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Is Map Routing Cheating?


keyman121
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I have a unit that has street routing software. Downloading waypoints shows me the exact cache locations on it's map. This allows me to easily find the street or parking area that is closest to the cache. I don't have to use this feature but as a newbie I didn't think of not using it. Then it occured to me, if you have a unit that only shows heading and distance, finding the cache would be more challenging. Do you purists out there think it is cheating to use street map routing software with marked waypoints. Let the discussions begin. <_<<_<

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I have a unit that has street routing software. Downloading waypoints shows me the exact cache locations on it's map. This allows me to easily find the street or parking area that is closest to the cache.

HA! Try actually doing that on the next 20 caches you find and then come back and tell us how many times your auto-routing GPS actually took you to the parking area or trailhead closest to the cache. We'll wait.......

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I have a unit that has street routing software.  Downloading waypoints shows me the exact cache locations on it's map.  This allows me to easily find the street or parking area that is closest to the cache.

HA! Try actually doing that on the next 20 caches you find and then come back and tell us how many times your auto-routing GPS actually took you to the parking area or trailhead closest to the cache. We'll wait.......

Yep. The GPSr will always send you to the closest street...it rarely sends me to the correct one.

 

Ergo, I only use the off-road mode and figure out the way there myself. I like to think I'm at least a little smarter than the GPSr. <_<

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The street routing is fine for getting you at least into the area, and you're going to find that it tends to lead you to within 1000 feet of the cache MANY times...BUT...many of those times you will find that passing through 3 back yards, a drainage ditch, and scaling an 8 foot brick wall, is not exactly the most effective route to the cache.

 

From there, you still have to go back to the standard "pointy arrow" style, with your GPSr, and find a better (usually longer) path to the cache.

 

So no, I do not consider it cheating....especially if I'm driving to an area that I'm not too familiar with, and I'll still have to use my wits, once I get "near" the cache.

Edited by PC Painter
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Routing software works quite well IF there is a parking waypoint, or you can create one for the cache. Routing software doesn't work quite as well if the cache requires some walking and there are lakes, rivers, or other obstacles nearby. Under these conditions the software might get you physically close to the cache but there is no way to get there because of the obstacle between you and it. There is nothing more annoying than to have your GPS routing software tell you you're really close then noticing you have to drive 25 miles to get to the other side of a river or lake.

 

I have also noticed that I can't use the routing software then load a topo map region on my Magellan Meridian. Using one map then trying to use the other messes up most of the defaults I have set and it is a royal pain to reset them all. What I've been doing is loading the routing (MapSend DirectRoute) onto my back-up Meridian Gold which I have on a dash mount and using the MapSend Topo on my Platinum which directs me to the cache site. As long as I can load a parking waypoint on the Gold, that makes the trip much easier.

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Like others said while I was typing this <_<; auto-routing is a tool, just like a topo map or compass. Anyone who thinks auto-routing will take you to the cache has either never used it, or only done caches on the side of the road. Auto-routing rarely knows where a parking lot is, and never knows where a trailhead is, unless you figure those out and enter them in beforehand. This cache is a prime example. Auto-routing will take you to within a few hundred feet of the cache on the GPS. The problem is that spot is is on a highway with no parking. Oh, and you're on the wrong side of a river. Then there's those RR tracks to cross. Oh, and the cache is also at the top of a 500ft cliff. Yea, that auto-routing sure is cheating on that cache (and many like it). The actual parking is 5-8 miles of driving from that spot, and is 3/4 mile from the cache on the other side of the mountain.

Edited by Mopar
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I own a Garmin V, which is a unit that has autorouting. But for my first 15 months of geocaching, I used it like an overpriced yellow eTrex -- I didn't load the Mapsource maps because I was too lazy to install a CD drive on my computer, and I was having too much fun just "following the arrow." This also helped me improve my navigation skills, which had laid dormant since my Boy Scout days.

 

There is an extra sense of freedom and accomplishment when you are driving out and about in the countryside, using just your instincts to figure out which turn to take at a T intersection when the arrow points straight ahead. You also get to see more random odd stuff when you take a wrong turn now and then. In some ways I think autorouting removes some of the adventure from geocaching, and on days when I feel like just wandering, I will turn it off.

 

On the other hand, when geocaching in an unfamiliar city and trying to get from suburban park A to shopping mall B to State Park C quickly in order to soak up as much of the flavor of the area as possible, it is pretty cool to sit back and let autorouting do the work for you. There's a sense of independence that arises from the ability to efficiently find your way around in unfamiliar surroundings. Rarely missing an exit or making a wrong turn, I am able to rack up 25 caches instead of 15. But, like others who have posted, I have many stories where autorouting definitely messed me up by sending me into the housing development that borders the park, rather than the parking lot for the park.

 

There is a time and a place for both methods.

