Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Can You Geocache with a Car GPS?

I have been wondering about this question ever since I started dabbling in geocaching. Before I purchased our recent TomTom XL 330•S (which by the way, the wife loves) I did some research to see if this unit can be use for geocaching.

Now car GPS units are not designed for the great outdoors. They are not as rugged as the handheld counter parts and really don't always have the same functionality. But, with a little geekiness, units like the can be used if you don't want to invest in a second unit like the Garmen Legend. This may be impotant for educators, public libraries or non-profit groups that would like to teach geocaching to their patrons.

The first step is to use a site like www.geocaching.com to locate the caches in your area. In order to actually get the locations or coordinates, you will need to set up an account, which by the way is free.Once you have registered, you can search and download cache details in the GPX format.

The second step is to download this amazing tool that I found called the "Geocaching Swiss Army Knife" (GSAK). This is where the fun begins! This piece of software allows to get the coordinates and exporting to the TomTom or other automobile GPS devices. For the TomTom, these files will be POI files (Point of Interest). POI file are like waypoint on the handheld GPS.

For more information about the "Geocaching Swiss Army Knife" (GSAK, please check it out[Click Here]

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Just Purchased A New GPS

We just recently added a new GPS to our inventory. Beside the Garmin Legend that we carry when we go geocaching; we just recently purchased an automotive GPS. After taking a trip to Saint Louis this summer we realized that turn-by-turn spoken instructions would not only make driving easier, but also save a little gas in the process. The problem we had with selecting a GPS unit for a car is...there are so many great devices and so many options. We finally decided to focus on a couple of things -
*Turn-by-turn spoken instructions
*Price under $125
*Easy to Use
*4.3 Inch Screen
*And great reviews (Nothing less that 4 out of 5 stars)

So what did we purchase? We found the TomTom One XL330S GPS on TigerDirect for $99.00plus shipping. Not only were the reviews we found on average over 4 out of 5 stars, the device offers some great features (All of what we were looking for).

Product Description:
TomTom’s award-winning software means easy navigation from A to B. Switch on and go right out of the box. Just enter the address on the touchscreen and start driving anywhere in the US or Canada. TomTom guides you door-to-door with turn-by-turn spoken instructions including street and place names. An extra-wide touchscreen helps you find your way, worry-free. TomTom has the most accurate maps and with TomTom Map Share™ technology you can instantly modify street names, street direction, and POIs on your own device. The XL 330•S is preloaded with millions of points of interest to enhance your traveling experience. And with the “Help Me!” menu, there are added safety features so you can easily access local emergency providers. The TomTom XL 330•S is traffic-ready, so you can outsmart the traffic, wherever you go.

We have a trip planned to Kansas City later this year and we will let you know how it performs. We will also use it on our daily trips.

Monday, June 15, 2009

6.14.09 Trek

This was an exciting trek for us. We began the day by running into a road block. Our first cache/waypoint to us to a tall lamp post in the middle of a parking lot. Of course it was to big to load into the car ; )

Next, we headed to the Andover Sports Park which contain two large caches. The first cache was located in a ammo box in the fork of a large tree. This cache took some searching because it was about 20 feet off of the way point and surrounded by hedge row trees.

The last caches was a fun and interesting walk alone a old railroad bed. We took a break on a small bridge watching some turtles and throwing rock into the water. After a short break we climbed down the old railroad bed and located a great cache with a our first cash cache...a dollar coin.

On our way back to the car we decided to leave our own cache in the crook of a large tree. We plan on posting its location on www.geocaching.com soon.

Already tired, we decided to continue on to check out a few more caches. the next one was locate behind a cemetery in a ceder tree. Of course, like all evergreen caches, not only did we leave with a prize, but we also left sticky from the sap.

Our final stop was at a local Wichita fishing spot usually full of locals trying to catch bass and catfish. We found one wet and somewhat disappointing Christmas cache. We will probably go back in the future and see if we can find the two caches that we missed.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

6.11.09 Trek

Wind Spirit Gateway at Kellogg and Main
This was an interesting trek. I climb to the top of the "Gateway" and could not locate the cache. I soon discovered an army man laying next to a piece of plastic. I believe that a lawnmower or weed wacker exposed the cache before I did. I was able to save the poor soldier from his demise.