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Thread: PDAs for Geocaching

  1. #1
    octopusann Guest

    Default PDAs for Geocaching

    I'm thinking of getting a PDA but of course it must be the right one for geocaching. Has anyone got any advice please?:cheers:

  2. #2
    molfrew-mosstoad Guest

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    Hi,

    Right youll bound to get lots of different opinions on this one so heres mine.

    We have an HP ipaq rx5700 which was the first pda we have ever bought.

    It came with WM 5, Tom Tom 6 pre-installed (great for getting to those parking coords ) built in GPS and loads of other software we havent used.
    We then bought Memory map & GPX Sonar for caching and upgraded to a 2 gb storage card (mainly for the maps) and 18 months on we are still really happy with it. Now we tend to use GSAK and export html files to the memory card instead of GPX Sonar.

    Ok its not got wi fi, but then we dont need it, and now there are probably loads of models around with better spec. It was cheap at the time around 120 and does everything we want it to. Its been reliable aprt from a couple of soft resets but nothing to write home about.

    One other thing to consider may be an otter box or simular to carry thepda in as the pda is no where near as robust as our old garmin was and definatly isnt waterproof.

    Anyway thers my opinion Im sure youll get some others soon.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Apr 2008
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    Surrey, near Heathrow
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    143

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    Quote Originally Posted by octopusann View Post
    I'm thinking of getting a PDA but of course it must be the right one for geocaching. Has anyone got any advice please?:cheers:
    Sorry this is a bit late! As m-m says, there is a wide choice and what you choose may also depend on factors other than geo-caching. For example, it is a primary requirement for me that it be combined with my phone. This has led me to aquire a considerable number of such devices, none of which is perfect but one of which is acceptable (after much fiddling). Fortunately I can justify getting so many because I work with GPS professionally.

    My minimum requirements are that I want it to be a phone, an email client and internet browser, a GPSr suitable for SatNav, geocaching and boating, a geocache database, an eBook reader, an MP3 player, a contacts database, calculator, calendar/scheduler, a place to make notes and a general purpose database for pretty much anything and everything. These are primary functions that I use extensively every day. I also want sometimes to watch movies, play games, use a spreadsheet and have an alarm wake me up in the morning, and occasionally it's nice to have a camera with me. The unit must be compact and have a minimum 8Gb storage. I have some units with keyboards and some without. I find I never use the keyboard, in which case it just adds a little unnecessary bulk.

    It's easy enough from the spec sheets to find devices that purport to do all these things, but while they tell you if it has a GPSr, they don't tell you if it is suitable for geocaching!

    I have the original O2 XGA Orbit. This is possibly a little underpowered, but otherwise is perfect in every respect except one. The GPSr is the excellent SiRF III chip. It works brilliantly for SatNav and as a chart plotter. But it has a thing called the "static navigation filter" enabled, which makes it almost useless for geocaching - the position doesn't update when you are moving slowly. It has defied all attempts to disable this filter because we are unable to get write access to the chip.

    I also have an O2 XDA Stellar and an O2 XDA Orbit 2. These are fine bits of kit, except that they use the Qualcomm GPSr, which may well be the worst GPS chipset ever made. They are rubbish for caching and not that much better for anything else. If you have an excellent signal they work. Regrettably, in the real world an excellent signal is the exception rather than the rule.

    Finally, I have an Asus P750. This also has the SiRF III chipset, and originally it also had the static navigation filter enabled. But the crucial difference is that on this device we can get write access to the chipset and have been able to turn it off . The GPSr performance of this device is now very nearly as good as my eTrex HCx, which itself is pretty good. There is a problem with this device in that it has less RAM than its competitors, and Asus supply it with a built in program that uses most of what little there is . But I've been able to disable this program and it's now OK. For some people the screen may be a bit on the small side, but that doesn't bother me. This is the device I've ended up using from day to day.

    For software I use TomTom for SatNav, Memory Map for geocaching, and OziExplorer for geocaching and as a chart plotter. At present I'm still using a free program called GPXView as the geocache database, but it's not integrated with any of the other programs. I'm evaluating CacheMate which can be integrated with MemoryMap, but it looks like quite a bit of work to do that and I'm not sure if it will be worth the bother. I also run a little program I wrote myself that does conversions to and from OS grid references, and also performs polar projections.

    Hope this helps,

    Rgds, Andy

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