Paperless Caching for Mac Users

Update: gpx2txt has been superceded by gpx2ipod – please visit that page for up-to-date info and discussions.

Downside of geocaching: The time it takes to prepare notes, making sure you’ll have access to hints and other people’s logs when you get there, etc. And the printing it requires doesn’t feel good from an eco perspective. All this data is available in .gpx files on geocaching.com, but most GPS units won’t display that data.

Paperless caching is where it’s at, but generally assumes you have a PDA. So what if you have an iPod but no PDA? The iPod has this much-overlooked “Notes” feature – mount an iPod, look in the Finder for the Notes folder, and drop in text files.

Amazingly, I haven’t been able to find anything that does this cleanly on the Mac. MacCaching is interesting, but (strangely) sends entries to Address Book rather to Notes, and doesn’t preserve any of the metadata you need on the trail. The workhorse utility gpsbabel is able to convert .gpx files to plain text (usable with iPod Notes), but the GUI version isn’t capable of batch operations. So I wrapped a shell script around the command-line version of gpsbabel to help Mac users do paperless caching with an iPod.

gpx2ipod takes a folder full of .gpx files and converts them to plain text, then injects them directly into an iPod’s Notes folder.

In the future I’ll try and re-package this as an Automator action, no Terminal required.

Update: Version 0.2 is now available, and handles both individual .gpx files and Pocket Query-generated multiple-cache .gpx files.

Update 2: gpx2txt has been completely rewritten as gpx2ipod – now much more user-friendly, with stored preferences and all kinds of bells and whistles.

2 Replies to “Paperless Caching for Mac Users”

  1. Hi,
    The gpx2txt you are describing is exactly what I am looking for but I am not seeing how to access it. Please let me know if it is currently available. many thanks, Heidi

  2. Hi Heidi –

    Nice timing. Just today I disabled the old gpx2txt download, and released the brand new gpx2ipod in its place. Please use the link above. I’d love to know what you think / how it works out for you.

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