With the holidays coming up, many of us will be doing a fair amount of traveling. If you're headed out of state, this may be a good opportunity to pick up some caches in states where you haven't found any geocaches yet. Or, if you're like me, and will be doing a lot of intrastate traveling, then you no doubt will be making sure you map out a route that takes you through counties, USGS Quadrangles, and DeLorme Gazetteer pages containing un-found caches. Of course, I'm referring to some of the Challenge Caches described in a previous post here.
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!