The blog is not finished! But after the Theft (yes, capital letters), the want/need to update the blog took second fiddle to dealing with the Theft and just finishing the trip sans computer. Since being home, it's been hard to get that motivation to complete it. But I will. Ever so slowly. Please be patient!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Getting My Geek On

I am a geek. A major geek. There are many different types of geeks. There’s the sports geek(Kevin). There’s the legal geek(Daniel). There’s the music geek(Katie, Sarah, Shane, Scott). Me. . . I’m the outdoor geek. More specifically, I am a geocaching geek. Big time. So much so that I’ve spent a considerable amount of time figuring out how I can geocache on my trip. \

First things first, for those not enlightened as to what geocaching is, geocaching is, for lack of a better, less humourous description, using multi-million dollar government satellites to find tupperware hidden in the woods. In 2000, when the US government opted to make the use of GPS satellites more accessible for the general public, a man in Oregon decided to test this sudden increase in GPS unit accuracy by placing a pail in the woods and posting the coordinates online for others to find. Since then the hobby/sport has exploded. There are now literally thousands upon thousands of geocaches hidden around the entire globe. In Saskatoon alone, there are almost 1000 that I haven’t even found yet. They can be smaller than a penny, hidden under a park bench, or as large as a five-gallon pail hidden along a path by the river.

I got into geocaching in 2006 after reading an article in the local newspaper about it(coincidentally, the person who wrote that article turned out to be the boyfriend of someone I became friends with a few years later in University). It took me a few months to convince myself to get a GPS device. Since then, I have found 187 geocaches. Not a lot considering someone that started a year or so after me is now up to at least 2000 finds.

With this trip, I wanted to be able to geocache in some of these places I’ll be visiting. One thing I love about geocaching, besides the thrill of the hunt, is how it can take you to places you would never normally visit. If I can find hidden gems in my own city, imagine the out of the way places I could find in a country I’ve never been before.

To do this, I needed to figure some things out. First, the thing one needsIMG_0027 to actually find these things: a GPS. I am using a Garmin Etrex Legend. The first and only GPS I have ever owned. It has yet to fail me. Beside it, in the picture, is the GPS-to-serial cord which is connected to a serial-to-USB cord so that I can connect the GPS to the computer.

Which comes to the next item I need to geocache: the computer.IMG_0025  I have an ASUS Eee PC. It’s actually what I am typing on right now. It’s a cute little device. On it I have EasyGPS software which can upload and download large amounts of waypoints(coordinates) to and from the GPS unit. This is great as it can get very tiring to imput so many digits to find a geocache. Downloading them all into the GPS will save me considerable work. I am also testing out DNRGarmin which is a much more simple in basis program. I might opt for this latter one over EasyGPS for the main fact that DNRGarmin is less of a burdon on my computer than EasyGPS(and takes up far less hard drive space). My only qualm with DNRGarmin is that there is no way, that I have found yet, that I can change waypoint information if I need to(For puzzle geocaches for instance).

Finally, I have my Ipod Touch. On it, I have downloaded an app, called GeoSphere, which enables me to download a ton of geocaching information to use offline. Things like descriptions, previous peoples logs, hints, and so on. I have used this app on a few geocaching excursions here at home and it has already proven to be well worth the $8 investment.

If interested, check out some of these links: – Geocaching website – EasyGPS –DNRGarmin - Geosphere

No comments:

Post a Comment