Do you have a Windows Mobile Phone or PDA, and want to do some paperless geocaching? Here’s an example of how it is done.
Simply importing your GPX file (pocket query) into BackCountry Navigator will put you well on the way to this high tech treasure hunting adventure. Once you’ve done this, you can:
- Preload maps of the surrounding area and see all the caches on the map.
- Navigate to each cache on your target list.
- Read clues and descriptions
Geocaching is a treasure hunting sport where you find caches that others have hidden at specific geographic coordinates. Your GPS guides you to hidden places where you can swap trinkets and sign logs. To learn more about geocaching, please visit www.geocaching.com.
Once you have a GPX of a single cache or pocket query, you want to put it where BackCountry Navigator can read it. To explore the file system on your Windows Mobile, press the Explore button on ActiveSync. You can then place the GPX file in a directory on your storage card.
Once you’ve done that, it is easy to import the GPX file. Choose the menu item Program->File->Import->GPX. This brings up a file dialog. Here, you find the file that you have previously placed on the storage card.
Once you’ve imported the file (may take a moment if it is a big one), a good sized cluster of geocaches appear on the map. You can then focus on a particular collection of these caches. In this case, I want to focus on some of these caches for a scout troop orienteering event. I draw some rectangles by using Action->Select->Type->Rectangles and then tapping the screen.
It’s time to get some free outdoor maps for this area. I choose Action->Select->Download Maps to begin the process. I’m soon downloading maps from TerraServer-USA.com.
Soon, you are able to see the caches in context of the surrounding terrain, either Topographical maps or Aerial Photography. Color Aerial Photography (Urban Areas) is also available to download in some areas, including this one.
When navigating or planning a trip, its helpful to see what caches are nearby. Selecting Action->List, allows tyou to identify the Nearest Waypoints.
From here you can choose your next cache to find and select the Goto button or menu. BackCountry Navigator will then give you guidance as you get closer to this waypoint.
You can also choose Edit to see the full description of the cache. Note that the cache information is formatted in html as it would be on the geocache web page. This includes logs of people who have recently tried to find the cache and a clue provided by the cache owner.
Does this all sound like fun? Download a trial of BackCountry Navigator today.
Loc files (.loc) can also be imported into BackCountry Navigator. Note that they are waypoint files only and do not contain the caching specific description information you see on this page.
Note that obtaining cache GPX files will require you to sign up for a membership at geocaching,com. It is worthwhile if you plan to get into this exciting sport for GPS users.