My preferred mode of transport recreationally are my bicycles and hence I like to, where possible add a little geocaching or Munzee capturing into the mix on my recreational rides. Whilst I do at times use my new Garmin Oregon 600 mounted to my bike or use my Samsung Galaxy S II smartphone, but as I already have the Garmin Edge 810 on my bike and in use I thought I would see how it goes as a geocaching GPS. Therefore this post is about what I have learnt about the Edge 810 as a geocaching GPS.
My comments below are in the context of using a Macbook Pro with Mac OS X Snow Leopard 10.6.8 installed. I also have the Mac based geocaching software iCaching installed and Garmin’s Basecamp. I see no reason why a similar approach using GSAK wouldn’t work either (and if fact does) on a Mac using a desktop visualisation application such as Parallels or on a Windows box.
Geocaching with iCaching and the Garmin Edge 810 – A Quick Overview
My preferred geocaching software in the Apple space is iCaching and hence I can load all my Pocket Queries from say Geocaching.com into iCaching. From iCaching I found that I can easily export a GPX file directly to the Garmin Edge 810.
The Edge 810 will then display the geocaches as locations in the mapping section. Clicking on a geocache brings it up on the map (Open Cycle Map in my case). Clicking on the name at the top of the screen provides basic details on the geocache and then clicking the pencil opens up a number of editing options (e.g., name, change location, reposition here).
With the Garmin Edge 810 I can then navigate to the geocache location, ground zero so to speak using the map and/or turn by turn instructions and/or compass. I say to ground zero as that is about the limit of the capabilities of the Edge 810 from a geocaching perspective.
With regards to the compass, this is pretty much useless from a geocaching point of view as it does not give any distance to go information. So whilst it maybe pointing towards the cache you don’t know how far away the cache actually is. That said you can set up the fields to show distances so in say map view you maybe to have a work around.
In summary the Garmin Edge 810 allows me to geocache in the sense that I can navigate to a cache locality but that is about it. Once there I need to use my phone or a hand-held GPS to lock into the cache.
Uploading Geocaches to the Garmin Edge 810
One other issue I noted is that I could quickly fill the Garmin Edge 810 waypoint memory so I found that it is better to load the geocaches directly to the SD card.
The specific steps I use with iCaching are:
- Select the folder or caches that I wish to export to the GPS
- Click on Export to File (the Garmin Edge 810 is not one of the GPS options at the time of posting)
- Navigate to the SD Card on the Garmin in the Save dialogue box
- Navigate to Garmin -> NewFiles
- Click Save
- Eject the SD Card
- Eject the Garmin Edge 810
- Restart the Garmin Edge 810
- From the home screen select the map icon
- Select the search icon
- Select Locations
- Select a geocache you wish to navigate to
- Select ride to navigate to the geocache
- Selecting the compass icon in the bottom left corner brings up the compass.
Geocaching with Garmin Basecamp and the Garmin Edge 810 – A Quick Overview
If one uses the Garmin Basecamp, the send to device feature appears to place the geocache files on the SD Card in the Garmin within a folder of its own labelled “GPX”. Because of this the Edge 810 will not recognise these locations. Instead I export the file from Basecamp to my computer and then drag and drop it into the NewFiles folder on the SD card in my Garmin Edge. I then eject the Edge 810, allow it to shut down and the restart and bingo my geocaches are now showing as locations in the Edge 810.
Due to space limitations with the internal memory of the Edge 810 I prefer to store the geocache waypoints on the SD Card.
Deleting the Geocache Waypoints on the Garmin Edge 810
The options to delete waypoints seem to be limited. I have tried using Basecamp and whilst I could list the waypoints on the Edge 810, deleting them in Basecamp just removed them from Basecamp and not the GPS itself.
I found the only option was to either delete waypoints individually on the Edge 810 or to navigate to the folder Locations on the Edge 810 in Finder and delete the file called Locations.fit. This of course deletes all your locations data so be careful here.
To delete each waypoint on the Garmin Edge 800:
- From the home screen, select map > select search > Locations.
- Select a location.
- Select the information bar at the top of the screen.
- Select the pen (edit)
- Select delete location
- Select tick and the location is deleted
Entering individual Coordinates on a Garmin Edge 810
One aspect I haven’t discussed is entering the co-ordinates. This can be done and instructions are given in the Garmin Edge 810 manual. Honestly with the options to use iCaching or Garmin Basecamp I cannot be bothered entering individual geocache waypoints.
In Summary – Does the Garmin Edge 810 Tick the Geocaching Box?
I would have to say no it doesn’t. In closing I have decided to generally stick with Garmin Oregon 600 on the bike when I want to add some geo-activities into my ride mix, however that said to allow me to maybe to grab a cache or Munzee or Waymark on my commutes I do load up a few route based waypoints to the Garmin Edge 810 to get me to ground zero and then use my phone for the close.
But for more planned geo-activities I go with the Garmin Oregon 600 or for activities such as off-road bicycle touring and bushwalking as well as geocaching I again intend to use the Oregon 600.
I did consider using the phone in-combination with Garmin Edge 810 but geocaching with the phone seriously eats into battery life, plus the screen can be hard to read at times so I find it really only an option for the quick grabs on my commutes. That said for Munzee capturing the phone is still a must.
If you have any questions or suggestions to improve this post please leave a comment below.