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Early Starts
Geocacher


Joined: 07 Jul 2004

Posts: 29

PostPosted: Thu Jan 06, 2005 8:52 am    Post subject: How to create a GSAK file of all MN caches and logs Reply with quote

I have had a few questions about how I do my thing so I will post it here and it might help others in the future.

I keep a GSAK (Geocaching Swiss Army Knife - Great Program) file of all of the caches in MN and I keep it updated (2X per week) so it has most all of the logs included. This post covers how to do this and the next post will cover how I put this file into my Palm. Note that even if you don't put the file into your palm or laptop, it is nice to have this file in GSAK for quick searches. Thanks to richrich for tons of help setting this up!

I do this by:
1. Setting up 4 PQs (Yes, you need to be a member of GC.com) that search for all caches in MN.
2. The first one looks for caches placed between the dates of Aug 10 2000 thru June 24 2003.
3. The second PQ looks for caches placed between the dates of June 25 2003 and April 8 2004.
4. The third PQ looks for caches placed between the dates of April 9 2004 thru Aug 28 2004
5 The fourth PQ looks for caches placed between the dates of Aug 29 2004 out to a date into the future.
6. Note that this should give you 4 PQs all with less than 500 results. As time goes on the last one will hit 500 as more caches are added and the first three will drop lower as caches are archived. The dates need to be adjusted when the fourth one hits 500 results.
7. PQs give you the last 5 logs for each cache plus your log if you found it. Since I started this around Aug or so, I got the last 5 logs at that time and since then when I update the files into GSAK, it adds any new logs or caches to the list. Yes the file gets big and it has tens of thousands of logs and many archived caches.
8. After I update the new PQs into GSAK (by dragging and dropping the downloaded PQ file onto the GSAK shortcut), I sort the caches by "last update" and then look to see what caches did not update this round. If they did not update and all of your PQs have less than 500 results and the last one is extended into the future, then the only reason the cache would not update is if it got archived. I right click on those caches and choose "toggle cache archive status" to archive it. Note that you can check the cache to make sure if you want to. Also note that you need to do this because when caches are archived, PQs just omit them rather than letting you know they are archived.
9. That is it. Now you have a GSAK file with all of the caches in MN that keeps all of the logs. It sounds like a lot here, however, it is quick to do once you get it setup and get the hang of it. Someone could easily automate most of this.

Benifits include:

1. Having all the logs prevents the problem where the last 5 logs all say, "used rickrich's updated coordinates and found the cache easily" and rickrich's log was the 6th log back.

2. If you need other hints, you can look through the logs right out at the cache site.

3. You even keep logs that later get deleted.

4. I often like to read all of the logs in the car after I found the cache to get a sense of the history of the cache.

4. You keep a record of archived caches.


Last edited by Early Starts on Thu Jan 06, 2005 9:30 am; edited 1 time in total
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Early Starts
Geocacher


Joined: 07 Jul 2004

Posts: 29

PostPosted: Thu Jan 06, 2005 9:18 am    Post subject: How to send a GSAK file to your palm. Reply with quote

Here I will go over how I send my GSAK file with all caches and most logs to my Palm T3 to be able to use them in the field. Note that there are many ways to do this but this one is the best that I have found and turns out to be all free software.

1. I use plucker to view the files on my palm. I really like the way that it works. I got it from http://www.plkr.org/dl and I downloded the: "Hires Plucker viewer, English only, no distiller components." and installed it to my palm.

2. I did not like the plucker distiller at all for many reasons. I found that sunrise desktop is the best and it is freeware. I got it from: http://www.palmgear.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=software.showsoftware&prodid=70927 and installed it to my computer.

3. I setup sunrise by setting up a new document then setting the link depth to 3 or 4 (depending how you export from GSAK), "restrict to directory" and set the photos to black and white 150X150 (to save time and space). The source file is the area you export you GSAK file to and the destination is your Palm.

Now that the setup is done, here are the steps to load the updated file each time:

1. First you need to export the GSAK file. I perform a search and usually exclude archived and virtual caches. Next I choose "File" then "export" then "HTML files" Export the file to the folder you set as the source folder for Sunrise. Note that I set 15 for the list of nearest caches since it aids in finding nearby caches and I set several "location indices" from my house, work, and popular starting areas to give me nice lists of nearest caches but these are optional. Also note that there is a setting that will determine if sunrise is set to a depth of 3 or 4 and it says (allows plucker setting depth to 3 rather than 4) next to it

2. Next I start Sunrise and right click on the document I created and choose "convert". This will take 10 minutes or so to work.

