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    LaTuFu's Avatar
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    Review: Geocache Navigator by Trimble Outdoors

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    I have been a Geocacher for almost a year. It is a sport/hobby that has a lot to offer individuals, families (kids love this game) and groups.

    I normally use a Garmin handheld unit for caching. I recently got a new 8310, so naturally I've been trying to see if I can put its GPS capability to work for Geocaching.

    There are two applications that I know of currently, Geocache Navigator and Cacheberry. I have been using Geocache Navigator for a little while, so I thought I would offer my review of the application.

    The application itself is a breeze to use. It has an OTA install process, and sets itself up easily. You cannot get a free trial for this software, so I suggest starting out with the monthly subscription.

    GCN is meant to be an "all in one" app. In other words it has the ability to use your GPS puck or internal receiver to point you towards the Cache. Cacheberry does not do this. (See my review of Cacheberry for more info). This means that you can simply pick up your phone and walk out the door to grab some caches while out running errands. No planning, just get up and go. You get to the place you want to cache, pull out your phone, and let it find them.

    Once its up and running, it finds Caches just about any way you like. My favorite method is to simply choose the "Find Near Me" method. GCN goes to the website and searches for caches within 2 miles of your current location. (The mileage distance defaults to 2 miles, but can be changed). A list pops up of all the caches in your immediate vicinity (It automatically filters out any caches that you have previously logged as "found" on the gc.com site). You can also search by zip code, GCXXXX, or near an address, intersection, or location.

    Once you've got your list, let's go find one! Select one of your Caches, and it is loaded up with 4 tabs to choose from to assist in the hunt. The Compass Tab is very good, it is very accurate in most of the settings I have been using it. Under heavy tree cover it gets a little bouncy, but for the most part it holds its location well. The Map Tab is excellent. You can choose a background, and you can choose the one that suits your situation. Topo, street, or satellite. Satellite is a nice image, but its pretty busy. I usually use the streetmap in urban/suburban areas, and topo to give me an idea of the terrain around the cache if I need the help. The "Radar" Tab is pretty useless to me, I am not sure exactly what they were trying to do with that. Finally, the Details Tab gives you all the info from the Cache page on gc.com. If there is a hint available, you can access it by pressing the Menu Button.

    Once you've found your treasure, press the Menu Button and "Mark as Found". This will place an entry in your "Field Notes" on the gc.com page to access later. If you're only doing one or two caches in a day, this could be an optional step. I did a day long roadtrip recently and found 16 in two different cities. It was nice not having to keep a paper log of all the caches.

    Overall, the app runs very well, its nice to look at, and very well designed. If you are heading out for a day of running errands, and just want to have the flexibilty to pull out your phone and see if there are any nearby, this is a great application. If you're heading into the National Forest to grab that 10 stage Multi along the pristine hiking trail, you're probably out of luck.

    There are a few things I don't like about the app, but they are minor in comparison to what it does well. Among these "nitpicks":

    1. The big one: You gotta have a data connection. If you plan to head out to the Wilderness, take your handheld GPSr. GCN pulls all the Cache info down thru the data connection.

    2. The "re-sort" function doesn't filter out a "find". You have to go back one step in the process and re-do your search. A definite nitpick, I know.

    3. No "direct logging" option. I can log a find directly from the wap.geocaching site, why can't I log it (or at least have the option to) from an App I'm paying to interface with gc.com? Instead its logged to a "Field Notes" section, and I have to wait until I get home to log them to my Account on my PC.

    4. If you're using the phone exclusively or almost exclusively to hunt caches, bring an extra battery and/or a car charger. I'm lucky to get through a full day on one charge if I'm using the app all the time.

    Overall, I give GCN a definite . If you're doing any urban caching, or you're on a business trip to a new town and forgot to bring your GPSr, this app is a great complement to your paperless caching gear.
    Last edited by LaTuFu; 03-18-2008 at 08:20 PM. Reason: Additional information.
    If I knew where I was going, I might already be there. -- Cross Canadian Ragweed.

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    mjwood0's Avatar
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    This sounds awesome!

    I've just gotten the at&t 8310 and have been looking around for good GPS apps!
    As always, just my opinion...
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    iamgoofy's Avatar
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    Ditto! I'm a gps/maps nerd myself and will try any gps program! Lol
    Quote Originally Posted by mjwood0 View Post
    This sounds awesome!

    I've just gotten the at&t 8310 and have been looking around for good GPS apps!

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    jsaradhi's Avatar
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    dont mean to highjack ur thread with a detailed review...but i have a 8300 which doesn't have gps capability...so i am looking for a bluetooth gps receiver. at first i was looking at driving, traffic and such uses...but when i dug a little deeper, i found the world of geocaching...and ur post was just in time, so thought will ask...wat wud u recommend for a bluetooth gps receiver that would be good for geocaching? i heard sirf starIII gps units are better for geocaching than mtk chip units even though mtk's battery lasts longer. thanks!
    Last edited by jsaradhi; 03-18-2008 at 08:21 PM.

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    LaTuFu's Avatar
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    No worries, its close enough to the OT that I'll let it slide.

    Basically it depends on how much you think you'll be caching "under canopy". The SIRF III chipset gets a much stronger signal and retains a "fix" much better than the older chipsets. What this means to you is you're less likely to lose the signal under tree canopies and/or in the urban jungles of tall buildings.

    If you get a bluetooth GPSr puck, you'll need to subscribe to GCN if you want to use your phone as your main Cache finding unit. Cacheberry does not have a "compass" function at the moment.
    If I knew where I was going, I might already be there. -- Cross Canadian Ragweed.

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    so u recommend a sirf starIII chip bt receiver? wat abt channels? i want something compact as well...also, i dont think i need a data logger, right?

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    LaTuFu's Avatar
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    I think you'll find the Holux or Garmin receivers work extremely well. I would skip the data logging capability. If you really want that, you can get GPSed downloaded to your phone and use that.
    Last edited by LaTuFu; 03-18-2008 at 08:56 PM.
    If I knew where I was going, I might already be there. -- Cross Canadian Ragweed.

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    jsaradhi's Avatar
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    thanks! i appreciate your help.

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