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Equipment from pencils and tracing paper to GPS and drawing in the field. Fieldwork systems and processes.

MT: Michael Posted: 21 July 2005, 7:07 PM

The OA Tech Newsletter reports a field trial of mapmaking using a tablet PC with integrated GPS unit running OCAD 8. Main limitations are batteries and cost. Full report promised in Dec edition Australian Orienteer. No mention of GPS reception problems, gum trees might be more open than NZ forests, and of course topography is generally less severe.

MT: Michael Posted: 28 March 2008, 10:08 PM

At the mapping meeting Jim Lewis said avoid the Garmin Etrex. The Etrex is not a single model, and the top of the range now has the same high-sensitivity chip that the 60-series has. I'm getting some quite good gpx files from a mate with an Etrex HCx. There's a Venture, Legend and Vista HCx which differ in bells and whistles but not in fundamentals I think. It's a couple of hundred bucks cheaper than the 60 series.

When I say “quite good” I mean not losing the signal over an extended ride through mature pine forest and thick native bush, and discrepancies with roads visible on the orthophotos of within 30m. Not enough for conventional foot-o mapping, but a great help for the MTBO/Rogaine mapping we do at 1:20,000.

MT: Selwyn Posted: 10 October 2008, 9:56 AM

Re: Polyseter drafting film: It seems to be impossible to source single matt polyester drafting film in NZ any more. Does anyone have a supplier. If not, I have done some research and am prepared to import a roll and/or 1000 A4 sheets from England and on-sell o mappers at cost + local postage. Price would work out about 80c per A4 size, including freight from England, which is about 30-40% of the cost. I have used double matt film for many years but I'm trying to get better visibilty of orthophotos through the film and I'm hoping single matt will perform better. The English company sent me 2 sheets of sample of 50 micron film. It is rather flimsy and can crease easily which impacts negatively on clarity. So I would most likely order 70 micron thickness. I also thought the improvement in clarity between double matt and single matt was marginal, maybe 20% clearer. In the past I haven't used the technique of wetting the underside of the film which enhances clarity a lot. I could do this if a I printed my base map on waterproof paper - but not sure if the waterproof paper holds it size when damp. So, any comments on above. Who would purchase any film if I import? Comments re 50 micron v. 70 micron.

MT: Paul I Posted: 10 October 2008, 11:34 AM

I sourced my last lot from Aarque Graphics in Auckland. Since I often overlay the film directly on aerial photos I found single sided matt almost essential to see through (I think it was 100gsm). At the time I think they had to hunt around a bit to get what I needed so I purchased 25 A1 sheets, 1/2 of which have now been used.

MT: Selwyn Posted: 10 October 2008, 11:41 AM

Thanks Paul. I have tried Aarque twice over the last 6 months. They say they can't get from their overseas suppliers any more. Had quite a resonable talk with the chapo in the know. He did caution me to get samples from the proposed English supplier I had in mind, as sosme film can have polypropylene added which is less stable. Have also made enquiries with Gordon Harris who show no interest. Google search within NZ drew a big blank.

MT: Bryan Posted: 10 October 2008, 12:47 PM

I am lucky enough to have a big roll of film (which work was throwing out a while back as everything is on computers these days) -this should last me a few years.

MT: Selwyn Posted: 15 November 2008, 5:18 PM

Who is using a GPS for fieldworking?

Richard Hensby from PAPO has worked with our Woodhill BigMap to convert an OCAD map to a Garmin map. He also did the same with the LIDAR contour map, and the previous version of one area of the map that Michael Wood mapped 8 years ago “Whose Game”. On the Garmin screen I can show one or two or all of the maps together and the pointer shows where the GPS says I am. The 3 maps are 1.4 MB in Mapsource and also very readable in Mapsource. The LIDAR contour map for the Garmin is a selected part map to cover the area being fieldworked. Richard has done this map as an experiment at this stage.

My first use was yesterday and I was really impressed.

How many other mappers are using a GPS and might find it useful? Obviously your map must be carefully and accurately georeferenced first.

And as an afterthought, how many orienteers might use or misuse it!

MT: Michael Posted: 28 November 2008, 6:50 PM

I heard recently of someone putting a paper map into OCAD - before re-fieldworking it. I thought we had demolished that one! Pleeeease don't!

MT: Neil K Posted: 30 November 2008, 12:30 AM


MT: addison Posted: 30 November 2008, 11:17 AM

I put a few paper maps into OCAD - purely so that we didn't have to hold such large stocks of old maps any more.

We then decided to update one of these, so it was good as it was already in OCAD. Sure - it wouldn't be as fast as doing it straight from the old map being re-fieldworked, but at least parts could be blown up etc.

MT: The Map Guy Posted: 1 December 2008, 2:41 PM

I usually convert a existing paper map into OCAD BEFORE fieldworking it. It gives a good base map to work with, and adding the updates isn't a big problem.

