CacheMate is an application for mobile devices (PDAs and smartphones) that supports paperless geocaching. CacheMate can display waypoint names, coordinates, descriptions, past logs and much more from geocaching pocket queries or single-listing gpx files.
CacheMate is available for the Palm OS, Pocket PC, Windows Smartphone, and Google Android platforms.
Where to get
CacheMate can be downloaded from smittyware.com.
The trial version is free, and the registered version costs only $10 US. The limitation on the trial version is that it only holds 10 caches, otherwise it is full-featured. Registered version holds as many caches as can fit on your mobile device, which even for older model Palm PDAs usually numbers in the hundreds.
CacheMate comes with an external program for converting your gpx files (pocket queries use this format) into a format that can be uploaded to your mobile device. It is called cmconvert and is very simple to use. After you run cmconvert, you merely sync your mobile device using the software that came with it, and then run CacheMate when that is done. CacheMate will detect the new cache information and merge it into the database on your mobile device.
Although that might sound complicated, the entire process is very simple to do, here is an example as an action list:
- Open up your email program, notice that you have new pocket queries waiting for you.
- Double click on the pocket query file, this causes cmconvert to open, showing you the caches in that query.
- Press the export button on cmconvert. It will think for a while, then tell you it is done.
- Place your mobile device in the cradle that it came with, press the button on the cradle.
- You are done. The next time you try to use CacheMate, it will merge in the new data.
Using in the field
- gps connected means a gps is interfaced with your mobile device. This term covers gps devices that are built in to the mobile device, or are connected via a cable, or are connected wirelessly via bluetooth
- finding means locating the cache listing within the CacheMate program
- searching means attempting to locate the actual cache itself
Finding a cache entry
There are a few ways to find a cache entry in the CacheMate program.
- The main screen in CacheMate is a listing of all caches you have in the database. You may scroll up or down to find the cache you are looking for, and then tap on it to bring it up. Alternately, you can write the first letter of the cache name to jump to that letter in the list.
- All Palm devices come with a search feature. It is usually accessible through a button that looks like a magnifying glass. CacheMate was designed to be compatible with the search feature, so you can use this to search on waypoints or names of caches.
Finding the nearest caches
CacheMate has the ability to show you the geocaches nearest to any point. Ground zero for your search can be any of these:
- Your current GPS coordinates (if your mobile device is connected to a gps)
- Any waypoint you have defined within CacheMate
- Any geocache in your CacheMate database
- Any coordinates you can type in
To access this feature, select "Nearest caches..." from the Search menu on the cache list screen, or from the Record menu on a cache screen. Here there will be a screen asking you where you want to start your search. A box for typing in coordinates is provided for you. If you would like to search from the cache or waypoint you were just looking at, this box is already filled with those coordinates, so just hit OK. Alternately, you can type your own coordinates in the box, or just a button that says From GPS if your gps is connected.
Once you are looking at the cache entry that you would like to navigate to, actually doing it can be very different depending on if you have a gps connected or not. If your GPS is not connected to your mobile device, you would just proceed as you normally would, except the navigation screen has replaced the cache page.
However, if you have a gps connected to the mobile device, you can use the CacheMate nav plugin to navigate your way to the cache. CacheNav is a free CacheMate plugin that you can download from the CacheMate website listed above. CacheNav needs a GPS connected to your mobile device to work, and creates a navigation screen similar to what you would see on many GPS screens, right on your mobile device! It has a navigating arrow, and shows you up to four pieces of important info from this list:
- Your current Altitude
- Bearing to the cache
- Your Heading (or Course)
- Magnetic Variance at this location (it it is being reported by the GPS)
- Your current Speed
- Turn (the difference between Bearing and Heading)
Of those, Distance, Bearing, and HEPE are probably the most useful to hunting a cache, Speed is fun to have to if you like to use CacheNav to help you drive to the Cache.
CacheMate users are encouraged to post their reviews below the line