Airmar Smart Sensors, lots
One comment that inspired my “Geeks vs ME Empire” rant a while back was: “Megalomaniacal marine elex vendors disdain such commoditization as evidenced by the disappearance of most stand alone dumb GPS sensors and proprietary integration of d/s sounders into proprietary networks.” I really, really didn’t understand where that commenter was coming from. It strikes me that the planet is awash in GPS sensors that can output in NMEA 0183 format (or 2000) via bare wire, standard serial plug, USB, Bluetooth, etc. etc. I have a cheap Deluo mouse GPS that has swappable dongles so that it can output via DB9, USB, and custom iPaq PDA serial plugs (& get power too), and it’s worked with all sorts of software. How commoditized can you get?
And while it wasn’t long ago that all depth, speed, temp, etc. sensors were proprietary, these days Airmar (which makes most of them) offers a wide variety of “Smart” versions. More than I realized, actually, as I discovered at Airmar’s much improved web site (try the Smart Sensor .pdf for starters). As illustrated, these sensors process their own signals. Add power and out comes NMEA 0183 or 2000 data to feed a plotter or multifunction display from most any of the ME manufacturers or a PC or, in the 2000 case, a network of up to 50 separate devices. So what was that guy talking about?