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.
Mark Roberts’ experience shows a Solid State Drive (SSD) will load OCAD and files somewhat faster.
Larger and/or second screen
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.