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Groundspeak caught off-guard by Garmin’s release of the Chirp

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Only two days after its public release, Groundspeak has come forth stating they were not aware that the new Garmin Chirp was being developed. As of yesterday, Groundspeak announced on their public forum that:

Garmin didn't tell us about this product. We only became aware of it, by accident, two days prior to the public announcement. Because we had no prior knowledge of the device being released, we have been figuring out how to make them available within Geocaching.com. We'll be supporting them as a new attribute which should be available as early as today.”

Groundspeak has been scrambling to come up with a plan and also released the following guidelines:

"Groundspeak will make it easier to have these new devices as part of the growing repertoire of ways to find a cache.
Here is the current plan:

  1. A new attribute for a "beacon" will be added soon. Any caches that use a Chirp (or any future similar device) should use this attribute.
  2. If a cache owner puts a beacon in a traditional cache and geocachers have an alternative method to find it without using the beacon, then OK. I remind you to use the coming attribute.
  3. If the cache owner insists on not providing an alternative means of finding the geocache, it must be listed as a mystery with the beacon attribute.
  4. Cache descriptions may mention the "Chirp" as long as the text doesn't go on and on with "overtones of advertising, marketing, or promotion" as per our long-standing commercial guidelines.
  5. We do not plan to add a new cache type just for this."

Another interesting piece to consider that was found in a GPSFix blog entry:

"The next question is whether non-Garmin ANT+ devices will be able communicate with a chirp. According to this post by DC Rainmaker, the answer is yes. Chirp reportedly is based on a new (pending?) ANT+ Geocache Node Device Profile. ANT+ profiles specify the protocols which ANT devices use to communicate so it is possible that an iPhone with an ANT+ transmitter combined with the right application could talk with a chirp. While time will tell if this standard is actually approved and whether an application will be developed I’m guessing this went a long way when Groundspeak was considering approval for the device."

What are your opinions on the Garmin Chirp release and Groundspeak’s response to the situation? Has anyone tried to publish a cache and received other push-back from the Groundspeak reviewers?

Happy Caching!
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