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A Closer Look at OCAD 2018 Features & Pricing

OCAD Inc logo

OCAD 2018 release

OCAD 2018 is planned to release mid March. Thirty years after Hans Steinegger released the first version of OCAD, the regimen of minor and major updates is changing.

No longer will major updates be held over to the 3 yearly version update. Instead, with the advent of a current practice software subscription model, every scale of update will be released when it is ready.

The subscription service

The two key points about the subscription service are;

  1. Subscriptions are annual or tri-ennial
  2. Subscriptions are individual or team

OCAD Inc’s FAQ on OCAD 2018 comprehensively covers the ins and outs of subscriptions and pricing.However, in analysing the pricing, I discovered some aspects that may save you some time in research. Continue reading A Closer Look at OCAD 2018 Features & Pricing

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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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VIC, NSW, NZ Release Free Spatial Data

data.vic home page extract

Recent releases

July saw Victoria follow NSW in making available online, free spatial data free. New Zealand’s LINZ released a significant amount of aerial imagery with more to follow. I checked out the VIC release and created a quick guide for those not familiar with accessing spatial data.

Apart from being useful to create base maps, spatial data makes it easy to georeference existing maps. The most useful data sets for orienteering and rogaining are elevation (contours, spot heights), transport (road, rail, tracks), hydro (lakes, streams, watercourses), property boundaries and vegetation density. Most of those data sets have associated infrastructure but some might be obtained from a features data set.

The remainder of this post deals with my quick survey of the VIC offering. The situation is likely to be broadly similar in other states.


900 data sets released on

While Orienteering Victoria has had a free data licence for some years, acquiring a data set cost $200 for the work involved. Not to mention the time of orienteers in preparing and submitting the application.

Now you can download seemingly any or all of the six data sets useful to map sports to some degree.

Rail data on map
Preview of rail data overlaid on map

[unordered_list style=”green-dot”]

  • Elevation
  • hydro
  • transport
  • vegetation
  • features
  • property.


Another 100 data sets will be available by September.

Locating your data sets

Easiest is to download the Guide below and search using the ID attached to each recommended data set. If you wish to peruse at leisure then read on.

Each data set may appear in multiple categories. For sport purposes, it appears easiest to search for or select a data set name that includes the words VicMap 1:25,000. These data sets include subsets that otherwise you would need to locate and order individually. For example, Vicmap Hydro 1:25,000 includes subsets watercourses (rivers, streams, channels…), water points (ponds, dams…), water areas (lakes, reservoirs…).

However, the listings are not perfect. For example at time of writing, the Spatial | Transport section does not include VicMap Transport 1:25,000 but does include VicMap Vegetation 1:25,000 (I have notified this).

A quick guide

For the uninitiated, selection of an appropriate data set may seem daunting when you first hit For example, if you select Transport from the category list shown you end up with social data sets, not spatial data sets. You first have to select Spatial, then the relevant sub category.

And which data format you select depends upon your edition of OCAD. For Professional, select ESRI Shape. For Standard, select Autocad DXF.

To assist, while watching the exciting Tour de France Mont Ventoux stage, I delved into the web site and prepared a quick guide which you can download. It will not be perfect but it should help you avoid long detours. I will update it as necessary (let me know of any errors) and am working on some short video guides.

[ilink url=”” style=”download”]Guide to access free VIC spatial data.[/ilink]    1 page pdf. Updated 17 July 2013.

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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.