For the first time user, the easiest path is to use Chart Downloader Tab First, even if your primary charts are found somewhere else. It's possible, even desirable, to find charts in many places that the Chart Downloader doesn't cover (e.g. CM93 Vers 2). But when getting started, take the easier path. You will learn how things work and will make better choices when adding charts from other sources.Free Brazilian charts OpenCPN does not come with any pre-installed charts. It is up to the user to find and install charts. Read on, and you will find detailed information about which chart formats that OpenCPN can display, as well as pointers to all available charts for OpenCPN, free downloads as well as commercial, that we know of.
OpenCPN is a free, open-source navigation program (CPN stands for Chart Plotter Navigator) that's been in active development for several years. You can freely download versions for Windows (all versions, including XP, Vista, and Win7/8), Macintosh, and even several flavors of Unix. It reads and displays several different chart formats, both vector and raster, including the CM93 chart database (v2, but not v3 as of 2015) that covers the whole world. You can annotate charts with new or additional information, lay tracks of where you go, import tracks from other cruisers, plan routes, display GRIB weather data, upload routes to your GPS and/or autopilot, etc. It does a wonderful job with AIS, as the alarms can be extensively programmed.
What we do on OcelotWe've been using OpenCPN since 2010 (when they added Chart Quilting) and are very happy with it. It is constantly under development so new features are being added by a dedicated team, many of whom are also cruisers. Features can be requested and all such requests are seriously considered. There are several active discussions on Cruisers Forum where features and/or problems are discussed and solved (the developers respond personally). New releases come out once or twice a year and since the software is \"open source\" all new versions are also free. In fact, you are free to download the source code and add new features yourself if you want to.
We have found that overlaying the GE window on top of charts doesn't work very well. Since the charts and GE are running at slightly different resolutions, they don't overlay exactly, which makes for a very confusing display. But feel free to play with it if you want. If you open the Toolbox and go to the PlugIns tab and select the GoogleEarth plugin, there's a Preferences button on the left. In there you can futz with the Floating Window Transparency slider until you can see both the GE info and the underlying chart depths. But since the 2 windows are not precisely aligned, this is of limited usefulness. 153554b96e