Geocaching features for the PN-40, Mac, and PC

Update – Geocaching Updates are Live!

There have been several questions lately about our plans for supporting geocachers that use the Mac and PC operating systems. I’ve tried to respond to those questions with vague answers sprinkled through various forums but have decided to put it all here in one complete roadmap so that no one has to guess about it anymore.

Earthmate PN-Series Firmware Update
First, we are planning a firmware update for the Earthmate PN-Series (PN-20 and PN-40) devices to deliver, among other things, a Geocaches page that allows the user to see all of their unfound caches complete with the Cache Type symbols.

Getting ready to geocache... Choosing the Geocaches Page...

The Geocaches Page... Viewing Cache Details...

PN-Series owners will be able to sort by distance or name as well as found or unfound status. They will be able to view geocache details, see the cache on a map, or route to the location. They can choose to “Drive There” or “Hike There” to create road or direct routes.

View the Cache... View the Comment Details...

Create a route... Navigating to the cache...

Once they’ve found the cache they can log their find with “Found It!” or “Didn’t Find It” to update the geocache details page and store the results of their search. After logging the find they can choose to find the next closest cache, view the cache list, or stop geocaching for the day.

Finding the cache... Logging the find...

Log Geocache -  Found... Find Next Closest...

Send to GPS from
Beyond the firmware update we are working on two features for exchanging geocaches between the desktop and the device. We are working with to deliver a Send to GPS plug-in that will work on both the Mac and the PC, allowing everyone to transfer geocaches directly to their device without Topo USA in the middle.

Cache Register Widget
We are also working on a desktop widget for the Mac and PC called Cache Register that will allow a geocacher to use advanced search features to create queries and synchronize them with their Earthmate PN-Series device. Search for the 100 closest traditional caches within a 50 mile radius of your weekend destination and send them to your PN-40… log your finds and send your Field Notes back to when you get back.

Cache Register Search Results

We are going to remove the 800 character limit so that people can see all of the cache details including the Hint and the Logs. For the serious geocacher looking for more control, they can use the Cache Register to customize what geocache fields are included in the Comment Details and in what order.

Cache Register Cache Details

We realize that Topo USA is a Windows application and while our Cache Register desktop widget opens the door for geocache exchange on the Mac, there is still a lot of work to be done to bring all of the desired GPS tools to the Mac platform. We did not want to port the Windows interface but rather are going to build on the Cache Register format and deliver increased Mac functionality over time.

PN-Series data discs on the Mac
In addition to the new Cache Register widget, there are several features in place to help the Mac user with the Earthmate PN-Series device. First, we ship the PN data discs with each device allowing the user to transfer detailed 100K topographic maps (ETA: Enhanced with DeLorme street-detailed maps and four million places of interest!) to their device or SD card for any state in the US. While we plan to deliver a desktop application in the future, the map data needed to take the device outside is available in the box.

Earthmate Online Map Center
We are also making updates to our Earthmate Online Map Center at to accommodate the new Map Library subscription (ETA: Subscription support not yet available). This powerful website allows Mac and PC users to specify the area where they would like to get their maps, aerial imagery, USGS 24K quads, and more. After the selections are made the site notifies them that their maps are ready for download. These downloads can then be placed on the internal or SD card memory on the Earthmate PN-Series device for use on geocaching trips. Remember to buy your Map Library subscription to get all the maps you want for an entire year for just $29.95. Once you’ve downloaded them they are yours to keep!

Online Map Center

Points of Interest Layers on the PN-Series Devices
One last feature for serious geocachers looking for a serious tool… you can create your own Point Of Interest maps with the Draw tools in Topo USA and add them to your Earthmate PN-Series GPS to allow you to turn on and off layers of your own creation. Create layers for My Caches, My Finds, NGS Benchmarks, data from and more. Add tens of thousands of points to your map; turn them on and off as you need them. While you won’t be able to create or delete points like you can with Waypoints, you will be able to search for and route to them with ease.

Draw Layers in Data Management... Draw Layer Search results...

Schedule Timeline
I’m sure the question on all of your minds right now is when will this be ready… well, project estimates get more precise the further into a project the team gets. I’m sure some of you are wondering why we’re talking about the first firmware update already when the PN-40s don’t release until next week. The devices are on schedule and our Marketing director has posted the 17th as a ship date. Everyone here at DeLorme has been working non-stop to get the device out and the Initiative ready for people who might be getting Earthmate PN-Series GPS devices for the holidays. You’ve seen screenshots from the GPS and from the Mac widget… is already available. You all know how much I hate timelines but I can tell you that I’m giving a couple of PN-40s as Christmas presents and they are going to geocachers so we’ll be doing our best to have things ready for them!

I hope this helps shine a light on where DeLorme is headed with Geocaching and the Mac platform in the not so distant future.

Let the comments begin… now!

Chip Noble

99 Comments on “Geocaching features for the PN-40, Mac, and PC

  1. Thanks for the detailed status update. Looks like some really nice updates in the pipeline.

  2. Chip :
    I’m amazed, you have worked hard in the last days to put this (blog post) together
    in such a short timeline. I can only hope for the best in all efforts to see this through,
    your diligence and efforts are worthy, I thank you! This is definitely rating high on the
    goose bump scale.


  3. Sounds great for the Mac and geocachers out there! Now how about something for us biologists? Four people at my office bought new GPS receivers this year – all Garmin. They really liked my PN-20 but would not buy one because they could not download waypoints and tracks at the office. When I get back from the field I have to go home, download my data on Topo7, then send the data back to the office. Garmin data can be downloaded with many programs, including DNR Garmin (free), GPSBabel (free), ArcGIS (commercial), and National Geographic Topo (commercial) – all of which my company uses. Because I am the only one with a Delorme GPS the company won’t buy Topo7. A GPSBabel interface would be great – and maybe it would help you sell more GPS units!

