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Vector Charts for OpenCPN

Today, Hydrographical Offices all over the world are producing their official vector charts in S-57 format. NOAA provides free vector charts for the US in plain S-57 format but in most countries they are licensed under not free encrypted formats derived from S-57 like S-63 or oeSENC.

oeSENC Charts

OpenCPN Encrypted System Electronical Nautical Charts (oeSENC) are the most economical quality vector charts available. We receive S-57 data directly from Hydrographical Offices, encrypt them in the oeSENC format and deliver chart sets for their individual use in OpenCPN. If your navigation zone is available this can be are a very good choice to get up-to-date quality charts at a reasonable cost.

Different from S-63 or genuine S-57 charts (US), these are not “Official Charts” or "ENCs" in the context of “carriage requirements”, as they are not issued nor certified by official bodies. Even if the content might be the same. For details about the legal framework and usage of our charts refer to the EULA.

S-63 UserPermits

S-63 charts are official vector charts with worldwide coverage. However, many popular cruising areas are very poorly covered as the main focus are the requirements of commercial shipping. They have a relatively high price as well. We sell S-63 UserPermits, a key that entitles the OpenCPN user to license S-63 charts from a distributor. has entered into agreements with S-63 Valued Added Resellers (VAR) like ChartWorld that are offering direct distribution channels.

Before licensing, please read the Frequently Asked Questions at the end of this document.

Windows / Mac / Linux

1. Download and install the oeSENC plugin (only for OpenCPN 4.6 version and above). If you have already the oeSENC plugin installed, update to the latest version.

2. Go to OpenCPN, Options → Plugins → oeSENC and enable it.

3. Go to o-charts shop and license the chart sets you are interested in. Remember your access data to o-charts shop (email and password), you will need them later.

4. Go to OpenCPN, Options → Charts → oeSENC charts tab and press Refresh Chart List.

5. Login with your o-charts shop access data.

6. If you have previously requested charts, you will get a list of System Names. Select the System Name that corresponds to your computer.

If not, you have to provide a new System Name to identify your system. 3 characters minimum and 15 maximum. Only lowercase letters and numbers allowed. No symbols or spaces.

7. Follow on screen instructions to assign and download on your computer the charts sets you licensed on the o-charts shop.


1. Install OpenCPN 1.0.13, or above, for Android 4.4, or above, from the Play Store.

2. Install oeSENC plugin for OpenCPN from the Play Store to be sure your device is compatible.

3. Go to o-charts shop and license the chart sets you are interested in.

4. Back to OpenCPN, Options → Charts → oeSENC charts → Add/update oeSENC chart sets and login with your o-charts access data.

5. Follow on screen instructions to assign and download on your device the charts sets you licensed on the o-charts shop.


You should visit Options → Charts → oeSENC charts from time to time to see if a new update is available. DE, FR and NO chart sets are updated weekly. UK, BE, NL, IS, HR and ES chart sets are updated quarterly.

Expired charts

Your chart set expires after a year from the purchase date. After expiration, it keeps working on your system but you cannot request updates for it any longer, so your chart will be getting outdated. To renew your license, you will buy the chart set again. There are however some chart sets with a discounted refresh option which just extends the license period for one year more. Go to My oeSENC Charts on o-charts shop and follow the instrucctions to buy your expired charts again or buy a refresh product if available. You can assign the refresh product during the year following the chart set expiration date.

FAQ – Ofte spurte spørsmål

Hvilket OS er oeSENC utvidelsen klar for?

oeSENC karter vil virke på Windows, Mac, Android og Linux systemer (inkl. ARM kort).

Og hvis jeg installerer programvaren i en Virtual Machine?

Nei, det vil ikke fungere. Vi må forhindre at systemer blir klonet.

Kan jeg benytte oeSENC karter på iOS?

Nei. Det er ingen versjon av OpenCPN for iOS enda.

Hva skjer hvis jeg oppdaterer mitt Operativ System?

Du skal ikke få noen problemer med normale sikkerhets oppdateringer, men versjons oppdateringer er mer uforutsigbare og kan føre til at kartene ikke fungerer.

Hva skjer om mine kart blir ubrukelige eller min datamaskin slutter å virke?

