Thursday, May 14, 2009
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
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.
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 REi.com. Geomate.jr will be also sold directly through the official geocaching website, geocaching.com. 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
Buy it at REI
Darcie Gudger's article on the Geomate Jr.
CNET review of the Geomate Jr.
Friday, May 08, 2009
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.
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
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.
The cache is hidden in the above pic.
Wednesday, May 06, 2009
Tuesday, May 05, 2009
Monday, May 04, 2009
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 www.TrimbleOutdoors.com/bbsoftware 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
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
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'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.
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 -