There has been a fair bit of chatter about Garmin’s decision to launch their own Geocache listing site. I have been trying to talk to someone at Garmin about opencaching.com since I started writing about it here. I am searching for the facts, not speculation.
I was successful in getting in touch with Jake Jacobson at Garmin, he is the person in the Chirp video. I am the first person from the Geocaching community that he has spoken to. Unfortunately it is Garmin policy not to comment publicly about a product that has not been released. From the Garmin point of view a product doesn’t exist until it is publicly announced regardless of how much we may or may not know about the pending launch. I am therefore unable to comment at this time on what their plans might be.
I talked to Jake for about 45 minutes. He made it clear to me that Garmin is very excited about Geocaching. Jake has run several marathons which is a physically demanding activity with a high barrier to entry. You can contrast this with the much lower barrier to entry for Geocaching. For Jake and Garmin the end result is that people are getting active regardless of the how they go about it, they think that is a plus. Garmin makes products for runners, cyclists and geocachers. I have used the Garmin fitness site and it provides a number of helpful tools for tracking fitness activity. I particularly like tracking my heart rate while I’m geocaching. The real work happens when walking up an incline!
Garmin has been active in the geocaching community since the game was started. They want to continue to foster the game for a large or even larger audience. There is great enthusiasm from Garmin for Geocaching. How this translates into support for the broader community is yet to be determined.
I will have more information as it becomes available. Stay tuned.