Posted by: geonarcissa | June 3, 2009

Geocaching Gadgetry

My GPSr is a Magellan eXplorist 500 – now discontinued, but still widely available. It has a rechargeable battery pack that I purchased separately (the 500 is frequently sold without a battery pack or wall charger as the 500 “LE”).

My original GPSr was an eXplorist 100. It worked just fine when I only did a light amount of caching, but once I started caching more heavily, putting every waypoint in by hand was just too much. It also ate up AA batteries – a job now reserved for my digital camera.

I don’t hate Garmin and I’m not obsessed with Magellan – it’s just that so far, the Magellans were the best available options with the budget I was working with when shopping for a GPSr. Both GPSrs have worked well for me. When it’s time to upgrade again, I won’t rule out a particular brand.

In the car, I have a charger for my GPS, and a windshield mount.

I’ve always been a paperless cacher. When I started geocaching in 2005, I had an iPaq (Pocket PC) and a handly little GPX reader called GPX Sonar. It’s an old program, but it always worked great for me – and it would write field notes to a format GSAK could read.

I recently replaced my iPaq with an iPod Touch (2nd gen). I now use iGeocacher to store cache pages for offline use. I’m mostly happy with it. The interface is nice, and when I have wireless internet I can log my finds through it. The main issue I have with it is that uploading the GPX files is a little fussy. I’ve gotten the hang of it, but it could be a major obstacle to someone less tech-oriented than me. There are other ways to get geocache information onto an iPod, but they are even fussier. All in all, iGeocacher is worth the money, and it comes with great service from the developer.

I also use Geocaching.com’s iPod/iPhone app once in a while. It’s very handy for looking up geocaches on the fly, if I can get wireless internet. I don’t regret buying it, but I think it’s far more useful on an iPhone than it is on the iPod Touch. I occasionally use another great app called iGCT (Geocachers ToolKit) that comes in handy for projections, intersecting lines and circles, coordinate conversion, and several other nifty things. And that one’s free!

I use GSAK to manage geocaching waypoints and create files for the Magellan. When I solve a puzzle, or have to stop caching partway through a multi, I usually create a new waypoint in GSAK with the same GC# as the original cache, but with the character _ at the end so I can easily filter them if I need to. This makes it easy for me to spot the final locations for puzzles I’ve solved if I happen to be caching in the area, since I usually don’t immediately run out to find a puzzle cache I’ve solved.

That’s the quick rundown of my gadgets. I’m pretty adept with all of it, now, so if you’re using any of this or thinking of using any of it, feel free to ask for advice.

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