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OCAD & Mapping Snippets

1915 Vic Geo Survey Dunolly map extract

OCAD reminders

Some tips that tend to be overlooked.lightbulb

40%, 20% discounts ending

And another tip – the big discounts for updating OCAD 12 or 11 to 2018 finish at the end of next month. If you have been thinking about it, I suggest you either do it or diary it.

Team OCAD edition image4 clubs benefit from Team licences

Four clubs have taken advantage of the opportunity to acquire Team licences. In three of those clubs, some club members transferred their licences to the club. Then the club traded each licence in for two Team licences.

Massive savings, significant flexibility. Check out my recent post Hidden Value in OCAD Team Editions for more info.

GIS file conversions

A conversation that crops up more frequently in the lidar era is how to convert a file from one format to another. The FME Integrations Gallery may have the answer for you.

Conversion categories include CAD, GIS & Mapping, Lidar & Point Clouds. The Cloud version appears reasonably priced for say a state orienteering organisation. There is also possibilities for free versions.

Open source PDFsamDocument

Frustrated at the limitations of Adobe Reader and can’t justify Adobe Acrobat? Then take a look at the open source PDFsam.

PDFsam Basic is free and enables split, merge, extract pages, rotate and mix PDF files.  PDFsam Enhanced comes in 3 flavours giving you even more options at a reasonable price.

QuestaBird

Your kids looking for something more to do while waiting for you to finish the course? Or vice versa? QuestaBird is a mobile based adventure game with a purpose. Use your phone to photograph birds, butterflies and moths,  competing with others to collect the most species and the greatest number of animals in your area.

“Players are not only learning about their environment, they’re collecting data that helps protect it.  In effect they have become citizen scientists without even knowing it.”

Andrew Robinson, co-founder of QuestaGame

Downunder geospatial awareness ratingsgeospatial

Australia is ranked 14th and New Zealand 25th in terms of geospatial industry awareness according to Geospatial Media & Communications.

Criteria are data infrastructure, policy framework, institutional capacity, user adoption levels, industry fabric (whatever that means).

The top 10 starts with USA, and apart from Singapore, China and Canada, comprises European countries.

Your dream mapping career?

If you ski you might have seen his work. Jim Niehues, The Man Behind The Map.


The featured image is a very small segment of the 1915 Victorian Geological Survey County of Gladstone map. The detail, drawing and printing is of the highest quality but unfortunately does not show up on this image.

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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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Become More Productive with OCAD in 2017 – Part 3

OCAD productivity through hardware, software, processes

Upgrading your PC on a limited budget

Check the OCAD wiki

When buying a new PC or Mac with OCAD in mind, the first port of call is the OCAD wiki section on Technical Data.

Memory vs Processor

Having to make that choice? My unquantified experience is to spend the money on a faster processor. I recently bought a new Asus 64-bit PC WIN 10 on a special that did not allow me to order over 4GB memory. The processor is an i7-4790. This PC replaced a 64-bit laptop with WIN10, an i5-2450M and 16GB memory. I had intended to buy more memory for the Asus but the difference in performance was so great that initially I had no need. I do have some very large OCAD files. Geekbench performance scores are 4,596 for that i5 and 13,094 for that i7.

But some months later I had a map requirement that led me to order more memory. When I loaded a large number of Nearmap aerial images as background to a large map, the PC ground away and after 30 seconds or so entered a comatose state (OCAD now provides a warning in that situation).  In theory, if I limited the viewable area of map, then many images would not need to be in memory at that moment, but that is not really practicable.

So I now have 20GB and all is sweet. If you do not use a lot of aerial images, or are prepared to have visible just those you work on at any given moment, then you will not experience this memory issue. See also this earlier post on CPU power.

SD drive

Mark Roberts’ experience shows a Solid State Drive (SSD) will load OCAD and files somewhat faster.

Larger and/or second screen

27" ASUS PB278
27″ ASUS PB278

When I upgraded to the new PC I also bought a largish (23″) 1920 x 1080 screen as recommended by Mark Roberts in this post. Wow! Even though this is smaller than Mark’s old screen, it is a significant advance over my laptop screen.

Probably an even greater cost/benefit is to have a second screen. I had an old Dell screen in the garage so cost was nil.  See Mark Roberts’ earlier tip on using a second screen.

Software

As OCAD has advanced, my need for external softwares in mapping has reduced. Nowadays I occasionally use Cad Viewer to quickly check out a Shape file before importing. I still frequently use GPS Utility to convert GPS files to OCAD readable GPX files. I also use it to get rid of multiple and extraneous track segments such as when I forget to turn off the GPS driving home. I could do that in OCAD but find the utility overall easier.

