Update 1 to Data Collector Release 009 – 2018 is now available to download

The latest update to the data collector is now available to download.

This includes a number of fixes to the collector, colouring of the data on the Polar tables and the track plot described in the latest blog post.

Find the Blog Post here:
Latest Data Collector Updates

And the files to download here:
Download the latest update

Adding another perspective to the data we collect.

We’ve decided to add a bit of colour.

We’ve been looking at ways to make the Polar and session data we collect easier to understand and read. Adding colour to the Polar charts for the sessions gives an added visual dimension. You can now see how the boats performance on a particular session relates to the boat max figures.

Boat Max numbers are the Polars held at the Boat level and reflect the best ever water speed for a given wind speed direction for a specific boat.

We have coloured the cells in the Session Polar table based on the percentage of the boat max figure.

So if the session value is the boat max the cell is Magenta. If you are within 90% of the Boat max the cell is Green, 80% is Yellow, 70% is Orange, less than 70% is red and if its a zero value then it stays greyed out.

The result is in the image below. This is comparing our session data on Jengu for the JOG Cowes Yarmouth (Top table) race to the data from JOG Nab Tower (Bottom Table).

As you can see from the image our downwind performance for the Nab Tower race was a lot better than that for the Cowes – Yarmouth race. In fact we weren’t compared to other weekends that quick at all.

Carrying the thought forward; we looked at plotting out the actual track against the Boat max figure. What would that look like ?

The image below shows a plot of the data summary data from Cowes Yarmouth Race. The downwind leg is relatively short. Once we get through the transition zone where the sea breezes in the Western Solent kick it in its all upwind to Yarmouth.

Compare this to the equivalent plot for the Nab tower race. Though Zoomed out to show the whole out and back track, you can see where we are fast coming back into Cowes with the A1.5 up as the wind builds. You can also see where we park up outside Portsmouth.(there are lots of Gybe tags where the wind is circling).All this visual information begs a couple of questions about the data we are collecting this year. Looking at the polar stats from last years Cowes – Yarmouth race we are faster upwind than we are this year. (graph and top table is 2017 Cowes Yarmouth, bottom table is 2018)

I suspect this is down to the boat sailing with the larger J109 One Design sails last. The No1 and 2 are much bigger than the IRC config we have this year; IRC TCC 1.023 versus 1.010 this year. Last year the boat would have been heavier, 8 crew versus 6. On the face of it it looks like the larger sails are worth an extra half a knot on average to windward.

I think that I will probably need to split Jengu into two separate boats in the data collector. One for the IRC non-overlapping headsail config and one for the One Design configuration. That will give a more reasonable comparison.

We are testing the software again this weekend at Portsmouth Regatta so we will give the software a good workout. Portsmouth is a J109 one design event so we will get some data that should be more comparable to the 2017 Cowes – Yarmouth track.

If final testing goes OK the updated version of the data collector will go on the website at the start of next week to download.

Bill/June 2018

Data Collector Changes For The 2018 Season

We’ve made some changes to the Data Collector software for this year.

Our aim has been to make the software easier to use and understand. We have reworked the main screens to present the information in a more concise manner aiming to make most of the interesting numbers available with one click.

At the session level there is now a single tab on the home frame that contains the main data trends; boat speed, heading, true/apparent wind angle and wind direction. Port and Starboard sailing is now distinguished by showing port wind angles relative to the bow in a negative form. You can now see how much boat speed you are carrying through a tack a lot more clearly.

We looked at the way that we were displaying the information and realised that whilst the Session is interesting; on a day to day basis the cumulative stats for the boat itself are more useful. We now have polar data on the Boat Definition screen in addition to the polar information on the Session. So you can now look at the boats performance in three ways; the current session, a comparison session and the boats overall best data. The boat polar data is based on the maximum value for a given wind speed/angle combination so it also provides realistic target data for the boat crew. Obviously for the data to appear on the polar chart you have to have sailed that wind speed true wind angle combination; which is why the pink 25 knot line in the image below is incomplete. You can export the polar data for the boat to csv file for import into Microsoft Excel etc.

