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Nmea 0183

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Title: Nmea 0183  
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Subject: Global Positioning System, National Marine Electronics Association, Spanner (software), NMEA 2000, Time server
Collection: Global Positioning System, Network Protocols
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Nmea 0183

NMEA 0183 is a combined electrical and data specification for communication between marine electronics such as echo sounder, sonars, anemometer, gyrocompass, autopilot, GPS receivers and many other types of instruments. It has been defined by, and is controlled by, the National Marine Electronics Association. It replaces the earlier NMEA 0180 and NMEA 0182 standards.[1] In marine applications, it is slowly being phased out in favor of the newer NMEA 2000 standard.

The electrical standard that is used is EIA-422, although most hardware with NMEA-0183 outputs are also able to drive a single EIA-232 port. Although the standard calls for isolated inputs and outputs, there are various series of hardware that do not adhere to this requirement.

The NMEA 0183 standard uses a simple ASCII, serial communications protocol that defines how data are transmitted in a "sentence" from one "talker" to multiple "listeners" at a time. Through the use of intermediate expanders, a talker can have a unidirectional conversation with a nearly unlimited number of listeners, and using multiplexers, multiple sensors can talk to a single computer port.

At the application layer, the standard also defines the contents of each sentence (message) type, so that all listeners can parse messages accurately.


  • Serial configuration (data link layer) 1
  • Application layer protocol rules 2
  • Vendor extensions 3
  • Software compatibility 4
  • Sample file 5
  • C implementation of checksum generation 6
  • Status 7
  • See also 8
  • References 9
  • External links 10

Serial configuration (data link layer)

Typical Baud rate 4800
Data bits 8
Parity None
Stop bits 1
Handshake None

There is a variation of the standard called NMEA-0183HS that specifies a baud rate of 38,400. This is in general use by AIS devices.

Application layer protocol rules

  • Each message's starting character is a dollar sign.
  • The next five characters identify the talker (two characters) and the type of message (three characters).
  • All data fields that follow are comma-delimited.
  • Where data is unavailable, the corresponding field remains blank (it contains no character before the next delimiter – see Sample file section below).
  • The first character that immediately follows the last data field character is an asterisk, but it is only included if a checksum is supplied.
  • The asterisk is immediately followed by a checksum represented as a two-digit hexadecimal number. The checksum is the bitwise exclusive OR of ASCII codes of all characters between the $ and *. According to the official specification, the checksum is optional for most data sentences, but is compulsory for RMA, RMB, and RMC (among others).
  • ends the message.

As an example, a waypoint arrival alarm has the form:



GP Talker ID (GP for a GPS unit, GL for a GLONASS)
AAM Arrival alarm
A Arrival circle entered
A Perpendicular passed
0.10 Circle radius
N Nautical miles
WPTNME Waypoint name
*32 Checksum data

The new standard, NMEA 2000, accommodates several talkers at a higher baud rate, without using a central hub, or round-robin packet buffering.

The NMEA standard is proprietary and sells for at least US$250 (except for members of the NMEA) as of June 2013.[2] However, much of it has been reverse-engineered from public sources.[3][4]

Vendor extensions

Most GPS manufacturers include special messages in addition to the standard NMEA set in their products for maintenance and diagnostics purposes. Extended messages begin with "$P". These extended messages are not standardized.

Software compatibility

NMEA 0183 is widely supported by navigation and mapping software. Notable examples include the following.

Sample file

A sample file produced by a Tripmate 850 GPS logger. This file was produced in Leixlip, County Kildare, Ireland. The record lasts two seconds.


Note some blank fields, for example:

  • GSV records, which describe satellites 'visible', lack the SNR (signal–to–noise ratio) field for satellite 16 and all data for satellite 36.
  • GSA record, which lists satellites used for determining a fix (position) and gives a DOP of the fix, contains 12 fields for satellites' numbers, but only 8 satellites were taken into account—so 4 fields remain blank.

C implementation of checksum generation

The checksum at the end of each sentence is the XOR of all of the bytes in the sentence, excluding the initial dollar sign. The following C code generates a checksum for the string entered as "mystring" and prints it to the output stream. In the example, a sentence from the sample file is used.


int checksum(char *s) {
    int c = 0;

        c ^= *s++;

    return c;

int main()
    char mystring[] = "GPRMC,092751.000,A,5321.6802,N,00630.3371,W,0.06,31.66,280511,,,A";

    printf("String: %s\nChecksum: 0x%02X\n", mystring, checksum(mystring));

    return 0;


NMEA 0183 continued to be maintained separately: V4.10 was published in early May 2012, and an erratum noted on 12 May 2012.[6] It is not clear whether there is any active development. The latest NMEA announcement on the subject is older than the V4.10 standard.[7]

See also


  1. ^ Peter Bennett (Sep 15, 1997). "The NMEA FAQ". Retrieved 2013-10-21. 
  2. ^ "Publications and Standards from the National Marine Electronics Association (NMEA) / NMEA 0183". NMEA. November 2008. Retrieved 2013-10-21. 
  3. ^ gpsd
  4. ^ Dale DePriest. "NMEA data". Retrieved 2013-10-21. 
  5. ^ "Google Maps for Android". Google. Retrieved 2013-10-21. 
  6. ^ "ERRATA # 0183 120512" (PDF). NMEA. Retrieved 2013-10-21. 
  7. ^ "NMEA Standards Update March 2012" (PDF). NMEA. March 2012. Retrieved 2013-10-21. 

External links

  • National Marine Electronics Association
  • NMEA's website about NMEA 0183
  • NMEA data information
  • Sirf-Chipset NMEA data reference manual
  • Free C library for parsing and generation of the NMEA protocol
  • Free Java library for parsing of the NMEA protocol
  • Open Source (New BSD License) C# library for parsing NMEA protocol
  • NMEA Specifications at APRS Info
  • MTK proprietary NMEA extensions
  • Free C#/Java library for parsing and building NMEA sentences
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