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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Gloucester, NSW
    Posts
    2,936

    Geocaching with a Garmin Oregon (for the first time)

    The confessions of a Geocaching virgin

    I thought to myself, "It's hard to be virginal again, but this 'paperless geocaching' is brand new to me ... so maybe I get a second bite at the cherry?"

    "In any case, why not just grab hold of this Geocache bug with two hands and have a go."



    But ... "How do you quickly load a bundle of relevant 'little treasure chests' onto my Garmin Oregon 300 .... and head off in anticipation of great finds?", I thought to myself, aloud this time.



    So I started a bit of homework, which of course prompts a few questions.

    Note: The cache picture is not 'Hounddog's Bone'.

    ---------

    The key cache data sources are geocaching.com (GC) and geocaching.com.au (GCA).

    It seems that an essential cache management tool is GSAK (free ... but with a nag screen after 21 days; removable for the once off payment of US$25).

    So far so good.


    Now the US site offers additional handy services such as instant new cache notifications, Pocket Queries and bulk cache downloads for premium members for US$30/annum or US$10/3months. The free service is limited to single .loc downloads; messy ... but nicely managed via GSAK.

    On the other hand the Aussie site is 100% free. It displays both GCA and GC caches via a friendly map view (e.g. NSW), and offers bulk download for GCA caches in GPX format. To access GC caches it's back to the GC site and single cache by cache .loc download. GCA caches are unfortunately in the minority.

    Q1. Am I on track to date?

    Q2. Is it worth signing up for a GC premium membership to access bulk downloads etc?

    Q3. Is there an alternative way to select and bulk download your 'selection' of GC and GCA caches?

    Q4. What is the best way to load up additional info and hints to the basic .loc downloads to keep things paperless? Is this necessary/ useful? I am still coming to terms with what data is available in GSAK and what is displayed on the GPS.

    Note: I used the GSAK 'GPX/LOC' button to create a tidy 'GPX cache compilation', for 'map management' and GPS loading etc.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    John k - Garmin Oregon 300, GPSmap76 & GPS16 plus various WinCe PNDs with OziCe & IGO8

  2. Hi John,

    Give me a coordinate somewhere nearby where you live, or if you want to pm me your coordinates where you live, I will create a query for you of the nearest caches to the coordinates you send to me and send to you, All you have to do than is put the file into you Oregon. That way you can try it out before investing in geocaching.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Western Australia
    Posts
    3,295
    Quote Originally Posted by Wahroonga Farm
    Q1. Am I on track to date?
    No super expert on the subject but sounds like you have the situation sussed out.
    Quote Originally Posted by Wahroonga Farm
    Q2. Is it worth signing up for a GC premium membership to access bulk downloads etc?
    Impossible for someone else to tell you if you will get your moneys worth or not out of premium membership. Obviously a lot of super keen geocachers (and people like me who only go geocaching every now and then and who are lazy) think its worth it. Maybe take phillipsart's offer up. I did the same for a budding geocacher in Perth recently.

    The basic *.loc files contain only the cache name and coordinates. In the "old days" this was standard and you then had to printout all the cache info for the sites you planned on visiting (i.e. description, hints and logs) to ensure you could find some of the more tricky ones. Maybe not necessary for all though.

    With full GPX files and suitable GPS (eg. Aventura/Sportiva/Oregon/Dakota/Explorist) no need to print anything and itís just a case of generating a pocket query - all info ready to go (I then use GSAK to filter out ones I donít want and reduce list and send to GPS). Bit of a bummer you have to pay to get full gpx data from geocaching.com - which is why GA was created ...but it hasnít quiet caught up to geocaching.com yet as far as the number and variety of caches are concerned.

    Quote Originally Posted by Wahroonga Farm
    Q3. Is there an alternative way to select and bulk download your 'selection' of GC and GCA caches?
    Sounds like you have already figured out what you can and canít do and how to do it. I know of no alternative solutions/methods.

    Quote Originally Posted by Wahroonga Farm
    Q4. What is the best way to load up additional info and hints to the basic .loc downloads to keep things paperless? Is this necessary/ useful? I am still coming to terms with what data is available in GSAK and what is displayed on the GPS.
    GSAK lets you add and edit cache data. It would however be a bit painful if you had to do a lot (ie add hints etc to *.loc file and then save as gpx)...so this is where will you have to decide if paying $30 can be justified..printing out cache info for a few sites every weekend isnt that much of a pain..itís what I use to do. Though not much point in having an Oregon or whatever and not using it to its full capacity. Either way all god fun.

    Cheers
    Greg

    PS what GPS do you have cant recall.?
    To find yourself, think for yourself © Socrates 469 BC

  4. #4
    I have GSAK but don't use it with the Oregon. If you get hooked.... premium membership is the only way to go. I have attached a zip of the nearest 500 caches within 500miles of Gloucester NSW that you just extract to the /garmin/gpx folder of the Oregon There should be 2 files the main caches + children.
    Attached Files Attached Files
    "The female A S S is a mysterious creature." Sir David Attenborough

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Gloucester, NSW
    Posts
    2,936
    Thanks guys for the help ... and Smouch for the gpx.

    Seems I'm on the right track.

    Better get myself off and find one.

    PS How does the small waypoint file work?

