December 27, 2008
for my GPS receiver; and Santa delivered. But Santa was also kind enough to get me some other geocaching-related items that I didn't even tell him I wanted.
For instance, I also scored a fabulous LED headlamp. I've never been a big fan of night-caching, but I tried it last night with my new headlamp, and man did that thing light up the trail. This should also come in handy for those early morning bike rides this time of year.
Santa even found time to have his elves manufacture a GPS screen protector kit for me. Man, I must have been a good boy this year.
And on top of that, all my friends and relatives seemed to get me REI gift cards this year. I guess the word is out - I'm a geocachaholic.
So, were you all good boys and girls this year too? What cool geocaching gear did you find under your tree? Please share your favorites in the comment section below.
Thanks, and happy caching!
December 20, 2008
Not only that, but the moniker is just nonsense to anyone outside of my family. See, I started geocaching about the same time we got our dog, and my children could not agree on what to name her. One wanted Pippi, and the other wanted Licoricise, thus, Pipperice was born. So be warned, this is what happens when you let your kids come up with names for pets and geocaching id's. By the way, you can see Pipperice in one of the photos in the upper right corner of this blog.
So I recently began my quest for a new user name. I started by searching the Groundspeak forums and found this post on the subject. The first thing you have to do is make sure the user name you want is not, nor has ever been, registered. You can do that with this lookup tool. Of course, my first choice for a new user name was "GeoJoe", but that name was taken long ago, as was every possible related version of it:
GeoJoeMama??? So, it looks like this is going to be trickier than I thought. Time to expand my search radius. I've always been partial to the name Moe, or anything with "Mojo" in it. But alas, every possible iteration and combination of these names are already taken as well, including MoeJoe, MoJo, Geomojo, Mojojo, and even GeoHobo. It appears, however, that "geohobojoe" might be available, but then again, that defeats the whole purpose of coming up with a shorter user name. Oh well, maybe I'll just hang on to Teampipperice for a while longer.
I hope you all are happy with your geocaching user names and won't ever have to worry about changing them.
December 12, 2008
Cache (and geolocate) On!
December 6, 2008
The only item I would add to their list would be Garmin's 1:24,000 TOPO Maps. They cover various regions of the U.S. and I understand have routing capabilities as well. The files come loaded on mini SD cards, so they can only be used on compatible Garmin devices, such as the GPSmap 60csx. While this item retails for $99.99, I've seen it selling in the $70 range on other online reseller sites.
And if that's not enough, Groundspeak offers a slew of gift ideas for the discerning cacher. See their shopping site for all sorts of geocaching accessories, containers, clothing, and stickers. For the geocacher who has everything, how about a Signal The Frog Antenna Ball?
Here is a list of other sites that carry numerous items for the geocacher in your life:
And finally, don't forget, on Christmas eve, you can track Santa's flight on the Norad Tracks Santa web site. If you go there now, you'll see a count down till take off, plus video from last year's flight. You can also add the countdown widget to your iGoogle page and a Santa tracker for your mobile phone.
Happy Holidays and Happy Caching!
November 30, 2008
How to Load Maps on Garmin GPS Units
Nice, brief tutorial (with pictures) from GPS File Depot.
Batch and Reverse Geocoding
For those of you always looking for free and simple geocoding tools, here's a nice choice as described by our friends at the Free Geography Tools blog.
Downloading USGS Topo Maps in GeoPDF Format
Another great post from the Free Geography Tools blog. This is especially handy for nabbing quad challenge caches. Note: there is a new USGS link which is different than what was listed in the above post.
Norad Tracks Santa
The Santa tracking web site opens Dec. 1. Read all about it, and some interesting history, in this Google Earth Blog.
Driver Follows GPS Into Lake
Don't try this at home.
