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 turn-by-turn directions."
- 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.