Thursday, May 14, 2009

EasyGPS Helps PC and GPS Device Plan Trips Together

Steve Horton

May 14, 2009 8:17 pm

Ah, trip planning. If you'd like to set your itinerary of points of interest, landmarks, and destinations on your PC rather than struggling with a GPS's touchscreen, then EasyGPS is a nice, free solution. It works with numerous models of Eagle, Garmin, Magellan and Lowrance GPS receivers. It doesn't work with TomTom, nor does it work with the GPS receivers embedded in many popular mobile phones.

EasyGPS works fine with the tested Garmin Nuvi 200 standalone GPS; all I had to do was enter the model and plug it in to a USB port, and sending and receiving waypoints was simple. One issue is that entering new waypoints to transfer over requires knowing the longitude and latitude of the waypoint. A roadblock to this issue is that Google Maps doesn't give up its longitude & latitude easily. Simple paste this into your Web browser when centered on a desired location, and then a popup will appear with coordinates for EasyGPS:


The Nuvi 200 doesn't support route transfer at all, though, as it's a 15 month old model. Newer GPS models do, though, and EasyGPS works with those models. Waypoints easily transferred to the PC and back to the GPS, though.

One bug I found in EasyGPS occurred after dragging a route between multiple locations and hitting Undo. The route disappeared from the map, but so did all the waypoints associated with it. (The waypoints were still listed; I just couldn't see them on the map.) I had to restart EasyGPS to get the waypoints to appear on the map again.

EasyGPS can also come in handy for geocaching, which is the sport of hiding a cache of objects at a specific latitude & longitude and having other enthusiasts go find them. EasyGPS includes a couple of geocaching functions, but publisher TopoGrafix also promotes its GeoBuddy software for more specific geocaching uses, which has a GUI similar to EasyGPS.

Hikers and other on-foot travelers will love planning out their routes with EasyGPS, but it's also useful (and free) for those of us who use GPS to drive from one place to another.


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Low cost, child friendly geocaching GPS launches

Low cost, child friendly geocaching GPS get launched
LBS provider Apisphere is launching today its first consumer, hardware product, geomate.jr, a low cost ($69.95), single purpose GPS unit dedicated to geocaching.

The goal of this new product is to offer a geocaching experience out of the box and is particularly targeting kids. Geomate.jr has 250,000 geocaches preloaded, covering the entire USA. The device has a black and white screen with indication of the direction of the nearest geocache and its distance. Menus have been kept to a minimum to make it simple to operate.

Running on a SiRF StarIII chipset with 2 AA batteries, this device has an estimated 12 hours battery life. Moving forward Apisphere will sell a cable and software ($24.95) in order to maintain an up to date database or go geocaching out of the United States.

Low cost, child friendly geocaching GPS get launched
While geocaching is becoming more mainstream there was so far not such simple way to go geocaching. Warren Hewerdine, director of marketing at Apisphere believes that his first customers will be “the existing geocachers buying the product for their friends and relatives in order to introduce other people to the activity”. The second layer of customers are likely to be the existing outdoor community that could know about the activity but do not practice today.

In terms of distribution Apisphere has already signed an agreement with outdoor chain REI (107 stores in 27 States across the USA) where the product is already available, as well as on its website Geomate.jr will be also sold directly through the official geocaching website, Apisphere expects further deals to be made in order to enlarge the distribution of the product.

Geomate.jr was born from the idea developed by Navit Innovations, a start-up founded in 2007 by former SiRF employees Warren Hewerdine and Robert Harvey, and acquired by Apisphere in August 2008.

Link to story

Official Site
Buy it at REI

Darcie Gudger's article on the Geomate Jr.

CNET review of the Geomate Jr.

Friday, May 08, 2009


With this one, I got the last of the ones in my area to grab for lunch. :-( I'll have to drive further for any others. Or to a different part of town. Between the distance and the weather, my lunchtime grabs are about done.

I parked too far from this one, Mykawa Road Hideout. But it was windy here and I didn't mind the walk. The cache was nestled in some trees and difficult to find. Actually, I found two bottles first but they have been there for many years as the trees have grown around them and they can't be moved.

Still a nice hide. Signed log.


Another in the Sims Bayou Adventure series, I think I have one more left to do for it but it is farther away. I didn't care for this one too much because of where I had to park. My vehicle was out of sight from me and in this neighborhood, it could probably be broken into or disappear in a second.

As far as the geocache itself, Sims Bayou Adventure #3, I like the hide very much. Signed log. It was very warm and humid today with no wind around this one, too many trees.

Thursday, May 07, 2009


Darn GPS wouldn't settle down today. I briefly looked where I thought it, Sims Bayou Adventure #10, might be but it was heavily covered by weeds and I was afraid of sticking my hands in them. I looked around at some other obvious spots but nothing. I went back to the one spot I feared but then spied it. No weed whacking needed. Great hide! Signed log. I'm getting near the end of this great series.

And while it was warm and humid in Houston today, it was also pretty windy which made it tolerable. Also, on this hide, there is an elementary school across the street and the kids were outside running and playing and laughing and that was a nice background noise.

The cache is hidden in the picture above.


