Posted by: Ger Rietman | February 15, 2013

NemaStudio version V1.18 released

Capture Transducer

Version 1.18 of NemaStudio

Almost a year has passed since the last version update of NemaStudio, Sailsoft’s NMEA 0183 and AIS simulator.

This proves that the latest versions of NemaStudio apparently  seem to be quite stable  and I am very happy about that.

Yet there always seems room for improvement, and – for various reasons -I unfortunately cannot always honour all requests for additional functionality, but most will get through. Like this one that I like to introduce here as a complete new instrument in NemaStudio: the Transducer.

In this version of NemaStudio the Transducer is currently still quite basic, and I am anxiously awaiting your suggestions for improvements.


As you can see on the image above (click on it for full scale) you can identify 4 sensors. This is the maximum number of sensors you can send in one sentence with NemaStudio. If you need more just create another instance of the Transducer object.

Formatter and Identifier

Currently the only formatter used in the Transducer object is $—XDR, and I do not know if there are other common formatters that can be used within this context. Also I must admit the choice of Identifiers is rather limited as you can see. My guess is that $II is most used in practice.

Type and Unit fields

Both Type and Unit can be selected via a Dropdown/Combo box. Note that there is currently no relational consistency check between these fields. So it is quite possible to output Frequency data as Litres per Hour as you can see in the example!

What else is new in version 1.18?

Control Center
  • When the Control Center has focus (you can give it focus by clicking it) you can use the arrow keys to change course and speed
  • It is no longer possible to set the course control to a value of 360 degrees
General Settings
  • A new option is introduced here to enable automatic start when the program is opened. This option is very useful when NemaStudio needs to be run as a background task.
Heading instrument
  • The $—THS sentence is added
  • The maximum value of all ‘degrees’ up/down controls is now 359.9 instead of 360
  • All ‘degrees’ up/down controls  will now loop, meaning that when the maximum limit is reached the value will be reset to 0.0 and also the other way round.

Where to download this new version of NemaStudio

You can download and install this new version of NemaStudio here:

To licensed users

This version is free for you and works with your current license codes.

Posted by: Ger Rietman | October 22, 2012

Create your own AIS targets in


NemaStudio AIS simulator

Because NemaStudio transmits the simulated AIS ships positions similar to a ‘real’ AIS transceiver it is very well possible and actually very easy to use the simulated AIS messages from NemaStudio for uploading to web services and sites like

Setting up the connection to

It is as simple as in NemaStudio to set up a few AIS targets and set the output port to UDP, the remote IP address to and the remote port to 5321.

Trial version vs full version

Although the trial version of NemaStudio will work OK you will hardly be able to create AIS streams of sufficient length and duration since the maximum number of AIS messages is limited to 500 per run in the trial version. You will need to obtain the full version of NemaStudio in order to create AIS streams of sufficient length for uploading to for at least a few hours to see your targets sail a track on the marinetraffic maps.

Posted by: Ger Rietman | January 27, 2012

All NMEA simulators from Sailsoft now .Net based


NemaTalker V2.1 released

With the release of Version 2.1 of NemaTalker all simulation products from Sailsoft are now based on the Microsoft .Net Framework.

For the customer this has the benefit of better controls, better I/O handling and better management of resources, resulting in a much better performance.

For me it means more effective maintenance and support because I require only one toolset from now on. Maintaining a high level of consistency between the applications is much more convenient now also.

Better balance between price and functionality

As you may remember, last month Sailsoft already released a complete new version of GpsSimul. This new version came with a newly designed attractive user interface and many improvements compared to the previous versions.

And today Sailsoft releases a complete new version of NemaTalker, the NMEA 0183 simulator, also with a new GUI, more functionality and better performance.

I believe that Sailsoft’s range of NMEA simulation products now covers about everybody’s needs, from a single GPS simulator via a versatile NMEA 0183 sensor simulator up to a full multi-instrument NMEA simulator with extensive AIS simulation for the professional in the nautical  and marine industry.

Sailsoft also adjusted the license price for GpsSimul (now EUR 59) and NemaTalker (now EUR 179) so they are more in line with the functionality offered, yet still retaining the absolutely modest price level.

