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Geocaching With Mobile Devices

I was talking with a fellow cacher friend recently and we got into a small discussion about mobile geocaching. It got me to thinking about how many people out there are actively using their mobile smartphone for geocaching.

For this week’s topic, I’d like to put it out to our audience to see how many of you are using geocaching apps on your smartphone for geocaching. I’d also like to know what platform (Android, iPhone, Windows, etc) that you use, and what app you use the most.

Lastly, I’d love to hear your experience of using mobile apps and what you think works better and worse with them vs a traditional GPS.

17 Comments

  • avatar G71 says:

    I do have the geocaching App on my Android. It is neat to be able to log your find right on the spot. I do; however, prefer using my Garmin.

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  • avatar evulc says:

    totally love c:geo on my android phone. but not for actually ‘finding’ caches. it works great for quickly accessing, reading descriptions and looking at google maps _BEFORE_ the actual hike/hunt begins. it also gets me by in a pinch to load data onto my garmin if i forgot to at home, my phone has a micro sd card slot as does the garmin.

    we have used both the phone and garmin at the same time on multiple hunts just to see if there is a difference. the garmin does lock onto satellite signals much faster, but after that accuracy really doesn’t seem to be too different either way. no surprise as they both use similar gps radios and antenna designs internally.

    battery life, sturdy packaging and water-resistance are where the garmin wins for us. i’d hate to treat my phone the way the garmin gets treated ;)

    phone: HTC Raider 4G
    gps: Garmin Oregon 450

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  • avatar milosheart says:

    I have c:geo on my android and use it only when we’re somewhere we hadn’t planned on caching so didn’t bring the GPS with us. It is cool to log your find in the field but we use our Garmin 99% of the time.

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  • avatar triple ccc says:

    We used to use Geocache Navigator on a Blackberry Torch and I got so sick of the Blackberry not having service, the app not working when I would try to reload the page. Being worried about dropping it and breaking it and never could go caching if there was any rain in the forecast. So I broke down and bought a Garmin 62cx and I love it. Best money I ever spent.

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  • avatar E.B.E 51 says:

    I tried the c:geo app on my Samsung Galaxy 3. It never did seem to work right. The compass always pointed away from the cache. Not sure if the issue was the app or the phone. There wasn’t any way to calibrate the compass.
    After many tries and many times trying to work out the problem it was hopeless. I installed, uninstalled, downloaded and reinstalled a few times. Even while just trying to access a cache description or logs I had it crash and close. Then while trying to do an update for the app my phone froze up so bad I had to pull the battery and let it reset. This was the first time in almost 2 years of having the phone that I ever had anything like that happen to it. The app was deleted.
    Needless to say I was not impressed with phone caching. Not saying it is terrible, it just didn’t work for me at all. But I wish it did. It would making caching possible when I didn’t have my GPSr with me. Which was the one of the reasons I upgraded my phone.
    Yes I could have tried the official geocaching app. But with c:geo not working and no way to calibrate the compass on this phone I thought I would be wasting my money.
    My Garmin 62s doesn’t let me down.

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  • avatar Rev Slippery says:

    I have found hundreds of caches with C:geo and maybe 2 with the official app. If I plan a day of caching, I use the proper GPS and use the phone for help or if I had not planned to cache but had time to find one or two while away.

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  • avatar Cableguy says:

    I better log at least one iPhone post….

    I have found 80% of my finds using my iPhone. Not always by choice, but rather due to my caching style. I am an impulsive cacher. I seldom know when or where I will cache on any given day. I do some travel for work, so I don’t usually know when I’ll be able to take a caching break. So whenever I stop and I want to find one or two or 5, I pull out the iPhone and use the Geocaching official app to see what’s around. The phone is usually accurate enough to get me close enough to let my geosenses take over. The app is battery-draining, and I sometimes need to plug in the phone between each cache.
    I also like that I can load PQs directly to my phone.
    For longer cache runs, trips, or if I know that I’ll be in areas of poor coverage (OK, no humor here please, ahem), I load to my Garmin 62s. It’s accurate and paperless. I suspect that I’ll use the Garmin more when I get better at GSAK.

