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An Apology and a Tip

First, the apology

I just discovered that a MailChimp draft email I worked on a week or so ago was sent unintentionally to my customers and subscribers. I apologise for my error. I will revert to individual emails.

Last, the tip – OriBooklet

This is for those of you who do not get OCAD newsletters. This item is about a mobile based mapping app for OCAD users.

4. Oribooklet App – Mapping with a Cell Phone
Oribooklet is a free app for Android, made for mapping with a cell phone only. It has a simple and straightforward interface to map objects in the terrain. Once your field job is done, you can export a .gpx file, which you can later import in OCAD and assign to symbols.
At the moment, Oribooklet works with ISOM 2017-2, ISSOM 2007 and ISSprOM 2019, in English, Portuguese and Spanish. Many thanks to Haroldo Cavalcanti for designing the app and sharing it with the orienteering world.
For more information, see this slideshow.
For installation, go to Google Play Store.

In reading the app guide it seemed to me that this is very well designed. So I tried it out. The result is that I can recommend you try it if you think a mobile app may be useful in your mapping. Make sure you setup Preferences first, especially the amil address to which your Saved file will be sent. However, you can get the file from Documents/Oribooklet  in your mobile.

I did have an issue in that only 3 of the list of control symbol groups would show on my screen. In conversation with the designer Haroldo, it appears this isn’t uncommon on some Motorola models even though the app is set to conform to screen size. He is working on mine. I do get everything showing on my Lenovo TAB 7.

For the few of you who use an external GPSr via Bluetooth to a mobile, be aware that OriBooklet does not appear to pick up the mock GPS provider channel. It continues to rely on the mobile’s GPS device which on my old Moto E 2nd Gen probably isn’t even getting Glonass satellites. So while my GNSS Commander app was showing 20 to 26 satellites with 12 or so in use, OriBooklet via Moto was reporting between 6 and 8 – unsure whether that is ‘in use’ or ‘visible’. Haroldo is going to see what is involved in incorporating mock GPS provider reception into the app.

Summarising, it seems to me that this app is well worth trying out if you think mobile mapping will be useful to you.

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GNSS Devices in Mapping

Geostationary Satellites

GNS 2000 Plus

Key features

I finally found a small GNSS device that met my key criteria of;

  • handles GPS, Glonass and Galileo satellite constellations
  • small enough to affix to my helmet or hat for best satellites view
  • stores track data for later retrieval

Most either store data for later retrieval or transmit live via Bluetooth but don’t store. The GNS 2000 Plus does both if you select to transmit via Bluetooth. Bluetooth transmission is the default. Storing is effected by rapid Off-On after you turn on the only switch on the device. But make sure you observe the light pattern that confirms you are in storage mode. I find both methods work well.

Satellites in view

This was an eye opener. Without access to Galileo, in the forest I was sometimes getting (via Bluetooth GPS app) barely sufficient usable satellites for good performance.

Add in Galileo and total satellites visible was at least 22 with 12 in use. In general, more satellites in use means better accuracy. As the signal from one satellite in use deteriorates, the next best is swapped in.

What’s not so good?

I wanted a POI button on my GNSSr but very few have these. However, to my pleasant surprise I found that Bluetooth to a smart device with OruxMaps as the tracking app, gives me not just POI function but also easy capability for making notes directly.

It isn’t IPX rated for climatic conditions. However if rain is threatening I put it in a ziplock bag.

The GNS 2000 Plus records a track point to the device only every 5 seconds. However, data transmitted to a smart device via Bluetooth, whether or not also recording to the GNS device, gives 1 second intervals – in fact typically 3 records per second. See my correction post for further information.

When setting the function to record on the GNS device, carefully observe that the green light flashes quickly 3 times as the switching to effect this is time sensitive. [This section updated 24 May 2019 to note BT 1 second intervals – thanks Rob Plowright].

For mtbo I find 5 seconds acceptable. I am used to riding at 12 km/h or less while mapping (at a significant cost of disc brake pads) which means a track point every 17m. On detailed track I tend to go slower and at junctions I generally stop. For foot-o, the Bluetooth transmission gives detailed data and if desired, the GNS device recording can also be on as a backup.

Originally I was disturbed at the lack of ability to set various parameters. Now I am a convert to the simplicity.

Tracking against Trimble

The Lerderderg Track (Vic) trail was originally surveyed on foot in 2000 using a professional Trimble with mushroom antenna. So this is a very good standard against which to compare the GNS 2000 Plus while riding. The Trimble track was supplied smoothed. The pic shows a track portion.

