Have a Geomate Jr? Don’t panic.

Geomate Jr and netbook with Geocaching.com displayedUPDATE: The Geomate Jr has been bought by Brand44 and you can use the update website again.

A few months ago I purchased a Geomate Jr GPS receiver for my son. It’s a great simple to use unit designed for kids. The interface is simple, but that was to ensure it was cheap and easy to use. At first I thought it was too simple, too cute. But having now used one, I’m impressed.

Unfortunately, Geomate Jr owners found out today that the company that now owns it (Airity) will no longer sell or support the unit. This is a BIG problem, as owners rely on the www.mygeomate.com website to download geocache list updates into their receiver. Without it, the list will become out of date quickly – archived geocache will still appear in the receiver and new ones (since 31 December 2011) can’t be added.

Understandably, many owners (particular recent owners) are … peeved. Fortunately, there is a way to update the unit, albeit with a few hurdles.

Firstly you need to download the update utility Geomategui (this is a link to an exe file) that has been provided by the team from Geomate Jr. This will only work on a Windows PC, so Mac users will need to find a friend who has one.

Second, you need to create a pocket query at Groundspeak’s geocaching.com, which requires a premium membership.

Note: Pocket queries from our geocaching listing websites such as Geocaching Australia and Opencaching.eu are free, but I have not tried it yet with this unit. It may also be to export a GPX file from GSAK – will test this out soon too.

I named the pocket query Geomate Jr geocaches and made the following selections:

  • Show me: 1000 caches
  • Selected types: Traditional
  • That: I haven’t found, I don’t own, Is enabled
  • Difficulty: less than or equal to 3
  • Terrain: less than or equal to 3
  • From origin: Home location

Once the pocket query had been created, I downloaded it and saved it to my computer and unzip the file.

I then opened the utility (Geomategui) and connected the Geomate Jr to the computer. Press on Select File and navigate to the pocket query (gpx file), making sure you don’t select the file  XXXXX-wpts.gpx and then press download. A few second later, the file will upload to your unit.

It’s worth remembering that each time you do this, it overwrites the data previously stored in the unit.

As mentioned above, I will try this with other gpx files and GSAK, which should provide more geocaches than the 1000 limit Groundspeak enforces on each gpx file. Hopefully a macro will be developed for GSAK (or better still it will be incorporated into GSAK) to allow uploading from the program straight into the unit. I hope a Macintosh version also appears soon.

UPDATE: I used GSAK (Geocaching Swiss Army Knife) to export a gpx file, making sure I didn’t include logs, child waypoints or other data I know the Geomate Jr wouldn’t use. After a bit of experimenting I found that it will load up to 5000 geocaches and display them all, whether they are from geocaching.com, Geocaching Australia or Opencaching. The other ‘down’ side is that non GC geocaches aren’t displayed ‘properly’. For example, GC1A2B3 is displayed as 1A2B3 (as expected), however GA1234 is displayed as GA123. I don’t see this as a big problem.

34 Responses to Have a Geomate Jr? Don’t panic.

  1. Patrick McDonald

    Many thanks for your clear instructions!

  2. Thanks for the updates, instructions and testing GSAK – good to know!

  3. Thanks! I have bookmarked this! It’s sad to hear what’s happened but wonderful to see the geomate jr. community come together and is committed to making it all work!

  4. found this page from geomate jr facebook page. i got my son one for christmas with the update kit, i have GSAK but dont know how to use it do you have to have Premium Membership to update the geomate jr with GSAK
    ? i iam not a premium member.

    • TS, this will be a problem as you’ll need to download each geocache individually. How do you import geocaches into GSAK? You can download 20 geocaches at a time in a .loc file, which you then load into GSAK. This format includes only the Name, GC code and coords for each geocache (no difficult and terrain). You can then export a .gpx file from GSAK. I’ll try this approach over the weekend.

      • Stephen from Arizona

        A friend has a GeoMate, Jr. & asked if I could load new caches into it…So far I’ve used the GUI to communicate w/ it and have .GPX files in Ver 1.0 to load. It seems to load, but only one ‘cache shows up. Any ideas?

  5. Love this! Keep up the good work!

  6. I just tried the “update utility Geomategui” link and it triggered an alert from my Norton Anti-virius which automatically deleted the .exe file !! Now what do I do?

  7. I am not familiar with pocket queries, though I have seen them mentioned on Geocaching.com. If I use the pocket query method to download caches to the geomate, will I be able to load private waypoints I’ve created for our school campus? I do not want to draw people to the campus.

    • If you have a set of private waypoints, you need to store them in a .gpx file and transfer that code using the geomategui.exe application. You can create this file using software such as GSAK.

      Pocket queries are lists of geocaches list on a listing website, such as geocaching.com, which you download – they are saved as a .gpx file.

