September 29, 2012

New Take On An Old Challenge

You are probably familiar with Alpha-Numeric Challenge Caches. They are fairly common challenges found in most states and regions throughout the country. There are two common varieties of the A-N Challenges, both requiring you to find 36 different caches: (1) Find one cache that begins with each number from 0-9 and each letter of the alphabet; or (2) Find one cache hidden by a cacher who's caching handle begins with each number from 0-9 and each letter of the alphabet. Here are some examples:

1. Cache Name Alpha-Numeric Challenge
2. Cacher Name Alpha-Numeric Challenge

For me, finding caches or cacher's with names beginning with 8 or Q has been difficult.

Recently, a new cache was published in my neck of the woods that is similar to the typical A-N Challenge, but with a twist. The "842 repmac reverse Alpha Numeric Challenge" requires cachers to find 36 caches with the hider's name ending with 0-9 and A-Z.

There is a new GSAK macro available, called "Reverse Alpha Numberic Challenge, New Challenge" that is supposed to figure out for you how close you are to meeting the necessary requirements for this specific challenge cache, but it was giving me strange and incorrect results for some reason. So I turned to Excel.

After getting my list of found caches into Excel (I used GSAK and exported to CSV format, but you can also open a GPX file in Excel as well), I created a blank column just to the right of the "Placed By" field. In the blank field, which I named "Last Letter", I inserted Excel's "RIGHT" formula as follows:

=RIGHT(E2, 1)

...where E2 is the cell reference to the cache hider's name, and the "1" forces Excel to grab the last letter (furthest right) from that name. So for example, a cache hidden by "donvsop" returns a "p" in the "Last Letter" column. After copying and pasting this formula all the way down to the bottom of the  column and then sorting it alphabetically, my Excel table looks like this:

You'll notice I'm still missing the letter "Q". If you like, you can also create a pivot table to summarize your data by the Last Letter field, which will display a list of all the letters and numbers you have found, making it easy to see what you are missing.

So go find your P's and Q's, and...

Cache On!

September 22, 2012

GSAK Update

With all the hub bub of the release of iOS-6, a bigger iPhone and a (soon to be available) smaller iPad, you may not have noticed that there was a recent, major upgrade to GSAK. Version 8.2.0 was just released, and it contains a ton of new features and bug fixes. If you are still using version 7, you can upgrade at a discount.

So go out and grab the upgrade from the site.

Cache On!

September 8, 2012

Random Acts Of Geocaching

For this post, I thought I'd simply share a geocaching photo slideshow from geocachers all over the world. Enjoy!

Cache On!

September 1, 2012


I recently ran across another GPS track mapping tool called, Trackprofiler, which I'm really enjoying using. The tool allows you to upload your GPS tracks (in almost any format, including GPX, KML, and OziExplorer, among others), and then edit, organize and publish them. Not only can you publish your tracks on the Trackprofiler site, but you can also embed your results in your own website:

You simply upload your track data, and the site generates a profile and track map, complete with trip statistics. The information is kept in draft format until you decide to publish it, if you decide you first want to clean up the data, add photos, etc. Some of the track editing tools available are shown below:

I still like and use EveryTrail, but I also like all the track editing features included with Trackprofiler. I'll probably keep using both for a while until I decide which one I like best. So check it out, if you're one of those old-timey cachers that still uses a stand-alone GPSr device (there's still a few of us around, right?).

Cache On!