GNS 2000 ride vs Trimble walk in bush

The GNS 2000 Plus was on my helmet thus giving it the same exposure to satellites as the Trimble mushroom antenna. I also wore on my wrist my Suunto Ambit 2S and it showed noticeably more variation. My interpretation is that the addition of Galileo satellite access has enabled the GNS 2000 Plus to virtually match the professional Trimble year 2000 model.

Not all plain sailing

Talking of plain sailing, this device was developed mainly for small plane including sail plane use – hence the 5 second interval. Geoff Peck and I worked on resolving a number of issues. These revolved around getting the track data from all of GPS Glonass, Galileo etc from the device through to a gpx or kml/kmz file format for OCAD.

We found the popular GPS Bluetooth app recommended by GNS 2000 Plus did not handle satellites other than GPS and Glonass! Eventually we came across GNSS Commahttps://www.facebook.com/pilablunder app which as you can see from the images above, handles data from all constellations. So we had the means of getting the data and GNSS Commander would also store it and even email it afterwards.

But I wanted the ability to manage the tracks on the phone, especially creating POIs with text info. Also on occasion having a background map whether online topo or my own orienteering or trail map. Many apps were presented but only one suited – OruxMaps. I originally looked at it askance as it had so many functions. But I found it very simple to set up and use for what I wanted. It also will upload your track to their website or GPSies.com or a few others. However, I just connect via cable to my PC and get it that way already in GPX format.

GNSS 2000 Plus with laptop

Judging by some online chat groups, it can be problematic getting a GNSS device to work with an OCAD on a laptop in the field.

So I did a test and found that using Bluetooth as COM6 at max rate on my PC made the connection. I then started OCAD 2019 Real-Time GPS. When I tried the Test function, data flowed through but an Invalid Data message displayed and stayed on for every record. However, I recalled that my trusty GPS Utility software found an invalid NMEA header in a GNS 2000 Plus file so guessed the error message might be staying on despite the rest of the data being OK.

So it proved and in live mode it worked fine. OCAD Inc should have fixed the persistent error message problem by now.


I have had a breakthrough with the Holux situation on windows 10.  
I started with installing the drivers below and my RCV-3000 now works with the ezTour software. Then to my amazement the 1200e now works also.
https://www.silabs.com/products/development-tools/software/usb-to-uart-bridge-vcp-drivers
I still can’t get the data off in Ocad although the real time gps works but this is not a major issue for me as the export can be done from eztour.

The above from Andrew Slattery for all those Holux GPSr users out there

GNS 2000 Plus In the field

The GNS 2000 Plus got a good workout in the final stages of preparing the Lerderderg Track map. I have since used it on other maps. I mostly ride with the device on my helmet. More recently while walking to check the map for the Daylesford permanent orienteering course, I fixed it to my cap using a combo of velcro strap and 2 safety pins.

GNS2000+ on hat

With my mobile strapped to the bike bar I mostly use Bluetooth – GNSS Commander – OruxMaps principally to enable recording of POIs on the mobile along with comments. I haven’t bothered to date with loading a map of the area into OruxMaps. When in mobile range I can use the generic online maps but find they are of little or no assistance.

Getting OCAD maps into OruxMaps is simply a matter of exporting in GeoTiff format (TIF including World file), then copying those two files into my mobile OruxMaps MapsFiles folder per image below.

OruxMaps files on mobile
map files in OruxMaps app on mobile

The wrap

Despite it’s apparent limitation of recording every 5 seconds, I have found the GNS 2000 Plus to be highly satisfactory for my use in developing mtbo maps and trail maps. When I used it in checking a foot-o map, I found that it delivered dramatically better results than the original mapper’s GPSr – checked via NearMap and my many prior mappings of those tracks over the years. So I believe it is quite likely at least as good as any other GNSSr in its price range – if there is such a thing.

Geoff Peck and I have been sharing experiences re access to Galileo, SBAS, Beidou etc on GNSS devices. We have managed to surmount a number of hurdles along the way and are pleased to share our experiences. Use the Comments section to ask and we will reply there to share with all users of this blog

I bought my GNS 2000 Plus, $175, from a company Geoff recommended – Melbourne based Oz Pilot. Their online shop doesn’t specify the GNS 2000 is the Plus tri-ceiver model, but just specify that in your order and that is what you will get.

Off course

Latest knOCAD post

Symbol Set Conversion warning.

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OCAD 2018 meets year 2019

Red-Green colour vision impairment image

Progress

The continuous rollout of improvements to OCAD is exactly as promised by OCAD Inc when the subscription method was announced. A very few of those are;

  • A raft of enhancements to Course Setting
  • Check Legibility also by a selected area of map.
  • Manage Background Maps: Option when opening, to transfer background map co-ordinate system.
  • Remove undershoots (use with caution on mtbo maps) and overshoots.
  • Magnetic north: Rotate Map to MN and also New Map Wizard option to orient to MN.

