gadg-et-oid [gaj-it-oid]


1. having the characteristics or form of a gadget;
resembling a mechanical contrivance or device.

Geocaching With The iPhone

If you’re eying up the iPhone 3g as a device to guide you on Geocaching adventures then read on; This is not a general review of the iPhone and, as I am new to Geocaching and the iPhone is the only device I have used, I will be unable to draw comparisons between the iPhone 3g and other PDA-based or handheld GPS solutions.

However, I will look briefly at the iPhone 3gs strengths and weaknesses as a Geocaching device and give you some tips and tricks on getting the most out of it. I will be detailing only core functionality of the iPhone using no additional software or hardware other than a laptop computer from which I read co-ordinates and browsed for caches when planning trips at home.

To make our bank holiday Monday more than just an uneventful stay at home I decided to finally check out what all the Geocaching fuss is about and explore a few very local caches. These caches were, in order: Prison Break, It’s not a Micro, it’s a …….. and Roman Treasure. The latter two of these took us to places we had previously not been, but were practically on our doorstep.

First and foremost we tried out Prison Break. We had not planned this one, but happened to be driving past the area. I was able to load up on the iPhone, navigate to the page for this cache, read through the comments and read the clue. Alas I had not yet got the hang of locating a cache and planning visits in advance so we ended up wondering aimlessly about in the wrong direction.

Finally I made my first iPhone discovery. After looking up the co-ordinates for the cache on and entering them into a TomTom I copied them back into the Search field of Google Maps on the iPhone (Okay, that’s a messy work around to the lack of copy and paste). To my surprise it successfully zeroed in on the cache and provided incredibly easy to follow satellite photography of the area upon which I could clearly see the lay of the land including well-tread paths and the daunting tree-line beyond which the cache was hidden. Following several paths in google maps eventually lead us to our first cache which we would never have found had we not first read the comments on; something that was remarkably easy to do in Safari on the iPhone.

After discovering Google Maps support of Longitude and Latitude based co-ordinates I decided to explore the possibilities of further exploiting the iPhones core functionality to make it a better and more functional Geocaching device. I found this functionality, unsurprisingly, in Contacts.

How to set up an iPhone contact for Geocaching

Using your Geocaching contacts

To navigate to a page for a particular cache, simply find that contact and tap their “Home Page” line. If you entered the full URL to the cache than you need to nothing more. Otherwise you must then enter the Geocache Code at the end of the URL manually into the search field.

To find a Geocache waypoint in Maps simply start typing the name you entered for that cache. Alternatively you can type “Geo” (If you used my naming scheme) and get a scrollable list of all the Geocache contacts you have entered into your iPhone. You can also tap the little book icon and tap “Contacts” for, you guessed it, a list of your contacts.

After every successful find you will find it easy to post a comment on with the iPhone, and if you get stuck it’s just as easy to read through the lists of clues.

Features that would further improve the iPhone as a Geocaching device

Tuesday, August 26th, 2008, iPhone.