CMap vs Navionics: Comparing the Top Marine Charting Apps

CMap vs Navionics

When it comes to choosing an electronic chart system for navigation and fishing, two of the most popular options on the market are C-MAP and Navionics. As a boater or angler, it’s essential for me to have a reliable and accurate mapping system to navigate the water, stay safe, and find the best fishing spots. Trying to determine which system is the best choice can be a challenging decision, so let’s break down CMap vs Navionics.

C-MAP is known to have a single price for a complete set of worldwide charts, while Navionics offers different packs of charts tailored for specific areas. The pricing structure may make C-MAP more cost-effective for those cruising for long distances and Navionics more suitable for users staying around the same region. In terms of user-friendliness, Navionics is said to be more beginner-friendly, offering an all-around GPS mapping platform experience, while C-MAP has numerous options and features to choose from, such as custom depth shading and bathymetric imagery.

When it comes to compatibility and versatility, Navionics is often preferred because it is compatible with more equipment compared to C-MAP. On the other hand, some may find the price point of Navionics to be a drawback. As we delve deeper into reviewing these two competing mapping systems, it will be essential to weigh the pros and cons, depending on the user’s specific needs and preferences.

C-Map and Navionics Overview

History and Background


C-Map was founded in the early 1980s and is now a leading provider of electronic marine charts. The company has been dedicated to creating accurate and up-to-date digital charting solutions for boaters, fishermen, and mariners worldwide. C-Map offers an extensive range of charts that cover various regions, which can be tailored to a user’s specific needs.

In recent years, C-Map has been focusing on enhancing their products by incorporating new features, such as custom depth shading, bathymetric imagery, and compatibility with multiple chartplotters, to help users gain the most from their navigation and fishing experiences.


Navionics, founded in 1984, is another leading provider of electronic marine charts. Their initial focus was on developing innovative navigation software for sailors, but they later expanded their offerings to cater to the needs of boaters and fishermen as well. As a pioneer in the field, Navionics has contributed significantly to the evolution of digital marine cartography.

Over the years, Navionics has developed a comprehensive portfolio of chart products that cover most of the world’s waters. The company is renowned for its user-friendly interface and compatibility with a broad range of sonar units and chart plotters from all major brands.

Comparing C-Map and Navionics Charts

Both C-Map and Navionics offer a wide range of features to help users with navigation, fishing, and situational awareness on the water. Here are some notable differences to consider:

  • Chart Detail: Navionics is known for its detailed charts, offering more granular information on contours and depths. C-Map charts also provide sufficient detail but tend to be easier to read without the need for reading glasses.
  • Customization and Control: C-Map offers more control over layers, allowing users to customize the displayed information according to their needs. Navionics also provides customization options but to a lesser extent compared to C-Map.
  • Shadings and Relief: C-Map has an edge over Navionics when it comes to relief shading, providing better visuals and more control over layers. Navionics still offers good shading, but in areas where C-Map relief charts are unavailable, Navionics emerges as the winner.
  • Compatibility: Navionics+ is compatible with virtually all sonar units on the market, while C-Map’s compatibility with chartplotters can be limited, especially with their 4D variant.
  • Beginner Friendliness: Navionics is considered more beginner-friendly due to its ease of use and simplicity. C-Map, on the other hand, has a wider range of options and features that may require a steeper learning curve.

In conclusion, both C-Map and Navionics offer excellent electronic chart systems, each with its unique features and benefits. Users should consider their specific needs and preferences, along with the compatibility of their chartplotters and sonar units, to determine the best option for their boating and fishing adventures.

Product Offerings


C-Map offers various types of electronic charting systems for marine navigation. They have a range of options to cater to different user needs.

  • C-Map MAX: This is the original standard format of C-Map electronic charts. It includes features like tidal data, navigational aids, and port data.
  • C-Map Reveal: A more advanced option, this includes satellite imagery, bathymetric shading, and high-resolution aerial photos. Reveal charts provide a clearer view of underwater terrain.
  • C-Map Contour: A specialized product focused on providing bathymetric data, with detailed depth information and fishing hotspots.

C-Map also has tools for custom depth shading and a reputation for excellent saltwater fishing information. However, its compatibility is generally limited to Lowrance and B&G devices.


Navionics, on the other hand, offers various electronic charting system options, with compatibility options that cover Garmin and Humminbird devices. Here are some of their main offerings:

  • Navionics+: A versatile option that covers all basis, includes basic chart data, SonarChart™, and Community Edits. It also offers daily map updates for free.
  • Platinum+: An upgrade to Navionics+, with added features like satellite overlays, panoramic port photos, and 3D views of surrounding topography.
  • Navionics Platinum: Offers shading in areas where C-Map Relief charts are not available, making it a good alternative.