Finally, I'll leave you with a Bay Area Backroads TV segment from many years ago featuring some local geocaching icons. A bit dated, as TeamAlamo has recently eclipsed the 30,000 mark; well beyond the 4,800 finds he had way back when. Nonetheless, still fun to watch:
November 22, 2008
If you'll be driving through different counties over the holidays, you might want to utilize the services of the web site called, "It's Not About The Numbers". All you have to do is download a pocket query of your finds from geocaching.com (click on the "Add to queue" button at the bottom of the page):
Then, after you receive your pocket query file, upload it on itsnotaboutthenumbers.com. Now go to the Other Stats/Maps/US Individual State Maps with Completed Counties and check out the map showing the counties you have finds in already, and those that are still waiting for you to conquer:
Now I can see which counties we need to drive through to get to grandma's house!
There are some other tools I like to use to help me figure out which USGS Quadrangles and DeLorme pages where I'm still lacking cache finds. These applications require the use of the geocaching and waypoint management program, GSAK. Some very kind and talented people have written GSAK macros that will calculate this information for you. All the GSAK macros are available on the macro forum, free for your downloading pleasure. One of my favorites is the Challenge Cache Analyzer macro, written by hynr.
This powerful little macro can analyze your cache find data and determine which quadrangles and DeLorme pages you have, and have not, found caches. And, it can do this for just about any U.S. State that has challenge caches of these types. Not only does it report the results, but it can display the results in Google Earth:
Whoa, that's a lot of un-found DeLorme pages. Wish I had relatives in Humboldt County.
At least this Quad challenge looks a little more managable.
There are many other great macros available for GSAK users. If you don't already own a copy of GSAK, you can download a trial version and use it for 21 days. After that, if you like it, you can pay the $25 fee and it's yours. A good investment, IMHO.
Cache On and Happy Holidays!
November 15, 2008
There are literally hundreds of social networking websites, and more coming online all the time. One of my favorites right now is Twitter, all thanks to this recent blog post by Northwoods GeoCats. Rather than repeat the same information here, I encourage you to take a minute to read that blog post, which provides an excellent introduction to the service.
The beauty of Twitter is its simplicity. You create a list of people to "follow", and others add you to their "following" list. There are a number of geocachers currently using twitter, and by adding them to your following list, you get to see what they're up to every time they post an update, or "tweet". These short text blasts are as varied as the cachers who post them:
- found bkip's 101st hide, that's a lotta hides.
- Downloading the rest of the valley on my PN40, 5.4gb. My 8gb card is groaning.
- taking a 12 mile hike today!
- final tally for the day: 3 finds, 1 DNF
- archiving a cache because the building it was on has disappeared
But beware; Twitter can be very addictive. Remember how exciting it was to get messages on your telephone answering machine (25 years ago), or to hear your computer say, "You've Got Mail" (15 years ago). Well, Twitter's kinda like that, but on steroids. If you use the TwitterFox add-on for Firefox (for which there are many), you'll find yourself constantly glancing at the bottom-right corner of your screen for new tweets:
The best way to get started on Twitter, once you've set up an account, is to just start following people. Then you can check their profiles to see who they're following, and find more people to follow. For example, if you open my profile, you'll see a list of the people I'm following on the bottom-right part of the screen:
Click on any of these icons to see if you share similar interests, and if so, add them to your following list. Before you know it, your list will grow and you'll be getting more tweets than you can handle.
Note that the Twitter "Find People" tool doesn't appear to be working at the moment. But there are other options, such as the Twitter Grader search engine. Type in a name or a term, like "geocacher" and see who pops up. Twitter Grader is also a good site to check out the profiles of the "Twitter Elite".
Another great site for newbie tweeterers is, TwiTip. In particular, this post is perfect for beginners. It's worth noting that I learned about this site in a recent "tweet" from EMC of Northridge.
Of course, not just geocachers are using Twitter. Even people like Al Gore, John Cleese, and Leo LaPorte tweet. And you can follow them too (even though they may not follow you back). And there are tons of Twitter Tools out there for the taking, including applications for your desktop, your browser, and your mobile phone and iPhone (Twitterrific is a nice one).
