Geocaching with the Droid

I got my Motorola Droid a few weeks ago and love it. It was a little sad to retire my blackberry pearl that had served me faithfully for the past two years but I love having a fast and reliable desktop-class browser in my pocket with a high-resolution large screen and a decent full keyboard.

I’ve been using as my source for paperless geocache information and for field notes for over a year and a half now but have still relied on a trusty Garmin 60csx for street and on-the-trail navigation.

BCaching has always been about making it as easy as possible to just go geocaching. I don’t want to spend a lot of time using lots of different programs and devices getting ready to go caching. I’d rather BE caching.

Here’s how I’ve BEEN doing it. It’s already pretty easy. Every day generates my automated pocket queries and sends them to my bcaching account so that’s mostly up to date for my home area up to about 30 miles away.

Before heading out on a cache run I connect the Garmin to the laptop via USB, go to my bcaching desktop map view, pick a location and send the nearest 800 or so geocaches and waypoints to the device. There is no need to send the cache data to the blackberry since it’s available in the mobile web view any time, nearly anywhere.

I probably picked a first cache to hit when looking at the desktop map view so I punch the GC# into the Garmin and follow it’s turn-by-turn instructions until I find a good place to park. Then I switch it to off-road and follow the trails.

If you see me in the field near ground zero I’ve got the Garmin in one hand and the Blackberry in the other, reading the cache description and the last 15 or 20 logs looking for a subtle clue left by a previous finder. Ah there it is.

Then after signing the logbook and re-hiding I hit “Add Note”, “Found It”, and maybe write a short note about what I took or left. If I dropped off a TB I select it from my inventory. Then hit submit, and get the list of nearest hides to decide what to do next.

I pick one from the list on the blackberry or from the map on the Garmin, then off I go for the next one.

Later when I get home I sit down at the laptop, download my field notes file from bcaching and upload it to A few more clicks and taps and I’ve logged all my finds, dnfs, notes, and trackables.

With the Droid I may have to retire the Garmin too… well, maybe I’ll hang onto it as a backup.

The built-in GPS along with touchscreen and better browser is opening up new possibilities. The bcaching mobile map view with overlay of geocache icons and waypoints let’s me pick out the next hide more quickly and easily than I could using the Garmin. The link to the native google maps for street navigation helps me drive there, then the bcaching compass view takes care of the trails… and the mobile map with satellite and terrain views doesn’t hurt either.

The new mobile map and compass views may still be a little rough around the edges, but they are functional enough that I’m just using the Droid most of the time now.

Since I always have the Droid with me, and it’s always up to date, I can even decide to grab a cache almost any time I feel like it without any preparation. For me that means it’s getting even easier to be caching.


1 comment so far

  1. dan on

    I’ve been using CacheBerry on my Blackberry Curve 8310 for over a year and it’s fantastic. I never carry a dedicated GPSer and I only print out one sheet of paper every time I go out caching; a reference map of my target area. Otherwise, it’s all on my Blackberry, including logging finds. I find myself shopping for a Droid phone now so I will be interested to find out if it works as well as my Blackberry.

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