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Thread: Please help a novice get to grips with his new toy

  1. #1
    marrsy_2000 Guest


    I hope some of the experienced members can help me. i just bought a Garmin
    E-Trex to have a go at Geocaching, which will give me a good excuse to get out into the countryside. I thought of buying a dog but thought my 3 cats might object.

    Anyway my problem is this:

    I can't seem o get my E-Trex to give me the correct co-ordinated of where I am. If I go to a local landmark and look on my OS map I was expecting my E-Trex to show a 6 figure grid ref. But acording to the E-Trex I am somewhere else?. I have tried changing the settings. I set it to OS Datum and tried some of the different formats eg digital coordinates but I can't seem to get ti to show what I would expect. Please tell me what I am doing wrong. I hope it is something simple that I have missed and not that it is faulty.

    Please help. I was hoping to go out and try to find my first cache over Easter.

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Chippenham, Wiltshire


    Hi marrsy 2000 and welcome to geocachig.

    If you want to use your eTrex for geocaching then you'll need to use the WGS-84 datum, a worldwide datum for a worldwide hobby. You may also need to adjust the format to "ab cd.efg" which is the correct number of digits.

    Happy caching

    Caching since 2001
    Founder member of GAGB (2003)
    Committee (2003-2013)
    Chair of GAGB (2010-2012)
    Negotiator of 18 Landowner Agreements
    GAGB Friend

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    St Helens, Lancs, UK


    You don't say which Etrex you are using but if the display is similar to my Etrex Vista then I think that what may be confusing you is that on the satellite page it shows the position something like this:
    SJ 12345
    BNG 67890

    That is a 10 digit OS coordinate, i.e SJ 1234567890 which is the same as SJ 123678 which is probably what you have read from the paper map.

    But Wombles are quite right that you need to set it to WGS84 and dd mm.mmm for Geocaching as most of the time we refence caches on that basis. OS coordinates are quoted on the web pages and can be used but I think that most people don't use them.

    Anyway good luck with your new Etrex - be warned though that Geocaching can get addictive. If still puzzled why not make contact with a local geocacher either through this forum or the groundspeak forum which has a pinned thread to put newcomers in touch with mentors.
    Enjoy your caching!

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Lowton, Lancs


    Hello all,
    I came across thread as another novice who is thinking of buying an etrex. I'm glad to hear it is possible to work out grid references with one as I'd need to justify the purchase with being able to use it for hiking as well!
    Is this the best entry level GPS that one can go for at a low price at present? I'm having fun geocaching using map, compass and inspiration so far, but the time will come when I have to join the 21st century..........

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