3. Last, I hotsync my palm. Done.

As I have not set this stuff up for a while, if someone does this fresh and has some further questions or tips, please post them.
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RINO SHAWN
Geocacher


Joined: 18 Nov 2004

Posts: 194

PostPosted: Fri Jan 07, 2005 7:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Scott for the extremeley valuable info!!!!!! I am going to try to find the time this weekend to get everything loaded and set up. I just finished purchasing a 1 year premium membership sooooo ....... soon my account will be updated and I will be able to check out using the Pocket Queries. I just came back from a cache in Sandhill Crane (North Star State Happy) and tried the camera feature on my new Palm for the first time....I uploaded it to the cache page log entry. Works good enough for this kind of use but the megapixels are only 1.2

Still.... it will be nice when all set up that I can have a "total package"
while caching:

Cache page info .....paperless (hopefully all of Minnesota's)
Camera
MP3 Music (I have about 50 songs so far loaded in to my SD card)
Voice recorder for quick info of what I took or left, etc for later log ins.

Or... if I didn't want to carry the Palm with (difficult terrain or ?) I could leave the Palm in the car and....
since my camera phone can communicate thru bluetooth to my Palm Pilot.....I could take a picture with my phone while out caching and "beam/transmit" it to my Palm (without using any phone plan minutes)
I've found the quality of the pics taken with my phone and transferred to be surprisingly pretty good.

Anyhow.....just wanted to say Thanks!! (but ended up rambling on and on)

Shawn Very Happy
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RINO SHAWN
Geocacher


Joined: 18 Nov 2004

Posts: 194

PostPosted: Sun Feb 06, 2005 10:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just thought I would post an update with the "battle of the Palm"

After a major setback..(computer crashed....big time!!) Than after starting from scratch (Had to load a new operating system) Finally had things going the right direction...than my computer got a very tricky to find and kill..virus.

Had to send my computer out to get professionally "cleaned up"...just got it back tonight and spent a little time finishing the setup.

All works well!!! Very cool to have all the MN caches in the palm (and in a nice format to retrieve easily)

Thanks to all who have helped me...especially Early Starts!


Shawn Very Happy
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RINO SHAWN
Geocacher


Joined: 18 Nov 2004

Posts: 194

PostPosted: Mon Mar 28, 2005 9:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jambro....look here Shocked
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Pear Head
Past MnGCA President


Joined: 04 Apr 2004

Posts: 5697

PostPosted: Sun Apr 03, 2005 4:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Does anyone have any experience using mapping software, such as Delorme's Street Atlas, on a palm?

I'm looking at getting a PalmOne Zire 31 for caching and for street maps (getting tired of driving around in circles I guess).
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Joelcam
Geocacher


Joined: 03 Oct 2003

Posts: 48

PostPosted: Sun Apr 03, 2005 8:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've had great luck using XMap Street Atlas handheld edition. It worked good on my old Sony Clie which was black and white, now it shines on the color Clie (which is also a lot faster). I've been able to upload all the waypoints for caches in the state and can see what's near by at a quick glance. The CD contains versions for both Palm and Pocket PC, so if you change OS, you're OK.
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Pear Head
Past MnGCA President


Joined: 04 Apr 2004

Posts: 5697

PostPosted: Sun Apr 03, 2005 8:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Are you able to interface your GPS and Palm so that the map stays updated with your current position?

Also, how much map information are you able to store? I'm trying to get a feeling for how much storage space I would need... The Zire 31 that I'm looking at comes with 16MB with the ability to use a SD card for much more storage space...
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RINO SHAWN
Geocacher


Joined: 18 Nov 2004

Posts: 194

PostPosted: Sun Apr 03, 2005 8:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pear Head,

I am using Rand McNally StreetFinder NAV Deluxe on palm and laptop...I like it...I would think that most of the software out there is pretty good now.

I like that I can really "geek it up" and use the laptop in my geomobile with my GPSr plugged in ....using the StreetFinder program on the laptop...I can see where I am on the map while I drive....(I know...it sounds dangerous to be watching the laptop while driving.....and it is Wink )

The program is supposed to work with GPS to a palm also but I have not tried that yet.

