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Highway Geocaching


treemoss2
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OK, here's the rub.

You are traveling across country. Enroute it would be nice to nab a few geos.

I am headed to AZ from CO per I-25.

I do my queries for paperless. I've centered it on a cache right near the highway. Now, I need a radius, and I put in 100 miles.

Gee, now I have WAY too many caches that I am not going to be looking for. Many of them WAY off my line of travel.

So - this is the hoped for thing that may someday appear on this site. A way to define an area by dragging out square/rectangle on cache map and just getting (per query) the caches inside that space. This way I could draw a long thin rectangle (maybe 5-10 miles wide), align it with the road I am to travel, and get those caches.

I could then make a series of narrow rectangles linked along my line of travel.

 

It would be nice to define queries by a self designated area from the map just as you define an area on so many programs.

 

Or, another feature that would allow me to pick caches for queries in the same way you "check" caches for waypoint download.

 

:rolleyes:

 

Because my queries now are full of caches that I am not going to get but are there because they fall inside the radius I had to used to get the ones I really wanted.

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I have thought of this before and think its a great IDEA.....I am not sure on the technical end how much work it would include.

It should be easier than finding caches within a radius.

 

Let's say that you've got a rectangle defined with these four coords:

 

 -115.3/34.5-------115.2/34.5
      |                |
      |                |
      |                |
 -115.3/34.4-------115.2/34.4

 

You can just ask the database for a list of caches with:

a latitude of at least 34.4, but not more than 34.5

a longitude of at least -115.3, but not more than -115.2

 

Simple query. The hardest part would be determining where the cut-off should be if there's more caches in the area than the person's allowed to generate in their PQ.

 

Using a radius from a center point is much more complex, as you have to do a great circle (I'm guessing that's the formula they're using) calculation for each cache to find the distance from the center. I'd guess that the code they're using is pretty slick, but there's no reason that the rectangle concept couldn't be implemented, probably with less than a day or two's worth of coding.

 

This is something that's asked for very often. Hopefully we'll see it soon. :rolleyes:

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Using a radius from a center point is much more complex, as you have to do a great circle (I'm guessing that's the formula they're using) calculation for each cache to find the distance from the center.

Actually, from what I understand, GC.com does use a rectangle to find your radius searches.

 

It calculates a rectangle based on your center and radius data. Then it finds all the caches that fit in that rectangle, then it eliminates those that are further away than the radius.

 

At least that's how Elias explained it a while back.

 

Jamie

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Actually, from what I understand, GC.com does use a rectangle to find your radius searches.

 

It calculates a rectangle based on your center and radius data. Then it finds all the caches that fit in that rectangle, then it eliminates those that are further away than the radius.

 

At least that's how Elias explained it a while back.

 

Jamie

Hmmm. Seems simple then to have a "don't trim the rectangle" option. To start enabling rectangular searches.

 

But maybe that would be too confusing to some?

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Using a radius from a center point is much more complex, as you have to do a great circle (I'm guessing that's the formula they're using) calculation for each cache to find the distance from the center.

Actually, from what I understand, GC.com does use a rectangle to find your radius searches.

 

It calculates a rectangle based on your center and radius data. Then it finds all the caches that fit in that rectangle, then it eliminates those that are further away than the radius.

 

At least that's how Elias explained it a while back.

 

Jamie

Makes a lot of sense - use a simple query to get a subset of caches, then perform the complex calculations on just that subset, build a list and display them nearest to furthest.

 

Maybe TPTB would like to chime in and give us the skinny on why there isn't a draw-a-rectangle option for PQs? It's such a common request and if all this is right, the majority of the code could be reused from the main search functions.

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I have looked at all suggestions. Thanks. Some are rather tedious, or complicated, as the case may be.

 

I think that is I use a cache as a center and get "all nearby caches" then I can run the geocaching.com map. This way I can visualize the caches along a route. Since I already have them downloaded into cachemate, I can eliminate the ones that I do not want.

 

I have also tried to print out the map/page of geocaching.com.

It works to print out the caches listed and the border of the map, but inside the map square there is only a blank.

 

Is there a way to get that map to print?

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Defining a rectangle does not allow you to follow a road. Better: enter a list of coordinates (or caches along a route) and a distance. The coordinates define a line (start, points at turnings, crossing and end) representing the road and the distance parameter defines caches how many miles right and left from the road will be listed in your query.

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Why not use a program like GSAK and a mapping software (such as MapSource)?

 

In GSAK can you set a centre point and them sort all your waypoints in direction, so if you are going southwest, no problem, you can find all caches southwest of the one you have set as centre point.

 

Superb program, made by an Aussie geocacher called Clyde.

Can be found at gsak.geocaching.com.au (I think)...

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Why not use a program like GSAK and a mapping software (such as MapSource)?

 

GSAK is a great program for processing GPX files and it's free too :) You can setup a filter in GSAK consisting of waypoints along your planned route and set a distance from the centerline of the route. GSAK will then give you a list of caches within that distance along your route.

