward information, or whatever to one of the many startup screens. I know there are programs on the internet to edit my hex file to do this, but I'm not sure I dare do this yet, and I would rather just have the option to do this without uploading files like I can do on my 315.


12.a. The option to have the electronic compass turn on/off based on speed & satellite locks. I hate caching with electronic compass on (< 5 mph), getting in the car (> 5mph) and having the darn thing point at the engine.

12.b. Or, it would be nice to have a hot-key option for turning the compass on and off so we do not have to go through the menus to do this. For example, on the compass page, just hold down a button (enter button) for a second and it will toggle the compass on and off. By the way, the Garmin Vista has this feature.

12.c. Another way to adjust the compass could be to push the menu button when on the compass screen and have a compass orient button option just like the Map Setup button for the map screen.


13. The letter T (True), M (Magnetic), or C (Course) should be displayed on the compass screen so the compass mode being used will easily be known.


14. Page up/page down in the waypoint list like the 315 does. Use left/right keys to do this.


15. Have an option to set the track resolution to one second. Every 52.8 feet is fine for driving, but to me it is a little lacking when I walk (sometime I like to out line a perimeter of something).


16. Tide tables for given locations like the Garmin 76S has.


17. Temperature & air pressure on a Nav Screen and not the hidden screens.


18. A light Icon. On my Platinum I turned my light on in the daylight and couldn't tell whether I had turned it off or not without covering the screen. We need a light icon to come on when the light is on, just like the 315 has.


19. A way to shut off just the screen, this would allow me to continue to track satellites, but would increase my battery power.


20. A high speed connection to the GPS.


21. High resolution color screen.


22. More than 8-character waypoint names. Even Microsoft got rid of the 8.3 file naming a long time ago.


23. FRS radio (I don't want to have to buy a FCC license for GMRS) with hands free microphone/speaker jack (like my Audiovox FRS radio has).


24. Ability to send location to other GPS like Rino.


25. FM Radio with speaker jack for ear buds (my FRS radio has this).


26. A built in belt clip.


27. Portrait or Landscape screens like the V has.


28. Rubberized body armor.


[This message was edited by 3fros on April 29, 2003 at 11:50 PM.]

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3fros list is very good.

I want a faster processor.

When I move the cursor around I don't want to wait for the GPS to catch-up and reload the map is I go. Making the map blink and shudder.


My friend says his GPS V is to slow, also. For the same reasons.

I think with all the older PDA processors they should be available and implementable.



I am the result of genetic manipulation of superior Geocacher DNA. Faster, stronger with superior reasoning and logic.


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Let me think about some of these blue-sky features:


USB is number one on my list, but I'd settle for a cradle.


More speed sounds good, but I burn batteries too fast already.


Touchscreen/PDA-style entry sounds nice, but probably detracts from the ruggedness. The iQue does sound really nice -- I'd love to try one out.


I'd settle here for an easier text-entry that would let me use the joypad/rocker to select from a grid of letters/numbers, rather than just up/down -- way too slow.


I am Arrowroot, son of Arrowshirt. I have many names, you know

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I sent e-mail to Garmin, Lowrance, and Magellan about this thread. So far, only Garmin has responded. It was slightly more than a machine response thanking me for my interest but informing me that they have a policy not to participate in online discussions.


Team Geo-Jedi, Searchers 4 Ground Truth

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3fro's list is impressive. Can I buy two?


It forced me to think more about what would be convenient and feasible. Multiple screens was one idea. Several cell phones feature a small screen on the outside and a larger one when flipped open. The small screen could show just an arrow and maybe range or position or error depending on the mode. This would address a smaller power drain as well as the need of one of the thread's participants just for an arrow to point the way.


As I explored this further, I realized that there is no reason that the display couldn't be separated from the receiver. I would much prefer to carry the receiver on my belt and hold a smaller ruggedized (and replaceable) screen in my hand. A wired connection would be trivial but a Bluetooth connection would be cooler.


The next step, of course, is to move to a hands free screen via goggles or some other type of wearable display.


On the screen, I'd also want more tools for decluttering.


Team Geo-Jedi, Searchers 4 Ground Truth

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Just to give you an idea of where people are actually taking HUD displays. Somoene I work with/for is working on a HUD for paintball goggles. Doing something way more basic for a GPS wouldn't be that much work it just the $$ that your willing to pay.


Something else that would be kinda nifty would be a video out icon_biggrin.gif



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regarding the H2O worthyness of Garmin units is something to worry about...


I do not care about the specifications, to whatever standard, yada yada yada,


if they say the thing is water proof to 1 meter for 30 minutes or whatever, it should mean the whole unit...


and it does not mean that everything is waterproof except for the battery compartment ...?...(i.e., sometimes the unit is waterproof, depending on what angle the unit is being held under water, or what hemisphere you are on...etc,....)


at the very least if they say the unit floats, it should float, not depending on what type of water fresh or salt, or whatever....


