At this moment, the developers of Stentec are working hard on the 2018 editions of WinGPS 5, which will be released early February 2018. One of the new functions is the implementation of 'Signal K'. This is a modern, open source data format available for nautical purposes which supplies a universal method of sharing information. Independent from underlying protocols such as NMEA0183, NMEA2000 and SeaTalk.

Nearly every ship has onboard equipment which uses the protocol NMEA0183, NMEA2000 or SeaTalk. For example, your onboard GPS receiver, depth meter or AIS. When correctly installed these all work great, especially when keeping in mind the expectations of the time period (NMEA2000 was invented around 20 years ago!). The disadvantages of these protocols is they were designed for local usage, with limited data speeds and a maximum of connected devices. Licenses connected to the protocols, for example NMEA2000, create extra constraints and higher costs.

As the new Signal K is open source it has a great advantage to the above mentioned protocols. With no license costs and community development it is possible to create a new way of sharing data within the nautical world.

What does this imply for WinGPS 5 Pro and Voyager users?
When you have onboard equipment with NMEA0183, NMEA2000 or SeaTalk which isn't connected to your navigation laptop, connecting these will be very easy with WinGPS 5 2018 via the new Signal K method. The equipment can easily be connected via an internet connection or a local wifi connection. Not only will the data be available for your navigation laptop, it can also be sent to your other onboard equipment and even to other ships or the main land.

To create such a data connection you can use iKommunicate. This device is cheaper and easier to install than a multiplexer. Because the Signal K method is still in development, and will be for several years, this is a long term investment with the probability of a lot of added features and usages in the near future.

Because of this new development, Stentec gets a lot of opportunities for new additions of devices, apps and software. You can expect a lot of new developments for our WinGPS 5 and Marine software, stemming directly from the Signal K technology. For example, Stentec is developing new features within the Smart Sailing project with autonomous sailing of a sail ship, using Signal K. Now, a lot of different devices are available for controlling the rudder of a ship, but no devices which also control the sails. In our opinion, such a device would be a great addition on any modern sailing ship.

For more information on Signal K, please visit: