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The end of Basecamp?
Boyd
The idea that Garmin has discontinued Basecamp development has been discussed on various forums over the past year, but this is the first official confirmation I've seen.

And it goes even farther... they are starting to push people to their new website which has already incorporated many basecamp functions. To make matters worse, the current version of Basecamp/Mapinstall is broken - it cannot install maps on the GPS. When you try, everything seems to work properly but when you view the map on the GPS, it has no detail.

And Basecamp is very aggressive about either auto-updating or nagging endlessly to install the update. So most people currently have the broken version installed. Regardless of whether this is a bug or a "feature", the result is that you cannot install third party maps (such as those from GPSFileDepot) and can't even install your old Garmin products that were purchased on DVD.

This has been broken for 7 months now, and the official admission that they aren't updating the software implies it will stay like this.

Here's the article from Garmin Support. It's funny that they omit (arguably) the biggest difference between Basecamp and the website.... you dont need an internet connection to use Basecamp.

https://support.garmin.com/en-CA/?faq=cmo7YxRdRB1DDl1JAWuEV8
_________________

Benefits of Using the Explore Website Compared to BaseCamp with the GPSMAP 66 Series

The Explore website and BaseCamp* both provide valuable information and tools for the user. We are now working toward developing and improving the Explore Website. This web portal allows users multiple feature advantages. We recommend using the Explore Website for management of waypoints, locations, activities, tracks, and routes.

Explore Website advantages and features:

Web access from any internet connection
Syncing with the Explore app
Free Topo and Aerial maps
Import courses from Garmin Connect
Advanced Search


There are features that both Explore and BaseCamp offer:

Import GPX, KML, KMZ
Export GPX, KML
Organize user data in a library with collections


There are also features currently only available in BaseCamp:

Viewing maps on the Garmin device
Auto road/trail routing
Viewing a profile graph for routes and tracks
Viewing detailed statistics about tracks
Viewing a 3-D map

* BaseCamp development has been discontinued.
Ken in Regina
Quote:
Originally Posted by Boyd
The idea that Garmin has discontinued Basecamp development has been discussed on various forums over the past year, but this is the first official confirmation I've seen.
...

* BaseCamp development has been discontinued.[/i]
Thanks for posting that, Boyd. It has seemed pretty clear for months that Basecamp development was dead. I'm glad, but disappointed, to see them finally acknowledge it formally, if only in a minor footnote. At least now we know.

For the sake of those who are stuck using the web site I hope that the experience is about 1000% better than the disaster that is their support forum. I was there again yesterday and immediately reminded why it's usually weeks between visits for me and each visit is shorter than the last.

I still use Mapsource for the majority of things I do with maps on the PC. And I've been running Basecamp 4.6.2 for the occasional thing I need BC for.

...ken...
Ken in Regina
I had to take a look at their Explore web site and I have a couple of reactions.

The performance suggests they're using the same 8088-based hardware they run the support site with. It's excruciatingly slow.

If you don't have the GPSMAP66 or one of the other 5 devices they show on the home page, the site is useless. Even after I logged in there was absolutely nothing I could do except stare at the home page or browse the help pages. The site is of zero value to anyone with a Zumo, Montana, Nuvi, Drive, eTrex, or anything besides the 6 specific models shown on the home page.

In other words it's not a Basecamp alternative regardless of whatever functionality it might have.

...ken...
Ken in Regina
Oh yeah, when I was looking for a help page to tell me how to use the site without one of the devices listed on the home page it all switched to Italian on me, including the home page when I got back to it. Amazing!

...ken...
Boyd
Yeah, I was able to get in the door using my old Garmin e-mail and password, but it took forever to finally load. And then you learn that you need an inReach or GPSMap66 to use the site.

Garmin really can't get their website right. Support is especially annoying, a year or two ago they completely re-did the site and all the old links to support articles broke. Google searches still take you to broken links, and posts in forums are filled with links that don't work. That is a really poor way to treat your customers IMO.

Here's a video that shows the mobile version of Explore

http://youtube.com/watch?v=zMTMb_-7qyA
Ken in Regina
Looks like they've gone to a lot of work for not a lot of benefit to more than a small subset of users.

My reaction to Garmin from years of contact and observation is that whoever makes the decisions about software and firmware development and support has a severe case of ADHD, Their attention spans are awfully short.

There doesn't seem to be anyone responsible for any sort of unified strategy about product development, either. Even within a single product line like the Nuvi you find startling differences from one to another, with features you would expect to be standard across the Nuvi product line and around for the long haul just disappearing in a different model.

I wonder if Explore mobile will last as long as Mobile PC or Mobile XT?

...ken...
Boyd
I don't know Ken... you might also just view this as Garmin giving the middle finger to users of older devices. The Nuvi line was discontinued several years ago. They certainly don't care about that anymore. There are much fewer automotive devices now, but the features and model numbers are still confusing.

