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ISOM 2017 Colour Test

ISOM 2017 digital presss colours

ISOM 2017 colours for digital printISOM 2017 cover

In July 2017, OCAD Inc added their ISOM2017 orienteering map template. When you File > New and select an ISOM 2017  template, you can read in the displayed Map Notes;

ISOM 2017 – International Specification for Orienteering Maps
CMYK color values optimized for digital printing with Heaven Soft paper on Xerox Versant by frey-print & design, CH-Birr. Copyright OCAD AG 2018-01-18

With a continued move to digital print of orienteering maps, OCAD had decided that it was time to explore a CMYK colour range suited specifically to that medium. (Note that templates are still provided with the original colour table which is more suited to offset CMYK printing). In conjunction with leading Swiss O map printer, Frey Print, they  optimised the CMYK colours for Heaven Soft paper printed on a Xerox Versant digital press. Continue reading ISOM 2017 Colour Test

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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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Updating to ISOM 2017

ISOM 2017 cover

Having troubles with ISOM 2017 update?

Many mappers are updating archive maps to ISOM 2017 and using ISOM 2017 for 2017 events. Some mappers have experienced issues in converting so this post provides links to useful information. And in Aiming off below, check out Mesa2, a top device for OCAD mapping in the field. Continue reading Updating to ISOM 2017

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Working collaboratively on OCAD

Could be a great mtbo area

Three situations for working collaboratively on OCADCollaboration image

The primary reasons I see for using this facility are

  1. collaboration between mapper and course planner
  2. collaboration between multiple mappers of an area
  3. for a major event, monitoring by the mapping co-ordinator of mapper progress and compliance

Continue reading Working collaboratively on OCAD

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New Hypsometric Ramps for OCAD DEM Based Maps

Hypsometric tinting ramps expand

OCAD DEM colour ramps image
OCAD DEM colour ramps

The mapper of smaller scale maps such as trail maps, may be interested to know that three new colour ramps have been added to the hypsometric tinting choices in a coming OCAD update. One ramp allows choice of colours in up to 10 bands.


Brown – Yellow colour ramp

Brown - Yellow hypsometric image
Brown – Yellow hypsometric

Brown (high elevation) – Yellow (low) offers a ramp similar to that of the Sustrans UK touring cycle maps. It is easy on the eye yet effective. The ramp in the image is at 50m intervals on a 1:100,000 scale map (and like our Spa Country Explorer trail maps, it is printed on Pretex).

Research shows that many users of hypsometric tinted maps think that colours have meaning for ground content as well as elevation. For example a tint that has green at the lowest level implies to those users that the green also represents forest or farmland. Therefore there has been effort to avoid colour ramps that could give rise to such confusion.

On the full map of the Brown – Yellow image, the cartographers have added a green overlay for specific forest sections. Those are not large areas so it does work well. (See Shaded Relief website below for an article Evaluating Cross Blended Hypsometric Tints)

Red – Yellow colour ramp

Lerderderg Red-Yellow ramp image
Red-Yellow hypsometric

While Brown – Yellow colour ramp tends towards subtle, Red – Yellow is striking yet not glaring. The ramp used in the image is per 100m on part of an 80km trail trial map. The yellow is the Lerderderg Gorge (VIC).

I also trialled showing 50m contours on this 100m ramp. It may well be useful for less expert mountain bike riders who may be more conscious of elevation change when planning trips.

Colour yourself purple

The Greyscale Interval colour ramp is very useful addition. It produces a greyscale 10 segment ramp with each segment at your specified contour interval.

Using an image processing tool you can select each greyscale level in the resulting TIFF background  file and change to a colour of your choosing.

After processing a segmented greyscale, I started up the ubiquitous IrfanView (free but well worth a donation). Sure enough, I found it had the ability to easily select a greyscale and change it to another colour. Below is the before and after image I generated using this process. Not a colour ramp you would use for real but you are welcome to add it to your art collection 🙂

Selectable hypsometric tints OCAD & post-OCAD image
Selectable hypsometric tints OCAD & post-OCAD

Further reading

For those interested in exploring hypsometric tinting specifically or shaded relief generally, then these two websites are good resources.

Shaded Relief website

Relief shading website Some superb hand drawn relief shading including an example produced during 1838-45. I learnt that DEM based relief shading is termed Analytical Relief Shading.

Jim’s Cartography website has some viewable maps that use relief shading effectively without including contours. Jim Lewis is a NZ  OCAD user.