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I'm with Leprechaun here. Sometimes it's a bother and sometimes it's great. Depending on the mood I'm in and other criteria, I'll go either way. If I'm in areas of Indiana where every road runs exact N/S or E/W and all the roads seem to go for miles and miles, I'll just follow the arrow. If I'm in an area where there are caches surrounded on two sides with an interstate, one by a river without a crossing, and on the last side by a road that won't get you there I'm still impressed when either of my autorouting units gets me there. For the longest time, I was convinced a helicopter was necessary to retrieve that cache! (Cragwold, the key road to getting to this park, is a relatively recent addition to the online maps.)

 

I tend to use autorouting more frequently in areas that are badly cut up by "afterthought" interstates and rivers or in areas with really rural roads that dead-end for no apparent reason. It's nice when you're leaving one cache to see that cache that you think is a half mile that-a-way is actually a 45 minute drive becuase there's a river between you and it without any closer way to cross it.

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Well, went back to work and encouraged to see all diiferent views when I got back. I should probably detail what I do. Have a PalmOne Zire 72 with a Palm GPS Bluetooth. The Tom Tom Software included is excellent for Autorouting but lousy for Geocaching. Using GSAK on my PC, it will let you load waypoints as Points of Interests(POIs) but it will only route to street addresses. Therfore, what I considered as "cheating" was just looking at an overhead map view and seeing where the closest parking would be to the waypoint. I then have to switch over to Cachemate/CacheNav software for the Palm to navigate to the cache. I see how I could run into a problem that way. I also see how it definately takes some of the adventure out of it. Will probably try to use the CacheNav Software from scratch some time and see how I like it. It's hard not to use the technology at your disposal. Since half of Geocaching is GEO, it's part of the deal.

Keep the topic up. Interested in some other views.

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One of the reasons I like autorouting is that it often picks ways that I was unaware of, or wouldn't consider. I enjoy the tech part of autorouting and so have fun with following it around, arguing with it, changing the default road colors, flipping between 2D and 3D, and listening to Jane's sexy British voice. The whole point of geocaching is to enjoy the experience. If you are enjoying autorouting, then you are doing the right thing. <_<

 

--Marky

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Autorouting definitely needs to be taken with a grain of salt up here in Alaska. We have a couple of caches just off the Steese Highway here in Fairbanks that every mapping application I have checked indicates the caches are on the opposite side of the highway than their true location <_<. I recently hid a cache on a ridgetop and the nearest residential roads are completely wrong in Mapquest, DeLorme, and several other map sources.

 

In New York, I once used autorouting to get me within 0.5 miles of a cache. But, that 0.5 miles was full of nearly impenetrable brambles and poison ivy :huh:. I then conferred with my father-in-law who has 75 years of local knowledge who told me that it sounded like the cache was on such and such an old farm which is now a county park with lots of nice trails that has access from Road X. He was right <_<!

 

So, I use autorouting as a tool, but I pull in as many other map resources and talk to folks with local knowledge before heading into the unknown.

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We also have the Garmin V and utilize the autorouting feature. We have learned, however, that sometimes it will take us down (or try to take us down) a street that does not exist! I will also second the aspect that it tries to get us "closest" to the cache, not to the best parking area.

Is using the autorouting feature any different than using maps generated by mapquest? In my opinion, not really... just tells you turn by turn (hopefully) how to get there. Also, how about when it tells you to take a certain exit, and the exit is really behind you? (I hope that made sense... it has happened to us many times... maybe that is just a Texas road thing.)

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The autorouting feature has been a blessing to us in our geocaching. Now Ms horsegeeks can see the scenery and not have to have her nose in a map. When we get close to a cache the 60C always goes off road and we are on our own (dort of) again. When I am by myself it makes the trip safer and more productive. Thanks Garmin.

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It's cheating like using a hammer to pound a nail.

 

I like horsegeeks take on it. Sissy is my "autorouting." She gets to sit with a nice warm laptop on her laptop and watch the little car icon move around the screen of MSS&T and try to read the street names to be able to tell where to turn before I start fussing.

 

I'd like to upgrade my "autorouting" so she can enjoy more of the ride and I can fuss at the machine instead of her.

 

The question is iQue or GPS18?

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I'd like to upgrade my "autorouting" so she can enjoy more of the ride and I can fuss at the machine instead of her.

 

The question is iQue or GPS18?

I have just updated to MS S&T 2005 and updated my PDA to an iPAQ with facility to run Pocket Streets and to take in the signal from my Garmin.

Sure, an iQUE would have been great but WOAH! this system works. I literally took it out yesterday for for the first time, a run around the neighborhood.

I can only say WOAH, EXCELLENT!!!!!

If I could have it all in one box, that would be great but this is good, very good. And the facility for completely paperless caching is right there too.....

 

Oh, sorry, back on topic, use all and any tools that your conscience will let you, no one is hurt by the score thay YOU accumulate - it's not about the numbers remember..... Besides, the tools that you WANT to use will evolve over time - don't sweat it.

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What Jeremy, Mopar et al said.

 

Back in the day, you used to be able to get MapBlast and MapQuest to give you directions to to and from lat/long coordinates. Tracy and I would use that feature to move from home to a new area, then from cache to cache. Like autorouting, you would get close, but sometimes "close" ain't "close". I guess MapBlast and MapQuest got sick of Geocachers pounding on their servers with that feature. :angry:

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