    BTW – I plan on getting a PN-40 even though I will still have to go through the extra steps to get my data to the office!

  4. That is some exciting stuff! I had a chance to check out the PN-40 when Brian was in the area. My only comlaint was that it didn’t have an easier way to set up the geocaches or to mark them as found/ not found. You just totally took care of that little issue and added even more functionality than I’d hoped for!! You’re making it really hard to not buy one of these😉

  5. Matt Stegmeir and Norm: Thanks for the comments, we’re very excited about this collection of projects. As exciting as it was to write up this blog post, I can’t wait to share the features when they are ready. It really is a big jump in geocaching functionality.

    Jim Fuchs: We’re listening… is a great first project for us in regard to the Mac OS. Since they only exchange geocache waypoints we are able to focus on one element of the larger application and build the foundation for future support of GPS objects like tracks, routes, and maps. While I’m not aware of a timeline, I believe you will see updates to the GPS exchange library as well so that third party applications like you described can consider adding support for the PN-Series devices.

    Thank you all for your comments,

    Chip Noble

  6. This looks awesome…we’ve seen a lot of development with PN support, but as I look over what you have here I start to get a feeling of a maturing in at least this aspect of the PN’s. For geocaching, I can’t think what more we would want.

    I’m really looking forward to getting these features on my PN-40 and see how they work.

  7. All this new Geocache features look good, but I still beleive that having the ability to save tracks,routes, and waypoints on the SD card is a must have. We don’t all carry a laptop around so that we can load this stuff to the PN when needed.

  8. Being new to DeLorme GPS information, I am impressed with the positive work you guys are doing on this new unit. Our company is transitioning to MAC’s in the near future and it is good news to see the direction you are heading. Based on your article, I will be purchasing a PN-40. Great attitude and hopefully you will be able to keep up the good work in the future.

  9. Excellent updates. Can’t wait to see them on the PN-xx’s. Great work!

  10. Great news, and let me add a big +1 to everything Jim Fuchs said. I’m in pretty much the same situation.

  11. As an avid geocacher, I was excited to see these great additions to BOTH units as my wife will inherit the PN-20 when I receive the ’40 and the “G” will finally be laid to rest.

  12. I’m overwhelmed. For geocaching, this is everything that I had on my wishlist and and then ten fold.

  13. I wonder if it would be possible to keep the hint encrypted so that it isn’t readily available as soon as the description is opened. Then, if needed, a couple clicks could be added to decrypt the hint. I am stoked about these new features. I am just trying to figure out how I can afford to give myself the ’40 for xmas. 🙂

  14. Chip-
    Thanks for the excellent update! I already ordered the PN-40 SE (awaiting delivery), so it’s a real treat to see that even after I committed to a GPS- I’m still learning of cool features that I was unaware of.

    I would like to know more about the ‘child waypoints’ that Scott D asked about. I have never heard of this feature and it really strikes a chord with me since I’m taking up geocaching to “treasure hunt” with my 4 y/o.


  15. By “child” waypoints he means waypoints that are associated with the cache, but not directly at the cache. For example a nearby parking lot or trailhead might be a “child” waypoint of the cache. So on the geocaching website you would see the coordinates of the cache, but also coordinates of handy other spots to look for like a good place to park or where you can pickup a trail.

    So they are useful to everyone, not just kids.🙂

  16. Thanks for the update. Very professionally done and reinforces my decision in buying a PN-40 even before they have been released. Looking forward to any and all Mac compatible features in the pipeline.

  17. Thank you, thank you, thank you, for the geocaching improvements and especially for the effort on behalf of us Mac owners. I now have a PN-20 and was considering buying a Garmin 60CSX because it is Mac compatible. But now I will be ordering a PN-40 instead.

  18. Wow…shiver me timbers! I have been examining the PN-40 as a tester for three months and what I see in this one future update to the firmware is just what the Geocacher would put on their “wish list”. I would like to try these new features out asap… “what say you Chip?”. Although not published, is it available for Team Serious ??? I will be watching.
    These are great enhancements which should greatly simplify the functionality and usability for the new and experienced geocacher.


  19. Wow, lots of comments… from the top:

    Scott D: As of now we’re looking to create waypoints with the correct symbol for child waypoints. The user will need to look at the map and make the connection between child waypoint and geocache then route to the waypoint first. As we expand on our Geocache Details page we can explore more advanced interaction.

    Max: Thanks, we’ve drawn a lot of great information from our end users, beta testers, and retail reps. Interaction with the people out there using GPS devices has been a key factor in the success of the PN-40.

    Charles Ramsey: I agree completely, saving user data on the SD card is still on our list. I’m not sure when it will be scheduled but we’ll be talking about it here as soon as it’s ready.

    Rick B: I’m glad to hear that you are going to try out the PN-40! Be sure to check out our forum for more info about the device…

    Ben and Bigrock95: I’m glad to hear that you’re excited about what you’ve seen. Keep an eye out at the beta site!

    Jed, Frank, and Stu: Thanks for the comments; we’re pretty excited about the first update too!

    Bill: Good request, we’re looking into expanding on the Geocache Details page to enable functionality like you’ve described. The Cache Register tool will let you reorder the geocache attributes and move the hint to the end… still, it would be nice to switch encryption on and off.

