Buying and installing S63 charts from ChartWorld

This article is out of date and remains here for archiving purposes. Buying and downloading S-63 charts from ChartWorld can now be done with a click of mouse directly in PolarView

S63 vector charts are produced primarily by official government hydrographic agencies around the world. They are sold through a number of value-added resellers. I buy my S63 charts from ChartWorld. In my experience, they have been the most accessible and their ordering process is relatively straightforward. Disclaimer: I don’t have any connection to ChartWorld, other than being their customer from time to time. Note, that while basic principles described here would apply to ordering S63 charts from any other source, specific details may differ.

Step 1
To buy charts at ChartWorld, or any other S63 chart distributor, for that matter, you need to have something called “User Permit”. “User Permit” uniquely identifies your chart viewer or navigation application software installed on a specific computer. S63 charts that you order, will be encoded using this value and could only be used on the same computer and with the same software product for which they were issued.

In PolarView your “User Permit” is shown in a text box in the lower right portion of Chart Manager. Look for a long hexadecimal string, as seen in a screen capture below.

Screen capture of Chart Manager, showing User Permit on the lower right. Your User Permit will be different! Use one from your system, otherwise your would not be able to install S63 charts!

Step 2

To order charts, you need to open an account at You will be asked for your User Permit during account set up process. Copy and paste “User Permit” exactly as shown in PolarView. If you make an error while submitting this value, ChartWorld web site will usually tell you – but don’t rely on this.

– Press “Register” button under login box on the top right of home page. Enter your personal details and submit. A new account would be created and details will be emailed to you. Your account login name is generated by ChartWorld and is usually a short string like “AB123”.

– Log into your new account. Click on “myACCOUNT” button from the menu button list. You will arrive at a page sub-titled “My Installations”.

– Click on “new installation” link. You will be presented with a form to enter details of your computer and software installation.

Sample installation page filled with details. Make sure to use your own “User Permit” value!

Note the “ENC User Permit/Backup” field. ChartWorld permits up to 2 different “User Permits” per installation. If you provide 2 “User Permits”, any charts you order for this installation will be supplied with keys issued for both of these permits. You will be able to use these charts on up to 2 installations of PolarView.

– Now that you have set up your account, click on “SHOP” button from the menu button list. There will be a “Search” box on the left hand side. You can search for charts by entering keywords such as place names or chart identifiers. For example, you can search for Virgin Islands or for specific chart cell names, if you know them.

– Search results will present you with a list of matching charts. For each chart you will see one or more prices listed on the right hand side. Prices are in Euros. These prices reflect different durations of chart update period. During the update period, you will be able to download any updates to your charts. Shorter update periods will cost less.
Note, that charts you buy do not stop working after update period is over. They will remain available and continue to work in PolarView. However, you will no longer be able to download these charts from ChartWorld – so make sure to have appropriate backup.

– For the British Virgin Islands each chart cell was priced at Euro 5.71 (about $7.50) for a 3 month update period at the time of last check.  NOTE: chart GB302006 is being replaced with chart GB402006, which should be available on ChartWorld shortly. I will post an update here, when available.

– Before adding charts to shopping cart, click on “Select Installation” button above and select installation you created in the first step.

– Add charts to your shopping cart by clicking on price/update period icon on the right hand side. When done, click on “GOTO BASKET” link above. You will be forwarded to your shopping cart and will be able to complete chart order with a credit card.

Step 3
Once your order is complete, ChartWorld will send you an email with link to download chart and permit files over FTP. Here is what this file list looks like for British Virgin Islands charts:


There are three files. Two of these files, with extension “.S63” are chart archives. The file with extension “.prm” is an archive that contains “Cell permits”, essentially – keys to unlock your charts. All of these files are Zip archives, even though they have unusual file extensions.

– Download these files. Rename each file by removing an additional “.S63” or “.prm” extension, so that they all have extension “.zip”.

– Unpack these archives in a location where you would like your charts to be installed.

– Chart cell files (with names beginning with “GB”) will extract into a sub-directory ENC_ROOT. You can extract all chart files into the same ENC_ROOT sub-directory. If your Zip archiver program prompts you to do so, agree to overwrite any files that may already be there. These overwritten files are not important for purposes of our installation.

– The last archive will contain a few files, of which you need one, called PERMIT.TXT. Extract this file to any convenient location of your choice.

Step 4
– Launch PolarView and open Chart Manager. Click on a “Manage Permits” button on bottom right. This will open a new window – Permit Manager.

– In Permit Manager click “Add” – a file dialog will open. Browse to location where you saved PERMIT.TXT file and select it. PolarView will read this file and install “Cell permits” for charts your purchased.

Permit file from our example above should install 3 chart permits, one for each chart cell. These chart permits will be listed in Permit Manager.

Screen shot of Permit Manager with new licenses added (and one expired license from previous installation).

– Close Permit Manager. Now, back in Chart Manager click “Add Directory” button, and navigate to disk location where you extracted S63 charts.

– Select ENC_ROOT sub-directory and press “OK”. PolarView will scan your selected directory for S63 charts. It will add all new charts to the list. At that point, your S63 charts should be installed and visible in the main chart window.

That’s all there is to it. Make sure to keep a good backup of all chart and permit files you order.

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