iPad, Geocaching and MotionX GPS

Discussion in 'iPad FAQ' started by deckyon, Dec 10, 2010.

  1. deckyon
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    deckyon iPad Junkie

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    I dont know how many people actually know what Geocaching is, however I bet a lot more know now than when I first started participating in it. Basically, it is a GPS-driven treasure hunt. There is a site (Geocaching.com), well, more than just one now, but only one is REALLY usable world-wide right now. You go there, set up a free account, enter you lat/long and start looking on the site for Caches to find.

    There are a few ways to export the cache information. One (which is the easiest to transfer to you standard GPS devices) is GPX, however you have to pay a membership fee of $30/year. The one I will focus on for the most part here is the LOC export which is free, but requires a conversion tool to create the GPX formatted file.

    You can only export 1 LOC file at a time to your PC, which is ok. You can combine up to 12 in one file for the conversion I will go over in a few. Below are the 2 main sites you will need for this.

    Geocaching Web: Geocaching - The Official Global GPS Cache Hunt Site
    LOC -> GPX Tool: Free GPS track and waypoint converters

    Find the cache you want to find and click on the LOC button to export it to a file called "geocaching.loc". It creates the file that looks like:
    Code:
    <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
    <loc version="1.0" src="Groundspeak">
    <waypoint>
        <name id="GC2GEXW"><![CDATA[Cattail Beach by BluegrassBaker]]></name>
        <coord lat="38.31099" lon="-85.578762"/>
        <type>Geocache</type>
        <link text="Cache Details">http://www.geocaching.com/seek/cache_details.aspx?wp=GC2GEXW</link>
    </waypoint></loc>
    If you want to get more for your day of caching, just keep searching for caches and downloading the LOC files (different names) and you will combine them with a text editor. Note: The subscription fee allows you to create queries and export the query results to an already formatted GPX file.

    You will keep the following header and footer for the LOC file.
    Code:
    <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
    <loc version="1.0" src="Groundspeak">
    
    </loc>
    Insert up to 12 waypoints into one file. The reason will be clear in a few. Insert the waypoint code (below) in between the <LOC...> and </LOC> tags.
    Code:
    <waypoint>
        <name id="GC2GEXW"><![CDATA[Cattail Beach by BluegrassBaker]]></name>
        <coord lat="38.31099" lon="-85.578762"/>
        <type>Geocache</type>
        <link text="Cache Details">http://www.geocaching.com/seek/cache_details.aspx?wp=GC2GEXW</link>
    </waypoint>
    Now that you have 1 LOC file with up to 12 caches (waypoints) you can download and extract the LOC->GPX app I linked above. Once you unzip it, you will drag and drop the LOC file onto the LOC2GPX.EXE app. It will convert the LOC file and create a new GPX file.

    Next, I assume you will have the MotionX GPS HD app installed on your iPad. The price and the functionality are bar none the best I have found and it offers an import feature to allow your to import this GPX file onto your iPad so you dont have to manually key in the lat/long for every cache.

    Email the new GPX file to "GPSimport@motionx.com". They only accept up to 12 caches (waypoints) per conversion, and since they do it for free, meh, can't complain. Within 5 minutes, you will get an email back with 2 links: one for the iPhone and one for the iPad (HD). Make sure you send the email from an account that you have sync'd with your iPad, or you can forward it to your iPad email account.

    On the iPad, open up the email and click on the appropriate link and MotionX GPS will run and ask if you wish to import the waypoints. Hit Yes and they will appear in the waypoint list.

    Here is a Screenshot of it from my iPad. You can see the details with the Name of the waypoint as the Name of the cache on the Geocaching website.

    Geocaching has an app, however it is for the iPhone only and I believe it costs $9.99. Since we have a huge screen to play with, it is really easy to both look at the website and use the MotionX GPS to head out caching. I recommend some kind of case while caching. Depending on where you are and where the cache is, there can be some decently difficult terrain to trudge through.

    As a hobby it is a blast. I started doing this with a Magellan Meridian Platinum and had to sync it with my PC for the waypoints and it took much longer to get them set up than it does now with the iPad and MotionX. Plus, with the 3G, you can view the cache pages and hints live without having to print out the pages and bring them with.

    Anyway, just wanted to share a fun hobby and how the iPad can fit into it with you all. Enjoy.

    Attached Files:

  2. CPGoldstein
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    CPGoldstein iPF Novice

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    Great post, thanks Deckyon! I'm going to go caching tomorrow and looking forward to using my iPad (in the car) and my <cough, cough> android phone in the field!

    -CP
  3. CPGoldstein
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    CPGoldstein iPF Novice

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    My imports are not showing up ... any ideas?
  4. deckyon
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    deckyon iPad Junkie

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    need more information.
  5. Cham_001
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    Cham_001 iPF Novice

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    Brad,
    :)


    A great Post, thanks for the clear and detailed info'.
    I will look into this once I return to London.
  6. Mountain_Wanderer
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    Mountain_Wanderer iPF Noob

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    Just heard about Munzee and geocaching

    I have an I phone and an I Pad and try to learn about all that they can do. Recently I learned on the Podcacher podcast about Munzee and this led me to find that this new GPS game may come to the I pad sometime soon. It never ceases to amaze me how technology is advancing so fast especially in the non business areas. Great to see how we can have fun and be more productive at the same time.

    MW
  7. mePad
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    mePad iPF Novice

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    I just downloaded it to my iPad. I'll try it out this evening on a cache on my way home from work.

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