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Tip of the Day 11/23:Finding Caches Along a Route

Finding Caches along a Route from Birmingham to New OrleansOne of the great advantages of premium membership on Geocaching.com is the ability to specify caches along a route. To do this,go to the “User Routes” option on your profile page and specify the beginning and end points of your travel. The system will generate a GPX file that you can load into your GPS or a program like Geocaching Swiss Army Knife (GSAK) to give you the optimal list of caches to find.

For the purposes of this demonstration,we went to our Profile page and chose “Create a route”under the “User Routes” tab. We chose “From:Birmingham,AL To:New Orleans,LA” and clicked “Search.” The Google Maps mashup automatically chooses the fastest route,but we aren’t committed to that. If we want to customize our route,we can simply grab the line highlighted in yellow and drag it to another spot. In this case,we want to travel via Mobile,so we dragged the line to that city. You can zoom in and zoom out,since this is basically Google Maps.

The “Create/Edit a Route” map automatically shows us the new route and presents us with a “Search Radius Hint:” just below the map. We don’t really need to specify anything here,since we can do that when we create the pocket query

Click “Save Route Changes.” The system presents us with a confirmation dialog box in which we click “OK.” We then have the option of saving the route under a unique name and adding descriptive information. We can also choose to save the route in a public directory so that others can use it. That’s a good idea.

That route is now saved in our personal profile and we can retrieve it at a time. We can also generate a GPX file from that route to save to our GPS or to GSAK. Simply choose “Create Pocket Query”from the “Your Created Routes” tab in the “User Routes” section. A slider bar gives you the option of specifying how far from the designated route you wish to travel for a cache. You can specify anything from .1 km (about 360 ft.) to 10 km,depending on how adventurous you feel. From there,the system generates a GPX file just as it would for any pocket query.

Be aware that,as in a pocket query,the total cache list is limited to 500. You might want to keep your search radius within one or two miles of your designated route to limit the number of options. Also,if you are in a hurry to reach your destination,you don’t want to be traveling miles out of your way to retrieve a cache.

Don’t forget to check the routes that others have saved,since it might help you avoid all the work described above!

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