    Wupierto: I’m glad you’re excited to get your device. It looks like Tim answered your question about Child Waypoints.

    Tim: Thanks for the help, everyone else; you should check out Tim’s blog… lots of good GPS reading…

    Chuck: Thanks for the comment about the post; I’m glad that our Mac efforts are going to help you out.

    Steve Flaherty: I think you’ll be very pleased with the Mac widget. It’s very efficient when it comes to moving caches onto your GPS and letting you get out to make the find!

    Bigrock95: Glad you liked the feature list; we’ll have something on the beta site for Team Serious as soon as it gets through initial QA review. I like the enthusiasm though!

    Thank you all for the comments!

    Chip Noble

  20. Will the Cache Register tool only interface to to download cache data to the PN series or will it accept gpx files (from say GSAK) to be downloaded? Or better yet, any plans for direct gpx file support?


  21. Chip & Delorme provide the best customer service/responsiveness of any manufacturer I’ve ever dealt with. Thank you for setting the bar high and then going above and beyond. That’s why you have loyal customers like us. I hope you continue to enjoy what you do. Frank

  22. Scott D: Excellent question… as a big fan of the highly customizable Pocket Query feature in we made sure to provide an import option to accept these .gpx files as well as any others that use the correct formatting. We’ll be taking advantage of Field Notes as well to help speed up the logging process.

    Frank Landers: Your check is in the mail. *wink*

    Thank you both for your comments!

  23. Will the PN-40 be able to use the Whereigo Player?

  24. Chip,

    Great news and some nice Mac features. You indicated that PN data discs will work on the MAC. Is this just a means of transferring the 100K Topo Maps to the GPS or SD card or will you be able to view them on the Mac? Or does that feature come with the future desktop application? I hope I am not reading too much into what you said, but the more the you provide support for the Mac the better.

    “PN-Series data discs on the Mac
    In addition to the new Cache Register widget, there are several features in place to help the Mac user with the Earthmate PN-Series device. First, we ship the PN data discs with each device allowing the user to transfer detailed 100K topographic maps (ETA: Enhanced with DeLorme street-detailed maps and four million places of interest!) to their device or SD card for any state in the US. While we plan to deliver a desktop application in the future, the map data needed to take the device outside is available in the box.”

  25. Marvin Robinson: We do not have any support for the Whereigo Player at this time.

    Gasport: The PN data discs contain the 100K topographic maps for the PN-Series devices. Those map formats cannot be viewed on the Mac or PC desktop but can be transferred to the PN-Series devices via a USB cable or an SD card reader. I mentioned it in this blog post so that Mac users would know they can set up a PN-Series device for use in the field and with our Cache Register desktop widget even though we do not have a Mac desktop application yet.

    Thank you both for your questions, they help to clarify my post.


  26. Wow! I am impressed and excited! My trusty old Merigold that we cache with fell vicitm to too much fun recently and I have been researching a replacement. We were’nt able to cache much in the past year due to my son’s illness, but now we are able to get out again and find more treasures, but alas, the ole GPSr died! After looking through this site and other forums, I am pleased to say that I will be buying a Delorme soon! The geocaching updates coming out are pretty much what sold me, along with the fact that I see posts from Chip and others on various forums. Support is a big plus.

    I have a question about the firmware update – will all the geocaching functionality be available in both the PN-20 and 40, or will it have some reduced features in the 20? I am pumped about the paperless caching abilities. Although I would love to get the new PN-40, I think I will have to go with a refurb PN-20 for now (after reading some good reviews on it in the forums).

    Thanks again for the update and all the great products you have!


  27. This is great news. I switched to MAC last year. I think Delorme and Apple are similar companies and I’m glad to see some compatability coming. Both are unique companies that think a little differently, have niche markets and are battling the giants. Now does anyone have their PN-40 yet? I can’t stand the waiting…

  28. Tell me this works in Canada so I don’t have to buy a Garmin!

  29. Unfortunately we don’t have any data for Canada in Topo USA yet. The PN-Series devices and the Cache Register tool will work anywhere but the only way to get data for Canada on the PN-Series devices is to use our professional XMap product to use your own scanned or downloaded maps. We’ve had lots of requests like yours and are listening carefully as we plan future releases.

    Chip Noble

  30. Is the basemap adequate for geocaching? I have a tomtom for navigating and presently 2 magellans for caching, as well as a garmin yellow etrex to run the laptop software. It’s time to get a new caching machine, and I am not too keen on the Oregon, and Magellan appears to have more or less given up on the handheld market. Every thing I have read so far has people raving not only about the PN series itself, but Delorme service and support as well. That is the biggest area that both Garmin and Magellan seem to have forgotten. I am ready to take the leap over to Delorme.

  31. Greetings I’m considering a PN40 and was wondering why your site shows it with 1 or 8 GB of memory and the stores are all showing 500 MB? Is this the only difference between the two?

  32. Mike, the physical memory of the regular model is 1 GB and the SE model is 8 GB. However about 500 MB of that space is taken up by the base maps, application, etc. So this leaves 500 MB available to the user for the regular model and about 7.5 GB remaining on the SE.

  33. Does the PN-40 have GPX file support like the Colorado/Oregon does, or is usable geocaching waypoints limited to the 1000 waypoint limit?

  34. Jodi: The detailed maps come in the box with the PN-Series GPS devices so you don’t need to worry about geocaching on the base maps! We’re a mapping company and we want you to use the best data we have available without going back to the store to make another purchase.

    Mike D: Tim beat me to the punch…

    Tim: Thanks for the help!

