OpenCPN Navionics charts – sources and solutions

I supply ready to use marine grade heavy duty navigation laptops with OpenCPN, marine charts, GPS antennas, AIS, and more. My clients often ask me if they can have Navionics on a laptop or whether they can run Navionics on Windows. People also ask me if they can have OpenCPN Navionics charts, so here is the full explanation with some extras. OpenCPN is an excellent free software, but it doesn’t support all the chart formats out there like some other programs. We can also use other marine navigation software packages to provide better coverage in some areas. If you have any questions, please contact me!

Navionics Boating Marine & Lakes app vs Navionics charts

Let’s make this distinction clear. There are Navionics charts themselves, and then there’s the Navionics Boating Marine & Lakes App. I supply navigation tablets with Navionics boating app. Boating Marine & Lakes app does use Navionics charts. However, it is by far not the only way to get Navionics charts for marine navigation. Many of the chartplotter chips have Navionics charts on them. It’s also available in other sources, such as through TimeZero. The Navionics Boating Marine & Lakes app doesn’t run on Windows and has nothing to do with OpenCPN. It would be fantastic if Navionics released an official plugin and sold it for OpenCPN, but right now this doesn’t look like it’s going to happen.

OpenCPN Navionics Charts – how to get them?

Unfortunately, Navionics charts are not supported directly. Navionics does not sell these in format that is compatible with OpenCPN. The unofficial way in which this is possible is by using a software like SAT2Chart and grabbing the charts from the Navionics web viewer. The created tiles are in effect raster charts which can be loaded OpenCPN. Needless, to say this is illegal and will not be officially endorsed by anyone. People do this, however. This is not ideal, though. The resulting chart is in no way interactive, it’s literally just a screenshot of the online viewer saved offline. So, you cannot access tides and currents and get any information on chart objects, etc. Here’s a tutorial on creating MBTiles for OpenCPN which can use Navionics as one of the sources. Here’s an example of what that looks like in OpenCPN below.

OpenCPN Navionics charts via MBTiles - Bahamas example OpenCPN Navionics charts via MBTiles - Cuba example

Navionics and OpenCPN aren’t end all be all

There exist good alternatives both for OpenCPN, and for Navionics charts. Depending on the area where you are heading, I can suggest something that would potentially work better. It’s nice to compare different chart sets in any given region before making a decision on which to go with, and I can do that for you. I’ve supplied units for trips to various locations such as: US & Canada Atlantic or Pacific coasts, Caribbean, South Pacific, Central & South America, Mediterranean, and more. Just get in touch with me and I’ll outfit you for your voyage!

Midrange marine laptop for OpenCPN

10 inch Toughbook for marine GPS Computer for OpenCPN 13 inch waterproof PC for OpenCPN 15 inch

Any questions about getting a marine grade laptop with OpenCPN? Please contact me!

MBTiles Video Seminar & Video Tutorial

Author’s website with some MBTiles sources here!

Why use a navigation laptop or tablet as a chart plotter?

My systems can be much more affordable than Garmin, Lowrance, Simrad, B&G, Furuno, Humminbird, Raymarine, Si-Tex and will be supported forever! Furthermore, believe that some of the commercial chart plotter brands gouge their customers. Companies force clients to upgrade by no longer supporting older units. In addition, they charge outrageous fees for simple things like a bigger screen size. In addition to this, please take a look at other advantages as well. You can always contact me with any questions or to let me know what you need!