Chonks place

A spot for the voices in my head to speak out

Monday, September 18, 2006

Geocaching and my Gecko!

I just received my very 1st GPS tracker last week from Edmunds Scientific and have to admit I was a little confused on what I was going to do with this, until a friend of mine turned me on to geocaching.

OH SNAP!

I have been geocaching non-stop since. I’m hooked. And what’s nice, is so is my entire family! We have found something that we can all do together and it actually involves the outdoors and hiking, which we already enjoyed.

I have been ordering from Edmunds Scientific since I was a kid, and always loved the feeling of excitement when a package arrived from them. Now that I have kids, I see the same excitement in them. The nice thing is that they are also learning about science while having fun. Heck, my son sat for over an hour with the catalog pointing and announcing on every page, I'm gonna ask Santa for this!", and, I'm gonna ask Santa for this!". belive me, getting him to sit still for an hour for ANYTHING is an accomplishment and worth the price of the GPS!

I opened the box of my Garmin gecko 201 GPS tracker and immediately noticed how small it was. In fact it was smaller than my cell phone. It came with a quick start guide that was easy to follow, and while BBQing some steaks I was up and running within 10 minutes. After spending the evening reading the manual and playing with it, I realized that although it was compact, it had all the features that the larger, more expensive
models had, with the exception of a larger screen, which is still easy to read and even backlit. I would far rather have a small unit I can slip in my shirt pocket. It’s even waterproof for when I most likely dump it in the lake while bass fishing – It’s gonna happen!

So this weekend the family and I went out and started hunting these geocaches, which if you’re not familiar with is basically, using billion-dollar technology to find Tupperware hidden in the woods. Although the kids think its “Treasure Hunting”, I was able to explain the whole concept of satellite triangulation, longitude and latitude, and waypoints. I think they might have actually understood some of it. Either way, they loved taking turns holding the GPS and tracking down the caches. It was simple enough for a 7 year old.

The gecko 201 one of 3 in Garmins line of small waterproof basic handhelds, and is rugged with rubber side protectors and also has a PC connector available to store and upload waypoints from your computer – MAC Too! It claims to have an accuracy of up to 10ft., although I was not able to get any lower than 18ft. Battery life is great too. I’ve used it all weekend and have still to see the battery life meter dip below full. They claim 12 hours of use. Unit also has interactive games to teach you how to use the unit but I was able to learn with real life experiences, so I haven’t tried them yet.

I can’t wait to use this with my Cub Scout den. I am their den leader and I plan on using this device to teach them about tracking while looking for “treasures”!

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