New in NemaTalker Version 2.1

Compared to the previous versions NemaTalker offers the following new functionality

  • Settings are no longer saved in registry but instead in xml file
  • Integrated help and documentation
  • Complete new user interface with panels that can be moved, docked, fixed or float
  • Integrated text file editor facilitating easy editing of waypoint text  files
  • Start and stop all instruments and sensors together at the same time
  • The number of decimal positions (precision) for GPS output sentences can optionally be defined

Functionality in NemaStudio not in NemaTalker

Many of the features of NemaStudio can now also be found in NemaTalker V2.1. However, NemaStudio remains the absolute top for the demanding professional with the following not offered by NemaTalker:

  • Full simulation of unlimited AIS Class A, Class B targets and SAR, Base Station and AtoN AIS objects
  • Multiple simultaneous copies of instruments(sensors)
  • Radar targets with dynamic distance and time to CPA calculations
  • Output from sensors and targets can be sent to any output port
  • Output from sensors can be multiplied over one serial port
  • Any combination of the above two statements is possible
  • Can effectively be connected to ECDIS for simulated sensor and target input
  • Default initial position and range for targets can be optionally set
  • Real UTC can be overridden with ‘user defined’ UTC
  • Optionally checks for newer version

For a complete comparison between GpsSimul, NemaTalker and NemaStudio see the comparison table on the Sailsoft website.


New version of GpsSimul released

I am happy to announce a complete new version of GpsSimul. The first version of this great NMEA 0183 GPS simulator was released back in November 1999. There have been various updates of the program since the past 12 years but now it became really time for a radical new change.

The update was also needed because it became increasingly hard to support the old version that was written in VB6. The new version V4 is now based on the Microsoft .Net Framework and has a complete new designed GUI (graphical User Interface) as you can find out here.

A nice gimmick is the compass rose in the navigate window, automatically rotating into the direction that we are sailing or driving to.Screenshot_GpsSimul_SetupMode_thumb

Also new are the blue arrows for steering, speed and altitude. on both sides of the GUI. When holding these down with the mouse pointer they will increase or decrease the values for course, velocity or altitude until released, making a dynamic simulation scenario possible.

At the bottom of the GUI you will find the following buttons

  • to switch between Setup Mode and Navigate Mode,
  • to switch between the Trace window and the NMEA 0183 sentences window
  • to enable or disable logging to a text file
  • and of course to start and stop the simulation

You will find more details on the Sailsoft web site or go straight here.

The new version can be downloaded and installed directly from this link: Download GpsSimul Version V4.0, and as usual, this is a fully functional and free trial!

For the next two month (January and February 2012) the license price will remain the same as for the old version 3.3.1, but Sailsoft will probably increase the price after that period.

The license codes for the previous version of GpsSimul are not valid for the new version V4.

Users of version 3.3.1 of GpsSimul that purchased their license during October to December last year (the last 3 months of 2011) can obtain a license for the new version without any extra costs when they send a request to Sailsoft and include their V3.3.1 license codes in the mail.

Posted by: Ger Rietman | June 17, 2011

NemaStudio used in ECDIS training


NemaStudio and ECDIS training

Recently I was invited by Samos Steamship in Athens to come and demonstrate NemaStudio in combination with a Tokyo Keiki ECDIS as shown in the picture at the left.

ECDIS stands for Electronic Chart Display and Information System. If you are not familiar with this check out Wikipedia here.

New IMO (International Maritime Organization) regulations require that it is no longer sufficient to have crew to attend a generic ECDIS training but that the training and certification also requires ECDIS manufacturer “type specific” training.

In the case of Samos Steamship this would mean they have to send about 60 crew to Japan for the Tokyo Keiki EC-8000 training on the ECDIS simulators of Tokyo Keiki, meaning considerable costs.

Instead, Samos Steamship decided to install an EC-8000 ECDIS in their office and train their bridge officers in-house.P1010019

PC connection to the ECDIS

To obtain a realistic environment we had to connect the PC where NemaStudio was installed on to the ECDIS. This was achieved by using USB-to-RS422 serial adapters and configure NemaStudio to send the appropriate simulated navigation data to the correct ECDIS ports.

In the picture at the right you can see the laptop with NemaStudio in the foreground while an engineer from Tokyo Keiki  is checking the data coming from NemaStudio to the ECDIS.

