OpenCPN: A concise ChartPlotter/Navigator. A cross-platform ship-borne GUI application supporting * GPS/GPDS Postition Input * BSB Raster Chart Display * S57 Vector ENChart Display * AIS Input Decoding * Waypoint Autopilot Navigation
Getting started using OpenCPN consists of 3 basic steps:
2. Installing Charts to be read by OpenCPN
3.*(Optional) Setting Up GPS to "talk" to your computer and OpenCPN
To install charts OpenCPN must be pointed to a directory containing recognized Chart Formats. Don't point OpenCPN to individual charts. You must specify the directory that contains the charts. Download some charts (see Chart Sources) and organize them in a fashion that suits you. You may want to consider storing them in a directory where they will not be tampered with or moved accidentally.
OpenCPN supported chart formats:
1. BSB Versions 1, 2 and 3, with chart files ending with ".kap".
2. BSB Version 4 , with chart files ending with ".cap", works with a non free plugin, for Windows only. See the Plugins Download Page.
3. NOS/GEO Version 1, with chart files ending with ".nos" and ".geo". (Subsequent versions are probably supported but need to be tested. However, this format is obsolete for new charts.)
4. NV Verlag's charts, with chart files ending with ".eap", are supported through a non free plugin, for Windows only.
Generally chart pictures in gif, jpeg, pdf, png, tif, bmp and other formats can be used, when properly geo-referenced, to generate KAP file (BSB / RNC) that OpenCPN can display.
To use OpenCPN with a GPS, a GPS receiver is needed.
There are a variety of possible choices for a GPS receiver:
1. A computer, such as a Sony Vaio P has a built in GPS receiver
2. A NMEA Expander to amplify a nmea stream to multiple listeners
3. A handheld GPS receiver
4. A dedicated GPS receiver
The remainder of this section describes using OpenCPN with a dedicated GPS receiver, however, the instructions for a dedicated receiver will be similar for any serial/USB connected NMEA data stream.
The license of this software is Free, you can free download and free use this graphing software.