So go ahead and jump in. I hope to see you on Twitter soon.
Cache and Tweet On!
November 8, 2008
These GPS exchange files, or GPX files for short, are designed specifically for describing and transferring GPS data between software applications. They can be used to describe waypoint, tracks, and routes. Its tags store location, elevation, and time and can in this way be used to interchange data between GPS devices and software packages. Such computer programs allow you, for example, to view your track, project your track on satellite images (e.g. Google Earth), annotate maps, and tag photographs with the geolocation. The minimum properties for a GPX file are latitude and longitude for a single waypoint. All other variables are optional.
Go ahead and download a waypoint from a cache web site on Geocaching.com by clicking on the "GPS eXchange File" button:
Now open up the file in a text editor, such as Notepad. You should see various tags describing all the different aspects of the cache, including cache name, owner, date placed, type, terrain, and most importantly, latitude and longitude. Basically, the file contains all the information you would find on the cache page itself, but in a format that allows you to transfer that information to your GPS or to other software and web applications that can consume that information.
In these previous posts, we discussed some of the many things you can do with your GPX files, beyond just copying them to and from your GPS device. For example, you can open them in Google Earth for viewing waypoint locations, you can upload them to web sites such as GPS Visualizer and AnalyzeMyTrack to view your data in different ways. The possibilities are endless.
For more detailed information, see the this discussion on the Topografix web site.
November 1, 2008
- Historical Elections Results. See how each presidential candidate fared, state by state, in every election since 1980.
- Predict the Results. Use this map to see how the electoral votes of each state can make or break the election. Follow along with this map on election night.
- Electoral Vote. This map currently shows predicted results based on polling data, and is updated daily. Presumably, this map will reflect the actual electoral voting on election day. It's also monitoring house and senate races as well.
- 2008 Interactive Electoral Vote Map. Another good map to follow the election results on November 4th.
Cache Early and Cache Often!
October 26, 2008
Chances are, if you've been geocaching for a while, you've probably already met some of the requirements for a number of the various challenge caches that are out there. For example, most states have a "Counties Challenge" cache, requiring cachers to find one cache in every county in the state before the cache owner provides them with the coordinates to the final cache. In California, this cache is known as, "Discovering and Logging California's 58 Counties".
Similarly, many states or regions also have Quad Challenge Caches and DeLorme Challenge Caches. The former requires you to find at least one cache in each USGS Quadrangle Map section in a given area (see, for example, the Bay Area Quadrangle Challenge), while the latter requires you to find one cache within the boundaries of each page of a state's DeLorme Atlas & Gazetteer (see, the Colorado DeLorme Challenge cache).
Here's a screen shot showing the 70-Quad grid from the Bay Area Quadrangle Challenge listed above:
To log this cache, the successful cacher must first find one cache in each of the map grids shown above, before the cache owner will provide him/her with the coordinates to the final cache. Other interesting challenge caches include:
October 19, 2008
Here's a brief run-down of some of the iPhone Geocaching Apps. currently available:
- Groundspeak's Geocaching iPhone Application. Cost: $9.99. Just released this week. Boasts direct access to Geocaching.com's database of worldwide geocaches; searches by current location, address or look-up code; allows you to save geocache listings for quick retrieval; navigates to geocaches with a simulated compass arrow; and provides trackable item details. Some of the early reviews are mixed, with the majority of complaints being that the application does not allow you to log in to your account, filter your found caches, or let you log your finds and trackables. Supposedly, however, some of these features will be available in future versions of the application.
- iGeoCacher. Cost: $14.99. Stores cache information "off-line" in an SQL database on your device, allowing for true paperless caching. Also provides seamless integration with the on-board GPS. This received many positive reviews from users, although there were some complaints about apparent set up difficulties.
- Geofinder. Cost: $0.99. Allows you to list the geocaches closest to your current location. Reviews were not very positive. Many felt you are better off just using the Safari browser on your iPhone to access the geocaching.com web site directly, or spending an extra $1.00 for Geopher Lite.