Shawn Very Happy
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RINO SHAWN
Geocacher


Joined: 18 Nov 2004

Posts: 194

PostPosted: Sun Apr 03, 2005 8:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I use a 256 SD card....If you want a lot of map segments loaded...I would get a bigger SD card than what you have.... I have 4 map segments loaded...along with some MP3 music on the card and it is about 80% full.
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Pear Head
Past MnGCA President


Joined: 04 Apr 2004

Posts: 5697

PostPosted: Sun Apr 03, 2005 8:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What is considered a "map segment"?
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RINO SHAWN
Geocacher


Joined: 18 Nov 2004

Posts: 194

PostPosted: Sun Apr 03, 2005 8:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't have experience with any of the other programs...but with Rand McNally.....you "pan" the map your looking at on your PC ...when your centered on the area you would like to send to the Palm, you get that "map Segment...(I would roughly guess it to be about 30 miles each direction from where you are centered)

for example, I wanted to be able to have Mpls and St. Paul streets and info (I also loaded the database so I can do a search of nearby restaurants, gas stations, hotels, etc.) ...That "segment" ( at least that's what I call it) reaches just to the South of Lakeville, and to the North ..just bareley reaches Isanti.....the spot that is "dead center" is close to equal distance between Mpls and St Paul

I bought this program on Clearance at Targert for $14.99 not knowing what it was going to be like.....I am pleasantly surprized how nice it is.

Rolling Eyes
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jaywc7
Geocacher


Joined: 13 Sep 2004

Posts: 360

PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2005 3:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have an older Sony Clie` Handheld. It was cool in it's day (about 3 years ago) but now is getting out of date. I'd really like to get a Tungsten C mainly for the wireless internet capability. My buddy who's a Mesaba pilot has one, and uses it in airports where there is always a wireless connection. The only problem is, my Clie` isn't worth more then $75 probably on ebay, and a new Tungsten C is about $350 last time I checked. Paypal is low right now, and just don't have the funds to upgrade. I figure there are ways to load GC material onto the Clie` just fine, but I can't see beginning now, when I'm about to switch PDAs anyways.
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Joelcam
Geocacher


Joined: 03 Oct 2003

Posts: 48

PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2005 8:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pear Head wrote:
Are you able to interface your GPS and Palm so that the map stays updated with your current position?

Also, how much map information are you able to store? I'm trying to get a feeling for how much storage space I would need... The Zire 31 that I'm looking at comes with 16MB with the ability to use a SD card for much more storage space...


I am able to track my current position on the map. It reads all the data from the GPSr on the palm. I have a 512Mb Memory Stick and have all of Minnesota, and the western half of Wisconsin. I have some 1500 waypoints loaded in there too. I have all the cache data saved using Mobi Pocket. I'm using a Sony Clie TH55 so I have the wireless internet for logging on the run at my nearest Caribou Coffee or Dunn Bros. There is a camera on the back side for taking a quick snapshot, and an MP3 player for some music while hiking. It's everything but the GPSr reciever, built in one device.
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RINO SHAWN
Geocacher


Joined: 18 Nov 2004

Posts: 194

PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2005 10:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Joelcam wrote:
Quote:
It reads all the data from the GPSr on the palm. I have a 512Mb Memory Stick and have all of Minnesota, and the western half of Wisconsin. I have some 1500 waypoints loaded in there too. I have all the cache data saved using Mobi Pocket. I'm using a Sony Clie TH55 so I have the wireless internet for logging on the run at my nearest Caribou Coffee or Dunn Bros. There is a camera on the back side for taking a quick snapshot, and an MP3 player for some music while hiking. It's everything but the GPSr reciever, built in one device.


I'm using the Zire72...the main differance between this and the Sony Clie Th55 is that instead of having "wi-fi", it has Bluetooth...Instead of finding a wi-fi signal at a coffee shop...I need a bluetooth equipped cell phone.

Also, I discovered, since they make a GPS reciever for the Zire72 that works off Bluetooth....They don't offer a cable to plug your handheld GPSr in to. (which is why I stated earlier that I haven't tried the GPS on the Palm yet)

I would rather buy a cable (if one was available)than a Bluetooth reciever.
So for now....On rare occasions, I will just hook up the handheld GPSr to my laptop.........
Hmmmmm?? I haven't purchased a new toy for at least a couple of weeks ??? A Wireless Bluetooth GPS reciever that could just stay in the cachemobile would be kinda cool Cool

My geowife is already said enuff is enuff after a recent laptop purchase.....and bluetooth to serial adapter....and power invertor........ Twisted Evil
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