We also came to the conclusion that we weren’t using the Route and Boat Config screens that much; and consequently not updating the config information as we sailed. Changing the configuration of the boat whilst it was on the move was too time consuming. You had to open another screen, select the right record, edit it and save it. So we’ve added tabs to the Data Collector Session frame to show the current Route and Boat config. You can’t add new items in on this screen but you can make them active or inactive and change the values associated with them. So swapping from a No 2 to a No 3 headsail becomes a simple question of setting the active flag on one to yes and on the other to no. All done from the main data collector screen.

From the data management perspective the overall performance of the application has been improved. Recalculation of a sessions data is now down to about 15-20 minutes for a 4 hour recording session. This makes it a lot easier to edit the data and remove the invalid messages that might be distorting the view.

We have also worked on the import and export functions. These are now more logically located on the Session Edit screen and can be used to move data from one installation of the Data Collector to another. You export the NMEA Data and Boat Config info from one PC to a set of csv files. Create the session info record on the second PC. Load the NMEA data followed by the Boat Config data then run the session recalculation to rebuild all the summary data.

We’ve added a couple of extra sentences in. We can now process VWR (Wind Velocity Relative) and RMC/GGA GPS messages. As long as we have valid GPS data, boat speed and heading we can use the VWR to calculate the true wind values. These give more options on older boats where the instruments are producing those sentences.

Finally in a bid to reduce the complexity of the application we have switched to using an embedded database. The data collector now stores its data in an Apache Derby Java based database making it easy to install and run the data collector. The installation process is now just a question of downloading and unzipping the software followed by the entering of a license key. We have removed all the steps to do with installing and running the MySQL database. We will continue to support the MySQL platform but the download files from the website will all include the Derby database.

Follow this link for more information about the Apache Derby database project: Apache Derby Database Project

As in previous years we have been through a thorough test cycle. We bench test using a software package called NMEA Studio, that lets us simulate receiving data from a virtual boat. Once that looks OK we start to feed the previous years data into the collector to see what the results would have looked like. We then perform static tests on the boat without leaving the dock, finally when we are convinced everything looks good to go we actually go sailing. We conducted that penultimate stage in our testing a couple of weeks back.

Our final test will be the JOG Nab Tower race in a couple of weekends where we hope to capture the whole race as a profile with the data collector. After that we move onto the JOG Cowes-Yarmouth-Cowes where we can test some more. We have data from the 2017 race so we will be able to compare the boats performance then with what its doing now. We hope to see a big improvement.

There is already a Beta version of the 2018 Data Collector on the Ashtree Marine website. We aim to put the initial production version on there to download next week(before the 21st April). The documentation for the collector is now complete and is available here for download: Data Collector 2018 Release Documentation

We have also prepared a file that can be used to load the Solent racing marks into the data collector as Waypoints. This is here : Solent Racing Marks 2018

Going forward we have a few ideas to work on. That will probably include a version of the collector for Apple Mac OS X and potentially some more graphical representations of the data.

Watch this space.

Bill/April 2018

2017 Version Of The Data Collector Released

2017 Release
The 008 Release on the May 1st 2017 brings together all the enhancements we have made over the last two years.

In addition to some new functionality and performance improvements we have created a Basic Data Collector mode. This simple command line based collector will be available as a community version of the product.

Do I need at license key for the Basic collector ?

No – To install the Basic Data Collector you just need to download the 008 Release self extracting zip and install the software on your computer. To install the new version of the software follow the instructions in the document:
Data Collector Installation Guide

You will get a shortcut on the desktop that allows you to start the Basic Data Collector.

How do I buy a copy of the Complete Data Collector?

Follow the link below to buy the full product. This is licensed on an annual basis. Once you have entered your details and made you Paypal payment you will be sent a license key for the product that will be valid for a full year.

Buy a full years use of the Complete version of the Data Collector

Can I upgrade from the Basic to Complete version of the Data Collector ?

Yes – you can buy a license key for the data collector. The installation guide details how to load that key. Once loaded you will be able to run the full GUI version of the data collector.

Is it complicated to run the data collector in command line mode ?

A little bit. You need to edit the parameters in a control file to tell the Data Collector where you want to collect your information from. Once you have done that starting the collector is simply a question of clicking on the icon and entering a session number.

