05-20-2015, 09:26 AM
City: Inside Passage Summer/Columbia River Winter
Vessel Name: Alaskan Sea-Duction
Vessel Model: 1988 M/Y Camargue YachtFisher
Join Date: Jul 2012
Good read from Active Cap't:
>>> Signal K? >>>
There was a small, 12 line press release from NMEA last week titled, "NMEA Recognition of Signal K Open Source Project." Chances are, you missed it. And chances are even better that you're now saying, "Signal K?"
NMEA is the National Marine Electronics Association. They're the ones who create standards to allow different marine electronics to connect together. NMEA 183 was the standard used for a few decades for serial data communications. NMEA 2000 is the current standard used to connect sensors and displays in a network on boats. If you have a boat with any type of electronics, you're making use of NMEA's standards in one way or another.
Because we're software developers, we've always had a soft spot for other developers. We find ourselves often working with a handful of young entrepreneurs who have great ideas but no experience in getting them out and used. These whippersnappers aren't going to create major new marine electronics devices. But they will use their imagination to create something that no one else sees as important. So many of these developers are writing products for Android and iPads and Windows tablets. But to get into the marine electronics world, you have to interface to existing marine electronics.
NMEA 2000 provides the framework to connect the major pieces together.
But what was missing was the way to get that data out, especially over WiFi. It's the reason you don't see many iPad apps showing depth while underway. Or wind sensor data. Or autopilot control. Today those device interfaces are built for NMEA 2000 with no standard way to output the data over the air to these next generation tablets.
So at the Miami Boat Show in February, Jeff asked to meet with the new President and Executive Director of NMEA, Mark Reedenauer. Jeff described these issues and showed how the missing wireless link was holding back NMEA 2000 and might possibly force the creation of something that could replace NMEA 2000. There is almost no question that tablet use on a boat isn't going away.
Jeff suggested that NMEA look at a new, open source platform that he had been experimenting with over the last year called, Signal K.
Mark's first reaction was, "Signal K?"
Over the last few months, NMEA evaluated the idea culminating with the press release last week. It's a small press release but it's quite a big step toward changing the way we all use electronics, WiFi, and especially the internet onboard. NMEA should be congratulated for making this step. Especially since previous administrations weren't willing to consider it.
We're excited about the new possibilities this could bring. It's an exciting time to be involved in boating.
For more information, here's the press release:
Here's the gateway to Signal K information (which is at a geeky level):
Signal K is an interface specification for sharing your navigation data onto your phones, tablets, and other personal devices. It's a stepping stone to some major capabilities that we can't even imagine yet. And the next time you hear the name, you won't have to ask, "Signal K?"