Learn the basic of GSAK in 8 minutes or less…

GSAK can be intimidating if you have used it before. There is so many features of GSAK that even regular uses probably never even touch.

This video shows you the basics that you really need to know. How to download caches, and how to install the caches on your GPS. If you have any questions, please leave them below, or even better, visit the Youtube page of that video and post your questions there. Thanks.. ComedyAddict ūüôā

What is Geocaching? (Video)

Geocaching is a real-world GPS based game¬†played over 6 million people around the world. Using a GPS enabled device (smart phone, handheld GPS) you goal is to look for hidden containers called caches. They can be cleverly hidden, or custom containers someone has spent considerable time making. That’s half the fun, never knowing what you’re going to find, or where you’re going to find them. Odds are there is one within walking distance of where you live.

Here’s a quick introductory video explaining what Geocaching is all about. If you want even more information, or you’d like to try it out, simply visit Geocaching.com.

Quickly open Geocache page in Chrome

Most modern web browsers let you add your own search engine settings. I recently played with these options in Chrome, and now it’s one of the main ways I use to open up a cache page.

I’m sure we all see GC codes listed on Facebook posts, instant messaging, etc. Here is a quick and easy tip that lets you open the cache page by simple typing “cache GC Code” into Chrome.

1. Go and click on the¬†“Customize and control Google Chrome” in the top right (Three Horizontal Lines) and then go down to “Settings”.

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2. ¬†Next go to “Manage Search Engines”

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3. This will bring you to the page where you can add Geocaching.com as a search engine.  search

Scroll the list down until¬†there is an text box where you can add text. (See below) The first box is just a name so you recognize it if you come back to these settings. The second box is the keyword you’ll enter in the address bar. I use the work “cache” ¬†since it needs to be at least three characters, and cache made the most sense to me. The final box is the most important, this is where Chrome will go to when you use the word “cache” followed by a GC code. Copy and paste the following code in there. ¬†¬†http://coord.info/%s

Then click done.

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4. Final step is to test it out. In a new Chrome tab, simply type your keyword, eg cache followed by a space, then type or paste a GC code. Press enter and the cache page will load up ūüôā

 

Free Photos for Cache Pages

So you’re designing a puzzle or just a creative looking cache page and need or want some high quality, free and legal to use images for your page. Here are two sites that have great photos you can use any way you want. I’ve used both sites in the past for cache pages, and for designing this site.

Unsplash.com¬†–¬†Free (do whatever you want) high-resolution photos. 10 new photos every 10 days.

Pixabay.com РOver 360,000 free photos, vectors and art illustrations you can use anyway you want.

GSAK – Loading caches onto GPS

There are many ways of loading caches onto your GPS. One of the best, and safest ways is using GSAK. Because you have already selected your GPS in one of the earlier lessons, GSAK knows where to place the files so they work, and without the risk of you accidentally the wrong files, causing damage to your GPS. Even though I have personally never¬†messed¬†up my GPS, there have been times when I thought I had accidentally deleted the main Garmin folder on my GPS, instead of the Garmin folder on the SD card in it. Trust me, thinking you’ve basically deleted the operating system of your GPS is a scary thought.

Now that you know why using GSAK is a great idea, lets get started.

In the example below, I’ve downloaded some caches close to my home I haven’t found yet which are not disabled. ¬†On the top menu, Click the “GPS” tab. (If you haven’t set your GPS model yet, click “Setup” and pick your GPS model, or nearest if yours isn’t listed.) Otherwise, click the “Send Waypoints” option.

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That will bring you to a screen like the one below. The options you see here will vary based on your model of GPS. I normally leave the “Use Defaults” option checked. On my Garmin GPSMAP 62sc, the default settings copy a file called “Geocaches.gpx” into the correct folder, overwriting the older version. With my limited experience with Magellans, it does the same thing too. ¬†You do this to prevent loading too many caches for your GPS to handle.

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If you want to change any option, remove the check mark next to “Use Defaults”.

Otherwise click “Send” to start the copy process. It will process for a few seconds, then copy the file on. When you’re returned to the main screen it has finished. You’re now ready to safely remove your GPS from the computer and go caching! Have fun!

GSAK – Downloading using Maps

Here is another method for downloading caches into GSAK. In some ways it is more powerful feature¬†then Pocket Queries, but once you understand the basics, it really isn’t any harder than Pocket Queries. I use both methods and don’t have a preference. Both are good depending on what you to achieve.

To use this feature, go to “Gecaching.com Access and click on “Get Geocaches” as shown in the picture below.

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You will then see a screen like the one below. If you look in the top left hand corner you’ll see “Reference” with four options below it. ¬†I personally only use the first two, Circle and Rectangle. ¬†Since I live in Ontario, Canada using the Country/State option would not be that useful. Ontario is just too big, and even using the different filter options shown lower in the window, it would still provide caches I couldn’t reach with 24 hours straight driving…. However, I just downloaded 2000 caches that are located in Rhode Island with just the click of a button. So if I was travelling there, I’d have caches wherever I went in the state. ¬†The GCXXXX option is too similar to what you can do with Pocket Queries.

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Below are pictures showing what happens when you click the Google Map button with Circle or Rectangle chosen. In this screen you are able to move the red circle/rectangle to where you want to get caches for. It’s really just a matter of playing around at this point. In the second photo, I’ve shown a map that I’ve used a few times.Image17 Image18
In the picture above, I’ve drawn the Rectangle to cover the area between Belleville and Peterborough. I use this if I’m heading to Peterborough via a more caching friendly¬†road, and haven’t really planned which route I’m taking. I just want every cache between the two places that I haven’t found, in case I decide to go a different way then last time.

When you have the Circle/Rectangle covering the area you want, click Return Coordinates. This will return you back to this screen. If you then want to filter out a certain type of cache, now just remove the check mark next to the type. Same if you don’t want a certain terrain, or difficulty rating. You’ll see a tab along the top called “Page 2” This just contains extra options such as excluding caches by certain hiders, ¬†cache’s not found by a caching buddy, etc. When you’ve chosen the options you want, Click OK to start downloading. This may¬†take a while depending on how many caches it’s downloading.

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Eventually you’ll get a summary screen like the one below. Click OK on that, and you’ve finished downloading them using the map feature.

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That’s it for this lesson. Now onto the next one. ūüôā