OCAD 2019 is just a name

Soon you will see OCAD 2019 as the branding. As the versioning process is now carried out continuously, the name does not represent a new major version. From 2020 the branding will likely revert to OCAD. I suggested OCAD 21st Century but maybe Fox would object.

OCAD version conversions

For my customers

For my my OCAD 11, 12, 2018/19 customers, conversions from OCAD 5 upwards are now available to your current version. Preferably upload to Dropbox, Google Drive or similar and email me the link and your request . Please provide your licence # with your request.

These will be processed most weeks, usually on a Tuesday. No charge but a donation to junior orienteering will be appreciated by them.

For other OCAD users

Having just converted a number of files from OCAD 5 to OCAD 7 (the latter can be opened by OCAD 9), I realised this facility might be useful for others. If so, zip them up, upload to Dropbox, Google Drive or similar and email me the link and your request. You don’t have to be a customer of mine.

Usually 1 to 3 weeks. No charge but a donation to junior orienteering will be appreciated by them.


Off course

Image of worldwide magnetic declination ca. 2017
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ISOM Conversions & IOF Mapping Conference

ICOM 2018 Presentation

Easily convert symbol sets

Convert an existing file

  1. open your source (e.g. ISOM 2010) map
  2. save as with new name
  3. Map > Symbol Set Conversion…
  4. enter the target symbol set
  5. select the relevant crt file (e.g. ISMTBOM 2010)
  6. displayed in left list are source symbols and in right are target symbols
  7. for any unticked source symbols, complete or leave the target symbol
  8. OK
  9. in new map, Select > Select Objects by Symbol > Objects with unknown symbol, to identify symbols that were not converted.
  10. further information http://www.ocad.com/wiki/ocad/en/index.php?title=Symbol_Set_Conversion

Conversions available

Two step conversions

Some conversions such as OSM to MTBO do not have ready made crt files. Using a plain text editor you could create your own crt file perhaps using one of the existing ones as a base.

OSM to MTBO

If using the New Map Wizard to create an MTBO base map, you need to use a 2 stage process as there is no OSM to MTBO crt file.

Create the base map with ISOM 2017 as the target. Then use the Symbol set conversion process to get the base map to ISMTBOM 2017 symbols.
See my post on using the New Map Wizard to create base maps.

International Conference on Orienteering Mapping 2018

Presentations by OCAD Inc Staff

There were two presentations by OCAD Inc staff.

Hubert Klauser’s presentation covered two topics;

  • generalising orienteering maps with TPI contours
  • using the Check Legibility tool

Gian-Reto Schaad’s presentation was on Semi-automatic Extraction of Near-ground Vegetation from Lidar Data

School map symbols

School map from Mapping Commission work group (nice design!)

The IOF Mapping Commission presented their proposals for school orienteering map symbols.

It is interesting to see the variety of symbols currently in use for typical school objects.

Colours for the colour vision impaired

Adrian Uppill was a co-developer of a presentation on Solutions for orienteers with colour vision defects. If the Eureka Orienteers’ permanent orienteering course in Daylesford, VIC completes its funding, Adrian’s work on this topic will be put into practice.

Other presentations

The full list or presentations is at https://orienteering.org/presentations-from-icom-2018/
Videos at https://www.facebook.com/groups/485564718218028/videos/
The videos’ sound quality is poor.

Off the map

Michael Kenna’s magical trees.

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OCAD tools to create base maps

Towering cumulus over Leanganook

New Map Wizard

2018

Use New Map Wizard to quickly create a georeferenced orienteering base map. Even correctly oriented to magnetic north if you like. The process uses Open Street Map (OSM) and converts to your selected OCAD symbol set. You can easily add more symbol translations to the CRT translation file.

Simply want to georeference a new blank base map or any existing map? The process is much the same but use the resultant georeferenced map as a background map to georeference. Generally OSM major road junctions are best and they don’t have to be on the orienteering area.

OSM to OCAD via OCAD New Map Wizard
OSM data converted to OCAD – Daylesford, Wombat Hill and Railway Station

Check out the  2.5 minute video on screencast. Download an example OCAD map that also shows 5m contours derived from the time glutton DEM option.

WMS Server

2018, 12, 11

WMS Server (under Background Maps in menu) is a fast and efficient way of obtaining base map data in the form of background maps or map data.

A 12 minute mp4 video of the process using LandTasmania Spatial Web Services as an example, can be downloaded from Google Drive. (Unfortunately an audio issue with online Screencast prevents easy online viewing).

Topo map displayed via OCAD WMS Server function
Topo map displayed in WMS server

Page 23 of the LandTasmania LIST Spatial Web Services User Guide contains the URLs used in the video along with context.