    Blind Avocado: The PN-40 can store 1000 Waypoints on the device. You can load geocaches through Topo USA by importing GPX files. If you need to store more than 1000 you can use the Draw tab to create Point of Interest maps with as many points as you can load (I’m sure there’s a limit but I haven’t found it yet). The difference here is that you can’t edit Points of Interest like you can a Waypoint. We’re also getting ready to release our Cache Register widget for which will give lots of improved geocaching features to PN-Series device owners.

    Thank you all for your questions…

    Chip Noble

  35. 2 questions:

    Is the PN-40 capable of averaging waypoints, like the 60CSx does (but the Colorado and Oergon don’t)? When I mark a waypoint, either for a new cache, or when offering “better” coordinates in a log, I will take a 2 or 3 minute long averaging.

    Does the PN-40 interface with XMap v6 efficiently?


  36. Excellent job Chip. I started as a Magellan user in 2003 and have been a happy Garmin user the last 3 years. I have to admit the new PN-40 has more than intrigued me. I have owned a Garmin Colorado and now a Garmin Oregon 400T … for a seasoned geocacher (6000+ finds), they don’t compare to what I’m seeing with the PN-40.

    My question … is/will it be possible to use GSAK with the PN-40? Among other things, I would like to be able to import User Notes, DeLorme Map Grids, County Names, etc. that are available through GSAK. If not as a regular geocache, can the PN-40 handle customized points of interest that could be configured with this information?


  37. Mike: Over the weekend, without much ado, I was able to import over 13,000 caches into Topo7 using an exported GPX file from GSAK running into of course, the 800 character limit for each cache. That included the Title, D/T, Hints, description, and if room enough, the first couple of logs.

    You’ll want to limit the number of logs you export for now as it takes time for Topo7 to chunk through the data.

  38. GerIRL: You can average with the PN-Series devices, you can even return to the same location on a different day and continue your averaging to remove the impact of atmospheric conditions or satellite constellations. I strongly recommend averaging over multiple days for the best results. The PN-Series devices interface with XMap the same way they interface with Topo USA.

    Mike: We are working on a new API as part of our Cache Register project. Our plan is to work with third party software engineers to help them implement support for the Earthmate PN-Series. The API work being done for the Cache Register widget should make PN support much easier then it was with the DeLBin documentation we released during the PN-20 development. We currently support the GPX files that can be exported from GSAK, so long as they are in a similar format as those created by Pocket Queries. There are several posts about this on our forum right now, perhaps there’s more information for you there.

    Bill: We’re going as fast as we can! Christmas has always been our target… it’s going to be close but I think we’ll have something ready by then.

    TotemLake: Thanks for the help, glad to hear you’re doing well with your PN and Topo USA!

    Thanks for all the comments,

    Chip Noble

  39. I have a PowerPC Mac. Can someone outline the steps for geocaching if i owned a PN-40 today and what i can expect in the future. If this info exists in another post please point me in the right direction. I’ve read everything i’ve found and it sounds like i need a Intel Mac that can run windows. I prefer not to buy a new computer or a Garmin unless there are no other options. Thanks.

  40. Well…. I just received my PN-40. I bought it explicitly because of this thread, because of your promise of Mac support. The unit is beautiful, usable, fast, and exciting. I was delighted to see “Linux users” mentioned in the users manual, and I look forward to being able to use it on Linux (or at least my Mac). Thank you.

  41. Rod: We are working on a Send to GPS plug-in for the site that will be cross platform. After that is complete we’ll finish our Cache Register widget that is being designed for the Mac and the PC. You do not need to buy a new computer, tempting as that is with all the new technology out there! Just give us a little time to finish things up. We’re on schedule for the holidays still, just a matter of finishing up our exchange features.

    Ed Santiago: I hope you’re enjoying the new device, we’re very excited to get the geocaching Mac support delivered for the holiday. Send to GPS will be a big step for our Earthmate users. The Cache Register widget will open the door for sending large collections of geocaches to the device and really make things easy for getting out there and finding treasure!

    Thank you both for your comments.

    Chip Noble

  42. I am a serious geocacher and have been in the market for a new GPS. Most cachers have their favorite devices and have a hard time looking outside the box. The geocaching forums have lead me to the PN series. Everything I’ve read so far excites me about the device. My only hesitation originally was the fact that I could not find any information about how the PNs cater to the world of geocachers. Until now… Thank you!

  43. This message is specifically for Chip Noble.

    You don’t know me, and yah … I don’ t know you all that well, but if Delorme’s CS is anything as open and friendly and responsive as you are, I can’t wait to get my PN-40 in the mail. I just ordered it Friday, and I’m expecting it on Tuesday.

    From all the positive reviews and comments, I didn’t feel like there was really any other choice. That’s a good thing.

    Thanks everyone for your positive words about the device.

  44. Casey: I’m glad you found the post on our Initiative! We’re very excited by all the features we’ve been able to put together for cachers. It’s looking like everything will be ready for Christmas so keep an eye out for update notifications should you get a PN-40.

    Chris McCabe: I’m glad to hear that your PN-40 will be arriving this week! I’d like you to send me an e-mail with your first impressions, The out-of-box experience is very important and we’re always looking for feedback that helps us make improvements. The Getting Started Guide that you’ll find in the box has been reworked for the PN-40 based on this kind of feedback. And of course, check out our site where you can find tons of great help from very knowledgeable GPS users… that’s where I go to learn more about what our products can do!

    Thank you both for your comments,

    Chip Noble

  45. Chip,

    I will gladly leave you first impressions. Look for them tomorrow evening.


