Archive for July, 2009|Monthly archive page

Puzzle Solving 101

Here’s a great series of Puzzle Caches by ePeterso2 in a lesson format. The location is Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, but you can still solve them remotely and post a note that you did it. Maybe you’ll even be in Ft. Lauderdale at some point and can find them too. Either way they’re good practice for solving puzzles no matter where you are.

Garmin Custom Waypoint Symbols

You can use BCaching to send geocaching waypoints to your Garmin device using custom geocaching waypoint symbols that differentiate cache type (Traditional, Multi-Cache, Mystery Cache, Letterbox, etc.) using the following symbol set:

Custom Symbols

First you must load the custom symbols onto your device (see below), then to use the custom symbols, go to the BCaching Desktop Map View, find the location you want to use as the center of the geocache data to load. Click [Send to Garmin Device] at the bottom of the page, then choose [Custom Waypoint Symbols] and follow the rest of the instructions on that page to finish.

Note that using Custom symbols will limit the Geocaching “functionality” built into some Garmin devices since only one symbol can be designated as a  “Geocache” that can be marked “Found”. If you want to retain that functionality for all geocache types then don’t use this feature. If you want to designate one of the custom symbols as a Geocache (such as the symbol for Traditional since they’re the most common), use the the Geocache Setup function on your device (on the 60CSx: Find => Geocache => Menu => Geocache Setup) and change the Find symbol.

Loading Symbols onto your Garmin Device

  1. To load the custom symbols into your Garmin device, you must first download and install Garmin’s xImage utility (for Windows 2000 or later only).
  2. Then download the Custom Waypoint Symbols ZIP file and extract them to a temporary folder on your computer.
  3. Connect your Garmin device to your computer and turn it on.
  4. Run the xImage program and click [Next] on the Welcome page.
  5. On the Device Settings page, click [Find Device] to identity and select your device, then click [Next].
  6. Click [Send images to the GPS] and click [Next].
  7. Click [Select All] to highlight all Waypoint Symbols then click [Next].
  8. Browse for and select the Custom Waypoint Symbols folder from where you extracted the ZIP file and click [OK]. xImage will then send the images to your device.
  9. Click [Finish] to exit.

BCaching Release 0.5

Release 0.5 includes a few new Desktop Map features (no mobile enhancements with this release)

  • Desktop Map now includes a Filter panel that allows filtering of geocache types, containers, terrain, difficulty and more.
  • You can now download a summary GPX file (up to 999 waypoints) based on the current filter. The GPX file may be used in Google Earth or to send to your GPS device. The summary includes additional waypoints, but it does not include descriptions or logs. Enter the maximum number of waypoints (default is 500) and click the [Download GPX] button at the bottom of the Desktop Map page.
  • You can also send cache data directly to your Garmin device using the Garmin Communicator web plug-in. It also uses the current filter and sends the same information that would be sent in the GPX file. To begin, click the [Send to Garmin Device] button at the bottom of the Desktop Map page.

If you encounter any issues, please post them on the forum.

– Update 7.28.2009

This wasn’t quite ready last week, but now you can also send waypoints to your Garmin using Custom Waypoint Symbols that represent cache type: traditional, multi, letterbox, mystery, etc. See the follow-up post for details.

BCaching Statistics July’09

I posted a few updates over the past couple months and growth has been steady. The application updates included:

  • Handling special characters (like colon ‘:’) in usernames
  • Using a mobile profiles database to determine if javascript is supported or not
  • Added a Google Maps view (for desktop browsers, not mobile) that shows all your unfound caches in an overlay. Similar to the one on geocaching.com but seems a bit faster. The geocaching.com one also lets you select search criteria and this one does not… yet. I used to use google earth to explore area caches, but now I use this most of the time.
  • Alternate mobile style sheet for larger mobile screens (like BB Storm, Android or iPhone) to show text bigger and make it easier to click links if it’s a touch screen.

User activity on the site has been growing.

  • 218 users have completed activation with a “My Finds” pocket query. That’s about 50 new users per month over the past 3 months.
  • 147 users have uploaded additional pocket queries to make the site usable for them.
  • 40 of those users have been active on bcaching in the past 30 days.
  • The database has grown to 675 MB.
  • 216,260 caches.
  • 1,177,336 cache logs.

BCaching users are from all over the world based on the locations of uploaded cache data.

  • 56 countries are represented with the majority of cache data from the United States (164,693), followed by Germany (17,344), Canada (11,947), the U.K. (8,454), and Belgium (3,449).

Keep on caching paperless!