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Updating to ISOM 2017

ISOM 2017 cover

Having troubles with ISOM 2017 update?

Many mappers are updating archive maps to ISOM 2017 and using ISOM 2017 for 2017 events. Some mappers have experienced issues in converting so this post provides links to useful information. And in Aiming off below, check out Mesa2, a top device for OCAD mapping in the field.

NZOF has stipulated that 2017 events may use ISOM 200o or ISOM 2017 but from 1 Jan 2018 only ISOM 2017 may be used. There has been no position from OA of which I am aware.

Note that an updated ISOM 2017 was issued in May 2017. A useful document also published by the Map Commission covers the changes from ISOM 2000 to ISOM 2017.

OCAD conversions utility

OCAD Inc’s blog post of 10 April (and Facebook link) advised the incorporation of ISOM 2017 into their then latest OCAD 12 service update. There is a link to the ISOM 2017 symbol table for OCAD 11 users.

They also provided a conversion table (,crt) to facilitate moving a map from ISOM 2000 to ISOM 2017. That table is part of the OCAD 11 download mentioned in the above paragraph. Note this caveat;

Please note that 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.

Issues and resolution

One potential issue is that the .crt file extension is also used for other purposes including as a security certificate. While the use of a .crt file via OCAD software is not an issue, attempting to read it via a utility might initially provide an error. Best open it with, or assign it to, a text reader such as Notepad or Notetab.

Michael Wood has provided via the Orienteering NZ website some very useful assistance and tips to consider in the conversion process. Start with CRT file for Vanilla OCAD symbols

Color Swatch
Color Swatch screen

and work your way up. If you still have OCAD 11 then the entries in red may assist. The links are to PDF files for download. Australian readers will note a number of symbol and usage references that are particular to NZ.

Less experienced OCAD mappers will find quite useful, Michael’s conversion tips near the end of the ISOM2017 Advice for Mappers article.

The new symbol table references colours in the colour table. If you are developing a new map from an ISOM2017 template then no problem. However updating a map invariably causes a fair bit of anguish. Using the Map>Colours>Select Colour Swatch… function can alleviate the hassle somewhat. Check out the details in the Help wiki.

Changes to ISOM symbol numbers and OCAD colour tables

The changes to symbol numbers are somewhat frustrating, more so if you can’t readily use the provided .crt table because you have many non-ISOM symbols or symbol versions.

And why do the colour numbers change? Some of the colours changed through OCAD Inc trying to get CMYK colours as close as possible to Pantone (PMS) colours (the ISOM specifies only PMS colours. PMS is not applicable to digital presses nor many offset presses). The  new colour number scheme not only avoids conflict when updating ISOM 2000 maps, it also signals that you need to be aware of those changes.

However, you cannot assume the colours supplied in he OCAD template will work for your club. The stock you print on, the printer make and model and the attention to calibration by the printery, all contribute to the colours you get on the map. OCAD Inc’s new colour table is designed to produce best match to Printech offset master via a Xerox Versant onto a high quality white paper stock. For Pretex users, we will be doing a Printech test of those colours on Pretex to see if any adjustments are needed to the Pretex colour table in the Resources page of

So if you adopt the colour table in the OCAD 12 ISOM 2017 templates, do test these via a Printech test sheet on your normal map stock(s) at your normal printer(ies). Preferably before your next event 🙂

Open Street Map (OSM) to ISOM 2017 in OCADOpen street Map logo

The OCAD Inc blog of 22nd June covers the implementation of ISOM 2017 when creating an OCAD map from OSM.

Aiming off

Is Juniper Systems Mesa2 the ultimate orienteering field mapping device? From just US$1,600.

And a review by Rugged PC Review.


1 thought on “Updating to ISOM 2017

  1. Mainly for NZ readers: Don’t be alarmed by paragraph 2 above. Orienteering NZ “stipulates” (through its rules) a certain mapping specification ONLY for events called “A status”. These are the national champs and a few others.

    The big majority of NZ events are not A-status and full compliance is not required. We mappers face an impossible task to convert all existing maps at the same time as geo-referencing and plugging in better contours and updating etc etc. Its something that we will do progressively – in fact there are still lots of maps that don’t comply with the old spec:-)) Read the advice, try it out on a little map, and convert the rest as you are able.

    Caveat: I’m not on the ONZ Technical Committee, but I am on the Mapping Committee. Michael Wood

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