NemaStudio in use as ECDIS ship and target simulator

After all technical issues were solved we prepared a number of scenarios with “own ship” data like GPS, sounder, heading and speed and “route to sail” based on waypoints. We also prepared a number of moving targets transmitting AIS and radar data while sailing a predefined route.

After starting NemaStudio the ECDIS nicely showed all “own ship” data and the track, and also all targets data dynamically generated by NemaStudio.

It was very satisfactory to see that a few invited ships officers were really fast picking up the ECDIS functionality and appreciated the simulated environment.

Room for improvement

Although NemaStudio proved to be a very useful tool in ECDIS training, I observed that for this specific purpose the program would benefit from a few improvements.

When a number of ship’s crew were invited to set up new scenario’s it turned out that the procedure for setting up a scenario is a bit too complex for people not technically skilled. This I will work on. I guess I need to develop a separate scenario editor.

For the trainer it is also desirable to hide more technical data currently on the user interface, and bring that to the background so he can better concentrate on the simulation and scenario’s.

In the mean time I decided to invest considerable future time in the ECDIS training market. It is for sure a very interesting market for Sailsoft. In this context it may be worth checking out this interview with Mr. Pearsall from ECDIS Ltd, a company commercially involved in ECDIS training.

Posted by: Ger Rietman | May 19, 2011

V1.13, minor update NemaStudio


NemaStudio new version 1.13

Sailsoft just released Version 1.13 of NemaStudio, the professional version of her NMEA 0183 simulator.

This is a minor release. In this version  some small bugs are solved and a new NMEA0183 GPS sentence is introduced.

The  $GPGSV sentence according the IEC61162 / NMEA 0183 standard shows the number of satellites in view, and per satellite the satellite number, elevation, azimuth and SNR value. The format of the $GPGSV sentence as implemented in NemaStudio looks as follows:


The values for Elevation, Azimuth and SNR are generated randomly. The the value for the total number of satellites in view is taken from the “Satellites” field in the GPS simulator. This value also determines the number of GSV sentences generated: 1, 2 or 3. Observe that each sentence can show a maximum of 4 satellites (SV’s). It can occur that empty sentences are generated, dependent on the number of satellites ticked in the “Satellites used” tab for GPS (1-32) or WAAS (33-64).

Corrected bugs in this version

The following bugs are corrected:

  • Sounder: Transducer Offset, sign now automatically changes to negative if "from Keel" is selected and to positive if “to Waterline” is selected
  • Velocity: Distance counters, counters now increase at negative speed, this affects the VLW sentence
  • GPS: $GPXTE sentence, direction to steer never changed to "L", corrected
Posted by: Ger Rietman | May 3, 2011

Reseller appointed for Sailsoft NMEA simulation software


I am happy to announce that per May 1 2011, Sailsoft has appointed Navigation Application as a reseller and partner for her NMEA simulation software.

The Dutch based Navigation Application is a relatively young company, and is part of the MHSI-group.
Navigation Application was founded by a number of GPS specialists and former navy officers with experience and degrees in navigation, hydrography, bridge resource management (BRM) and tactical operations.

Next to navigation software Navigation Application supplies ruggedized navigation hardware like vehicle GPS receivers and safety equipment with military specifications.

I am really happy with this co-operation since it opens a complete new range of opportunities for both Sailsoft and Navigation Application customers!

Posted by: Ger Rietman | April 14, 2011

NemaStudio v.1.12 released


NemaStudio new version 1.12

The object in the image at the left that looks like a pincushion is a screen shot from the new help file and User Guide of NemaStudio 1.12. Click on the image to enlarge and to see more detail.

The blue ‘needles’ point to the fields where you can input or change data, clicking on a numbered blue dot will bring you to a short description, purpose and usage of the field. All instruments and targets in NemaStudio have been described in this way.

Opening the Help menu in NemaStudio will present you with three obvious options to access and open the help file: Contents, Index and Search.

The help file is implemented as a compiled ‘.chm’ file and the v.1.12 installer will place it in the same directory where the other program files of NemaStudio are installed.

For easy reference the User Guide is also published as a PDF document and as a searchable HTML file with menu bar on the Sailsoft website.

