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Does anyone else use a laptop for navigation when geocaching?


argent2
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a laptop but I have a Mag Map 330 or 315 hooked to it. I use the N.G. TOPO! maps and they all work great as a combo. You also might try reading this.

http://opentopic.Groundspeak.com/0/OpenTopic?a=tpc&s=1750973553&f=3000917383&m=1410917383&r=5380917614#5380917614

 

Red was not sure at first but now, the laptop and the GPSr all have to go with us when we leave town for a cache hunt, even if it is only a couple miles away. Also works great in a multi leg hunt. Real easy to punch in the next number and find the best route. We also download a flock of caches to the maps and plan out our route for the hunts.

 

Later, logscaler

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I hook my Venture up to my laptop and use it with Delorme Street Atlas to help me navigate to the cache area. It's really helped me out a few times! Only problem is I need to get a power inverter as my notebook pc sucks the battery down pretty darn fast.

 

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

Hope is the destination that we seek.

Love is the road that leads to hope.

Courage is the motor that drives us.

We travel out of darkness into faith.

 

-=The Book Of Counted Sorrows=-

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I have taken my laptop with me when I went on vaction and used it hooked up to my meridian (I was not the one driving). I found that it was a lot easier to read and move around compared to the little screen on the GPSr, but I think that the driving and the bumps may have done some damage to the laptop (few thousand miles) like some bad sections on the hard drive and possible hinge fatigue (there is a crack along one or two of the hindges). So now I am trying to replace my laptop with a pocket PC, but have not found any suitable software (okay cheap software) to do so.

 

I also use my laptop as Jeremy does (I was wondering if you actually went on any geocaches, or just did the site) since it is my primary comp.

 

Wyatt W.

 

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

 

[This message was edited by phantom4099 on December 10, 2002 at 02:00 AM.]

 

[This message was edited by phantom4099 on December 10, 2002 at 02:01 AM.]

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I use custom database software in my palm device (a TRGPro) to carry cache pages with me, the decrypt software if I want to read the hints and QuoVadis mapping software to get to the site.

 

Once there I unplug and go with GPS alone but carry the palm for info and if I want the hint. I also log my time and notes in the palm database once the cache is found (if it is).

 

I also have hiking trails and some bird calls for ID purposes in my palm (the TRGPro has a great speaker for audio playback).

 

So yes, I do--in multiple ways for multiple purposes.

 

Randy

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I use a laptop connected to my StreetPilot III for navigating to the parking area of the cache's but not for actually finding the cache. I use Microsoft Streets&Trips as well as USAPhotoMaps with topo maps and aerial photos that I am constantly downloading to the hard drive. I power my laptop from 12V via the cars accessory receptacle. Many laptops will run just fine this way. My caching partner has a giant coupon book for discounts at many restaurants and Streets&Trips comes in real handy for quickly locating ones that are close to where we are geocaching. I just use my old faithful yellow eTrex for finding the cache but will soon be using a GPSMap 76S that should be under the Xmas tree.

 

Poindexter,

www.geocities.com/fairbank56

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For my first cache, I ended up using my laptop. I had a Earthmate and I figured I could use it to park and then find the cache without any sort of GPSr. WRONG! I ended up getting my laptop out of the car and hauling it into the woods. I found the cache, but decided immediately that it wasn't the way to go. I had a Palm Pilot that I wasn't using for anything else, so I bought the Palm cable and software from Delorme. That worked MUCH better. Now, I've switched to an eTrex yellow and have found that to be the easiest. Personally, I'd recommend selling the Earthmate and getting a real GPSr. They are much more versatile and convenient.

 

dyslexics of the world, untie.

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I use a laptop and DeLorme also in my CJ-7 and have lots of time on them at work. I wouldn't worry too much about the wear and tear. Mines been running 2 to 8 hours a day for 4 years while driving. I drive a semi. And the pounding will turn the plastic exterior of many things to powder but my compaq 1621 is still ticking !

