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Tue, 30 Jun 2009

NoWhere - yet another geocaching appilcation for mobile phones

geocaching is fun, GPS devices are cheap, and nowadays get integrated into mobile phones. But mobile SW is crap.
I had a WinCE5.0 based HTC device (o2 XDA Orbit/HTC Artemis/HTC P3300/T-Mobile MDA Compact III). While the HW sounded promising, the Win-SW is completely crap, often the phone traps into a state where everything still works, but the phone won't react on incoming calls. The good thing about the device is that starting TomTom almost turns it into another device. TomTom is a great navigation SW, that I like and I still use the device for that.
For geocaching however TomTom5.0 is also not very smart, as geocachers note their coordinates in such a form:

  DDD° MM.MMM',  DDD° MM.MMM'
 N 48° 12.345', E 12° 34.567'
whereas TomTom only shows coordinates in this style:
  DDD.DDDDD°,  DDD.DDDDD°
 N 48.20575°, E 12.57612
now for a normal geocache this is no problem - you calculate your destination coordinates at home and enter them in the format the device likes.
But for a multicache it becomes nasty, you only discover coordinates for the next hint on the way, and have to calculate them en route. Sitting with a calculator or the calculator SW in your mobile phone takes much of the fun of geocaching.

For some month I use a Nokia E71 - it was recommended to me, and I like it - the type of bugs and crashes is different, but its a revelation alone not to see random windows error message popups. Mobile SW still has a long way to go.
But the Nokia E71 is not any better, GPS wise. The shipped Nokia GPS application only shows coordinates in the same format as TomTom:
  DDD.DDDDD°,  DDD.DDDDD°
 N 48.20575°, E 12.57612°
So I started looking for a simple geocaching SW that met my requirements:
- runs on one of my 2 devices
- royalityfree
- coordinates displayed in the geocaching style DDD° MM.MMM', DDD° MM.MMM'
- works offline (I don't have a flatrate nor am I expecting every cache to have 2G/3G coverage, also I am unwilling to pay)
- opensource would be nice but is no must
I looked at like 10 different "solutions" which all failed for me. So I did something very unusual - and hopefully unique - I wrote a JAVA(tm) program:
It's very minimalistic, and has all features you need for a successfull sunday multi-cache.


you can download it here:

- NoWhere.jar
- NoWhere.jad
- sourcecode: git clone anongit@mazzoo.de:/git/NoWhere.git
  password: git-pub

For building I used the Sun Java Wireless Toolkit for CLDC

Update: obviously I couldn't have gone through all the pain of java without the help of a friend - thanks Simon!

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