First off, I have a Garmin and have a lot of experience with it. I have also been a huge GPS user from practically the begining. I think the Garmin is a fantastic unit for hunting and training. And that is where it's use should stay.
I have had many heated debates on this, and understand that I hold a minority view.
I think that the potential for abuse with the Garmin is so high, and the risk of getting caught (practically impossible by anyone with half a brain) so low as to be a serious threat to the integrity of the sport.
AKC states that about 85% of people are for it, and about 15% against it. That's about what I figure are the percentages of people who truly understand the Garmin's capabilities and just how it can be used,,,,and abused.
I won't go into all the ways it can be used to cheat, just what I have thought of could fill volumes. Unless EVERYONE is strip searched, even those back in camp, cheating can easily be done risk free.
And threats of lifetime banning will have no consequence once people realize that the level of proof that AKC must require are unatainable.
Think about it. I see someone using it, and report it. He denies it. Case closed. AKC will not do anything based on someones word. Nor should they as people sometimes lie.
Just what level of proof will AKC need to ban someone? Just how likely is that to happen?
Another thing that troubles me about AKC's upcoming rubber stamp of this unit: AKC is essentially picking winners and losers in the marketplace. By changing the rules to accomodate Garmin, they are essentially putting Tracker out of buissness.
Tracker has supported AKC field events for years. Even I as a small time trialer have run into a Tracker represenative here in Arizona. We had quite a disscusion on what I liked and disliked about their product.
Garmin has to my knowledge never done a thing for our sport.
Now as I have said from the begining of these debates, I cannot support the Garmin as it is too good. It's capabilities go far beyond what is necessary to simply find a lost dog.
I have said all along that I would support GPS tracking if the right unit came along.
As of now there are 2 new units on the market, that I feel a lot better about. They are about half the price of the Garmin and lack many of the features that make the Garmin so easy to cheat with.
They also appear to be smaller and lighter, and should easily meet the current AKC weight requirements.
Here are the websites:
Although these units in my opinion aren't perfect for use in competition, they are a lot better than the Garmin. I don't think it will be long before others are on the market as well. I would prefer that AKC let the market come to it's standards rather than changing the standards to fit a specific product..... And thus choosing a winner in the marketplace.
Let the companies compete for our buisness. Not the other way around.