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Using Gps And Pda In The Field


ThePropers
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I know this is a noob question, but bear with me. I'm a little confused on how everything (PC, PDA, GPS) works together.

 

I have a PDA on the way, and I'm about 90% certain from things I've read I'm going to go with Cachemate (although I'm also going to look at GSAK).

 

Am I correct in this sequence of events?

 

1) Download the GPX file onto my PC (once I'm a premium member)

2) Transfer it to my PDA...I'm a little confused on what this involves since some people mention having to convert it...but with what program? EasyGPS?

3) From there, what do I need to do to get it from my PDA to my GPS? I suppose I need a cable of some sort, but what kind?

 

I guess I'm a little confused on how to use the PDA/GPS combo efficiently. Oh yes, I am using a basic yellow eTrex and an bottom-of-the-line Palm Zire.

 

Again, pardon my newbieness.

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1. Yes, this is the easiest part.

 

2. Open the GPX file in GSAK and choose the ones you want and export them as a GPX file. If you want all of them on the PDA, you do not need to export all of them agian, as you can use the one you downloaded.

 

3. Cachemate comes with an application to create the Palm Database (PDB) file. It is call CMConvert and is in the directory with cachemate download on the PC.

 

4. You will need a cable (from http://www.pc-mobile.com) to connect the palm to the GPS.

 

5. You can then use Cachemate to send the waypoints to the GPS. It works great, and the documentation is excellent.

 

Good luck. I hope this helps.

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i advise a case for your pda. i have the hard shell for mine, and i'm mindful that it's not waterproof, so i keep it in an INSIDE zipped pocket. sometimes i leave the PDA in the car, if i'm CERTAIN i won't be needing the description or the hints.

 

i'm also going to advise that if you have an expansion slot that you invest in a backup disk, which will set you back about $40, but when your PDA crashes at the beginning of a road trip (and you notice i use the word WHEN), you'll still be good to go after the reset.

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Thanks. That does help. I'm probably jumping the gun because I don't even have the PDA yet (it shipped on Saturday) and I'm anxious to get it up and running as soon as it gets here, and want some kindof idea of what to expect so I'm not fumbling with manuals...

I have a cable from my home pc (serial connection) to my Magellen and I use it to transfer info to the GPS.

 

My use of my PDA is completely independent of that. I use GPS Spinner & Plucker to transfer the cache info to my PDA...

 

Don't know if this is helpful, but just shows that there are many ways to get things done.

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If you go with Cachemate (which I use and LOVE!), there is a file included with it called CMConvert (it will be installed to the cachemate directory but you can add a shortcut to it on your desktop).

 

Open CMConvert and "convert" your .gpx file. It will convert it and the next time you hotsync your PDA, the information will be loaded into cachemate for you.

 

Even cheapo Zire 21's like I use come with a Hotsync cable so you shouldn't need to buy any kind of extra cable to transfer the data to cachemate. :)

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I use the same method as doc-dean. Take the pocket query and send it two directions, 1. to PDA with spinner and plucker then 2. to GPS with Easy GPS.

No cable needed to connect PDA to GPS. The PDA goes in an inside pocket in my pack, the GPS is used in my hand to get me close. IF I need to re-read the cache page or hints, I will pull the PDA back out. If I need, I can make notes on the PDA memo pad about what took and left and other info about the hunt.

Works for me.

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Thanks for all the feedback...I already have EasyGPS working to transfer waypoints to my GPS, so maybe I'll just go that route and keep them independent of each other...save me buying another cable (and the wife yelling about spending even more money on this new hobby).

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If you go the CacheMate route which I would recommend. I wrote a getting started tutorial last night for CachMate this is part 1 of a multi-cache... oops I mean a multi-part tutorial.

 

Clcik here for the tutorial.

 

I used to use GPX2html then plucker but CacheMate is much more simple to use and has quite a bit more features. I keep them the PDA and GPS seperate using EasyGPS to upload the caches to my GPS. I plan on trying CachMate and the GPS together I just need to get some time to make a cable.

Edited by IMLost
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Yes, there are cables to connect your GPS to your Palm. Do a google search for "palm gps cables" and you'll get lots of hits.

 

GSAK does all the above - it will send the waypoints to the GPS, convert and export to Cachemate, export html cache pages for conversion by Plucker, organize and sort your cache pages, and lots more. All for the amazingly low price of $0.00.

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GSAK doesn't do squat if you run a mac.

 

come to think of it, not much does.

Hmm, lets see...

 

Terrabrowser

GPS Connect

GPSNavX

TopoDraw, gpsWrite, link2GPS

FlightTrack

TrueNav

MacGPS Pro

GPSy

gpsbabel, MacGPSBabel

MacCMConvert

Konfabulator, Geocaching Widget

Route66 2004

Magellan Waypoint Manager

 

Ok, now I come to think of it I agree - there isn't that much available for us Mac users :D

 

JeremyA

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I guess I picked the best way to go with a PPC. I use a Ipaq 2215 and don't bother with a cable to hook to my Ipaq and GPS. Download the Pocket Queries to my computer and then transfer to my Pocket PC. Hook up my Garmin and double click the pocket querie and Easy GPS opens up and I upload to my GPS. This takes about 30 seconds once a week and you have all the updates you need. I use GPX Sonar on my PPC. I learned the hard way with a dead battery when I lost everything on my PPC. I now move everything to the CF card and then backup every so often.

