Give me the Cache!

I’ve been doing my geocaching the old fashioned way. I login to geocaching.com, search for the zip code I want to cache in, browse through the results, printing out the ones I want to go find, and manually key those coordinates into my Magellan SportTrack Map. This unit actually comes with an uplink cable to download cache info straight to the receiver, but I’ve never used it. For a tech-savvy person, sitting and keying in GPS data, knowing that there is a better way is frustrating.

It’s time for a change. I downloaded the highly acclaimed EasyGPS program to transfer waypoints to my GPSr, which will probably cut my Geocaching prep time by about half. That’s a decent improvement – But Wait, there’s MORE!… I also found an open source command line program called GeoToad that actually queries all the info from geocaching.com without ever having to visit the website:

GeoToad lets you perform on-demand queries against the Geocaching website, and export the matching geocaches to numerous devices and over 20 file formats. You tell it what you want to see, such as:

Geocaches that I have not found within 15 miles of 27513 with travelbugs.

or if you are a little more demanding, something like:

Geocaches in Texas with a difficulty of 3 or higher that have never been found, match the keywords river, or stream, but not any caches owned by Elvis.

You can then take these query results with you on a nice long print-out, import them into EasyGPS, transfer them to your GPS unit, or even save the results onto your cellphone!

GREAT! …but I don’t like the amount of delay time they specified between grabbing cache information. No Problem! The source code is on the same website and it’s written in Ruby. So, I downloaded a Ruby editor, popped open geotoad.rb and changed the “Sleep” value (line 406) to a much lower value than 15, and BINGO!

NOTE: Although you can set this value to 0 (and I did for fun) this is not such a good idea for getting say, all the caches in Florida. It’s fun to watch it go, but I’m sure it puts a major strain on the Geocaching servers – especially if there are a lot of people out there using GeoToad.

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