View Full Version : How close is close enough?



lwa11
03-24-2006, 12:08 AM
Okay here is a question for all you vets out there. How close can I expect my gpsr to get me to a cache. Or how far away from the co-ords would be reasonable to be looking for a cache or clue if not specified by the person who hid it?

20 ft radius, 30? 50?

Just trying to give myself an idea on how to hunt on some of these. Most are right there pretty close but others have been off from the co-ords by quite a bit. Sometimes I even back track to a clearing to restart incase it was too much coverage or something. So far though I have always been led back to the same spot almost step on step. When I have found a couple of these I would say they were up to 50 ft away being the farthest from the co-ords.

Thanks,

LWA11

J_Cyr
03-24-2006, 12:20 AM
When I had my Magellan Sport Trak, I would say 20 - 25 ft radius was close enough. Now with my CS, I am saying 5-10 feet is close enough.

Depends on satellites primarily, I have been in the boat when it won't get any closer then 20 feet no matter which direction I would move. I was in a case were It would say 4 feet then I take a step to the left and it says 45 feet. Which means, "your in the area"!

Then I look and look until I find it. Caches I found like that, almost without a GPS really, if someone had taken them... I would still be out there looking! I hate given up. I was at a cache actually circling for an hour and a half once, fusterated, yes, but I found it. Left a note inside and emailed the person who placed it, but thats beside the point! I hate calling quits; giving up. Once I start in for a cache, I don't plan on returning until its found!

dí76
03-24-2006, 12:39 AM
Remember that the coords are only as accurate as the gps that placed it. It could have been a bad day, or placed when there was less canopy, such as in the spring when the leaves havent came out yet. It also could have been place through shear inexperiance. I was forunate enough to have the groups that found mine say that the coords where good. That made me feel better because you never know until that first find or dnf how good your coords where.

I would say that if your getting within 30 feet on a regular basis your doing well

Gob-ler
03-24-2006, 12:47 AM
I'll share a couple of things that might help you. As you get near the cache sight most GPS'r will put you within 20 feet. The exceptions are if there is heavy overhead evergreens or heavy leaf cover. Gorges and steep stuff cut down on accuracy as well.

The problem is not what your GPS'r is reading, but what the hiders was reading. It is something that is just not going to change even with the newer x chip models. The coordinates you have are only as good as the persons coords that they entered for the cache hide.

As I get to the area of the cache I start using my eyes rather than the gps. You will actually degrade your gps performance by walking around with it in your hand. If your moving, the gps is always trying to figure out where you are and where your going. If I do not find the cache right away I find a nice level spot and sit the gps on the ground and let it bake the sats. You will find that most of the time (unless you have conditions like in paragraph one) the gps will settle down and give you a direction and a distance. This may not work all of the time, but more often than not it works very well.

With a little practice you will get good at finding things without the gps in your hand.

Cache'n Jacksons
03-24-2006, 07:48 AM
I think the error can be anywhere from zero to the sum of the errors of the hider's GPSr and yours. In other words, if the hider's GPSr could be off 20 feet, and yours is also off by the same amount, then you could potentially be off by 40 feet. On top of that you can add errors due to the weather, tree cover, terrain, gorges, rocks, etc as the others have stated.

Slate
03-24-2006, 10:08 AM
I learned to cache with an older Garmin unit which only displayed distance to 0.01 miles. The closest I usually could expect to get was about 50 so I learned to put away the GPS and start looking when I got that close. I also used my compass a lot. I would actually walk away from the area to a spot with good reception and then follow the bearing with my compass. Even with a new more precise unit I still will use my compass occasionally in those areas with tough reception, it usually leads me to the cache pretty quickly.

WhereRWe?
03-24-2006, 12:11 PM
As I get to the area of the cache I start using my eyes rather than the gps. You will actually degrade your gps performance by walking around with it in your hand. If your moving, the gps is always trying to figure out where you are and where your going. If I do not find the cache right away I find a nice level spot and sit the gps on the ground and let it bake the sats. You will find that most of the time (unless you have conditions like in paragraph one) the gps will settle down and give you a direction and a distance. This may not work all of the time, but more often than not it works very well.


We usually stop when we're within 100 feet of the cache to let the GPSr settle down. Too often we experience the "slingshot effect" if we try and go right to the cache.

:D :D

Hiram357
03-24-2006, 10:48 PM
As I start nearing the cache within 100ft I start walking slower, the GPS needs to be moving to figure out where it is. If it is sitting still it will be jumping all over the place trying to figure out where it is, (keep in mind it is only guessing where you are from the radio signals it is picking up) Unless you have a really nice GPS like a Trimble (probably more than $4000 and takes about 30minutes to get a precise reading) you need to be moving. If I'm having trouble, I start walking a pattern, 50ft north 100ft south, 50ft back to center, 50ft east 100ft west and 50ft back to center, and that usually gives me the best Idea of the location to the cache and then I put it away and start looking.

firefighterjake
03-25-2006, 06:29 AM
Well I wouldn't consider myself a vet, but in answer to your questions . . .