Processes

In the last 5 years or so, for me two processes stand out as being the most productive.

Master maps

Master map image
Master map in OCAD

Having a master map of an area that has a number of adjoining maps is top of my list because;

  • the master map enforces version control as all corrections are made to the master map
  • a master map simplifies control through a map library check out check in process
  • symbols are uniform across all maps
  • flexibility of map areas is hugely increased as any area can be ‘cut’ from a master map for an event

Drawbacks? Establishing version control can be quite difficult in the ‘relaxed’ club orienteering environment. But once firmly established it should become second nature. Ken Thompson has produced a detailed process for setting up and maintaining a master map system. It is basically similar to the system I use but adds processes suited to a club where the map librarian may change from time to time.

Symbol status manager (new in OCAD 12)

Symbol status manager dialogue
Symbol status manager

This OCAD function is very useful if you develop or maintain maps that are used for multiple types of orienteering such as foot and mtb. Being able to switch from one view to the other so quickly is a boon.

Got an OCAD or mapping productivity tip to share? Just enter it in comments or draft a post for publication.

 

 

 


Aiming off

Not quite contours - Paulo Mendes
Not quite contours – Paulo Mendes
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Become More Productive with OCAD in 2017 – Part 2

New Year resolutions that will stick

Here are some matters that puzzled me or other mappers, but were eventually resolved. Take a browse to up your OCAD productivity.

Multiple OCAD instances

After an OCAD update to a new version (such as 11 to 12), do not be tempted to run both versions simultaneously on the one PC. The same temporary file names are used by both versions.

Characters inserting/deleting 1 or more places away from cursor?

I use cartographic fonts and a few fonts with slightly quirky styles. For many months while editing blocks of text on maps, I blamed my laptop for letters being inserted and deleted 1 or more places from the insertion point. After moving to a desktop PC and having the same issue, I thought to ask Mark Roberts who replied ‘ligatures’.

Ligatures are 2 or more letters combined into one character. ff, ae, fi, ffi, ft are often combined in a font that enables ligatures. See Wikipedia for more. OCAD recognise ligatures as a single character whereas your OS and you are seeing it as multiple. So if I write difficult in OCAD using a ligature font, OCAD thinks the cursor is 2 characters prior (the ffi being a single character). Note that ligatures in a block of text are cumulative in effect.

A 25 second video showing a normal insertion and then a ligature effected insertion. Deletions are similarly affected.

Solution 1 – do not use fonts with ligatures.

Solution 2 – once you understand there is a pattern, it is fairly easy to edit small blocks of text with ligatures.

A DEM elevation profile is back to front?

OCAD DEM elevation profile image
OCAD DEM elevation profile

You may have merged many segments of track, or drawn a long curvy track, only to find the profile depicts the opposite direction of travel.

This is because the elevation profile function uses the direction in which the line was drawn (or traveled in the case of GPX tracks). Simply Object>Reverse Object Direction and redo the elevation profile. It is also a symbol on the menu that you might know better as the symbol to reverse the direction of fence tags.

 


Aiming off

On a stressful day, this is a calming 5 minute video. Though I’m not sure which is the more calming – the scenery or the voice.

Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt. [John Muir]

 

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Become More Productive with OCAD in 2017 – Part 1

Brain storm!

One liner OCAD tips

Even if just one of these is an ‘ah ha !’ moment for you too, your 2017 OCAD productivity will take a leap.

  • Want to improve your O map design aspects? Read this BOF booklet.
  • Have Tips with Keyboard and Mouse by your side for a while.
  • To resize a logo or image where the embedded text does not resize, select the whole image, convert to graphic, then resize.
  • Learn from Program Files > OCAD > OCAD [edition] > Samples
  • Explore Program Files > OCAD > OCAD [edition] > Templates
  • Importing Shape contour, hydro, transport lines? After import, Select symbol, Select objects by symbol, Smooth, Change to Bezier curve and you are done for the trip.
  • Use Symbol Status Manager to control those pesky Hide/Normal symbols when creating/modifying a map.
  • Most productive hardware in my OCAD tools arsenal? My second screen. Just an old Dell 1280 x 1024.

Got one of your own to share? Just comment on this post.


Aiming off

A school holidays or winter nights activity. Many ways to reuse old maps. Well maybe don’t reuse really old maps like this.

Newcastle 1913 topo
Newcastle 1913 – Australia’s 1st topo map
  1. Make a map purse
  2. Make a lampshade
  3. Make a throw cushion
  4. Make map shoes
  5. Make a carry or gift bag  – stronger if you reuse a Pretex map
  6. Make envelopes
  7. Four ways to reuse old maps
  8. Nine things to do with your old maps

And if you still can’t get enough of maps then there is always Mapstravaganza