Tag Archives: Professional Map Making

Show Background Map Favorites

Thanks to the Background Favorites option, you can quickly and easily switch between different background maps when drawing.

In the Manage Background Maps dialog, you can make a background map visible in the background favorites by turning on the eye icon in the corresponding cell.

In this example, four different background maps are loaded: An areal image, a slope gradient map, a hill shading map and a vegetation height map. The last two are marked as background favorites.

As you know, the topmost visible background map is displayed in OCAD. In this example, the aerial image is therefore displayed, when we switch to Draft Mode.

If you now switch to the Draft Mode (Only Background Map Favorites), the two background maps marked as background favorites are displayed (in our example the hill shading map and the vegetation height map). The hill shading has been set as transparent so that both files are visible together.

You can switch the View Mode in the Status Bar (see image above) or in the View menu. You can also set a Shortcut to quickly navigate through the different View modes, e.g. Alt + V.

Which View modes appear in the loop can be set in the OCAD Preferences. For example, if you are not working with Spot colors, you can omit this mode.

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.

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.

Compare two OCAD files

This blog post is about how to compare 2 versions of an OCAD file.

What are possible ways to find out what has changed at object level between two versions of a file?

#01: Select by Date

You can select objects by their Creation date or Modification date in the menu Select > Select by date.

You will get a list of all objects which have been created or modified during a specified period of time.

  • It’s possible to sort the values in the list by double clicking on the top row.
  • Click on a object in the list to move the view to the corresponding object.
  • You can save this selection, reload it and loop through it with the Find Selected Objects icon.

#02: Load as background map

Another method is a visual inspection by loading one map as a background map.

  • Open one version, e.g. Bürenflue_V01.
  • Go to menu Background Map > Open.
  • Open the other version as background map, e.g. Bürenflue_V02.
  • Go to menu View, set the Draft Mode and adjust the transparency for the map and the background map with the slider.

#03 Tile window

You can also open both files and tile the window vertically for visual inspection.

Crop Objects

The Crop Object funtion in OCAD offers many possibilities, such as cropping a map or deleting certain objects in an area.

Here are a few examples:

A map should be cropped to the extent of the purple line object. You can also use a cropping rectangle instead of selecting a crop object, see Settings below.
Map has been cropped to the extent of the chosen crop object.
  • Create a hole
    Use this method to cut away parts of the map.
A map where the part of the purple line object is to be cut away.
Cropped map
Settings. Note that Cut a hole is activated.
In the left part, all smaller paths and roads were cut. In the right part all terrain objects like contour lines, knolls or depressions.

Special: Crop Text
You can also use text objects as cropping objects. Just convert them first into Graphic Objects in the Object menu.

Choose a text symbol and add a text.
Select the text object, go to menu Object>Convert into Graphic Object.
Select each graphic object and use it to cut a hole into the map.