GARMIN make it happen, put foam in the unit to make it float, i dunno,,, do whatever it takes...


or perhaps just say it won'f float, customers will appreciate the honesty...


or how about this one.....


make the unit really waterproof like you say it is, then make it so,,,


don't make it waterproof and say the battery compartment may get wet and require drying...


if a $2.99 watch with the purchase of any sandwich you get at McDonalds or BurgerKing can be waterproof then a x-hundred dollar gps unit can also be waterproof....


what a joke,,,


take some of the profits from your 'reasonably' priced software and buy a few o-rings and screws or whatever closure mechanism/system you wish to employ (as long as it seals tight) and make sure your units are really waterproof...


by the way, I have never deep-sixed my legend, never intend to, and hope it never makes it way into the drink regardless...


basically I want a more rugged and durable casing...




that is it for now....




[This message was edited by shabbasuraj on May 01, 2003 at 06:32 AM.]

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The next step, of course, is to move to a hands free screen via goggles or some other type of wearable display.


Go read "All Tomorrow's Parties" by William Gibson. The main character picks up a pair of "Brazillian GPS phone shades" at a convenience store, and is regularly frustrated by the fact that he can only bring up maps of Rio while he's walking through San Francisco.


I am Arrowroot, son of Arrowshirt. I have many names, you know

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This is a review of the bidding with heavy borrowing from 3fro...


Cacher’s Delight – a Dream GPSr

The Cacher’s Delight family of GPS receiver-computers adds a whole new level of functionality and enjoyment to your geocaching activities. Not only are these GPSr designed for durability and fieldwork, there are a number of features that should especially appeal to the dedicated geocacher. All three models sport ruggedized lightweight waterproof and floatable cases, a 3-axis electronic compass, the ability to track 12 satellites simultaneously. These WAAS enabled devices can geolocate to within 3 meters with high reliability.

All three GPSr’s have the features you have come to expect in your favorite gps including Finding the Nearest Object, finding Objects by Name, and autorouting. The speedy processor and generous amount of built-in memory can be further supplemented by SD memory cards. Linux is the operating system used by all Cacher’s Delight GPSrc’s. Open source extensions to our software are encouraged. There are several active communities of developers and a sanctioned software developer’s kit (SDK).


Cacher’s Delight Sphere

The Sphere is the ultimate, top-of-the line model with a wearable detachable color display and voice recognition control software for completely hands-free operation.

10 oz with a 4 oz detachable display with data entry mechanism.


Cacher’s Delight Circle

The highly capable Circle model has a detachable monochrome display and multiple mechanisms for data entry while maintaining the high quality GPS receiver that is in the Sphere model.

9 oz with a 3 oz detachable display with data entry mechanism


Cacher’s Delight Dot

The Dot is a very capable handheld unit with a consolidated integrated monochrome display. Standard alkaline batteries are the power source. Although there is an infrared communications mechanism, there is no WiFi or Bluetooth connection. A USB cable is used to connect the device with your computer.

8 oz


More details on the common features



- Uses AA batteries or a nominal 12 volts with an optional adapter

- Optional solar strip extends battery life

Physical Aspects

- Compact case with a standard rubber shock absorbing case

- Completely waterproof and floatable (when in rubber case)

- Easy to use optional lanyard or belt clip


Hardware – A robust hardware design is of utmost importance.



- Fast processor

- no lags in redrawing screens


- 32 megabytes is standard

- 128 Megabytes for Circle and Sphere models

- Expandable with SD memory

User Interface

- Typical rocker switch is included

- Scrolling side control eases reviewing list data

- On Circle and Sphere, display moves to reveal a mini keyboard


- Built-in quad-helix antenna for fast satellite acquisition

- Plug in for external antenna


- A high resolution display 480x320 pixels

- High contrast with adjustable backlight (with “light on” indicator)

- A screen power-save feature: turn off the screen while still making use of the GPS receiver to create tracks and maintain position data

- Ability to use display in landscape or portrait mode

- The Sphere model has a touch screen and can recognize Graffiti



- Digital voice recorder with telephone quality sound

- Tiny tinny speakers

- The Sphere has simple voice recognition for selected commands



- USB and firewire hard wire connections

- Bluetooth and IR wireless connections

- Can send/receive geo-data via these connections

- Can communicate with other IR and Bluetooth devices

Linux Operating system

Firmware/System Software

- Directory/Folder structure for Waypoints, Routes, and Tracks

- Flexible naming for navigational elements

-Extensive comment fields are possible

- Storage limited only by memory limitation, no fixed limit on number of waypoints

- Programmable track resolution

- Icons may be imported and stored in non-volatile memory

- Tools to personalize the start up screens and audio

- Name and contact information

- MP3 or WAV file of your choice

- Reward information

- User can program an audible alarm based on measured proximity to any one of a set of navigational elements (e.g., selected waypoints)

