Can anyone explain the benefits of PC Navigo over Open CPN.
I downloaded Open CPN with the associated European inland Raster and ENC charts, not great coverage for France but excellent for the Netherlands and Belgium. The obvious benefit of Open CPN is it's free.
I have PC-Navigo, WinGPS (Expensive), the Nautical Maps app and paper charts onboard. I always wind up using WINGPS or the app far more than PC-Navigo when travelling. I use PC-Navigo and the paper charts more for planning: the charts to see a bigger area and PC-N to calculat timing. I also use PC-Navigo on larger waters, alongside WINGPS or the app, for its AIS display of nearby (large) boats.
It is partly a matter of taste, and PC-Navigo takes some effort to get used to finding all its facilities, as Peter C suggests. I would download the app (cheap to try) and see what you think of that before deciding.
In parts of NL, the density of waterways is such that Navigo is the better choice than paper charts. You'll need a GPS mouse that will add your exact position to the Navigo screen and this makes your navigable options far more obvious. It's also a great asset for route planning. Paper charts don't easily show which waterways you can and can't navigate because they don't know your dimensions. With Navigo, routes can be planned very easily as navigable waterways (for your particular vessel) are shown in green. It's of far greater use in NL than other countries where there are fewer options for turning off the canal you're travelling. In my opinion, it's good value despite its initial high cost. I'm not sure there's anything on the paper charts that you can't extract from Navigo, though it needs knowledge of the program to find some information such as bridge and lock contact numbers and operating hours. OK - paper charts will show you lifting bridge clearances when closed - something I've never found from Navigo. This is helpful in knowing if you can squeeze under when the bridge keeper is at lunch!
PC-Navigo is useful anywhere, particularly for planning journeys and stoppage warnings but also for real-time navigation. The ANWB charts (like the Fluviacartes) are much more informative. A very good tool, if you have a tablet is the Nautical Maps app (by TheMobileCompany) which uses the ANWB charts. Some people kow it as the ANWB app (as it was once). This is cheap and excellent for navigation in the Netherlands. If you don't need the planning features of PC-N, this a very good tool for a visit, avoiding the quite high cost of the paper charts.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Jan Pieterse, Andrew Maxwell
We are planning to travel north from France thru Belgium to the Netherlands this season and are gathering navigational tools. PC Navigo looks useful, but does it replace the ANWB charts, or are those still needed?