GPSr + Mac

Communication between your GPSr and your Mac. 










Geocaches file system


























Deleting Geocache files




Point of Interest file system










Clearing found caches from the map view 



























Expandable memory 







Track Logs 



The main headache. The bane of this coexistence. Our topic for the night. And it's not half as bad as you think.

To link your eXplorist to your Mac, attach your cable to your GPS with the cord leading down over your battery pack. Plug the cable into the USB port. Turn your GPSr on and click the Menu button when you get past the first screen (it is not necessary that the eXplorist be locked into any satellites before you can move around inside your GPSr). Choose Adv. Features and then Communications. Choose File Transfer to activate the USB connection. (The NMEA sets up a modem-like connection between the GPSr and the Mac, but I've yet to use this.)

Disconnecting is weird. To avoid getting the "You've removed hardware  improperly  and  you  may  have  erased everything/you suck at this" message, have one hand on the mouse and one hand on the GPSr. Drag the mounted volume icon to the trash and a fraction of a second later, click on Power Only on the eXplorist.

The eXplorist uses a nice filing system, complete with a special Geocaching architecture. You can see the geocaches on your screen indicated by the little geocache icons. If you mark one as found, a little red checkmark appears over the icon. Using this architecture is the easiest way - techologically speaking - to geocache. And this is how you do it.

1.) Log in to and locate a cache you wish to find. Download the .loc file for the cache and save it to your desktop. Rename if you wish.

2.) Use my Automator workflow to convert the .loc to a Geocache .gpx file (you need to have GPSBabel+ installed already).

3.) Use LoadMyTracks to upload this .gpx file to your eXplorist. You will find the file in your Geocaches folder.

To delete the files in the Geocaches folder you'll have to link your GPSr up to your Mac via USB and manually delete the Default Geocache File.fs and Default Geocache File.fin.

Some geocachers (like me) prefer using the Point of Interest file system rather than the Geocaches system. I agree with what one geocacher noted:

"The geocaching mode on the Explorist 500 is a welcome effort by Magellan, but I think they missed the mark. If you are used to using your PDA or carrying the cache page, this does not replace that. The Explorist 500 simply doesn't show enough information about the cache to become a self-contained caching machine.

"The main flaw of the geocaching mode is that individual geocaches cannot be edited or deleted from the database... If you are like me, I like to delete the cache waypoint after I find it to clear up the map screen and also to denote (indirectly) my finds. This is not possible on the Explorist 500."

I'd like to interject here for a moment. It has come to my attention that you CAN clear from the map those caches that you've marked as "Found". To do this you need to set your preferences in this manner: 

1.) Navigate to the map view.

2.)  Click the Menu button.

3.) Clik on Map Setup.

4.) Click to the right to access the "Display" tab.

5.) Scroll down and uncheck "Found Caches".

"Also, if you typically edit the coordinates as you progress through a multi-cache, you won't be able to do that within the geocache mode on the Explorist..."

"Those flaws and limitations make the geocaching mode an unused novelty on my GPS. I will likely continue to treat geocaches as regular waypoints, so I can edit and delete them as I please, as well as include the information I want in the waypoint name and comment field."

Working with the POI system is a little hairier but, in my opinion, well worth it for the reasons stated in the quote above. This is how you do it using Load My Tracks.

1.) Download the .loc file for the cache of your choice. Rename if you'd like (can help with after the hunt).


2.) For some reason the Automator action for this conversion won't work (let me know if you get it to work reliably). So you'll need to use GPSBabel+ to manually convert the .loc to a .upt. Make sure to append the .upt file ending.

3.) Use Load My Tracks to upload the new .upt to your GPSr. For this to work you need to make sure that the only file found in Internal Memory\My POIs is the Default POIs File. This will change with future releases (I'm using version 043 right now). This should save the .upt files to your Default POIs file. If it does not you will be limited in your ability to view these waypoints on your eXplorist, so retrace your steps and make sure you get them right. If you use Growl you'll know it went through because you'll get a nice little message.

There is another great aspect of the eXplorist - you can have basically unlimited memory on your GPS via SD cards. These can be bought fairly cheap (I saw some in line at Target - $16.99 for 256 mb. Right next to the Purell hand cleanser and the gum).

The first benefit that comes to mind when considering SD cards and your eXplorist is that you don't need to make sure your Mac recognizes your GPSr using the exactly correct cables, or you don't need to search high and low for that one app that recognizes your GPSr. All you need to transfer info between your GPSr and your Mac is an external SD reader/writer like the one I have.

You will need to do this to work with your Track Logs: after your eXplorist is finished logging it in Internal Memory, highlight the log the press the Menu button. Save the log to SD\Track Logs\ then remove the card and use the external SD reader to place the .log file on your desktop. Then have fun with it.

Fortunately the eXplorist comes pre-loaded with maps. This works pretty well when geocaching in urban areas because it includes street names, city names, etc. Unfortunately I haven't found a way to put topo maps on the GPSr, which would be useful when you're out of the city. If this happens it will most likely be through the SD card. Sorry to disappoint, but I'm on the case. Stay tuned.















Use GeoToad to generate one single .gpx file which contain multiple caches.







Download this Automator workflow and save it as a Plug-in.


More Automator actions.










More Automator actions.

  • Waypoint files: .upt
  • Geocache files: .gs
  • Route files: .rte
  • Track Log files: .log