Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas 2010 - Santa Brings an Oregon!

I guess I wasn't that bad this year, because my family got me the one thing I really wanted - a fancy new GPSr unit to feed my geocaching addiction. A Garmin Oregon 450T. I have been using a relatively low-end but perfectly effective unit which I have really gotten to love; a Garmin eTrex Venture HC. But the Venture has some serious limitations for a hard core geocacher. The Venture is very good at keeping the track plots of our hikes, but from a geocaching standpoint only stores the name of the cache and the coordinates. So all it can tell you is there is a cache named "xyz" and it is 0.17 miles in such and such direction. The Oregon stores and displays all of the information in a "gpx" file. This includes not only the cache name and coordinates, but also the description, difficulty and terrain ratings, cache type, hints, and recent log entries. In other words, paperless geocaching. For the whole time I have been geocaching, I have been printing little maps and scribbling notes to make sure I have the information that I need and that I am not wasting my time searching for a cache that is known to have gone missing. The Oregon also holds 2,000 cache entries compared to 500 for the Venture.

What fun is having a new toy if you can't use it right away? At least that's what I figured, so at about 2pm on Christmas day, Julia took her new cell phone and I took my new GPS unit and off we went to find a few caches.

I am thrilled at how well the Oregon performed on its first outing, and I know I am just beginning to learn how to use its many features. Julia and I found 6 caches in northern Delaware, clearing out the last few holdouts between my house and the Delaware river, making a nice big open space on my map. The wealth of information available at my fingertips compared to what I am used to is amazing. I think I can get used to this...

1 comment:

  1. Very nice. Now if the snow will just melt so we can get outside! Looking forward to seeing it in action.