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Selecting OCAD Editions for an Orienteering Club

OCAD Trial image

Most clubsOCAD 11 Starter


The great value Starter editions for your occasional mappers. Standard for your power mappers. Free Viewer for anyone who needs to check out maps.


Starter does lack many functions of Standard. However, many are likely infrequently, if ever, used by occasional mappers. Some key ones to consider are;

  •  Large or highly detailed maps will be outside the limit of 10,000 map objects
  • Circle/ellipses and rectangular lines are commonly used drawing tools not available in Starter. Both can be effected in slower ways
  • Layout layer not available. Allows positioning of raster (.jpg etc) logos, advertisements etc
  • GPX import (often used for GPS files) and Open Street Map (OSM) are amongst imports not available
  • Exporting an OCAD Internet Map is not available.

Some clubsOCAD 11 Standard


Clubs that can afford to improve productivity for their not infrequent volunteer mappers could buy Standard for them as well as for their power mappers.


If Shape and OSM import or export required then Professional is needed. Similarly for creating OCAD Internet maps. Professional offers advanced productivity functions but in my reckoning, only orienteering professional mappers would likely notice those functions, let alone use them.

A few clubsOCAD 11 Professional


Any mapper preparing base maps frequently from GIS data (e.g. Shape files) and/or Open Street Map (OSM) extensively, will gain significant productivity from Professional. That could also be true if extensive import/export capabilities are required.


Productivity aside, if specialist requirements are uncertain over the next 2-3 years then perhaps stick to Standard knowing that an upgrade to Professional is always available.

Update considerations


I have found OCAD 11 (and 10) to be noticeably more productive than OCAD 9 and earlier.

OCAD 8 ‘club‘ license

The good news for OCAD  8 users is that you have every reason for updating and none for sticking to OCAD 8 (perhaps apart from cost). A few mappers mentioned OCAD 8’s ‘club’ license as a reason for sticking with OCAD 8. It isn’t a reason for sticking to OCAD 8 as OCAD 8 is a single PC license as with every OCAD version. (The license can be read in the OCAD 8 folder). The belief possibly came about when OCAD 9 introduced online activation. But that is simply a licence management method.

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LIDAR in Orienteering Mapping

LIDAR example

What is LIDAR?LIDAR example

An excellent brief description can be found on this CSIRO web page.

NZ Experience

An interesting experience of use of LIDAR in orienteering mapping was recently posted on the NZ MapTalk’s Mapping forum, pages 38-39. The linkis in the sidebar on this page but more directly, head to Selwyn’s post of 7 June on the topic of Base map contours.

Finnish experience

In that post he mentions work by RouteGadget’s developer on automating orienteering map production from LIDAR sources. For those interested in LIDAR potential, this is well worth a visit. Find it on the RouteGadget Facebook page. (You might have to be a Facebook member to view).

USA experience

A 2005 article LIDAR Basemaps Come of Age by Greg Lennon of Quantico Orienteering Club, USA. The image upper right is from that article.

Australian experience

Best experience as at late 2017 is found on the Orienteeering Australia mapping pages.


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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.

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Breaking Up Seems Hard to Do

Get On Song with the Break

Breaking control circles and lines on our orienteering maps seems to be a dying practice judging by this year’s events (championships excluded). That some maps had no broken circles at all seems to indicate a lack of appreciation as to why it should be done. Other maps didn’t go far enough thus also contributing to unfairness on those courses. New course planners could be forgiven for such lapses. Is it that there is a trend to not having controllers and thus a lost opportunity to educate course planners? Continue reading Breaking Up Seems Hard to Do

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Magnetic Variation a No No?!*

Yes Yes, Magnetic Variation is a No No, so here’s the Real Angle

Drifting off course just might not be your fault on a long compass leg. This year I happened to notice a few orienteering and rogaining maps with the wrong correction angle applied or specified. There may well be a few more like that.

Intrigued, I did a bit of sleuthing and came up with a convenient culprit Continue reading Magnetic Variation a No No?!*