Other changes in this version

The new and revised help file is not the only update in version 1.12. Some small bugs were corrected and limited new functionality was implemented also:

  • Communication settings: if Stopbits=Two was selected, OnePointFive was saved. (Corrected);
  • All objects: stopping the object now closes the port, re-starting re-opens the port again (New);
  • All objects: re-starting now updates the port settings text below the port selector (New);
  • AIS message type 14: !AIBBM changed to !AIVDM to comply with most transceivers (New);
  • AIS targets: MMSI number was erroneously initialized with some number with a length of 10 digits instead of 9 digits. (Corrected)
Download links

You can download and install the new version from the download section of the Sailsoft website or by clicking the following direct link:

Posted by: Ger Rietman | February 28, 2011

Radar Love, neglected but made good now…

NemaStudio Radar CPA calculation

Golden Earring:

“I’ve been driving all night, my hands wet on the wheel
There is a voice in my head that drives me heel
We’ve got a wave in the air: Radar Love
And  as I am speeding into a new sunrise
She sends her comfort coming in from above”

These are a few lines from the lyrics of the incredible song “Radar Love” from a Dutch rock band of the sixties called “Golden Earring”. Radar Love is one of the very few Dutch rock songs that ever reached sky high in the international hit lists.

Radar Target in NemaStudio extensively updated in Version 1.11

Of course inspired by this song, but in reality more motivated by a number of user requests I decided to upgrade the Radar Target object in NemaStudio. I have been heavily neglecting Radar since the introduction of AIS in NemaStudio, but now it got really time to do something about that.

Radar Targets in earlier versions

The Radar object in NemaStudio before Version 1.11 has been a rather dull and static object. All parameters, including Target Speed and Course, Target Bearing, CPA, Latitude and Longitude, had to be entered manually and the target’s position did not automatically change based on course and speed as in almost all other NMEA simulated objects in NemaStudio like GPS and AIS.

Dynamically update of Target position

Based on course and speed, taken from the value of the controls in the Object Control Center, the position of the Radar Target is automatically updated every n second, whereas n is the interval set by the user. But there is more.

Linking a GPS object or an AIS target to a Radar Target

Apart from steering each Radar Target with the course and speed controls in the Object Control Center, you have the option to link an active GPS or Class A or Class B AIS object to any Radar Target.

NemaStudio Radar Target object

Observe that an AIS object itself can also have a GPS linked in turn. So if you link a GPS to an AIS object and then link that AIS object to a Radar object, you have them all three synchronized!

This way you can have the GPS object in control and all position changes will automatically be forwarded to the AIS and Radar object.

It gets even better when you create a number of routes with waypoints and put the GPS object in "Automatic Mode". Of course you can create several targets in this way so you end up with a really realistic simulation of AIS and Radar.

CPA and the introduction of an "Own Vessel" in Radar object

In order to have a CPA (Closest Point of Approach) calculated in the Radar object, an "Own Vessel" concept is introduced.

The CPA is dynamically calculated from the position, course and speed of the "Own Vessel" to the position, course and speed of the Radar Target. A negative value in the Time to CPA means that the target is moving away from the CPA.

And again, the "Own Vessel" can be linked to a GPS or AIS target and can in this way sail it’s own automatic GPS course.

Download and install NemaStudio Version 1.11

You can download and install the new version from the download section of the Sailsoft website or by clicking the following direct link:

In case you are a registered NemaStudio user you can as usual keep your current license for this updated version. No need to re-enter, your current license codes will automatically be applied to the new version.

Posted by: Ger Rietman | February 2, 2011

NemaStudio NMEA 0183 simulator, new release V1.10


New version of NemaStudio

Just released Version 1.10 of NemaStudio. In this new version many important updates in the Heading and the AIS sections have been implemented.

As usual, registered users can download and install the new version from the download section of the Sailsoft website or by clicking the following direct link: Of course you can keep your current license for this updated version. No need to re-enter, your current codes will automatically be applied to the new version.

Not a registered user? You can use the link above to download a trial copy of this version of NemaStudio. The trial is fully functional but is limited to output a maximum of 500 NMEA 0183 and AIS sentences.

