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Improvements to ISOM 2017 in OCAD

ISOM 2017 cover

ISOM, ISSOM, ISMTBOM, ISSkiOM symbols & colours

Color Swatch
Color Swatch screen

The release of ISOM 2017 symbol templates and colour tables by OCAD Inc has engendered a fair amount of discussion. Mostly to do with why the IOF Mapping Commission decided this or that. However, there have been some queries on the implementation by OCAD Inc.

A few of these resulted in changes that should appear in the next OCAD 12 service update. If you need to be on song now or if you use earlier versions of OCAD, then here are some of those changes. You can thank Michael Wood for his attention to detail and persistence in checking aspects of ISOM 2017 implementation and OCAD inc for their prompt responses.

Note that these changes may well apply to some or all of ISSOM, ISMTBOM, ISSkiOM.

107 Blue colour – earlier ISOMs

In OCAD’s ISOM 2000 colour table, this colour had the overprint ticked which causes it to appear green when overlaid on yellow. ISOM 2017 and other new O ISMs have overprint unticked for the equivalent Blue such as 14 Blue in ISOM 2017. If you have an earlier version of OCAD and are fairly new to orienteering mapping then it may be advisable to check that overprint is unticked for 107 Blue or whatever Blue was used for water line features if you are unsatisfied with how it looks in use.

19 Black colour, ISSOM

This black for passable walls and tramways will change to have overprint turned off. This means it will remain distinct regardless of the colour underneath.

Fence symbol – tags, old OCAD versions

In some much older OCAD versions, the fence symbol tags are the other way. So if converting maps from  those older OCAD conversions, it is advisable to check whether the re-orientation of the tags affects clarity of the map in some situations.

301.004 symbol,  ISOM 2017

This symbol which has a border will now have an accompanying symbol without border. Michael Wood found that there are occasions where a symbol without border is required;

  • where the symbol adjoins an impassable marsh.
  • when exporting part of a map, if the edge of a partial area cuts a lake, it creates an artificial border.
  • converting lakes without border lines to lakes with border lines may end up with two border lines.

Symbol Set conversion tool

And a reminder about my recent post on converting to ISOM 2017.

Aiming off…

Kyneo GNSS project image
Kyneo GNSS project

Build your own GPS receiver and data logger

Kyneo of Spain is the Open Navigation Platform for the GNSS of Things. Your youngster could join an open-source project building on the readily available Arduino system to develop you a portable GPS/Glonass GPS receiver, logger at a reasonable price.

OCAD  mappers who produce recreation & tourism maps

Jon Sutcliffe has just released the new SutMap series of Snowy Mountain Maps. Printed on waterproof stock like all good outdoor maps, the range comprises Kosciuszko, Schlink Pass and  Jajungal. For buskwalkers, mtb riders, skiers, trail runners …

Mark Roberts and Gillian Duncan of Organised Grime now have four outdoor recreation map books for visitors to SE Queensland. The maps are detailed for the use yet uncluttered and are accompanied by useful commentary. We will be taking three next time we visit the area;

Brisbane Valley Rail Trail
Brisbane Valley Rail Trail map book

Over the ditch, Jim Lewis of Jim’s Cartography Services produces recreation and tourism maps of his Taupo region plus specialised maps. And if you need a map graticule (romer in old terminology)  then he is your guy.

Yours truly Ken Dowling through MapSport offers trail maps of the Wombat Forest (VIC) and environs for mtb riders, bushwalkers and trail runners. These are available free as downloadable PDF and just starting to be available on Avenza.

Free listing for OCAD licenced mappers

Flick me an email info at with brief details of the mapping services and/or products you provide along with your OCAD licence #. If there is sufficient interest I will get back to you for more info to compile a listing on a new services and product page.  You can have acquired your licence from me or direct from OCAD. No charge.

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The Lost Art of Navigation?

Map and Compass are not dead in the great outdoors…

… according to Tarquin Cooper and British adventurers Alastair Humphreys and Tristan Gooley (also author of The Natural Navigator).

Read the article The Lost Art of Navigation to find out why map and compass should still be used in this age of GPSrs.

Lichen on all sides
Lichen on all sides

btw I rather wonder whether The Natural Navigator has the tip about finding direction by checking for lichen growing on the side of trees? This photo is of the north side of a sign in Wheatsheaf, VIC. If you didn’t notice the other sides, which were similarly lichened, then you would likely be in directional trouble.

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VIC, NSW, NZ Release Free Spatial Data

data.vic home page extract

Recent releases

July saw Victoria follow NSW in making available online, free spatial data free. New Zealand’s LINZ released a significant amount of aerial imagery with more to follow. I checked out the VIC release and created a quick guide for those not familiar with accessing spatial data.

Apart from being useful to create base maps, spatial data makes it easy to georeference existing maps. The most useful data sets for orienteering and rogaining are elevation (contours, spot heights), transport (road, rail, tracks), hydro (lakes, streams, watercourses), property boundaries and vegetation density. Most of those data sets have associated infrastructure but some might be obtained from a features data set.

The remainder of this post deals with my quick survey of the VIC offering. The situation is likely to be broadly similar in other states.