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Ok, having received my first pocket query this morning for my shiny new PDA, I can say what happened:

 

1. Pocket query contained 500 caches in gpx format.

 

2. Ran cmconvert.exe which came with CacheMate. This created a .pdb file.

 

3. I tried to email this to my palm (it's wifi) but it didn't work - the import was really dodgy, and lots of cache names were wrong.

 

4. Deleted database to try again.

 

5. Tried with hotsync. Dragged .pdb into 'quick install', hotsync unit. This just worked fine and dandy.

 

Cache mate wants to know whether your imports are found/not found, so it's definitely worth differentiating those in your pocket query and uploading in two separate databases.

 

Having shelled out 37 dollars yesterday for premium membership and cachemate registration, I have to say it was 20UKP very very well spent. Now I just have to work out why it didn't work as an email attachment to the palm - that would be the most convenient way for me to import them.

 

Cheers,

 

Stu

Edited by stu_and_sarah
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GSAK doesn't do squat if you run a mac.

 

come to think of it, not much does.

Hmm, lets see...

 

Terrabrowser

GPS Connect

GPSNavX

TopoDraw, gpsWrite, link2GPS

FlightTrack

TrueNav

MacGPS Pro

GPSy

gpsbabel, MacGPSBabel

MacCMConvert

Konfabulator, Geocaching Widget

Route66 2004

Magellan Waypoint Manager

 

Ok, now I come to think of it I agree - there isn't that much available for us Mac users :D

 

JeremyA

last time i checked, those were all for mac OSX, which is a little bit of a problem for eveybody who's running an older system.

 

MANY of the new things can be run on OSX.

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Ok, finally got my PDA and installed cachemate on it. Also paid my membership at GC and now am awaiting my first pocket query.

 

Can someone tell me what the $7 buys me to register cachemate? Is it just support or do I get additional features? I know $7 isn't that much, and I don't mind paying it (and will anyways), but am curious what I get for it.

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Can someone tell me what the $7 buys me to register cachemate?  Is it just support or do I get additional features?  I know $7 isn't that much, and I don't mind paying it (and will anyways), but am curious what I get for it.

It only runs in demo mode if unregistered- you can only import the first 10 caches into the program, so that you can test it out and see if you like it.

Edited by DavidMac
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Can someone tell me what the $7 buys me to register cachemate? Is it just support or do I get additional features? I know $7 isn't that much, and I don't mind paying it (and will anyways), but am curious what I get for it.

More then 10 caches, and up to 8KB of description instead of just 2KB.

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In the FWIW Department: I'm using an iPAQ 3765 to keep cache sheets and the occasional map on. I use EasyGPS and USAPhotoMaps to keep everything organized on my PC. I copy the text out of cache pages that I want into TextPad, delete the non-relevant bits, and save each into the sync folder for the iPAQ. I create my own waypoint names and name the text files using the same name as the waypoint will have on my GPSr. I download the waypoints, then rename them in EasyGPS before uploading them to the GPSr. Probably more work, but I get only the info I want, plus additional if desired. With all of the cache pages on the iPAQ, if I have to reset the GPSr in the field (thus losing everything in it) I can always manually enter a waypoint and keep caching... I expect I'll want to acquire a cable to connect the iPAQ and GPSr so I can reload all the waypoints from the iPAQ.

 

Also FWIW, I was using a Palm Pilot Pro until a couple of weeks ago, and except for the maps, it did everything I wanted. Plus, the Palm runs for weeks on one pair of AAA batteries, while the iPAQ is incredibly hungry for power... ;)

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Also FWIW, I was using a Palm Pilot Pro until a couple of weeks ago, and except for the maps, it did everything I wanted.  Plus, the Palm runs for weeks on one pair of AAA batteries, while the iPAQ is incredibly hungry for power... ;)

A palm is a glorified pocket organizer. A Ipaq is a mini laptop... You can't fairly compare the two of them.

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Ok, as I'm playing with this, I keep coming up with more questions.

 

Here's what I have going on so far.

GPS: yellow eTrex

PDA: Palm Zire.

 

Yes, nothing but bottom-of-the-line for me! ;)

 

Getting Waypoints to PDA

Using CMConvert on GPX file and send it to PDA. Works like a charm.

 

Getting Waypoints to GPS

Open GPX file in EasyGPS and transfer to GPS.

 

Ok, here's my problem. Once I find a cache I want to go to on my PDA, I then need to find it on my GPS so I can "Go to" that location. However, all the waypoints on my GPS are named "GC...something" meaning with 300+ waypoints, I'm doing a LOT of scrolling down the list to find it.

 

Is there a way to do a search on the GPS for a waypoint name to avoid the scrolling?

