OpenCPN, stands for Open Chart Plotter Navigator, is an open-source navigation software for marine navigation. It is designed to be used as a chart plotter and navigation tool for sailors and boaters. OpenCPN supports a variety of charts and navigation data formats, and it provides features such as route planning, waypoint management, AIS (Automatic Identification System) support, and more.

This software is one of the few that is also available under Mac OS X.


Supported Operation Systems:

  • Windows 7/8/10/11
  • Mac OS X 11 or higher
  • Linux


  • Free, Donation to Support project


Intended use

OpenCPN is a versatile open-source software designed for marine navigation. It functions as a chart plotter, supporting various chart formats. Users can plan routes, set waypoints, integrate AIS for vessel information, interface with GPS devices, and even overlay weather data. The software's plugin system allows for additional functionality. Available on multiple operating systems, OpenCPN is a cost-effective solution for sailors and boaters, offering features comparable to commercial navigation software.


Guide for sharing AIS data

1. Download, install, and launch OpenCPN. Access the configuration menu by clicking on the gearwheel icon in the menu bar.




2. Configure your AIS device as an input source by following these steps:

Navigate to the "Connections" section at the top of the interface.
Choose the appropriate settings, as illustrated in the image.
Choose "Serial" if connecting the receiver via USB or a serial cable directly to your computer.
Select the correct serial port (DataPort). On a Mac, follow the example provided, while on Windows, ensure you choose the correct COM port.

The standard Baud rate is 38.400, but consult your AIS receiver manual to confirm or adjust this setting. Utilize the "User Comment" field to name and better manage your devices. Once configurations are complete, click "Apply" to save the settings.




3. Create a station on MarineTraffic to get the sharing details (IP and Port) on which the data can be shared. More details can be found in the Helpdesk article "Add an AIS-Receiving Station to the MarineTraffic Network".

To establish a new connection for sharing your data, click "Add Connection." Follow these steps and refer to the image below for guidance:

Select "Network" and the TCP or UDP protocol.

Input the designated Address (IP or DNS and the corresponding DataPort (Port) provided when creating a new station for data sharing.

Utilize the "User Comment" field to assign a name to the connection, facilitating easier management of connections.

Ensure the checkbox labeled "Receive Input on this Port" is deactivated.

Conversely, activate the checkbox labeled "Output on this port." Once configurations are complete, click "Apply" to save the settings.

These adjustments optimize the configuration for your new connection, ensuring a seamless and effective data-sharing setup.




4. Once you've finalized the configuration and confirmed with OK, vessels should become visible on the map. Ensure you zoom out adequately to have a clear view of the vessels.

Next, access your station on MarineTraffic to verify if the data is being received. Please allow a few minutes for the statistics to reflect successful reception.





Download OpenCPN (External Link)

Manual OpenCPN (External Link)

Add an AIS-Receiving Station to the MarineTraffic Network

How to find the serial port number