NMEA 0183 (or NMEA for short) - is a combined electrical and data specification for communication between marine electronic devices such as echo sounder, sonars, anemometer (wind speed and direction), gyrocompass, autopilot, GPS receivers and many other types of instruments. It has been defined by, and is controlled by, the U.S.-based National Marine Electronics Association.
The NMEA 0183 standard uses a simple ASCII, serial communications protocol that defines how data is transmitted in a "sentence" from one "talker" to one "listener" at a time. Through the use of intermediate expanders, a talker can have a unidirectional conversation with multiple listeners, and using multiplexers, multiple sensors can talk to a single computer port. Third-party switches are available that can establish a primary and secondary talker, with automatic failover if the primary fails.
At the application layer, the standard also defines the contents of each sentence (message) type so that all listeners can parse messages accurately.