October 14, 2004
Garmin Sucks

garmin.gifDon't buy the Vista C or Legend C GPS Units from Garmin. I used to like Garmin, but it's hard to when I hear news like this, and as of November 7th, Garmin has still to call me as promised regarding this problem. Garmin really does suck.

Garmin's most recent outdoor GPS units sport a USB port instead of the strange proprietary connector they used to have. That sounds great, except that Garmin's gone more proprietary on the protocol they use to send location data over that connection, abandoning NMEA in favor of Garmin's own protocol - exclusively. [Simon St. Laurent / O'reilly Dev Weblogs]

What does this mean for you and me? GPS tracklog and waypoint downloading on Linux and Macintosh will not work. As Simon St. Laurent says, "Garmin will not work with a Macintosh and there does not seem to be an alternative according to the technical support at Garmin".

I called up Garmin myself, and spoke to Ben, a supervisor from technical support. Here is my summary.

Q: Do you consider Garmin a company that embraces the community?
A: We embrace technology.

Q: What efforts have Garmin made to get the GIS community to define an open standard?
A: I can't comment on that because Garmin is a publicly traded company.

I'm looking forward to finding out how or if they've made any attempts to embrace an open standard, or get the opinion of the GIS community at all. I think this is a stupid move on their part, and I will not buy any more Garmin products until I get an acceptable answer. I have a feeling their Public Relations department will not answer any of my questions.

Posted by nym at October 14, 2004 09:01 AM | TrackBack