Sunday, April 15, 2018

OpenCPN: Quick Start, One Chart

We encourage the use of OpenCPN in our Inland and Coastal Navigation course and in the Marine Weather Course. To that end, we have several videos on the subject of loading charts (see below) and other maneuvers.

For now, however, the goal is to get our one training chart into the program as directly as possible. Later you can look over other options. Once the training chart is installed you can start working the practice exercises on an echart as you work them as well on a paper chart.

First download and install OpenCPN to your computer as shown in these video instructions. Then:

Step 1. Create a directory on your computer in the Documents folder called   .../mycharts

Step 2. Go to and download the "RNC of 18465TR," and then move that zip file to /mycharts.  That file is called

(The file size is 16 MB, instead of the normal chart size of 3 to 8 MB because it is higher resolution than regular charts.)

Step 3. Unzip that file so the contents remain in the /mycharts folder. That process will create a folder with the name 18465TR, and that folder will include 3 files.

That completes the download process

Step 4.  Open the program OpenCPN, and click the wrench, and then, charts icon on the top, then click far left tab Chart Files.  This may yield a blank field or there could be paths listed that you added earlier.

Step 5. Click Add directory, then navigate to the folder you have created called 18465TR, highlight it and press Apply.   You should now see something in the field called /Users/computer_name/Documents/mycharts/18465TR.  Then press OK. and we are done.

Check that it is there:

Step 6. Go to wrench, then Display icon, then General tab, and in Chart Display, uncheck Enable Chart Quilting, and in Dissplay Features check Show chart outlines.  Press OK.

Step 7. On the base map background pan around to the Pacific Northwest and you should see a small red square over the Eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca. Zoom in on that and when it is about 20 or 30% of the screen chart will show up in the chart bar as a blue line. Click that line and the chart should appear.

Once you have found the chart, you can return to the display settings and turn off the chart outline option as we do not need that with just one chart.

Below is a video that shows this process.  Then later on you can look over the full discussion of loading charts.

If you are not a Starpath student then you might prefer a different chart for this start up. You can choose one from NOAA interactive viewer.  They will be some 4 times smaller and look pretty much the same.

Quick start, one chart

Here are the two short follow ups which would be the next step to using the electronic training chart to practice echart navigation.

Basics 1: M-key, Units, and Variation

Basics 2: Help, Scales, Zoom and Pan

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