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QR (Quick Response) codes for OCAD

Organised Grime QR code

Why a QR code on a map?

A QR code allows a smartphone user to get access to online information easily. For example the QR code could take them directly to the club or state website page for information for newcomers. Or maybe next events. On trail maps it can show on a Google map the location of the main entry point.  Gen Y and Z prefer to use smartphones and tablets to access the web and QR codes facilitate that.

Continue reading QR (Quick Response) codes for OCAD

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Get to Grips with Layout Layer: Six Tips

Layout Layer

Edit Layout Objects
Edit Layout Objects

Layout Layer Pros & Cons

In a few words, OCAD‘s Layout Layer is a bit klunky to use but it is worth having.

Condes course planners might think that the ability to stash raster (bit mapped) images is not required in OCAD. But for raster images that are permanent to the map, surely it is advantageous to store them with the map rather than fiddle around with Condes templates to effect the same?

I have found the legend creation a boon although displaying it in other than the default can be a task and a half.

Trim (crop) and bleed mark creation is great. And all my north arrows and scale bars are selected via the Layout Layer library now. The Mapping Resources page on this site has quick reference PDF downloads of those libraries. I haven’t yet had a use for the Name Index function but may do so on a forthcoming internet map.

While I haven’t tried to import layout objects from another map file, I can see that would be useful if you have fairly standardised border information such as during a multi-day event. Note that the objects are not imported into the same relative location.,

On the con side, the method of selecting objects is annoying. Especially when your logical folder system means that you are faced with a stack of path names and to view them in full you either hover on each one or  use the slider each and every time. Then you move an image slightly, find it is not enough and lo, you have to select it again before you can make the next move. Maybe I have been spoilt by all the great productivity enhancements in the last 2-3 years.

Update 3 August

New Layout Layer image path
New Layout Layer image path

OCAD AG listened and responded very quickly.  They have already devised a fix to the file path/name display issue. From the next release, the file path will display in shortened format so you see all or most of the file name.

You can still read the full path by hovering over the shortened path.

The 6 tips for Layout Layer

Images are not yet covered in the OCAD wiki on Layout Layer. 

[unordered_list style=”tick”]

  • select a Layout Layer item by double clicking on it in the list.
  • images with transparency effects will not work.
  • copy images into the map folder to be able to pick them out easily in the Layout Layer list.
  • keep in mind that legend, north arrows, scale bars, trim (crop) and bleed marks are available.
  • images should be minimum 300 dpi for high quality printing.
  • if you have any raster image in Layout Layer, then Export EPS will not work.



Transparency indicated by checkerboard pattern
Transparency indicated by checkerboard pattern (Wikipedia)

Transparency means that a part of your image is clear or see-through. Image formats that support transparency include GIF, PNG, BMP and TIFF.

In logos and promo images, transparency is usually applied to the background so it doesn’t show up in print or web. It is not always easy to tell if an image has transparency.  Some raster graphics editors will display a checkerboard pattern for transparent parts of an image. Irfanview doesn’t. Snagit only for certain formats.

JPG supports a faked transparency whereby the background is changed to suit the colour where the image is going to be placed – typically white on maps. This is the method to use in Layout Layer as it should not be recognised as transparency. Some raster graphic softwares allow you to easily fake the transparent background to a specified or selected colour. Irfanview allows you to do that for GIF files during the Save As.

OCAD AG has not implemented transparency in raster as it creates difficulties in exporting EPS’ and PDFs that contain both CMYK and RGB colour spaces.

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Is that clearing worth mapping?

Stochastic screening

Translating symbol size to ground size and vice versa

This is the first of occasional tips aimed at less experienced mappers. They can be selected via the 101 (as in course 101) tag.

Not infrequently I think a small clearing might be worth putting on the map only to find that it is microscopic when I add it. Sure, if it is very important to navigation, I can exaggerate it on the map but that is rarely the case.

Another frequent poser occurs when mapping a track. Is a noticeable but shortish section of change in rideability feasible to show?

I realised I would save a lot of time if I knew while in the field whether these and similar features would be distinguishable on the map.

Translation table

This table can be translated both ways. Although it is for foot orienteering maps, the principles can be used to prepare for other situations and indeed for other scales of orienteering map. The image below is low resolution (click on it for a larger image) but download links for high quality PDF and OCAD files are also given below.

When you see that the symbol for a small boulder translates to 6m spread on the ground, you quickly realise why boulder cluster and boulder field symbols are necessary. This situation also reinforces why the relationship between features is important as we  cannot always plot them precisely on the map.

ISOM 2000 symbol to terra firma sizing

If the person who created this guide back in 2001 contacts me, I will be pleased to acknowledge their work.


[ilink url=”” style=”download”]ISOM symbols sized on the ground[/ilink] This pdf is at 1:7,500 for ease of reading.

[ilink url=”” style=”download”]ISOM symbols sized on ground – OCAD 9[/ilink]  This is a zipped file. OCAD v9 format offers widest compatibility.

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Pan Quickly by Zooming

pan image

Pan 1-2-3, Pan 1-2-3…

When you are zoomed in on a large map, panning to another part of the map is cumbersome.

Here is the fastest way to pan to another part of a large map. This possibly only works well with newer faster computers. If you aren’t already a dab hand (finger) with the mouse wheel, then you will need to learn.

Holding down the Ctrl key;

  1. mouse wheel backwards to zoom all the way out,
  2. move the mouse pointer to the area you want,
  3. mouse wheel forwards to zoom in.

Editor’s note

I’m far from a dab hand with the mouse wheel but having mainly large maps I gave it a try. It’s great! Thanks Mark.

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More Productivity Hints from Mark for OCAD 11

Mark's Maps '13

 Activate 2nd screen window easily

I don’t draw maps from fieldwork so I tend to frequently move between Ocad and my source material on a second screen. Here is a recent discovery which makes this easier.

Go to Control Panel | Ease of Access | Make the mouse easier to use and switch on Activate a window by hovering over it with the mouse. Now when you return to Ocad after using a different window you won’t have to wake it up with a click before you can start drawing.

There is a moment’s delay before activation, which means you can sweep past multiple windows without activating each one. OCAD 11 has a minor display glitch in the menu which causes it to flicker when it is activated so you can tell it has happened.

Cutting out from just one side of a double line

Double line cutout image
Double line cutout

Didn’t think you could do this? The top line is what I started with. I could have picked a simple double line but wanted to show what happens with the centre fill.

The black edge lines are cut by selecting a point on the edge and holding that mouse button down while moving to the cut’s end point. Release the button and that line segment is gone. I also tried it on the centre fill but as you can see, it simply removed all elements of that cut segment.

This is documented under Cut Line in the OCAD 11 wiki but can be overlooked as it is an aside.

Next up

No and low cost OCAD 11 solutions for digital map librarians.