  46. My daughter and I have been geocaching for almost two years now and have been anxiously waiting for someone to come out with a product that would enable us to spend a bit less time at the PC/printer and more time enjoying the outdoors. It certainly sounds like the PN-40 will do that and way more. I would purchase this just for the geocaching dedicated features alone. That being said, the mapping features that are offered are just phenomal. I can’t wait to get one under the tree!

  47. I was trying to decide on the Garmin colorado 400T or the PN-40. This blog just sold another PN-40! I can’t wait to order mine tomorrow! Thanks for working on this!

  48. LandStar and Redhat78: I’m glad to hear that you are both excited about the PN-40 and the upcoming Initiative! I can’t wait to get that firmware update out to you, we’ve really been working hard on this project and think everyone is going to be impressed with all of the special geocaching functionality we’ve included. You both will have to top back here and post comments once you’ve had a chance to try it out.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Chip Noble

  49. Hi Chip,

    I have a question about the widget. Will it be necessary to be a Geocaching premium member to use the widget to download caches as it is to make pocket queries? Also, approximately when do you hope to have widget as well as the firmware update released?

    Thank you in advance,

  50. Dmitriy: It will be necessary to be a premium member to use the Cache Register. We include a one month trial premium membership with each new device. We are working on Send to GPS for first but are making good progress with the Cache Register widget. We are tracking behind our holiday goal but will get things out as soon as we can. Thank you for your interest, check back for updates.

    Chip Noble

  51. As an anxious Mac user, I assume this would be the place to keep an eye on for the news that the PN-40 is fully Mac-ready? If I could not wait and got one now, I also assume it would be upgradable to Mac usage at that time.
    Thanks, Bruce

  52. Keep in mind that our current plans for Mac support involve a desktop widget that can send geocaches from the computer to the PN-Series device. We also have a website that will soon allow you to use the Map Library subscription to download all of the aerial imagery, USGS quads, and other data you need… currently you have to use a Topo USA certificate or pay for your selections. The data discs that come with the PN-Series devices can be used with a Mac, you’ll just need to browse the folder to find the maps folder and copy out what you need. My point is that you mentioned “fully Mac-ready” and for me that means more than what we are initially targetting. The features described in this blog don’t cover waypoints, routes, and tracks being exchanged. Otherwise you are correct, keep an eye on this blog for news about the PN-40 and the Mac platform.

    Thank you for your comment,
    Chip Noble

  53. Wow. I’m new to geocaching (totally new, haven’t even done it yet). I decided to order the PN-20 this morning after looking at about 20 different units. The more I learn about it, the more excited I get. I can’t wait to try this when it is released.

  54. OK, it sounds like the cache register app will not happen before Christmas. Can you estimate what’s the new projected/estimated release date?

    I’m enjoying my PN-40 but I’m really anxious for the Geocaching update release!


  55. Chip,
    You are probably off for Christmas and I know that you all have been working very hard on getting this out the door as soon as possible, however, since I’m a software programmer as well, I know that you want to get it out without having to do firmware updates later on. Like Mac said, when can we expect the firware release on this so we can take full advantage of the PN-40? We are going to do some serious testing with our PN-40 unit this Christmas weekend at Mt. Magazine State Park in Arkansas and can’t wait to see how it performs. Merry Christmas to All!


  56. Mac and Loveflyng: We released a beta version of our geocaching firmware update to our testers yesterday. They are working with it right now and will be reporting back during the holiday break. The Send to GPS functionality is also moving forward, we are getting ready to move from internal testing to testing with Groundspeak on their test servers. Cross platform development for the Mac and PC has proven challenging so we definitely appreciate all of our customers’ patience while we work on the Initiative. It was a big undertaking and we’re working hard to make sure all of the components are tested thoroughly before they are released.

    Thanks for your comments,

    Chip Noble

  57. Chip –

    Just got the PN-40 for Christmas and I bought it specifically for Geocaching. I’m really looking forward to the update and glad to hear that it in beta.

    Any way for any of us to sign up for the beta program? Do some real in-the-field testing?

    Thnak you!

  58. I’m shopping for a new GPSr and the PN-20 is on top of my list. (I can’t afford the PN-40) In the Cache Register Widget part of this Blog, you talk about the widget being available on PC and Mac, but no mention of Linux. Is there a widget available for the millions of Linux users out there?

  59. I know you don’t like timelines, but do you at least have an estimate for when this update will be available? I know that knowing a release date won’t make it come any faster, but I want a date to look forward to.

  60. Joseph: Thanks for the interest… we’re making good progress with the beta test and hope to have something out to the public soon. We don’t need any additional help with the beta at this time but you are welcome to submit your information to be considered for future testing.

    Greg: We are working with Mac and PC platforms right now. I don’t know enough about Linux to have a feel for what would happen if you installed on that platform. I’ll check in with our dev group. Sorry I don’t have a better answer on that one…

    Michael: PN firmware is in beta right now with hopes of getting it to the public soon. Send to GPS plug-in is in QA with plans to get it to for further testing soon. Cache Register is a bigger effort and will be a little longer than we had planned but will be worth the wait as one of the last pieces in our Initiative!

    Thank you all for your interest.

    Chip Noble

  61. Thanks, Chip. It’s really cool to find a company that really cares about their customers enough to open a dialog with them like this. The more I look, the more I like Delorme.

    Also, if there’s any need for a beta tester on a Linux platform, I’d be thrilled to offer my services. I’m not an expert, but fairly advanced.