Full details on the editing the properties and getting up to speed with the Basic Data Collector are in the Blog article here.
Basic Data Collector Configuration

Where do I get the software from ?

You can download the software from the downloads part of our website. You will need to register with the site before you can download the files.
Software Downloads

Is there documentation for the product ?

The installation process and manuals for the Complete Version of the product are largely unchanged and can be downloaded here:
Documentation Downloads
Configuration of the Basic Data Collector is covered in the post mention earlier.

Whats the difference between the Basic and Complete versions ?

The primary difference is the absence of the GUI interface in the basic version. All the data is still collected and processed but you don’t have the ease of use you have with the Complete edition.

The table below compares the two versions of the product:

Functionality Basic Complete
Recording of NMEA 0183 data to MySQL database table Yes Yes
Connect to COM based data sources Yes Yes
Connect to TCP/IP based data sources Yes Yes
Connect to UDP based data sources Yes Yes
Creation of a Time Performance Summary Record and the storage of that information in a MySQL table. Yes Yes
Recording of Wind Speed and Direction Data to MySQL table Yes Yes
Calculation of Session Polar data and storage of that information in a MySQL database table Yes Yes
Recording of GPS position information Data to MySQL table Yes Yes
View data in Microsoft Office Products Yes Yes
Recording of Boat Speed and Direction Data to MySQL table Yes Yes
Graphical Interface No Yes
Export of track and data to KML file for upload to Google Earth No Yes
Export of basic NMEA data to csv file No Yes
Export of performance data to csv file No Yes

Got a question ?

It you have any questions please use the contact form on the link below below to get in touch.
Get in touch

Bill/May 2017

NMEA Data Collector – Property File How To

The Basics.

This is a very brief guide to configuring the Data Collector using its config file.

The Data Collector is started from a DOS Batch file or Unix Shell script. There are two batch files; one starts the Basic Data Collector; one the Complete GUI Data Collector. The files are in the directory c:\ashtree\bluebox\ and are named blueBoxBasic.bat and blueBoxComplete.bat -> we have no imagination.

The properties files are in the folder c:\ashtree\bluebox\#release number#\appSettings#OS#. Where #release number# is the release number of the product, 008, and #OS# is the type of operating system, WinXp (Windows), OSX (Apple Mac) and Linux (Linux). WinXp gives you an idea of how long we have been using the framework that underlies the Data Collector.

You can open the batch and properties files using Notepad on a Windows computer. If you damage the blueBoxBasic.bat and blueBoxComplete.bat files in this directory (it happens) you can retrieve a copy from the folder c:\ashtree\bluebox\#release number#\install.

Inspecting the batch files you will come to the line that starts the collector. In the basic collector startup batch file it looks like:
%JRE_HOME%\java -Xms524m -Xmx524m com.ashtree.bluebox.runBasicDataCollector %DB_NAME% %APP_NAME% %BLUEBOX_HOME% %OS% %SESSION_ID% -cp BlueBox.jar; GenericComponents.jar

This starts a Java runtime environment and passes in a number of parameters. The Java Runtime Enviroment (JRE) is a software execution environment that runs on your computer. All the software commands that the Data Collector issues are executed in the JRE. There is more information about the JRE at: Oracle Java FAQ.

There are a number of arguments passed to the Data Collector when it is started. These are passed using the command line we have highlighted above. The table below lists the arguments and what they can be used for.

%BLUEBOX_HOME% This is the base directory for the Data Collector installation. The default installation location is c:\ashtree\bluebox\#RELEASE NUMBER#
%OS% This operating system type for the Data Collector installation. This is primarily used to guide the Data Collector software to the correct properties file.
%APP_NAME% This is the name of the application. The Data Collector uses the application name to determine which properties file to read its configuration from. So if the %APP_NAME% variable is set to JENGU_BASIC then the properties will be read from JENGU_BASIC.properties.
%SESSION_ID% This is the number of the session that you want to record data for. This property is only used by the Basic Data Collector. You specify the session Id to record against using the GUI in the Complete Data Collector. The startup script will prompt for the entry of this value when run. You have two options. Entry a session number for a session that already exists. This will append the data collected to the old sessions. The Data Collector will estimate the values between the end of the existing recorded data for a session and the point at which it is restarted. If you originally started recording this session a couple of days ago it probably makes sense to start a new session. The alternative option is to enter a new Session ID altogether.
-Xms524m -Xmx524m This defines the amount of computer memory you want the Java runtime environment to use. If you have a computer with a lot of memory 8-16GByte you can increase this setting to improve the performance of the application. The default setting should be OK most applications.
%DB_NAME% This identifies the database connection properties that the Data Collector uses to connect to the database. The value assigned to the %DB_NAME% variable maps to a set of variables in the properties file. The properties file variables are discussed in more detail in the next section.

