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Newbie Questions about Handheld GPS Units

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  • svbrosa
    Questions: When you buy a GPS unit, do you need to subscribe to some kind of service for it to work? Do you need to buy software? What function does software
    Message 1 of 10 , Sep 7, 2005
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      Questions: When you buy a GPS unit, do you need to subscribe to some
      kind of service for it to work? Do you need to buy software? What
      function does software serve?

      Okay. You can laugh all you want at this one. I know that someday
      I'll
      look back on this and slap myself in the forehead for being so
      incredibly ignorant.

      I am VERY new to Geocaching. Actually, I only learned of its
      existence
      last Friday night. It intrigued me so much that I went out and made
      my
      first find this past weekend. My youngest child is so into this now,
      that she talks of nothing else. I should correct myself and say that
      SHE made the first find, I was yards behind her when she found it.

      But, we don't have a GPS unit - which makes this activity fairly
      difficult. And, having no clue about the GPS units - I thought I'd
      ask.

      Be gentle, oh kind people, I have a sensitive soul.

      svbrosa
    • Joe and/or Kimberly Fitzer
      No need to subscribe, and units can run from $99 to $500 or more. If you need somme help there are a few NUTS that do classes to give you help. Joe,Kim and
      Message 2 of 10 , Sep 7, 2005
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        No need to subscribe, and units can run from $99 to $500 or more.
        If you need somme help there are a few  NUTS that do classes to give you help.  


        Joe,Kim and the Geo Kids, Kalena(10),JJ(8),and Beth(6)

        GeoCaching.com

         

      • rich sasek
        Hello svbrosa, I started doing this a few months back and love it. No, you do not need to suscribe to a service. No you dont need sto but software, but there
        Message 3 of 10 , Sep 7, 2005
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          Hello svbrosa,
           
          I started doing this a few months back and love it. No, you do not need to suscribe to a service. No you dont need sto but software, but there is some out there that help you in your insane obsession that you are about to partake in.
          I use a twelve (yes twelve(12)) year old magellan GPSr. It is a boat anchor of the hand helds. I have been packing that thing around for years then found out about Geocaching. It gets me off the couch, out in the sunlight (and sometimes moonlight), and we enjoy it as a family. My son, Ian, is a cache magnet and loves to go out and do it.
          Don't see yourself as ignorant because I and others all had the same questions about it when we started. If you have a question ask it. The NUTS here are really nice and very willing to help with any questions you have.
          You can do some of the caching without a GPSr though it does get hard and limits you as to what you can do. You also need to sign up with Geocaching.com which I'm asume you have done, though I suggest you do not get the premium membership until you decide you want to take up this "hobbie" perminatly, then by all means get the premium membership. You will need to get a GPSr if you want to find more than a few caches. There are many out there and many opinions to listen to. I would start but getting a low end GPS and go from there. You can then decide what features you want while yo go caching. Read the Geocaching.com web site and keep up with us NUTS.
          Hope this helps you.
          Good luck and hope to see you out there.
          Rich
          $jester

          svbrosa <electra_eos@...> wrote:
          Questions: When you buy a GPS unit, do you need to subscribe to some
          kind of service for it to work? Do you need to buy software? What
          function does software serve?

          Okay. You can laugh all you want at this one. I know that someday
          I'll
          look back on this and slap myself in the forehead for being so
          incredibly ignorant.

          I am VERY new to Geocaching. Actually, I only learned of its
          existence
          last Friday night. It intrigued me so much that I went out and made
          my
          first find this past weekend. My youngest child is so into this now,
          that she talks of nothing else. I should correct myself and say that
          SHE made the first find, I was yards behind her when she found it.

          But, we don't have a GPS unit - which makes this activity fairly
          difficult. And, having no clue about the GPS units - I thought I'd
          ask.

          Be gentle, oh kind people, I have a sensitive soul.

          svbrosa



          Click here to donate to the Hurricane Katrina relief effort.

        • Teeje
          There are no such things as stupid questions, cept the ones that aren t asked! If you have a question, there s a really good chance that several others have
          Message 4 of 10 , Sep 7, 2005
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            There are no such things as stupid questions, 'cept the ones that
            aren't asked! If you have a question, there's a really good chance
            that several others have the same question!

            When I started geocaching, there was no one to ask, so I had to do my
            own groundwork on the internet and in stores checking out GPS units.

            Not only do you *not* need to subscribe to any service for your GPS to
            work, Geocaching.com doesn't require subscription either. Given,
            there are a few really nice benefits to being a subscriber, but no
            requirements too. Very, very nice!

            When you buy a GPS unit, you have to look at your own needs to decide
            on which one to get. My requirement was that it MUST hook to the
            computer. Okay, so I'm a computer geek... Now, however, my needs
            have changed to include needing a storage card so that I can more
            easily handle trips and multiple sets of cache data depending on where
            I find myself during the weekends.

