GPS on the Mac: Basecamp transfers and overwriting points

My parents gave me a Garmin eTrex Vista HCx for my birthday this year (thanks Mum and Dad!) and I’ve been using it pretty much nonstop for two weeks. I’ve been getting into geocaching as a way to hone my GPS skills (and have an excuse to ride my bicycle around with my girlfriend), but I’ve been having some issues with waypoint transfers.

The software I’m using for storing and transferring waypoints, tracks, and routes is Basecamp for Mac. It does what it needs to do without too much fuss, which is a good thing. However, I just began dumping a lot of Geocache waypoints into Basecamp and the GPS unit and some weird things happen when points are named the same (“duplicate” points for anyone searching on Google).

I imported a bunch of points from Basecamp to the unit, then I decided to see what would happen if I moved all the points back from the unit to Basecamp. In some cases, I get the unit-truncated name of the point (which is expected, as the unit is designed to only store so many characters of name), but in certain others I get the same name with a “1” appended. I can only assume that doing this multiple times would give me “2” and “3” and so on, but maybe not–I might get “11.”

This only happens with certain names. It turns out that this is because the points are considered different by the computer and the unit–because the note field is truncated as well when the waypoints are uploaded to the unit, so when they get downloaded back to Basecamp, they don’t pass the “whatever’s the same don’t worry about” test.

I’ll need to discover if there is a way to make the info field contain more data, as well as the name field, since it’s better for me to have the name of the Geocache than a string of letters and numbers or a truncated name, and it’s much better to be able to put more than 14 characters in the name field and 30 in the note field.

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