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Apisphere Geomate.jr. is an especially accessible and affordable tool. Many units can cost upward of $400, so at $69.95, this is a great starting point for kids or for newbies. The unit is lightweight, durable and splash proof, and has a simple design with a power switch and two buttons for operation.Any GPS can get you to a cache, but the
After a quick study of the User Guide, the controls are easy to use. Once it is turned on, Geomate.jr calculates its position and displays the twenty closest preprogrammed caches. The geocacher can scan each of the twenty caches to determine the difficulty of the find, the size of the cache, difficulty of terrain and the distance to the cache.
Once a cache is chosen, the geocacher can follow the direction of the on-screen arrow. The accuracy of positioning brings cachers in 5-9 feet of the target. Occasionally, there is some "jumping" of distance as one closes in on the find, but that seems common for any model – even the expensive. Even under heavy tree coverage or driving in a car, the accuracy seems right on.
Not every cache at the website will be preloaded on the device. For instance, new caches or caches with a high degree of difficulty will not be included. Apisphere filters out these searches to ensure first timers have a successful experience. If you manage to find all the preloaded caches in your area that have been into the device, there is an update kit available sold separately. But geocaching has been around since 2000 and lots of caches (250,000 preloaded in the United States) that will show up in the surrounding area. It will take a long time to exhaust the searches.
Once the Apisphere Geomate.jr is out of that package, it is ready to go. It doesn't require premapping or downloading of coordinates. Kept in the car or backpack, it can be turned on at whim, for an impromptu treasure hunt. It may not have every bell and whistle that a pricey GPS unit may, but for this price, it is exactly what a new geocacher needs. It's an on-the-go GPS for geocaching that for any hikers young and old.
Tara Wojtczak Ondish is an English Instructor at Florida State College and was the Director of the college’s Learning Center. Ondish previously was an adjunct faculty member in Daytona Beach Community College’s English department.
A mother of two nature inspired daughters, Ondish has always been interested in helping children integrate fitness and an appreciation of nature and has worked with Waldorf and Montessori schools, both of whose teaching philosophies integrate natural living and respect for the environment into their pedagogies.
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