            Software is of two types: Map data (usually from the GPS
            Manufacturer) and Geocache/waypoint manipulation software.

            Map software can be as simple as road or location information that
            loads directly to the GPS and enhances the built-in maps, or as
            complex as, say, Microsoft Streets or Delorme Topo that also require a
            computer.

            Geocache/waypoint manipulation tools include such items as GSAK
            (Geocaching Swiss Army Knife) which can take thousands of geocaches
            and select them on location/difficulty/etc, EasyGPS which simply loads
            waypoints from a computer to your GPS, and even some software that
            comes with certain GPS units to load information or file sets onto
            your GPS.

            There is also software to load sets of geocache page descriptions into
            a handheld computers, such as Palm, WindowsCE, or even some cell phones.

            Just remember that you can have plenty of fun geocaching with *just* a
            simple, low-end GPS and a hand-written list of cache waypoints. Even
            with all the electronic gadgets I have around, paper backup has been a
            Godsend on many occasions.

            Oh, and of course, remember the spare batteries! (rechargable work too!)

            > Be gentle, oh kind people, I have a sensitive soul.
            B*B.

            -- teeje (Yar?Yar!)
          • bintigger@aol.com
            Hello We have a Magellan Gold hand GPS held but we just got our son a Garmin Geko 201 that has computer access on it. You can find them on ebay also, we
            Message 5 of 10 , Sep 7, 2005
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              Hello
               
              We have  a Magellan Gold hand  GPS held but we just got our son a Garmin Geko 201 that has computer access on it. You can find them on ebay also, we paid 110.00 for his brand new. I don't know how much the Magellan was as it was a gift. We are giving the Garmin to our son as a gift to see if he likes geo caching or not. It will give him something to do while he is off duty, He is  in the ARMY. in Tennessee  soon to be leaving for Iraq. So we did not spend a lot on it but got one that can be connected to the computer just in case he does. IF he doesn't well then looks like hubby has his own GPS.  We tried his out along with the Magellan and they were pretty much exact on cords. Although I like the (stealth) of the Garmin I like to be able to see easier on the Magellan and also it can store a lot of more info then the Garmin as it has a memory card. Not sure if this helps you or not. As I am no way totally experienced with them but I can find caches. :)  
               
              Welcome to the world of Treasure hunting
              Geotigger
              Lora  
            • bintigger@aol.com
              And just where and when are these classes for GPS basics? I know how to find caches but would like to be able to understand my GPS and its capabilities more.
              Message 6 of 10 , Sep 7, 2005
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                And just where and when are these classes for GPS basics? I know how to find caches but would like to be able to understand my GPS and its capabilities more.
                 
                Thank you
                Lora
              • Escapades
                Hello, Please don t slap yourself in the head! You obviously aren t ignorant or you wouldn t be willing to get involved in this simple, complex, puzzling,
                Message 7 of 10 , Sep 7, 2005
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                  Hello,
                  Please don't slap yourself in the head! You obviously aren't ignorant or you wouldn't be willing to get involved in this simple, complex, puzzling, satisfying, entertaining, frustrating, and all around addictive hobby/sport!
                   
                  This has been a great hobby for our family. It gets our 9-year-old away from the TV, video games, etc. and into the great outdoors. She is learning a lot of history, geography, computer skills, problem-solving and also exploring some absolutely beautiful places.
                   
                  We began Geocaching when my brother was showing us his GPSr at a family picnic. He said "I think there is one not to far from here..." and that was all it took. We were at Costco and they had a Magellen SporTrak Pro set and we decided to buy it. It was a $300 investiment which seemed like a lot so we were sure hoping that we stayed enthusiastic about this thing.
                   
                  Two years later.....we still have that same GPSr which our 9-year-old now uses (she broke off from our family group and now has her own Geocaching name) and we now have a Magellan Explorist 600 that we are still learning how to use.
                   
                  Our son has a Garmin Etrex (aka Old Yeller) that we purchased for him at Target at $90.00 and it gets the job done as well.
                   
                  Downloading coordinates for the caches directly from the computer is great, however, hand entering the coordinates works just as well. Some people don't even enter coordinates at all (Rock and Crystal can tell you about that!) and manage extremely well. No matter what you decide to do and how you decide to do it, there is someone else here in this group that is doing something similar and will be able to help you out.
                   
                  Welcome aboard!
                  Escapades
                   
                  svbrosa <electra_eos@...> wrote:
                  Questions: When you buy a GPS unit, do you need to subscribe to some
                  kind of service for it to work? Do you need to buy software? What
                  function does software serve?

                  Okay. You can laugh all you want at this one. I know that someday
                  I'll
                  look back on this and slap myself in the forehead for being so
                  incredibly ignorant.

                  I am VERY new to Geocaching. Actually, I only learned of its
                  existence
                  last Friday night. It intrigued me so much that I went out and made
                  my
                  first find this past weekend. My youngest child is so into this now,
                  that she talks of nothing else. I should correct myself and say that
                  SHE made the first find, I was yards behind her when she found it.

