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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.

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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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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]


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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.

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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.