The big advantage in geocaching for me with the laptop is avoiding the dead end roads in the national forests where I live.

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Unfortunately, the Earthmate uses a Rockwell signal and doesn't work with most software. I have an Earthmate I used to use when I traveled by car on business. I used a 400 watt inverter. I had a 200 watt that wouldn't quite handle it. Now that I have the Garmin Legend, the Earthmate is a paperweight with a cord. I even lost the Road Atlas software for the DeLorme and don't care, except it makes the Earthmate tough to use or sell.

 

Get a real handheld and a cord to attach it to the laptop. You will be happy.

 

"I can't find the longitude for the North Pole"

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You purchase a 12V gel cell from a toy store that sells those kid driven yard sports cars and jeeps. 'or go to a battery store and get the ones for backing up a home security system. Both will have easy to attach terminals. You solder a connector like the one that fits your lap top to the other end of some two wire lead (as left over from that dead appliance. .. 'And enjoy lots more up time on your lap top. DO NOT use your lap top charge/power unit to charge these gel cells, some may handle it but most WILL NOT. Small chargers are available the same places. Use a volt meter to test that you have the same polarity as the lap top charger/power. Most of the time the inner contact is the positive pole.

 

If you are a bit scared E-mail me and I'll get more expressive. Do not use solderless connectors, they will corrode and fail at these currents. (perhaps even start a fire if against a highly flammable substance in your back pack or auto while you are out of reach .. not kool) (for the same reason, insulate the battery terminals)

 

I haven't been able to get out and do my first cache, so I hope this helps someone that does.

 

-randy-

 

** The worst suggestion of a life time may be the catalyst to the best idea of the century, don't fail to listen to suggestions.

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quote:
Originally posted by targetdrone:

Unfortunately, the Earthmate uses a Rockwell signal and doesn't work with most software.


 

Not exactly true. With the GST-1 from Byonics (http://www.byonics.com), you can convert Rockwell to NMEA and use it with other software. I have used this and it works great. However, I completely agree with you on the advise to buy a handheld and attach that to your PC. It's so nice to street navigate with the laptop and then detach the handheld for the hike to the cache... and when I consider what I spent for the Earthmate ($125), SA 2003 upgrade ($25), interface cable ($25), GeoNiche software ($25), Palm cable ($25), GST-1 ($50), I could have bought an incredibly cool handheld for that.

 

dyslexics of the world, untie.

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quote:
Originally posted by poksal, grand kids & wife:

You purchase a 12V gel cell from a toy store that sells those kid driven yard sports cars and jeeps. 'or go to a battery store and get the ones for backing up a home security system. Both will have easy to attach terminals. You solder a connector like the one that fits your lap top to the other end of some two wire lead (as left over from that dead appliance. .. 'And enjoy lots more up time on your lap top. DO NOT use your lap top charge/power unit to charge these gel cells, some may handle it but most WILL NOT. Small chargers are available the same places. Use a volt meter to test that you have the same polarity as the lap top charger/power. Most of the time the inner contact is the positive pole.

 

If you are a bit scared E-mail me and I'll get more expressive. Do not use solderless connectors, they will corrode and fail at these currents. (perhaps even start a fire if against a highly flammable substance in your back pack or auto while you are out of reach .. not kool) (for the same reason, insulate the battery terminals)

 

I haven't been able to get out and do my first cache, so I hope this helps someone that does.

 

-randy-

 

** The worst suggestion of a life time may be the catalyst to the best idea of the century, don't fail to listen to suggestions.


 

I don't think I would trust this basic configuration. My laptop power outlet box out put 19 volts (but my battery is 11.1v). I just would not trust a non regulated source like a external 12 battery without some type of converter.

 

But I have done something like you suggest is the past (the battery reached the end of it life time), but I hooked up a power invertor to the battery, this way it will charge my battery, and I don't have to worry about damaging my laptop. But this is a little more to carry, and less efficent.

