GSAK 8 – New Features Tutorial

GSAK 8 is the most recently released version of Geocaching Swiss Army Knife. For those not familiar with the software, it’s basically a Geocaching database that you can use to store, filter and manipulate cache data. It’s an absolutely massive product and since version 8 now connects to the Live API for better integration with the website. Previous versons of the software relied on you manually loading in your own caches, for example via Pocket Queries. Version 8 is better integrated with the website and is able to not only automatically retrieve cache data, but also download extra logs for caches, add caches to your favourites, quickly log caches, and log caches using the field notes from your GPS.

GSAK8 has been out a fair while now, but I thought I’d use a blog entry to go into some depth as to what the new GSAK 8 features provide and how cachers can benefit from this update as I’ve recently upgraded to it. The update isn’t a freebie for existing GSAK users, however it is really reasonably priced for the amount of features you get ranging from $10 to $20 depending on how recently you purchased version 7. Anyone who doesn’t yet own GSAK can purchase it for $30, however you can get a free 21 day trial here to have a play before deciding to part with your hard earned cache cash! 😉

Get the latest patch

Although you may have installed GSAK8, unless you’re running the latest patch for it you could be really missing out! Click here to view a list of patches and what each patch adds to GSAK. Scroll to the very last post in the forum to download the latest patch. By default, GSAK is configured to tell you if there is a new version available. This doesn’t alert you about any of the latest patches, so I’d strongly recommend spending a few seconds modifying your GSAK preferences to enable patch alerts. To do this, click the ‘Tools‘ menu –> Options –> ‘Advanced‘ tab and then on the top right click the box that says ‘Also check for “patches”‘. Now it will pop up and tell you whenever there is a new patch for download.

Tick the 'Also check for patches' box Access

Version 8 of GSAK comes with a new menu item added along the top bar labelled ‘ Access‘. Under this menu is where all the new exciting stuff lives!

The Access menu

A quick run down of the items:
Get Geocaches – Pull Geocache data straight from You’ll need premium membership (i.e. the ability to use Pocket Queries) to get any real benefit from this.
Refresh Cache Data – Update the caches in your database with the latest cache data from the website.
Download Pocket Queries – Pull up a list of Pocket Queries in your account that are downloadable and download them into your GSAK database.
Status Check – Update the status of the caches in your database (Archived, Disabled, or Available)
Favourite Points – Add/Remove the currently selected cache from your favourites or get your Favourites balance.
Update User Information – In GSAK you can set your Home coordinates and User ID to find caches close to home (for example) and filter those owned/found by you. Instead of doing this manually, this option will pull the data from the your account.
Publish Logs – Log a cache, or queue up a big list of logs to publish to the website.
Add to Bookmark List – Add the currently selected cache to one of your bookmark lists, or create a new list to add it to.
Get Available Download Balance (New in Build 37 Patch) – Check what your available balance is for cache downloads (Out of 6000)
Get another Access token – Access to your account is granted via a token. The first time you access your account via GSAK you will have to click to ‘Allow Access’. If you have 2 accounts and want to switch to another one in order to download more caches (Perhaps you have 2 premium accounts?) you can do that by selecting this option.

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Viewing any web cam cache on an iPhone

As most webcams use a special extension to run in your browser, not many are easily viewable on an iPhone in Safari. Sometimes you just don’t have the option to “phone a friend” but that doesn’t mean that you can’t get a picture. All you need is your iPhone, a computer running back at home, some good signal (3G, EDGE, or Wifi. GPRS won’t work), and a couple of free bits of software.

On your computer at home install RealVNC
Through the appstore on your iphone download ‘VNC Lite’ (It’s free)
Next follow the great tutorial here. This will tell you how to configure the software on your computer, open the port on your firewall to allow access, and how to configure your iPhone. It really takes no more than 5 minutes to do.

You will then be able to fully control your computer, click on buttons, surf the web via your iPhone. Think of it like a little remote control. Good stuff. It came in very handy for us so thought I’d share my idea.

A screenshot taken from my iPhone of me writing this blog entry

Plot multiple caches on an OS map

I discovered a couple of websites today that allow you to upload a GPX routes file for it to be plotted on an OS map. This is very nearly exactly what I’ve been wanting all of these months! I wanted something to plot on Geocache trails on, however I have worked out a way I can edit my Geocache GPX files to be more route GPX files which show each cache (waypoint) on the trail.

As I haven’t found anything that will let you upload a Geocaching GPX and just show you where each one is on an OS map I’ve found a great workaround…

The final result

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GSAK Newbie – Massive Review and Tutorial

So… It’s time to find out what everyone is raving about and give GSAK another go! I perhaps wrongly dismissed it a few weeks ago when it just kept crashing everytime I tried to do something. I think this could have been due to using a slightly older version on Windows 7. I’m now armed with version 7.7.1 on Windows 7 64-bit with on a Dell XPS M1330 laptop with 4GB of RAM…

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Making your own Ordnance Survey map (For FREE!)

So in yesterday’s post I mentioned that it is a bit of a pain carrying around big OS maps with you and that I often create my own. For those visitors not quite so computer literate I thought I’d just do a quick run through of how I do it. It’s really simple and you don’t need any additional software as we’re going to use good old Microsoft Paint…

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