Thursday, 16 April 2009

Sometimes there are wee things that can make life that little bit easier...

Like a bottle opener on your keyring, a lip balm in your pocket on a wintery day, a buff somewhere on your body all year round or even an iPhone loaded with an application that lets you have all you need for a quick Geocache when nobody's looking.

Sometimes when you have prior commitments it can be hard to actually get out to go play in the Mountains. It's times like these that I generally adjust, faff and fiddle with gear, and plan for future trips. Occasionally though to remain sane (relatively speaking) I'll pop on the pooter then grab my trusty G.P.S. and head out for a wee wander to see if I can find a Geocache. Its not hill time but at least it's outside and it beats sitting on your arse watching Corrie and Deppressed-enders!

A while ago I got an official Geocaching application for my iPhone and I recently decided to put it through it's paces. It's turned out to be quite good actually. It uses the iPhone's G.P.S., interweb access and mapping functions together to create a fairly slick package that does away with the reqirement for a PC. This means I can go Geocaching on the spur of the moment, wherever I am in the world and that's gotta be a good thing eh?

First you open the application and it automatically locates the iPhone using the G.P.S. and then goes to the Geocaching webpage and gives you a list of the caches near your location.

You then select one and it lets you see the cache description and some recent logs.

You can then ask it to show the cache location on the map and ask for a route from your current location to cache. You can even see yourself as a wee blue dot on the map getting closer to the cache pin.

Once you are close, you have to close the map and open the application again to go to the cache description page. Then you select navigate to bring up the compass screen which should navigate you to the cache. This is pehaps my only complaint (and its only a wee niggle) but it would be nicer if you could just press a button to bring back the navigation screen instead of having to close and open different applications.

I've found the iPhone's G.P.S. to be accurate to about 17m which is good enough for me. You can even post a log or field note from the iPhone aswell. I havent actually used this function this yet but I see no reason why it should'nt work. I'll try it next time and update this if it does'nt.

Found it!

Sending an Alien Travel Bug on it's merry way.

Can you see me?

More info here.

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