Blog Template Musings about Geocaching: A little update to my rudimentary GSAK tutorial

Musings about Geocaching

Sunday, August 20, 2006

A little update to my rudimentary GSAK tutorial

I created this little tutorial several months ago, but thought I would put it back near the "top" of the blog in case others will find it useful.

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When I downloaded and installed GSAK (Geocaching Swiss Army Knife) to my PC last year, I'll be the very first to admit I was stumped. I had 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. These same people have moved over to the Technical Support Forum Clyde set up on his own site. They are very willing to help new people grasp the power of this great program.

So, after opening a new Pocket Query of 500 caches in GSAK, the first filter I use is a default filter that finds all the caches with two DNFs by the last cachers.

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

I don't want to spend time looking for a cache two or more cachers 
haven't been able to find . . . but that's just me . . .

After that, I choose a center point for that day's adventure. If I am heading for a specific cache, I'll use that one as the center point.

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, by Icon, the "Geocaches" and "Geocaches Found" from the GPSr (but keep other waypoints on it that I want, such as my "Home", the endpoint for a Multi I haven't had a chance to finish, or a Puzzle cache location I might need) 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."

I use GSAK's "Smart Name" feature to give me the Name and Size of the cache, along with the Type, the Difficulty and Terrain:

%smart=6 %con1%typ1%dif1%ter1

In the "Waypoint Description" blank of that "Send to GPSr" dialogue box, I also use special tags to get a portion of the cache name as well as a portion of the hint:

%Name=10 %hint

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 on it so I don't have to navigate the menu.

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 long. I can be ready to go on my caching adventure, with up-to-date information for the caches in the area I am heading towards, fewer than five minutes after new, 500-cache PQs arrive in my InBox.


  • Nice job with the tutorial!

    By Blogger Craig, at 4:33 PM  

  • great tutorial, thank you. I have been struggling with this.

    By Blogger Mary, at 8:27 AM  

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