Garmin has today announced the launch of Garmin Connect - a community website for customers to store, view and share activities/locations recorded by Garmin fitness and recreational devices.

Garmin Connect is described as "the evolution" of the MotionBased website. It maintains many of the same features and the entire customer and activity database but offers a more streamlined user interface.

The first version of Garmin Connect is scheduled to launch in October 2007 to exclusively support the recently announced Forerunner 50, Garmin's new fitness watch, through automatic wireless downloads.

The second release of Garmin Connect is scheduled to launch in December 2007 adding GPS support for use with other Garmin products and will inherit the MotionBased customer and activity database, which currently stores more than 1.5 million public activities and is growing at a rate of 3500 per day.

In addition to improvements in performance and the user interface, the transition to Garmin Connect will introduce more features and a new subscription model. Garmin Connect will now be free for all customers who wish to store and access all of their activities uploaded to the site.

Garmin Connect will still maintain a paid-subscription service, Garmin Connect Plus, to access advanced features. Existing MotionBased customers with annual paid subscriptions will be grandfathered into Garmin Connect Plus.

Garmin Connect's web-based subscription service complements Garmin's fitness and outdoor devices, including products in the Forerunner, Edge and eTrex lines.

Following an activity, Garmin users upload the data and can personalise and categorise each activity. Garmin Connect calculates measurements such as time, distance, speed, elevation and heart rate.

Now more compatible across operating systems and Web browsers, Garmin Connect displays this information through charts, illustrations, reports and a variety of map representations including street, photo, topographic, and elevation maps as well as the popular Google Earth application to visualise their activity.

Users can replay their workout using media controls as they watch themselves move along the mapped route coupled with an elevation profile.