Navionics is known for its all-around GPS mapping platform and tends to be more beginner-friendly. It’s particularly well-regarded for its extensive fishing hotspot information.

Chart Compatibility and Devices

When comparing C-MAP and Navionics, it’s essential to consider their compatibility with various devices and fish finders. As a popular choice among boaters and anglers, Navionics+ is readily compatible with the majority of sonar units available in the market. These devices include top brands like Lowrance, Simrad, and Humminbird. This wide compatibility range puts Navionics in a strong position for users who want flexibility and ease of use.

C-MAP, while offering notable charting options such as its 4D variant, has somewhat limited compatibility with certain plotters, and some features might not be included. However, C-MAP is still a strong contender when considering cartography and worldwide chart availability. Their flexible chart packages cater to users who are either sailing within a specific area or traveling long distances.

In the realm of tablets and mobile devices, both Navionics and C-MAP have apps available for iOS and Android. This capability allows boaters to access charts, plan routes, and even synchronize waypoints and tracks between the mobile device and a compatible plotter.

When it comes to data storage and transfer, both systems typically use SD cards for their chart plotters. The charts can easily be updated or replaced by swapping out the SD card with a new one containing the latest data. This method ensures that users have access to the most current cartography and crucial navigation information.

Modern marine electronics manufacturers such as Raymarine and B&G offer flexibility in their chart plotter systems, supporting both Navionics and C-MAP chart options. Garmin takes a slightly different approach, using their own proprietary BlueChart product and combining it with Navionics cartography.

In summary, both C-MAP and Navionics have their strengths and limitations when it comes to compatibility with devices and plotter systems. It is crucial to evaluate your specific needs, the equipment you use, and your preferred areas of operation before deciding on the most suitable electronic chart system for you.

Chart Features and Benefits

Satellite Imagery

Both C-Map and Navionics offer satellite imagery options that can be overlaid on top of their charts. This feature enhances my situational awareness when navigating unfamiliar waters. Satellite overlays help me to identify important landmarks, coastline features, and obstacles with ease.

Fishing Spots

As an angler, I appreciate the fact that both systems provide fishing features to help locate productive spots. Navionics tends to be more beginner-friendly with easy-to-identify fish hotspots. C-Map, on the other hand, offers custom depth shading and high-resolution bathymetric imagery, enabling me to visualize underwater topography and structure more effectively.

Routing Options

Both C-Map and Navionics provide routing options for navigational purposes. Navionics offers auto-routing for dock-to-dock navigation, making it easy for me to plan and follow efficient routes. C-Map also provides a variety of options to choose from, ensuring that I have access to comprehensive navigational tools.

Layout and Customization

Customization plays an important role in helping me create a personalized and efficient charting experience. Navionics offers a user-friendly interface with advanced mapping options, which makes it more accessible for beginners. In contrast, C-Map has a variety of layout and customization features, such as custom depth shading and bathymetric imagery, allowing me to tailor the chart display to my specific needs.

To summarize, the chart features and benefits of C-Map and Navionics include:

  • Satellite Imagery: Overlay feature for enhanced situational awareness
  • Fishing Spots: Fish hotspots on Navionics, custom depth shading and high-resolution bathymetric imagery on C-Map
  • Routing Options: Auto-routing on Navionics, a variety of options on C-Map
  • Layout and Customization: User-friendly interface on Navionics, multiple customization options on C-Map

Coverage and Regions

When comparing the coverage and regions of C-Map and Navionics, I must consider the availability and detail of their nautical charts. Both companies offer extensive chart coverage across the globe, including the United States and its Northeast region.

C-Map provides charts that are precise and have a variety of options. They offer high-resolution bathymetric charts for numerous regions, which are particularly useful for fishermen looking for detailed information on underwater terrain. In addition, C-Map has different chart packages catering to recreational boaters, professional mariners, and anglers.

Some key features of C-Map charts include:

  • High-resolution satellite imagery
  • Custom depth shading
  • Detailed marina information
  • Updated information on restricted zones and navigational hazards

Navionics, on the other hand, also offers a wide range of nautical charts covering various regions. Their charts are known for being user-friendly, making them popular among boating enthusiasts. In the United States, Navionics provides comprehensive coverage, including coastal areas and inland lakes. The Northeast region is well-covered, with consistent updates and detailed chart data.

Some noteworthy features of Navionics charts are:

  • High-definition depth contours
  • Fishing hot spots
  • Dynamic tide and current data
  • Port and marina services information

In conclusion, both C-Map and Navionics provide extensive coverage and detailed nautical charts for various regions, including the United States and its Northeast region. Their charts are regularly updated and come with a variety of unique features catering to different boating needs, making them reliable options for boaters and anglers alike.

