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OCAD $, Tips

Covid-19 & OCAD | GPX import |
OCAD georeferenced satellite images

Beating Covid-19 impact

Personal and club funds may have taken a beating from Covid-19 avoidance measures. So here are two small but hopefully useful OCAD Aus/NZ initiatives in respect of OCAD pricing.

Firstly, 3 clubs in SA demonstrated a fast and effective way of taking advantage of discounts. They banded together as an informal ‘OCAD SA’ group and placed an order for 5 Orienteering Teams licences. Due to the process for managing Teams licences, each club is able to totally manage their allocation even though the licences are in the name of the group. The group ‘leader’ can place the order online in the Shop.

Secondly, for the remainder of 2020 or the end of the Covid-19 travel restrictions in AustraIia/NZ, I will continue to apply the 15% discount for 3 year terms. (The official discount reduced to 10% on 1st April). [correction to original post]

GPX file import changes

ADD Import, GPX: Assign symbols directly from <sym> node in Oribooklet gpx.

from March 2020 service update

The problem

This displays the symbol name assigned by the mobile orienteering app Oribooklet. Great idea but maybe not for the majority who get their GPX files by other means. The symbol name is obtained from the Symbol column in many GPX files. So non-Oribooklet users will generally find the POI number showing as usual but now alongside will be the word ‘POI’ or ‘waypoint’ or similar.

This has been reported as showing in a large text on import. In my test at right, it is shown in a very small text – prior to conversion to a text symbol, at approx. 3pt. Yet still very confusing.

Solutions?

So maybe this is a good time to suggest further improvements the GPX import.

  1. On import, only display symbol name/symbol if OriBooklet is identified in the GPX file header.
  2. or make it an option to display/or not, the Symbol column content.
  3. On import, provide an option to display any Comments column content – OruxMaps users may find this useful.
  4. Add to the existing import GPX selections, an option to select a text symbol to display such text.
  5. let me know of any further suggestions to put forward.

Download georeferenced satellite images

Did you know the OCAD acquisition of georeferenced satellite imaging is now quite easy? Neither did I until I stumbled across the OCAD wiki entry for Download georeferenced satellite images. And I was surprised at how easy it is and of a suprising quality.

VicMap roads with imported Google satellite image in background. Very good concordance.
Export from OCAD of import result. Red lines are VicMap roads in my georeferenced map

Read my knOCAD post for further explanation of some of the OCAD wiki instructions.

Off course

Orienteering can heartfully say vale to Gary Starkweather, the inventor of the laser printer at Xerox. That invention was, and is, a lifeline for orienteering in small O populations as it;

Laser printer decomposed
By KDS4444 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0
  • reduces the cost of printing (early this century O maps were offset printed)
  • avoids the mark up of map changes – a source of error
  • avoids the mark up of courses – another common source of error

Gary continued development of the laser printer technology despite his Xerox boss telling him not to. Eventually it won a 3 way test of printer technologies at Xerox and came on the market in 1977, a huge success for Xerox.

Washington Post via The Age

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Shape File Import now in OCAD 12 Orienteering

Graphic hydro features

Import ESRI Shape files on OCAD 12 Orienteering edition

This very useful function was previously only in Professional edtion. From OCAD 12 v12.1.2 it is in Orienteering edition. The only difference from Professional is that although you can view the associated dBase file data during the import set up, that file will not be imported for further processing. Is that an issue? Not for orienteering maps as it just prevents you loading text such as road names.

Note that Shape datasets come as a package of files often including metadata and other information. Using Shape dataset TR_ROAD as an example, this is the file group that must be present when you import.

  • TR_ROAD.dbf
  • TR_ROAD.prj
  • TR_ROAD.shp
  • TR_ROAD.shx

Shape is a great tool for georeferencing

Grounded Patterns near Bendigo
Not an ESRI shape file 🙂

New map

To georeference a new map, simply import a relevant Shape file into an empty OCAD map file, assign (New Offset in the import panel) the Shape file co-ordinates to the map file and you are done. You don’t even need to transform nor keep that data.

Existing map

I import VicMap transport (or just the road layer) and use intersections of main roads to georeference an existing map. If main roads are not available on your map area then you can use lesser roads with caution as I find they are less reliable. A good double check if using lesser roads is to check against georeferenced aerial images such as from Nearmap.

