GREAT RESOURCE: Finally view Caches on OS maps!


Our prayers are answered…

For cachers looking for a hassle-free way to compile caching maps including 1:25k ordnance survey maps with cache location on, our prayers have been answered. I’d previously blogged about using OS GB Mapping by the Hug which requires a bit of faffing about in Excel to get the GPX files in the correct format, and some Photoshopping to remove the route lines that it plots. Geocacher Pardlerum saw the post and was kind enough to drop me an email and let me know about another site that will allow cache plotting on maps including OS maps without the fuss. I can’t believe I’ve never encountered it as I searched, and searched, and searched for something to do this and came out empty handed. So, as most of you probably wouldn’t have stumbled across this site I thought I’d write a little tutorial post to introduce you to this. It really is the bees knees of cache mapping…

The site is CACH’EYE.

An example of an OS cache map

Features

I’ll start by giving you a quick run down of what you can do with the site:

  • Upload PQ’s straight from the zip file you download from Geocaching.com and view these on the map.
  • Create filters to adjust which terrain/difficulty of caches are shown
  • Modify which cache types are shown
  • Choose to display caches and/or waypoints
  • Filter found, not found, and those which you have used GSAK to correct the coordinates on. If the Information comes from GSAK it cant be changed in CACH’EYE. GPX, LOC and PQ data can be corrected in CACH’EYE
  • Filter using GCVote ratings. (This feature also now works without running the GSAK GCVote macro on the site). There is an option “GCVote Settings” located in the “Preferences” menu. Enabling this gathers the GCVotes on application startup. But it is disabled by default because it makes only sense to use it, if someone wants to use GCVotes for filtering.)
  • Measure distances between caches by clicking on the map to draw a route.
  • Log your caches by clicking each one
  • View cache details by clicking it
  • Create, store and print lots of to do lists of caches you plan to do on a trip.
  • Set a default view, or add different coordinates to create different views to switch to on the maps.

Choose between loads of maps including:

  • Bing road, aerial and aerial with labels
  • UK Ordnance Survey
  • London Streetmap
  • Google Road, Satellite, Hybrid, Terrain
  • Open Street Map
  • Open Cycle Map
  • World Imagery, Street, Topo
  • US Topo
  • DeLorme World

Getting Started

There is a GSAK macro MyCachEye available from the site which allows you to get files ready for import into the site, but from what I can make out the site was modified since this was required and it is no longer needed. I certainly didn’t do anything special to my PQ’s.

To do anything with the site you need to sign up with an account. It’s totally free. You also need to install (cringe) Microsoft Silverlight to access the maps. If you go to view the maps you will be prompted for the download and once you have it installed the maps are viewable in both Internet Explorer and Firefox.

Now you have your account and Silverlight installed the fun can start. Click the big ‘Start’ button on the homepage and you will be directed to your private map area. This is brilliant because it means that you can save changes and they will appear next time you log on.

Uploading a PQ

I started by creating a PQ of 300 caches centering around Chelmsford and a MyFinds PQ. To get this to the site I simply clicked the import menu along the top and pointed it to my PQ zip file on my desktop. After a few seconds everything was done. If you use IE or Chrome you can also drag and drop a PQ onto the map to have it appear.

After the import

I thought I’d test the “London Street Maps” view with my MyFinds PQ, centering around the ones found in London. The maps look very useful and include parking, toilets, cinemas, etc. so great to have something a little more detailed with your caches on.

Caches with the London Street Maps background

Then it was onto the OS maps (Exciting!) for my Chelmsford PQ. There’s a trail just south of Chelmsford, “Stock Loop‘ which I’ve been meaning to do for ages, so I centered on that to check out the maps.

Caches with the 25k OS map background

More advanced features

Hovering on a cache shows its name, owner, GC number, type, difficulty, size, coords, date placed, GC vote rating (If you have run the macro first), and approximate altitude. You can also click on its name to visit the Geocaching.com URL. Along with this you have a set of actions. These are: focus (to focus on that particular cache and also show all belonging Childwaypoints (Stages of a Multicache …), Add to todo list, Measure distance (So you can draw a route on the map), and Log your visit.

Details for a selected cache

If you select a puzzle cache you also have the option to add corrected coordinates. It will zoom in on the area, and then when changed move the cache location to the new coords and colour it red showing that it has been changed.

Sniper!

