Garmin has published an API and taken several steps to open Garmin devices to third-party generated content.
The Garmin Communicator Plugin API beta "allows developers to transfer location data – such as waypoints, track logs, maps and points of interest (POIs) – to and from a website and Garmin device." I find it especially interesting that maps are included in that statement. Perhaps we’ll start seeing more third-party map providers now that Garmin has given them tacit approval. Geocaching.com and Motionbased.com are both using the technology behind this, though users may have to download a plugin to ensure that it works with their browser. Currently IE 6+ and Firefox 1.5+ are supported. Mac support is "coming soon."
Many of the other tools announced today move Garmin farther into the location-based services game:
- Content Toolkit allows developers to create secure (locked or unlocked) POIs from XML or GPX files.
- PeerPoint Messaging transmits position data to supported devices. "The individual who receives the location message will be able to save,
view or route directly to the specified location with Garmin’s
- The Garmin Location Based Services (LBS) Toolkit allows developers to add location-based services to any Java-based mobile phone application.
- The Garmin Fleet Managemenrt Interface was included in today’s announcement, though this service was actually introduced several months ago.
- A MotionBased Web Services API was also announced today. The API will be available for testing in the summer of 2007 and will compliment the Communicator Plugin API.
Finally, a Garmin Developer blog was also introduced today.
Straight from the horse’s mouth, uh, I mean, press release.