Geocaching and Everytrail

It was the first day of the summer holidays today and right on cue the weather was set to take a turn for the worse. It didn’t look as though it would be too bad in the morning though so Morgan and I headed out for a walk. We had a few things to do whilst we were out. There was a geocache in Borth that we hadn’t yet done, one of my geocaches on the coast path needed replacing and I had to try out the Everytrail app on the Samsung Galaxy S2 that I have on loan.

The idea of Everytrail is that it logs your trip using the inbuilt GPS receiver and uploads it to a website. Pretty similar to logging any trip with a GPS device, but it also allows you to take photos along your route, geotagging them as you go and allows you to add notes to the route as well. In essence it’s a great way of creating a guide to any of your favourite walks, rides or drives and if you are so inclined allows you to annotate them, add photos and share them with others.

First stop was a quick cache in Borth called ‘Borth Through the Years’. We found it quickly and both the gecoaching app on the Samsung Galaxy S2 and in my Garmin Foreunner 305 worked flawlessly. We then parked up on the cliff and headed up to the war memorial where we checked in on one of our own geocaches, ‘Wennol I see you Again’.

We then continued along the coast path to a geocache location that we’d hidden previously called Seascape. It provides amazing views out across the wide expanse of Cardigan Bay, but somehow had gone missing so needed replacing. We replaced it and then headed back into Borth.

The Everytrail app worked well, and I’ve now uploaded the trip to their website which you can see here. Once there you can also embed your trip into a webpage, so here it is.

Seascape at EveryTrail

It works quite well, but I do have a few issues with the whole process.

First up, by the time we got back to the car the Samsung Galaxy S2 was already running out of battery life. It was fully charged before we left and therefore only lasted just over 3 hours. Not really much use for a full days hike. Admittedly we had the GPS receiver on the whole time and the phone was constantly looking for an internet connection as we were often out of reception, but that would be the case if you were out hiking in the hills.

Secondly, I’m not completely convinced about storing such data with a 3rd party provider. I don’t mind doing so, but if I were making a repository of all my favourite walks and rides and taking the time to write detailed notes, add photos and such like then I’d prefer to have a way of making sure I can keep a copy of such things myself. No one knows if Everytrail will still be around next year, 5 years down the line or in 25 years. If they disappear then so does all the data that you’ve spent hours entering. You are able to download the gpx file of the trail, but if I’m effectively writing a trail-guide I’d want to keep all of the data myself as well.

Thirdly, there doesn’t seem to be an easy way to export the photos either. Again, I’m quite happy sharing such things but I’d like my own copy of them as well. I did manage to extract the photos from the phone in the end. I tired connecting it via USB without any luck, I couldn’t transfer them via the wi-fi connection either and nor did Bluetooth want to play so I ended up having to e-mail them to myself from the phone. Not exactly seamless integration but I got there in the end.

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Alan Cole

Alan is a Freelance Website Designer, Sports & Exercise Science Lab Technician and full time Dad & husband with far too many hobbies: Triathlete, Swimming, Cycling, Running, MTBing, Surfing, Windsurfing, SUPing, Gardening, Photography.... The list goes on.

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