November 24, 2012

c:geo Part 1: Importing Pocket Queries

In my last post, I promised to go over in detail how to perform certain functions in c:geo, the free Android geocaching application. I've been using the app. for over a month now, and while I don't use it to navigate to caches (I leave that chore for my trusty Garmin GPSr), it is a great tool for storing, retrieving, and logging caches. Since the c:geo documentation leaves something to be desired, I'm hoping these write-ups will help fill any knowledge gaps.

c:geo offers two methods of getting your pocket query data into your phone: (1) Download your pocket query file directly from geocaching.com using your Android's web browser, or (2) Copy your pocket query data file from your computer to your phone using your USB cable. There is a third option, which I prefer, that is not listed in the documentation which I'll describe in a minute.

First, it is important to note that c:geo cannot read .ZIP files directly, which is the format your pocket queries come in from geocaching.com. So if you plan to use method #1 above, you will need to use an Android app. that can decompress ("unzip") files. If you use method #2 above, just unzip the pocket query file, and copy the two GPX files to your Droid's SD card. It's a good idea to create a "GPX" folder on your SD card to store these files, just to keep things organized. Note too that you really only need the larger of the two GPX files (the one that does NOT contain "wpts" in the file name), but it doesn't hurt to copy both.


As I mentioned above, I use a slightly different method, sort of a hybrid version, of the two methods described above. I'm a big fan of "Dropbox", a cloud file-storing/sharing service. So what I do is download my PQ to my desktop computer, extract the GPX files to my hard drive, and then copy them into Dropbox. Then I just go to my Droid, open Dropbox, and copy the GPX files to my SD card.

Once you've got your GPX files on your SD card, you can import them into c:geo, as follows (note that these instructions include a step that is not listed in the c:geo help file):

1. Go to the Stored Caches screen in c:geo and click on the phone's menu button;
2. Click the Manage button and select "Import GPX";
3. c:geo will scan your SD card for GPX files - select the one you just copied over.

That's it. c:geo will read in all the geocache information from the file. One other point, however, before you do this. I strongly recommend that you go to your c:geo settings (use the phones menu button from the home c:geo screen) and un-select the "store cache static maps for offline use" option, which is checked by default. Otherwise, c:geo will load a static map for every cache in your pocket query, and depending on how many caches you have in your gpx file, this could take hours.

Finally, when you're all done caching with that particular pocket query, you can remove it from c:geo by going to the Stored Caches screen, click the menu button, then Manage, and then Drop All. This will clear out the pocket query data from c:geo, but it will not remove the gpx file from your SD card. To do that, you'll have to connect your device to your desktop machine and use a file manager program to remove the file, or, if one is available, use an Android file manager app. to clean up your SD card.

Next time, we'll go over the steps involved in offline logging in c:geo.

Cache On!


1 comment:

Unknown said...

Good tutorial. I was wondering what the static maps were.