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Board » General Discussion » Sydney Hobart and Google Earth

Using brainaid's NMEA tool, and a program called NavMonPC to read the NMEA data and forward it on a com port (virtual), and loading the kml file from here, it is possible to setup so that google earth reads that GPS data and overlay your position and track (and waypoints) with the real fleet in the race...

Instructions for those unfamiliar with this type of thing:
1) Download and install NavMonPC from here
2) Login to brainaid's site and open (or download and run) the NMEA proxy - login using that applet and click 'Start'.
3) Note the IP address and port that brainaid's tool indicates, you need to enter this in NavMonPC. (discard whatever is before the /)
4) Start NavMonPC and go to File->Connections->TCP/IP Client menu item, and enter the same IP address and port (you must enter both) as specified by brainaid's NMEA proxy and click 'Connect'. - You should see characters scrolling in the little text box below, and your SOL boat's data shown on the dials. Click 'Done' just above where you enter the IP address and you should also see your exact location coordinates, COG, SOG etc...
5) Now go to File->Connections->Virtual Ports menu item and select a COM port from the drop down list (doesn't matter which one) and click 'Connect'. Also checking the auto start will do this for you every timeyou start NavMonPC. You can also specify 2 more COM ports for other programs to use, like a router etc.
6) Open Google Earth and load the kml file from above, you will see the real Sydney to Hobart fleet, updated approx every 10 minutes by default (you can change by right clicking the main (top/root level) race and selecting Properties->Refresh tab.
7) On the tools menu in Google Earth select 'GPS'. On the options window that is displayed select 'Magellan' and 'Serial' on the 'Import' tab, and NMEA on the 'Realtime' tab then click 'Start'. Google Earth auto scans your com ports and should display 'Reading COM#' (where # is the number you setup in NavMon) when it finds your GPS data, on the Realtime tab on the GPS dialog. You should see a entries in the 'Places' section of google earth under 'Realtime GPS', including your position and path, which (on my pc) is displayed as a red line.
Note: for some reason, the number of duplicate wqaypoints seems to build up in the list each update...
*** The latest release of Google Earth may be needed (from some chat in the race)
*** The default GPS polling time is 4, you may want to increase this? maybe to 60 seconds


PS: As per my previous post, the AIS feature in NavMonPC can be useful for close racing in any SOL race also.
AIS = Advanced Identification System = other boat's COG/SOG etc ;-)
(although brainaid's site does advise that SOG can be up to 10% out)

--- Last Edited by Aaron Gage at 2010-12-26 11:33:27 ---
I help develop the client interface for the best online ocean racing sim there is... __/)/)_/)__
Hi Aaron - thank you very much for this! I had a blast yesterday getting this set up on my wee computer and the end result, seeing 'Chaser in amongst the boats of the IRL Sydney-Hobart race was (and is) fun!!!

WOW, very brilliant tool to find out who is doing what/where/when :-)

If you're still in control, you're not going fast enough.

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