Puzzle cache now in the correct location

I started off with measuring the loop. The OS map made it very convenient to see the footpaths so I clicked along these drawing a route as perfect as possible. I was impressed that the measurement snapped to each cache as I hovered my mouse near to it. To end the measurement, I double clicked back at the place I had started. I now know that the route is just over 3km. It’s also handy to be able to see that approximate altitude of the caches so that I know if I’m going to have to climb any hills to it.

The distance between the caches

The Todo List

No onto one of the real gems of this site, the ‘To Do’ list. If you hover over each cache in a loop you can click the ‘Add to to do list’ action. Now if you click the ‘To Do-List’ tab on the far right hand side you will see the caches that you have added. You can name this list, and create new ones to add additional caches to and these will remain there even after you have logged out.

Stock loop to do list

You can then choose to print the map and it will ask you to select the area to print and produce you a todo list of the caches as well.

To do list printed into Acrobat

Views and Markers

Cach’eye makes it easy to center on a part of the map using markers. You can either enter the coordinates in the ‘Go to’ search box to zoom to an area, or click ‘Go to and set marker’ to zoom there and save a view in your list. On the map you get a little red circle that marks your view coordinates and in your list you get a selection of views to switch to.

Views and Markers

Customising your Preferences

You can also modify preferences to filter the caches and change the view of caches on the maps. You can filter out different cache types, including Benchmarks and Waymarks if you collect them too. You can select to show just caches, or just waypoints, or both. You can filter whether you have found or not found a cache, and show only particular difficulty and terrain ranges. Finally you can choose whether your To do list is printed with a portrait map, landscape map, or no map at all.

Lots of preferences to customise it with

Conclusion

I have to say I’m eternally grateful to Pardlerum for sending me an email and letting me know about this fabulous site. This very nearly has everything I have ever wanted for creating my caching maps to take on trips. I can only think of one tiny addition which would make it the perfect tool for me, and that is the ability to have cache names all appear on the maps. Other than that this now takes the top spot of the caching resource that I would recommend to all cachers. So what are you waiting for? Head over to Cacheye, download Silverlight, sign up for an account and get playing!

If you need any help with anything drop me a comment below and I’ll try and get back to you as soon as poss. Or if you find any cool little features that I’ve missed let me know!

Happy mapping! :D

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24 Responses to “GREAT RESOURCE: Finally view Caches on OS maps!”

  1. Andy_UK63 Says:

    Thanks for this great review Cass!

    I’ve been playing around with this site too following your recommendation and I completely agree that its a great resource – I love the fact that the OS map switches to the 1:25,000 scale as you zoom in.

    The only thing I miss is not being able to upload GPX routes (if you try to do that it grumbles that the format must be GC****) but then I guess that’s not what it’s intended for. As a cache-trip planning tool I reckon it’s about as good as it gets (even if you do have to install Silverlight!).

    Cheers
    Andy

  2. Martin Says:

    In a similar vein, if you use Google Earth “Gavin’s Unofficial Overlay of the Ordnance Survey Maps” is quite useful.

    http://www.brock-family.org/gavin/google-earth/

    • geocass Says:

      Thanks Martin. I have played with that one, but have to say I think CACH’EYE has won me over. I find it a lot smoother than the OS overlays.

      • Martin Says:

        Yes, it certainly looks as though it does a lot more. On the other hand, the overlay is trivial to install :)

        Is it clear whether the Cach’eye people respect the privacy of uploaded data ? For example, if I upload data which include puzzle solutions will anyone else be able to see them ?

    • geocass Says:

      There are forums on their web pages here where they seem to be very responsive to questions. So that would be the best place to get a definite answer.

      I’d say however I reckon privacy is respected. When you click the ‘Start’ button to see your map you are taken to your own “Private area” where you are again prompted for a password so that you and only you can see your uploaded data and maps. It has its own unique address, for example http://username.cacheye.org. I’d certainly feel happy uploading my puzzle coordinates without worrying that anyone would be able to see them.

      Hope that helps! :D

      • Martin Says:

        I came to the same conclusion, and tried to upload my homebrew GPX file for London. Sadly it appears to crash during upload though: I think it’s not entirely Mac friendly.

  3. geocass Says:

    Ah, evil Macs! ;) I’m an iPhone user, but not a Mac user so don’t think I could be much help. I am automatically programmed to hate the things as my brother is a huge Mac fan boy and if I agree with him on too much we will run out of things to argue about. ;)

    Perhaps try with a standard GPX file from a PQ. I’m not sure how well it would be guaranteed to work with a Mac seeing as it runs on Microsoft Silverlight. If they wrote it in something like Java it would probably suit all platforms a bit better.

