Please visit our new site, GPSTracklog.com.
Please visit our new site, GPSTracklog.com.
It's that time of year, when handheld GPS enthusiasts' thoughts turn to
tech toys the outdoors. Yes, spring will be here soon, very soon for some of us, and I've got a few goodies for those of you ready to hit the trail:
More free maps for your Garmin GPS
I don't know who John M. is, but he's my hero du jour, because he's posted a southeastern U.S. map with 20 foot contour intervals at GPS File Depot (image at left). The map installs directly to MapSource. There's also one for New England and much of the southwest. As I perused the site, I also noticed an RSS feed, so you can easily be notified as new maps are posted. This is the best single location I know of for downloading free Garmin-compatible maps for the U.S. Now I just need someone to upload a transparent trails map for the southeast!
UPDATE: Check out my hands-on review of the DeLorme PN-40.
DeLorme is previewing a bunch of new features, some of which are due in an upcoming firmware update for the PN-40:
UPDATE: Check out my hands on Garmin nuvi 500 review to read about a nuvi with paperless geocaching ability built-in.
Geocaching is an awesome sport, that gets technology enthusiasts (and often their kids) outdoors, albeit with a gadget in their hands!
A handheld GPS designed for outdoor use is the best tool for this high-tech treasure hunt, but many GPS enthusiasts only have a car unit. Fortunately for those of you with a Garmin nuvi, a method has been developed to allow you to give the sport a try without investing in any more equipment.
Two climbers on Mount Hood have been rescued with an assist from a geocache. The climbers spent the night in a snow cave after a whiteout. They reached authorities via cell phone Tuesday morning and began their descent, but were unable to relay their location since they had no GPS.
Luckily, they stumbled across a geocache, which contained enough clues that rescuers were able to determine their location.
Today is Blog Action Day, a day when bloggers from all over the world are posting on the same topic -- the environment. According to their website, the idea is..."Every blogger will post about the environment in their own way and relating to their own topic. Our aim is to get everyone talking towards a better future."
So I've decided to post today on geocaching. These days video games, social networking sites and yes, blogs, keep kids (and me) at the computer way too much. Taking care of the environment is about taking care of future generations. But it's not just recycling and reducing our carbon footprint that we need to worry about. We need to expose them to the environment too; give them an appreciation of nature.
Have you heard of waymarking, the new GPS game from Groundspeak, the folks behind geocaching.com? Waymarking could be described as a more urban friendly geocaching, or even geocaching with a social network twist.
Waymarking.com describes a waymark as "a physical location on the planet marked by coordinates (latitude/longitude) and contains unique information defined within its waymark category. An outdoor maze waymark category, for example, could contain information like price of admission and days of operation..." And their category list is massive, including everything from off-leash dog parks to farmers markets to hot springs.
Waymarking grew out of the geocaching trend of creating "virtual caches" -- where there was no physical cache to discover. As a matter of fact, with the advent of waymarking.com, no new virtual caches can be listed at geocaching.com.
Most people reading this already know about geocaching, but did you know there are a host of other GPS-enabled games? There is benchmark finding, the degree confluence project and GPS drawing, but the list is even longer than that.
In each game, a large set of waypoints, called dashpoints, from all over the world is posted on the Web. Dashpoint locations are chosen at random by computer, with all the unpredictability that presents. Dashpoints might be in suburban neighborhoods or in the middle of wilderness areas.
Then, the race is on to see who can reach the most dashpoints before the deadline.
Geodashing players can participate as individuals or as teams of up to five players to increase the number of dashpoints reached. The competition is friendly and teamwork helps to get high scores, so put your online acquaintances to good use.
Because the dashpoints are spread all over the world, it doesn't matter where you live. Dashpoints are as likely to be near to you as to anyone else. It's easy to start playing. Pick a dashpoint, visit it, report what you find.
Last year I reported on a geocaching Christmas, now a firmly ensconced family tradition. For those of you not familiar with geocaching, it's a way to have fun with your GPS and get kids out of the house and hiking. And if you just got your first GPS, geocaching is a great introduction to GPS navigation.
Daisy Mae Duck is the lucky bird that hitched a ride to California, where she awaits her next trip at Ploverlook in MacKerricker State Park. According to Daisy Mae's web page, she wants to travel and see places like Florence, Tuscany, London, Australia, New Zealand and Germany. If you can help her out, give her a lift.