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  • avatar PA says:

    We cache mostly with the gps but have used the Iphone if we felt there may be a more recent helpful log, or if we suspect that the cache may have been disabled since we loaded the gps. We have also used it if we get an email about a new cache while we are out caching.

    We recently used on a trail in QC when we realized we had not loaded all the caches on a trail

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  • avatar forestfauna says:

    A good friend of mine was using a Magellan eXplorist, but now only uses the c:geo app on his smartphone when we go out caching together. His accuracy was as good, or sometimes better, than I was getting on my Garmin 450.

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  • avatar FreddyBeach says:

    I use C:GEO on my Galaxy S3 pretty much exclusively. It works great. Paired with a little add-on called Radar and it makes caching simple.
    I don’t log from the field since I don;t believe a that “tftc” is an appropriate log entry :-).

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  • We only started caching in August for the 31 Days Challenge, and have cached exclusively with my Samsung Android phone. We have never cached with a GPS, so we can’t really compare. We started using c:geo and it took a little while to learn all the nooks and crannies of the things it can do, but found it very effective and accurate. On a recent trip to PEI, we fired up the phone to an error message from c:geo regarding a recent upgrade on Geocaching.com… so we were stranded! We then downloaded (and paid for) the official Geocaching app and used it all weekend. Now, we oscillate back and forth between each app – using geocaching.com’s app for descriptions and uploading logs on the spot, but find c:geo’s navigational tools easier to use. I agree with previous posts regarding battery drain – these apps use a lot of power, but we are more “urban” cachers, so we are often back in the vehicle and able to charge it up between caches. We have also found a problem with the direction of the compass arrow on c:geo, but we just wander around in all directions until the distance count gets smaller, lol.

    All that being said, we often cache with another couple who uses a GPS, and have found that their GPS is much less accurate in terms of direction and distance than our phone. Several times we have located a cache, and their GPS has told them it was still 200 meters away! Also, it takes them a long time to locate satellites with their GPS, but once its locked on it stays connected, whereas we stop the app on our phone to save on battery power and data usage between caches, so we have to keep re-locating sats each time which can be a pain…

    I hope this helps!

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  • avatar booquinn says:

    I have used only my Android phone for all the caching I have done. I have no stand alone gps. I started with app called geobeagle which worked fine for finding caches, but had no live mode and the logging did not work well for me. Switched to c:geo with radar and is all I have used since. Meets my needs.

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  • I love caching with my phone. it’s best for impulsive caching. It will never replace my garmin, but i consider it another important tool available to me in my cache arsenal.
    Like the others have stated, it’s nowhere near as accurate, but it helps in a pinch.
    Currently using an iphone with the official app loaded. often we’ll use c:geo on the ipod touch with saved info for offline use.

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  • avatar Madpuck says:

    I use a mixture of the phone and my 20. I find I use the Etrex20 more because I don’t want to use up my battery of the phone for other daily uses. CGEO is the main app but was introduced to Cachebox on android and I like the app and it has many more options and tabs but it’s PQ based so I will be exploring that more.

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  • avatar berdek says:

    I have used 2 garmin devices, but now use only my iPhone 5. The main down side is the shorter battery life, but I will take the vehicle that has a USB plug in for longer outings. Someone has recently mentioned the Geosphere app on Facebook, and I fell in love!!! I love the interface, being able to change coordinates as I solve puzzles, and the ability to sort caches in so many different ways. I have found more caches since getting this app this past July, compared to the previous 3 years altogether! I am more of a casual cacher, and it fits my needs. For those who download caches from other sources, or do Munzees, they can also be downloaded in this app, bringing everything together. Certainly worth a look at if you’re using a smartphone for your caching needs!
    Disclaimer: contrary to what you might think, I have no ties to this company, financially or otherwise…;-)

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  • I use c:geo om my phone, mostly for logging, photos and maps. GPS takes twice as long to lock on and is near useless in heavy forest. I have used it for triangulation, though.

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  • avatar VP540 says:

    I use an android cell phone to Geocache. The app is a bit expensive (10 dollars) i bought that app 3 times because of cell phone issues… Nonetheless. I rather use this app than a GPS!

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