      • Thanks, but here is my problem/question: my waypoints will all be closer that the standard distance accepted for caches on geocaching.com. How can I create a pocket query to download if I can’t activate them to begin with? What am I missing?

        • Robin, in your case you don’t want pocket query (.gpx file created by a geocache listing website). You want to create your own .gpx. There are some tools around on the internet. I use GSAK (gsak.net) to create mine. You can download it and use it without paying for a license, but you will get an annoying nag screen after 30 days.

  8. I am baffled why my geomate jr isn’t doing well. I created an individual list of a number of .gpx files and utilized the GUI to attempt to individually load each gsx.
    Unfortunately for me, now my Geomate Jr. lists only one Geocache + home. ??? What did I do wrong?
    I had hoped I could weed out geocaches that haven’t been found in a while, etc. Guess that might not be possible. I have attempted a pocket query without many restrictions (as yours has done) and I will receive my file tomorrow and attempt to load those. I’d had to see the GeoJr become completely useless…as it is now, I only have one geocache on the thing so it is useless. :(

    • Heidi, what are you using to create the .gpx file. Remember, you can only load one .gpx file into the unit. Each new one you add, writes over the previous one. Happy for you to email it to me to have a look.

  9. 1/31/12
    Followed your guidelines and this morning I did a download of 500 (I think) caches near my home. Maybe it was just blind luck, but I feel better that my little backup GPS will continue to be of service. Norton did try to play games with me, but your link did the trick. Thanks a bunch.

  10. Okay…was able to get my computer to notice my geomate was there. Was able to finally find the folder my computer put my pq in…then when I hit ‘download’, I got a “parsing error” message. it won’t download because it won’t parse. What in all that is Good an Holy, is a ‘parse’???

    • Was the PQ unzipped – that is it was a .gpx file not a .exe file? A parsing error usually occurs when the software doesn’t recognise the file or its contents.

  11. I was very disappointed in the news with Geomate Jr. But today I got the message that they have a temporary fix for the updates. Go to http://www.geomatejr.com rather than http://www.mygeomate.com. Sign in and do the update from http://www.geomatejr.com I just did it and it works! I am not sure how long this will last so try it out now.

    • This is good news. However, given what happened last month I would encourage people to try out other options as a back up. My only criticism of the Geomate Jr (even before the recent end of support) was its dependance on the website for updates.

  12. I got the Geomate Jr as a Yule present, and updated exactly once before I couldn’t do it again. I’ve had this happen more times than I care to count (like Leapfrog selling devices that interface to their site and then dropping the online support). Kudos to Apisoft for giving us a solution we can control, instead of just leaving us with bricks. Not thrilled with $30/annum but GroundSpeak is a good cause.

  13. Jason Jermann

    i love the geomate jr will try all this to keep it going, our scout pack is getting into geocaching is there a device similar to this i could use for the 7 to 11 age range?

    • If you’re after a ‘bigger’ device that’s still easy to use I’d recommend the Garmin eTrex of Magellan eXplorist GC.

    Brand 44 of Colorado has purchased the product line and will be resurrecting the update site.

  15. I am in a pickle. I have downloaded 16 custom caches for my students in PE. Now I cannot load them onto my Geomate Jr.’s. Please fix this site ASAP. My students will be out of school in two weeks!!!!!!!!
    I have tried all of the above solutions but its not working for me.

    • Where have you downloaded them to? What did you use to create them? What are you using to upload them into the GPSr.

      • I entered them into the geomate Web site for custom caches. I used an older geomate jr. to place the caches and get the coordinates. Now I have 10 geomatejr’s that I want to load these coordinates on to. It will give me eight groups of different cach sites that my students can go to. I am trying to upload them from the geomate website to my geomate jr’s. HELP!

      • Amy, have you looked at the Troubleshooter’s guide?

        My only other suggestion is using GSAK (www.gsak.net), exporting the GPX file and then using the software as mentioned above.

        Failing that, I would contact Geomate Jr’s support – sales@brand44co.com
        +1 (303) 339-0482

  16. You saved the National Pike Day Camp geocaching station! Thanks very much. And yes, GSAK works like a champ with this.

  17. I get this error when i try.
    There are 100 caches in the GPX file.

    “As a warning, the number of caches in the file is greater than what will be loaded onto the device.”

  18. Different question:
    We live in Oregon, so we always get the Western US region dataset. If we were to travel to Europe, we would load the Europe region data. Then when we return, we’ll re-load the Western US. Will it remember the “found” caches (i.e. happyfaces) for the Western US?

    • I wouldn’t count on it saving the found caches, it’s been awhile since I updated but I seem to recall having to sit and reenter my finds as such.

  19. This would sure make for a good project for some computer engineering grad student types, to pick up a torch and create a whole new company.(hint-hint)…

Leave a Reply