geocaching

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Go treasure hunting with xatcher for Windows Phone

If you're not familiar with Geocaching, it's an activity many participate in to locate and find hidden geocaches (containers), which may contain an item and logs to jot down names when found. The treasure hunt can take the individual (or group) through a trail to locate the hidden cache, but that's part of the fun, utilising clues and location-based features to reach the goal. We've covered a few geocaching apps for Windows Phone, but there's another worth noting, called xatcher.

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Growing up, ‘X’ always marked the spot, problem was my lack of treasure maps. Fast forward to 2013 and anyone with a GPS device can find buried treasure. Ladies and gentlemen, geocaching can make anyone of you a pirate for a day and we now have a great app for Windows Phone to live out those swashbuckling fantasies. But before you get your Captain Jack cosplay on, how about you read into Geocaching Live for Windows Phone.

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Trail Buddy - Review

Trail Buddy is a location tracking application for your Windows Phone that can be used for hiking, biking, geocaching and other activities that require GPS and/or mapping. Trail Buddy's features include:

  • Create multiple trails with waypoints (aka points of interest) and tracks
  • Start, pause, stop track recording and view current location information on one easy-to-read page
  • View your location, waypoints and track on a map (accessing maps requires a good quality connection)
  • View accumulated stats at any time for the current trail
  • Pre-define waypoints or capture your current position along a trail - you can even set a waypoint from the map
  • Take pictures directly from the waypoint page

To see how well these features work out for Trail Buddy, take the jump past the break.

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GPS App - Review

Like to geocache? There's a Windows Phone app for that.

GPS App is Windows Phone 7 navigation application designed to help guide you way-points or geocaches. You can navigate your way to geocaches by way of the compass screen or use the Bing Map view.

For those not familiar geocaching is an outdoor sporting activity in which the participants use a GPS receiver to hide and seek containers, called "geocaches" or "caches", anywhere in the world.

To read more on GPS App, follow the break.

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As GPS starts to become more of a standard feature in cell phones we are going to continue to see a lot of new and inventive ways to use it. I have always been a big GPS fan.  I have been using a wide range of different GPS software applications on my cell phone ever since I bought my first Bluetooth enabled WM phone along with a Bluetooth GPS unit 5 years ago. But now with GPS built into so many cell phones, GPS applications are even that much easier to use… and become a lot more affordable with a wider market to sell to. How would you like to use your GPS on your cell phone to track your trip across the country and have it posted live on the GPSed website (either publically or privately in your own personal GPSed account) or live on Twitter, Facebook, Blogger, or MySpace? Imagine going on a bike trip and you wanted to share your trip with your friends on your Facebook page along with GPS tagged photos along the way and Waypoints (GPS bookmarks) with your own personal summary of any point of interest.Or do you think it would be cool to be able track any cell phone in your family to see exactly where they are… or send an SMS message to anyone you want with your exact location, even if they do not have a GPS enabled phone, so they can meet right up with you? All of these promised features are what caught my eye with GPSed. Now I have taken it on the road, I have used it all around town for both work and family and I wanted to share what I found.  Take a peek inside to see if GPSed really does deliver on all these sounds-to-good-to-be-true promises… 
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GPSToday: Killer GPS app for WM

There are a few true killer apps on Windows Mobile and GeoTerrestrial's GPSToday is certainly a contender (Live Search is the other).

What is GPSToday?

As far as I can tell, it fills in the gaps that other GPS programs leave open. From my experience, its main function is to simply tell you where you are in the world. But unlike Google Maps/Live Search, which just shows your physical location on a map, GPSToday goes one step further by getting your coordinates, translating that into a real street address and displaying it directly on your Today screen (via the plugin).

All of this happens within about 15 seconds and a simple touch of an icon.

There is also the ability to attach your GPS coordinates automatically to photos, see your location of your contacts automatically and get directions to and from places. Plus the new feature: GPS weather, where it will show your weather directly based on your GPS coordinates. All wrapped up in a nice, simple (and currently free) program.

Read on for the feature breakdown and brief review!

Breakdown

 

There are two main parts to the program: the Today plugin and the Maps application. There is also a useful configuration screen for setting up and modifying the settings.

Plugin: This is the main interface for the app and it’s pretty simple, it’s also “touch friendly” so your stylus need not apply. To the left is the Red icon with a little satellite icon—it turns green when trying to pull your GPS signal and displays the number of satellites found. In the middle is the “display” section which shows your street address (or optionally coordinates).

The little person/icon is “Save to Contacts” which allows you to directly copy the current info to a current or new contact.

 

The “stopwatch” icon is the option to automatically lookup your current location at timed intervals (1 minutes, 5, 10, 30, 1 hour, Auto or Off) so in theory you could have your current location updated every 30 minutes automatically, all you have to do is glance down at your screen and you’ll know your street address.

 

Finally the Map icon brings up the mapping portion. Tapping the Map will download mapping data of your current location and will optionally show points of interest (POI) and/or Contacts, which is very cool.

 

For those concerned with battery life, GPSToday can do a one-time Quick Fix: it will turn on, do the lookup, display the street address and then turn off the GPS system meaning you only have GPS/data activated for about 20-30 seconds—all the work is done for you! This is probably my favorite part as nothing beats finding our current street address. What good is there in knowing your visual location on a map or your coordinates when trying to meet up with some friends? It’s much easier to tell someone “Yeah, I’m at…435 Motts Street right now”. (Note: due to GPS sensitive, the exact location lookup is sometimes off by a few houses, so YMMV. But for the most part, this will get your address within a few stops.)

Maps: the Map is accessed via the Today plugin and has your usual assortment of options: display POI, contacts, zoom in/out, refresh, weather and geocaching/geotagging of pictures options.

 

Weather: the weather option was just added to the latest version and is pretty simple but very neat. Basically it pulls down your current temperature and basic weather based on your GPS location. It can display this on the today plugin as the temperature or on the maps:

 

Geotagging of photos: here’s another very useful feature. Simply enable it via the add on freeware program (it’ll prompt you to download) and whenever you snap a photo, the GPS coordinates will be tagged to the picture. This of course can then be used for stuff like Flickr, where built in mapping of your photos can add a cool twist to your collection.

 

Conclusion and the future

GPSToday is just a fantastic application. It was quickly updated by the developers for 320x320 resolution devices (Samsung i780, Treo 800w/Pro), has new features being added all the time (e.g. GPS Weather) and I’ve heard we can expect some more features in later versions (think “friend finder/social networking” abilities).

If you have GPS built in, this is one of the most useful programs available as knowing your current street address, seeing your contacts in relation to you, being aware of the current weather, geotagging your photos, etc. are all things we can use in our daily lives.

In short, programs like GPSToday are what make “smarpthones” truly smarpthones—they do the work for you, seamlessly and provide really useful information in an instant.

Any downsides? Probably just these two major limitations:

  • Only WM Pro devices (WM Standard is not currently supported)
  • Mapping data is U.S. based only

Hopefully some of that will be addressed in later versions.

Download Here and read their FAQ with some tips and tricks right here.

Ratings (out of 5)

  • Function: 5
  • Ease of use: 5
  • Cost (none): 5
  • Features: 5

Overall:

Pros

  • Unique GPS app
  • Currently freeware
  • Very useful
  • Easy to use
  • Great features with more to come

Cons

  • Not for WM Standard (non-touchscreen)
  • U.S. mapping data only
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