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Free S-63 charts now available from Linz

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Basics first. S-63 charts are Vector charts (Digital, lines not pixels, data layers built in - like Navionics and Cmap). They are used on some ECDIS systems (what large commercial vessels can use instead of paper. 

Only some display systems can use S-63. OpenCPN is one free one. Here is an example;


In this image I've just hovered the mouse over the light on Maria Island to bring up the light sectors - an example of data layers.

So what's the big deal? How about the professional quality (required carriage)charts for free? Thanks to the NZ goverment. 

To make it go in opencpn takes a little config, and you have to by the encryption key for each device - it's $24 odd.

Thanks to the NZ government. Much of the world still charge for their charts.


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Add the plugin.  Go to https://www.o-charts.org/ and get an user permit Key, $22. Use the unser permit in the OCPN plugin to generate a fingerprint file for the install. Go to https://www.encservice.linz.govt.nz/ and make an account - free. Insert user permit and then wait until they authorize it, giving you a permit.txt file. Download that, and the charts. Use the info in the OCPN plugin to decrypt the charts for use, and then away you go. It is a bit of a learning curve, took me about an hour the first time.

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