The primary reasons I see for using this facility are
- collaboration between mapper and course planner
- collaboration between multiple mappers of an area
- for a major event, monitoring by the mapping co-ordinator of mapper progress and compliance
Currently, the main mechanisms for doing so appear to be Dropbox and OneDrive.
OCAD supports the use of Dropbox app installed on your PC although currently you will not find any information on that in the OCAD Help wiki.
By installing OCAD into Dropbox on your PC, you can use Dropbox as an OCAD file folder. The files in your Dropbox PC folder are synchronised to your cloud Dropbox folder. If you share that Dropbox folder to other persons then their Dropbox is also synchronised.
If they don’t also run the Dropbox app then they would need to download the file to work on it and upload when done. The risks involved are similar to those of co-ordinating use of any file uploaded to the cloud and downloaded by a second person to work on. If some users do not need to edit the file then you can set their file access to comment or view only.
For multiple edit users, OCAD does not have a mechanism to prevent simultaneous updates. However, Dropbox does avoid simultaneous updates to a file in the following way but you are still left with the task of ‘merging’ the updates into the one file;
If two people both open and edit a file in a shared folder at the same time, Dropbox will save both of their changes, but in separate files. It does not try to automatically combine or merge changes.
Note that when you are not connected to the internet, the Dropbox app still works on your PC. Synchronising to Dropbox cloud is done when you reconnect.
Dropbox in the cloud
The OCAD file(s) or folder(s) can be shared to other users who also run OCAD in Dropbox. File access permissions can be set as above. If two more more have edit access, then a policy needs to be set and observed to avoid issues arising from concurrent (in terms of file version) updates.
Equally OneDrive can be used like the Dropbox app although in a less sophisticated way.
By having your OCAD map files/folders on OneDrive you can choose to make them accessible for download and upload by others or if they have edit permission then the file/folder is also stored on their PC and synchronised.
OneDrive appears to have a different manner of resolving simultaneous updates. When you go to save, it will display a Conflict tab and give you options such as Discard all my changes. Whether or not it alerts you earlier I am unable to determine. Similarly I note that if you update a file off line and it is concurrently updated online by someone else, then when you go online again, the synchronisation will detect that situation. It appears to handle it by uploading your offline file and adding your PC name to the file name to avoid conflict with the existing online file.
Above, I use the word ‘appears’ because in contrast to Dropbox, I find it difficult to get OneDrive info on sharing and conflict without logging in to a Microsoft account. Likewise, my WIN 10 guide book gives me just the bare bones of OneDrive. However there is this statement on a Microsoft OneDrive web page;
Real-time notifications let you know when a document is being edited and by whom.
It is likely that other apps such as Box.com or Box.org, provide the functionality at least of OneDrive. If you are using any of these for your OCAD work then do please comment below on the pros and cons.
In a paper I wrote 3 to 4 years ago, I predicted the then just announced Landa nanographics digital press could eventually be extremely important to orienteering map production. Well we are certainly closer to seeing if my prediction holds.
Inventor Benny Landa is well known in the print industry for the highly successful HP Indigo liquid toner digital press, as used for the 2013 Bendigo Gold’n Ponds Carnival. He has just released the first commercial model of his Landa nanographics digital press and already three large Australian print companies are said to have ordered.
So what makes this digital press so exciting for orienteering? The most relevant features are;
- tiny dots should significantly sharpen lines and edges thus approaching offset print quality
- wider CMYK colour gamut than current dry toner digital presses may well allow a closer match to IOF Pantone colours (1)
- ability to print readily on any plastic film indicates some superior synthetics may be possible for digitally printed maps
- the toner itself is abrasion resistant thus making such maps more attractive to orienteering and other map sports
The above would be meaningless if the cost of short run digital maps is even higher than currently. Benny Landa has consistently said that the Landa nanographic digital press would provide the lowest cost digital printing in the industry. At least two of the three Australian orders are for companies I recognise as doing a lot of short run printing. Thus it looks fairly hopeful that at least for major events, printing on a Landa nanographic will be cost effective, perhaps even lower than current digital printing.
When? The three Australian companies that have ordered may not see their presses before 2018. At least two don’t deal directly with the public so it is likely we wait until a mid-range company orders. That may be 2019 earliest as I imagine they will wait for the Landa to prove itself locally, including being cost effective in the Australian environment.
(1) IOF recently advised that the work to specify CMYK colours for the ISOMs has come to naught. Too difficult. Not surprising as the digital print industry is still working towards ISO colour certification after some 15 years. This certification is more about consistency than reproducing a colour that matches a standard swatch. Thus the process does not ensure that a particular CMYK colour will look the same from any press, but that an individual certified press will produce each colour consistently. In practice, two presses in the same plant could be certified yet a specific CMYK colour be could different from each press.
Author Ken Dowling pioneered digital prints for NZ map sports in 1995, courtesy of Xerox. Early in this 21st century as manager of a print centre he worked with Jim Russell to prepare an OCAD colour table that best suited some readily available digital presses. A modified version of that is available at ocad.com.au/resources.