Importing Boat Data

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There are several ways to import boat data into VRTool. All of them require a little work to establish a reliable connection, but you only need to do this once for each voyage or game.

Getting boat data directly from a game server

This method works for Virtual Regatta games only. Once it's set up the method is completely automatic and reliable. Until someone writes a TCP/IP proxy for the VR server this is the best way to import data from VR games.

Setting up this method is a little complex and is described in detail on the separate page Importing Data from VR Games.

Using the GPS interface

Connecting to an TCP/IP network

VRTool's ToolbarGPS.gif GPS interface contains a TCP/IP client that can read an NMEA data stream from on an on-board wired or wireless TCP/IP network. VRTool can plot the position of your boat (using NMEA GPS messages) and nearby boats (using AIS messages).

Connecting to a game server through a TCP/IP proxy

The same facility can read game data streamed as NMEA messages over the internet via a TCP/IP proxy server. Your friends boats can also be plotted if the proxy serves these as NMEA AIS messages.

Connecting to a wired COM port

You may use the computer's serial COM port (RS232) to connect VRTool to a NMEA compatible GPS device.

Old GPS devices normally used RS422 interfaces, which could be connected to RS232 (in most cases). See [1]

Newer GPS devices have USB ports. In this case, use a USB cable and set the device to COM port emulation mode (most GPS devices can emulate COM port. Check device documentation)

Make sure to match baud rates (default=4800 bps) and COM port number.

Importing NMEA messages from a text file

You can simulate a GPS feed into VRTool by saving GPS NMEA messages to a text file and then loading in VRTool.

Importing boat and wind data from the Firefox cache

 Tip: This method is obsolete and not supported anymore. 
 Use boat data directly from a game server, as described above.

For Virtual Regatta games: If you are running the game console in the Firefox browser you can recover boat positions and game weather from the Firefox browser cache. Read more about that in this tutorial. This method depends on both the game file format and the browser cache management - it may stop working unexpectedly if either of these changes.

When all else fails...

For other games, or as a last resort in an emergency, simply place a mark on the chart, rename it to "Boat Position" or similar, then edit the Lat/Long of the mark manually as you go. How to do this is explained here. While this doesn't lay a track on the chart, it gives you a convenient start point for routing.