Geocaching mapping made easy(ier)

April 23, 2007

I have offered to give a talk at work on geocaching (Thursday 26th April 2007) and so have been revisiting the subject. As well as going on a few more caches I have had a go at a tool that makes it easier to set up the maps and location files that I need to use with Navio on the HP6915. The result after playing with Google Maps on and off over the last couple of weeks or so is a tool to allow input of map coordinates in the DD MM.MMM format that uses and a way to add markers to give reference points. At the bottom of the map it produces the XML in .loc format that Navio needs. Screendump the map (using FastStone Capture’s nice free screen grabber for example). Save the screendump. Save the .loc. Transfer them to the HP6915. Open the map. Open the .loc as points of interest. Click on a couple of the reference points and then you are away!

Still a bit of a fiddle but actually much much easier than what I used to do using standard Just as I was doing this of course Google added the MyMaps facility so I have also written a kml to loc converter and probably would not have written my own. Anyway a nice distraction activity instead of watching TV!

Update after the talk:  This went very well and I know that I have made at least a couple of converts to geocaching! Also slightly improved my programme and I think it is almost genuinely useful – I can now just cut and paste from to get the coordinates and build the map. Need to make it a bit more robust to deal with variations in the format of co-ordinates though.


One Response to “Geocaching mapping made easy(ier)”

  1. […] He made it look easier than I thought – although he was at pains to explain that the technology is all still very flaky, doesn’t work a lot of the time, and needs a lot of technologist glue to get it working well. He’d even written his own Google Maps mash-up to help out with getting data from a PC to his GPS-equipped HP PDA. His mash-up makes it easy to capture an image from Google Maps with two positions marked, and export the locations of those positions in a format the PDA software understood. Transfer those two to the PDA, match the marks on the image with the locations, and bingo – the image is synchronised with the GPS data and he can get a live position on a real map. (Later: He’s already blogged in more detail about how it works.) […]

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