Recently a Coast Guard Auxiliary friend told me about a free chartplotter and GPS navigational software program for use as an underway or planning application.
This program is” OpenCPN” which was developed by active sailors from their sea experiences. Connecting your GPS you can track your course on the charts while underway. Some of the features of this application are -
- Quilted Raster(RNC) and Vector(ENC, cm93) digital chart display
- Industry standard GPS receiver interfacing, with “moving map” on-screen vessel tracking.
- AIS receiver interfacing with configurable target safety monitoring
- Integrated Route, Track, and Waypoint database, with industry standard Import/Export capabilities
- Tide and Current prediction, with on-screen overlay of predicted data.
- Broad International Language support
The first step is to download and install the software from – “ http://opencpn.org/download“. This site provides all the information for downloading, using the application, user manuals, user forum, and adding additional application software.
Next you need to download the maps from the NOAA website – “http://www.charts.noaa.gov/RNCs/RNCs.shtml“. Follow the installation instructions in Open CPN. If you have a GPS you can also connect it to get your current position when you are underway on your boat.
Since I recently downloaded this application, and am also learning its’ capabilities, I did a search to see if any user reviews were available to access its capabilities. I found this site- “http://sourceforge.net/projects/opencpn/“, which gave a rating of 95% out of 150 users.
This program has additional applications that you can add for the following capabilities -
- Celestial Navigation
- Chart Work
- Magnetic Declination
- NMEA Instruments
Hope you find this program useful and best of all it is “FREE”.
Happy Navigating and may you have “Fair Winds and Following Seas”!
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