Updates and Additional Features

When comparing Navionics and C-MAP, it’s essential to consider updates and additional features offered by each electronic chart system.

In terms of updates, Navionics provides daily map updates for free, ensuring that users always have access to the latest data. On the other hand, C-MAP offers 12 months of free updates, after which users must subscribe to continue receiving updated charts. Both systems focus on providing accurate and up-to-date navigational information, but Navionics’ free daily updates give users a slight edge in this aspect.

Moving on to additional features, Navionics offers SonarChart Live, an exclusive real-time feature that allows users to create their own 1-foot HD contour maps on their devices, providing unparalleled detail and accuracy. This feature can be particularly useful for those venturing into lesser-charted areas or needing the most precise depth information.

C-MAP also offers several unique features, such as their Max N+ charts. These charts include all the features of Max N, but with additional benefits like high-resolution satellite imagery, custom depth shading, and detailed marina charts. Both systems provide 3D views and satellite images for more natural navigation and better situational awareness.

In summary, updating the information and the availability of additional features are some noteworthy aspects one needs to consider when comparing Navionics and C-MAP. Navionics offers free daily updates and features like SonarChart Live, while C-MAP provides a 12-month updating period followed by a subscription and enhanced chart options like Max N+. Each system has its unique features and settings tailored for different users based on their navigational needs.

Pricing and Purchasing

C-Map Products

C-Map offers various products to cater to different needs. One popular option is the C-Map 4D charts which provides excellent chart detail and features. Pricing for C-Map 4D charts in my local area can be found at around $157.

Another option from C-Map is the Discover charts, which are slightly more expensive, with pricing at around $174. Additionally, there’s the Max charts, available for approximately $206. These chart options provide varying detail and features depending on the user’s preferences.

Navionics Products

Navionics has its own set of products, starting with the basic charts that cover specific local sailing areas. I found the cost for basic Navionics charts in my local area to be £149 (or around $206).

For those seeking more advanced features, Navionics offers the Platinum+ charts, which costs £229 ($317). These charts include more extensive information and capabilities.

To purchase these products for use in chart plotters, both C-Map and Navionics offer cards containing their respective charts. Navionics provides free daily map updates, and some of their products, such as Navionics Boating, can be bought as a one-time purchase with free updates for a specified period of time. However, other products like Navionics+ and Navionics Platinum require an annual subscription fee for access to updated charts and maps.

In conclusion, both C-Map and Navionics offer a range of products with different pricing options, giving users the flexibility to find the best electronic chart system to suit their needs.

Cmap vs Navionics Application and Installation

When it comes to the application and installation of electronic chart systems, my experience with both C-MAP and Navionics has been relatively similar. However, there are some key differences to consider when choosing between the two for my own vessel or navigation needs.

With C-MAP, I found that it offers a single price for a complete set of worldwide charts, which can be beneficial if I plan to travel long distances. On the other hand, Navionics offers different packs of charts for different areas, so depending on my cruising plans, I may only need to purchase a specific pack for the area I intend to explore.

When it comes to installing the charts on my navigation devices, I find that both C-MAP and Navionics can easily be used with a range of devices, including B&G chartplotters. The compatibility of these chart systems with various devices ensures that I can efficiently display chart data and use it while navigating.

As for the ease of application, I noticed that Navionics seems to be more beginner-friendly. C-MAP, on the other hand, offers more customization options like custom depth shading and bathymetric imagery, which may require a bit more experience to navigate and utilize effectively.

Although both C-MAP and Navionics can work without an active internet connection, it is important to note that updates and additional features may require access to the internet. For example, both systems offer features like online community edits and updated chart data, which can enhance my navigation experience but may require an internet connection to access.

In conclusion, the following list summarizes the key points I have experienced in the application and installation of C-MAP and Navionics:

  • C-MAP offers a single price for worldwide charts, while Navionics offers specific packs for different areas
  • Both systems are compatible with B&G chartplotters and a variety of devices
  • Navionics is more beginner-friendly, whereas C-MAP offers more customization options
  • Updates and additional features may require an internet connection for both systems

Considering these factors, I can better determine which electronic chart system is best suited for my navigation needs and make a more informed decision.

Captain Tyler Brady

Captain Tyler Brady

Hi, I'm Captain Tyler Brady, founder of A Fellow Fisherman. Thank you for reading this post and visiting my site. I strive to provide the best information when it comes to fishing, whether it is myself or A Fellow Fisherman that is part of my team. Now stop reading and GO fishing!

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