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GSAK Explorer 146 macro help

By far, far the easiest way to check if you qualify for this cache (and others in the series) and to provide proof that you qualify is to use the excellent GSAK program and the ExplorerChallenges macro. For those that are unfamiliar with these I provide here some notes.

My preferred proof is an image of the macro output attached to your log. If you wish to email your proof to me, which is absolutely fine, my preferred format is a .html file. More on this below.

If you are unwilling or unable to use GSAK, for example if your computer is a MAC, then the simplest option is to email me the zip file of the Pocket Query of your finds. More on this below.

Note: Although these notes were produced in support of my Explorer 146 Challenge, they should be able to help you with any of the Explorer challenges.

Note: You need to be a premium member to download Pocket Queries. Without this ability, the benefits of installing GSAK are almost completely negated.

Emailing me

For anyone who already knows one or more of my email addresses, any of those will do fine. If you don't, then please use gc3gk87.20.bernard@spamgourmet.com.

Note: Please only email me about my challenge!


While I have never had a problem with this application and do not know of anyone having a problem, please note that you follow these instructions at your own risk.

Installing GSAK

Go to the GSAK home page where there is a link to download the installation file. There also a link to getting started guides in a handful of languages. You do not have to pay for the program but if you plan to use it a lot could I encourage you to cough up - it's remarkably good value.

Once you have downloaded the installation file, run it (double click). It should be fine to accept all the defaults but feel free to change them if you wish (and you know what you're doing).

Configuring GSAK

Just one thing that you must do. From the 'Tools' menu select 'Options...'. Click on the 'General' tab, if not already displayed. You need to complete the 2nd sub-section down on the left hand side, the one titled 'Method for matching owned and found caches'. Select 'Owner ID#' and then, in the field directly below, type in your Member ID, which is to be found on your 'Account Details' page.

The 'My Finds' pocket query

When you are signed on to your account you will see a green menu bar at the top of the page, just under the word "GEOCACHING". Hover over 'Your Profile' and click on 'Pocket Queries' in the menu that drops down. Scroll down towards the bottom of the page to the sub-section 'My Finds'. Click on the 'Add to queue' button.

Within a few minutes you should receive an email saying "Your Pocket Query titled "My Finds Pocket Query" has been generated and is now available for download on Geocaching.com.". The link in the email takes you back to your Pocket Query page. Here you will need to click on the "Pocket Queries Ready for Download" tab. Now you can download the "My Finds Pocket Query".

Creating a new GSAK database

In GSAK, click on the 'Database' menu and then on 'New...'. Type in a database name and click the 'Create' button. I would suggest setting up one called 'My Finds'.

Loading your finds data

In GSAK, ensure your 'My Finds' database is displayed. (It will be empty the first time.)

Note: Above the display area, immediately above the column headings, is a toolbar. Look along it to find 'Database' and a drop down menu from which you can select the database you want to work with.

From the 'File' menu select 'Load GPX/LOC/ZIP...'. Alternatively, click on the folder icon directly below the 'File' menu. In the first field type in the location and name of the file you have just downloaded or, simpler, click the folder symbol at the end of the line and browse to it. Leave everything else as defaulted. Then click the 'OK' button.

Installing the macro

Go to the Explorer Challenge macro page. Scroll down to the last post and click on the 'ExplorerChallenges.gsk' link. Save the file to your computer. Now double click the file to run it. GSAK (if not already running) will start and you get a window titled 'Open a GSK file'. You want the 'Install the macro' option which should already be defaulted. Click the 'Go' button. The 'Run Macro' window will now open. Either close it or continue to the next section.

Note: Instead of saving the macro file to your computer you may get an option offering to open the file with GSAK. This will work equally well and is quicker.

Running the macro

In GSAK, ensure your 'My Finds' database is displayed. From the 'Macro' menu select 'Run/Manage...'. Alternatively, click the double right pointing arrowhead icon. Click on the 'ExploerCallenges.gsk' macro file to highlight it and click the 'Run' button. Alternatively, simply double click 'ExploerChallenges.gsk'. From the drop down menu select the appropriate map and click 'OK'.

The macro creates an html file in a temporary folder and then displays it in your default browser.

Providing proof of qualification

Simplest is to email me the html file produced by the macro (the URL field should tell you where it is on your computer). Alternatively, simply save the web page to a location of your choice.

Alternatively, you can save a screenshot and attach it to your log. Ideally, please trim the unwanted bits of the image. You'll probably chop off the right hand part of the table but this doesn't really matter.

If you don't (yet) qualify

If you find you have fallen short of the required 146 squares, fear not, the macro can do more for you. First, however, you need to do some additional preparation.

Create a new pocket query.
Call it 'Explorer 146'.
Ask for 1000 caches.
Check the 'I haven't found' and 'I don't own' boxes.
Select 'By Coordinates' and use N51 14.127 W000 12.653 (mid-point of the 146 map).
Within a Radius of 100 miles.
Check 'Include Pocket Query name in download file name'.
The last is not essential but makes identifying the file surer.
Run the query and download the results.

Create a new GSAK database called 'Explorer 146'.
Import your 'My Finds' pocket query.
Import the 'Explorer 146' pocket query.

Run the macro against the 'Explorer 146' database.

The figure for squares where you have found caches should not have changed. However, it should now, additionally, be reporting those squares where you hav'n't found a cache and where there is at least one cache to be found.

Note: You don't have to use a separate database, that's just my personal preference.