NMEA Sentences Received by Navionics App

Sonar Server NMEA

Version 7.4 of the Navionics Boating App now supports the reception of wireless NMEA Depth and GPS data. The following NMEA sentences are received:

  • DBT  (Depth below transducer)
  • DPT  (Depth)
  • GGA  (Position)
  • GLL  (Position)
  • RMC  (Minimum GPS sentence includes Pos/Time.COG/SOG)
  • VTG  (COG and SOG)
  • ZDA  (Time and Date)

Not all sentences need to be received in order for Sonar Charts logging to be successful. For an iPhone or 3G iPad which already has its own GPS, you just need a depth message, either DPT or DBT. For Wi-Fi only iPads and iPod Touch units, you also need GPS data, so either RMC on its own or VTG and either one of GLL or GGA.


  1. We have wifi already on the yacht. Can I use this box to interface with my wifi or is this box a separate network. Is there a way to pull NEMA and put it on my network?? As you know when you are on your network there is no internet and the yacht is 178ft so your box will only work in localized areas.

    What are my options??

  2. Paul, great-looking product that I’m anxious to try. But before I do, a couple of questions:

    1) how are NMEA “collisions” handled over WiFi? I know that with traditional ‘183 data transmission, there is a real chance data sentences will collide and be lost if not using some type of multiplexer. With data flowing from (increasingly) WiFi-enabled sensors such as sonar, AIS, radar, heading, etc., I am concerned that this data may suffer similar effects. Is some kind of “WiFi multiplexer” needed here?

    2) how is the Sonar Server different from, say, a serial to WiFi bridge? Is there special encoding/conditioning of some kind done on the stream on it’s way to apps such as Avionics?

    Thanks much, Drew

    • Hi Drew,

      With NMEA over Wi-Fi you have no “baud rate” for the data, the data is sent over network packets at the speed of the network 10Mb, 100Mb or 1Gb per second, much, much faster than the 4.8K or 38.4K baud rate of NMEA data, therefore the Wi-Fi connection can handle as much data as you can throw at it.

      If you wanted to have multiple Wi-Fi devices transmitting NMEA data on the network, then you could easily configure them to use different network ports and then an app could read the data as separate unique streams, with no data collisions. However, I am not aware of any Apps supporting multiple wireless NMEA sources yet but perhaps as the technology gets more established this type of technique might be used.

      Our Sonar Server only has one NMEA Input, as it is designed to transfer a specific set of GPS and Depth data to the Navionics App, so we do not foresee any issues of data collisions. If you wanted to take GPS data from one NMEA0183 output and Depth data from another output, then you would need to multiplex the data in the normal way, but this would be done prior to the data being converted to Wi-Fi by Sonar Server. Our MUX100 could be used or perhaps our WLN20 would be a better choice as this has two NMEA0183 inputs and also supports Sonar Charts Live.

      Sonar Server is basically a serial to Wi-Fi bridge, but designed to be bolted to a boat and powered from 12v/24v. Additionally it has a fully opto-isolated NMEA0183 Input and Wi-Fi network settings that allow it to be discovered and automatically connected to by the Navionics App.

      Hope this answers your questions.

      Best regards

  3. If I have other NMEA devices setup on the network/cable plugged into Sonar Server, can these sentences be read/displayed on other wireless apps?

    Say I have a wind speed transducer connected to my depth and a wind display app on an ipad, can I connect that to the Sonar Server and have wind speed displayed on the ipad?

    • Hi Chris,

      Yes if the Sonar Server receives other NMEA0183 Sentences i.e. Wind, Speed, etc. it will also output them wirelessly and although the Navionics App cannot use them there are a lot of other Apps out there that can display and use this data. If you need more specific information on other apps or settings, please contact our support team http://www.digitalyachtamerica.com/index.php/en/support.

      Best regards

  4. I’m have a furuno fcv-585 that I’m interested in interfacing with my navionics ipad chart plotter set up . Sonar charts is great and all but I’m very interested in getting the “mark” button on my sounder to mark spots in navionics. Is this possible as of now ?

    • Hi Chris,

      I am afraid that this functionality is not supported by either Furuno or Navionics, probably because there is no standard method within NMEA 0183, to tell an app or other device to store a Mark or Waypoint, when a button is pressed on another piece of equipment.

      Sorry I did not have better news for you !

      Best regards
      PAUL at Digital Yacht

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