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Android: geocaching with no cell reception

#1 User is offline   pong3d 

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 01:44 AM

I found an old thread from 2009 for the iphone, but I just got an android and was looking to geocaching in an area with no cell reception. I'm not sure the best way to go about doing this. Can anyone with an Android describe how you go about doing this and what app would be good for this case? I can't really test this locally as everywhere has cell phone reception here.

#2 User is offline   tr_s 

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 02:17 AM

I had some free app on my android phone which could load some sort of free/open source maps and provided the basic gps functionality with compass and pointer. Can't remember the name though.

#3 User is offline   Walts Hunting 

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 02:39 AM

Use the gc app and download a pq to the phone. The gps will work but you won't have maps unles you also download them to the device

#4 User is offline   The Real Boudica. 

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 04:15 AM

Walts Hunting is right the easiest way is to use PQ's ( but only available if you are a premium member) if not then download the caches one by one where you have data connection it depends on the app you have how tedious that might be but if you know where you are going and which caches to target its not that bad (I think with the official GC app you can save a group of caches from a search). Once they are stored you can use them in an area with no reception. You wont have any updated info from the time you download them so its best to do so as near as possible to the time you plan to go out caching or refresh them if you have them stored for a while so you have recent logs, NM, archival info etc.

I have only just realised this, but it is probably a good idea to put the phone on airplane mode, my battery appears to drain quicker when out of signal/low signal caching or not, as I guess the phone is trying harder to connect. Very frustrating and potentially dangerous if you need to call for help which is more likely in the remoter areas.

I personally don't rate the official app but its horses for courses. I have used it offline to save on data costs and it doesn't seem to like it much and smooth usage and accuracy drops and it is a big battery hog. FWIW before I went premium I used to use c:geo (not realising it wasn't authorised but to be honest the official app was so poor in comparison so I don't think I would have cared) and picking caches off the map for storage when in wifi didn't take that long. I have recently been using neongeo which is excellent and appears to be a more accurate app (don't see why the app not the GPS chip should matter but it seems so), I don't know if you can download caches with the app as I haven't needed to try it but I imagine you can, there is free demo version I tried first and was impressed with the functionality and I didn't notice any difference in operation between the free and bought versions(approx 2.50).

#5 User is online   JJnTJ 

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 07:08 AM

Neongeo is a good tool for this, but it's hard if you're not a Premium member.

1) Load Neongeo with all of the caches in the area without mobile coverage. This can be tedious if you're a basic member since Groundspeak limits basic users to three caches per day (the official app doesn't have this restriction). Pocket Queries are a quick way to load lots of caches into Neongeo too, but again you have to be a premium member to use those.

2) Use Neongeo's Offline Map Wizard to pre-load Google map tiles in the area. Near caches, the wizard loads map tiles at high zoom, and loads zoomed-out map tiles elsewhere.

3) Log field notes as you find caches in Neongeo, then upload them when you have mobile/WiFi coverage.

#6 User is online   kunarion 

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 07:33 AM

View Postpong3d, on 18 April 2012 - 01:44 AM, said:

I found an old thread from 2009 for the iphone, but I just got an android and was looking to geocaching in an area with no cell reception. I'm not sure the best way to go about doing this. Can anyone with an Android describe how you go about doing this and what app would be good for this case? I can't really test this locally as everywhere has cell phone reception here.

I have the official app, and Neon Geo, and GeoBeagle. And no data connection. They all fail in various ways if you're not careful -- trying for a while to "load" something that shall never load. It's good to start in a magic spot where you can get both a GPS signal and wifi, otherwise an app starts hunting for one or the other. With no connection, you get only direction and distance, which is usually OK if you also have the "paperless" text from the GPX file.

I've mainly used the tablet for accessing the web site on-the-go. So I may load exactly one cache with satellite map, and go hunt without shutting the 'droid off. But my tablet is entirely unsuitable for hiking around with, so I only use it in a Cache emergency.

This post has been edited by kunarion: 18 April 2012 - 07:38 AM


#7 User is offline   pong3d 

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 11:27 AM

It's funny because I havent done much geocaching in past 4-5 years and when I did, I used a GPS unit from the 1990s where the only way to enter waypoints was to manually but the numbers in. Things have progressed which is good, but with it brings the potential for problems, e.g. using too much battery when trying to find a data source that doesn't exist. My trip isnt for another 2 weeks so this weekend I will try out some of these suggestions.

This is my first smartphone and since I first posted I discovered that the college where I work has at best weak 2G data coverage with my carrier (unlike what their map coverage shows) and I haven't been able to do basic data functions. So I can probably take a drive to a cache that is not too far from home and experiment with geocaching with no data connection.

Thanks for the help!

#8 User is offline   TXHooligans 

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 11:32 AM

i believe google has changed the rules for caching maps.. at one time you could pan around to load the map and then go into airplane mode.. your pocket query and map would be available.

with googles new licensing scheme.. that may not be possible.

either NeonGeo or the official app (which still has not name) should get you there in airplane mode if you have already downloaded the PQ.

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