Posted on Leave a comment

OCAD 11. File | Import : Journal #7

OCAD logo

New symbol set or meld a map – colours to the top

Colour table prior to import
Colour table prior to import

You’ve imported a new symbol set to an existing map, converted various symbols and then realise some of those symbols are not showing up on the map. Or maybe you have imported an existing map to meld with a new or adjacent map and have the same issue.

It is likely that the colours for those symbols are below every colour in the original symbol set. If there are many new symbols and/or many existing symbols, it can be time consuming to move colours up the table. But all is not lost.

Fixing the colour table sequence

Take a copy of your map for safety. Select all the new symbols, right click and Delete. File | Import the new symbol set as an empty OCAD file and select the option to place colours at top of colour table. After import, all the symbols on the map are re-engaged with the new symbol set and should now be visible.

Getting it right first time

Colour table after import
After import, new colours in top

For a clean run, simply File | Import the new symbol set as an empty OCAD file and select the option to place colours at top of colour table. If you are melding an existing map file then File | Import that file and select the option to place colours at top of colour table.

Looking ahead

This function is on the OCAD AG wish list to include in Map | Load colours & symbols from… That will negate the need to have an empty map file when you simply wish to import new symbols.

Posted on Leave a comment

Suppress Autojoin with the Shift Key

Mark's Maps logo

A Mark Roberts handy hint

If, like me, you draw a lot of suburban streets to their correct size (see you will find that OCAD autojoins rather aggressively because it takes into account the width of the symbol when deciding the autojoin threshold.

Drawn offset – now joined!

So if you have autojoin on (I like it) and are zoomed all the way in (32x) to precisely draw a road which is 10 metres wide, OCAD will autojoin that road to any other similar road which is within 10 metres, which is 32mm on the screen! When drawing with the bezier/curve tool it will even bend the road to make it join.

Drawing two roads which don’t quite meet; if the distance between their endpoints is less than the width of the road they autojoin. When using the bezier tool not only does the endpoint move but also the angle.

This makes drawing roads that join at a roundabout very arduous as you have to correct all of the autojoins – not only their location but their angle. Even worse, the autojoin occurs when you finish drawing the object – so if you have panned as you draw the road, the autojoin at the beginning will happen out of sight.

Junction becomes an overpass?*!

Another example is a wide symbol (bike path with exaggerated width) stopping either side of a narrower symbol (narrow road) – the second bike path will always autojoin across the road to the first one.

Drawing a path which is broken for a road – if the path symbol is wider than the road symbol, the second line autojoins and leaps across the road.

This is obviously a bug but I have not been able to persuade the OCAD people to agree.

Ah, a solution of sorts

They have added a feature to OCAD 11 in response to my nagging: if you hold down the Shift key as you finish drawing an object, it will suppress autojoin. Note that different drawing tools finish drawing in different ways. The bezier/curve tool requires a right-click.

Drawing a road which joins a roundabout – if the road joins near the start/finish of the circle, it autojoins.

Shift is not the most obvious choice of key to suppress autojoin; if you hold down Shift when you start drawing a line it will force an autojoin and merge to any neighbouring similar object.

Organised Grime

Mark Roberts can be found hanging out at Organised Grime.

Posted on Leave a comment

Selecting OCAD Editions for an Orienteering Club

OCAD Trial image

Most clubsOCAD 11 Starter


The great value Starter editions for your occasional mappers. Standard for your power mappers. Free Viewer for anyone who needs to check out maps.


Starter does lack many functions of Standard. However, many are likely infrequently, if ever, used by occasional mappers. Some key ones to consider are;

  •  Large or highly detailed maps will be outside the limit of 10,000 map objects
  • Circle/ellipses and rectangular lines are commonly used drawing tools not available in Starter. Both can be effected in slower ways
  • Layout layer not available. Allows positioning of raster (.jpg etc) logos, advertisements etc
  • GPX import (often used for GPS files) and Open Street Map (OSM) are amongst imports not available
  • Exporting an OCAD Internet Map is not available.

Some clubsOCAD 11 Standard


Clubs that can afford to improve productivity for their not infrequent volunteer mappers could buy Standard for them as well as for their power mappers.


If Shape and OSM import or export required then Professional is needed. Similarly for creating OCAD Internet maps. Professional offers advanced productivity functions but in my reckoning, only orienteering professional mappers would likely notice those functions, let alone use them.

A few clubsOCAD 11 Professional


Any mapper preparing base maps frequently from GIS data (e.g. Shape files) and/or Open Street Map (OSM) extensively, will gain significant productivity from Professional. That could also be true if extensive import/export capabilities are required.


Productivity aside, if specialist requirements are uncertain over the next 2-3 years then perhaps stick to Standard knowing that an upgrade to Professional is always available.

Update considerations


I have found OCAD 11 (and 10) to be noticeably more productive than OCAD 9 and earlier.

OCAD 8 ‘club‘ license

The good news for OCAD  8 users is that you have every reason for updating and none for sticking to OCAD 8 (perhaps apart from cost). A few mappers mentioned OCAD 8’s ‘club’ license as a reason for sticking with OCAD 8. It isn’t a reason for sticking to OCAD 8 as OCAD 8 is a single PC license as with every OCAD version. (The license can be read in the OCAD 8 folder). The belief possibly came about when OCAD 9 introduced online activation. But that is simply a licence management method.

Posted on Leave a comment

Trimming Contours and other Lines

A Mark Roberts handy hint

Trimming contours at the edge of your map is a common and painful requirement but here’s a hint to reduce the hard work.

[This works just as excellently for trimming northing lines – Ken]

 The old way

First, here is the way I’ve always done it.

I have Preferences|Context Menu off and I have a keyboard shortcut (Ctrl-1) for Object|Cut Object|Cut Line.

Starting with the first contour selected and the cutting tool selected:

 Left click on contour to cut it

Right click twice to unselect contour and revert to selection tool

Left click on the next contour to select it

Ctrl-1 to select cutting tool …

 The easy method

Select th ecutting tool:

 Left click on contour to cut it

Alt-Left click on the next contour to select it

Left click on contour to cut it …

 Alt forces a different object to be selected and you still have the cutting tool! This method cuts contours with two clicks instead of four clicks and a keypress.

Thanks to Hubert Klauser at OCAD AG for this hint.

 Other methods

Map|Export Part of Map or Object|Crop Objects will also trim contours for you. But if you are trimming at a boundary line feature like a fence or a road, that gets trashed in the process.


Posted on Leave a comment

LIDAR in Orienteering Mapping

LIDAR example

What is LIDAR?LIDAR example

An excellent brief description can be found on this CSIRO web page.

NZ Experience

An interesting experience of use of LIDAR in orienteering mapping was recently posted on the NZ MapTalk’s Mapping forum, pages 38-39. The linkis in the sidebar on this page but more directly, head to Selwyn’s post of 7 June on the topic of Base map contours.

Finnish experience

In that post he mentions work by RouteGadget’s developer on automating orienteering map production from LIDAR sources. For those interested in LIDAR potential, this is well worth a visit. Find it on the RouteGadget Facebook page. (You might have to be a Facebook member to view).

USA experience

A 2005 article LIDAR Basemaps Come of Age by Greg Lennon of Quantico Orienteering Club, USA. The image upper right is from that article.

Australian experience

Best experience as at late 2017 is found on the Orienteeering Australia mapping pages.