February 28, 2010

Getting Your Garmin To Go Off-Road

Have you ever run into a situation where you've been hiking or biking along a trail, but your Garmin GPS device shows your location as being on the nearest road instead? The Garmin GPSmap 60CSx (and presumably other Garmin models) are set, by default, to "Lock On Road" on the Map Page. So even if you are traveling off-road, your Garmin will try to set your position on the nearest road in the street network loaded into your device.

You can easily fix this problem by setting "Lock On Road" to "Off". This is done by going to the Map Page, hitting the Menu button, and selecting "Setup Map". This takes you to the map setup page where you can change the setting from "On" to "Off":

Now you should be good to go.

Cache On!

February 20, 2010

Going Down & Gearing Up

On Tuesday, February 23rd starting at 8 PM Pacific Time (GMT -8), the geocaching.com web site will be down in order to perform upgrades to the Geocaching.com database server in preparation for the increase in Geocaching over the spring and summer months.

The expected downtime for this work is 4 hours and during that time, all Geocaching.com services including the web site, Pocket Queries, the Geocaching iPhone application, Geocache Navigator, and other 3rd party applications that access our API, will be inaccessible.

Groundspeak will have a webpage set up on the Geocaching site with this downtime notice and they'll provide status updates if the downtime exceeds the 4 hour maintenance window.

So make sure you run all your pocket queries and get any other information you need prior to this maintenance period.

Cache On!

February 13, 2010

Mark Travel Bugs Missing

If you received, and read, your Groundspeak Weekly Newsletter this week, then you learned that you can now mark trackable items as missing - a feature, in my opinion, that is long overdue. Geocaching.com now gives both trackable item owners and cache owners the ability to remove trackable items from the cache listing right from the trackable item's details page:

Instructions on how to do this can be found in the Groundspeak Knowledge Book. Once you select "Go", it will show the Travel Bug or Geocoin as being recently spotted in an "Unknown Location":

Later, if the Travel Bug is found elsewhere, it can be grabbed by the geocacher and placed in the correct location.

This is a nice feature, and I'm glad to see it is available.

Cache On!

February 7, 2010

Finding Old Caches, Part II

In the last post, I talked about my latest searches for some of the oldest caches in my home county, and in the San Francisco Bay Area. In this post, I'll explain how to generate a pocket query that will give you a list of the oldest caches in your home region.

In geocaching.com, go to the Build Pocket Queries page (you have to have a geocaching.com account), and then select "Create a new query". You can name it whatever you like (I chose "old"). You can leave most of the selection options blank, but here is a list of the key options to modify:

1, Show me 500 caches of (500 is the maximum you can choose for any one pocket query)
2. From Origin My Home Coordinates
3. Within a Radius of 500 mi (500 miles is the maximum)
4. Placed between January 1, 2000 and December 31, 2000:

That last selection is the key. Since geocaching didn't officially begin until the year 2000, there weren't a whole lot of caches being placed that year, simply because there weren't a whole lot of geocachers back then. So you are not likely to generate an extensive list of caches placed during that year within 500 miles of your home base. In fact, there may not be any that meet that criteria, in which case you'll want to extend the Dec. 31, 2000 date to a date further in time until you return some actual results. For me, there are only 19 caches that meet that criteria:

Your PQ list will be sorted by distance from your home coordinates, so you'll have to look at each date to figure out which one was actually the first ever placed in your region. Once you know which caches are the oldest in your area, you'll definitely want to add these to your "to do" list just to see what some of the original cache hides were like.

Cache On!