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What exactly is the way to enter coordinates in "arc, line, polygon" window of GSAK?

 

Below the printing already in that box, I tried typing coordinates from my map that lie at either end of a road.

I typed in

 

109 35, 36 09

109 35, 37 20

 

It could not do it with this. I then added W and N respectively. Still no go. Both those points are for each end of a N-S road. I got these off the edges of a map in an Atlas.

 

So how would I define the points for arc, line, polygon in GSAK?

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What exactly is the way to enter coordinates in "arc, line, polygon" window of GSAK?

 

Below the printing already in that box, I tried typing coordinates from my map that lie at either end of a road.

I typed in

 

109 35, 36 09

109 35, 37 20

 

It could not do it with this. I then added W and N respectively. Still no go. Both those points are for each end of a N-S road. I got these off the edges of a map in an Atlas.

 

So how would I define the points for arc, line, polygon in GSAK?

As per the help file (click on the help button when you do the arc filter) coordinates can be entered in decimal degrees (similar to your example) or decimal minutes (same format as displayed on geocaching.com)

 

The problem with the coordinates you have keyed is that you are missing the decimal point. That is, using your given coordinates key them as:

 

109.35, 36.09

109.35, 37.20

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I entered data exactly as you stated.

It said the latitude range must be +90 or -90. So I did that.

I used N and W desigantions for long/lat.

 

I finally found that you need to put lat first as in

 

37.35, 109.52

 

Then I could do the search. But - it said search revealed 0 caches, filter will not be set. So then I "checked" all my caches in GSAK for this filter. Same thing.

Then I went to particular caches that I knew were along this line within my 20 mile parameter to confirm that there were, indeed, caches within 20 miles of a N/S line with the coordinates.

Then I entered lat/long coordinates exactly on a grid mark on my altas, thinking maybe I had made a mistake when putting in numbers between the those grid marks.

I am unable to get a search result per any of the above.

I have not altered any of the default prameters on the first search filter screen.

The HELP button reveals no new info for me to go on.

Methinks this should not be this hard.

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I couldn't get MapSource to do what I wanted, but MS Streets & Trips will. It will draw a border along your route at any distance at .1 mile increments and list every cache within the borders. Haven't yet figured out how to get this list into my GPS yet without cross-referencing.

 

7

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MS Streets & Trips ... will draw a border along your route at any distance at .1 mile increments and list every cache within the borders. Haven't yet figured out how to get this list into my GPS yet without cross-referencing.

Son,

 

To my knowledge there isn't. I talk about this problem fairly extensively in this thread. I wish there were a way to export waypoints from S&T.

 

The easiest way I've found is to list both S&T and you gpx file in alphabetical order. At least that way you just need go down the list.

 

Still a kludge, though.

 

Jamie

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I couldn't get MapSource to do what I wanted, but MS Streets & Trips will. It will draw a border along your route at any distance at .1 mile increments and list every cache within the borders. Haven't yet figured out how to get this list into my GPS yet without cross-referencing.

There is a way to do this but it's rather long and invloved. Once you have saved your S&T file you can use ST2GPX to export the pushpins from the S&T file to a GPX file. Caches that are within the boundaries you set in S&T are exported twice so there is a duplicate listing of each in the GPX file.

 

Extracting just the duplicates from this GPX file is a problem. The folks on the GPSBabel mailing list have had some suggestions but right now I'm stalled. If someone is a whiz at Excel (I'm not) you might be able to do this in a spreadsheet.

 

For now I set up my route in a blank S&T file, export the stops to a GPX file with ST2GPX, convert it to a CSV file with GPSBabel, open that file in Excel and edit out everything except the Lat and Long, save this again as a CSV file, open this in NotePad and copy and paste the coordinates to the arc filter in GSAK.

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Holy Moley!! I think it would be quicker to have S&T and GSAK both open and just run down the list and check each one in GSAK and filter them out that way. Right now, I don't really need this feature, but have a wedding up in SD in June so I was trying to figure it out ahead of time. I'm not finished playing yet :D Thanks for the info tho.

 

7

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Holy Moley!!

Clyde England has been working some more magic with GSAK to greatly simplify this process. It allows you to create an arc filter directly from the ST2GPX (or other types) file.

 

I imagine it will be included in the next release shortly. :D:D

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For now I set up my route in a blank S&T file, export the stops to a GPX file with ST2GPX, convert it to a CSV file with GPSBabel, open that file in Excel and edit out everything except the Lat and Long, save this again as a CSV file, open this in NotePad and copy and paste the coordinates to the arc filter in GSAK.

The new release of GSAK (3.03) will now load the ST2GPX file in the arc/line filter eliminating all those intermediate steps <_<:ph34r: Thank you Clyde.

