April 14, 2013

Did Hell Freeze Over?

Not sure if I missed the pigs flying or the Earth opening up and swallowing me whole, but apparently I survived finding my first cache using only my smartphone, sans GPSr. I never thought I'd do it, but a situation came up where it made sense to just take along the smartphone: I was going on a walk/hike in a familiar area near my home, and there was only one cache left in the area that I hadn't found. I was pretty sure I knew where the cache was, but I saved the cache information to my Android phone's SD card before heading out, just in case there was no cell service at GZ.

I admit that it was really nice having music to listen to on the walk, a camera to snap a photo at GZ (see above), a phone in case of emergency, and a geocaching app. that pointed me to the cache; all on one device that I could carry in my pocket.

But I'm certainly not ready to throw my Garmin device up on eBay any time soon. I still prefer carrying a unit that only needs a clear view of the sky to accurately locate my position rather than having to rely on hit and miss cell service. And yes, I know that once you get within 10-20 feet of GZ you switch from using your device to using your geo-senses, but I sure do appreciate the Garmin's positioning accuracy compared to my phone's. I also like having the ability to load custom trail maps on my Garmin from sites like GPSFileDepot.

And until recently, the other big advantage my Garmin had over most cell phones was the ability to download  GPS tracks after a long, fun day of caching. But I recently discovered Google's "My Tracks" and loaded it on my Android phone. It's a great little tool that records your path, speed, distance, and elevation while you walk, run, bike, or do anything else outdoors. You can then store your tracks with Google Drive, Google Maps, Google Fusion Tables, or Google Spreadsheets, or export your tracks to external storage in different formats, including GPX. You can also share your tracks via most social networking sites such as Google+, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

It's a great little app., and definitely worth checking out.

Cache On!

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