Blog Template Musings about Geocaching: Quick GSAK tutorial by a non-power user

Musings about Geocaching

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Quick GSAK tutorial by a non-power user

Okay, I'll be the very first to admit that when I downloaded and installed GSAK (Geocaching Swiss Army Knife) on my PC last year, I was stumped. I have never worked with a database program before, so when I clicked the icon for the "Filter" on the Toolbar

I was overwhelmed with all the options:

Some kind people in the GSAK thread in the Groundspeak Forums helped me as I learned to set different kinds of filters.

Now, after loading a new Pocket Query, the first one I use is a default GSAK filter that finds all the caches with two DNFs by the last cachers.

I look at the list and check out the caches on the website, if I have time. If not, I just right click and from that menu, choose to delete all the waypoints in that filter.

After that, I choose a center point for that day's adventure. If by some chance I am going to head out for a specific cache, I'll use that one as the center point.

Then, since my Vista C has a 500-waypoint limit, I have to do a distance filter because I have more than 1000 caches in my Default GSAK database.

A good distance for my area might be a circle of 15 miles. That will reduce the number of caches in my list to a number well under 500, so I can delete the "Geocaches" and "Geocaches Found" from the GPSr, but keep the other waypoints on it that I want, before sending the new cache waypoints to it.

At this point, if I have time and want to see where the waypoints are in Mapsource, I use the File/Export/Mapsource menu to Export those waypoints in the Mapsource .gdb format.

After I have filtered the caches to an under-500-waypoint list, and looked at them on the map, if I added that step, I select the GPS menu item and choose "Send waypoints."

Once the waypoints have been sent to the GPSr, I use the File/Export menu to create a .pdb file for my Palm M500.

After opening my Palm Software and making sure the file I just created is ready to be installed to the card on my Palm, I HotSync the Palm.

To simplify these previous tasks, I finally customized my toolbar in GSAK to put the icons for Cachemate, Mapsource, .gpx files, and GPSr functions there so I don't have to navigate the menu.

The entire process of filtering waypoints, sending them to my GPSr, and preparing the caches for installation to my Palm doesn't take very long. I can be ready to go on my a caching adventure with up-to-date information for the caches in the area I am going to in less than five minutes after a new PQ arrives in my InBoc.

GSAK is a very sophisticated, complicated program that can do much more than I have learned to do with it. There are power users out there who have created Macros that can do what I do manually. However, even this way, it doesn't take very much time to get those brand new caches, and fresh data for other caches, into my GPSr and my Palm so I can get out the door prepared for my next caching adventure.


  • Thank you for taking the time to assist "noobies" on this site. The program is definately overwhelming to someone that hasn't used it before.

    I am happy to see that I have virtually the same palm, so I begin the task of paperless caching I have conficence it will work.

    By Blogger Uncle Charlie Yakker, at 9:45 AM  

  • Oh ya, I got your link from

    By Blogger Uncle Charlie Yakker, at 9:46 AM  

  • "Now, after loading a new Pocket Query..."
    What? How and, better yet, why, would someone do this?
    You know, for a "simple" walkthru, you seem to have left some key elements out. This is kinda like explaing heart transplant and beginning with "now that the heart is removed..."
    Thanks for the waste of time. I tried doing a help search for "pocket query" and nothing came up. Under "useless half-assed info" however, was this guide.

    By Blogger steve, at 6:08 AM  

  • Thanks for the info.

    Anyone coming across this blog, ignore the troll above.

    Pocket Queries are a different subject.
    Groundspeak provides a full on tutorial that tells you all about them.

    By Blogger isitme?, at 2:54 PM  

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