Ship Sim Pro, with NMEA 0183 I/O
The screen shot above could be from a “game” called Ship Simulator 2008, which in itself is pretty neat. (First I tried the demo, and then 17 Euros and a 705mb download later, I owned the darn thing ;-). But, in fact, the screen came from Raymarine Marketing Manager Jim McGowan who is using a beta copy of Ship Sim Pro 2.0, which among many other enhancements supports up to 8 serial ports that can send 23 NMEA 0183 output sentences and understand
9 input sentences. Thus McGowan can set up training or demo scenarios where what’s happening in the simulation is also happening on his electronics. Thus the tug and barge being overtaken in New York Harbor above is also seen via AIS on the E-120 below…
How cool is that! McGowan has used Ship Sim Pro in consumer training seminars “to show off features like AIS, chartplotter
offset, relative motion vs. true motion, man overboard mode etc. The fact
that I could project the ‘real world’ image and show them how the E-Series
presents it at the same time was great for helping them to understand many of
the advanced features our systems offer.” And apparently he has more elaborate demos in the works: “I am rigging the simulation to a set of Morse Electronic throttle controls, a Teleflex helm unit, and a Raymarine X-Series autopilot. This will allow ‘real’ vessel steering and throttle experience, and the autopilot, using our SportPilot Drive, should be able to function. I intend to use it to demo trolling patterns, waypoint navigation and other pilot features.”
Unfortunately Ship Simulator Pro is a very expensive product apparently aimed at maritime colleges and similarly serious users. That’s a shame as I’ve always thought that recreational boaters could benefit from good simulations just as the maritime students do. Here’s hoping that the Dutch developers consider a Ship Sim version that has some NMEA output but is priced at a level that, say, an enterprising Coast Guard Auxiliary instructor could set up a laptop and MFD to much better illustrate what GPS plotting, AIS, etc. mean to novice boaters. The product might also be useful for boat show demos and winter-bound electronics testers.
Ben I wrote a little program that allows you to set a lat and lon, COG and SOG depth values then the program outputs RMC, HDG and DBT sentences on a serial port which can control a plotter etc. The key controls allow you to trun left or right, hold position and changes any of the above nav values at anytime. It is written in good old QBasic as a DOS .exe file and can only use port 1 or 2 but most PC’s/laptops can assign one of those port settings to a USB/serial adapter. It allows me to go anywhere in the plotter’s charts and view the 3D screens as if the boat were really there. If interested I could send you a copy, it uses only key strokes for commands.
Thanks, Eric, but I use NEMA Talker for 0183 simulations.
However the pricing just went up today, and thus there may be others who’d appreciate your kind offer.
I do understand that NEMA Talker is being completely rewritten, though, and that could be good. What I lust for, however, is a NMEA 2000 data simulator, or at least a translator that would put all of NEMA Talker’s sentences into proper N2K PGNs.
I am willing to keep the old price of NemaTalker for another 4 weeks at the 29 euro level for the Panbo readers.
Author of NemaTalker
That’s a Panbo first, I think. Thanks, Ger!