- Fixed location averaging – a fixed location may be named – the unit can be directed to take new measurements at the location to come up with a more accurate position by using a weighted average of the measurements biased by the degree of precision of each measurement taken


Versatile Electronic Compass

- 3D Axis so works in any orientation

- Programmable settings for auto on/off

- Hot key for compass on/off

- On screen indication of compass mode - T (True), M (Magnetic), or C (Course)


- Base maps are standard

- An XML format for building add-ins is provided

- Compatible with Open-Map data products

Other features

- Calendar

- Sun and moon data

- Tide tables

- Temperature (maintains coldest and warmest)

- Barometer (and altimeter)


- Detachable keyboard

- Cradle with connection and recharger

- Headphones

- 12 volt adapter

- solar strip


Team Geo-Jedi, Searchers 4 Ground Truth

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And the Prices?


Cacher’s Delight Sphere ($475)

The Sphere is the ultimate, top-of-the line model with a wearable detachable color display and voice recognition control software for completely hands-free operation.


Cacher’s Delight Circle ($250)

The highly capable Circle model has a detachable monochrome display and multiple mechanisms for data entry while maintaining the high quality GPS receiver that is in the Sphere model.


Cacher’s Delight Dot ($150)

The Dot is a very capable handheld unit with a consolidated integrated monochrome display.


Team Geo-Jedi, Searchers 4 Ground Truth

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Don't forget the built-in microwave so you can prepare lunch while on the trail, and it has to vacuum your floors all by itself, too. Oh, yea, it runs for 48 hours continuously on a single AA battery, which is rechargeable through the solar cells.

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The microwave might be a little difficult and there is probably no need to support a 48 hour requirement - 16 should do.


Indeed, I do realize how much of a geek I am. Thank you for the compliment.


GPSr chipsets are commercially available (e.g., www.sirf.com) that have a power requirement of about 170 mW at about 60 mA. I suspect these are the same kind of chipsets now being integrated into cell phones (e.g., Motorola i88s).


There are already GPSr modules to plug into PocketPCs and other PDAs (e.g. Pharos).


So, it seems that the geocachers needs are not really a matter of new technology but instead are an issue of component packaging and design and software development. The first stage of software development is trying to come up with requirements. Threads like this are wonderful mechanisms for engineers to explore.


Some use tools to enjoy their hobbies. Others (e.g. nerds) use their hobbies to think of new tools.


Team Geo-Jedi, Searchers 4 Ground Truth

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Sounds more like you guys want a rugged PDA with bluetooth.


I personally would not want a touch screen on my stand alone GPSr, it is way too hard to work the touch screen on my PDA while driving (the membrane on the fron is also failry fragile and expensive to replace). It is much easier to push the buttons on my meridian. Also gray scale screens are much easier to read out side for the most part.


You guys should look at these:




Wyatt W.

P.S. I don't think the first one has a GPS reciver built in.


The probability of someone watching you is directly proportional to the stupidity of your actions.


[This message was edited by phantom4099 on May 02, 2003 at 10:52 AM.]

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The Trimble GeoXT seems cool although it is a bit heavy at over 1 lb. A sales rep called it "little" in comparison to the backpack unit that this model replaced. You can pick one up for under $7,000!


Team Geo-Jedi, Searchers 4 Ground Truth

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How to reference other threads?


A thread titled "Anyone hear of this bluetooth unit" seems to have been revived. There are actually two Jeremy posts - one is below.


I have been checking out this GPS unit. I'll wait until Socket starts selling it standalone, however.


Also, seeing some real duds from companies just getting into the market, I'll take each new device with a grain of salt. There's a certain "art" to creating a decent GPS unit, mostly due to the antenna design.


Jeremy Irish



There were some pointers to a couple of units that accomplish some of what has been discussed.





Are these real devices? or vapor?


Team Geo-Jedi, Searchers 4 Ground Truth

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Originally posted by geo-jedi:






>Are these real devices? or vapor?


I spent some time researching these products, and opted to try out the GPSmart from Fortuna. not only was it less exoensive buy a serious amount, but it also offered a screen of it;s own, that while basic, would be handy for enteraining folks (and keeping them away from my Palm Tungsten) as well as GeoCaching with the Go To function when routing about in the underbrush.


Turns out the unit connects easily to my Plam via Bluetooth, and operates both GPSPilot TripPilot (for roadtrips), and cotoGPS (for GeoCaching) quite well.


I'm in the process of finding out about their support because it seems that the unit shipped to me has a problem accepting the number '8' in the second degree field for longitide. (i.e. I can't put in W 82d 31.197 - my house).


Service being an important issue, I guess it's convenient to see how they handle it.


As far as connecting to my Palm, though, it's been flawless.

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