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Best Way To Find Caches Along A Route


eddthejailer
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i am in paoli indiana and taking a trip to albany ky and wanted to know if there is a way to see all caches along the route.i seen that after i get there the closest 4 are waiting for the ftf so maybe i will have good luck on the hunts.ty so much in advance and sry i did try to do an old search but found nothing.if there is an old thread on this....dont flame me just give the link and i will close this thread.again ty for the time.

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If you don't mind reading through a few threads do a search for "caches along a route" there are plenty of ideas in just the "getting started" forum, but make sure to set the date to "any date"

 

One method that I like to use is the geocaching map. (Someone suggested this in the above motioned threads) Zoom to about 10 miles, and scroll along the route. you have to be preimum to pan/scroll. Find areas with high cache density, or in state parks, whatever you prefer. Plan some stops in these areas and do a PQ for all the caches.

 

Happy caching!

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Another option (again limited to premium members) is to download 1 or more pocket queries, load them into GSAK (search on this if you don't know about it), then filter the caches based on a certain direction (N, NW, NE, etc.) This is done around a predefined point - you could choose your start point - though by the end of the route, you could still have widely distributed caches, or set the filter point to be in the middle, then filter for caches in both directions (e.g NW, and SE only).

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I create PQs covering the entire route and convert the results to .csv using GSAK. I then import the files into MS Streets & Trips. In S&T, I can easily choose the caches I want to visit and create a route to visit all of these caches.

 

Since I have all the PQs for the trip in gpx format, I load these to my pda using plucker.

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I create pocket Queries for the entire route. You can create them easily using the zipcodes from various cities along the way. You can get the zipcodes from the "zipcode lookup" on the Hide & Seek page. Depending on how much time you plan to spend you may want to filter out multi caches and caches above difficulty 3 or so.

 

I then use spinner and then convert the spinner.gpx fine to a .csv file using GpsBabel. I like to use spinner first cause it changes the names to the cache names and tells the difficulty. I then open the .csv file in MS Streets & Trips. Create the route you plan to drive. Then zoom in and see what caches are along the route. I use watcher to view the cache descriptions, and choose the caches I want to go to. I then add them to my route as stops and save the new route. :lol:

 

I am sure there are 100 easier ways, but this works for me.

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Actually, if you dump the caches into Streets and Trips you can ask the system to highlight the caches withing X miles (0.5 miles, 3 miles, etc.) of your route as well.

I've been aware of this feature for a while, in fact markwelling several people to Markwell's website where he covers this topic.

 

I've never really had occasion to use this, however.

 

Until tonight. In about a month, I'm planning on a long trip and hoped to use the very useful near-my-route feature of S&T (unfortunately, S&T doesn't avoid interstates very well, but that's another story). I sat down to figure this all out.

 

Using my local PQ as practice, I was able to import them all to S&T 2003. I created a dummy route, then played with finding caches along my route. Worked like a charm. But then I run into a roadblock.

 

Now what? I mean, I have my route highlighted, I have a list of caches near the route shown on my screen, but what do I do with them? How can I put these caches on my GPS or get the cache pages for them?

 

Is manually my only option? Using my dummy route, I have only a handful of caches within a mile or two of my route, but on my real trip, I might well have hundreds. Will I have to manually go through and select only those few hundred I want among probably thousands of caches using Watcher?

 

I suppose this is still easier than anything else, but is there a way to export from S&T back into a GPX file usable by Watcher or GSAK so I can print out the cache pages and upload them to my GPS automatically?

 

Jamie

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Now what? I mean, I have my route highlighted, I have a list of caches near the route shown on my screen, but what do I do with them? How can I put these caches on my GPS or get the cache pages for them?

 

Is manually my only option? Using my dummy route, I have only a handful of caches within a mile or two of my route, but on my real trip, I might well have hundreds. Will I have to manually go through and select only those few hundred I want among probably thousands of caches using Watcher?

With GSAK you can filter along a arc, line or polygon.

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With GSAK you can filter along a arc, line or polygon.

I've read that numerous times, but really.. that's over my head. I mean, I know what arc, lines, and polygons are with regards to geometry, but it doesn't mean anything to me when trying to make a route.

 

How can I make my route into an arc, line, and/or polygon for GSAK to filter?

 

Jamie

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I've read that numerous times, but really.. that's over my head. I mean, I know what arc, lines, and polygons are with regards to geometry, but it doesn't mean anything to me when trying to make a route.

 

How can I make my route into an arc, line, and/or polygon for GSAK to filter?

Break your route down into straight lines. Then use those segments for GSAK to filter out nearby caches.

 

There is no magic tool to do all the work for you. Your going to have to invest a little time and effort into figuring it out.

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Which version of S&T are you using?

 

In the sidebar that looks like a legend at the bottom there's a option to "find nearby places" with a distance-from-the-route variable.

 

The caches (I assume) were all put in as a subset of data, so they'll come up as a list within that subset.

 

E-mail me if you're still having problems. I'll snag some screen shots at home.

