April 30, 2011

Cache (Site) Maintenance

In case you haven't heard, geocaching.com will be off-line for about 4 - 6 hours on Wednesday, May 4th, starting at 9:00 AM (PDT). So make sure you get all your pocket queries downloaded, and anything else you might need, before then.

Groundspeak promises the website will have an updated look, and site performance will be improved, after the maintenance has been completed. Hopefully this work will also resolve some of the issues we've all had to deal with recently.

If you find yourself a nervous wreck during the downtime, you can at least follow the progress of the upgrade on Groundspeak's Facebook and/or Twitter sites.

Cache On!

April 24, 2011

Is It Just Me?

I've been noticing some oddities with the geocaching.com mapping feature recently. I've been seeing a message in the upper right-hand corner letting me know that, "Personalization of the map is currently unavailable", which means I can't display the caches I've found or hidden. And often times the tool just hangs up with a message saying, "parsing geocaches", but it never completes the operation.

I'm not sure if this means that the beta maps tool is finally about to come out of beta and permanently replace the standard mapping tool, or if it's just an anomaly that needs fixin'. I guess we'll find out soon enough.

In other news, I hope you all had a nice Earth Day weekend, and had an opportunity to either participate in a geocaching earth day event, or at minimum, practiced a little CITO.

Cache On!

April 17, 2011

FindStatGen Beta

For those of you with GSAK who love the FindStatGen macro, there's a beta version release available. You can get a copy, and read a good discussion, here.

Cache On!

April 9, 2011

A Couple O' Nuggets

I ran across a couple of nice nuggets of geocaching information goodness on Twitter this week. First was an April 7th tweet from @dudleygrunt, who provided a link to this little gem called, geocaching.com quick links. This site provides links to all your favorite geocaching.com sections in one place; plus it lets you add your own links. Definitely bookmark worthy.

Then, earlier this month, @GeocacheNews pointed out this nifty little Chrome extension that really cleans up the geocaching.com interface. It's called, appropriately enough, GC Tidy. If you use Google Chrome as your default web browser like I do, then you'll love this extension. Look how it cleans up the links at the top of the gc.com profile page:

It also does a nice job cleaning up some of the other pages, especially the maps page. If you use Chrome, give it a whirl.

Cache On!

April 3, 2011

More Road Trip Cache Planning

I've offered some suggestions in the past about how to go about setting up for a trip that involves geocaching; either as the focus of the trip, or as a diversion from the real purpose of your trip. Now if you are one of those cachers that uses one of those newfangled wireless devices like an iPhone or an Oregon or anything that doesn't require uploading pocket queries onto your GPS receiver, then stop reading right now because this post doesn't apply to you. For you old school cachers like me that will never part with your Garmin GPSmap 60Csx or eTrex, then read on.

What happens when your trip is so long that you find it difficult to load all the possible caches along your route on to your GPSr device, whether that limit is 500 or 1,000 waypoints? I had that experience recently when planning for a college road trip with my daughter, which took us over 600 miles one-way from the San Francisco Bay Area to the northern reaches of the state of Oregon. My GPSr holds 1,000 waypoints, so I needed to set up my "caches along a route" pocket query with a small enough search radius to accommodate as many caches as I could fit. I split the trip into two halves of about 500 caches each, and it turned out I needed to limit the search radius (distance from the route (Interstate-5)) to a quarter-mile along each side of the highway:

That's much smaller than I generally like to use, but that's the best I could do. I also needed to add a limited number of caches from the college towns we were visiting as well. After loading all my trip pocket queries into GSAK, I had well over 1,000 caches; about 1,300 in fact. So now what? I couldn't just start deleting caches indiscriminately to get down to the magic number of 1,000 caches.

The trick I like to use in this situation is to employ the "Last found date" filter in GSAK. I set it up to show me all the caches in my Oregon trip database that have not been found for the last 60 days, figuring these caches have either already gone missing, or were too difficult to spend a tremendous amount of time messing with on this trip:

You can set the number of days to whatever suits you, but it turned out that 60 days was perfect in this case, as after deleting all of the caches in this filter, I got my list down to 994. Perfect!

Something to keep in mind when you find yourself bumping up against your GPSr's waypoint limit.

Cache On!