Spanner (Garmin program)

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Spanner's main screen
Spanner's 'about' screen

Spanner is a free program provided by Garmin for PCs running Windows 2000 or XP. It ‘translates’ live positional data from Garmin’s proprietary interface into NMEA 0183. Garmin’s proprietary interface data is only provided via USB whereas NMEA data is provided via serial port. Spanner overcomes this by creating a virtual serial port and thereby allowing a USB based Garmin GPS receiver ‘speak’ with programs that require NMEA data.

Spanner is offered as a tool for Garmin’s GPS 18 product, but it works with other Garmin GPS receivers including the GPS 20x, GPSMap 60cx, 76CS, Colorado series (software version 2.51(beta) or later is needed), Oregon series, GPSMap 62/78 series, and Montana Series.

However, it doesn’t work with all Garmin USB GPS receivers. Some receivers that reportedly don’t work with Spanner include: Etrex Venture Cx, Etrex Vista Cx/HCx and Forerunner 305. The latter is recognized but Spanner reports it as "not having the required capabilities".

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