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Break your route down into straight lines. Then use those segments for GSAK to filter out nearby caches.

Forgive my obtuseness, but I don't know what this means. When I create a route in S&T, what do you mean by break it down into straight lines? Do you mean manually by eyeballing and estimating the coordinates?

 

If that's the case, I have to say at first glance, that seems awfully low-tech, time-consuming, and at the same time not very accurate. However, given more thought, I figure I could break my route into less than a dozen segments which are reasonably close to the actual roads I'll be on.

 

I'll have to look into this. I'll give GSAK another go.

 

Jamie

Edited by Jamie Z
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Which version of S&T are you using?

 

In the sidebar that looks like a legend at the bottom there's a option to "find nearby places" with a distance-from-the-route variable.

 

The caches (I assume) were all put in as a subset of data, so they'll come up as a list within that subset.

Markwell,

 

I have 2003.

 

I've gotten the list on the sidebar fine. I imported all the local caches into S&T, then created some random route from my house to somewhere outside of town. Then I had S&T find all the caches within 1/2 mile of my route.

 

About 10 caches came up in the sidebar. I could click on them to zoom, and all that neat stuff.

 

My question is, how do I export just those ten caches? That is, out of the 300 or so local caches, just those ten fit my criteria, so how do I extract them in order to print the cache page and upload to my GPS?

 

In reality, if it were really only 10 caches, I could do it manually very quickly. As it is, my upcoming trip is about 2000 miles, and will probably give me several hundred caches along my route. I was wondering how I can isolate those caches from those that aren't near my route so I can print the pages and upload to my GPS in preparation for my trip.

 

JeepCacher offered a workable solution, although it doesn't have the precision that S&T has, and still requires a fair amount of legwork from me to get it done.

 

Jamie

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Now what? I mean, I have my route highlighted, I have a list of caches near the route shown on my screen, but what do I do with them? How can I put these caches on my GPS or get the cache pages for them?

 

Jamie Z

 

I was doing this too and have found a method to export the pushpins from S&T as a GPX file. It's a bit involved so I'll give a brief summary here. If you want more detail email me.

 

There's a companion program to GPSBabel called ST2GPX which exports pushpins into a GPX file. The process is :

 

Pocket Queries GPX =>CSV via GPSBabel (or GSAK which uses Babel)

 

CSV => Streets&Trips Here I can delete the caches I'm not interested in

 

Streets & Trips => GPX via ST2GPX

 

This produces GPX file but it lacks most of the detail (cache page info) because the import into S&T stripped out most of it. I asked for help at this point on the GPSBabel mailing list and from Clyde England auhtor of GSAK. Both responded so we have two methods to reconstruct the cache info. :(:D

 

In GPSBabel the GPX file generated by ST2GPX can be used in combination with the original Pocket Query file and some filtering to produce a GPX file with all the detail of the original but only with the caches exported from Streets and Trips.

 

If all the command line stuff with GPSBabel is a problem Clyde England came up with a set of filters running in GSAK that produces the same end result.

Edited by PDOP's
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I was doing this too and have found a method to export the pushpins from S&T as a GPX file. It's a bit involved so I'll give a brief summary here. If you want more detail email me.

This sounds like what I'm looking for. I hope it's not too much for me. I have had some issues with Babel in the past... not with the program, but with understanding the UI.

 

I will email for more info.

 

Jamie

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The other thing that I do is keep the original GPX file open in Watcher simultaneously with S&T.  If I see a waypoint I want to grab I mark it in Watcher.  Then I can filter on the marked caches, Save as, and download the file to the GPS via EasyGPS.

Markwell, this looks to be the most efficient route (pardon the pun, nyuk, nyuk) for me. Especially since you can sort the caches in S&T alphabetically.

 

That way, it's a simple matter of scrolling down Watcher and marking the caches you want.

 

PDOP's emailed me the procedure to export S&T pushpins and convert them back to .gpx, but it involves deleting the caches I don't want, which I believe will far outnumber those that I want.

 

It looks like I will have to do this manually, but at least it's in the most efficient manner possible. Geesh. Now I have to set up my overlapping PQs! That'll probably be the hardest part of all.

 

Jamie

Edited by Jamie Z
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Well, I've managed to split up my 2000 mile roadtrip into 12 separate Pocket Queries.

 

I used S&T to calculate 100mile radius circles (in one case slightly smaller, and in another case, much smaller). You'll notice only nine circles, but I have 12 PQs. Well, a couple of them ran over the 500 max cache limit. So rather than make the radius smaller, I divided the query into micro and non-micro caches--and in once case micro, regular, and other.

 

My queries are filtered for traditional caches, rated terrain and difficulty of 2.5 stars or less. (Since I'll be on my bike, and not much good for long hikes or bushwacking.)

 

I'm gonna try to export them all to S&T once I merge them with Watcher (or GSAK). I hope S&T can handle them. Any known limit for importing data to S&T?