 

Wyatt W.

 

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

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From phantom4099

quote:
I don't think I would trust this basic configuration. My laptop power outlet box out put 19 volts (but my battery is 11.1v). I just

would not trust a non regulated source like a external 12 battery without some type of converter.

 

But I have done something like you suggest is the past (the battery reached the end of it life time), but I hooked up a power

invertor to the battery, this way it will charge my battery, and I don't have to worry about damaging my laptop. But this is a little

more to carry, and less efficent.


 

If you ever plugged your lap top into a car aux/lighter plug, you did hook it to a "non regulated" 12V battery. Your 19V source will be about 13 volts RMS when loaded by your lap top and your 11.1V is a bit weak. Batteries are NOT non regulated, no electric source is more regulated nor purer than a battery. This is why your lap top runs on a battery source to start with. .... big smile..

I bet your plug hole at the lap top is labeled as 12VDC. ..meaning use a 12V battery or power source designed to provide an output which will provide 12VDC when loaded by the lap top. When the voltage of the battery begins to drop the lap top system will do exactly what it does when normally it goes low....shut-down .. or sleep.

... preceeding may vary ... read your labels and instructions.

 

..wink..

-randy

 

** The worst suggestion of a life time may be the catalyst to the best idea of the century, don't fail to listen to suggestions

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When I go caching with SlimJim28, we take a laptop connected to a reciever running DeLorme Street Atlas. We've run into problems with the software - it's a little hard to use that touchpad when you're bouncing around on some backwoods 'road'. Also, the inverter has been problematic, as others have said. Still, it's good to have when you're wandering around unfamiliar territory. What do you do as far as wiring? We have cables everywhere still - we have to find a better way keep everything connected.

 

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

?You are your own worst food.?

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Yeah, I got real hooked after using an old junker Toshiba in the car last summer. Like others, I use the laptop for automobile navigation to the general cache area (and looking up cache descriptions); then leave it in the car after parking.

 

What I love about this scheme is that I don't have to plan much in advance exactly which caches I'm gonna go for that day - I've got info on every cache within about 400 miles on the laptop, so I can just hit the road and go where fancy takes me. No more tedious planning the night before, printing cache descriptions till the wee hours. Plus, it's a real thrill to find yourself off in some odd, distant location at the end of the day, without having had any idea in the morning where you might end up. Kinda like walking around without wearing any underwear - chancy, but what a feeling of freedom!

 

While driving, the Magellan SporTrak is hooked up to the laptop running MapSend (of course, cache waypoints are already loaded). I plug the laptop's AC power transformer into an AC inverter that runs off the cig lighter in the car. Sort of roundabout but it works fine and doesn't seem to drain the main car battery at all. While I'm off in the woods for a few hours, the laptop goes to sleep. When I get back, I just wake it up, reattach the GPSr, and we figure out which cache to hit next.

 

This has been working so well for me that I was seriously looking into getting one of those special auto mounting brackets for the laptop, which has been riding on the passenger seat for now. That project has been put on hold, however, as I just got a IPAQ Pocket PC and I'm busy feeding it 1:24,000 topo quads to take along on the trail (are you reading this, Phantom4099?). That's a topic for another thread, though...

- Genius Loci

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Moun10Bike was kind enough to help me in creating easy to read maps. I don't know if this will help you, but here is the part that references Excel:

 

* Create a .loc file of the caches you want to map (either via Pocket Queries or by downloading cache lists directly from Geocaching.com).

* Open the .loc file in ExpertGPS (or EasyGPS if it has export functionality).

* Export the waypoints as a .csv file.

* Open the .csv file in Excel

 

You could probably export from your GPSr to ExpertGPS or EasyGPS then export it as a .csv file

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I have an old 'junk' laptop that i used for 'caching. Mostly for routing me to caches. It cost me $60 and I have MapPoint 2002 with the Advanced GPS plug in installed. It's really cool. You add the cache you want to go to into the route and then hit 'r' on the keyboard and the software does the rest. It bings and tells you when your turn is coming up. Very cool.

