In preparation for the upcoming Cache-In Trash-Out Geocaching Event at DeLorme, I wanted to share how I geocache with Topo USA and the PN-20. I think it might help some of you increase your Cache Found stats on the 19th!
In case you aren’t familiar with geocaching, think of it as a treasure hunt driven by GPS. You can get more details at the Geocaching.com Getting Started page. My recommendations below assume that you have a basic understanding of how to download a cache description from the geocaching.com site.
Get a Premium Membership with Geocaching.com.
There are two types of downloadable files from Geocaching.com, a .LOC file available to everyone, and a more detailed .GPX file that is available only to premium members. Since we’ve put a good deal of effort into displaying extended cache descriptions and hints from .GPX files in the comment field of a PN-20 waypoint I think it’s worth the membership fee.
Use Pocket Queries to get a .GPX file.
Pocket queries allow you to create detailed filters so that only the caches you’re interested in appear in your .GPX file and on your PN-20. I filter out micro caches and 5/5 (very difficult) caches along with caches that don’t have travel bugs or geocoins in them.
Use Draw\File\Import… to open your pocket query.
Once your pocket query is emailed to you, use the Draw tab in Topo USA to open it. Draw will display all of the caches on the map and give you a good feel for cache distribution.
Send the Pocket Query to your PN-20.
Use the Find button to search for the nearest geocache.
Set the Show: option to Waypoint and the Symbol: option to Geocache to filter your waypoint list to only show caches you haven’t found yet.
View the cache waypoint then press Menu and View Details.
This displays a page with details and hints for the cache. Keep in mind that only 800 characters can be stored in the comment field. Consider editing the comment in Topo USA if it has lots of additional information that isn’t necessary for finding the cache.
Use Direct Routes when navigating to geocaches.
Create a direct route to the cache you are looking for. This will display a route line from your current location and always point you in the direction of the cache.
Change your Info Fields to show GPS Accuracy and Distance to Finish.
These are two important fields when geocaching. You want to know how accurate your GPS signal is so you know how far off you might be from the cache. Knowing the distance to the cache is also very helpful.
Change the cache symbol to Geocache Found after you’ve found it.
Select the symbol and change it to Geocache Found so that it won’t appear in your Find list. Now you can use the Find button to locate the next closest geocache!
Use Delete by Symbol to delete only the Geocache Found symbol.
This allows you to quickly delete the caches you’ve found while retaining those that you still need to locate.