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For now I set up my route in a blank S&T file, export the stops to a GPX file with ST2GPX, convert it to a CSV file with GPSBabel, open that file in Excel and edit out everything except the Lat and Long, save this again as a CSV file, open this in NotePad and copy and paste the coordinates to the arc filter in GSAK.

The new release of GSAK (3.03) will now load the ST2GPX file in the arc/line filter eliminating all those intermediate steps :laughing::ph34r: Thank you Clyde.

 

WHOA NOW!!! You mean I don't have to convert s&t through st2gpx, then use GPSBabel like in Markwell's tutorial? (See steps 9 and after)

I was doing experimenting with this, and everytime I use step 10, I get the following: "Cannot open property file........." Have rechecked several times, path is correct.

 

If there is an easier way, especially using GSAK, please enlighten me.

 

Thank you

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If you are a Premium Member the Caches Along a Route feature does this for you.

 

Use Google Earth to map your route, save it as a .kml file, go to geocaching.com's My Account - Caches along a Route and upload the .kml.

 

Groundspeak will allow you to then set certain parameters (distance off of the route, for example) and generate a PQ of the caches.

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Have been doing this. The rub was that I am a truck driver, and often hauling haz-mat. Google Earth uses a point at each end of the route, but often follows routes that are prohibited to me, or that if I have a stop-off in a town not on the direct route, I have to run seperate PQs for each leg. Also, it follows only the common route, IE: up I35 instead of through the woods where the caches are.

 

I was attempting to plot the trip on S&T so that I could conveniently use one PQ, saving me time and Groundspeak processor.

 

I will be looking at the other option on Markwell's tutorial, using Mapsource to plot the trip also.

 

Thanks

Edited by Trucker Lee
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Have been doing this. The rub was that I am a truck driver, and often hauling haz-mat. Google Earth uses a point at each end of the route, but often follows routes that are prohibited to me, or that if I have a stop-off in a town not on the direct route, I have to run seperate PQs for each leg. Also, it follows only the common route, IE: up I35 instead of through the woods where the caches are.

 

I was attempting to plot the trip on S&T so that I could conveniently use one PQ, saving me time and Groundspeak processor.

 

I will be looking at the other option on Markwell's tutorial, using Mapsource to plot the trip also.

 

Thanks

I had the same issues with Google Earth as you. I think you'll like one of the other solutions.

 

That being said, I've found that most of the routes I have wanted have already been built by someone else.

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OK, here's the rub.

You are traveling across country. Enroute it would be nice to nab a few geos.

I am headed to AZ from CO per I-25.

I do my queries for paperless. I've centered it on a cache right near the highway. Now, I need a radius, and I put in 100 miles.

Gee, now I have WAY too many caches that I am not going to be looking for. Many of them WAY off my line of travel.

So - this is the hoped for thing that may someday appear on this site. A way to define an area by dragging out square/rectangle on cache map and just getting (per query) the caches inside that space. This way I could draw a long thin rectangle (maybe 5-10 miles wide), align it with the road I am to travel, and get those caches.

I could then make a series of narrow rectangles linked along my line of travel.

 

It would be nice to define queries by a self designated area from the map just as you define an area on so many programs.

 

Or, another feature that would allow me to pick caches for queries in the same way you "check" caches for waypoint download.

 

:D

 

Because my queries now are full of caches that I am not going to get but are there because they fall inside the radius I had to used to get the ones I really wanted.

Maybe I'm not understanding what you are saying, but there is an option when you do caches along a route that lets you set how far on either side of a route that you want to search. When I'm traveling through an area I set the distance for 2 miles.

Edited by DWBur
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I am trying to do what is described in this thread - sort of. What I want to do is create a .GPX file for use in "Find Caches Along a Route" pocket query. I like to use MS Streets & Trips. According to this thread at the GSAK Forum (second post)

 

http://gsak.net/board/index.php?showtopic=989

 

you can save a route created there (.est) file, open it in GSAK via the Arc\Poly filter and create a .GPX file that you can then use in "Find caches along a route"

 

When I open the .est file in the filter and hit go, I receive a "Exception Log" dialog box with this error "cannot open file c:\GSAK\TEMP\arclist.txt"

 

Anyone tried this successfully?

 

(PS. I am waiting for my account to be activated at the GSAK forum so I can post there, but I am trying to get this to work for a trip this weekend, and I think they are sleeping now down under.)

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...you can save a route created there (.est) file, open it in GSAK via the Arc\Poly filter and create a .GPX file that you can then use in "Find caches along a route"

Opening (importing) the .est file in GSAK's Arc/Poly filter allows you to filter for caches along that route in GSAK. If you want to use the route from Streets&Trips for the Caches along a Route page on Geocaching.com you must first convert it to a GPX file as described here then upload it as described here.

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Thanks for the info. This process worked like a charm after a few false starts. Default long file names that MS Streets & Trips generates such as "This address to that address.est" don't seem to like the batch file. After running the .est I was returned a 1KB file would not upload properly. When I changed the file name to a four character name, it worked great.

 

Thanks again!

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