In the past, if our club has virtually no maps (i.e. we've run out of fenced maps, but heaps of unfenced left), this has bought us time until a new version becomes available.

I would have thought by now (after OCAD being used in NZ for 14+ years) there should be NO paper maps in use now so this “problem” should have died a natural death.

MT: Svend Posted: 1 December 2008, 9:53 PM

I am pleased to hear that I am not the only one who draws the map in OCAD before fieldworking it. Also thank you Map Guy for your comments on the symbols issue.

Paper maps may not be in use now for the simple reason that the forest has been felled. Two of our early maps have not been changed to OCAD because we are waiting for the next generation forest to mature. One of our early black & white maps was retired for a number of years and is now been produced in OCAD. Part of another paper map, Dolamore Park, was this year drawn in OCAD for a school map.

MT: Michael Posted: 2 December 2008, 8:17 PM

OK, I've got something to learn here. What's the benefit of an OCAD printout for fieldwork, that makes up for drawing some parts of the map twice?

MT: Svend Posted: 2 December 2008, 9:36 PM

I like to have a base map that I can read in a dark forest. I often ad things to the map from Google Earth before starting on the fieldwork. If I use the photogrammetry as a base map with drafting film over it I find it difficult to tell the difference betwen green and black lines. My experience is that a few extra hours spent on the computer preparing a good base map can save many hours in the field.

I use methods which suits me and the map I am working on but I'm not saying that others should do the same.

MT: The Map Guy Posted: 4 December 2008, 10:31 PM

I agree with Svend - I like clarity. What do you use for your base map Michael if it isn't an enlarged photocopy of the original paper map (whether it be on paper, or better still OHP sheet)?

MT: Michael Posted: 4 December 2008, 11:57 PM

An enlarged photocopy of the original paper map. Yes I have tried copying onto OHP but the colours weren't dense enough for my liking. But when I tried laminating (primarily to stop it stretching with moisture) I found that it intensified the colours too.

Svend I take your point about combining with newer/other info before going out. Actually I haven't had the luxury of photogrammetry since pre-Google times. Back in those days I would insist on a recent photo at fieldwork scale, and (after registering my tracing paper to the basemap) would trace whatever I could see from the photo before going into the field.

MT: Selwyn Posted: 16 March 2009, 11:39 AM

Polyester Drafting Film: I have recently imported 1000 A4 sheets of polyester drafting film from UK. This is single matt 50 micron film which I could not find in NZ. I had been told that it was last imported into NZ commercially about 8 years ago. Most of the film we can currently buy commercially is 70 micron double matt. This 50 micron, single matt gives a slight improvement in clarity, especially important over aerial photo images. I saved a bit on freight because a friendly traveller brought it has “hand” luggage, thus I obtained only A4 size sheets. Michael Wood and Peter Bakos have tried using sample sheets and seem happy that it works with their ballpoint pen mapping. I use mechanical pencils and the film works well. I am happy to sell much of this supply on to mappers who want it. I can sell for 50c per sheet. Comes in packs of 100 sheets, but I can sell less than 100 sheets. If you want it posted that's an extra $2.00, or you can arrange to collect it at the Nationals. Selwyn Palmer. (Contact details are on the 2009 Nationals web site.)

MT: Michael Posted: 2 October 2009, 11:15 AM

OCAD released update 10.1.1 yesterday. As it happens I was chasing a problem with GPX export, which is now fixed. GPX is the standard GPS interchange format and enables transfer to GPS's.

I almost hesitate to mention this, because exporting control locations to a GPS for setout purposes is sure as hell going to cause problems where maps are not geo-referenced properly. BUT geo-referencing maps is the next significant step in o-mapping technology, comparable to the introduction of OCAD itself. There's absolutely no excuse for not geo-referencing new maps, and we should be progressively referencing existing maps as a maintenance aid.

MT: The Map Guy Posted: 3 October 2009, 12:40 AM

I entirely agree with you Michael. A GPS is extremely useful for adding tracks, clearings, point features, vegetation boundaries etc which do not show up in aerial photographs or photogrammetry. But it doesn't work too well if the map isn't geo-referenced.

MT: joff Posted: 8 October 2009, 12:37 AM

Hi … a message from us poor relations across the Tasman! I saw a post back in Nov 2008 from 'selwyn' about “Richard Hensby from PAPO has worked with our Woodhill BigMap to convert an OCAD map to a Garmin map” … we have been trying to do this without much success. Can anyone enlighten me, or put me in contact with Richard? Any help much appreciated!

MT: addison Posted: 8 October 2009, 7:01 AM

The other person who knows how to do this is Robert Newbrook

MT: Richard H Posted: 3 November 2009, 2:04 PM

Jan at world of O has documented the way to get ocad maps on to a garmin gps. I have used the second method for some time, with a good success rate.

