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New And Teachable

Alley Acres

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We are so new to all of this we don't even have our GPS yet. We just put an order in for the Sporttrak map outdoor package Magellan. Did we select well? I sure hope so. We heard about geocaching.com on public radio about two weeks ago. We haven't been able to stop thinking about it. We live in Northern Michigan. I'm sure this isn't the best time to learn this sport, however we can hardly wait to get started. Any pointers on what to do next? Thanks

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I love my SportTrak map! So I think you chose wisely. It seems like theres an ever raging 'PC vs. Mac' type of rivalry that goes on. Garmin users will swear by thier units and Magellan users by thiers. For basic Geocaching there are many lower end models from a variety or manufacturer's that will do the job.


I selected my unit on some basic features and a great deal that I found on the unit. I have not been disappointed with it yet.


You are sure to enjoy the game. To start I would suggest learing to use the unit by, obviously, carefully reading the manual and then by marking way points in your yard or neighborhood and walking some distance away and then trying to "find" them several different times using the "goto" function. This will help you understand the limits of the accuracy of the device as well as the way the display operates while you are changing position.


Then find some nice trade items (if you want) and hit the road or the trail or whatever and go after some of the easier caches in your area.


You might also want to browse through older pages of the Getting Started forum for tips on many new comer's questions. Posting questions is helpful, too. You'll find this "community" very helpful, if not a little nutty.


Welcome to the fun!

Edited by cool_and_the_gang
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While waiting for the GPS to come, use the search to find a nearby easy cache, like an easy (1/1 rating) one in a park, and try to find it without GPS. My first ever cache was 4/4 without using GPS so it's definitely possible.


As for your selection, I have never used that model (all I have used are Garmin 12 and Geko 201) but realistically, just about any GPS will work great for this game.

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You might find out if there is an orienteering class offered at the local Community College. They usually have an intro that includes map reading and explains the latitude and longitude coordinate system. By the way orienteering is almost but not quite entirely unlike geocaching, but is an interesting activity.

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Alley Acres,


I’m new to geocaching also. I’ve been out twice but had one DNF. I purchased the Magellan Platinum and it works great for me. I also use it to with my Dell Axim PDA for paperless caching and driving directions here in Europe.


Some things I would suggest as a newbie myself:


Learn how to use the GPS unit BEFORE going out on a cache. Trying to flip through a manual to figure out how to save a waypoint or recall a stored one isn’t fun in the middle of the woods.


Take extra batteries.


If you have a PDA, use it! Paperless is the way to go. Here is a sample of how I prepare for a cache and the hardware/software I use.




Mapopolis software of the PDA

GPXSonar for PDA

GPX2Maplet on PC

Premium membership at geocaching.org (well worth the money!)

Cable to connect you Meridian to the PDA and to power both PDA and GPSr.


Request a .GPX file from geocaching.com. Use GPX2Maplet to convert to Mapopolis Maplets. Load the maplet in Mapopolis.


This will allow you to navigate in the car straight to the cache, have all the info from geocaching.com on your PDA. When you find the cache, make some notes and find another cache in your area. A couple taps on the screen and you have directions to the next one.


Having a map of all the caches in your area in the palm of your hand it a great tool. Since I just moved to Europe, I don’t know all the areas and this has allowed me to find tons of caches in my local area. While at the grocery store or at a friends house, I fire up the GPS and check to see all the caches close to my location.


My only problem now is the cold weather is setting in and keeping me from the outdoors.

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