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Free Nautical Charts

The Chart Downloader feature, included with OpenCPN 4.2 and above, will help you to download, update and organize almost all free chart sources described below.

NOAA OCS    For those interested in U.S. waters, raster charts (RNC) and S57 vector charts (ENC) are available as free downloads from NOAA.  US charts cover a wide area.  In addition to the mainland states, Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, the Hawaiian Island chain as far as Midway Island, American Samoa, Guam and the Northern Marianas Islands are all included.

US Army Corps of Engineers   Official Inland Electronic Navigation Charts (IENC) of U.S. inland waterways are available to you.    Download charts.

Brazil publishes free raster charts (RNC) for their whole coast and new charts for inland waters are published regularly.  There is also coverage for part of Antarctica.  Here is a direct link to the download page:  Brazilean Charts.

New Zealand now publishes free BSB3 raster charts, as of 2013-11-22.  Download here.  NZ has moved away from a proprietary UKHO encrypted format, to the, de facto, standard BSB format.  NZ charts cover most of the Pacific in small scale charts, as well as the Southern Ocean, down to Antarctica, South of New Zealand.  Detailed charts for the Kermadec Islands, Cook Islands, Niue, Tonga, Western Samoa and the Tokelau Islands, are included.

The version of the New Zealand charts compiled by Marco Certelli, includes a better coverage of the Tonga/Samoa area.  The official version does not include charts with soundings in fathoms, for example.  Download here

The East Asia Hydrographic Commission provides free offshore S57 vector charts for the South China Sea area.

Colombia and Australia publish sample S57 single charts.

Many European countries publish free S57 ENC charts for their inland waterways:
Austria    Belgium    Bulgaria    Croatia    Czech Republic    France    Germany    Hungary    Netherlands    Poland    Romania     Serbia    Slovakia    Switzerland


Other Charts

The US Pilot Charts, are available as BSB charts.

Antares Charts are very large scale charts covering "The West Coast of Scotland".  These charts are available in many formats, including BSB3.  A nominal fee is charged for the charts to support this impressive effort by unqualified enthusiasts.

The OpenSeaMap project publishes raster charts in many formats (including KAP which work with OpenCPN).  This project relies on mariners to survey their local waters and upload their data using the OpenStreetMap database and editing tools.  This project is still in its infancy, so only a few areas have been mapped to any extent.  Currently only sea-marks are displayed, but it is planned to include depth & other data in due course.

A worldwide directory of free available nautical charts can be found on openseachart.org.  There's a directory for vector charts and a separate one for raster charts.   The collection and the updates are community driven.

Links to a wide selection of ENC's for U.S. inland waters and other countries are available at dacust.com

GE2KAP  This is a free windows-only program that semi-automatically creates kap charts from Google Earth and other sources. It supports SASPlanet.


Commercial Chart Sources

All Platforms

O-charts.org  S63 Encrypted ENC charts.  Worldwide coverage is available using the OpenCPN 4.0.0 and above.  These are the official vector charts that big ships use.  Detailed coverage of popular cruising grounds is not always available. 
oeSENC Vector Charts are available for OpenCPN 4.6 and up.

NV-Charts has an extensive, almost worldwide coverage.   Generally the Windows- only  nv-chart plugin is needed.  Charts in some areas, such as the Bahamas, the Windward and Leeward Islands, are however traditional BSB3 charts.  It is necessary to use Windows initially to access these charts.   Once this is done, it should be possible to transfer the charts to other platforms.

1yachtua covers the Mediterranean and the Eastern Caribbean with BSB2 charts.

Hydrographica, a Swedish company, produces large scale BSB 3 charts for popular areas, based on their own surveys.

Soltek provides all official charts for Sweden and Finland in BSB 3 format.  If you want to buy a CD-area, and don't have access to a Windows computer, contact Soltek first, as their installation program is Windows only.

Windows Only

VisitMyHarbour "ChartSticks" for OpenCPN, are USB sticks covering UK, Ireland, Belgium, Netherlands, Spain (including the Canary Islands), Portugal (including Madeira and the Azores), and French coast from Dunkirk to Brest.

Windows users also have access to worldwide chart-coverage through the BSB 4 and the nv-charts plugins.  This includes Europe.  UK, for example, is covered by both BA and Imray charts.   A simple Internet search will reveal all necessary information.

Did we leave something out?  Let us know.

OpenCPN Team

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