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To what extent do you use maps (especially Topo) while geocaching

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I am working on a cross-event between orienteering icon_redface.gif and geocaching icon_cool.gif , and I was wondering to what extent the geocaching populace uses maps (topo/orienteering in particular) while geocaching?


(I'm sure this topic has been posted before, and undoubtedly will again, but I'd appreciate the data) icon_biggrin.gif


"You will kneel before her in her altar in the trees" - Tara MacLean, Let Her Feel The Rain

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I use a map to define a "cluster" of caches so I dont spend al day driving back and forth all over the country... Its just like any trip "route" plan... Primarily use just GPS, once in a "parking area"





I'm Diagonally Parked, In A Parallel Universe.


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First I get my weekly pocket query .loc file and convert it into a CSV file. Then I feed it to Microsoft's Streets and Trips 2002. This gives me a general pushpin map that I can use for planning caching trips.


When I pick a cache, if it's urban, I use S&T to help me do route planning. If it looks like it'll be much of a hike, I take a quick look at the USGS Top using National Geographic's Topo! product.


More often than not, it's in a local park that has a trail map online in a pdf format. So I gather that up and take a look at it as well.


When I have a day's caching planned out, and there are more than a handful of caches involved, I go back to S&T, and 'pushpin' the parking spots. I then ask S&T to give me a route description.


The route description and the park maps go into the PDA, along with fragments of the cache descriptions. (Mobi sucks. GPX will rule.) If the cache is in a rural area with no park trail map, I'll print the relevant sections of topo map.


And away I go.

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I didn't vote because of the (GPS is just along for the ride) statement. Most of my caching is not urban a top map is pretty essential. I prefer those that require some walking to get to. A top map gets to a good starting point. We've spent a lot of time hiking in wilderness designated and undesignated. Knowing how to use a top map and a compass have always been necessary. The GPS is another tool. Along for the ride in geocaching, not really, it's needed to get to the right spot after I get close with the map. As a side note:: When wilderness walking a map and compass are necessary, and knowing how to use them. A gps is a nice convience that I wouldn't want to be without, but I know I can trust the map and compass not to run out of batteries.



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okay, let me point out that some of the subcategories were of course being said tongue-in-cheek icon_rolleyes.gificon_redface.gif, especially the above (that the gps is along for the ride).


I really just phrased it that way for the Weblings of the world who rarely (ever?) use the GPS when finding the cache. icon_redface.gif


so, don't be afraid to say that you use the map almost exclusively...



"You will kneel before her in her altar in the trees" - Tara MacLean, Let Her Feel The Rain

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Originally posted by SherwoodForest:

I really just phrased it that way for the Weblings of the world who rarely (ever?) use the GPS when finding the cache. icon_redface.gif

Hey, I resemble that remark!

Yes, I actually DO use a GPSr from time to time. Mostly on multis, caches where I can't get a good aerial, or when I bring a newbie along. About 60% of my finds are GPSr-less.


Wanna guess how I voted?



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Hey amigo, saw your post and knew I had to give my $0.02.


I use a topo about 70% time before I head out for a cache. I use it for route planning. No sense climbing extra hills if I don't have to.


I guess my quest for the Cairn's Film Festival Cache fell into the 30%. Oh well, live and learn.


Now where did I park my car??????? monkes.gif

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There is a lot of flatland here on LI so topo's are not all that useful. I will usually use MS streets and trips to find the cache area and parking. Then I will fire up topo USA to load the waypont and get a overview of the terrian, mainly that's all I need. Sometime I have to plana route but not all that often


----(sig line)---> Did you ever do any trail maintainence? - if so you will know that all but the most worn trails need continuous maintenance to prevent mother nature from reclaiming it. herd paths are quickly reclaimed - k2dave

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None. Even at 1:24000 the distance between the parking area and the cache is usually only about 3" max. I have MapSend Topo for my Magellan and am using that plus the GPSr exclusively. On the other hand if there were really up-to-date and accurate 1:10000 maps available, including trails I'd definitely carry one of those along.

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Wow! As I read this, tomorrow we are going to Bear Brook State Park in New Hampshire to try out our very basic and elementary skills at orienteering! Here is the link for the orienteering course at Bear Brook




This is a course in place for the summer. Try out at your leisure. We recently started letterboxing which has introduced us to the compass and bearings and whatnot. As far as Geocaching goes, only have used a map to find parking. Have not yet needed anything more than the co-ords for the cache. Maps usually just used to get there... orienteering/geocaching? sounds like fun!

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