    Hope you get it working!

  4. Martin Says:

    I posted a note on their forum asking about home-brew GPX files. The Silverlight thing shouldn’t be an issue because there’s a Microsoft plugin for the Mac, but it’s probably less tested than one would like.

    Thanks for your help.

  5. JK Says:

    Hi, I’ve been pointed to your amazing review by a friend, and have been fiddling around with Cacheye and am about to have a coronary!!! All I am trying to do is drop & drag caches from my desktop (after clicking GPX on groundspeak and saving them) onto the map – I can do one, but when I do another one, the first one disappears. I cant get more than one on there!! i dont understand pocket queries, though I am a premium member. Can anyone help me!! Thank you in advance x

  6. heartysoles Says:

    Have downloaded everything, please give me the steps to get my pq to a map for a day of caching{I’m not the greatest on the computer, so need all the help i can get!}

    • geocass Says:

      If you’ve registered, go to the website, click “start” to fire up your private area and then click “import”, browse to your PQ and it will generate the map for you. If your having probs gettin 2 ur private area your address will be http://username.cacheye.org where username is what you registered on the cacheye site.

  7. heartysoles Says:

    Still having problems with my password, even after I registered, tried changing it and still no go,would like to get started with this neat program, but can’t get anywhere as it won’t let me log in, please help!!!!

    • geocass Says:

      If you can’t get your password to work I’m afraid there’s not much I can do to help! Check your username is correct and perhaps try typing your password somewhere the characters are visible to ensure what you are typing is what you think you’re typing. Technical problems are best dealt with by the guys that run the site.

  8. heartysoles Says:

    Thanks for all your help,do you know how to contact the guys that run the site, there’s no place that I can see where to contact them, thanks,

  9. 2010 in review « GeoCass UK GeoCaching Says:

    [...] Finally view caches on OS maps [...]

  10. david Says:

    Thanks for directing me to this site it is everything I have always wanted cannot believethat it has being around for over 12month will certainly be recormending it

  11. Arminus Says:

    Hi,

    as far as routing between caching goes: Check out http://www.xctrails.org – the routing there is real routing along ways and roads including altitude profiles, not just straight lines. A small intro video is here: http://vimeo.com/38782259

    cheers,
    Armin

  12. WillabeeWombat Says:

    I tried XC Trails. Good for biking but not geocaching. Cach’eye is much more powerful and is the one I recommend concentrating on.

  13. Arminus Says:

    I’d say that depends on what you want to do. The reason why I originally added geocaches to the site was to be able to find out what the real distance between a bunch of caches in a given area was. I didn’t see that anywhere else at that time. All other “features” came later, exclusively based on what I needed and had time to develop ;-) But maybe I’ll take cach’eye as an inspiration ;-) And I’d be happy to learn what others would actually like to see …

  14. Chris Dunne Says:

    I’ve just found your page today, I’ve now got an account with Cacheye, (well two accounts because the emails for the first didn’t come through until an hour after). What I was after was a tool to plot GPX routes on an OS map with caches on display, unless I’m missing something this doesn’t seem possible with Cacheye, how did you plot the route in the image under more advanced features? I don’t seem to be able to do and a Google search just found feature requests for routes in Cacheye.

    • geocass Says:

      Hi Chris,

      I think what you’re referring to is where I drew a route on in cacheye. I didn’t upload a GPX route file. If you hover over a cache to get the details you get a little straight line icon. Click that and then click points on the map where you will be walking and that will measure the route distance.

      Hope that helps,

      Cass

    • Willabee Says:

      Although the measure distance tool is neat and I do use it to measure the distance of the route but I find it obscures the route too much. The general procedure I use is to:
      * Consider the caches and the route you would like to take.
      * Ideally you’ll be trying to create a circular route.
      * Create and name a new To-Do list.
      * Select your first cache and add to list.
      * Continue adding caches to the list in route order.
      * Use the measure distance tool, following your track.
      * Note the distance and delete the route.
      * You could capture the route image and save it but I don’t.
      * Now focus on the list (This removes all other caches)
      * Maximise to encompass your route
      * I press F11 to get rid of browser chrome.
      * Hide the list, capture your map (I us OS UK) and paste to Word
      * Capture the list and paste to Word (or similar).
      * Paste in any other useful information, hints, multi questions, etc.
      * Print out and / or send document to phone.
      * Enjoy your adventure.

      Hope this helps


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