                  But, we don't have a GPS unit - which makes this activity fairly
                  difficult. And, having no clue about the GPS units - I thought I'd
                  ask.

                  Be gentle, oh kind people, I have a sensitive soul.

                  svbrosa


                • Escapades
                  Hi Lora, Mike from Escapades is going to be teaching a class on how to use a GPSr through Oroville Adult on Sept. 27th and Don from Rock and Crystal is going
                  Message 8 of 10 , Sep 7, 2005
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                    Hi Lora,
                    Mike from Escapades is going to be teaching a class on how to use a GPSr through Oroville Adult on Sept. 27th and Don from Rock and Crystal is going to be teaching a class through Oroville Adult on Geocaching on Sept. 28th. I don't know if the classes are full yet but here is the link to the Oroville Adult website and you can scroll down to course descriptions.
                     
                    Have a great day!
                    Gail (Escapades)

                    bintigger@... wrote:
                    And just where and when are these classes for GPS basics? I know how to find caches but would like to be able to understand my GPS and its capabilities more.
                     
                    Thank you
                    Lora
                  • bintigger@aol.com
                    Hi Gail Thank you I will see if they are full yet. I should be back from Vacation by that week. Lora Geotigger
                    Message 9 of 10 , Sep 7, 2005
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                      Hi Gail
                       
                      Thank you I will see if they are full yet. I should be back from Vacation by that week.

                      Lora
                      Geotigger
                    • svbrosa
                      Thanks to all who gave me answers to my questions. I am signed up with geocaching.com. They provide a lot of information there. I am still trying to digest
                      Message 10 of 10 , Sep 8, 2005
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                        Thanks to all who gave me answers to my questions.

                        I am signed up with geocaching.com. They provide a lot of information
                        there. I am still trying to digest what I've read.

                        I've enjoyed this sport so far, even though we've gotten skunked a
                        few times (due to the lack of a GPS unit - no doubt). But, it is a
                        great way to get out of the house and get the kids busy doing
                        something (and me too!).

                        Thanks again.

                        svbrosa

                        --- In nuts_@yahoogroups.com, Escapades <escapades4cache@y...> wrote:
                        > Hello,
                        > Please don't slap yourself in the head! You obviously aren't
                        ignorant or you wouldn't be willing to get involved in this simple,
                        complex, puzzling, satisfying, entertaining, frustrating, and all
                        around addictive hobby/sport!
                        >
                        > This has been a great hobby for our family. It gets our 9-year-old
                        away from the TV, video games, etc. and into the great outdoors. She
                        is learning a lot of history, geography, computer skills, problem-
                        solving and also exploring some absolutely beautiful places.
                        >
                        > We began Geocaching when my brother was showing us his GPSr at a
                        family picnic. He said "I think there is one not to far from here..."
                        and that was all it took. We were at Costco and they had a Magellen
                        SporTrak Pro set and we decided to buy it. It was a $300 investiment
                        which seemed like a lot so we were sure hoping that we stayed
                        enthusiastic about this thing.
                        >
                        > Two years later.....we still have that same GPSr which our 9-year-
                        old now uses (she broke off from our family group and now has her own
                        Geocaching name) and we now have a Magellan Explorist 600 that we are
                        still learning how to use.
                        >
                        > Our son has a Garmin Etrex (aka Old Yeller) that we purchased for
                        him at Target at $90.00 and it gets the job done as well.
                        >
                        > Downloading coordinates for the caches directly from the computer
                        is great, however, hand entering the coordinates works just as well.
                        Some people don't even enter coordinates at all (Rock and Crystal can
                        tell you about that!) and manage extremely well. No matter what you
                        decide to do and how you decide to do it, there is someone else here
                        in this group that is doing something similar and will be able to
                        help you out.
                        >
                        > Welcome aboard!
                        > Escapades
                        >
                        > svbrosa <electra_eos@y...> wrote:
                        > Questions: When you buy a GPS unit, do you need to subscribe to
                        some
                        > kind of service for it to work? Do you need to buy software? What
                        > function does software serve?
                        >
                        > Okay. You can laugh all you want at this one. I know that someday
                        > I'll
                        > look back on this and slap myself in the forehead for being so
                        > incredibly ignorant.
                        >
                        > I am VERY new to Geocaching. Actually, I only learned of its
                        > existence
                        > last Friday night. It intrigued me so much that I went out and made
                        > my
                        > first find this past weekend. My youngest child is so into this
                        now,
                        > that she talks of nothing else. I should correct myself and say
                        that
                        > SHE made the first find, I was yards behind her when she found it.
                        >
                        > But, we don't have a GPS unit - which makes this activity fairly
                        > difficult. And, having no clue about the GPS units - I thought I'd
                        > ask.
                        >
                        > Be gentle, oh kind people, I have a sensitive soul.
                        >
                        > svbrosa
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
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