  62. Chip: Thanks for keeping us updated on the progress with I’m sure you are doing everything you can to get this out the door and to your customers. Our initial testing of the PN-40 unit at Mt Magazine State Park went very well. I have noticed one thing though. When you have the topo and the imagery on they maps don’t align quite right. Do you know why they are not dead on? It seems that Imagery is better than the topo map. You can be driving down the road and the topo map shows that you are about 20-50 feet off the road. Can I adjust this somehow?

  63. Chip,
    For me it is the a question of which unit is best supported on my fleet of mac’s, the Garmin 400t or your PN-40. At REI I looked at the 400t and was very disappointed in the backlight brightness. Are you better? If I were to buy the PN-40 today, can I have mac functionality or is it a quarter away or so? Any insight here would be appreciated and from reading the blog it is hard for me to determine were exactly the mac functionality is if I buy today. Bottom line, I am very interested in your product and would buy one now if the mac issue was clear.

  64. Greg: Word from development is that we haven’t developed the Cache Register or Send to GPS plug-in to support Linux. Sorry about that… Thanks for your offer to beta test too, check out the following link if you’re interested in signing up for future test opportunities on the PC or the Mac… maybe Linux in the future…

    Loveflyng: Both maps have an associated level of accuracy. I don’t recall the horizontal error associated with the aerial imagery but it is quite low. The Topographic data has a horizontal accuracy that has been improved in many counties within the US as part of an ongoing data effort. It is possible that you are viewing maps for an area that hasn’t been updated yet. In evaluating horizontal accuracy for Topo USA I look for shifts in a group of roads or for places where the roads are off by a large amount. 20 to 50 feet, while noticeable with a GPS, should still make it possible for you to tell which road you’re driving on. We do offer a Map Corrections area in our Support sub tab in Topo USA. I’d encourage you to go there and report your data error to our Data Department.

    Tim: One of our beta testers has actually written a detailed post about how he’s using his PN-40 and the Mac. I believe we have a full solution for the Mac user that wants to set their device up and go outdoors.

    If you provide some more information about how you plan to use your GPS device with your fleet of Macs I can give you more specific answers. For the consumer geocacher with a Mac we’re very close to delivering the geocaching firmware update, it is currently in beta and getting very good reviews. The Send to GPS plug-in is also close to being sent to for beta testing. We still need to enable Map Library subscriptions through so that Mac users can gain access to all of our map library data for $30. We’re also working hard on the Cache Register which will deliver support for pocket queries and larger volumes of geocaches but that is going to be later in January. Check out the forum post and then let me know if you have any more specific questions.

    Thank you all for your comments.

    Chip Noble

  65. Chip, this is great to hear all these features. I guess I won’t have to finish my program I was working on using DeLBin. I’ve had my PN-20 for about a year now and use it for geocaching 95% of the time. By far the best GPS I’ve ever used for geocaching and that was before I even heard of the Cache Register you’re building. It’s been asked before, but I didn’t see an answer: Are there any features listed that won’t work on the PN-20? I’d love to upgrade but will probably have to hold off for a little while. Thanks again!

  66. R-Enemy: We will be updating the PN-20 after we’ve released the PN-40 update. We’re going to evaluate the firmware to identify what features make sense to roll out for the 20. Obviously we won’t be including any sensor features or features that depend heavily on the dual core processor available in the 40. Our project team is going to step through all of the PN-40 features and put together the best PN-20 update we can. Unfotunately, this effort is going to take a little time so I’m not able to make a guess at release dates right now. I know there are lots of PN-20 owners out there looking to geocache so we’ll move as quickly as possible.

    Thank you for your comment.

    Chip Noble

  67. The news blurb says, “Search for the 100 closest traditional caches within a 50 mile radius of your weekend destination and send them to your PN-40”. Posts in the forums (with which I agree) indicates this limit is too low. Any chance DeLorme would be willing to bump the limit in Cache Register to the closest 500 caches? For areas with higher cache density this would be far more useful.

  68. Chip,

    Thanks so much for all of the updates and for responding to my post a couple of weeks ago. I went ahead and forwarded my information for the beta.

    So…. any idea on an ETA for the release?


  69. Well it all sounds great that Delorme is thinking of Mac users. So did Garmin. So I waited and waited for Garmin and then by the time the were “so called Mac friendly” they went with the very latest Mac OS 10.4 and 10.5. I have an older Mac that can only be updated to OS 10.3. Still no good for me. With that being said I wonder what format Delorme is thinking of using. Anyone with any info on that ?

  70. Clupea: We’re working with on this project and will follow their guidelines for these parameters. There will be support for pocket queries so you’ll be able to load your 500 caches that way… I’m just not sure what numbers we’ll be looking at for the Cache Register searches.

    Joseph: We’re still working on the various parts of this project. I realize the original holiday goal has come and gone but we want to make sure that our Dev, QA, and Beta groups all have enough time to do their best work. We’ll release just as soon as we can… I want you all to start using these features as much as you want to see them!

    Dennis: We’re going to support the Mac versions that can run widgets, since our Cache Register is a widget on the Mac. Unfortunately I don’t believe that widget support was available on the Mac until Mac OS 10.4. I’d love to go back further but the widget support is a limiting factor.

    Thank you all for your comments,

    Chip Noble

  71. Is there any sort of time frame on the release of the new firmware? End of the Month, End of Next Month? Like I said before, I’m sure that you are working has hard as you can, but I know in my job we have deadlines that we must set and we make those deadlines even if we have to work extra hrs. We try not to work extra. So, is there a deadline?

