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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.

Pricing – reading between the linesTutorial

Usually, ‘reading between the lines’ has a negative connotation. Here it is very much the opposite. My analysis of the pricing throws up some very positive aspects that may not be evident on first read. In essence, there has never been a better time to update or subscribe anew.

The analysis is in Swiss Francs (CHF) so that you can relate directly to detail in OCAD Inc’s FAQ. A$/NZ$ prices will be loaded when OCAD 2018 is released.

Lower prices

For frequent updaters

If you are one of the majority of OCAD users who updates to the new version every 3 years, then you are onto a winner with the tri-ennial subscription. An OCAD update from v11 to v12 costs you CHF 380 (lower if you took the limited time offer). Your update from v12 to v2018 for 3 years is just CHF 221 if you update by 31 October.

Even v11 to v2018 is just CHF 294 for early update.

For infrequent updaters

Of course if you don’t update with every edition then the comparisons above are likely  of limited value. However, here are a couple of observations;

  • it is far lower cost to update to OCAD 2018 direct from OCAD 11 than update to OCAD 12 then OCAD 2018
  • there are no version updates available for editions earlier then OCAD 11
  • if you are in the habit of updating every 2nd or later version then subscription will be dearer n about the 5th year.

If you have OCAD 9, be aware that the earliest version that OCAD 2018 will save to is OCAD 10. So if you need to maintain maps in OCAD 9, then to get there from any OCAD 2018 produced maps, you will need OCAD 10 or OCAD 11 for that final step. Thus consider  retaining (instead of updating) an OCAD 10 or 11 version if your club really needs to retain an OCAD 9 library.

For prospective new purchasers.

And the lower pricing doesn’t stop with the updates;

  • A new OCAD 2018 tri-ennial licence at CHF 367 is over 35% less than OCAD 12 new price of CHF 580.
  • A new OCAD 2018 annual licence extended twice is still over CHF 100 less than an  OCAD 12 licence.

This steep shaving extends to Professional/Mapping Solution.

But not to Starter nor Course Setting which nevertheless remain good value.

For clubs and projectsTeam

You know what a club is — but a project? Take the recent WMOC in NZ. A batch of OCAD licences were purchased for WMOC mappers and course setters to assure cohesion in presentation and compliance with ISOM. This also facilitated easy and efficient exchange of map files.

The Team licence therefore is ideal for clubs and projects. The first set of two is already over CHF 100 less than two individual licences. Then each licence after the first set of two, attracts volume discount if bought in that first order. A club 3-mapper tri-ennial licence will now cost over 3 years CHF 957 instead of CHF 1,566 (new licence) or CHF 1,180 if OCAD 12 was able to be updated to the current style of licence.

A licence can be readily transferred to another club/team user although not within a 24 hour period since the last transfer.

Volume discounts apply to Team subscriptions. These are built into the Team 2x licence price. Beyond that they are;

  • 3 licenses 10%
  • 4 licenses 15%
  • 5+ licenses 20%

The discounts apply to all licences bought in the one order including Starter and Course Setting. See section 1.3.2 of the OCAD 2018 FAQ for the formula to apply discounts to Team orders. If further licence subscriptions are later purchased then they are priced according to the volume of that additional order.

Then when the main licence subscription is due fore renewal,the additional licence(s) are added to the team licence subscription and volume subscription pricing is changed accordingly. A rebate is given for any remaining term of the additional licence subscriptions at time of merging the subscriptions.

Other value

For new features read

So what is not to like?

Licence change

OCAD 12 gave you two activations so you could install on your desktop and laptop. From OCAD 2018 you may install on only one of those (the original 2018 FAQ should have said ‘desktop or laptop’). However, you may submit a justification for a further activation.

I have checked the software subscriptions that I have for permissible installs. I  have only 3 such recent products. Snagit and Camtasia, both by TechSmith, allow 2 activations but only one may be active at any one time. Memory-Map allows 2 on computers and one on mobile. There does not appear to be any restriction on concurrent use.

I also have a number of web based subscription softwares. Although most or all can be accessed simultaneously, each subscription is controlled as to how many apps it can be used with. The default is generally one and I pay more for use in conjunction with  multiple other apps.

Infrequent updater cost

As mentioned above, by year 6 the subscription cost is likely to outweigh the cost of your occasional updating under the existing pricing regimen.

If you believe there are other downsides that I have nor perceived, then I will be most interested to hear via Comments, email or in person at an event. Queries also welcome.

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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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Santa OCAD Delivers!

Santa and sack

Holiday season special

So smooth
So smooth

Joe Hockey might not be willing to do anything about changing the GST rate but Ken Dowling surely is – downwards!

For the holiday season, December through January, we are absorbing the GST on Australian purchases. (NZ exports are not charged GST).

So make the most of your holiday by getting out to map those forest, school, street areas you have been thinking about.

The gift that keeps on giving

Your partner stuck for ideas on what to get you? Well Starter and Standard could now well be within their budget.

[button link=”” size=”large” color=”aqua” text=”dark”]Buy now![/button]

Tell your friends and club