Changes and corrections in this version

•  AIS Class B targets: Position Device and Position Accuracy were not saved. Corrected.
•  GPS: UTC Date was not automatically advancing to the next day. Corrected. 
•  GPS: Introduced a new option choice in the NMEA settings: "User-tweaked UTC Date/Time" vs "Realistic UTC Date/Time".
With this new option the user can either choose to use the "real" UTC date and time or choose to fake UTC data and time to his needs. In the latter case the position update timer can have no decimals in its value, because this value is used to increment the UTC timeseconds field in this case. 
•  AIS message 21 (Aid to Navigation position report) corrected   is implemented       
•  AIS message 4 (Base Station position report) adjusted to ITU-R M.1371 version 4: Transmission Control bit included
•  AIS message 4 (Base Station position report) did not correctly include Type of Electronic Fixing Device. Corrected. 
•  AIS message 1 (Class A Vessel position report) extended with a checkbox to indicate that no Turn Indicator is present, resulting in ROTais=-128.
The ROT value in the ROT up/down control now gives the actual Rate Of Turn in degrees/min instead of ROTais. The actual ROT in deg/min as shown now in the up/down control is converted to the ROTais value (+/- 126) and stored in the ROT field in message 1. When the "No TI"(no Turn Information) checkbox is checked the ROTais value -128 is stored in the ROT field in message 1.
When the value in the ROT up/down control > 708 or < -708 then the ROT ais value is set to 127 or -127. 
•  Heading: now different up/down controls for Magnetic and True heading for better interpretation of HDT and HDM.
$HEHDM now gives the magnetic course calculated from the magnetic sensor compensated by variation and deviation.
$HEHDT now gives the True course straight from the True course sensor. w now
•  Heading: Rate Of Turn up/down control added.
The value in the ROT up/down control gives the actual Rate Of Turn in degrees/min instead of rudder angle as before.  The ROT in degrees/minute in the up/down control can either be adjusted with the up/down buttons of the control or is taken proportionally from the Rudder control, and is in the range of +708 degrees/min (turn to starboard) to -708 degrees/min (turn to port).

Important changes in the Heading Instrument

There are two major changes in the Heading Instrument in Version 1.10 of NemaStudio you may want to take notice of.

In earlier versions of NemaStudio the True Course value for the HDT sentence was derived from the Magnetic Course by applying Variation and Deviation from the Magnetic Course. This was because there was no field available for a True Course sensor, e.g. Gyro. This was kind of confusing for many people, since the Magnetic Course was taken straight from the Magnetic Course sensor to the HDM sentence, without compensation for Variation and Deviation.

Changes in Version 1.10 re heading sensor readings:

  1. An up/down control was added for simulating a True Course sensor. When there is a GPS running, the value can optionally be taken from the GPS course.
  2. The True Heading sensor reading now goes uncompensated straight into the HDT sentence.
  3. The value in the HDM sentence is now taken from the Magnetic Heading sensor compensated by the given Variation and Deviation.

The HDG sentence has not been changed.

Changes in Version 1.10 re Rate Of Turn:

The second major update in the Heading Instrument concerns the Rate Of Turn handling.
In previous versions, ROT was handled rather primitively by NemaStudio by just taking the Rudder Control value to the NMEA 0183 ROT sentence.

In Version 1.10 this is considerably improved by adding a Rate Of Turn control to the Heading Instrument. The value in this control can of course be adjusted by the up/down arrow buttons of the control, but also by using the main Rudder Control. When using the main Rudder Control, the the ROT value is calculated by dividing 708 by the maximum rudder setting and multiplying this by the value in the Rudder Control.

Why the value of 708? The value 708 is used for consistency with the maximum ROT value possible in AIS message 1.

Please notice you can change the maximum range for the main Rudder Control in the General Settings. It is set to 30 degrees by default.

AIS message 1: Rate Of Turn changes

As in the Heading Instrument, the ROT handling was also considerably changed from earlier versions of NemaStudio.

  1. The GUI has been extended with a checkbox to indicate that a Turn Indicator is not present. Checking this box will result in ROTais=-128. (ROTais is the value as stored in the AIS message 1 according to ITU-R M.1371-4)
  2. The ROT value in the ROT up/down control now gives the actual Rate Of Turn in degrees/minute instead of ROTais.
  3. The actual ROT in degrees/minute as shown now in the up/down control is converted to the ROTais value (+/- 126) and stored in the ROTais field in message 1.
  4. When the value in the ROT up/down control > 708 or < -708 then the ROTais value is set to 127 or -127.

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