After using this software for geocaching….

I really like BCN.  It’s really useful and intuitive.  Alas, there are some features I would really like.  In order of desire:

(1)  A distance display to the GOTO point.  The purple arrow is all well and good, but it’s really hard to judge how far I have to walk “that-a-way”.

(2)  “Work nice with other software.”  On my Windows Mobile 5, when BCN is running, Pocket Streets 2006 won’t.  WM5 lets you define a software COM port hooked to a hardware COM port.  BCN connects to the software COM port just fine–but then it disconnects after a couple of seconds.  Then reconnects after a couple of seconds.  Ad infinitum… never getting any useful data.  I think it’s too much to ask that BCN incorporates street mapping… so I think to close that gap, it needs to just work at the same time as something like Pocket Streets.

(3)  Tracking capability.  Man, I’d love to be able to plot my trail on my PDA.

(4)  Higher resolution capability.  Since I think it is unreasonable to think I can store a .25m map, I would love to see a “if an internet connection is available (i.e. via bluetooth phone) let me try to draw it better with a .25 map downloaded (and cached) from the server.”  There simply are trails that are hard to see on the 1:1m map that are easy to see on my computer using a 1:.25m map.

Now speaking of features… how will we know if/when our wishlist is going to be fulfilled?


Downloading Places/Placefinder

If you encounter an error trying to download places or using the placefinder, check to see that you are otherwise internet connected.

The problem may be in firewall /internet security settings.

BackCountry Navigator uses a process called SQL replication to retrieve places from an internet server.

To see if this is the case, disable the firewall temporarily. 

There may be more specific settings that will allow BackCountry Navigator to get places. I did not find that Windows XP firewall would block the places download. However, another customer did have an issue after installing Norton Internet Security 2006.



Salmon Creek Kayak trip

This kayak trip took place on a brisk December morning near Vancouver, WA. The temperature started at about 32F, but may have reached maybe 34 by the end of the trip.

The cold of the day was demonstrated by the ice that collected in the kayaks. There was also plenty of ice on the edges and side channels. 

Needless to say, not many people were out on the water.

BackCountry Navigator worked well in guiding us from the 36th Ave bridge in Salmon Creek to Felida Moorage on Lake River. A gentle current kept us going through Salmon Creek, while it was slack tide on Lake River, without much current.

Other than the relative that came, not many people are enthusiastic about the idea of kayaking in the wintertime. They tend to forget that kayaking has roots with Eskimos paddling between ice flows to hunt. I don’t have any Eskimo blood, but I dressed warm.

We saw many herons, geese, and a snowy egret. It was partially sunny and not windy, which is the best we could hope for this time of year. In all, a very peaceful trip.


Higher resolution maps

I bought the software because it comes closest to what I’m looking for… but it is only barely adequate.  I would love it if there were a way to get higher resolution aerial maps; the resolution that is currently fetched from terraserver is so bad it barely shows the trails I’m looking for (and only if I know where to look).

1GB of RAM is nothing nowadays… and if storage IS an issue, then look at what Virtual Earth Mobile does (and does for free, mind you).


Receiving email from us

If you have not received a confirmation email from us, it may be due to spam filtering at your email provider. 

Occasionally, a user does not receive a confirmation email after registering at this site. This can be an extremely frustrating experience for both them and us.   

The email may have been blocked or held back by spam filtering by your mail provider or ISP. If this is the case, you may also fail to receive the response when you contact us about the problem.

While your email software (outlook, etc) may have folders for junk mail, it is more likely that you will have to visit the website of your mail provider to adjust settings.

Yahoo mail, for example, has a "bulk" folder, where mail from previously unknown senders often first arrives. You may have to visit this folder to classify messages as spam. Comcast has a similar folder called "Screened Mail" that you can only find if you check email from their website. Gmail may have something similar.   

Keep in mind that having these spam protections in place is not a bad thing. Without them, you might receive a lot more email than you do today. A lot of it would not interest you in the least.    

This topic is also mentioned in the troubleshooting section of the forum.


If you don’t receive the confirmation email . . .

If you don’t receive an email from us, it may be because a spam filter didn’t recognize the source and filtered it out.

Here are some things to try:

  • Place support at backcountrynavigator.com in your address book.
  • Check with your ISP or mail provider to see if they have a “screened mail” folder or something similar. Procedures to place support at backcountrynavigator.com in your trusted list will vary according to your email provider.[/*:m]
  • Send an email directly to support at backcountrynavigator.com to let us know. You will often receive the reply. [/*:m]

Eagle Island State Park

I went to Eagle Island State Park in search of 15 caches in a series. It was cold and pouring rain. My Pocket PC was well protected by the OtterBox Armor case. I’m always glad to have that.

The route led us through trails, cow pastures, and ruins of the old prison farm. We were able to find eight geocaches before running out of batteries and body heat.

#7 eluded the group completely. Previous logs indicated it was not found or was in a very unexpected place. 

This is a screenshot.


Terra server maps from pc?

I use a program called terra fetcher to download all the maps i need so i can use usa photomaps without having to wait for each tile to download.  Is there a way to take all of the terra server maps i already have and use them with my pocket pc and your software?



Importing other maps

BackCountry Navigator uses Topo Maps and Aerial Photos from TerraServer USA.

Frequently, we have requests to use other maps, either to cover places outside the US, or to use a type of map that is not available in the program. 

So far, we have found out a few things.  BackCountry Navigator is well suited for displaying raster maps, but they would need to be calibrated and tiled.

The Pocket PC doesn’t have much image processing power, compared to your desktop device. It does rather well with the Terraserver maps because they are imported in small tiles. To perform as well. large images should be broken up into small pieces for display. This would probably require a desktop utility.

To aid in our planning, members can post on the following:

  • Sources of maps for other regions of the world[/*:m]
  • Format of images and calibration information that people would plan to use[/*:m]
  • How they have typically calibrated maps (ie picking points, etc)[/*:m]

Tracking / trails

Tracking is a highly requested feature that we are working on. A track or trail, as we’ve defined it, is a series of connected points that may have elevation if recorded. A track as a whole may have a description, but the individual points typically do not have names. 

Some things that we would like to have work:

  • Record points on a track as we get position from the GPS.[/*:m]
  • Filter it down so we don’t get too many points or jaggedness in the track.[/*:m]
  • Display the track or trail as a series of line segments on the map, perhaps with customizable colors.[/*:m]
  • Import tracks or trails in GPX format, in addition to waypoints. [/*:m]
  • Store tracks in your datafile. [/*:m]
  • Export tracks, along with waypoints, in GPX format to share with other friends or use in other software.[/*:m]
  • Ability to post GPX files to the internet for a nicely formatted and illustrated trip report. [/*:m]

Your thoughts are welcome.