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Mac-using Newbie


Spiral Stairs
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Caution: I'm the newest of newbies, so forgive any stupidity in the following words.

 

I am really interested in geocaching and want to take the plunge and buy a unit. But I'm a Mac user, which seems to doom me to a life of frustration and complexity in the world of geocaching (or a life in which I never use any computer-dependent functions).

 

I understand there are various workarounds for getting waypoints from a Mac to a GPSr. But:

I would like to get a unit that I could also use for driving directions, which means I need a mapping unit and a way of getting street maps on it. As a Mac user, do I have any option other than buying a unit that takes pre-loaded SD cards? And on that note, it doesn't seem that either Garmin or Magellan offers a great deal of street maps on pre-loaded SD cards. Lowrance does, though, so maybe I should go that route.

 

Anyone have any thoughts or suggestions? Thanks!

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Welcome, Spiral Stairs!

 

There are LOTS of Mac-using geocachers. You can find some discussion of the topic here, but the quick summary is this: you will be able to do almost everything with native Mac OS X software EXCEPT upload new maps to your GPSr. And for that one task, Virtual PC does the trick.

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...you will be able to do almost everything with native Mac OS X software EXCEPT upload new maps to your GPSr.  And for that one task, Virtual PC does the trick.

 

Agh! That's what I was afraid of. Problem is, I'm allergic to Windows. Even more important than my allergy, I would rather not spend $200 on VPC + Windows for such a discrete function. That cost plus the cost of a GPSr causes the whole deal to rise to the consult-with-my-wife-and-obtain-her-approval level.

 

If I want to put maps on my GPSr, it looks like I have to (i) use pre-loaded cards; (ii) buy VPC and Windows; or (iii) buy a cheap Windows box. The pre-loaded card route is probably the cheapest in terms of initial outlay, but also the least flexible.

 

Have any Mac users (or anyone else) gone that route (pre-loaded cards)? It seems like Garmin and Magellan aren't too great about offering maps on such cards, and Lowrance may be the best bet for it.

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Agh!  That's what I was afraid of.  Problem is, I'm allergic to Windows.  Even more important than my allergy, I would rather not spend $200 on VPC + Windows for such a discrete function.  That cost plus the cost of a GPSr causes the whole deal to rise to the consult-with-my-wife-and-obtain-her-approval level.

 

If I want to put maps on my GPSr, it looks like I have to (i) use pre-loaded cards; (ii) buy VPC and Windows; or (iii) buy a cheap Windows box.  The pre-loaded card route is probably the cheapest in terms of initial outlay, but also the least flexible.

 

Have any Mac users (or anyone else) gone that route (pre-loaded cards)?  It seems like Garmin and Magellan aren't too great about offering maps on such cards, and Lowrance may be the best bet for it. 

 

IMHO, its cheaper to buy VPC than to buy a cheapy PC. The most afordable method is to use a friend's PC. I suspect most of them will let you as long as your willing to put up with them gloating about how their computers run all the software and all that. Of course when their computer locks up and needs to be restarted, I guess you can gloat back. My PLANNED solution is to purchase a large SDcard and upload most of the maps I'll ever need to it in one session. Then I'll be free from using the map application (and Windoze) again. In fact, the ability to use an SDcard is the bigest factor in selecting an GPSr for me. If a manufacturer would create a Mac solution, I certainly would go that way.

 

My wife has Windoze boxes at the house. She won't charge me the typical grief that a friend might, but I am not looking forward to the process. Reading the postings from PC users, it seems they have lots of trouble getting the software to work and they are familar with the that OS. I'm thinking that for someone like me, this is going to be a 4 hour job just to get the stuff to work.

 

On the $ cost. Yes, by the time you get a GPSr and software and SDcard, you're dropping quite a bit, but once your initial costs are paid, geocaching is a pretty afordable family activity. Your only other expense might be some gas and that poison ivy stuff...

 

Good Luck, David

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Another option for driving directions, etc. is to pick up something like Route66 2004, which is Mac compatible and will communicate with most GPSrs. I know I have no problem with my Magellan.

 

This would entail you bring a laptop in the car with you, but it works nicely, and you don't have to worry about getting outside of your map area . . .

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