Getting started - Latest update was Dec 07th 2008.
* Ability to set the alert distance for the caches in the macro and bypass the need to use POILOADER.
* Default output folder is now "garminpoi" instead of "poiloader". The name fits better.
* Travelbug info for each cache is now included too.
* Nuvi 7xx series bug preventing alerts has now been fixed by Garmin.
* More Nuvi models added as well as the Oregon and Colorado.
* This will be the last version (excluding any bug fixes).
Over the past few weeks some very important developments have developed in the world of geocaching that have finally allowed me to use my Nuvi for true paperless caching.
This website is for those people who have a Garmin Nuvi and would like to be able to Geocache at a moments notice no-matter where they are whilst out and about. How many times have you been out in the car and realised that if you'd only bothered to print out some caches you'd be able to go hunting......but because you didn't you can't!
So here it is:
- You know what geocaching is (ie you've done it at least once).
- You can use a PC.
What do I need to begin?
- A Garmin Nuvi 2xx/3xx/5xx/6xx/7xx/8xx or Garmin Colorado or Garmin Oregon
- A geocache premium account at Geocaching.com
- The very impressive program GSAK (Geocaching Swiss Army Knife) Download HERE
- The garmin POILoader to move the data generated by GSAK onto the Garmin. Download HERE
- A Windows based PC. (CONFIRMED - A Mac running Parallels works as well.)
- Only 20mins now to get it all working!
We have discovered that one vital part of making this project work is the condition that you update the firmware of your GPS and more importantly, you use the version of POILOADER that we specify.
For this reason, we recommend that you download POILoader from the link above, as this is a copy stored here locally on this website and so is permanently available.
We know this project works with POILoader version 2.5.2 and so we strongly recommend that you use this version to upload your data to the Garmin Nuvi.
Getting the geocache data.
First of all we need to get the geocache data from Geocaching.com. The way you do this is with Pocket Queries.
If you have never done this before here's a quick starter. Goto the
pocket query link and create a new query, only put in these requests
nothing else should be ticked on the form:
- Tick the current day of the week.
- Show me: 500 queries
- From Origin: My Home co-ordinates
- Within a Radius: 200miles
- Compress files into zip : Ensure this is Ticked.
Wait a few minutes and you should have an email from geocaching.com containing a zip file. Save this zip file to somewhere on your computer THAT YOU CAN REMEMBER THE LOCATION OF! eg. your Desktop.
If you have any problems getting the data from geocaching.com or in using Pocket Queries in general, here is a great site giving more infomation.
We now have all the data we need to locate the closest 500 geocaches to your house!
Managing the geocache data.
Now we need a way to manage all this data. Inside that zip file not only contains the co-ordinates for 500 geocaches, but also the full description for them, previous finders logs, etc etc. Without a program to manage this, we would be overwhelmed by it all.
So download GSAK and install the program.
Windows XP and Windows Vista -
The following procedure works perfectly on both operating systems (as well as a MAC running parallels etc.). However there are a couple of only very small differences.
Windows XP will try and install GSAK into "C:\Program Files\GSAK" and
Windows Vista will try to install GSAK into "C:\GSAK"
Both are fine and you should leave them at their default values.
All the pictures below are based on a Windows XP machine. If you are running Windows Vista, every time you see "C:\Program Files\GSAK" , just replace that with "C:\GSAK" for your computer.
Now here's the nice part, launch GSAK and when you're at the main program screen, go and find the zip file you downloaded earlier. CLICK AND DRAG this zip file from the folder it is in, and DROP IT ONTO THE GSAK program it will import all the data instantly!!
This is the second small difference. I have found this this method does not always work with Windows Vista, if you're having problems, just go the manual way and use the FILE -> OPEN option and select the zip file that way (you do NOT need to unzip it yourself, GSAK will take care of that.)
Your screen should then look something like this:
Now we have to help squeeze all that good data into a format that our Nuvi can read. Here is the file that helps in this process. Click and download this file:
Now once downloaded, you can install this file into the correct folder by double clicking the file. GSAK will ask if you want to install or run this macro, just click install.
(If this process fails, just move this file to the MACRO folder which is a sub folder where you installed GSAK. For the majority of people, you will move this file to C:\Program Files\gsak\Macros.)
Now all we have to do is make a little button for us to click on, and let my script do all the work for you! It's very simple, just follow what I do here. First of all we link the Macro to a new button:
Fill out the Button Text and Button Description like below, then select my macro in the Macro File Name box.
Click Save when you are done.
Now lets ADD this button to the menu bar, where it will be easy to click!
All we have to do is Click your mouse button on the Nuvi button, and HOLD it down as you drag it to the menubar.
(Note - Be careful there are 2 similar names on the column on the left, Macro and Macros make sure you get the right one)
When you do it right, you'll see the icon stick on the menu - That's it!! Just click the OK button and we're done.
Generating Geocache Data for the Nuvi.
Now that we have everything running, all we have to do is output this data from GSAK, into a format the Nuvi will understand. Here's how easily we can do this now:
Press the Nuvi Button on your Menu, you'll see this screen.
Make sure you select your Nuvi model in the drop down box
This is a very exciting feature for the Garmins (Nuvi's have been tested the others I'm waiting for feedback) using this script. Because the Geocaches are stored as POI's and not in the "Favourites" folder, they will not show up on the map as you are driving around. Here's a way we can help ourselves to discover if there are any nearby caches.
Imagine that you have a large bubble surrounding your car. Whatever value you insert into the "alert distance" box is the radius of that bubble. If ANY cache gets touched by that bubble whilst you are driving, you will get an alert on your screen! Fantastic.
Don't make the distance too big, otherwise you WILL get a lot of nusiance alerts as you drive.
So if you would like to be told about a cache via an on-screen alert when the cache is nearby, make sure you enter a value into the alert distance box
You can see a quick demo of what the alert feature looks like here, but remember to come back here to continue the tutorial.
Finally check which option you would prefer to tell the script where you would like your hints located.
Notice that the macro has set the output folder for you automatically, (the folder is created if it doesn't exist so you do not have to do this anymore).
You may, of course choose any output folder you desire.
Click the start button and you'll see GSAk working it's way through all your caches like this!!
When it's done you'll get a message box announcing that everything is complete. Congratulations!
Sending the caches to the Nuvi.
Download and install the Garmin POI loader. Ensure your Nuvi is connected to your PC via USB cable and launch the program.
- Ensure that you have selected the Nuvi after it has scanned for your Device (otherwise select it manually), then click next.
- Make sure "install new custom POIs onto your device" is selected, then click next.
- Browse and select the folder you exported the data to from GSAK. If you used my example, you would select the folder C:\Program Files\gsak\garminpoi.
Notice to previous users of the script - Remember that since the script is now controlling the alert distance, you DO NOT have to use POILOADER to do this as well. Just select the Express option in POILOADER and that is it.
If you were successful, you'll be told you transferred about 500 points to your Nuvi! Congratulations! You're ready for some paperless caching ANY time the fancy takes you.