OpenCPN is one of the most well-known software packages for marine navigation. This is the package that I supply standard with my navigation laptops! It supports a large number of affordable digital radar models. It has very low system requirements and runs on even single core computers acceptably well. The latest version has a polished interface, and is quite easy to use. You can’t get small inland lake maps, unfortunately. It runs well on any of my navigation laptops, including the basic models. However, what are some other good marine GPS software for PC that can serve as an OpenCPN alternative? Below, I list some options for your consideration. I also have a page with OpenCPN tutorials, and a page on where to download OpenCPN.
I supply pre-configured navigation laptops with marine navigation software with charts and GPS. Sometimes, my clients ask me what other nautical software they can run on my units. Here, I am assembling an up to date list here. Everything else I found online was either out of date, or very incomplete. These PC marine navigation apps all run on Windows, and provide chartplotter functionality. This can be cheaper and much more affordable than buying an MFD from one of the major brands.
Are you looking for a reliable laptop with GPS for marine navigation? Please contact me!
Rose Point Coastal Explorer OpenCPN alternative
Rose Point, the makers of Coastal Explorer, are based in Seattle. It’s deservedly popular with many recreational boaters along the US & Canada West Coast. Many of my clients run this package on one of my navigation laptops. They provide excellent customer support. The software has extensive functionality, and abundant chart sources. It’s fairly heavy and requires midrange or premium units out of the ones I offer.
TimeZero high end OpenCPN alternative
An incredible navigation package which requires no introduction, TimeZero has very extensive functionality. The only real downsides are that it be can be slow to load, and will empty our your wallet pretty quickly. If you’re looking for the best of the best, look no further. I have a page with multiple video tutorials for TimeZero, if you want to check out the functionality.
i-Boating marine navigation OpenCPN alternative
The software has access to inland rivers and lake charts, as well as satellite overlays. It may not be as refined as some of the above alternatives, but the pricing is quite reasonable. Runs on my midrange or premium units. It requires Windows 10 on PC.
P-Sea Windplot PC marine navigation software
This is an old school piece of software which has been around for over 20 years. Nevertheless, it’s supported and has access to the latest charts. Why fix something that isn’t broken? It has pretty extensive functionality with radar and even fish finder support. This is more geared towards commercial fishing than recreational boating.
Olex AS marine software for commercial fishing
This is a high end bathymetric package popular with commercial fishing fleets. The cost is high, the capabilities are impressive. You can do bottom surveys and generate your own highly detailed charts.
EuroNav SeaPro nautical GPS software
This is a UK company that I’m not too familiar with since I’m based in North America. The interface looks pretty clean, and is fairly customizable. The cost does appear somewhat higher than some of the other options below. They do provide quite a lot of equipment, so it could be convenient.
PC Plotter marine navigation software
This is another smaller company. PC Plotter software can use data from Navionics cards: Navionics+, Gold, SonarCharts, Platinum and Platinum+, Hotmaps and Hotmaps+. You can likely expect direct and very helpful support. The pricing is reasonable. Seems like a great option to consider if you already own a Navionics card.
StarNavPilot marine navigation app for Windows OpenCPN alternative
This software is made in France, and I am not very familiar with it. The interface looks very customizable with widgets of various sizes which can be docked pretty much anywhere. It is current, and up to date. It comes with French coast charts included, and the price is very reasonable.
Expedition Marine for Windows
This software is geared towards sailing and yacht racing in particular. It’s an old school software that’s been around for ages, yet is still currently supported and up to date. The interface is not what you would call modern in 2021. It is geared towards weather routing and sailing. It supports a lot of marine charts, including: S-57 ENCs, S-63 ENCs, BSB RNCs (v1-5), C-MAP 4D, C-MAP MAX/NT+, NV-Verlag, Softcharts, Maptech PCX.
Why use a navigation laptop or tablet as a chart plotter?
My navigation laptops can be much more affordable than Garmin, Lowrance, Simrad, B&G, Furuno, Humminbird, Raymarine, Si-Tex. 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 their clients to upgrade. They stop 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! Moreover, please take a look at other advantages as well. A GPS laptop can offer a compelling alternative to major brands!