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T O P I C     R E V I E W
Member # 111
 - posted April 02, 2009 19:26
I have ideas for geocaching, but I never do them, I've never even looked for a geocache, to be honest. but I've always been fascinated by it. Any geeks into geocaching around here?
Member # 1659
 - posted April 03, 2009 00:43
_____________________ Nitrozac __

I have tried it with a friend, that did GeoCaching often. Because the GPS system was developed by the Military, any unit that you can buy has an error built in, 11 meters not all brands use the same vector so you may be off by 22 meters. That is why there is usually a description of a land feature that is the actual location.

Fox hunting Ham radio style, a very weak transmitter is hidden and teams of hams try to RDF on the signal, and find the transmitter. Rules here usually are if the Fox is not found in a certain time limit every body buys the fox hider lunch, or the winner gets his/her lunch bought by the other contestants.
Member # 2515
 - posted April 03, 2009 00:51
I used to GeoCache - haven't had the time for a while, but I may well take it up again now I've got some!

@TheMoMan That "feature" (selective availability) used to be the case, but is no longer used since 2000. This is great for geoscientists, as we can now use differential GPS to get down to sub-centimetre accuracy. On a larger scale, I seem to get around 3-5m accuracy on my eTrex in the open.
Member # 4924
 - posted April 03, 2009 01:21
Everyone in my Family except for me is really into it. I just don't get it. I'f I want to go for a nice walk or explore, I don't need to go look for something to give me an excuser to do it. Plus my family is alwaysw really secrative when opening a cashe, so that noone sees what they are doing. Like they think they are doing something clandestine.

Just annoys me and they don't travel without doing this, which makes me not want to ever travel with them.
Member # 164
 - posted April 03, 2009 09:44
I've gone with my family a few times, most notably on a vacation to the coast last summer. The weather didn't cooperate, but we all enjoyed it -- even my parents and my kindergarten-age nephew.

There are probably a few caches in any urbanized area, so if you have a GPS and some spare time, you can try to find a few. It's easy to start.
Cap'n Vic
Member # 1477
 - posted April 03, 2009 11:46
We do. The kids lurve the thrill of the chase. Urban rural, we do it all baby, we did a few near your old stomping grounds (Grand Bend) last summer.
Member # 111
 - posted April 04, 2009 10:48
sounds like fun! I have to get my $h1t together and try it out. Some caches that I saw online look a little like a box of junk, and I kinda wonder what the fuss is about, but I think I'm going to make a few caches and try and find a couple and see how I like. I think it's amazing how big it is, and global, that's so cool.
Member # 1659
 - posted April 05, 2009 03:26
_________________ Nitrozac __ Just a few bits of info. All GPS units use the same Sats. All Non Military units sold in the US still have a built in error. Linky


The ones that use your laptop for routing are prone to clock errors, and Daylight savings timing errors. Mine showed I was traveling the right direction one time zone from where I was.

Most sub two hundred dollar hand held units work very well.

The dashboard units you are paying, for trip routing software and business lookup do you really want to know where the nearest (name your lookup) place is?

Performance wise the newest TomTom and Nuvi out perform the units that plug in to a portable comp.

Now how many bells and whistles do you want to buy?

When in areas you are not familiar with please carry a paper map and fresh batteries, they do go dead. When the Military feels there is a threat to US interests the Non-Military users are shut off, you now are carrying an expensive paper weight until they turn it back on.

Have fun.
Member # 2515
 - posted April 05, 2009 11:29
Originally posted by TheMoMan:
All Non Military units sold in the US still have a built in error

From the linky

Garmin say (emphasis mine)...
Selective Availability (SA) is an intentional degradation of the signal once imposed by the U.S. Department of Defense. SA was intended to prevent military adversaries from using the highly accurate GPS signals. The government turned off SA in May 2000, which significantly improved the accuracy of civilian GPS receivers.