Got to go out for lunch today. This one, Sims Bayou Adventure #9, had me baffled for abit. I looked in the obvious place first but didn't look hard enough. My GPS was jumping all over the place today and I was having trouble finding ground zero. No muggles about but there definitely could be at times I imagine. The cache is still in good shape. Signed log. All except for one cache that I didn't care for (documented below), this series has been really nice.

The cache is hidden in the above pic.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Lunchtime grab?

I had plans to go out today but the free KFC deal caught my attention instead. I think you have until sometime later today to print the coupon.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009


A squirrel guarded the cache, Sims Bayou Adventure #4, for a second but he went on his way. Signed log.


Nice hide. In the Garden I couldn't get the log out.

Can you spot the cache?

Monday, May 04, 2009

Lunchtime grab? DENIED

Weather was fairly nice today, warm but low humidity. And I needed to get away from work.

I was hungry so I drove through Sonic to get food before I went hunting. As I waited, I fired up Geocache Navigator on my Blackberry and got the following message -

"Thank you for using Geocache Navigator. Your free trial period has expired. Please visit from your computer to learn how you can continue using the application and your data collected during the trial."


Went back to work and visited that site. Turns out May is National Fitness Month and they have their software for 50% off! Regular one year subscription is $39.99, on sale for $19.99. So, I did the yearly subscription. If you are using the free trial of Geocache Navigator, you might want to take advantage of this great deal!

Saturday, May 02, 2009


We had to take the youngest BadAnimal to the RediClinic today (he's had a sore throat for a couple of days (so have I, I think it is just allergies) and we wanted to make sure that he didn't have strep throat) and it was going to be a long wait and there were no seats available for me so I decided to take a walk.

I checked my Blackberry and saw there was a close cache, Among The Trees, nearby. As I got to ground zero, I stepped on a 3' or 4' stick that disturbed a water moccasin on the other end. I could have just as easily stepped right on this snake or very near to it. I took a quick pic with my Blackberry (zoomed in) and let it be in peace.

Finding a cache isn't worth getting bitten by a very poisonous snake. This did scare me and I was VERY VERY thankful that my kids were not with me. Geocaching, I'm finding out quickly, is not the safest of hobbies (snakes, spiders, thorns, bad people, etc.). I was just wearing tennis shoes and shorts, I didn't expect to go geocaching.

I'm going to insist that we all wear long pants and perhaps have walking sticks too if/when the next time we go.

If you attempt this cache, please be careful.

And always be aware of your surroundings wherever you go!

This is my second water moccasin that I have seen while geocaching. I don't think I have ever seen one in my entire life out in the wild and now I have found two within a month or so. Argh.

Is that really a water moccasin? From this site -

"If the water is close, then they will often dive for it, even if the threat is between them and escape. I have had them rush around me and over my feet to get to the water. This may be a source of some of the Water Moccasin's rumored (but non-existent) aggressiveness. Most other aquatic snakes will usually flee away from the threat even if it drives them away from the water.

However, if a Water Moccasin is caught out in the open, it will coil and display by opening its mouth wide exposing the white lining of its mouth (hence its second name cottonmouth). I believe that this behavior serves two purposes, as a threat and as a practical defense of its head. It would certainly be difficult to grab this animal by the head without being bitten.

Be advised, though the Water Moccasin is not aggressive, it will readily bite and bite from a Water Moccasin can be very serious. Their venom is very destructive to the tissue around the bite and bite victims often get nasty bacteriological infections like gangrene."

Friday, May 01, 2009

Opossum Update

Not on Opie or the babies unfortunately (see stories below) but on new possums.

My wife told me she thought she heard a noise behind the clothes drier out in the garage this evening and asked me to come check it out. I moved some wood we have beside it and underneath the drier hose leading out of the garage were two young possums. They aren't as small as the ones I had rescued the other day but they're not near as big as Opie.

I noticed this morning that most of the cat food was gone in the garage and saw a bunch of slobber in the cat bowl too (they're messy eaters!). I wondered if we had new visitors. Now we know.

I'm happy.

I'll try to get a picture of them. I just went out to try to get that picture but they're not in the same place. :-(

I just went out to see if I could see them, it's 1:45 am, and I caught an adult possum eating the cat food. Hmmm, we have more than we thought.


Another easy park and grab, Sims Bayou Adventure #8. Mosquitoes seemed a little less thick here even though it was only about a block away. I still maybe had time to grab another but I was tired of the mosquitoes and was ready to be rid of them. I liked this hide. Took none, left two. Signed log.


This one, Sims Bayou Adventure #7, was an easy park and grab. The mosquitoes were still very bad and they followed me into my vehicle. I think this was my first bison tube. Signed log.


Went for some lunchtime grabs today, first time in two weeks. First one was, Law Park - YAMS #5 .

This one is very near a park and a bayou. I was able to travel down a sort of road that wound into the weeds and trees just about 100' in so nobody could see my vehicle from the street which made me a little nervous (remember, I'm still not in the best part of town). I couldn't drive all the way to the cache because of recent rains. Alot of garbage around this one, large, dumped items, you'd need dump trucks to perform CITO. The actual cache is just a couple of steps into the weeds and trees. I took 2 items and left 3. Signed log. Oh yeah, the mosquitoes ate me alive!

The cache -

Me not too happy about the swarm of mosquitoes. Looks like I killed one on the right-side of my jaw, note the smeared blood.

The road leading to the cache -