  72. Ok – I should say something since I’m now the proud owner of a new PN-40. I wrote on this forum back in Nov while researching for a new gps system. Being that I’m a serious cacher, my only hesitation was the fact that I couldn’t find how the PN-40 truly catered to the world of geocachers. However, after reading this forum I was sold. For me it was the maps. Since I do more back country caching ( DGP, then urban I focused on the map availability. My PN-40 is my fourth GPS system. Out of the box I will say I was intimidated at first. Loading the drivers and initial maps was not a walk in the park as expected, but I figured it out. Beyond that; it literally took me one full Sunday to figure out how to down load an aerial photo transfer it to the PN-40 and download GPX files. I was really struggling at first, but after taking my time and reading through the manuals I was able to figure everything out. This was a very frustrating day, but well worth it. Now… I’m a pro:-) Ok – maybe not: I still don’t think I’m doing everything that the PN is capable, but loading maps and caches goes w/o problems. What can I say: I LOVE my new PN-40 and I love showing it off to all my cach’n buddies. It definitely lives up to it’s name – “a serious tool” once the fireware is finilized it will be complete.

    Thank you!

  73. I too went ahead and got a PN-40 (se). Being on the Mac, I have drug the TOPO maps to the PN-40 and used it as such loading geocaches by hand.I am still using the Garmin for PQs though. It is working great as I familiarize myself with the unit. When the Mac firmware upgrade comes out, I should be ready to go.
    Are there any limitations on the SD or SDHC card that can be installed so as to load as many maps from the library as possible?

  74. I have a Magellan eXplorist 500 that I use exclusively for geocaching. I’ve got a friend with a Garmin 60csx who swears by its ability to hold a signal and its accuracy and I geocached today with some folks who all had Garmin Oregon 400ts or Colorados and loved them.

    I use GSAK and have about 8 PQs that get me all unfound geocaches within 50 miles (5K) as well as a PQ for winter caches as well as a PQ for caches found in the last 7 days. I’m happy with my Magellan except for the frustrating 200 geocache limit and the fact that I’m often off from the GZ compared to the Garmin cachers who are with me. The 200 geocache limit is probably the back breaker. I create POIs for puzzle caches I solve, waypoints on a mutli-cache, newly announced caches for which I’m trying to get a FTF, or for potential cache sites that I’m thinking of planting. I occasionaly need to project to a geocache waypoint based on heading and distance.

    I occasionally grapb the tracks the Magellan automatically grabs when finding geocaches and I upload those to my computer and then to a website.

    I use an old Palm Z31 with Cachmate (exported via GSAK) to get logs and geocache details and use the GPSr and the Palm to find and log geocaches and TBs found and dropped.

    I end up with reading glasses on, the Parlm in one hand, the GPSr in another as I try to juggle everything.🙂

    I’m looking for something that will give me great maps, accuracy, the ability to route me near to a geocache and (if there are trails) to route me on the trails if possible.

    My birthday is soon and I’ve got a green light to get a new GPSr.🙂 I’m very intrigued by what folks are saying about the the PN-40 especially the aerial maps and the all-you-can-eat map plan, but honestly only if the geocaching firmware and the Cache Register software come through. If they don’t then I’d probably go with a Garmin which was my plan before I stumbled across the PN-40 info. If they come through then it sounds like the PN-40 would be a very very nice geocaching GPSr.

  75. Chip,

    Now that the firmware updates have been significantly delayed from your original estimates, how much longer will us PN-20 users have to wait before our firmware update is ready? Wouldn’t it have made more sense to make a firmware update based on what both devices could do first, and then later impliment the more advanced features for the PN-40 owners?

  76. Chip, You had said

    “We will be updating the PN-20 after we’ve released the PN-40 update. We’re going to evaluate the firmware to identify what features make sense to roll out for the 20.”

    Does this mean that the developers haven’t even started working on the PN-20 firmware? Are we looking at several months between the release of the PN-40 firmware and the PN-20? The reason I ask is this firmware release is the main reason that I chose the PN-20 over several Garmin units.

  77. Hi All,
    I want the new Geocaching firmware (PN-40 & 20) the Geocaching widget and Cache Register as much as anyone. I enjoy caching in the non urban areas but do some because I live near an urban area (Toledo, OH).
    I didn’t originally get a PN-20 for geocaching but now enjoy the hobby. As for the PN-20s use at geocaching, I used it exclusively to get 500+ caches in 12 states in about 8 months. I’d say it can get me close and from there I just start caching.
    I would like these enhancements soon. BUT I don’t want DeLORME to rush to market and endup with another VISTA fiasco. I can wait for a reasonably bug free product.
    So Chip, keep plugging away and provide your normal quality product.
    Meanwhile I think I will go use my PN to go find some caches

  78. I really enjoy both my PN-20 and PN-40. I have been Geocaching for sereral years and I can take or leave the new Geocaching upgrades. With that said, I am still waiting for the SD file transfer utilities for Routes, Tracks, and waypoints. To me those are a must. Keep up all the good hard work you are doing.

  79. Good day,

    I may sound like a broken record here but you’re missing out on one heck of a niche market north of the US border.

    The services and specifications that the PN-40 offers to US clients and users is amazing. It’s essentially made some of my friends and coworkers jealous of the services that your product delivers.

    I’m not a guru by any means and I’m researching constantly trying to figure out a way to get more recent maps but unfortunately, its like pulling teeth to get relatively resent aerial photos for GIS manipulation, unfortunately due to copyright laws and all, i can’t get aerial photos from .gov. This does not relate to the ancient freebie 1:50k ones.

    Congrats on building such a great product and congrats on building a reputable fan base south of the Border. I’m looking forward to some software development targeting a potential niche market north of the border. Until then, I have to put up with a garmin.


