Navionics vs CMap: Which One is Better?

Navionics vs CMap

Having hydrographic maps is very convenient for anglers. Knowing where the best depth is, and what shallow areas to avoid, is important.

To gain access to this information, you will have to get specific charts. Both Navionics and CMap are very popular and offer some excellent features

Of course, there are some differences too, and every angler should choose in accordance with personal needs.

Here, I am going to compare Navionics vs CMap, and explain more about them, in the following chapters. AND at the and, you can also check our comparison Navionics vs Lakmaster. So, let's get in ...



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Product Features and Benefits

Before you can make a decision between these two, you should know what exactly are they, see the basic features and benefits and find out what the differences are.

What works for you may not be someone else’s first choice and vice versa. So, ...

What is Lowrance CMap? All the Benefits ...

CMap, owned by Lowrance, offers high quality hydrographic charts for fishing.

Charts are available for both inland and coastal waters, which makes them great for every angler.

When it comes to coverage, CMap covers the majority of the world, especially the popular fishing locations.

Charts are high detail, and you can choose among many options.

There are Max charts, which can be described as a basic version. Then you have MaxN and MaxN+.

Max N+ has all the features of Max N plus some addition ones. One of the additional is the Reveal.

CMap Reveal will enable to see the sea bottom in detail. From structures and reefs, to holes and ledges, this bathymetric imagery will amaze you.

This option is great for anglers, as well as divers (when spearfishing), because it provides info about tides, currents, marine parks and similar. You can also add layers like satellite imagery and depth shading.

Those who are passionate boaters as well as anglers will enjoy the large marina database.

Continental charts are available for freshwater anglers. These maps have great coverage, give you a high detail view.

And most importantly, CMap is compatible with the major fish finder brands, and those are Lowrance, Simrand and B&G. You can even check the compatibility chart on the official website.

For saltwater anglers, there are Wide and Local charts, that include all the premium features, such as bathymetric imagery, custom depth shading, satellite view and 3D. Both Wide and Local charts are equally detailed, they just vary in coverage area.

These two also include CMap Genesis, that enables you to create your personalized maps.

Users in the USA will be pleased to hear that there are Lake insight HD and Precision Contour HD charts that cover the US lakes. Unfortunately, this option is not available for the rest of the world (yet).

What is Navionics? All the Benefits ...

Navionics is a similar navigation tool, that provides hydrographic charts for anglers.

Same as the CMap, it has world wide coverage, and offers detailed inland and coastal maps.

It is owned by Garmin, and is compatible with all the major fish finder manufacturers.

Navionics has a cool feature, and that is Fish attractors.

It shows more than 10 000 sunken structures, made to attract fish, and that is valuable for anglers, especially when fishing in an unfamiliar area.

When it comes to chart versions, Navionics has a bit less options.

Don’t get me wrong, it offers equally impressive features, but you can choose between just two versions, and that is Navionics+ and Platinum+.

The upgraded version provides SonarChart shading, 3D and panoramic photos.

Chart customization, such as contour density and highlighting shallow areas, are a part of the Navionics. This is a great feature to know what places to avoid with a boat, and also to know where are the certain depths in which you can find targeted fish species.

There is also a SonarChart live option, that enables you to create maps with the most recent bathymetry. Similar to CMAp, you can upload your data, and it gets added to data made by other users.

It also offers community edits, where you can find info provided by local anglers, mostly related to buoys, boat ramps and similar changes.

Navionics vs CMap: Which One is Better?

So, Navionics vs CMap, which one is better?

I will not list every single feature, as that info is available on the official websites. Instead, I will try to make a real-life comparison, to help you choose.

And these two are hard to compare. First of all, both offer great charts for both freshwater and saltwater anglers.

The 1 ft contoured charts are provided by both Navionics and CMap, so you don’t have to worry about provided details.

For saltwater anglers who are fishing from a boat, CMap has a slight advantage, because it has more marinas included in the charts.

When it comes to coverage, both have world-wide options, although the US users will get a bit more, as both offer customized US charts. Navionics has Hotmaps Platinum, while CMap has Lake insight HD and Precision Contour HD.

Navionics has one advantage, and that is free updates through the first year of use.

When it comes to your own map creation, CMap Genesis will work faster. After uploading your data, you can get your map in less than 20 minutes, while with Navionics, it takes longer.

CMap may not be the best option for the first-time users, especially beginner anglers who never used charts before, as it has so many “main” chart options, plus advanced options, that are hard to compare and comprehend for someone who has never used it before. However, this is great for those who know what they want and can choose a highly customized combination.

CMap offers a bit more accurate data for some locations outside of the USA, and one of the examples are Mediterranean waters, very popular among European saltwater anglers.

There is one more important feature, and that is device compatibility.

If you already have a fish finder, or you really want to purchase a specific one, check well before you do so. CMap, especially advanced versions, do not work on many models.

Navionics has a bit better compatibility, and will work on Lowrance, Humminbird, Simrad, Raymarine and B&G. Of course, not every model is compatible with every version.

Keep in mind that although owned by Garmin, Navionics does not work on Garmin chart plotters.

To be honest, it is all about the location. Some locations are no well covered and you should choose the brand that provides more detail. All these options that are used by both brands, do not mean a lot if they are not available for your area. Both Navionics and CMap offer a preview of the charts, and you can compare some basic features.

Navionics vs CMap - Hydrographic maps

FAQs About Navionics and CMap:

Navionics vs CMap choice is not an easy one, so here I am going to answer a few more questions, and hopefully clarify this dilemma.

Is CMap Free?

This is a very frequent question, and I have to disappoint you, the answer is NO.

Unfortunately, all the good things come at a price, and so does the CMap. But there is something that is free.

There are so called Social Maps, that are free to download. Anyone who has an account can get access to these maps. These maps are in a way “community generated” because data had been collected and shared by Genesis users.

What is CMap Genesis?

CMap Genesis is basically a program that enables you to create customized HD charts. To do so, you have to own a sonar.

When data is recorded, it gets uploaded and then it is combined with other users data, to create accurate charts. This way, users generate the content and cover large areas. These maps are then downloaded again and you can customize them. From depth shading, to vegetation marks, you can mark points of interest in a certain area.

This is mostly used for uncharted areas, or those areas where there are no precise charts. Social Map is also a part of it, however, premium Genesis features come at a certain cost.

This option is worldwide, excluding the northern European countries (Finland, Norway and Sweden).

Does Navionics or Cmap Work on a Mobile Device?

Navionics works on both iOS and Android.

You can download an app, pay for subscription, and download charts. It is a yearly subscription, and when it expires, you will be able to keep the basic chart versions. For any premium feature, you need to have an active subscription.

CMap offers basically the same thing, but with a bit less detail. Because it is used on a phone, view is a bit simplified.

There is also an offline map app option, where you can download charts in case you are going to areas where no internet is available.

Navionics vs CMap, What About Updates?

Navionics offers one year of regular free updates to the users. This is a great and unique feature.

Unfortunately, CMap does not offer this feature, and you have to pay for the updates. You can only use those related to Social Map for free.


Choosing the best charts for your future fishing trips is not an easy task.

Many of them offer similar features, similar prices, and the differences are not really obvious.

When you ask anglers about their opinion about Navionics vs CMap, you will get different opinions, and it all comes down to personal preference and specific area coverage.

Before you make any final decisions, make sure to check the area and see how detailed those specific maps are.

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