Jump to content

Choosing Gps Add-on To Pda/pocket Pc


Recommended Posts

Need help selecting an inexpensive but good pocket PC/PDA to use GSAK or similar cache import/management program with compatable map for paperless database. Vacation 2 wks into NC hills, no internet access for updates. Need max memory card option. Will buy used or refurbished to save. May not be able to afford separate costly GPS, duplicating many features. Considering CF/UCB GPS options to save. What are least expensive, but compatible/functional, combos known to work well? (I know, body-glove or armored padding and plastic bag a must.) Do any of these add-on GPS units have WAAS or quad-helix? Will I be able to manually input "Go-To" points to navigate caches by Long/Lat? (I'm trying to build my own iQue 3600 from cheaper parts.)

Link to comment

A Palm PDA, Model III, M-series, Clie, or Handspring will do well. The more memory the better, but 2MB will get you by.


Added: any Palm-based unit sold new will do. The list above is to help you select from used units. The one downside of a new palm is that not all of them have serial interface. That will prevent you from connecting to your GPS as mentioned below. You can find a serviceable used palm for $60 or less.


Some like to use Spinner/Plucker (check PDA requirements for Plucker), but many of us like to use CacheMate. You can use it to locate the closest cache to you, and log your finds until you get back to internet access.


In both cases, you do need to sign up for premium membership with Geocaching.com to get the GPX pocket queries.


There are add-ons that allow you to use your PDA as a GPS, but you have to keep in mind that a PDA is nowhere near the ruggedness of a plain old GPS. If you get a connecting cable, CacheMate can upload coordinates to your Garmin or Magellen.


For details search for Paperless caching in this section as the subject has been hashed over several times.

Edited by GeckoGeek
Link to comment

iPaq 2215 would be about the best overall PPC product. SD and Cf slot. SD for maps and Cf for GPS card. Or you could pair it with a Bluetooth GPS. I would definitely seek a dual slot model. Maps big, memory precious... ;)

Honestly, if you're not dedicated to the PPC platform and could find a good deal on a iQue... Time you buy a PPC, CF card GPS, some sort of GPS program and a mapping program, you'd be dang close to a internet priced iQue which (obviously has all this built in).


Edit: spelling and added stuff!

Edited by oneeyesquare
Link to comment

What you want to do isn't completely practical. Geocaching with a PDA with a GPS attached by a cable will cause you lots of trouble. The cable gets caught in every limb or briar you pass. You need either a standalone GPS, which can be attached to the Palm by a cable as necessary to get waypoints, or a Garmin iQue, which has everything built-in. Bluetooth is the only other way you can go, but a bluetooth-capable Palm and a bluetooth GPS will cost you more than the iQue.


I suggest any Palm which can take an SD card (this is essential) and which also has a universal connector (also essential for connecting the GPS. The Zire 71 is about the cheapest you can find, unless you can find a used M500 or M125 or M130. DO NOT get a basic Zire nor a Tungsten E. Neither has a universal connector, so you can't connect any GPS to either. An eTrex or basic Magellan will do the job for a GPS, just make sure you get a cable to connect to the PC and the Palm. Cachemate allows sending waypoints to the GPS directly from the Palm.


However you go, it ain't gonna be cheap. I use a Zire 71 and a Garmin Legend, but I got the Zire long before I started geocaching, and I use it for lots more things. I have everything on it. The Legend is overkill, but I also use it with the Palm for mapping and navigating on the road.

Edited by NightPilot
Link to comment

If money is a real issue a used PalmIIIxe and a used Magellan 315 or 320 will provide for your basic needs for not a lot more than $120 on ebay. PC-Mobile will get you a connector for the two for about $30.


My PalmIIIxe which I still use has Cachemate with hundreds of Caches on it, street maps and topo maps of my area and the memory is still only 60% full.


Newer color and expandable devices are good, but the old and basic ones work pretty well for caching.


As for linking the two in the field. I use two aquapacs to protect the GPS and PDA, and only use the cable to connect them as necessary. To find caches once you have read the description and uploaded the coords to the GPS you only need the GPS.

