Archive for February, 2009

This is how we do it!!

I thought that we would explain to our followers (if we have any) how we use GSAK to accomplish our geocaching goals.

For those that don’t know, GSAK stands for Geocaching Swiss Army Knife. Because we are premium members with Geocaching.com we are able to download Pocket Queries (PQ’s) every day if we wish, for a total of 5 PQ’s per day. We run most of our PQ’s during the middle of the week, with one last PQ on Friday for the most recent caches in our state, Arizona.

We take these PQ’s and run them into a database in GSAK of all the caches in the state of Arizona that we wish to hunt, currently close to 5,000 caches. Most every cache with a terrain rating of 2 or higher is in our PQ’s. The reason we pick two or higher, this was a tip from a friend, is that it seems to weed out most of the Micro caches. We also have a special PQ that includes all event caches, earthcaches, virtual caches, and Wherigo caches as well. The Littlest_Hkr doesn’t want to hunt for Micros anymore, as there are no trade opportunities for him. Since he is my partner, it works for me too because I am able to actually go for a walk while caching. We both seem to enjoy events, virtuals, and earthcaches so we include these in our hunts no matter what their ratings are.

Once we have these all loaded up in our AllAZ database we can then manipulate them in many ways using GSAK. At the moment we have put in polygons (geographic areas using coordinates) of both the counties in Arizona, and of the DGP Regions as well. If you don’t know about the DGP then you might want to check it out.

In this way we are able to fine tune our uploads to both our old Palm I705 and our Garmin Etrex Vista Hcx using only the areas that we will be hunting geocaches, as well as with only the caches we want to hunt for the weekend. This means no more PQ’s of the areas we are heading to in advance, and no more Caches along a Route either. We can now more easily upload only a few hundred caches in each device instead of the 1,000 limit for our GPSr.

I have been using GSAK for roughly three and a half years now. I haven’t really been using it to its full potential until the last month or so. It has really helped us fine tune our planning and hunting to specific areas and caches. I can easily look up what caches I need to complete the Arizona Well Rounded Cacher (Fizzy Challenge), or what caches I can grab for our last two pages of the Arizona DeLorme Challenge. We can see the caches to pick up in Lake Havasu City when we visit family just by picking the Mohave County polygon. We already have a list of the 200 closest caches to the A.J.A.C.S Campout this year, making our planning much easier. It has made caching much less time consuming now that all of this has been set up. It does take some time to set up, and there is a bit of a learning curve, but no computer coding is involved.

If you are using GSAK, good for you as it is a wonderful resource. If you are really using GSAK, even better for you because now you have more time to cache and less time in the planning stages. We learned how we use GSAK the way we do from reading the GSAK forums, they are a very good resource and everyone is very eager to answer questions when they are asked. We learned how to grab the information we neede in PQ’s from a friend who will remain nameless, but they have helped immensly. We were able to get help on our DGP polygons from Corfman Clan and the Admin of the DGP, for which we will always be grateful for the hard work they put in making the DGP polygons much more GSAK friendly.

Geocachers are some of the brightest and friendlest people. We have found that if you ask questions, someone is almost always more than willing to help. At least here in Arizona. Other regions or states may vary.

Until Next time,

Mark & Johnny
Flag_Mtn_Hkrs

Just Cache It! !

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63 – 28

No it is not the score of a seriously lopsided game of basketball or football. It was the variation in temperature we experienced on Sunday. I swear it had to be hotter than 63 at the event we attended in Yuma. I was wearing a long sleeved t shirt though so my idea may have been a bit off. We arrived home to 28 degrees and a foot of snow in the driveway at 21:30 hrs. It took me an hour to shovel the driveway and I have been battling the white stuff for the last 2 days now. Isn’t the diversity of everything in AZ wonderful?

Either way, the family attended the Yuma Event #6 and everyone had a wonderful time. The food was amazing to say the least. Tri Tip BBQ with coleslaw, beans, tortilla. Mmmmm good fo sure. I had also reserved two new geocoins to help pay for the event. A beautiful copper and gold coin each has the state of AZ on one side and the other has the ocean to ocean highway bridge on the other. Very neat indeed.

There were lots of give away prizes and plenty of mingling going on. I was able to meet and greet many people I already knew from past events, and met a few new ones. You all know who you are. Johnny was able to see AJ.JR which is always a highlight for him at any event. He sure do like them people, I have to say I enjoy their company as well.

The event and the following CITO made it possible for us to work on the One Busy Day: The Arizona Icon Challenge, where a cacher or team needs to get six different cache types on one day in order to be able to grab the actual cache. We were able to do this and will be grabbing the actual cache sometime in March. We also were working on the Arizona DeLorme Challenge. We picked up an additional 5 pages, which leaves us only 2 more to go, pages 16 and 17 in northern AZ.

We really enjoyed ourselves and needed a break after a rough couple of weeks prior. The date shakes in Dateland on the way home were exceptional and we recommend that anyone who likes dates stop and get one. Good stuff. We saw a few cachers dashing out behind the restaurant on the way in, so I followed and were able to grab a cache there as well. Thanks for the help Team TKW 98, couldn’t have done it without ya.

Three day weekend coming up for most. Where you headed? Are you caching? Where will we be? Guess you will have to check back later to find out.

All for now,

Mark & Johnny
Flag_Mtn_Hkrs

Yuma we go

We are heading to Yuma this weekend to work on the AZ DeLorme and to also check out the cool Yuma Event everyone talks about. We hope to have fun and see old friends and make some new ones as well.

We are not going on gigantic cache runs. We are only grabbing a select few and seeing if we can grab six different cache types in one day. I don’t know if we can do it or not, time will tell.

The family needs a break and snow is on the way. Warm is in store the next two weekends. Can’t wait.