To me, this strategy says they are really only interested in people who have bought a new device - such as an inReach Communicator or a GPSMap 66 (their newest handheld - which has a number of issues, as usual). They are all about sports/fitness products these days, and some other odd niches (like bathroom scales, baby monitors, collars to keep your dog from barking and sights for bows and arrows).
Ken in Regina
Yeah that's a good point that their focus is short term on folks who have just given them money for something new. Not much use for guys like me who keep using them til they break, which is usually never. And are just as likely to buy a refurbished, slightly older model of whatever "new" one I move to.

...ken...
Boyd
Well, even if you go back through the years, Garmin almost never added new features to old devices. I had a Nuvi 650 that didn't support track recording or custom routes. The Nuvi 750 added those features, which could have easily been done with a software update to the 650. But then.... why would you buy a 750? And so it continued, year after year with each batch of new automotive devices.

People who are new to Garmin are especially miffed by this, since you can install a new version of iOS on your iPhone and suddenly have a whole bunch of new features, so they just assume you can do the same with a Garmin device.
Ken in Regina
Yes, true. And I certainly understand the frustration when I've seen it in the support forums. But not getting a new feature in a software update on an older model bothered me less than buying a newer model and discovering that they had dropped a feature or two that I had become used to on one or two earlier models. Not that either one is very acceptable.

...ken...
GoneNomad
Quote:
Originally Posted by Boyd
...Benefits of Using the Explore Website Compared to BaseCamp...

There are also features currently only available in BaseCamp:
Viewing maps on the Garmin device
...
Seems like that is by itself a pretty big drawback to the Explore Website.
Without the same maps (and routing algorithm) on both trip planner and nav device, the route you plan may not be the one your nav device takes you on.

...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken in Regina
...My reaction to Garmin from years of contact and observation is that whoever makes the decisions about software and firmware development and support has a severe case of ADHD, Their attention spans are awfully short.

There doesn't seem to be anyone responsible for any sort of unified strategy about product development, either...
...ken...
That's what tend to happens when a company (or at least a division within a larger company) has clueless executives and high turnover on the engineering staff. Each problems tend to exacerbate the other. Sounds a lot like MapQuest's tale of woe.


...
Ken in Regina
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoneNomad
Seems like that is by itself a pretty big drawback to the Explore Website.
Without the same maps (and routing algorithm) on both trip planner and nav device, the route you plan may not be the one your nav device takes you on.

...


That's what tend to happens when a company (or at least a division within a larger company) has clueless executives and high turnover on the engineering staff. Each problems tend to exacerbate the other. Sounds a lot like MapQuest's tale of woe.


...
As Boyd pointed out, this might well be a planned marketing strategy - smart executives rather than clueless ones - if you consider their business plan is to encourage the sale of new units rather than put resources into more than minimal support for older ones.

We may not like such a business plan but it's not unusual these days and seems to be working for them.

...ken...
Boyd
Regarding maps on the computer, this may be part of a bigger plan to lock the devices down more such that the only use "real" Garmin products. If that is the case, then there would be no need to display a map from the device on the computer. You could just choose the Garmin product you want from a menu. All of their devices with routable maps include lifetime updates now, so there should be no need to use different versions of the map.

The whole idea of displaying a map from a device is a relatively new feature anyway. Garmin maps were originally distributed on CD (then on DVD later) and you installed them on your computer, then sent a portion of them to the GPS. This was due to the fact that the GPS had limited memory and couldn't hold the entire map, so you had to choose a smaller area to install.

Then they started transitioning to downloadable maps, which are "all or nothing" - you just get a map file for the GPS with nothing to install on the computer. And they also sold maps on pre-loaded data cards. So the ability to plug the GPS into the computer and view the map was a substitute for permanently installing the data on your computer.

In another discussion, a user pointed out another huge issue related to Basecamp. The Mac version is still a 32 bit app. The next version of MacOS will drop support for 32bit apps in fall 2019. Garmin previously promised to update Basecamp to 64 bit in 2018. Looks like they are going to bail on that.

So this may be another incentive to move people to a web portal. Perhaps all the old Basecamp developers are now working on that project?
Ken in Regina
The problem I have, if they have some sort of plan for moving everyone to a web portal, is that they aren't even remotely close with the Explore site. That site is quite clearly "single" purpose: managing and using the 6 devices listed. If you take a look through the help pages it becomes crystal clear that there has been no thought at all to the site supporting anything else. And the focus is very heavy on helping organizations coordinate and manage those devices.

Just take a quick look at the Getting Started help page and the focus is immediately clear.

Are they going to be satisfied with simply abandoning the other 90% of their customer base?

I just don't see the Explore site being any sort of universal web portal alternative to using the computer for managing your personal device. I sure hope Garmin doesn't, either.

...ken...
Boyd
Well then.... maybe they shouldn't have stopped working on Basecamp?
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