    And I get this message with Smouch's gpx in GSAK.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    John k - Garmin Oregon 300, GPSmap76 & GPS16 plus various WinCe PNDs with OziCe & IGO8

  6. #6
    Ah ok well there you go....as I dont use GSAK anymore has never cropped up. Files will work fine in the Oregon.... but I could make a new 1.0.1 version of the GPX for you.
    All the cache details are in the main/larger file and all the associated parking spots etc that people have associated to those caches are all in the smaller file....just copy them both as the Oregon will easily handle all of these caches+children
    "The female A S S is a mysterious creature." Sir David Attenborough

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Gloucester, NSW
    Posts
    2,936
    Hi Smouch,

    Thanks. Sorry for the dumb newbie questions.

    If you don't use GSAK, do you simply use GC to provide 'pruned lists' or some other app?
    John k - Garmin Oregon 300, GPSmap76 & GPS16 plus various WinCe PNDs with OziCe & IGO8

  8. #8
    Version 1.0.1 GPX attached

    Yes 95% of the time just GC.com... since the pocket queries generated are limited to max 500 caches within 500miles per query I usually just run a query for a place I am heading off to say Coffs Harbour or Darwin etc. If I was off to say Sydney with more than 500 Caches within 500miles I could fire up GSAK and make a single GPX with more than 500 caches or.... what I normally do is create a series of pocket queries for say northern beaches + Nowra + Blue Mountains etc etc with appropriate radius. The Oregon filters out and only places the 1 cache If it finds it within multiple GPX files. I only do it this way because I don't have to muck around. I have a large selection of pre arranged pocket queries in GC.com...I tick the appropriate one for email or have it sent automatically every few days. copy that file to the Oregon and away I go.
    Attached Files Attached Files
    "The female A S S is a mysterious creature." Sir David Attenborough

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Arana Hills,QLD
    Posts
    624
    My 2c.
    Hi. GSAK is the way to keep many caches organised, or you can Send 'em one by one from the website. GC.com wants hits on their site.

    It would depend how far you want to run with 'it', but IMO the Pocket Querie feature at GC.com is worth the dollars for a Premium membership. I get PQ/.gpx files emailed (500 GC caches depending on setup), drag them to GSAK where all the info. is viewable (current at the time the PQ was created). Then send to 62S where the info. is also viewable.

    At GCA there are fewer GCA geocaches on offer, but sometimes less is more!

    Mmm... the 62S has been misbehaving, intermittently, but that's a different story.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Gloucester, NSW
    Posts
    2,936
    Quote Originally Posted by mihermano
    At GCA there are fewer GCA geocaches on offer, but sometimes less is more!
    Thanks again guys.

    Slowly coming to grips with a 'system'.
    John k - Garmin Oregon 300, GPSmap76 & GPS16 plus various WinCe PNDs with OziCe & IGO8

  11. #11
    Another handy application for use caching is 'Spoiler Sync'. On the Oregon 550 you can use it to retrieve & transfer for display, geo-referenced photos associated to the caches using the GPX file.
    http://www.anode.plus.com/spoilersync/
    The use of spoilerSync with the Oregon 300 is slightly different to the 550 I think.
    Which cache is going to pop your cherry? The Human sundial?
    "The female A S S is a mysterious creature." Sir David Attenborough

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Gloucester, NSW
    Posts
    2,936
    Pop my Cherry! Good grief!

    And now I've 'spoilers' to worry 'bout.

    I didn't think it was that much fun.
    John k - Garmin Oregon 300, GPSmap76 & GPS16 plus various WinCe PNDs with OziCe & IGO8

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Gloucester, NSW
    Posts
    2,936
    Didn't realise that paperless geocaching worked so well with 'premium' GC location data. Thanks again Smouch.

    All of the info, including all notes from previous finders are displayed on the Oregon.



    Amazing!

    But there's no sight of the all important and sometimes cryptic 'hint'; when the Oregon is loaded from GSAK.

    GSAK cryptically gives this clue in the FAQ's:

    11. I would like to see the cache hint in my GPS. How do I do this?

    Firstly, your GPSr must support a waypoint description (sometimes referred to as notes or comments) in addition to the waypoint name.

    Secondly in the "Cache Description format" enter the special tag of %hint.

    An example of a GPSr that supports notes is the Garmin 60c/s (Note: currently the 60c/s only supports a maximum of 30 characters in the notes)
    Maybe I'm not going to be any good at this caching thing ... 'cause I sure can't work that bit of gobbledygook out?

    Anyway, moving on; the other essential tool on your Garmin whilst in Garmin Geocaching mode; is an up to date auto-routing map; to make driving to the cache location easy, with 'turn by beep' routing .

    Of course once you are 'off road', you can switch to alternative mapping.
    John k - Garmin Oregon 300, GPSmap76 & GPS16 plus various WinCe PNDs with OziCe & IGO8

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Gloucester, NSW
    Posts
    2,936
    Quote Originally Posted by Smouch
    Another handy application for use caching is 'Spoiler Sync'. ...
    Hi again with another dumb one.

    I haven't played with spoiler sync, but 'where' are 'spoiler pictures' found, or filed/stored and by whom, when and where?

    Thought I could simply 'google image' the spoiler 'geocache code' or similar ... and they would flood in?
    John k - Garmin Oregon 300, GPSmap76 & GPS16 plus various WinCe PNDs with OziCe & IGO8

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Arana Hills,QLD
    Posts
    624
    Hi. Sounds like current, but slightly dated info RE: using %hint-type tags in GSAK. They work well for my 60CSx.

    You could try the latest GPSr software version 2.50 for your GPSr (including the Oregon I imagine). The 2.50 version includes some revisions for more Geocaching support. At least it works on the 62S.

    "Spoiler" is more of a general description, of photos, comments, etc. that give away too much about the cache; something to share with forethought.

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