Du har tillatelse til å benytte to sett med karter, slik at du har et backup system om datamaskinen skulle bli skadet.

Hvor mange systemer teller et "dual-boot" system?

Hver maskinvare/programvare kombinasjon teller som ET system.

Hva skjer om jeg oppdaterer OpenCPN?

Ingenting. Dine oeSENC karter vil fungere som normalt.

Hva skjer når min lisens utløper etter et år fra jeg kjøpte den?

Dine kart vil ikke forsvinne, men du må kjøpe de igjen hvis du vil oppdatere.

Kan jeg bruke oeSENC karter på en annen programvare enn OpenCPN?

Nei, oeSENC karter vil kun virke på OpenCPN.


Before licensing, please read the Frequently Asked Questions at the end of this document.

Windows / Mac / Linux

1. System is the computer you will use for OpenCPN. The chart set you license from a VAR for this system can only be used on it. Download and install the S-63 plugin (only for OpenCPN 4.2 version and above).

2. Go to OpenCPN, Options → Plugins → S63 and enable it. Then, go to OpenCPN, Options → Charts → S63 Charts → Keys/Permits tab and create a System identifier file (Fingerprint) for your system pressing the Create System Identifier file button. More info.


3. Go to o-charts shop and buy an UserPermit.


4. Go to My S-63 UserPermits page and create an InstallPermit there uploading the Fingerprint file and selecting the UserPermit.


5. Go to the VAR shop and buy as many S-63 chart sets as you want providing the UserPermit number.

6. Download and uncompress your S-63 chart sets files.

7. Go to OpenCPN, Options → Charts → S63 Charts → Keys/Permits tab. Enter your UserPermit and test it pressing the New UserPermit button. Enter your InstallPermit and test it pressing the New InstallPermit button. More info.


8. Go to OpenCPN, Options → Charts → S63 Charts → Chart Cells tab. Install Cell Permits by using the button Import Cell Permits to find the file PERMIT.TXT inside your S-63 chart sets. Import your S-63 chart sets by pressing Import Charts/Updates and finding the folder ENC_ROOT. More info.


9. OpenCPN will create the necessary eSENC files and your are done!.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why S-63 charts?

They are the official and generally the most up-to-date chart material available. Vector charts for chart plotters used for the leisure market are at best derivatives (some will have some added features).

Why do I have to pay for the UserPermit?

We have to run this operation and respond to the IHO on a permanent base. The structure and costs are kept to a minimum. In case we have a great success economical speaking, funds will go back to OpenCPN.

On how many systems can I use my charts?

The standard states one machine but in practice up to 5 installs are tolerated.

As how many systems counts a dual boot system?

Each HW/SW combination is an individual one and requires its own InstallPermit.

And if I install the software in a Virtual Machine?

It will not run there. We have to prevent the system from being cloned.

I had to re-install my OS. Now the InstallPermit is not valid any longer.

Please generate a new InstallPermit.

My PC died. Can I recover the charts?

Yes, and this case will “cost” you an InstallPermit for your new machine as well.

Can I have my InstallPermit and the charts on a USB stick and carry them between different systems?

This would be a hardware dongle solution. We feel that it is not viable for us to send USB sticks or DVDs all over the world. That's why we opted for a soft dongle. So, the answer today is - no.

What does S-63 charts cost (and why are they sometimes so expensive)?

The retail price is fixed by the individual HOs. Their customers are from the shipping industry or official bodies like governments, not the leisure market. This is a recognized issue and the reason why there are very few users of S-63 charts from this group, for now. We will need a lot of lobbying to get better solutions and better prices. Help or support from those who have the right contacts would be appreciated.

Can I use the UserPermit to buy charts for other chart software than OpenCPN?

No, the UserPermit is only valid for one kind of system – OpenCPN in our case.

My temporary license will time out. What will happen?

The chart will not disappear, but there will be a warning displayed.

OpenCPN is open source. Where is the code for the plug-in?

To work with S-63 we have to ensure that no copies of the unencrypted cells are accessible during the execution of the software. Therefore, the plug-in has an open-source part and a binary. Similar to the commercial BSB4 or nv-chart plug-ins.