Chartplotter and GPS Navigation Software
OpenCPN is a free software (GPLv2) project to create a concise chartplotter and navigation software for use as an underway or planning tool. OpenCPN is developed by a team of active sailors using real world conditions for program testing and refinement.
BSBv3 raster and S57 ENC chart support. CM93 vector chart support, with per cell offset corrections. IHO S52 compliant display of S57 vector charts. "BSB4" and "nv-chart" support through plugins. Single-chart and Quilted display modes. North-up, Course-up and Skewed-up display modes. Moving-map display mode. Route navigation with ship tracking functions. Waypoint navigation. Dashboard for configurable on-screen display of ship's NMEA data. NMEA 0183 GPS interface at selectable baud rate. gpsd library support. Autopilot output support. AIS input with full target tracking and collision alerting. Anchor watch/alarm functions. GRIB file input and display for weather forecasting. GPX Waypoint, Track and Route input and output file support. Route planning with tidal support. GPX Layers for annotation of charts. Tide and Current prediction and display by location. A growing number of plugins. Google Earth, World Magnetic Variation, Voyage Data Recorder, Chart Downloader/Updater and a LogBook. Multi-language support.
Platforms * Windows 98,2000,XP,Vista,7 * Linux, BSD, Solaris * Macintosh OSX
GPS - you need a GPS function. There are several low cost USB dongle and Bluetooth GPS modules available which are suitable for use with your PC or Mac. See list.
(Webmaster comments: I have, and have used, both a USB/dongle and a Bluetooth GPS modules with OpenCPN; read on....
GPS USB module UtiTraQ UD-731 - a compact all-in-one GPS receiver that continuously tracks all satellites in view and provides accurate satellite positioning data. Its 44 parallel channels and 20000+ correlators provide fast satellite signal acquisition and short start-up time. Acquisition sensitivity of -155dBm and tracking sensitivity of -158 dBm offer good performance even under difficult environments. Purchased a few years ago from geeks.com for approximately $15); and,
a Bluetooth module eBon eGPS-6500 (Also sold as Model BT-771). The GPS Receiver is Bluetooth v1.2 compliant, accurate, sensitive and features 65 channels. It is accurate within 10 meters (33 ft.)! The rechargeable Lithium-Ion battery provides up to 24 hours of use when fully charged and its compact design is convenient to carry anywhere. General Features: Skytraq chipset Receiver Type: 65 channels; Re-acquisition sensitivity: - 157 dBm; Tracking Sensitivity: - 160 dBm; Cold Start Sensitivity: - 147 dBm; Receiver Frequency: 1575.42 MHz; Support V1.2 SPP Profile with operating range 10-15 meters (32 to 49.21 feet); Cold Start: < 29 sec; Accuracy: 2.5m CEP SBAS; (WAAS / EGNOS) capable; Support most NMEA 0183 v3.0 at 4800 up to 115200 dps baud rate; Easy-to-Use; Three LED light; Charging Time: 4 hours, 24 Hours support after full charge; Low Power Consumption. I have found this GPS module to be a phenomenal performer; take it inside, put it in your pocket, in the basement - keeps on ticking. Purchased a few years ago from geeks.com for approximately $25)
OpenCPN suggests a GlobalSat Technology Corp. GPS Module - the BU-353 Waterproof USB GPS Receiver (Amazon.com currently $29) ready to use with GPSNavX & MacENC The WAAS enabled BU-353 GPS Receiver can be utilized in a variety of applications that may require a magnetic mounting with a waterproof configuration. With non-slip on the base and its compact design, the BU-353 is completely self-contained and waterproof. It incorporates the latest SiRF Star III 20 Channel GPS chipset and an active patch antenna so you receive the highest degree of GPS accuracy. LED indicator blinks when position fixed. The extended 5 feet long cable allows for easy routing behind headliners and side panels to terminate at a USB connector for interfacing with your PC or Mac. Data Sheet.
Review of OpenCPN Navigational Software.
Charts - you need them FREE!!!
Raster Navigational Charts: NOAA RNC®
NOAA Raster Navigational Charts (NOAA RNC®) are full-color digital images of NOAA's entire suite of paper charts. NOAA RNCs are available for free download. NOAA provides weekly updates to the RNCs, which are available for free on this site in the BSB format. NOAA RNC® files are official data that can be used in many types of electronic charting systems, including Raster Chart Display Systems (RCDS) and Electronic Chart Display and Information Systems (ECDIS).
Click Here to Download NOAA Raster Navigational Charts.
Electronic Navigational Charts: NOAA ENC®
NOAA Electronic Navigational Charts (NOAA ENC®) are vector data sets that represent NOAA's newest and most powerful electronic charting product. NOAA ENCs conform with the International Hydrographic Office (IHO) S-57 international exchange format, comply with the IHO ENC Product Specification, and are provided with incremental updates that supply Notice to Mariners corrections and other critical changes. NOAA ENCs and updates are available for free download. NOAA ENC data may be used to fuel Electronic Chart and Display Information Systems (ECDIS).
Click Here to Download NOAA Electronic Navigational Charts.
Webmaster's comments - I downloaded the complete Florida charting zip package of both the RNC's and ENC's and linked the top folder of each to OpenCPN per their directions. OpenCPN automatically opens all loaded versions of overlapping charts for your Ownboat location and seemless stiches same-scale charts.