 

--------

trippy1976 - Team KKF2A

Saving geocaches - one golf ball at a time.

migo_sig_logo.jpg

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I used to just print out the geocaching pages along with driving directions, but now I'll be able to save paper!:

aximff.jpg

I didn't want to shed over the big bucks for a laptop, but this should suffice.

 

"There are two different kinds of people in this world: those who finish what they start, and" - Brad Ramsey

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Does anyone else use a laptop for navigation when geocaching?

 

I have to laugh.... The title of this thread makes me envision meeting somebody on a trail carring a laptop computer and watching screen to get directions to locate a cache...

 

Dale

 

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

I'm Diagonally Parked, In A Parallel Universe.

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

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quote:
Originally posted by Dale_Lynn:

_Does anyone else use a laptop for navigation when geocaching?_

 

I have to laugh.... The title of this thread makes me envision meeting somebody on a trail carring a laptop computer and watching screen to get directions to locate a cache...

 

Dale

 

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

I'm Diagonally Parked, In A Parallel Universe.

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


One of my first hides was found early by a family with a lap-top and a GPSr attached. Their battery died while at the cache and they had a little trouble getting back, as I recall.

 

Bluespreacher

 

"We've got the hardware and the software, the plans and the maps ..." -- Citizen Wayne Kramer

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I bought a very small Powerbook Duo 2300c Apple laptop on eBay for about $180 (originally it ran for $4000). I got a Garmin data cable, and a mac serial adapter (from gpsy.com). I have the laptop powered by a 12v power cord I bought online. The GPSr data cable also has the 12V power cable. (I outfitted my Xterra with three additional 12V outlets in front, so it has 5 in front and one in back now). I have both Street Atlas (DeLorme) and GPSy installed. I use S.A. in crowded downtown areas, and GPSy out on trails.

 

I used the system with 1:100000 USGS maps loaded for a trip I did down the entire length of Route 66 from Chicago to Santa Monica. It worked fine. The scale was perfect for long distance driving, but I use 1:24000 when I stay in one area. Topo maps are almost useless in city areas though. The 1:100000 maps are just a mass of gray lines, and all the USGS maps tend to be out of date. They are however, much much more accurate as far as plotting your true position. Street Atlas maps have vector data that is often way off, and it uses both old and new sources at the same time, creating a confusing hodge podge of roads.

 

Parsa

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I have a Toshiba Libretto 50, it's one of those little VHS tape size laptops. I have my GPS 2000XL hook up to the laptop using a serial cable and home made a 12v cig lighter power cable for the laptop. Since the Libretto is pretty light, I was able to mount it on a modiflied CD player mount bought from auto stores for $12 in stead of those expensive "car desks". I am not sure if it's only Toshiba laptops or most of the laptops, Toshiba laptops has a voltage sensor that will starts charging at about 13v which is what you will get from the cig lighter when the car engine is running, so power inverter is not needed. I have an old copy of Street Atlas loaded on my laptop and use it for around town and usually leave in my car and in stead I use a palm pilot for the hints and additional information.

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I have a Toshiba Libretto 50, it's one of those little VHS tape size laptops. I have my GPS 2000XL hook up to the laptop using a serial cable and home made a 12v cig lighter power cable for the laptop. Since the Libretto is pretty light, I was able to mount it on a modiflied CD player mount bought from auto stores for $12 in stead of those expensive "car desks". I am not sure if it's only Toshiba laptops or most of the laptops, Toshiba laptops has a voltage sensor that will starts charging at about 13v which is what you will get from the cig lighter when the car engine is running, so power inverter is not needed. I have an old copy of Street Atlas loaded on my laptop and use it for around town and usually leave in my car and in stead I use a palm pilot for the hints and additional information.

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