Posted on Leave a comment

OCAD Inc’s Advent Calendar

OCAD Inc logo

OCAD’s Advent Calendar of functionsTopo socks

If you are on Facebook or Twitter then it may be well worth your while following OCAD Inc for a stream of useful functions. December 1st is about the DEM Import Wizard.

December  2nd is on moving building edges easily. Bet many of you didn’t know that one.

December 3rd is for course planners being on automatic control descriptions.

These are great introductions to OCAD for tyro OCAD users and reminders for we more mature OCAD users.

Aiming off…

Santa and sack
Santa Jymbo delivers

Free delivery for our Pretex buyers to Canberra. If you will be there then save big on delivery costs.

Jim Russell will be in Canberra on 15th December 2017 and Australia Day 2018. Place your order online and request Jim’s delivery on the order notes.

Posted on Leave a comment

Condes v9 Released

Condes and OCAD

Either of these course planning softwares delivers features in a new version for the other to follow in their next version. A competitive cycle that is good for orienteering. I don’t decry other such softwares such as Corpse and  Purple Pen. It is just that I have no experience of those.

[box type=”alert” size=”large” style=”rounded”]Some Australian users experience a download of about 20KB instead of 11MB. The reason is so far unknown and does not appear to be browser related. I had a successful download 2 days after a series of mis-loads. Contact Condes or myself if you have this issue and we can provide an alternative that is so far OK[/box]

Some of the new features

Firstly, Condes 9 supports OCAD 11 Layout Layer.

The new features are extensive and many solve quite complex matters in planning of relays and specialist courses. As you would expect, a lot of attention has been paid to course layout and control description features. While helping test the PDF export I discovered the following features amongst many and also noted a distinct improvement in the user interface.

PDF exportAdobe PDF icon

From my viewpoint as someone often  engaged in, and fielding questions on, map printing, the most important new feature is PDF Export. You can now do away with EPS from Condes and get high quality PDFs that you can check before they get to the printer. Just make sure you use the PDF Export function and not Print to PDF! And I can do away with a swag of EPS related guidelines in my resources area.

Course design

An example is that you can export real world coordinates to upload to your GPS to check control sites. Extremely useful for rogaining and I use it for orienteering course planning and checking also. If you scoff, just recall that we still have occasional control placement issues at orienteering events, even major ones. A GPS check doesn’t take long and certainly adds that extra degree of care that our paying customers expect. It won’t necessarily help with fine placement but should certainly avoid placement in a wrong gully.

Relay and special course types such as Butterfly, have a number of new features.

For MTBO and rogaining especially, the option to have a central dot in a control circle can now be done on an individual control basis.


If the course is based on an OCAD map, a subset of symbols can be selected to print. Thus you can easily create a contour only map within Condes. I wonder how much more difficult a track only map would be for MTBO?


Multiple SI or EMIT units can be related to one control location.

All new features

Read about them on the new Condes website.

[box type=”alert” style=”rounded” border=”full”]When using Condes 9 trial version, open only a COPY of any current Condes 8 file. Otherwise if you Save, your v8 file will become a v9 file and cannot be recovered in v8.[/box]


Posted on Leave a comment

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.

Posted on Leave a comment

Easy EPS Viewing

EPS viewing is easy after all. Missing from the digital print map Guides was a method of viewing a Condes course planning EPS file without having to buy Adobe Acrobat. Alister Metherell of NZ alerted me to IrfanView having that capability. As an IrfanView user for yonks I was very surprised but knowing Alister I didn’t doubt it. An email exchange later, Alister suggested a reason for EPS viewing throwing up an error for me.

Turned out that I hadn’t bothered reading notes for the IrfanView Postscript plugin and therefore had not installed GhostScript which the plugin needs. Now I can view an EPS even faster than using Acrobat. A $10 donation to IrfanView is certainly a significant saving over hundreds for Acrobat.

The Guides have been updated.

Posted on

Breaking Up Seems Hard to Do

Get On Song with the Break

Breaking control circles and lines on our orienteering maps seems to be a dying practice judging by this year’s events (championships excluded). That some maps had no broken circles at all seems to indicate a lack of appreciation as to why it should be done. Other maps didn’t go far enough thus also contributing to unfairness on those courses. New course planners could be forgiven for such lapses. Is it that there is a trend to not having controllers and thus a lost opportunity to educate course planners? Continue reading Breaking Up Seems Hard to Do