In the default installation the collector connects to the database defined in the set of properties that have BlueBoxMySQL in their name.
BlueBoxMySQL_DBType=jdbc:mysql
BlueBoxMySQL_connection_type=DATABASE
BlueBoxMySQL_user=nmeadbuser
BlueBoxMySQL_password=123456
BlueBoxMySQL_dbuser=nmeadbuser
BlueBoxMySQL_dbpassword=123456
BlueBoxMySQL_internal_date_format=yyyy-MM-dd kk:mm:ss
BlueBoxMySQL_url=localhost:3306/nmeadblog
BlueBoxMySQL_driver=com.mysql.jdbc.Driver
BlueBoxMySQL_schema_owner=nmeadblog
BlueBoxMySQL_namespace=nmeadblog

If you wanted for whatever reason to connect to a database server somewhere other than the local computer you could create a new set of settings for that server.
BlueBoxMySQLRemote_DBType=jdbc:mysql
BlueBoxMySQLRemote_connection_type=DATABASE
BlueBoxMySQLRemote_user=nmeadbuser
BlueBoxMySQLRemote_password=123456
BlueBoxMySQLRemote_dbuser=nmeadbuser
BlueBoxMySQLRemote_dbpassword=123456
BlueBoxMySQLRemote_internal_date_format=yyyy-MM-dd kk:mm:ss
BlueBoxMySQLRemote_url=myremote_server:3306/nmeadblog
BlueBoxMySQLRemote_driver=com.mysql.jdbc.Driver
BlueBoxMySQLRemote_schema_owner=nmeadblog
BlueBoxMySQLRemote_namespace=nmeadblog

Looking at the settings:

  • DBType is the type of database you are connecting to. You could setup a copy of the Data Collector to run on MS SQL Server in which case you would have a value of jdbc:SQL2005. There are other options for this setting. Please contact us if you require further information.
    connection_type is the type of connection. In this case database. We also have Web service based connection. The other option for this is WEBSERVICE but this is not used in the deployed version of the Data Collector.
  • dbuser is the name of the database user that the software is connecting to.
  • dbpassword is the password for the database user that the software is connecting to. If you change the default user password you will need to update this value.
  • user is the name of the application user that the software is connecting to. This should not change as the software is setup to use a default application user. If this were the multi user Web Service based implementation then this would be the username for the user logging in.
    password is the password for the application user that the software is connecting to. If you change the default user password you will need to update this value. This should not change as the software is setup to use a default application user. If this were the multi user Web Service based implementation then this would be the username for the user logging in.
  • internal_date_format this is the date format used by the database server that the collector is connecting to. MySQL uses yyyy-MM-dd kk:mm:ss as opposed to SQL Server that uses dd MMM yyyy. You will not normally need to change this setting.
  • url this is the server, port and database name that the Data Collector is connecting to.
  • driver this is the name of the java driver file that the collector is using to connect to the database. So if you were to connect to SQL Server instead of MySQL this value would be com.microsoft.sqlserver.jdbc.SQLServerDriver
  • schema_owner this is the name of the user that owns the actual Data Collector tables. So if you wanted an increased level of security you could set the Data Collector to connect to a user other than the schema owner. This value is required to ensure the Data Collector is selecting data from the correct schema objects.
  • namespace is defaulted here to be the same as the schema_owner but in practice only takes an effect when you are using a Web Service based connection.
  • The NMEA Data Collector is built on a Java framework that we have developed and used in a number of applications. So some of the parameters above are not generally used in this application. They do however need to be present in the properties file for the application to start successfully.

    How do I Control The Basic Data Collector ?