900 data sets released on

While Orienteering Victoria has had a free data licence for some years, acquiring a data set cost $200 for the work involved. Not to mention the time of orienteers in preparing and submitting the application.

Now you can download seemingly any or all of the six data sets useful to map sports to some degree.

Rail data on map
Preview of rail data overlaid on map

[unordered_list style=”green-dot”]

  • Elevation
  • hydro
  • transport
  • vegetation
  • features
  • property.


Another 100 data sets will be available by September.

Locating your data sets

Easiest is to download the Guide below and search using the ID attached to each recommended data set. If you wish to peruse at leisure then read on.

Each data set may appear in multiple categories. For sport purposes, it appears easiest to search for or select a data set name that includes the words VicMap 1:25,000. These data sets include subsets that otherwise you would need to locate and order individually. For example, Vicmap Hydro 1:25,000 includes subsets watercourses (rivers, streams, channels…), water points (ponds, dams…), water areas (lakes, reservoirs…).

However, the listings are not perfect. For example at time of writing, the Spatial | Transport section does not include VicMap Transport 1:25,000 but does include VicMap Vegetation 1:25,000 (I have notified this).

A quick guide

For the uninitiated, selection of an appropriate data set may seem daunting when you first hit For example, if you select Transport from the category list shown you end up with social data sets, not spatial data sets. You first have to select Spatial, then the relevant sub category.

And which data format you select depends upon your edition of OCAD. For Professional, select ESRI Shape. For Standard, select Autocad DXF.

To assist, while watching the exciting Tour de France Mont Ventoux stage, I delved into the web site and prepared a quick guide which you can download. It will not be perfect but it should help you avoid long detours. I will update it as necessary (let me know of any errors) and am working on some short video guides.

[ilink url=”” style=”download”]Guide to access free VIC spatial data.[/ilink]    1 page pdf. Updated 17 July 2013.

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VIC Mountain Biking Maps Released

Creswick Walk / Cycle brochure mapCreswick Walk Cycle front page


A2 size full colour brochure with a map taking most of one side. Target is principally families looking for opportunities to walk or ride in the town parks or nearby bush. Other visitors such as runners, non-family are catered for to some extent.

Production team

An ad hoc local group comprising a writer, photographer, mapper (Mapsport Cartographic) with a publisher as project manager produced this A2 size full colour brochure to promote the varied walking and off road cycling possibilities around Creswick, Victoria. Hepburnshire Council initiated and oversaw the project, input was sought from relevant local groups and a professional graphic designer showcased our work beautifully.


The trails were graded gentle, moderate and adventurous. As the brochure is aimed principally at families, ‘adventurous’ is more akin to moderate for a seasoned trail mountain bike and maybe ‘gentle’ for a technically proficient rider.

The 1:15,000 scale allows easy reading while giving enough scope for two adventurous mtb trails of 20+km in total. Both those trails link with the 210km Goldfields Track multi-use trail. A 1km grid makes distance calculation easy for those not used to scales. Unusually for a tourism map, contours are included to allow assessment by mountain bikers of the relative steepness of trails.

Where available

The brochure is now available free of charge at the Creswick Visitor Centre and other centres including Ballarat, Daylesford and Castlemaine. Some bike shops may stock them.

Cyclic Navigator enduro mountain bike navigation map

New Zealand Gully extract
New Zealand Gully extract


The 5th staging of Cyclic Navigator (VIC) event since 2004 saw 74 riders from VIC, SA and NZ covering 64 sq. km on mountain bikes as solos or in pairs. There was a fairly even split between the 4 hour and 6 hour groups.

Production team

Cartography by Ken. Field work by Anitra, Ken plus 2 days by Andrew Slattery of SA. Printed on Pretex on a Konica Minolta 6501 using settings developed by Ken.


The map scale was 1:30,000 with 10m contour interval. For ease of reading on the move, symbols were maintain at the size used in 1:20,000 mountain bike orienteering maps. Feedback indicate this worked well and the care taken to still represent the angles of track junctions, met with approval.

Tracks were classified in terms of width and rideability using a 2×3 matrix. Sealed roads were an additional symbol. Due to storms and fires in recent years, many tracks were becoming difficult to distinguish and these were indicated using green instead of black. Spring growth in the three weeks prior to the event moved even more tracks into that indistinct class.

The map was prepared using DSE (state government)  digital data as a base. Tracks were surveyed with GPS by car, mtb and foot over four months of weekends. GPSrs used were Garmin eTrex Vista H on foot, Garmin Forerunner 205 & 305 on bike and Holux M1200e in the car and sometimes on the bike. The latter being very small, was ale to be placed in the sunroof space or on helmet to maximise satellite access. There are issues with the Holux software but these are gradually being resolved using 3rd party software such as GPSBabel.

The map was printed on Pretex, a water resistant stock made from pulp and synthetics. It is widely used in Europe for orienteering maps and leisure maps. It is not available in Australia so we imported it.

Software employed was principally OCAD for cartography, Condes course planning, GPS Utility for GPSr downloads and massage, GPSBabel for Holux data downloads.