Shape vs DXF

Until I upgraded to Professional version, I used DXF data from the state mapping agency and local government. VicMap had to convert their Shape data to DXF for me. A DXF file is very restrictive in its content vs a Shape file as it contained just one of the ‘layers’ at a time (I don’t know whether this is generally true or just the way VicMap worked). For example, index contours had to be provided as an additional DXF file with additional processing. With a Shape elevation file, I get the index contours plus the interval contours in one import.

The apparent advantages of Shape files was the key reason I upgraded. Within 2 weeks I discovered that the advantages over DXF files were even greater than I had thought. The luxury of importing a complex dataset that is perfectly referenced to others just imported was magic. That time saving was significant for a mapper who at that time also had a day job.

Shape data accessibility

VIC Gov Spatial Data selection
VIC Gov Spatial Data selection

Most sources of GIS data use ESRI Shape data files for transfer. ESRI’s ArcGIS is the most commonly used GIS platform worldwide. Organisations that do not use ArcGIS still conform to many ESRI conventions.

So whether you go to your local council or a forestry company, you will probably find they much prefer to provide data in Shape file format.

The Victorian state mapping agency has public online data access at data.vic.gov.au  Here is my pdf guide to accessing it.  You select Spatial Data to get at topographical data. Then you make various selections to filter data. I find this cumbersome when trying to get at the topo type data especially as some key datasets do not show up (VicMap haven’t yet fixed it).

So I suggest that you get a Spatial datamart login as that gets straight to business with this opening screen DataSearch VIC Spatial datamart Victoria .  Anyone can establish a login.

If you can supply similar links to access topo data in your state then please let me have those and I will publish them on this website.

Which topo datasets?

My most frequent topo datasets

My maps are principally for mountain bike orienteering and tourism trail networks. However, a number of the datasets I use can also be relevant to preparing a base map for orienteering and, as we have seen above, to quickly georeference a new or existing map.

  • elevation – contours, index contours, morphology (banks, cuttings and the like). Spot heights and trig points if relevant.
  • hydrology – rivers, streams, watercourses, channels, lakes, ponds, dams … (not accurate for orienteering maps but may be a useful base).
  • transport – roads, rail, infrastructure (bridges …).
  • features – I use Built Up Area (BUA) to define residental areas.
  • vegetation – useful for trail and tourism maps, too general for orienteering.
  • property – great for locating private property and public space boundaries.

    Creswick trail map snip
    Creswick trail map mostly from Shape

Some dataset content notes

Most datasets have multiple layers. For example, the VIC transport dataset allows me to select on road classification. There are 12 classes ranging from freeway to cycle track. I have a .crt file that automatically transforms those layers to their relevant symbol. You could create a single .crt file to handle all the above transforms although I find a separate one for each dataset to be more manageable.

Some of the above datasets contain a number of subsets. For example, the VIC Transport dataset comprises;

  • 3 x airport datasets
  • 2 x rail datasets
  • 3 x road datasets

Some of these are available as separate datasets. Thus generally I use just TR_ROAD and if there is rail in the area I also add TR_RAIL. This simplifies processing.

Useful resources

OCAD blog on Shape import for Orienteering edition

OCAD 12 wiki on Shape import for Orienteering edition

Ken’s mindmap of import of VicMap shape files into OCAD

Other states are likely to have different names for elements described in the above mind map. But the principles should be the same. The mind map may appear daunting but it represents considerable detail that I rarely use in the normal course of importing Shape datasets.

Wikipedia on Shapefiles

The colourful featured image of this post is a screen snip of Shape file hydro data of my local council area. This was displayed using CADViewer. I have used this excellent app by SA based Guthrie CAD for some years. It gives me a fast view of a Shape file (and DXF,  PDF)  so I can quickly detect missing content or incorrect coverage without having to import into OCAD. The information button on screen enables useful info on an element that you select on screen.  Free trial.

Guide to free spatial data – VIC

 

 

 

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Australian National Map and VicMap 40th

Australia online map 2014

Australia online 2D/3D map

The Department of Communications has released the National Map, an Open Data initiative, as it moves to boost the number of publicly available datasets.

The project gives users access to a single platform for government geospatial datasets, including those from the Bureau of Meteorology, Australian Bureau of Statistics and data.gov.au.

The geospatial data is visually presented in a map format, enabling users to see the data that they extract.