    When using the basic Data Collector the information about the source of the NMEA 0183 data is held in the properties file. The default properties file contains two different connections, one for a TCP/IP data source and one for a COM(serial) data source. (one is commented out)

    The properties in the file usually come in the format of a comment followed by the actual value.

    #Data Collector Connection Properties
    # Protocol: TCP or UDP or COM
    collector_protocol=TCP

    A # character will comment out a single line in the file so the segment above is;
    a comment (Data Collector Connection Properties)
    followed by another comment (Protocol: TCP or UDP or COM)
    followed by the actual variable itself (collector_protocol)

    The variables are recorded as keyword value pairs. In this case collector_protocol = TCP. The = defines collector_protocol to be equal to TCP. The next table lists all the parameters used to define the data collection for the Basic Data Collector. Its important to match the case of the values when editing the properties file; TCP not tcp.

    collector_protocol Collection method. Protocol: Valid values are : TCP or UDP or COM.
    interfaceName Give the interface a name : something you can choose for instance ; Bills Data Collector
    host The name of the host from which the data is being collected. This can be the either a hostname, ip address or localhost depending on the scenario
    port The port on the host that the Data Collector needs to connect on. You will need to read the instructions for your NMEA 0183 data source to find out what this should be.
    timeslotSizeMinutes The size of the timeslots to use in minutes min 1 max 99 as an integer. The Data Collector is averaging over a variable time period. You can average over anything from 1 to 99 minutes.
    baudRate Baud rate that the data source is communicating at. Check your data source documentation for what this should be set to.
    stopBits Number of stop bits for the data source. Check your data source documentation for what this should be set to – this is generally not required for TCP connections.
    dataBits Number of data bits. . Check your data source documentation for what this should be set to – this is generally not required for TCP connections.
    parity Parity indicator. Check your data source documentation for what this should be set to – this is generally not required for TCP connections.
    testNMEAConnection Flag to indicate just to listen don’t collect so that you can test the interface. This is moderately useful when you are trying to work out why you aren’t getting any data through from your data source.

    That’s about it.
    To get the basic collector to work all you need to do is:

  • Run the installation of the software
  • Setup the database – you don’t need a license key
  • Set the connection properties in the properties file.
  • Start the Data Collector from the Basic Data Icon on the desktop.
  • Enter the session id when prompted.
  • Press enter to accept the displayed information.
  • Once its up and running you will see a stream of data collection messages coming down the screen that looks something like that in the image below. These are the same messages that appear in the interface console window on the complete Data Collector.

    What else can I control ?

    The Data Collector reads a lot of information from the properties file besides that highlighted above.

    The table below details some of the more useful properties.

    Debug_Level Set the amount of information that is output to the screen.
    Levels 1 to 4

  • 1=Exceptions/Certain status updates
  • 2=Exception/Stop messages/Certain status updates
  • 3=Exception/Stop/Executed SQL/Test output messages/certain status updates
  • 4=Everything
  • Its worth noting that if you set the level 3 you won’t get Executed SQL unless the property Write_Executed_SQL is set to TRUE.
    If you are having issues and can’t work out whats going wrong trying to get the Data Collector working set the debug_mode=4 and the other values in this section to TRUE. That will give you a lot of debug information.
    The underlying framework will produce a stack trace if there is an error condition. These will be written to the file C:\ashtree\bluebox\#RELEASE NUMBER#\logs\bluebox.log

    Write_To_File Write to log file. TRUE or FALSE. See the comments above. These will be written to the file C:\ashtree\bluebox\#RELEASE NUMBER#\logs\ generally with a connection name and the date/time stamp.
    Write_To_Console Write to console tells the application to write information to the console that the basic Data Collector opens. TRUE or FALSE.
    Display_Dialog Put up a dialog message on the screen for Stop and exception messages. TRUE or FALSE. This will suppress any message would otherwise appear on the screen; this is more useful during system testing.
    GenericDBBean_Write_Log_Output Control output from the generic db bean. TRUE or FALSE. The Data Collector uses a database cache to read and write to the database; This property will turn this information off. Its useful for debugging the application and we might ask you to switch this on if we are trying to diagnose a problem.
    Write_Executed_SQL Control output from the connection bean. TRUE or FALSE. The connection bean is the part of the Data Collector that talks to the database. Turning this on with the appropriate debug_level value makes the Data Collector display all the SQL (database commands) it sends to the database. This is another we might ask you to switch if we are trying to diagnose a problem.
    Output_Date Turn on or off the date of the message string for all message other than exceptions. TRUE or FALSE.
    Output_Source_Class Turn on or off the date of the message string for all message other than exceptions. TRUE or FALSE.

