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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One response to this post.

  1. I wish GSAK was MAC Compatible!

    … though i tried it out on another computer… and the program was way over my head! All I really was trying to to was get the stats on my profile 😦 I stuck with Itsnotaboutthenumbers.com for that…

    Reply

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