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.
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.
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)
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.
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?
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.
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]
This is not to claim that making orienteering maps is boring, as one dictionary suggests that a drone is “A person who does tedious or menial work; a drudge” ….. on the contrary, anyone who knows me will know that I find the work stimulating and rewarding, and certainly not menial. Indeed making orienteering maps is one of my passions in life, and another (there are more!) is the theory of flight Continue reading A Drone Goes Orienteering Mapping