- Geocaching Toolkit iGCT. Cost: Free. Helps you solve multi-caches and puzzle caches out in the field by providing numerous waypoint calculation, text calculation, and hint decryption tools. Received very high review ratings.
- Seek Cache. Cost: $0.99. Similar to Geofinder above. Sends your location (based on your iPhone's GPS/Wi-Fi derived location) to geocaching.com and returns a list of nearby caches. Reviews were mixed.
Enjoy, and happy iCaching!
October 11, 2008
Anyhow, enough about that. Let's get on with the good stuff:
- From the Free Geography Tools blog, check out this Update on the Garmin 1:24,000 US TOPO Maps.
- If you own a Garmin GPS device, then you are no doubt familiar with the Garmin Communicator Plugin that allows you to transfer any cache waypoint directly from the Geocaching.com web site to your GPS unit. But did you know you can also transfer the location of the results of a Google Maps search to your device as well? In this example, I used Google Maps to locate REI stores in the East Bay area. After clicking on the marker of the one I wanted (in Berkeley), and then clicking the send option, I get the following pop-up screen prompting me to send the coordinates to my GPS (or email, phone, or even car): Pretty nifty. Read more about it on the Garmin site here.
- Services like Picasa and Panoramio allow you to post digital images on a web-map to indicate the location where your picture was taken. Now there's a service called Woices that let's you record and post locationally-accurate audio data. So the next time you're out caching and you want to share your thoughts out loud about a particular geocache right from the cache site, you can do it here.
- And finally, after a rough day of Geocaching (or reconfiguring your home network), you may want to treat yourself to one of your favorite India Pale Ales, or a nice glass of Sangiovese. Of course, that means trying to find the perfect place to imbibe. Well, now you can let any one of these Google Maps mash-ups take all the guess work out of that task for you.
September 28, 2008
The basic idea behind these Flash Mob caching events are that they all start at the exact same time all around the globe, and that they only last for 15 minutes. Here's a recap of a WWFM III event I attended last May. For more information, see this fourm post.
To find the nearest WWFM IV event scheduled near you, keep an eye on this bookmark list. If you don't happen to live in the Pacific Time Zone, check here to find out the exact time the event will begin in your area.
Enjoy, and Cache On!
September 21, 2008
Watch these two self-described "smooth and efficient electronics podcasting ninjas" show you how to build your own portable GPS device, and then use it to go geocaching:
September 9, 2008
And the event (which went off without a hitch thanks to the tremendous work of the hosts; Scoobert, Bahb, and Cold Springer) was a complete and total blast. If you enjoy caching by bike half as much as I do, then you would have loved this event. Here are some pictures taken along the way. More photos, and other peoples' recaps, can be found in the cache logs.
We all met at the bottom of the hill in the morning, where the event hosts were well prepared to load and carry our bikes 20 miles, and 4,000 feet, up the hill to the start of the ride:
The event log book, plus a travel bug, all in one:
At the top of the "hill", getting ready to roll:
Typical view of the Sierra foothills on the way down to the bottom:
Needless to say, a great time was had by all. I'll certainly be keeping an eye out for similar, upcoming future events.
September 7, 2008
Here's a nice little video that shows you exactly how it's done:
August 31, 2008
Well, now I've just discovered WikiLoc, another free GPS web application, but this one lets you upload and share GPS tracks. Or, as it states on the WikiLoc home page, "Show your favorite trails", "Discover new trails". That pretty much sums it up.
You can search for other peoples' GPS tracks by activity type, including hikes, bike rides, kayak rides and many others. There's even a "geocaching" category! Or, you can use the world map feature to zoom in to your local area and see all the track data that has been posted there.