    These are the most useful properties on a day to day basis.

    How Do I Change The Data Collectors Appearance ?

    The final section of the properties file sets the colours of the windows and other components within the application. So for instance the section:

    # Colours for UI
    # Buttons
    #Black
    Button.background.R=099
    Button.background.G=099
    Button.background.B=099

    #red
    Button.foreground.R=255
    Button.foreground.G=255
    Button.foreground.B=255

    #Red
    Button.focus.R=200
    Button.focus.G=073
    Button.focus.B=073

    #Blue
    Button.disabledText.R=017
    Button.disabledText.G=070
    Button.disabledText.B=242

    Button.font.NAME=Trebuchet MS
    Button.font.SIZE=14
    Button.font.STYLE=0

    Formats the buttons within the application including the colour and font. All the properties are coloured based on Red/Red/Blue values in the range 0-255.

    This article gives more information about the way it works and has a handy slider app so you can pick your own colours.
    RGB Examples

    This means that in our properties file the sample below will give all the the buttons in the application a black background and a red foreground.

    #Black
    Button.background.R=099
    Button.background.G=099
    Button.background.B=099
    #red
    Button.foreground.R=255
    Button.foreground.G=255
    Button.foreground.B=255

    You can mess around with the colours as much as you like but you need to bear a few things in mind.

  • You need to restart the application for the colour changes to effect.
  • The colours can only be changed in the Complete GUI based Data Collector.
  • Black foreground and Black background doesn’t work.
  • You will need to experiment – a lot – we spent a weeks going from our original Blue prototype to the Black palette that we have today.
  • Make sure you backup the properties file before you start making changes.
  • You can also change the JRE’s look and feel setting but that is probably best left to the experts.

    Thats it. If you have any questions about this or any of the other articles we have written please feel free to comment.

    Bill/May 2017

    Collecting, Sorting, Sampling And Aggregating

    The NMEA Data Collector is about collecting and sorting information. The art to collecting data is working out what is interesting in the current context and keeping it. The total amount of data circulating the network on a sailing boat can be considerable. Not all of it is useful. The Data Collector applies a number of filters and aggregations to the information that is comming in the make it more useful.

    The descriptions here should be very useful if you read the last article about how to pull data from the MySQL database that sits behind the Data Collector into Excel. We are going to describe the contents of the tables that you can query.

    Whats out there to collect ?
    Continue reading Collecting, Sorting, Sampling And Aggregating

    Asking Your Own Questions

    The great beauty of the NMEA Data Collector is that its built around a MySQL database. This means that with a limited amount of knowledge you can start to ask the database your own questions.

    This post details the basic steps to asking your own questions.

    For this exercise we are going to create a basic scatter chart in Excel that plots Average Wind Speed against average boat speed. I’ve picked Excel as the charting tool because most people have some exposure to Microsoft’s Office Suite. Both my 12 year old and his grandmother know how to build a basic spreadsheet.
    Continue reading Asking Your Own Questions

    Whats New For 2015

    OK so here we are going to attempt to summarise what’s new for 2015.

    After the initial release of our software in June 2014 we went back to the simulator to do a lot more testing.

    What do we mean by simulator and why use a simulator rather than a real boat to test software?

    We use a software package called NEMA Studio from Sailsoft to simulate incoming 0183 NMEA data. This makes it possible for us to repeatedly run the same sailing scenario’s. We can set our virtual boat back to the same place on the globe with the same wind speed and velocity. We can repeat the scenario over and over again until we are confident we are getting the correct result from our calculations.

    This would be very difficult to repeat on a real boat afloat.

    For those of you who are technicaly minded you can have a look at the Sailsoft website for details of the simualation software that we use.
    http://www.sailsoft.nl/index.html

    So whats new or different in this edition?

