Chart Installation

Several steps suggested to obtain & setup charts.

For first time users we suggest you use the Chart Downloader Tab which helps to find and download free charts and is included with the installation of OpenCPN 4.2. If you choose to manually load charts please pay close attention to the following:

Know the path to the the “Chart” directory. Make note of the Charts Folder path you selected.

If you choose to manually download charts, be sure uncompress and install them in your Charts directory

Charts Overview

OpenCPN itself does not come with charts.
Charts are a complex subject. Having accurate and current charts is important for safe navigation.
There are a number of resources on this website and others to obtain charts.
However the USA provides free NOAA Charts and many other countries do as well. See Chart Sources below.

  • Charts Main resource for Charts.
  • Chart Files Tab OpenCPN does not come with charts. Description of how to Install Charts.
  • Chart Downloader Tab Chart Downloader provides an easy way to download and install free NOAA and RNC and ENC charts around the world. It is the easiest way to get started with charts. Download a few charts in your area and use them to learn, then later add more as needed. NOTE: Free charts are not assured everywhere.
  • Chart Sources Extensive list of free charts available, mostly covered by Chart Downloader Plugin
  • Chart Formats See why this is a complex subject
  • Chart Manual Install Download & install yourself
  • High Resolution Background Map GSHHS Hi Res (230mb) Use with Watchdog Landfall alarms.
  • Background Map (GSHHS Low Res) - Installed, used by Opencpn for the initial rough background map.

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