Currently available datasets cover information on land, water, infrastructure, broadband access, boundaries and population, with more to come.

Continue reading Australian National Map and VicMap 40th

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VicMap 1:25,000 Map Series as Georeferenced PDF

VicMap logo

VicMap Topographic Mapping Newsletter Feb 2014

Newcastle 1913 topo
Newcastle 1913 – Australia’s 1st topo map

This issue of VicMap TopoNews advises that 1:25,000 maps are now available online as georeferenced PDF. These are A0 size and complement the 1:30,000 georeferenced PDFs at A4, A3 and custom sizes.

The A0 map physically is 841 x 1,189 mm which covers 24 x 14 km. At 1:25,000 scale this comfortably fits all editions of OCAD 11.

The 1:25,000 PDFs were last updated in 2012 while the 1:30,000 PDFs were 2013. The A3 size of the latter are as fresh as Dec 2013.

For how to access and more info, visit http://services.land.vic.gov.au/maps/imf/search/Topo30Front.jsp

Free VicMap PDF appAvenza logo

A reminder that the Avenza PDF Maps app for Android and iOS, will enable you to interact with the 1:30 000 and 1:25 000 PDF map series.

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Queensland Globe – Nearly Nearmap

Earth from space

Queensland Globe free spatial data

We’ve taken the loss of Nearmap hard but now here in Queensland is something pretty close. I have to say I’m very relieved.

Queensland Globe (QG) is a Queensland Government open data initiative which uses Google Earth (GE) to present a variety of spatial data and they are progressively adding more.

[button link=”http://www.nrm.qld.gov.au/mapping/queensland-globe.html” style=”info” color=”orange” window=”yes”]Learn more of QLD Globe[/button]

Queensland Globe Pro

You will want to use qglobepro instead of regular qglobe, but it’s hidden away. Download the .kml file, open it and GE will start up with checkboxes for QG data in the Layers pane on the left.

[button link=”http://globe.information.qld.gov.au/GoogleInstall/qldglobepro.kml” style=”download” color=”aqua” window=”yes”]QLD Globe Pro kml[/button]

Remember you need to switch off terrain features or you will have a parallax view which is no use for mapping:

[ordered_list style=”decimal”]

  1. In GE: Tools / Options / 3D View / Elevation Exaggeration = 0.01.
  2. In the QG checkboxes: Terrain = Off.

[/ordered_list]

Queensland Globe screen
Queensland Globe screen

Here is why Queensland Globe is special

[unordered_list style=”tick”]

  • The aerial photography is reasonably up to date in the areas I have looked; it’s not as good as Nearmap, but a lot better than Google Maps (GM).
  • The aerial photography has been selected for clarity, unlike GM, which can be murky, shadowed and useless.
  • The orthorectification of the aerial photography appears to be quite accurate.
  • Photography is high definition – again better than GM but not as good as Nearmap.
  • It has 10m contours which look reasonably good.

[/unordered_list]

But Queensland Globe is not perfect:

[unordered_list style=”red-x”]

  • No georeferencing information is available, but see below.
  • Contours disappear when you zoom in very close.
  • Cadastre is unreliable and sometimes appears only when zoomed out too far for usefulness. Just keep trying.
  • Images can’t be downloaded, you have to take screenshots.

[/unordered_list]

Georeferencing

Here is how to add georeferencing information to the GE / GQ image. Download the Gridlines Manager .kml file.

[button link=”http://nearby.org.uk/google/Gridlines_mgrs.kml.pl” style=”download” color=”aqua” window=”yes”]Gridlines Manager kml[/button]

This one appears in the Place pane in GE (I’m not sure how or why) and will remain there for future use. (It seems to be necessary to load the QG KML file each time.) Switch on 0.1km grid lines as well as the QG imagery and contours, take a screenshot and you have an image which you can easily load into Ocad and print out for fieldworking.

Once again the gridlines are not entirely reliable, sometimes they don’t display, I think because the system relies upon the availability of a server somewhere to provide the data.

How to load the image in Ocad? I find it’s easiest to import a GPX track somewhere in the vicinity of your map, as this fixes up your map’s Coordinate System, Zone and Offset, and locates you near where you want to be. Now in Ocad go to Map | Set Scale etc and set a grid distance of 100m. Switch on the grid and you can now load the QG image and adjust to the gridlines.