    We’ve spent a lot of time on the usability of the application. For those of you who looked at the summer release it was predominantly shades of blue. For the new release we have switched to a set of colours that we think are easier to read on a boat day or night. The original blue was bright and OK to read during the day but tended to be too bright for night time viewing.

    InterfaceDefinitionScreen_new

    InterfaceDefinitionScreen


    We will be explaining in a later post how to customise the interface colours to your own personal taste …. so if you think the blue was better than the black you can set the colour scheme back.

    We also changed the overall layout to make the application easier to use. The multiple tabs from release 006 have been replaced by expandable panels.

    panes_collapsed

    You should now be able to see the data you are interested in with a minimum number of clicks.

    We have also added a button at the top of the screen that allows you to hide the right hand panel of data. This gives you a wider view of the tables and graphs on the left hand side of the screen.

    We’ve also paid more attention to Windows tablet users. There are now some very good Windows 8 based tablets on the market. In phycial form these are very similar to your IPAD or Samsung Galaxy Tabs but they can run a full version of Microsoft Windows. This means they can be used to run our data collection software.

    We have done a lot of testing with one of the other applications that we built in tandem with the NMEA Data Collector.

    Our client for that project, a vocational training provider with trainees accross England, has had 30 plus staff out in the field using the tablets with our application framework installed for the last eighteen months.

    Their Samsung tablets are used on a daily basis and have much lower failure rate than standard laptops.

    Samsung_Ativ_Tab_3_tablet

    The devices have very few moving parts, they have solid state disk drives (SSD) and don’t have conventional keyboards or screens to break.

    Their software package uses much of the same underlying software as the NMEA Data Collector; similar buttons and on screen functions etc.. These components have been carefully designed to make them easy to use with a touch screen.

    We’ve also looked at alternative methods of loading data into the NMEA Data Collector.

    So if you want to bulk load your waypoints into the application this is now possible. For the demo we produced at the end of 2014 we uploaded all of the Waypoints for the Solent Racing Marksusing the Dataloader within the application.

    12-02-2015 16-42-10

    Attached to this post is a .csv file that can be used to upload the 2015 Solent Marks and their locations to the Data Collectors Waypoint list. These waypoints are based on those issued in February 2015 by the Solent Cruising and Racing Association.

    The new release also includes a tool for building new data load maps. This means you can now create your you own load routines from .csv data.

    12-02-2015 16-43-19

    So you could load boat configuration data into the NMEA Data Collectors database from a spreadsheet data source.

    We also have a new screen that will let you export a custom set of data from the MySQL database that underlies the application. This makes it possible for instance to export all the configuration changes for a given recording session.

    We will be talking in more detail in the next post about how to get data into and out of the data collectors analysis tools. Useful functionality that makes it possible to compare the recording sessions from more than one boat.

    Thats it for this post.

    If you have any questions about any of the functionality that is included in the latest release of the NMEA Data Collector please use the contact form below to get in touch.

    /Bill – February 2015



    Fill in the email contact form below and we will get back to you as soon as we can.


    [wpdm_category id=data-load-files]

    Release 7 is here.

    Release 7 is now available to download from the software downloads section of this website. The latest version is available to existing customers with up to date licenses to download for free. New customers can follow the instructions in the How To Purchase section to purchase a copy. You will need to be logged into the site as a registed user to access the Downloads section.

    You will notice a number of visual changes from the previous “blue” release 6. We’ll go into the details in a later post.

    Any questions or issues please contact us via our contacts page on this website.

    As stated in our post at the beginning of January we are still looking for testers to work with us to develop the product. If the product sounds interesting get in touch.

    Fill in the email contact form below and we will get back to you as soon as we can.

    We Need Your Help

    We need your help:

    If you are yacht racing in the UK this spring/summer and would like to work with us to build a great performance analysis suite (and improve the performance of your boat at the same time) .. please get in touch.

    We will provide free copies of the data collection software for a limited number of boats to use for a year.
    We will also provide consultancy to help you get up and running with the product.
    All we ask in exchange is that you provide us with some useful feedback that we can use to enhance our product.

    If this is interesting fill in the attached contact form and we will get in touch.

    Fill in the email contact form below and we will get back to you as soon as we can.