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Getting Started with OCAD Course Setting

OCAD Course Setting (Planning) learner guides

While the term Course Planning is more common down under, Course Setting (CS) is used in this item because that is the name of the OCAD product.

Neil Crickmore’s PDF guide

Still the best guide for the basics

Way back, Neil Crickmore of Southdown Orienteers UK, created an excellent illustrated guide to Course Setting using OCAD 9. I checked this out against OCAD 11 Course Setting and with a few exceptions detailed below, Neil’s guide is still valuable for learning the basics of OCAD 11 Course Setting.

Changes since the OCAD 9 version

There are no page numbers so the sub-titles below refer to the page title in the guide.

This illustration from the OCAD wiki on Course Setting would be a useful addition to the front of the guide.

OCAD 11 Course Setting panel
OCAD 11 Course Setting panel

If you need to move a control

Right click and hold to drag the handle…”. That should be ‘Left click…’.

If you need to renumber a control

The change code box has changed from textual ‘Change code’ to the graphic ’31 -> 32′.

Similarly ‘Text block…’ has changed to ‘T’. A padlock symbol is added for locking/unlocking all course setting objects.

Image of change from OCAD 9 text to OCAD 11 graphic
From OCAD 9 text to OCAD 11 graphic

Creating courses

“Course > Courses” should be “Course Setting > Courses” as the menu item is now ‘Course Setting”.

In OCAD 11, climb is entered in the Height climb used field.

Entering course climb
Entering course climb in the Course panel

Adding control descriptions

The heavy lining in the guide around the description placement symbol could lead you to think it is a square and thus be confused with two other square symbols in the set. It is the purple corner symbol.

Control Description symbol
Control Description symbol

The last action on the page is better described as ‘draw’ rather than ‘create’, because after selecting the symbol you need to draw a rectangle of white.

See also OCAD video Course Setting basics.

Improving print clarity

Here is the missing instruction on how to break a control circle.

Make sure you are not in Preview mode. Select the control circle with either of the Edit arrows. Select the cutting tool and drag it along the part of the control circle that you wish to erase.  To restore a cut in a circle, with the cutting tool click in the circle gap and the gap will close.

See also OCAD video Making modifications

A note here re MTBO courses. Because an MTBO map is read at a fixed distance, simply using overprint to show symbols under a control circle or line is not sufficient in my opinion. I recommend you always break the circle or line wherever there is important information, such as a track, under the circle or line.

Exporting course information

There are now changed, and more, Export options.

See also OCAD video Exporting courses to results software

OCAD’s online video set

A comprehensive set of Course Setting video instruction is available amongst the OCAD Inc. Learn Videos. There are 22 videos in this set. They are available for viewing online as a Flash video. Or download a zip file containing OCAD instructional files.

For those that strongly prefer visual training, this is the way to go although Neil’s guide is faster to assimilate.

The videos explore more esoteric aspects as well as the basics. See the full list below.

Score & Rogaining events

OCAD CS has limited capability for score events.

  • You can allocate  the same points to each control (scatter event)
  •  Or you can use the control number or control code as the point value for each control.

If the latter, you select to show either the number or the code for each control.

See also OCAD wiki Score Orienteering and OCAD video Score Orienteering

For rogaining and variable point value orienteering score events, use Condes or Purple Pen.

For any of the above you can program SportIdent to allocate points per control.

Course Setting videos
Course Setting video list
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Getting Starting with OCAD Cartography


The OCAD 11 Getting Started Guide

With a flurry of OCAD Starter editions sold in recent months this should be a useful guide. It is included with each

Bezier curve drawings
Bezier curve drawings

installation of OCAD 11 and you can easily access it via the Help menu in OCAD. It contains links to the OCAD wiki for fuller treatment of various items.

Or here it is. Getting Started in OCAD 11

Drawing Bezier curves

While the Guide covers the basics of drawing those wonderfully useful and professional looking Bezier curves, there is also a sheet of exercises (image at right) that I find very useful.  This Bezier exercises OCAD file is found in OCAD at File | Open Sample Map by selecting Samples / Bezier / BezierExercise.ocd

You will also notice a BezierExerciseResult.ocd file to check your attempt against. The image at right can also be used as a drawing template by loading it as a background image via Background Map | Open and navigating your way to the Samples / Bezier folder within the OCAD 11 program folder. Or if you want a version with English translation then download it here – Bezier exercise with English translation

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From GPS and Google Maps to Spatial Computing

Curious about spatial computing? Or more than curious?

Course logo
Course logo

This course from the University of Minnesota via Coursera delves into spatial computing for geographic information systems (GIS). Now that might seem heavy going but the course caters for three different goals of participants;

  • Curiosity – learn about one or two spatial concepts of interest to you
  • Concepts – learn about spatial concepts but not get involved in programming or statistics
  • Technical – the lot!

Why might this course interest you?

If, like me, you use data from various sources then you will doubtless have run into issues ranging from data formats to co-ordinate systems to projections to …. So you might want more than a passing knowledge of what you are dealing with.

I am hopeful the Curiosity track will increase my knowledge of co-ordinate systems and projections so I can bother Russell Rigby a little less. And if I can get through at least some of the Concepts track maybe I will further broaden my knowledge of ESRI Shape files and the like as I use them in nearly every map I produce.

This course introduces concepts, algorithms, programming, theory and design of spatial computing technologies such as global positioning systems (GPS), Google Maps, location-based services and geographic information systems. Learn how to collect, analyze, and visualize your own spatial datasets while avoiding common pitfalls and building better location-aware technologies.

Best of all…

It is free unless you specifically want a certificate of attainment.

You will find out that egocentric maps exist but they are not necessarily your maps 🙂 And did you know orienteering maps are allocentric?

Sign up here. But be warned, it does take a fair bit of time and commitment. 8 weeks of 4-10 hours per week. However I understand you have until Christmas to complete it.





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Is that clearing worth mapping?

Stochastic screening

Translating symbol size to ground size and vice versa

This is the first of occasional tips aimed at less experienced mappers. They can be selected via the 101 (as in course 101) tag.

Not infrequently I think a small clearing might be worth putting on the map only to find that it is microscopic when I add it. Sure, if it is very important to navigation, I can exaggerate it on the map but that is rarely the case.

Another frequent poser occurs when mapping a track. Is a noticeable but shortish section of change in rideability feasible to show?

I realised I would save a lot of time if I knew while in the field whether these and similar features would be distinguishable on the map.

Translation table

This table can be translated both ways. Although it is for foot orienteering maps, the principles can be used to prepare for other situations and indeed for other scales of orienteering map. The image below is low resolution (click on it for a larger image) but download links for high quality PDF and OCAD files are also given below.

When you see that the symbol for a small boulder translates to 6m spread on the ground, you quickly realise why boulder cluster and boulder field symbols are necessary. This situation also reinforces why the relationship between features is important as we  cannot always plot them precisely on the map.

ISOM 2000 symbol to terra firma sizing

If the person who created this guide back in 2001 contacts me, I will be pleased to acknowledge their work.


[ilink url=”” style=”download”]ISOM symbols sized on the ground[/ilink] This pdf is at 1:7,500 for ease of reading.

[ilink url=”” style=”download”]ISOM symbols sized on ground – OCAD 9[/ilink]  This is a zipped file. OCAD v9 format offers widest compatibility.

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