 

Or better yet, is there a way to make the waypoint names on the GPS equal to (for example) the first few characters of the cache name? That way they would at least be sorted by name, instead of all starting with G, and thus appearing under the "E-H". I know I could manually go through EasyGPS and rename each waypoint from 'GC..." to something more meaningful, but that seams pretty time consuming to do for 300+ waypoints.

 

Any ideas to make my life easier?

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A palm is a glorified pocket organizer. A Ipaq is a mini laptop... You can't fairly compare the two of them.

Of course you're right! Why else would I have gotten an iPAQ when I already had a perfectly good Palm? :P But....when you look at what is really needed for paperless geocaching, the iPAQ is severe overkill, and (IMHO) any Palm ever made will do the job. But, hey, this is about "high tech treasure hunting," isn't it?

 

Now, I gotta have me a keyboard for the iPAQ, and a wi-fi card, and a 5 GB hard drive, and.... B) (My wife thinks I define "Boys and their toys.") ;)

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Or better yet, is there a way to make the waypoint names on the GPS equal to (for example) the first few characters of the cache name?  That way they would at least be sorted by name, instead of all starting with G, and thus appearing under the "E-H".  I know I could manually go through EasyGPS and rename each waypoint from 'GC..." to something more meaningful, but that seams pretty time consuming to do for 300+ waypoints.

 

Any ideas to make my life easier?

If you like easy gps you can download a program called Spinner. I'm sure somebody can provide you with a link. This program renames the waypoints to something that makes sense. Or........ you could download GSAk which does the job of both Spinner and Easygps. Check the thread on the software forum. This program and Cachemate are the only 2 programs that I have to use now. ;) Oh by the way GSAK is free!!

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Again, the easy way to do all this is to get GSAK. With one program you can filter, sort, and change names of caches; upload waypoints to the GPS using either the cache waypoint names or smart names, using the cache name with as many characters as your GPS will accept; export the cache pages to Cachemate; export the cache pages to html for Plucker; export to almost any format you can think of - Mapsource, Mapsend, S&T, you name it. Drop the zip file containing your pocket query into GSAK, do whatever filtering and name changing you want, export to whichever programs you use, upload to the GPS, and you're done in less than 5 minutes, if you're efficient with your filtering.

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...Is there a way to do a search on the GPS for a waypoint name to avoid the scrolling? 

 

...

 

Any ideas to make my life easier?

In the basic yellow Etrex, you can't actually search for a specific waypoint. Most of the other members of the Etrex family have this feature.

 

You did mention that you want to find the waypoint after finding the cache. If you are doing so before you leave the area, you could use the "Nearest" waypoint page. I do this when I find a cache, and change the first letter to "F" for a find and a "D" when I plan to log a DNF. This brings all the caches you have found to the top of the alphabetical listing.

 

Just a thought.

 

Dave_W6DPS

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; export the cache pages to Cachemate;

 

Are you sure this is possible using GSAK?

 

I downloaded GSAK and already like it more than EasyGPS (the "smart names" alone makes it worthwhile IMO) but can't figure out how to export a pdb file for Cachemate.

 

I don't mind using CMConvert I guess if GSAK can't do it on it's own. Maybe I'm just missing it.

Edited by ThePropers
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; export the cache pages to Cachemate;

 

Are you sure this is possible?

 

I downloaded it and already like it more than EasyGPS (the "smart names" alone makes it worthwhile IMO) but can't figure out how to export a pdb file for Cachemate.

 

I don't mind using CMConvert I guess if GSAK can't do it on it's own. Maybe I'm just missing it.

Edited because I can't read!

Edited by Imajika
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You need the latest beta of GSAK to do the Cachemate export. It installs the command line version of cmconvert and runs it 'under the hood' to do the conversion. The export menu is under the File menu.

 

And for giving the waypoints meaningful names, GSAK does that very well. You tell it how many characters your GPS will accept (10 for my eTrex Legend) and GSAK will send a waypoint name based on the cache name with that number of characters, eliminating vowels as necessary. That way you don't need to go through 300 waypoints all with the same first 2 letters. You can also change the 'gc' to something more meaningful if you like, while keeping the rest of that waypoint identifier. You can change the first to M for micro cache, or V for virtual, or whatever you like, and put a B somewhere for a travel bug, or whatever means something to you.

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I guess I picked the best way to go with a PPC. I use a Ipaq 2215 and don't bother with a cable to hook to my Ipaq and GPS. Download the Pocket Queries to my computer and then transfer to my Pocket PC. Hook up my Garmin and double click the pocket querie and Easy GPS opens up and I upload to my GPS. This takes about 30 seconds once a week and you have all the updates you need. I use GPX Sonar on my PPC. I learned the hard way with a dead battery when I lost everything on my PPC. I now move everything to the CF card and then backup every so often.

I also have an Ipaq 2215 I'm using with a Holux GPS. What's the best geocache software to use? Georoo... you might consider getting a spare battery for your 2215. I carry a charged spare with me at all times. B)

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