So I finally got myself a GPS, which has been on my list of things to get for quite some time. I also made my first baby steps as a geocacher and surprisingly found a few caches.

Geocaching is a world wide treasure hunt that anyone can take part of. All you need is a GPS (or a very accurate map) and a adventurous mind. The actual process is simple: you locate a cache you wish to find, go to the coordinates of the cache, find it (duh!) and log your find.

The first time I heard about geocaching was back in 2002 or so and I've visited the idea of starting to find caches quite often since then. Last week I finally got myself to order a GPS. I took the cheapest bluetooth model I could find after making sure that it had an mini-B USB connector for the charger. In fact it turned out to be a re-branded Holux GPSlim 236, which was a good thing since I had my eyes set on the 240 model as an alternative.

So far learning a new hobby has been loads of fun as well as frustrating. It turns out that there are 3 ways to represent a WGS 84 coordinates. And with my luck I had 2 applications that both used different notations and neither of them was the one given to me. Not to mention that there are other coordinates than the WGS 84 datum. After learning about multiple standards and notations it became a bit easier to locate the caches, since now we were looking from the right place.

The trouble doesn't stop there. The GPS I bought has a SiRFstar III chipset. Since there is a small changes in the signal and you in a worst case scenario you can get multiple coordinates just by standing still, this chipset has a feature to improve accuracy. The way it is implemented causes problems in geocaching because you don't get as accurate information from the device. There is a way to turn the feature off, but in the process it's apparently quite easy to temporarily brick your device. Luckily the device can be unbricked by allowing the internal battery to drain so that the device does a hardware reset. I'll see tomorrow if I'm able to disable the feature without bricking the device again.

So, a seemingly simple hobby turned out as a mess.. Again! It's not all bad though, we spent a nice day outside looking for some more caches today. It's just the push we needed to get moving and going outside. I just keep wondering what other problems lie ahead.

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