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Nearmap | PC warranties | OCAD 12 updates

ANZAC flags

Nearmap now in NZ

Image of Nearmap NZ coverage (grey) as at Mar 17. Click to zoom.
Nearmap NZ coverage (grey) as at Mar 17

Nearmap recently started operation in NZ. Initial flying has been over metropolitan and adjacent areas. The image at right from the Nearmap website shows the coverage in grey. Nearmap images can be acquired at various zoom levels and the highest zoom level provides a clarity of detail I have not seen elsewhere. The images are georeferenced so can be used as background images in OCAD provided you select an appropriate co-ordinate system. WMS can be used to  access Nearmap directly from OCAD.

When Nearmap was first introduced to Australia, free access was provided for a time. When this was pulled, a personal licence was available for a year or so. That was pulled and only business licences are available. It is unlikely an individual would have sufficient use of Nearmap to justify the cost of even the basic business licence (250MB p.m.) but a regional organisation might. Another option is to locate a contact in a company that uses Nearmap and obtain imagery from them if their licence permits.

Note that in Australia, issues were experienced with the transformation into the Australian grid of Nearmap’s Popular Visualisation CRS/Mercator projection. I don’t know if this is still the case.

ACCC hits PC warranty exclusion

This might seem a strange item for this blog but if you are using OCAD then you are using a PC and could easily fall victim to shonky warranty exclusions. (OK it isn’t PC to call an Apple one such but it is convenient).

In essence, the ACCC (Australian Competition and Consumer Commission) told Apple that upgrading the software on a computer is not a valid warranty exclusion. I currently have a warranty claim on my new PC and was told by one customer service person that upgrading from WIN8 to WIN10 voided the warranty. The warranty claim seemed to stall until I mentioned the ACCC finding and shortly after received acceptance of the claim. Coincidence?

The ACCC’s decision covers more than just the software upgrade as this excerpt shows;

…having a component of the Apple device serviced, repaired, or replaced by someone other than Apple cannot, by itself, extinguish the consumer’s right to a remedy for non-compliance with the consumer guarantees.

If you have a similar situation then quote this article to your retailer or manufacturer  Maybe it applies in NZ as well.

Recent OCAD updates

Image of some ISOM 2017 symbols
Some ISOM2017 symbols

For the benefit of those not yet on OCAD v12, here are some recent key updates;

  • Orienteering edition > v12.1.2 now has Shape file import  While, unlike Pro edition, this does not import the database and has only one key field for layer identification, the attributes of your selected key field can be examined during import selection.
  • Starter & Orienteering editions now have OSM (Open Street Map) import. OCAD already includes an OSM symbol set and a .crt file for translation to orienteering symbols.
  • ISOM 2017 symbol sets for 1:10k and 1:15k in v12.2.1 plus ISOM2000 to ISOM2017 .crt file for conversions. Also available for OCAD 11  – link then scroll down.
  • Please note it is not possible to convert an ISOM 2017 OCAD 12 course setting project to OCAD 11, because the preview objects have other symbol numbers.

ISMTBO 2010 proposed changes

This MTBO Commission project had suffered delays. Ursula Haeusermann of Switzerland is the new chair. She has advised;

Re the ISMTBOM you may know that they are being reviewed at the moment. A working group is preparing the material to start a testing phase which is based on a proposal. Actually it was planned to launch this testing phase in May 2017, but the preparations take more time than expected so it might become June until everything is ready. When this is the case, all IOF federations, organisers of major events and – if we know about them – other interested people… will be informed.

I would think that it will be possible to give feedback at all levels, from individuals to federations. There will be a questionnaire referring to the proposal, but I guess feedback of a more general nature will also be welcome. We, the MTBO Commission, want to develop our sport further in collaboration with the MTBO community, and we appreciate all the knowledge and experience which different parties and people have. It would therefore be a pity and not in our sense if we restricted submissions or inputs in any way.

