Join Date: Jun 2018
Location: Uxbridge, Ontario
The explore website has been the default landing page for inreach devices for awhile. It uses a mixture of OpenStreetMap, google, and some vector based maps. At least for the inreach and Garmin traditional GPS devices it is not a road route planner, it is for hiking. Maybe that whole message was specific to basecamp and traditional (non-automobile based) GPS systems. It could be that you get additional tools on the site if you have an automotive GPS device but as far as I can tell, it is just a 'hiking' planner.
Short version, it has become fairly straightforward to build competitive routing solutions, and the dedicated GPS device is for all intents and purposes dead in the market (market decline for 10 years straight). Garmin has to pick a new go to market plan around where it can bring real differentiation and its not by writing core mapping software anymore (or building devices but that's just IMHO, well that and their revenue report).
The value of the maps themselves has been commoditized for quite some time. You can get quality maps for free. Route planning is similarly commoditized to the point that with a few API calls you can get any number of systems to provide you with sophisticated routing information and other route specific data. Where Garmin and the others are having a hard time differentiating themselves is against competition that can just as easily integrate data from across systems (maps, routes, weather, traffic, crowd sourced, etc) primarily because there are companies focused purely on the separate niches of information (better at the individual parts) and gathering it all up can be done by anyone willing to pay. At some point Garmin is going to have to decide whether it is worth ongoing development of products like basecamp or to simply defer to Google (and others) for mapping/routing/other data systems, and concentrate on building the higher level, use case specific view of data from multiple sources. The explore page is just that, it uses multiple data sources (not Garmin) and creates device specific outcomes.
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