Tag Archives: Orienteering Map Making

OCAD Sketch App Update 1.4

We have added some new features to the OCAD Sketch App.

To update the app, go to Google Play Store (Android) or Apple App Store (iOS), search for OCAD Sketch and update the app.

See here a short video of what has changed.


– Sketch colors can now be filtered and sorted.


– Zoom buttons can be hidden – see project settings.


– The Eraser can be resized – see project settings.


– The Sketch layer can be hidden or just dimmed – see layers menu.


– All background layers can be shown or hidden all at once – see layers menu.


– Bug fixes and performance improvements.

Review of OCAD Development 2023

We hope you all had a good start to the new year and wish you all the best for 2024.

In this blog post, we take a look at what has been added to OCAD over the last year in terms of functionality and learning aids.

OCAD Route Analyzer 2.0

The Route Analyzer 2.0 now also takes into account the relief and the runnability. With it, the fastest routes can be calculated in urban as well as in classic forest terrain.


Optimized DEM for Course Setting Available

To ensures that the climbing and slope gradient are included in the route calculation of Route Analyzer 2.0, an optimized elevation model can be embedded directly into the map or course setting file. This significantly reduces the file size of the DEM and makes it easier to exchange.

OCAD Sketch App Improvements

Improvements have also been made to the OCAD Sketch App:
– A scale bar to improve the distance feeling within the app
– Additional colors for sketching
– Improved position display of the internal GPS on Android devices

Learning Aids

  • OCAD Basics
    An exercise, that teaches both basic and advanced drawing and editing functions in an interactive way. Available in different languages.
  • Recordings on YouTube
    Webinar on creating and using base data for orienteering maps.
    Video on how to create a digital elevation model.
  • Symbol Sets

The following symbol sets have been updated in 2023:
ISMTBOM 2022
ISCD 2024

OCAD Basics

The OCAD Basics exercise teaches both basic and advanced drawing and editing functions in an interactive way. Many tips and tricks for working efficiently with OCAD are also presented.

The exercise file is therefore not only suitable for beginners, but also for experienced users who want to refresh their OCAD knowledge.

It can be found in the OCAD program under Menu File > Open Sample Maps in English, Swedish or German (OCAD Basics_EN.ocd, OCAD Basics_SE.ocd or OCAD Basics_DE.ocd).

If the files are not visible, please download the latest OCAD Update.

More OCAD Tutorials can be found here.

Specification for control descriptions updated

The specifications for the control descriptions have been slightly adapted by the International Orienteering Federation IOF and published as ISCD 2024.

The new symbol sets are valid from 1 January 2024 and are already available in OCAD (Menu File > New > Course Setting project for orienteering).

The most important changes:

  • Color of the control description on map now black by default (optionally still purple, see the Course Setting Options).
According to IOF, control description sheet on map should be printed in black.
New symbols for map filp and railway are shown.
You can change the color of the control description in the Course Setting Options either to black or purple.
  • New symbol added for a map flip (turn the map over).
  • New symbol added for a railway or tramway.

Draw stairs

In this article we present different ways of drawing stairs in OCAD and what to look out for.

If stairs are drawn too small or too narrow, this greatly impairs legibility and the staircase can easily be mistaken for an impassable object (especially if the print quality of the circles is poor).

How is the stairway symbol defined?

Steps of a stairway shall be represented in a generalized manner. Contour lines shall be cut out for better legibility, if they touch stairways.

This means that when you are drawing stairs you should make sure that…

  • (1) treads are not drawn with too little spacing (min. 0.4mm)
  • (2) contour lines are cut out
  • (3) stairs are not drawn too narrow (min. 0.4mm)
  • (4) more than 2 steps are drawn (min. 3)

By the way: In addition to the symbol definition, the IOF O Map Wiki also contains images with correct and incorrect examples.

Draw steps individually or use stairway symbol

There are basically two ways to draw steps:

  • Use the symbol Step or edge of paved area (symbol 501.100) to draw steps individually
  • Use the symbol Stairway (symbol 532.00) to use a predefined stair width.

Use stairway symbol

The stairway symbol is suitable for straight staircases. The minimum width and tread width comply with the IOF specifications. The stair filling (colour. 44 Brown 30% – stairs) covers the contour lines, so no cutting of contour lines is needed.
Problems arise with curved staircases (2) or staircases with varying widths. Often the predefined width does not fit and leads, for example, to thick edges (3). In such a case, the predefined stair symbols can be duplicated and the width changed afterwards. The whole width of the staircase should be visible and if not, building, walls, etc., should be reduced in size (4).
When drawing, it is also important to note that the beginning and end of the stairs (1) must be examined and edited if necessary.

Draw steps individually

You get the most flexibility when you draw steps individually. For that, you can use the symbol Step or edge of paved area (symbol 501.100).

  • With the Stairway mode you can easily specify length, width and now also the tread depth (step distance). This is displayed at the bottom left of the status bar.
  • Individual steps can be copied (Ctrl + C), pasted (Ctrl + V) and moved to the correct position with the mouse or arrow key.
  • With Move Parallel and simultaneously pressed Ctrl + Shift key, stairs or line objects can be moved in parallel and duplicated at the same time.
  • To cut contour lines, use the Cut icon. A virtual gap can be inserted by holding down the Ctrl key.