October 11, 2008

Geocaching and Mapping (not in that order)

My humble apologies for this late post. I try never to let more than one week go by between posts, but I recently changed internet service providers and have been dealing with all sorts of issues related to the switch; including lost internet access through my gateway, network file and printer sharing problems, and a host of issues created by the anti-virus/firewall software that comes "free" with my new ISP.

Anyhow, enough about that. Let's get on with the good stuff:

  • 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.
Enjoy, and happy caching!

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