It's really simple to use, and it gives you the option to view any trail in Google Earth. You can upload your track and waypoint data in just about any format, including, GPX, GDP, KML, and of course, LOC. It also lets you upload pictures to go with your track data. Here's a sample of what you see when you select the "view details" option for any given trail:
And I'm not the only one who's impressed. Apparently, Google is as well, as they just added a WikiLoc layer in Google Earth (under the Gallery folder)! Now you can see all the track data that's been uploaded to WikiLoc right in Google Earth.
Give it a try. I think you'll like it.
August 24, 2008
- reverse geocoding: track points labeled with names of nearby features;
- maps: view your track on Google Maps;
- stats: distance, elevation, speed and time;
- graphs: interactive elevation/speed/distance;
This is the first page you see after the web application calculates various statistics from your track data.
The tool also provides you with different interactive graphs as well as some Google Maps showing certain aspects of your tracks.
Here's part of the Google Maps map it created showing my route, color-coded by elevation (using a green to red color gradient):
And here's the elevation profile it provided:
The tool also gives you a speed vs. distance graph as well. Give it a try when you get a chance.
August 15, 2008
Includes detailed information on "Learning the Basics", "Contributing to Our Community", "Tools and Downloads", and "Third Party Resources".
A great geocaching support center with a searchable knowledgebase, troubleshooter, and download tool.
A fantastic way to get information on a specific geocaching issue or topic from those that have "been there, done that".
The content on all of these sites is continually updated, so if you haven't checked out these resources in a while, it's time for another perusing.
August 9, 2008
Leszek notes that Garmin is beginning to make the 1:24,000 scale US topo maps available on microSD cards, for those units that can utilize them. Unfortunately, the Garmin microSD cards sell for around $100 a pop. Luckily, Leszek goes on to describe other, cheaper options for getting the topo maps you need, with plenty of links to other GPS Topo data resources. There's also a link to a tutorial site that explains how you can make your own Garmin Topo maps.
Thanks for the great information, Leszek!
July 27, 2008
For Beginners Only
One of the best write-ups I've seen for people thinking about taking up this great hobby of ours, from our friends at Geocaching Online. And here's an abridged version from an earlier post of mine.
You Can Get There From Here
New on Geocaching.com, driving directions from your home location to the cache site. Just go to any cache page and click on the new “Driving Directions” link:
A Google Maps map window will open with turn by turn directions from your home coordinates to the cache site (or as close to the site as you can drive to). Pretty nifty.
Geocaching with an iPhone
If you are lucky enough to own one of the new iPhone 3G's , this article describes how to use it for geocaching. And the first geocaching application for the iPhone, Geopher Lite, is available to download for $3.99. If you're just interested in learning more about how the iPhone and the iPodTouch use WiFi signals to identify your location, here's a nice explanation. And here's how Steve Jobs explains it.
I think there's a cache near here...
BikeRouteToaster is a course creation application primarily aimed at Garmin Edge/Forerunner owners although other users without a GPS may also find it useful for planning rides. Courses are created using Google maps and then downloaded from the server.
July 19, 2008
First, zoom in to the approximate area where you plan to overlay your trail map. Then click on "Add", "Image Overlay", then select the trail map you want to layer on Google Earth. Finally, drag the edges around so the map lines up correctly with the background. It helps sometimes to reduce the transparency of the image to about 50% so the background shows through. Once the image is lined up, give it a name, then click "OK", and your done.
Let's take a quick run through an example. I know there are lots of caches hidden along the numerous canal trails in Contra Costa County, but when I look at the caches on Google Earth, I can't tell which caches are on the trails, and which are not.
But I just happen to have a copy of the Contra Costa Canal Regional Trail map in .jpg format that I downloaded from the regional trails web site. So I add the file to Google Earth as an image overlay (Google accepts most image types) and line up the edges so it fits where it belongs.