Link to comment
To find caches once you have read the description and uploaded the coords to the GPS you only need the GPS.
That depends on the GPS. Lots of GPS receivers, especially the cheaper ones, don't work unless they're connected. No display, no navigation, no nothing. That's why I suggested a standalone GPSr, which doesn't require being connected to a PDA or laptop or anything else. But more functionality means more money. Everything is a compromise of some sort.
Link to comment

Well, it sounds like you're trying to do exactly what I just got done doing. Here we go:


Dell Axim X5 off eBay for $150. I love the Axim for this application for a few reasons: 1) cheep. 2) dual slot; will support a CF and SD card at the same time. 3) Battery power is outstanding. I bought the extended battery and car charger off eBay for $30. The thing will hold out all day. 4) Fast processor at 400mhz. 5) The screen can be seen in almost any light.


Fortuna Pocket Xtrack CF GPS Unit. One word: WOW. This thing is simply amazing. Click on the link above for a full review. For everyday caching the ST mode is more than enough. With the XT mode, I've been able to get signal under the heaviest tree cover, and in tunnels! Bought new from Semsons for $149.


GPXSonar. What more does one need? Manage all PQ's with this kick butt, free app. (Required a premium membership to gc.com.)


Mapopolis The app that gets you there and back. This is a fully featured map routing application with a very handy GPS arrow screen for finding the cache once you've got close. Use the small utility they've created to convert the same PQ used in GPXSonar into a "Maplet" that then shows all cache locations on the map. Bought a license for $100.


So, for around $400, I've got one killer setup for paperless caching, as well as a vacation ready GPS auto navigation tool. If you'd like more details or have any questions, don't hesitate to ask!


edit: Oh yeah, get yourself a lanyard too. Something like this. Keep it around your neck and avoid untimely breakage. This little $4 add on has saved my $400 setup more times than I can count :blink:

Edited by CacheCreatures
Link to comment

Then, of course, there is the Handspring or Palm V and Magellan GPS Companion combo. One of the best tools, but rapidly becoming obsolete. I have finally run mine into the ground and have subsequently replaced it with a Sony Clie'. Still trying to determine what new GPS to buy, though I'm leaning towards a Geko 201. Except for the power up issue (tends to power up while in your pocket without you knowing), it seems to be the best value if you don't need mapping software.


An additional cable will allow you to tie the GPS to the handheld and use with Mapopolis to get to the vicinity. Then, pull the plug and go solo while tramping through the forest with the GPS in one hand and your cache pages in the other.


I've been PDA Caching since I started geocaching in 2001 and have loved every bit of it.



Link to comment

Thanks, everyone! I took most of CacheCreature's advice... with a fever!!! Bought TWO Dell Axim X5s with PPC2003, 400mgz, w/CF LAN IEEE 802.11b cards, $235ea eBay. Added two 512mb SD, $120ea. Giving one to college student daughter next week for 20th bd. First bought Deluo CF GPS with Routis software. $125 total. GREAT! and great software, but no "Go To" capability. Then found fantastic fully waterproof heavy armored PDA case from OtterBox Products, about $65 complete. You have to see it. Cheaper at http://www.watertightcase.com They have a big $ version capable of covering the large CF GPS as well, but smaller is better. Will need to sell CF GPS and buy Fortuna (thanks CacheCreature) Bluetooth GPS. $225? The armored case will hold Axim with smaller CF Bluetooth card attached. Looks bulletproof. OtterBox also makes a waterproof clear box for Bluetooth GPS with large magnet for rooftop mounting. Ordered two recommended lanyards. Premium GC.com membership.

6' oak "walking"staff. Misc everything else. I am going to have to sell everything else I own on eBay to pay for all of this, but it beats Garmin iQue blind.

Last (?) question. Any easy "Go To Lat/Log" software application solution capable of using Bluetooth data to display "standard GPS direction circle w/arrow" to manually inputted coordinates, without having to buy full new Mapopolis program?

Link to comment

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...