Here is a comprehensive list of all the best online chart viewers for marine navigation in 2022. Using these viewers, you can familiarize yourself with an area, as well as check out the detail level each chart sets offers. You can easily compare between the different chart sets, and see which one is better for your particular area. I supply ready to use marine grade navigation laptops and tablets loaded with marine charts, so if you’re interested in that feel free to contact me! I can load pretty much all of them below. Read on to find out which is the best online chart viewer out there.
Best marine chart viewers
If you’re looking at a particular area, it’s a great idea to compare the charts for your precise target location. Sometimes, local detail levels and coverage can differ wildly between different chart sets. On one chart set, an entire body may not be charted at all, while another chart set may have excellent bottom detail levels! Here’s a quick list of links you can click:
Read on below, where I discuss some differences between these chart sets. If you want to buy a complete system from me with the charts on it, I can help you pick the best set for you! Just contact me, and I’ll take care of the rest.
i-Boating these guys are very interesting. They combine many sources, including raster & vector charts and have pretty comprehensive coverage. The prices are reasonable! Both inland & blue water are covered. Satellite overlays are very precise. Some areas have very high detail levels, and others are still under development. Unlike Navionics, they are easily available on laptops and mobile both. I supply laptops for i-Boating!
Navionics offer world coverage with raster charts and frequent updates. Customizable contours. This is what I load on my navigation tablets. Good bathymetry and detail levels. Not easy to get on a navigation laptop, but possible via third party software. Easy availability on iOS & Android mobile devices through the Boating Marine & Lakes app. Also one of the most popular chartplotter chips as well. You can also find out whether you can run Navionics on PC.
C-MAP have world wide coverage with vector charts. Many inland lakes, navigable rivers, and blue water are included. Available both on mobile devices and Windows.
NOAA online ENC viewer and chart catalog. This only covers US blue water, and nothing else. No inland lakes found here. Some rivers have coverage close to the ocean. Others have only rudimentary coverage with navigational markers, but not bottom detail via Army Corp Of Engineers for which there is a catalog.
AquaMap is a navigation app available for Android and iOS devices. These charts have a pretty unique color scheme, and is a lesser known company. Definitely not a bad alternative!
OpenSeaMap has no bottom contours as of now, but does offer satellite overlays. It’s completely free for anywhere in the world. In the future, this may be come a viable option but for now, I view it as mainly a curiosity.
Online marine chart catalogs
- Canadian Hydrographic Office (CHO) doesn’t provide an online viewer, but does offer a catalog.
- Australian Hydrographic Office (AHO) has no online viewer, but has an online catalog viewer.
- UK Hydrographic Office (UKHO) also offers an online catalog. Seriously antiquated services online they have, in my opinion.
Why use a navigation laptop as a chart plotter?
My navigation laptop systems can be much more affordable than Garmin, Lowrance, Simrad, B&G, Furuno, Humminbird, Raymarine, Si-Tex. They make fancy expensive MFD’s, but not everyone needs that. I will also support the GPS laptop your purchase forever! Furthermore, I believe that some of the commercial chart plotter brands gouge their customers. Large companies force you to upgrade by no longer supporting older units with chart and software updates. In addition, they charge outrageous fees for simple things like a larger screen size. I don’t do any of these things, and never will – guaranteed. In addition to these, please take a look at other advantages as well. A GPS laptop can offer a compelling alternative to major brands! You can always contact me to discuss your marine navigation needs.