Android and Wherigo

    Wherigo cartridges can add a new level of enjoyment to a geocache.  It makes finding of the cache more interactive.  They can be as simple as taking a tour of a park, or made into a complex story such as slaying a dragon that is guarding the treasure.  It makes finding a cache more than just following the arrow.

    In the past, to complete a Wherigo cache, you needed a GPS enabled Pocket PC or a GPS with a built in Wherigo player.  With the advent of smartphones, Wherigo has become available to everyone.  As a result, many more Wherigo cartridges are being created for your enjoyment.

    To play a Wherigo on an Android device, you need to download the Wheryougo app. Getting a cartridge to work on an Android is not as simple as it first appears.  Hopefully I can shed some light on the various methods used to get the Wherigo player up and running so you can be out playing and finding new caches.

1. Requirements

    To play Wherigo cartridges on an Android device, you first need an Android device, Wheryougo app, and possibly an SD card.  Some phones have internal memory that appears as an SD card to some apps, other phones require you to add an SD card.  If you are going to use your phone for Geocaching, I would suggest buying an SD card anyway as the internal memory is usually very limited.  MicroSD cards, the type used on most smartphones, can be purchased for less than $10 at any office, electronics, or department store.

addendum: I have recently upgraded my phone to 4.2. Seems the WhereYouGo app does not see my external SD card, but sees the internal RAM just fine. Don't know if it is a problem with the original Android 4.2 OS or the modified version I'm using. Either way, after running the app, search the internal memory as well as the SD card to see where the WhereYouGo directory is located and put the cartridges there.

2. Preliminaries

    First install and format the SD card on your phone according to the phone's instructions if you haven't already done so.  Next, locate and install the Wheryougo app onto the phone.  Run the app once and exit so the player can set up the directories and other things it needs to do on first run.

    Next, you will need to download a Wherigo cartridge.  Cartridges are files which contain the information for the game you are going to play.  Groundspeak made a nice demo game called  Wherigo Player Tutorial.  For now, we are going to download the cartridge to a desktop computer or laptop, then transfer the file to the Android.  Log onto Wherigo.com using your Geocaching.com name and password.  Once on the site, click on "play" on the menu at the top, then click on "Download the Wherigo Player Tutorial" in the section labeled "resources for Players."  Or you can just click this link to go straight there.  Next step is to click "Download", then where it says "download cartridge file for:" select "Pocket PC Device."  Important:  You must download the Pocket PC version, none of the other versions will work on the Android. Next, click on  "Download Now" and save it to a folder on the computer.

3. Installing the Cartridge

    Now comes the toughest part.  Getting the cartridge from your PC to the Android.  There are several ways to do this.One way is to unmount your SD card (read the manual on how to do this with your device)  then plugging the card into a card reader.  Another is to connect the phone to the computer via a USB cable.  A third option would be to use Blue tooth to talk to the computer.  You can also use an Air sharing program and WiFi.  Also, you can use cloud storage, such as Dropbox, to transfer files.  Detailed instructions would be difficult, if not impossible as each device and each method has its own procedure for connecting to a computer.  Consult your manual, usually a page on transferring files between phone and computer.

    Once you manage to get your phone to communicate with your computer, you need to find the Wheryougo folder on the SD card.  Usually, you will find it as a subfolder of "external_sd" or in the root folder if using a card reader. If you have trouble  locating the folder, you could try your OS search feature and search for "Wheryougo" on the phone.  Once you find the folder, just drag-n-drop the cartridge file into the folder.

4. Running the Cartridge

    Now that you have the cartridge loaded into the proper directory, you need only to run the app.  The first thing you probably want to do is go into the Settings menu and customize the app for you.  Most importantly are the Localization options.  Change Length, Altitude, Speed and Angle units to what you prefer.  Next, go to the GPS menu.  There you will see a "radar" image of all the satellites the app is detecting.  If, after a few minutes, you do not see any satellites on this screen, make sure that the phone's GPS is on and the button at the bottom labeled "GPS On" is green.  Now that you have the app set up and the GPS working, press the Start button on the main menu.  Hopefully, if you have everything done  right, you should see a list of cartridges available to play.  Click on the Tutorial cartridge, find a big field to play in, and have fun.

5. Downloading a cartridge without a computer

    It is possible to download the cartridge directly to the Android device without using another computer to transfer the files.  If you tried it with the default web browser, you probably discovered that it does not work.  To get it to work, you need two apps. Firefox Browser for Android and Download all Files.  I have heard that Opera also works, but I have no experience with it.

    To download the cartridge, log onto Wherigo using Firefox.  Once there, navigate to the cartridge you wish to download.  Click "Download," then Select "Pocket PC Device," then click "Download Now," just like you did on the PC.  The cartridge will be downloaded to a temporary folder, then Download all Files will open, or possibly a window will pop up with "Complete action using," which you would choose "Download all Files."  Once the Download all Files app opens, click on the dropdown list under "Folder" and select "Browse."  Navigate to the "Wheryougo" folder and click "Select this folder."  Next, click "Save File"  After the file is saved, you can close the "Download all Files" app and the Firefox browser.

    Now run the Wheryougo app just as before and enjoy.

If you have any questions or comments, you can contact me at noroads2015@tomtoad.com

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