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Dana and I have taken a forced break from geocaching for the past several months,but for a very good reason. They’re named Lillian Emma and Blair Isabelle,and they were born April 1,2011. Here’s Dana with our two newest geocachers from this past Easter Sunday.
It was a difficult pregnancy,as twins often are. Dana was on bed rest for four months. She’s mending quickly,though,and we expect to hit the trails again sometime this summer,but our caching will be somewhat curtailed until the twins are more mobile. In the meantime,we’re declaring FTF on Lil and Blair.
Now the big question:For the immediate future,should they share a single geocaching.com ID or each get their own?
Dana with new geocachers Lillian (l.) and Blair Gillin
Our friend David Strom alerted us to this offbeat variation on geocaching. Dead Drops is an anonymous story-sharing network that uses a simple approach to exchanging information. As the site explains,“USB flash drives are embedded into walls,buildings and curbs accessible to anybody. Everyone is invited to drop or find files. Plug your laptop into a wall,house or pole to share your favorite files and data.”
In other words,plug in and share your story in any format –text,audio or video –and others may come along and retrieve it. We think this could have great application to geocaching. Many multi-stage caches use interim waypoints that feature coordinates written in marker. What if those waypoints could include stories or puzzles,too? You plug your laptop or tablet into an exposed USB port and get your information about the next coordinate that way.
Has anyone tried this? If not,who’ll be the first to incorporate a Dead Drop into a geocache?
Whenever we go to Orlando on one of our frequent Disney trips,we stock up on provisions at the local Publix supermarket. So we were pleased to get a call from a writer for Publix Greenwise magazine recently. We didn’t even know Publix had a magazine,but we were happy to speak to the reporter.
We just got the latest issue of Greenwise and we like it a lot. In addition to recipes,there’s health advice,nutrition tips and stories on how to get outdoors with your family. So geocaching was naturally a great topic,particularly for the spring issue. it just arrived in our mailbox with a two-page feature called “High-Tech Hide &Seek.”We were pleased to be quoted there. Click the link to download a PDF of the whole story.
In this post on Choosing a GPSr (GPS receiver),we’d like to discuss the processing chip.
The key name to remember here is SiRF,a chipset that makes receivers more accurate. Invest in a SiRF chip-enabled GPSr. It will save you time in the field.
Do you like your GPSr? Would you recommend it to others? Comment on this post to share!
In this post on Choosing a GPSr (GPS receiver),we’d like to discuss memory and storage.
Cheaper and older GPSr units,including the Garmin 60 series,come with only 24 MB or less of internal memory. That’s enough to hold a few states’worth of maps,which doesn’t seem like a big deal until you travel halfway across the country and realize you forgot to load the local maps. Not that we’d know anything about this.
Most handheld GPSr devices accept plug-in memory modules that use inexpensive “flash”or chip-based storage. These slots are usually used for pre-programmed map modules for non-U.S. territories or for specialized city guides. These add-on memory cards don’t solve the storage problem unless the unit can treat them like main memory.
What kind of memory and storage does your GPSr have? Comment on this post to share!
In this post on Choosing a GPSr (GPS receiver),we’d like to discuss geocaching features.
In the early days of handheld GPS navigation,most GPSr manufacturers included a few geocaching features strictly as an after-thought. Cache waypoints were all but indistinguishable from any others and the volume of information that users could capture was limited.
All of that has changed recently. With the release of its Colorado and Oregon lines of receivers in 2008,Garmin came out with products that cachers could truly call their own. These capable but pricey units can store detailed descriptions,log entries,and hints downloaded from the Geocaching.com website. They even give users the ability to log and comment on their finds for later upload. Expect Magellan to add similar features.
Does your GPSr have geocaching features? Do you use them? Comment on this post to share!
In this post on Choosing a GPSr (GPS receiver),we’d like to discuss music and video.
The spacious memory and storage capacity of today’s units have enabled many manufacturers to add the ability to play MP3 and video files. We can’t imagine why this would be useful for geocaching (unless you’re a devotee of the Podcacher podcast!),but it would be nice to have on long hikes if the bird songs aren’t doing it for you.
Does your GPSr have music/video? Do you use them? Comment on this post to share!
In this post on Choosing a GPSr (GPS receiver), we’d like to discuss area calculation.
This feature calculates the area encompassed by a series of waypoints. You won’t need it for geocaching unless you’re playing a game at an event!
Do you use the area calculation function? Comment on this post to share!
In this post on Choosing a GPSr (GPS receiver), we’d like to discuss the importance of water resistance.
Believe us,you’ll need this! GPSr devices get dropped onto wet grass and in mud puddles all the time. A unit labeled “water resistant”can survive a brief dunking or a few minutes in the rain. One labeled “waterproof”can be submerged for several minutes. For most casual cachers,water resistance is sufficient.
Note that “waterproof”doesn’t mean “floatable.”It’s a good idea to attach any unit to your body in some way so it doesn’t sink down to Davy Jones’Locker.
Have you dunked your GPSr in water? Comment on this post to share!
In this post on Choosing a GPSr (GPS receiver),we’d like to explain why a good vendor website can supplement your GPSr.
Most vendors do a pretty good job of providing basic documentation and firmware downloads from their websites,but some add special features like downloadable maps,satellite images,and specialized lists of waypoints. Also look for companion software —preferably free —that can extend or add features to your GPSr. You should update your firmware regularly to fix bugs and take advantage of new features. Some vendors also post software written by their customers.
What do you like about your GPSr? Comment on this post to share!