You can keep up to date via the MTBO Commission web page. Ursula intends that a subscription facility for ongoing news will become available on those pages.

ISMTBO 2010 rideable areas image
ISMTBO 2010 rideable areas

Here in VIC there are four persons who have concerns about ISMTBO 2010. A call will go out shortly on the AUS MTBO Facebook page to see if others in Australia are interested in exchanging views and/or making submissions via OA. If you are not on Facebook, you are welcome to use this website’s contact form or email me to register your interest in contributing to our federation’s submissions via the proposed testing phase. If there is sufficient interest a limited life e- forum could be set up to enable an Australia wide focused conversation.

A common concern so far is with the four proposed ‘rideable area’ symbols. I evaluated these when preparing the map for the VIC MTBO Champs at Barkstead. Later I formalised my evaluation and you can peruse the text and samples on this Dropbox page. What is best for Barkstead’s rideable area may not be best for other maps and rideable areas. So maybe we need more than one rideable area symbol.

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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.


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.


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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A Bigger Screen for More Map


Get a bigger screen!

27" ASUS PB278
27″ ASUS PB278

We cartographers tend to get by with regular flat panel screens – 22” or 24” with 1920 x 1080 pixels; they are so much better than the screens used 10 years ago that we are happy. But wait – it gets MUCH better.

Graphic designers have always spent thousands on Apple screens like the 27” Thunderbolt, which has 2560 x1 440 pixels and very high quality colour. We get by without, but now we don’t need to – because these high quality screens are dropping in price.

I now use my 2 year old 24” Samsung for email and the like, while my brand new 27” ASUS PB278 with 2560 x 1440 is for cartography.

It’s fabulous to use; when for whatever reason I transfer to work on the 24″ screen, it seems clunky in comparison. Not just because of the sheer screen size of the ASUS 27″ but also because the pixels are smaller. That means objects are displayed smaller and more of the map fits on the screen. Think of the Retina display on an iPhone.

And it only cost $600.

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Selecting CPU Power for OCAD

Comparing PC processors for OCAD

The recent post Choosing a PC to Run OCAD pointed to processor power as probably the most critical factor for good OCAD performance on large maps. But how do you compare Intel vs AMD CPUs for instance?

When I found this nifty table, I realised Intel vs AMD is only part of the story. I learnt;

  • that Intel i7 CPUs come in a wide range of power
  • that the raw rated power is an indication but not the final word. e.g. i7 990X 3.47GHz rates higher than i7 995X 3.6Ghz
  • that some i5 CPUs are faster than some i7 CPUs
  • that affordability places most of us a fair way down the list.

OCAD caveats

Bear in mind that OCAD uses only a single processor in a CPU whereas these benchmarks are using all processors on the CPU. And OCAD is 32-bit whereas many of these CPUs are 64-bit and furthermore are increasingly likely to be benchmarked using 64-bit software.

In the absence of tests of single processor power,  I assume the rated power (e.g. 3.6GHz) is an indicator of single processor performance. But ranking per the table may be important to you if you need multi-processor power for other reasons or want to prepare for the possibility that OCAD will go 64 bit within the life of your PC.

Select [Graph Notes] at the bottom of the benchmark page to read useful benchmark notes that could relate to OCAD.

Comments and corrections from PC techos will be welcome.


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Choosing a PC to Run OCAD

Mark's Maps logo

Mark’s maps demand more grunt

 Almost any PC that you buy today (maybe not a $399 netbook) will have the processor power, screen size, disk space and memory to handle most orienteering maps in OCAD. However any large map takes a second or two to redraw when you zoom out, and it’s time to go and make a cup of tea when you try any of these:
  • Load very large background maps downloaded from NearMap.NearMap logo
  • Merge thousands of chopped up contours from a GIS import.
  • Do anything with very large GIS imports e.g. 5m contours, creeks and cadastre for the entire Sunshine Coast (been there, done that).