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May 2003

Windmill Software
Data Acquisition Intelligence
Call now: +44 (0)161 833 2782

The Newsletter for PC-Based Data Acquisition and Control
Issue 58            May 2003
--------------------ISSN 1472-0221----------------------

Welcome to May's issue of Monitor.  This month we 
describe how a geological survey team are using data 
collected by Windmill to map submarine springs, 
model the shape of sinkhole vents and validate aerial
thermography methods. We hope you find Monitor useful, 
but if you wish to cancel your subscription 
please do so at

* Windmill News: 
  - LabIML Help updated
  - Set-up files for a Garmin GPS now available
* Investigating Pollution from Submarine Springs
* Excel Corner: Automatically Starting Windmill



New Version of Labiml Help

Windmill's LabIML driver lets you use Windows software 
like Excel, or Windmill Logger, to save readings from 
almost any instrument with an RS232 serial port. This 
month we've updated the on-line Help supplied with 
LabIML.  To download your copy of the Help files go to
Select and save to disk. contains 
two files: labiml.hlp (the main Help file) and labiml.cnt 
(the contents for the Help). Unzip these files into your 
Windmill folder. The new Help will now be available 
whenever you use the Windmill ConfIML program to 
configure the LabIML driver.

LabIML is free to Monitor subscribers, for a free 
subscription go to


Garmin GPS Setup Files Now Available

First time users of Windmill with a Garmin GPSmap 168s
can now download its setup file from our Library. You can 
then send the file directly to your instrument: saving 
time otherwise spent filling in dialogue boxes. Go to
Select and save to disk. Unzip the 
gps168s.aid and readme.txt files to your Windmill folder. 
Follow the instructions in the readme.txt file.

Our thanks to James McClean for supplying the Garmin 
setup files. If you would like to share your files, and 
speed up the configuration of Windmill for other people, 
please contact the Editor at [email protected]



The springs and aquifers of Florida are threatened by 
the run-off of fertilisers, herbicides and oil-residues.  
This polluted groundwater can then make its way into the 
sea via submarine springs.  Researchers from the Florida 
Geological Survey are therefore investigating the volume 
of groundwater discharged into surface water, and 
monitoring the transfer of contaminants. The system they 
designed had to be economical and innovative, and so they 
were very pleased to discover Windmill software.

The researchers started by using aerial thermography to 
identify the submarine springs and sinkholes.  This 
works because the groundwater is warmer than background 
water in winter, and cooler in summer.  Once located 
the depth and position of the springs and sinkholes 
were logged, which is where Windmill came in.

The team used a Garmin GPSmap 168s to monitor the 
position of their boat and the depth of water underneath 
it.  Windmill regularly took readings from the Garmin, 
recording the time, latitude, longitude, depth, 
temperature and speed at which the boat was travelling.  
After collection, the scientists converted the data to 
dbf format before creating bathymetry maps showing the 
contours of the seabed.  Using these maps they could 
calculate the volume of mingled groundwater and 
surface water.

The detailed depth point data, which Windmill collected 
at sinkholes, let the team accurately model the shape of 
the vents.  Windmill also enabled the scientists to 
determine the maximum depth at which they could use 
aerial thermography to detect springs.

Whilst Windmill was collecting bathymetry information, 
water quality was also being assessed.  These readings 
were matched by the time-stamp to the position data 
acquired by Windmill.  However, Windmill has the 
capabilities to automatically record data from the water 
quality meter and save all the information in one file.

In another part of the study, the geologists collected 
boat-towed resistivity readings.  When this data is input 
into the software model, it is important to know the 
depths at which the readings were taken.  The Geological 
Survey team again used Windmill for easy and accurate 

The Windmill software used in this study is free to 
Monitor subscribers.
For more on using Windmill with GPS receivers visit
For other Windmill applications see



When using Excel to save instrument readings in real-
time, you might find it useful to have the spreadsheet 
automatically start the Windmill data collection 
programs. To run the Windmill DDE Panel, for example, 
just include this line in your macro.

Shell "start c:\windmill\wmdde.exe mysetup.wdp" 

Replace "mysetup.wdp" with the name of your DDE Panel 
setup file. For more information on the setup file see 
DDE Panel's on-line Help.

You might need to give the Windmill programs time to load 
before executing the rest of your macro. To wait for 2 
seconds, for example, add this line

Application.Wait Now + TimeValue("00:00:02")

This could give you...

Sub StartWindmill
Shell "start c:\windmill\wmdde.exe mysetup.wdp"
Application.Wait Now + TimeValue("00:00:02")
End Sub

For more on using Excel with Windmill, including 
macros to collect data in real-time, see


* Copyright Windmill Software Ltd
* Reprinting permitted with this notice included
* For more articles see

We are happy for you to copy and distribute this 
newsletter, and use extracts from it on your own web site 
or publication, providing the above notice is 
included and a link back to our website is in place.

An archive of previous issues is at
and an index of articles at

Windmill Software Ltd, PO Box 58, North District Office,
Manchester, M8 8QR, UK
Telephone: +44 (0)161 833 2782
Facsimile: +44 (0)161 833 2190
E-mail: [email protected]


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