Archive for January, 2012
This post was originally written for It’s Not About The Numbers.
Whilst a lot of us like to take photos while caching, with Garmin’s latest update to a number of their recent units, they have now opened new possibilities of taking photos with you where you go caching.
Why is this useful? Well, we’ve all come across caches that have a hint such as ‘see photo’ or ‘see spoiler photo’ but of course the photo doesn’t get downloaded with the GPX we get from websites. So we’re stuck out in the field, without a hint. And if we’re out of cell coverage, then we’re not going to be able to download the spoiler photo on our phones at GZ.
Naturally, Garmin have fully integrated the photo experience with their OpenCaching.com website, and you can now download photos with the GPX and they will be seemlessing installed onto your GPS (the models supported, via the latest software updates, are the Montana, Oregon x50, Dakota, GPSMAP 62/78, and eTrex 20/30). Those of us that use other, somewhat larger, geocaching sites aren’t left entirely in the cold however – Garmin does tell us how to load photos manually, and there is already a couple of GSAK macros that can be used to select, and upload to the GPS, ‘grabbed images’. Note that these macros (one to aid selection of grabbed images, and the other to do the preparation and uploading to the GPS) is very much in the experimental state, and still has a fair amount of refinement to go. It is also coming along in leaps and bounds and improving rather quickly!
I tried the GSAK approach this afternoon, and selected a few photos from unfound caches near my hometown of Christchurch. Worked no problems, and I now have direct access to photos on the GPS, just like the description, logs and hints. The only real catch at this stage, is that the photos must be installed on the internal storage of the GPS, and they cannot be stored on the microSD card.
I’ve included some screenshots to give you some idea what it looks like. First up, top right, looking at the description of a cache shows a photo icon down the bottom left to indicate that this cache has photos attached.
Next up, below left, the paperless cache page has added Show Photos between Description and Logs, and on the right, a thumbnail view of the photos associated with the cache.
And finally, the photo itself. In this case, on the Montana, I rotated the GPS to landscape to get more viewable area. For those that recall the Christchurch earthquake on 22 February 2011 that killed 181 people – its epicentre was just out of the left edge of this photo.
Personally this is a welcome addition to the caching arsenal, and I’ll be very interested to see the development of the GSAK macros over the next couple of weeks!
This post was originally written for It’s Not About The Numbers.
MEET OUR NEW BLOGGER
RedIguana hails from the shaky city of Christchurch, New Zealand. He is an emergency manager by trade, and some of his interests outside of geocaching include travel, photography, mapping, and open source software and data. An ‘old-skool’ cacher, Rediguana (real name Gavin Treadgold) started geocaching in May 2001.
It’s been a little while since I’ve written on a blog, so I figure I’ll start slowly and introduce myself. Never fear, this isn’t my first time blogging – I have done plenty, including under a pseudonym in the rather vitriolic atmosphere of the New Zealand political blogging scene quite a few years back.
I don’t think I can deny that I am what you’d call an ‘old-skool’ cacher. I purchased my first GPS – a Garmin 12 XL – in Sydney, Australia in April 2001, and then went on to find my first cache in Christchurch early that May. From then, I was hooked, and have remained so.
I have a rather inglorious record of placing the first micro cache in New Zealand (a 35mm cannister thrown in a bush), which was also our first true puzzle and crypto cache. I think I can also be blamed for the green spray-painted containers with yellow, stenciled ‘geocaching’ lettering that you often see around the South Island.
Since those early days, I’ve cached in 10 countries worldwide, including Iceland and Sri Lanka. I found my 10,000th cache earlier this year. I’m also lucky enough to have found a Project Ape cache, and completed the caching quinella of the Original Stash memorial and Groundspeak HQ.
I have a simple caching philosophy: Gotta find them all. Given the last 2-3 years of placement rates, however, I’m increasingly having to find contentment with clearing out areas instead. I’ll do pretty much anything for a cache, and I’m happy doing puzzles, or long physical days for just a find or two. I also love well-designed challenge caches (not Geocaching.com challenges) and my current focus is on completing the Doctor of Geocaching Science – of which I am one of the ‘professors’ responsible for its placement.
In late 2002, the New Zealand Department of Conservation (DOC) discovered geocaching, and became interested in collecting a concession – a charge for commercial operators on DOC land. At this point, the geocaching community jumped into action and formed the New Zealand Recreational GPS Society Inc, so that we had a legal entity to operate with, and form agreements if need be.
I was one of the society’s 15 founders, and remain on its management committee to this day – I’m currently Secretary/Treasurer. Once we had communicated to DOC that geocaching is, at its heart, a non-commercial activity, they left us be. These days, the society is more interested in the promotion of GPS and geocaching for active outdoor lifestyles, and we’re in the process of organising New Zealand’s inaugural MEGA event in Dunedin this coming October.
I will admit now that I am a Garmin addict, and I much prefer the traditional ruggedised handheld GPS receivers – my current tool is the Garmin Montana 650. I carry an iPhone 4 as well but it’s for backup, notes, photos and Wherigo. So you’ll definitely find me a contrarian to the smartphone-loving crowd, but the smartphone definitely has its place in my pockets!
I also enjoying tinkering in GSAK, and have been known to write a macro or two, mostly to help track completion of some New Zealand challenge caches, but have also developed the county boundaries for New Zealand as well as the New Zealand region and state maps that you see in FindStatGen.
Slightly further out on the periphery, I am a keen mapper and strong proponent of open mapping data. I have been involved with the New Zealand Open GPS Maps project since its inception, and I am finding myself increasingly contributing tracks and roads visited whilst out caching to OpenStreetMap.
All this geocaching results in travel, and I’ve been to some pretty amazing places over the years as a result of both. This has also cultivated a very keen interest in photography, and I love nature, landscape and wildlife photography.
Anyway, enough from me. Why aren’t you caching?