Thursday, May 21, 2009

NMEA FAQ's: What do I need to know about NMEA?

NMEA has provided a standardized protocol to allow communication between marine navigation devices. Be sure to go to the website for more information. NMEA communication can get technical - but here is what you need to know:

The communication between navigation devices uses NMEA messages -- and these messages contain NMEA sentences. Depending on how your electronics are configured, devices can act as originators or senders of NMEA data. This means that they SEND information OUT. Sometimes, these are called NMEA Talkers. Other devices can act as recievers, or consumers of NMEA data. They are called NMEA Listeners.

Many of your electronic devices (instrumentation) also have options to connect via RS232 or USB with computers. In this case, your computer will act as NMEA Listener. In that role, your computer will have to know how to handle the NMEA datastream.

HandHELM(tm) processes your NMEA messages / sentences. The information from these sentences can be displayed on your laptop, pocket PC, touch screen tablet or Blackberry.

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