Cruisers & Sailing Forums (
-   OpenCPN (
-   -   Is this what I think it is? (

northoceanbeach 22-05-2014 15:47

Is this what I think it is?
I was asking a question the other day about how long distance cruisers, especially circumnavigators, carry charts for everywhere they may go and was told about open coupon.

I'm really not very computer savvy yet, but would like a free, legal, and easy way to carry charts for most of the world, or at least places I may go. You really can't carry that many paper charts and sd cards with navionics or blue charts are expensive.

So is this was open coupon is? A program I download and the. Download the charts? All free and easy?

I am led to believe the next step would be to get a gps hookup for the laptop and then you can track your progress, but for now I would just like to start by having the charts.

nohal 22-05-2014 16:01

Re: Is this what I think it is?
Yes, OpenCPN is free as in both beer and speech.
No, there's nothing like free (and legal) nautical charts for the whole (or most of the) world. So whether the charts are also free depends on what "at least places I may go" means for you, which you can compare with Chart Sources | Official OpenCPN Homepage


northoceanbeach 22-05-2014 16:10

Re: Is this what I think it is?
So it's a program that runs a wide variety of charts, free and paid. As opposed to garmin, which uses their own charts, or I've heard the free noaa charts.

Where would someone go about getting charts for the South Pacific?

nohal 22-05-2014 16:24

Re: Is this what I think it is?

Originally Posted by northoceanbeach (Post 1547536)
So it's a program that runs a wide variety of charts, free and paid. As opposed to garmin, which uses their own charts, or I've heard the free noaa charts.

Where would someone go about getting charts for the South Pacific?

For south pacific, if someone is interested in charts produced by the government of New Zealand (AFAIK NZ is in the South Pacific and they take care of pretty big area, including some of the nearby island nations), someone uses the link on the page I posted above. If someone needs other charts, someone is screwed, has to pay or has to use charts with at least questionable legal status circulating over the Internet.


Cormorant 22-05-2014 16:35

Re: Is this what I think it is?
CM93 charts are free . . . but not entirely legal. . . . Read a few of the threads we've had on them:

northoceanbeach 22-05-2014 16:41

Re: Is this what I think it is?
So it's a grey area:whistling: so the charts to use are cm93 version 2?

Adventurebound 22-05-2014 16:53

Re: Is this what I think it is?
I have downloaded from Google Earth maps of areas I am dreaming to sail to. That's to backup my chart plotter, Garmin cheapie navigator and my memory. Dnno how legal that is. My boat has one foot draft so running aground is less likely.

Abaft 22-05-2014 17:08

Re: Is this what I think it is?
Probably each cruiser has his own system. Most of the cruisers Iīve found underway have a NavSystem and the correspondent charts paid for. But at the same time I did trade all the time my charts against new ones.
For OpenCPN I have CM93ED2 from December 2012, very accurate and so far I havenīt had any problems navigating with them. By plotting and transferring to Garmin, I have very accurate routes. Depths and shoreline are precise. But I never rely solely on electronics. Actually, I never have a installed and boat dependant GPS. Always a battery independent handheld. I always track control on my computer, on OpenCPN and also on the paper charts.
Never ever trust on one system.

northoceanbeach 22-05-2014 17:25

Re: Is this what I think it is?
I have a newer lowrance plotter with navionics gold USA and n. Bahamas.

Garmin oregon 400 with US nautical charts.

One more backup handheld with navionics gold chip.

What I'm looking for is a way that say I want to sail to the South Pacific, which I do, someday, well, who know what happens if I ever make it, maybe I'll want to keep going. Only, how will I know where I am? At least if I have some charts of the world on my laptop, I'll be able to use my gps devices without charts to plot my position, and the charts on the laptop.

That's my thinking. Someone said I was looking for open coupon.

JPA Cate 22-05-2014 19:30

Re: Is this what I think it is?

Go look at the Int 600 series of charts, they are ocean crossing charts. Then get detailed charts for the places you want to stop. Usually you can buy charts (great French ones for Outre-Mer, the French overseas island groups) for their areas, also can trade charts with others going the "other way". Also, people who already own charts will let you copy them. The best places with large enough copiers include architectural firms, some copy shops. NZ charts are neither the most nor the least expensive ones. Of course, copies are cheapest.


northoceanbeach 22-05-2014 19:53

Re: Is this what I think it is?
Ok, thanks ann.

How do you work with spontaneity? Say you're in Micronesia, and there aren't many other cruisers, and you were planning on going to the Indian Ocean, so you have a chart for that, but you decide you really want to see South Korea.

Maybe I'm trying to plan too far ahead, but in my mind, once I left the us, I would like, of course in an ideal world, downloaded charts for basically everywhere I may possibly end up.

It seems the way to cruise. Once I do get to the SoPac, that's what cool people are calling it nowadays, it's kind of like SoCal. It would be fun to have all the charts and sit up at night planing where I want to go next and having unlimited possibilities.

It's really a bigger scale of my trip to canada last year. I had charts and cruising guides for everywhere I may go, and I could sit at night and read about all those places and decide. It was really fun.

StuM 22-05-2014 20:31

Re: Is this what I think it is?
For planning and backup to your primary navigation tool(s), it's hard to beat Navionics on a 10in Android tablet.

Navionics Asia & Africa HD gives you detailed charts from the Marquises across the South Pacific, through Asia (except Japan), across the Indian ocean and around the coast of Africa - all for $40.

For a couple of hundred bucks, you can grab all the other areas of the world as well.

boat_alexandra 22-05-2014 20:39

Re: Is this what I think it is?
The navionics charts are nearly identical to cm93 charts. They are slightly more updated than version 2, but in most areas identical and based on the same data. OpenCPN is superior to navionics for many reasons.

bcn 23-05-2014 01:19

Re: Is this what I think it is?
With the S-63 plug-in for OpenCPN (which is in a beta status right now) you can use official vector charts as well.

These are the charts the commercial operators are using.
Navionics, Jeppesen or Garmin are building their chart sets based on those, adding sometimes information etc.
These charts are not free but you might think to use them as a complement for certain regions.

More about the plug-in and S-63 here:

The major players for the South Pacific are the Australian Hydrograhic Service (AHS), LINZ as already mentioned by Nohal, UKHO/Admiralty and SHOM (France).

It might be helpful to contact those asking what they think to do about plain vector charts for the leisure sector. Remembering them that we exist might help in mid term....


JPA Cate 23-05-2014 14:13

Re: Is this what I think it is?

If you download Open CPN, get the CM93 charts for the world, and interface your GPS with your laptop, that would cover you. However, IMO, having the large scale planning charts in paper is better for passage planning. It is a scale deal, where you can see the whole picture, in particular hazards that "go missing" when the data are condensed for electronic charts. A friend of ours once said, "Charts are for dreaming; eyeballs are for navigation."


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 21:09.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.