The rest of what you said was great advice though! For geocaching, just get a cheap eTrex/whatever, you don't need all the bells and whistles that TomTom/Nuvi come with for routing a car around. Handheld efforts are also more accurate - part of the way vehicle GPS work is by predicting where you'll be based on the speed of movement, and this can get them confused at low speeds.
Member # 170
 - posted April 05, 2009 20:30
I used to go geocaching. It's fairly fun. Kind of like hide and seek with a completely silent person who can wait forever... plus the occasional bear or skunk thrown in to keep things interesting.

As far as GPS units, I'm really only familiar with garmin outside of playing with a few that were in demo mode in a store. The first GPS I bought was an eTrex series and later I bought a nüvi 200 which I promptly got lost/stolen and was replaced with a nüvi 205.

Most of the Garmin nüvi series have a setting that allows you to choose their mode... driving, bicycle or pedestrian, so speed and accuracy isn't really an issue. The nüvi series does not have replaceable batteries and isn't really designed with hand-carrying in mind, however, so they aren't ideal for geocaching. Additionally, most of the models are not waterproof (the marine ones are). It's not a GPS you'd want to depend on for an hours long hide or if there's a chance of rain.

The eTrex series is a good choice for a hand held GPS and the topo maps are a quite nice, albiet expensive, add-on. They're waterproof, have replaceable batteries (and opening the battery compartment does not break the waterproof seal for the electronics). They're not very good for navigating in a moving car, however, because they're designed means that they need to be held with the LCD screen facing the sky, not the people in the car, in order to get good (and in some cases any) signal reception.
Member # 1659
 - posted April 06, 2009 07:03
__________________ Stibbons __ If you want to believe that the US DOD turned off SA I have a bridge for sale.

I have the high end Garmin for 2002 with the marine and road and recreation CD's for all of the US. It will get you close but not as close as the ones the USDA and the US Forest Service use, for corp estimates and Forest fire damage reports.

I have been using GPS for fishing since 1995, I still remember the day that the system got shut down during a fishing contest, and every body thought that their unit had gone bad. A good compass and knowing the Bay got us back home.

As a ham we use old GPS units for the clock in them to control our microwave transceivers when making 25Ghz contacts.
Member # 2340
 - posted April 07, 2009 10:09
We geocache quite a bit. I bought it for my boyfriend for Christmas about three years ago. He does a lot down in Florida and we do them as a family everytime we are together. I'm going to get one soon for DM and I to have here.

It is great fun and people who put caches out get creative. We've done simple hikes. He's done one in Sanibel that you kayak. DM loves the treasure aspect. [Smile] My folks did one at a festival in Texas. The organizers walked you through various spots of the festival.

We use an etrex too. It is pretty good although some of the ravines up where we live can bounce the signal too much. We are thinking of upgrading to a newer model etrex with better tracking ability. One thing we like about the etrex is that it is very durable and has taken some real abuse.

Go for it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Member # 764
 - posted April 08, 2009 15:50
Add me to this list of cachers! We use 2 Garmin eTrex Legends and a Delorme PN-20. Since most cachers use Garmin they tend to be easier to use because they all seem to be equally off. i.e. The cache was placed with a Garmin so your Garmin has a better chance of finding it. The two Garmin's can disagree by 5ft or so but the Delorme and a Garmins seem to disagree by 15-20ft at times.

It doesn't really matter because you develop cache-senses, once you arrive on the scene you immediately spot the place where you'd put a cache, of course then it's a matter of seeing through the camouflage.

Caching is fun at home but even more fun when traveling, locals tend to put caches in interesting places that only locals know about. I have caches less than a mile from my home that I've never found but there are some islands in the Pacific where I've found every cache that didn't require SCUBA gear.
Member # 1659
 - posted April 08, 2009 16:37
_________________ TheMoMan __ With the recent events near Somolia. Why don't the shippers put an Omni beacon on their ship, and request that the Non-Military Channel of GPS be turned off, During an attack. Then the Pirates would not have a way of getting home, and the rescue aircraft would have a beacon to the ship.

Yes it would bother some people but it could turn the tables on the pirates.

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