  80. Sorry for the delay in replying to all of the comments here… I’m actually going to direct you to a recent post on the DeLorme forum for details on our Geocaching Initiative schedule…

    Check out that post for details and thank you all for your patience while we put the Send to GPS plug-in and firmware update through our testing process to make sure that what we deliver is a positive experience for all of our customers.

    Chip Noble

  81. This is interesting, but when was this notice written? It is now Feb 2009. I have struggled for over a day to try to load map data from one of the included disks onto my new PN-40. It is a Windows problem: Windows froze or quit about six times before I was successful I would have preferred running something on a Mac, which probably could have accomplished the same thing in minutes. So where are these Mac data disks?
    I also got the Topo 7 disk and the map subscription, but am unable to use them with the Windows on Dell combination, because the Dell cannot find its way to the Ethernet LAN to access the Internet.
    My second request: Canadian coverage, please. Including nautical charts, please.

    Just another note: The batteries included with my new PN-40 expired after five minutes. Now I think that I know where the Energizer bunnies go to die.

  82. Got the word that the ‘Send To GPS” is now working on That it does! Hit the Send To GPS button, choose DelLorme, and in she went, complete with description. Slick! Don’t see how to do PQs yet…must becoming with the new firmware update?

  83. I just received my PN-40 from REI yesterday. I have the older non Intel Mac and was able to load the basemaps and connect to and load a few caches one at a time. Very easy so far!

    How do I update the firmware on my Mac? Date planned for Map Library subscription and Cache Register availability for Mac?


  84. Ric (Mighty Mo): Draw layer support is already part of the Topo USA and PN-Series interaction. Just use Topo’s Handheld Export options and tab to create a map package with the draw layer in it, then send it to the device. Remember that POIs saved in a map package don’t have the same comment storage as a waypoint.

    Chip Noble

  85. Just got to this site from an ad on my email page saying paperless caching. Is this wishful thinking or have I missed the firmware upgrade?

  86. I just returned my PN-40. It was a great GPS, but the tools were non-existent. I am using my Garmin 60CSx with the POI Loader and GSAK. Thanks for trying, but this isn’t a tool for serious geocachers.

  87. Sounds like you didn’t do a firmware update. I’ve got a 60CSx gathering dust now.

  88. I’m keeping my PN-40, using GSAK with it and loving the paperless caching features and the ability to upload logs. I consider myself a serious geocacher.🙂

  89. Hello Delorme and Chip Noble!

    Will the geocaching web browser plug-in work on W2k? I tried it in W2k in vmware server running on top PCLinuxOS without luck. Installing Windows isn’t an option. It’s a security hazard and I don’t own anything later than W2k.

    Any chance of adding a device driver to the Linux kernel? Perhaps poking around and asking someone at one of the major distros would yield a correct answer on how to proceed. Without either W2k support or PCLinuxOS (or any distro for that matter) I’m kinda dead-in-the-water here.😦

    Here’s another idea. Perhaps a Firefox Geocaching Addon?


  90. I have been using an Magellan eXplorist 400 for over 3 years along with a simple Palm for paperless caching and about ready to go for a new GPSr & brand. I have not found anyone in SoCal to learn more about the PN-40.
    Here are just some questions: how many geocaches can I load on the GPSr; can I load a new Goecache manually as a POI; if I use GSAK, do I need a DeLorme program as well to load geocaches; can I change the coords manually for a cache while in the hunt; when marked found, does it have a date & time affixed to the find; is there an advantage using a larger SD card than 1 MB; will the map show available Geocaches in the immediate area, if switching maps during a hunt; will the caches show on the switched to map?
    I believe that is enough questions for now.

    not tom

  91. I believe the PN 40 will load 500 caches. You can use “Send To GPS” for individual caches and I use Cache Register for pocket queries. GSAK does not work with my Mac…..don’t know about PC.
    I usually change the cords as I go on a multi cache, so yes, you can change them. When you log a cache found, it is sent to a separate file with a smilie face, no date stamp. It also shows on the map as a yellow face then. A bigger SD card would hold more maps. The caches show up on the map with all the symbols such as multi, puzzle, unfound, found, etc. I would think the caches would show up on any map, but I only use one set of maps so can’t say for sure.
    I really like my PN 40, but would think about the new PN 30 if the electronic altimeter and electronic compass is not that important to you.

  92. not tom,

    I moved to a PN-40 from a Magellan eXplorist 500 and a Palm with CacheMate about nine months ago and couldn’t be happier. I think you’d more detailed answers asking your questions in the DeLorme PN-40 forum at or looking at the user Wiki at or the newer Delorme Wiki at

    I load 1000 geocaches/waypoints into my PN-40, I set up manual waypoints when out in the field for multi-caches, I can change coords manually for a cache while in the hunt. I use a 16GB card which lets me load more detailed maps, I use GSAK and have loaded caches using the latest version of GSAK or the $10 DeLorme CacheRegister. I’ve uploaded trails from my PN-40 and downloaded trails that other people have made into the PN-40. You can sort geocaches by name or by distance. When panning the maps in the device one sees all the geocaches for that level of zoom for that map.

    I use my PN-40 to give me driving directions to a cache or the cache’s parking waypoint, then switch to hiking mode and use that to get to the actual cache.


  93. What is the status of bringing Topo USA to the Mac? I see Chip’s initial update was 2 years ago, and he noted that more features would be forthcoming. Which features have arrived since? Is there work being done to bring Topo to the Mac? and if so, what is the timeline for that project?

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