It depends. As others have said, just how close you can get to the cache depends on the coords of the cacher who placed the cache, satellite coverage, etc. I've had caches that I've zeroed in on with no problems and other caches that were off quite a bit . . . either due to my GPSr or to the cacher's coords. In general it seems as though I will be anywheres from 5-20 feet in general.

I think the best advice for locating a cache is to do what others have said . . . when you get to the last 100 feet or so start looking with your eyes at the terrain instead of looking at the GPSr. Look for things that may be out of the ordinary. If you've read the clue look around to see if that helps.

I will say that when I'm hiding my cache I try to go out on two to preferably three different times to get cords which I then average out myself -- along with the GPSr averaging them. I jot down the numbers when I first arrive and then jot down a few readings in the next few minutes with the unit at a standstill. I've done this before and in one instance the coords I had on one date were quite a bit off from the other two days . . .

When hiding my cache I also try to provide a hint . . . I figure if people want to use it they will and if they want the extra challenge they will not use it . . . besides I want people to find my caches.


Okay here is a question for all you vets out there. How close can I expect my gpsr to get me to a cache. Or how far away from the co-ords would be reasonable to be looking for a cache or clue if not specified by the person who hid it?

20 ft radius, 30? 50?

Just trying to give myself an idea on how to hunt on some of these. Most are right there pretty close but others have been off from the co-ords by quite a bit. Sometimes I even back track to a clearing to restart incase it was too much coverage or something. So far though I have always been led back to the same spot almost step on step. When I have found a couple of these I would say they were up to 50 ft away being the farthest from the co-ords.

Thanks,

LWA11

mainesurveyor
03-25-2006, 02:17 PM
As has been said before, when you get close slow down and let the GPSr begin averaging. When you get get consistent readings put it away and look for things out of the ordinary.

On a side topic...since everyone is in agreement that the coords of the placing cacher are important I'll offer a greedy, capitalist suggestion. As long as my boss doesn't mind, I'll bring a survey grade GPS unit out when the cache is being placed and give you a coordinate within a couple centimeters. This will benefit everyone by providing a highly precise position (of course your GPSr won't give you any better position) of the cache...I'll obviously have to charge for the service (remember...greedy capitalist)...and I'll have the record for FTFs in no time.:D

MAD-MUFFIN
03-25-2006, 03:43 PM
As has been said before, when you get close slow down and let the GPSr begin averaging. When you get get consistent readings put it away and look for things out of the ordinary.

On a side topic...since everyone is in agreement that the coords of the placing cacher are important I'll offer a greedy, capitalist suggestion. As long as my boss doesn't mind, I'll bring a survey grade GPS unit out when the cache is being placed and give you a coordinate within a couple centimeters. This will benefit everyone by providing a highly precise position (of course your GPSr won't give you any better position) of the cache...I'll obviously have to charge for the service (remember...greedy capitalist)...and I'll have the record for FTFs in no time.:D

GOOD TRY...... I PERSONALLY TRY TO GET 2 OR 3 READING WHEN PLACING A CACHE AND THEN TAKE THE AVERAGE. USUALLY JUST A FEW FEET APPART.

Haffy
03-25-2006, 05:18 PM
GOOD TRY...... I PERSONALLY TRY TO GET 2 OR 3 READING WHEN PLACING A CACHE AND THEN TAKE THE AVERAGE. USUALLY JUST A FEW FEET APPART.


I think you really need to get more than 2 or 3 readings to get a good average. I don't have a new GPS'r that has waypoint averaging so what I usually do is get 8 or 10 readings on different days and then average those. You would be surprised the difference that one or 2 days can make with the readings.

WhereRWe?
03-25-2006, 06:25 PM
One thing I think I've finally figured out, you get MUCH better readings if you have FRESH batteries. I've been fussing lately about how far off my GPSr was, even with a 50% power level remaining. I decided to put in new batteries today, and wow! what a difference!

Bottom line, if you're ESTABLISHING a cache, make sure you've got fresh batteries in your GPSr, so that the accuracy is as good as your unit can get.

:D :D :D

robt
03-26-2006, 08:38 AM
I have found that there are a few things that help in getting good coords to start with, 1 is try to get several measurements. 2 also check to see if your GPS is in WAAS mode at the time, This will help make sure they are more accurate. And the bigest help is that we all help the cache owner with posting what we get whne we try to find it. I myself will use what others are getting and average that into my readings to try to make it as close as I can be.

we3beans
03-27-2006, 02:04 PM
Occasionally with our Garmin we have an issue getting good readings with rocks, specifically ledge, but even occassionally just boulders. And as WRW says, fresh batteries are a must!

Hiram357
03-27-2006, 08:09 PM
Occasionally with our Garmin we have an issue getting good readings with rocks, specifically ledge, but even occassionally just boulders. And as WRW says, fresh batteries are a must!

and also sobriety plays a great role in getting good readings!! one time i wandered around the woods for 2 hours!! then i realized i was trying to put the coords into my DVD remote....