I just name it and save it, and I'm all set. Now I've got a handy little trail map built right into Google Earth:
Now I can add my caches to Google Earth, and easily tell which ones I'll be hunting as I head out along the canal trails:
July 13, 2008
If there's a bright side to all this, it's that it sure makes you appreciate every geocaching opportunity all the more. Like today, for example. I had about a two-hour window and made the most of it by picking up some caches in Kennedy Grove Regional Recreation Area in El Sobrante, California. It's a large, beautiful park, which had long been neglected by cachers until recently, when a couple of local legends hid a series of caches, all named after members of the Kennedy clan (including Jack, Robert, Rose, Caroline, Jacqueline, Ted, etc.). The single track trails throughout the park, while a little steep, were nice and shaded by mature oak, eucalyptus and bay trees. And the views from the ridge lines of the nearby reservoir were fabulous (I just wish I had my real camera instead of my cell phone camera):
I was able to nab four caches during my all-too-brief visit to the park today, but more importantly, it just felt great to get out there again! Now, time to go log my finds.
July 5, 2008
While the GPS 12 has many great features, some of the newer Garmin models have some additional perks that I've always secretly wished mine had. Primarily, a color display with the ability to add background maps. So, just out of curiosity, I started looking around at different Garmin models and price ranges. And while the Colorado 400t is my ideal dream machine, it's way out of my price range.
Instead, I've narrowed my search to the GPSMAP 60CSx, the eTrex Summit HC , and the eTrex Vista HCx.
All are high-sensitivity devices with basemaps, the ability to add maps, a compass, an altimeter, and automatic routing (except the Summit). And, the Vista and 60CSx can hold up to 1,000 waypoints, compared to the 500 maximum points my GPS 12 holds.
When these units were first introduced a few years ago, their retail prices were quite a bit higher than you can find them selling for now on some of these web sites:
GPS Garage Sale (Geocaching Forums)
And of course, the very slightly used models can be had for even less. So while I still haven't actually made a final decision, the more I look, the closer I get to hitting the buy (or bid) button. If any of you out there have any thoughts or suggestions on this topic, I'd love to hear them.
June 28, 2008
I think part of the problem is that up until several months ago, my work schedule was such that I had every other Friday off; and as it turned out, I did most of my geocaching on Fridays:
I no longer enjoy such a cache-friendly work schedule, and unfortunately, I still spend most of my Saturdays and Sundays tending to my never-ending honey-do list. So something's gotta give, because somewhere between work, home and geocaching, my priorities have gotten out of whack. On the bright side, I've still got 6 months to rectify this situation.
If you are interested in checking your own caching statistics, visit "It'sNotAboutTheNumbers" and see this earlier post about it. If you use GSAK, you can also generate your stats with this handy little macro (which I used to create pie chart above).
Now I've got to go have a little chat with my boss and my wife. Cache On!
June 21, 2008
I guess it was bound to happen. After nearly five years and just over 1,000 cache finds, a particularly steep trail descent got the best of us. A trail so steep, I had to walk my bike down it. Suddenly, I hit a soft patch of dirt, lost my footing, and the three of us; bike, GPSr, and I finished off the descent rolling head over heels until we hit bottom.
I stood up slowly, glad to only have a bruised back side and ego. I felt even more relieved as I picked up and inspected my bike and found no major damage. But then I saw a sight that made my heart sink. My trusty Garmin GPS 12 lay helpless and motionless on the ground. I barely recognized it, with it's inner workings exposed in the hot, noon-day sun:
Was this the end of my trusted friend and companion? Had it lead me to it's last cache? I picked it up gingerly, trying my best to minimize any possible further damage. And as I glanced at the screen, I couldn't believe my eyes. Even in it's dreadful state, it was still showing me the way to the next cache, still tracking our position, as if nothing was wrong or any different than any previous outing.
Now this little guy has been dropped, kicked, rained on, and endured it's fair share of tough situations, but never anything like this. Incredibly, I was able to hold the pieces together long enough to find 3 more caches that afternoon and then get it home, apply a little epoxy, and reattach the case. Since then, it's been working as good as the day I got it. Will it see me through my next 1,000 finds? Only time will tell...
