# How long to get going?

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OK, I know Santa is bringing me a GPS (Garmin V) to put under the tree. My question is how long should I expect to need to learn enough of the features to begin Geocaching? I can usually do pretty well with gadgets and such, but I've never used a GPS before.

Thanks-

Lisa

If you go out in your front yard and play with it for an hour or two (after glancing at the manual), practice marking a waypoint and then "finding" that spot using your GPS.

There's no reason you couldn't go out caching later that day...

I got a little too enthusiastic when I got my GPS. My first two attempts at caching ended up with no-finds. It takes a little practice to get to know what to look for.

Jamie

Just play with it first...then try a 1/1 that is near by...we went to one that was found the day before and had about 20 finds...so we knew it was there (now we have learned thats not always the case)..have fun

Lisa-

Also make sure you understand the difference between DMS (Degrees Minutes Seconds) and MinDec (Degrees Minutes in decimal) and DegDec (Degrees in decimal). GeoCaching.com uses MinDec format...

Your GPS may come set to one of the other formats which can cause some confusion.

For example, a geocache is listed as:

N 40° 33.730 W 105° 04.657 (WGS84)

This is read as "North 40 degrees, 33.730 minutes by West 105 degrees, 04.657 minutes" The WGS84 is the "datum" (make sure your GPS is set to WGS84)

This exact same coordinate can also be shown as:

DMS = 40°33'43.81"N 105°4'39.43"W

MinDec = 40°33.7302 -105°4.6572

DegDec = 40.56217 -105.07762

UTM = 13 493429 4490158

All of the above point to the same location, but notice how the DMS and MinDec and DegDec all start with 40 but the following digits are different. This is why it can cause some confusion.

One trick I used to show some kids in the neighborhood how to use a GPS is that I hid a couple golfballs in the neighborhood and marked them in my gps as waypoints. Then, I had the kids try and find the "hidden" golfballs. You might try this also when learning how to use the gps. Hide the golfballs and mark them in your gps. Then walk away a bit and then try to find them using the GPS. This will allow you to get used to how to GPS works before hiking around looking for a cache.

The most important hint is to have fun! Geocaching is a blast and if you have any other questions, post them to this webpage and there are many others here that would be glad to help you out.

Hard work pays off in the future, laziness pays off now.

....took me a little less than an hour of playing around with my Garmin to feel comfortable with giving it a shot.

I got my GPS V one evening and went out the next day. Figure out how to download a waypoint from geocaching.com into your gps, use the find waypoint feature and you are off and running. As you learn your gps and what to look for for a geocache you will also be ready to learn magnetic declination and all that stuff. Start with 1's and 2's for difficulty and work your way up.

Wherever you go there you are.

One of the most important things you need to remember is that a GPS is not a cache magnet. It will only get you close, say 20 feet or so is common then you have to look around for it. Another piece of advice is that if the pointer tells you to walk off the path and plunge through the thickets and it is rated a 1, don't be fooled into complying,just be patient and find the right and often easiest way. Above all good luck and have fun. It's easier than you think and more fun than you can imagine.

The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

Click here to get the manual from Garmin. It may help if you have an idea how it works before you get it. You'll want to learn how to enter latitude/longitude into the unit and then navigate to that spot. You may also consider posting a note in the forum section for your region, asking if there are any V owners who wouln't mind if you tagged along on their hunt. They could show you how the unit works and you could pick up a couple finds at the same time.

quote:

__GeoCaching.com uses MinDec format...__

Your GPS may come set to one of the other formats which can cause some confusion.

Good Point! On my first hide I wrote the cooridinates on the lid of the cache in DegMinSec and only realized my booboo when I went to enter the hide on site.

Dave

Me ambivalent? Well..... yes and no.

With the suggestions that have been given, you should be on your way in about an hour.

One more suggestion: With the GPS5, when you arrive at your parking location, you will have to switch to 'off road' mode or the unit won't lead you into the woods.

Whenever I feel blue, I start breathing again.

I got my Platinum and went out within the 1st hour of getting it (1st time GPS user). BUT, I did 2 things first, 1. I read the owner’s manual online before it came in the mail and 2. I picked the easiest/closest cache to my house.

Have fun,

Paul

If you are concerned about how close your GarminV is going to get you, check the satellite page periodically. That page will show you how accurately (in feet) your unit is computing distances. If your accuracy is 25 feet, and on the goto page you see you are 30 feet away from the spot, start looking for the places the cache could be hidden, and pay less attention to the arrow. (Assuming the V has an arrow on the Goto Page, or has a Goto Page).

quote:
Originally posted by sbell111:

With the suggestions that have been given, you should be on your way in about an hour.

One more suggestion: With the GPS5, when you arrive at your parking location, you will have to switch to 'off road' mode or the unit won't lead you into the woods.

Whenever I feel blue, I start breathing again.

How to: From the map page, press "menu" and "recalculate" and "offroad".

Hello Lisa and welcome to the sport of geocaching. After reading the above posts, I realized that no one explained what you should before you start using your GPS unit. First, load the Mapsource software onto your computer. Second, get the unlock code from Garmin and unlock your software so it can be sent to your unit via the cable provided. Third, download the newest software and firmware updates from the Garmin site. These updates will be for Mapsource maps and Garmin GPS V firmware. After you upgrade the above, download the maps of the areas you will be using from your computer to your GPS V. Now you can enter your waypoints and go find your treasures.

The above steps should only take a couple of hours depending on the speed of your internet connection.

I have some summary instructions I have written that helped me when I started using my V and I will gladly email them to you if you want them. Just email me and let me know. Good Luck and have fun. RangerRick

It isn't that hard to figure out the GPS V . It just takes a bit of playing with so that you can use it in the field.

After that try to have it take you to a local resterant or store..

Then try to find it using the "Off Road" Mode...

That is what you'll use while on the trails..

You don't have to stay in the Compass display, hit page a couple times and go to the map display.. Then as you get close to the cache try to look at it in the 20ft range....(Use the in and out to zoom)

Good Luck I love mine!

quote:
Originally posted by LisaAS36:

OK, I know Santa is bringing me a GPS (Garmin V) to put under the tree. My question is how long should I expect to need to learn enough of the features to begin Geocaching? I can usually do pretty well with gadgets and such, but I've never used a GPS before.

Thanks-

Lisa

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"Just a Short walk" Says....

If You plant a cache they will come.....

quote:
Originally posted by sbell111:

One more suggestion: With the GPS5, when you arrive at your parking location, you will have to switch to 'off road' mode or the unit won't lead you into the woods.

And at the same time,it's a good idea to get in the habit of marking your parking co-ordinates as a waypoint. When you switch to "off road", just hold down the "enter" button long enough to create a waypoint. After a mile or so hike into unfamiliar territory, which might include a little bushwacking, it will make your adventure a more pleasurable one, knowing that no matter how many times you get turned around, & you will, you can always get back to your vehicle with no problem. In your preparations before heading out, also read up on & practice the use of the "track back" option and the use of your track on the map page. Nothing can put a damper on a great caching adventure like that feeling in your gut when you've found the cache, but have no idea how to get back to where you started from. . Especially if you're losing daylight. Have a great time & be safe.

"Gimpy"

Thank you everyone that has taken the time to help me out. I don't think it's going to be too bad. Only a few more days to wait.

Lisa

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