Updating Orienteering Maps in OCAD

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The focus of this tutorial is how to update orienteering maps. To learn how to start an orienteering map project, please see the tutorial Drawing Orienteering Maps in OCAD.

Start with good Organization

It quickly happens that different versions of a map exist and are revised independently. It is therefore important to start a revision project with a clean structure.

  • How do I label and store different versions?
  • Where is the current version available and who has access to it?
  • How do I document changes?

Hint.jpg You can enter map notes in the Map Information dialogue.


Updating or Starting from Scratch?

Whether a map is to be updated or whether it’s better to start from scratch depends on several factors, such as the type of revision (complete or only partial), the quality of the old map, available background data, requirements for the new map, budget and more.

To start with a completely new map makes most probably sense in the following examples:

  • LiDAR data is now available for a forest map, whose contours are not based on LiDAR technology.
  • Cadastral data are available for an urban sprint map, which is not based on it so far.
  • Your old map is not yet georeferenced, you expect many distortions within the map.

As you can see in the Tutorial Drawing Orienteering Maps in OCAD, high quality base maps can be produced in a minute, where all objects are at the right place. Starting a new map will most probably get you a faster and better result in the examples above, than building on the old map. In the picture below, the old contour lines (brown) do not match with the new contour lines derived from LiDAR data (blue) in many places. Also, the vegetation has most probably changed entirely. Starting a new map here definitely makes more sense than renewing the old map.



Check the Settings

If you decide for a revision of an old map, the map settings should be checked first.


Is the scale correct?


Coordinate System

Is the right Coordinate System set?

  • First of all, you should check if a Coordinate System is set for your map.
  • If you are unsure which Coordinate System you should use, please ask an experienced mapper or the map comission of your country.
  • If you want to change the Coordinate System, do it here

Is the map correctly georeferenced?

You have several possibility to answer that question.

  • Load a screenshot from a Online Map Service as background map. If the map is correctly geo-referenced, your screenshots will also be geo-referenced and appear at the right spot.
  • Add a WMS / WMTS Layer as a background map.
  • Export the map as a KMZ file. Open the exported KMZ file in Google Earth.

Geo-reference a non-georeferenced map

How to geo-reference a non-georeferenced map?


Do you need to adjust the Declination?

SetScaleAnd CoordinateSystem.PNG

Update Symbols and Colors

The next step is to adapt the symbols and colors to the currently valid specifications of the International Orienteering Federation, which can be downloaded here.

Attention: By updating colors and symbols, the map image can change considerably and must be readjusted at certain points.

Update Symbols

The Wiki page Symbol Set Overview shall give you an overview of the different symbol sets that are used in orienteering sports.

If you use an old symbol set you can update you symbol set with the following functions:

  • Symbol Set Conversion: Choose this command from the Map menu to replace your current symbol set by a new one.
  • Update Symbol Set: Choose this command from the Map menu to update your map from ISOM 2017-1 to the ISOM 2017-2 standard.

Adapt Colors

If you update your symbol set as mentioned above, colors will also be replaced.

To replace colors independently, it’s best to use the function Color Swatch.


Create and use base maps

The more you invest in your base maps, the faster and more accurate your mapping will be. In OCAD you can import spatial data, old orienteering maps, derive own base maps with LiDAR data and combine them.

View the article Create a base map for more information.

Your old map can be loaded as raster background map. It can be a good idea to identify certain symbols that existed on your old map and check if they are still there (e.g. rocks, pits, …).


Update the Map

Last but not least there is the question of how and with which tools a map is best updated.

See what you want

Change to Draft Mode. With the draft mode slider, you can set the transparency for the map and the background maps.

Useful tools

To draw an object, click on the symbol in the symbol box first, then choose the drawing tool in the toolbar and finally draw the object in the drawing area. Please read the Wiki Page Drawing an Object to learn more about it.

More useful tools:



Update an old sprint map

There is an old orienteering sprint map of the city of Laufenburg, which shall be updated. The old map is not georeferenced and has an outdated symbol set.

In this Video you will learn, how to update the symbol set and how to georeference the old sprint map.