 

Then I'll run my route and filter only those caches within a reasonable riding distance from my route.

 

That's the flaw in my plan. S&T is terrible at custom routing. It's really hard to get S&T to avoid interstates. In trying to get it to follow the roads I want, I set several artificial stops. It's not yet perfect, but it's pretty close. It means that when I run my caches through it, it won't be perfect for finding those that are near my intended route, but rather the route it wants me to take. It's a close approximation.

 

Another flaw is that my PQs will have to run over a minimum of three days, which I guess is more of an inconvenience than anything.

 

biketrip.jpg

 

Jamie

Edited by Jamie Z
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I used S&T to calculate 100mile radius circles (in one case slightly smaller, and in another case, much smaller). You'll notice only nine circles, but I have 12 PQs. Well, a couple of them ran over the 500 max cache limit. So rather than make the radius smaller, I divided the query into micro and non-micro caches--and in once case micro, regular, and other.

Theres got to be a better way to do this.

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Geesh. Now I have to set up my overlapping PQs! That'll probably be the hardest part of all.

 

Yes that's pain. I ended up with only six pocket queries to cover about the same distance but caches are scarce in some parts of Canada. Also I setup my queries for as large of areas as possible without exceeding the 500 caches limit.

 

Jeremy has promised to look at setting up pocket queries to allow selecting by distance from a route. Hopefully it will happen.

 

Once you have all the have all the pocket queries you can do the distance from a route filtering in GSAK (via Babel under the hood) using the arc filter. This invloves collecting waypoints to mark out your route and entering them in the arc filter. I do this in Streets and Trips by setting up a route then exporting it to a GPX file with st2gpx. You can then import these into GSAK to use in the filter by a couple of methods.

 

The waypoints can be imported into GSAK and user flag set. The flagged waypoints can then be used to setup the filter. A warning here - if you delete these waypoints from GSAK the filter becomes unusable. Also the GPX file created by st2gpx requires a little massaging before it will load into GSAK

 

Alternately you can open the GPX file created by st2gpx and manually cut and paste the lat and longs into the arc filter. This also eliminates the problems with deleting these waypoints mentioned above.

 

If you save these filters they can be used in any database in GSAK.

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Isn't there a good possibility that you will miss caches near your route since you didn't overlap some of the circles much (if at all)??

Owing to the enormous scale of that map, it's very hard to see. In fact, the circles all overlap by a good margin, except for one spot, where the circles only overlap a little. Besides, it doesn't take much overlap for two circles to cover a wide distance, and I'm not interested in caches more than a couple miles from my route.

 

In addition, if I happen to miss one or two caches, so be it. Unfortunately this isn't a caching-focused trip. Rather, I hope to grab only a cache or two a day.

 

I requested the first three PQs of my route, and played around with loading them into Watcher, merging them, and exporting them to S&T via GPSBabel. There were 565 caches, and here's what it looked like:

 

wcaches.jpg

 

Quite a mess, as you can see. I ran a filter to seek out all caches within two miles of my route. (In reality, I'll probably make it only one mile, but I wanted something to play with.)

 

31 caches were within two miles, and it was about a five minute process to list them in alphabetical order, sort Watcher alphabetically, and then manually checkmark those caches I wanted. Then I saved the resulting 31-cache GPX from Watcher, with which I can do what I want, including using my special sauce to print all of them on one sheet of paper.

 

For display purposes only, I once again exported those 31 caches to S&T, so we can see my route highlighted with only the two-mile caches shown:

 

route.jpg

 

Yes, it's a tedious process. But I don't mind the few hours I'm spending, as it helps me familiarize myself with the route, and look at potential interesting places. Besides, it's a dang good way to take over 500 caches in 90,000 square miles and pick out the handful I'll be near.

 

It'll be even more useful when that area is tripled, and the number of caches is multiplied by five.

 

I'll post more as I experiment.

 

Jamie

Edited by Jamie Z
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I have started a new topic (albeit posted in the wrong forum, doh!) to continue the discussion of routing in S&T.

 

You can find it here.

 

Mod, while this isn't my thread, can I request this one be closed so as to keep the discussion of S&T in one place?

 

Jamie

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For those with ArcMap software it is real easy. Not too many people have ArcMap at home, but many have it at work.

 

Get all the locations for a state as mentioned above and convert to a coverage, shapefile, or geodatabase format.

 

Make your intended route a shapefile, coverage, or geodatabase. Or use a pre-existing road layer.

 

Load both into an empty project.

 

Select the route so it is highlighted.

 

Under the Selection menu click 'Select by Location' .

 

On the dialog box

 

'Select feature from'

 

click the point layer

 

that:

'are within a distance of'

 

the features in this layer

 

click the route layer

 

check the check box for 'Use Selected Features'

click the checkbox for 'Apply a buffer of:' and input your desired distance from the route.

 

and click 'Apply'

 

Export the selected points to your GPS using any of the several extensions or utilities.

 

Export the points data table as a excel spreadsheet, text file or whatever you wish.

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