June 10, 2008
Google recently announced the release of a Google Earth Browser Plug-in, which now brings the full power of Google Earth to the web. You can download the plug-in from the Google Earth API site. Soon, you will start to see more Map "Mash-ups" that incorporate the 3D terrain effect of Google Earth. In fact, here's a fun one called Monster Milktruck that someone already put together (note: you need to install the Google Earth plug-in for it to work).
I am by no means even remotely a programmer, but I was able to throw together a simple little Google Maps mash-up with a Google Earth interface showing a few local cache sites in my web browser:
If I can do that, I can't wait to see what real programmer-types start to come up with. Here's a few early creations to wet your whistle:
First Person Camera
June 3, 2008
The first thing you need to do is decide which caches you want to view in Google Maps, and then convert that list of caches into a KML file. We've talked about the versatility of the geocaching database program, GSAK before. Well, it also allows you to export your cache data into KML format. Then, just copy that file to your a web site, and then enter the http address of that site, with the .kml file name at the end, into the Google Maps search box, and presto, your caches appear on the map.
Let's take an example. Say you want to see all the caches, in map form, available in my favorite summer vacation spot, Lake Tahoe. First, import your previously defined Lake Tahoe pocket query from Geocaching.com into GSAK. Then, still using GSAK, export the Tahoe cache list to a Google Earth file that we'll call Tahoe.kml. Now, upload that file to an online server storage site, such as Google Page Creator, which provides free web storage space to Google account holders. Finally, just open Google Maps and in the search box, enter the http address of the kml file you just uploaded (in my case it's http://username.googlepages.com/Tahoe.kml:
That's it! Very cool. Also, if you keep the left pane open, you'll see a list of all your caches sorted by cache type. You can click on any link, and the map will scroll to that cache and provide a pop-up box with the cache information:
This is great stuff, and nice because you can view your stored caches on any computer/laptop with internet access and a web browser. Give it a try - it's well worth the minimal effort that it takes to set up.
May 31, 2008
What Hynr demonstrated for those of us who attended his session was how to create a GSAK filter based on a specific polygon, which you can create in Google Earth and then import into GSAK. This can come in very handy if you only want to load waypoints within an exact area into your GPSr for an upcoming geocaching trip.
For example, let's say you plan to meet a group of friends for a day of caching on Mt. Diablo, and you only need to load all the caches that exist within the State Park's boundaries into your GPSr. First, run a pocket query that captures, at minimum, all the caches in the park and beyond. You can do this by picking a cache in the Park as your waypoint origin. SF View (GCXZ31) would be a good choice:
When the pocket query arrives, load it into GSAK. Next, use the "Add Polygon" tool in Google Earth to draw a polygon around Mt. Diablo by using the park boundary lines as a guide:
Now, save your newly created polygon as a .KML file to your hard drive. You will use this to create your filter in GSAK. Open your GSAK database, then select "Search" and "Set Filter." Click on the "Arc/Poly" tab and select the "Polygon" Filter Type. Now click on the "Select File" button and choose the Mt. Diablo polygon .KML file you just saved from Google Earth. GSAK will now automatically populate the Arc/Polygon points screen with the park boundary segment latitude and longitude coordinates from your Google Earth polygon file:
Now just save the filter and then click the Go button, and you're done. You will now have a list of just the geocaches located within the boundaries of your defined polygon ready to load onto your GPS. What's real nice is that you can create similar filters for other areas that you visit often. And, once you've created these filters, as long you save them, you can re-use them over and over for future trips to the same area.
Give it a try. I think you'll find this to be a handy little time saver.
May 25, 2008
In addition, the live entertainment was excellent, the food was superb, the games and kid's activities were perfect, the educational sessions were spot on, and most of all, the people were wonderful. I am convinced that geocachers are the friendliest people around.
One final shout out to the nice and talented young lady who decorated this ammo can. This was my favorite of the bunch, so I just had to buy it.
Many thanks to the GeoWoodstock Committee Members for putting together such a marvelous event. It may be over for this year, but the memories will live on forever...