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Drivers Manual

Network - VODAS Section Info - 15


Network output driver with user-interface, typically used on board rock-dumping vessels.

Driver will output all kind of dump information to the on-board dredging automation system (VODAS) using network UDP protocol.

This dump information can be e.g. volume values required to be dumped for certain KP areas, and these values are extracted from user-defined attributes fields, part of the current mainline.

There is no serial version of this output driver

Driver Information

Driver Network - VODAS Section Info Interface Type UDP Driver Class Type  Freebase / Network
UTC Driver (question) n/a Input / Output Output  Executable DrvQPSFreeBaseUI.exe
Related Systems
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Encoding Notes

The idea is that the driver sends KP information plus the corresponding attribute1 and attribute2 values from the current mainline.

These attribute values are part of the survey line and can be entered using the Line Tools in the Processing Manager:

First, the driver uses the current KP for the selected node in order to determine the current section of the route and the corresponding attribute fields.

Next, the driver will predict the KP value where the selected node will be using the user-defined speed and prediction age.

All attribute values from the sections between the current KP and the predicted KP will be outputted.

If the current mainline is not a route, no data will be outputted at all.

See the Format paragraph below for details about the outputted messages.

Database Setup

Add a new system to the database template, type "Output", and select driver "Network - VODAS Section Info".

Please define the UDP port number you want to output to. The IP address may contain a mask, in order to output to multiple computers.
E.g. if you enter, all computers on the network with IP address can listen to the selected UDP.

Although here you can set the maximum update rate, there is no need to. The driver will have user-interface so you can set the output rate while working online.


First things first, the very first time Windows may pop up a security message because the driver will try to access and open the network UDP port:

Just enable all check-boxes!

If you forgot to do this, or if you are not sure if this has been done, you may want to follow the steps as described in the Troubleshooting section about the Windows firewall, all the way down this page.

The driver has user-interface, and therefore will always be present in the Windows task bar.

When going on-line for the first time, locate the driver and change the Setup parameters:


Driver Layout Menu: Setup


Select the node, which position will be used to determine the KP and current section on the current mainline

  • [From Controller]
    The node that will be used to calculate the co-ordinates is set in the Controller's Output Driver's Settings.
  • [Steered Node]
    The node that will be used to calculate the co-ordinates will the Controller's Steered node.

Select the desired computation for the selected node.

  • [Priority List]
    The computation used to calculate the node co-ordinates is automatically set by the Controller's Computation Priority


Enter the expected average speed [survey units/sec] of the selected node, in order to calculate the distance.

  • A positive value will calculate a distance in the current direction of the mainline (SOL -> EOL)
  • A negative value will calculate a distance opposite to the current mainline direction (EOL -> SOL)

Note that the actual speed of the selected node is not used, due to the nature of the real ROV movement. It fluctuates too much in order to calculate a stable distance


Enter the prediction age [sec] in order to calculate the distance where the selected node will be using the average speed value.

Normally this age will reflect the time that it takes for a rock leaving the belt and traveling through the water column in order to hit the seabed.


Speed * Prediction = Distance  [survey units]

Note that this value can be negative, due to a possible negative value for the speed input.

Output Rate:

Select the output rate to VODAS:

  • [None]
    No output to the network UDP port
  • [Only at Section Change]
    Only output when the KP of the selected node changes the current section
  • 0.2Hz, 0.5Hz, 1Hz, 2Hz, 5Hz

Driver Layout Menu: Results


Here you will see the current mainline type (point, line or route) and name.

The name will be displayed in RED when the line type is not a route.

The current mainline is always used to calculate the KP and current section for the selected node.

The mainline selection is done in the Controller.

When Controller Line Planning Setting Line Offset Calculation is set to Narrow Search then this is also displayed between brackets.

Method Narrow Search will automatically fall back to Full Search when the selected node is not located on the same object as the Controller's Steered Node.

Node KP + DEOL:

Here you will see the current KP value and Distance to End Of Line (or route) value for the last update of the selected node:

[Node Update Time] KP value, DEOL value (None, Grid or Geo co-ordinates)

See the Display Node Result setting in the Options menu of how the values are presented here.

Value will be RED when the Node is not valid or not updated for more than 5 seconds. When this happens, the age value is also displayed between brackets.


The last outputted message to the network UDP port:

[Output Update Time] Encoded Message

Message will become GRAY when the last data has been outputted more than 5 seconds ago.

Driver Layout Menu: Options

Lock Settings: You may lock the user-interface settings, in order to prevent making changes by mistake
Show Tooltips: When enabled, additional information about the setting is shown in a tool-tip when the mouse cursor is hovering above it. Disable it when you find that annoying.
Display Node Result:

Select how the Node KP + DEOL (Distance End of Line) value will be presented in the Results menu:

  • KP + DEOL
    [Node Update Time] KP value, DEOL value
  • KP + DEOL + Co-ordinates (Grid) (default)
    [Node Update Time] KP value, DEOL value (Easting Northing Height unit)
  • KP + DEOL + Co-ordinates (WGS84)
    [Node Update Time] KP value, DEOL value (Latitude Longitude Height unit)
Display Output Messages:

Select if you want to see the outputted messages also in the Messages List. This can be useful for analyzing or debugging purposes.

  • None
    None of the outputted data will be displayed in the Messages List.
    Notice that you can always view the last outputted message in the Results menu.
  • Only at Section Change (default)
    When the driver detects a line change or section change, the data messages that are outputted will also be displayed in the Messages List.
  • All Messages
    All data that is outputted will also be displayed in the Messages List.
    The update rate of the so-called $NODE message depends on the selected output rate, as selected in the Setup menu.

Note that this setting has no effect on the actual output to the UDP port.

Additional Information



The most commonly reported problem is that network data is blocked by the Windows Firewall.
This means that the driver will output data to the network UDP port, but the receiving party (VODAS unit) is not getting anything.

The following (Windows 7) steps may solve this:

  1. Go offline, open the Control Panel (Start menu, Settings, Control Panel)
  2. Select Windows Firewall (System and Security)
  3. Select Advanced Settings (Upper left corner)
  4. Select Inbound Rules, highlight all 'General FreeBase Driver with UI' entries and delete them using the right mouse popup menu (or Del key)
  5. If you now go online, the Windows Security Alert message will popup: It is important to check all three check boxes!

Another possible problem could be that your computer has more than one network cards installed (e.g. LAN and WIFI), but within the same sub-net mask range ( It is recommended to make the first three digits unique for each network card IP address.