Vector Charts for OpenCPN

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S-63 UserPermits Conditions

Installing UserPermits/InstallPermits and S-63 charts


  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 4.6 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.

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

  4. Go to the My S-63 UserPermits page and create an InstallPermit by uploading the Fingerprint file you generated before and linking it to your S-63 UserPermit.

  5. Visit the shop of your VAR (S-63 chart provider) and license as many S-63 charts you need, using your OpenCPN S-63 UserPermit. Sometimes a VAR will ask for a “HW-ID”, ignore the question.

  6. Download and uncompress your S-63 chart sets files. It shall contain a directory called ROOT_ENC (containing the chart cells) and you shall find a file called PERMIT.txt with the cell permits as well.

  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.

  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.

  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.

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.

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.