For the latest models

For older garmin models

MT: Richard H Posted: 16 December 2009, 9:48 AM

One of the goodies in OCAD 10.02.00 is the ablity to export OCAD maps for use on the newer Garmin GPS's as standard. For the last 18 months or so I have been part of a teamthat made this possible in a non-standard way. The routines that we developed will still be useful for Garmin GPSMAP60 and 76 users but now for those with a newish Garmin and OCAD 10 it will be a lot more straightforward. If you plan in OCAD, OCAD 10.02.00 also caters for exporting courses as tracks and waypoints to the GPS.

OCAD press release… 1. KMZ Raster Export (Beta) for Garmin Custom Maps and Google Earth

Recently a new firmware (software) for the GPS devices Garmin Colorado, Dakota and Oregon has been released. This makes it possible to use your own maps (custom maps) on this GPS devices. Therefore the maps must be converted into the KMZ raster format, as described in the Garmin Blog: With the latest service update for OCAD 10 you can directly generate such KMZ raster files. Once you have transferred these files to any of the above mentioned GPS devices with the appropriate firmware (version 3.22), you can navigate using your own maps. You can also look up this maps with Google Earth.

MT: Bryan Posted: 14 May 2010, 9:38 AM

I've been using pentel colour 0.7 leads for mapping for a few years and have only just recently run out of green. I also have plenty of 0.5 green leads in Staedler. The difference is the 0.5 leads break a lot and can only be used in dry weather. Unfortunately I'm currently mapping in a place where it's wet quite often and really need waterproof colours - I've had to use orange for the green areas. I can't seem to find the Pentel leads anywhere.

What do other people use? (I always use 0.5mm for black). And does anyone know where I can get buy some?

Also, has anyone investigated the cost of using a computer in the field using a ruggedised or tablet PC and Ocad and GPS? It would have to be very rugged as I quite often bush bash, get covered in mud and fall over.

MT: The Map Guy Posted: 14 May 2010, 12:27 PM

I too have found it really hard to get coloured leads. Some specialist Art shops may retain old stock. You may have to import direct from Staedler - maybe the MapShop might like to organise a bulk order on behalf of the O clubs.

I use 0.5mm leads - they are expensive enough as it is. I break more than I use drawing.

Mark Roberts managed to get hold of some leads for me a few years ago, but I think it was before he left to live in Oz.

MT: Svend Posted: 14 May 2010, 6:54 PM

I have always used 4-colour ballpoint and like Michael a typist eraser. I also carry with me a set of mechanical pencils with 0.5 leads(Crayola Plus) which can be used on wet film. I don't use them often as I don't work in the rain but I used them today because the trees were wet. I don't know where I got them because I have had them for at least 20 years.

MT: Michael Posted: 14 May 2010, 7:39 PM

In the dry: 4-colour Bic with Staedtler typists eraser. (Anyone remember typewriters? MAPsport has a stock of these.)

In the wet: black HB 0.5mm. Funny how the black is so robust compared to the colours. Why do the good things in life (in this case carbon) always turn out to be naughty?

MT: Selwyn Posted: 20 May 2010, 11:14 AM

After reading some other discussion on, the comments were that Pentel made the best pencil leads, being stronger and more waterproof. One comment was that “leads must be Hi-polymer. I use Pentel Hi-polymer 0,5 mm colour set with Red, Orange, Yellow, Blue, Green, Pink.”

This person was from Eastern Europe where these old Pentel colours were still available in some shops. I searched Google for suppliers in these colours and a few shops turned up but their pages could not be translated into a fashion such that I could reliably order from them.

Pentel now produce only red and blue colours in 0.5mm in the Hi=polymer Ain range.

I recently bought a collection of Pentel leads directly from: in USA. The package arrived within about 5 days with reasonable postage charges. Also bought a few mechanical pencils as well. The blue and red leads are better than the equivalent Staedtler leads that I get from Gordon Harris. Fortunately Woodhill maps have so few blue features that I now use blue for green.

I have previously tried the many colours produced by Uniball, but the colours are very pastel like, smudge and fade in the sunshine such that if you leave your fieldwork exposed to sun in the car for a day it's hard to decipher you have drawn.

MT: Bryan Posted: 21 May 2010, 7:21 AM

Thanks for that Selwyn - I thought for a moment I was the only one using waterproof colour leads in the wet - they are far better than just black - they work even with the rain pouring down - when the photocopy underneath starts getting mushy or the sellotape starts separating I know it's time to stop.

I'll order the blue and red 0.5mm. Did you try, Selwyn?

No one investigating using tablet PC, GPS and OCAD in the field?

MT: Michael Posted: 21 May 2010, 10:32 AM

Mushy photocopy? Laminate. Sellotape? Electrical tape.

MT: The Map Guy Posted: 21 May 2010, 10:57 AM

Why not use a OHP (colour) sheet for your base map template? I've been using OHP sheets for well over 10 years.

MT: Paul I Posted: 21 May 2010, 11:22 AM

For some odd reason i've settled with a different colour scheme when fieldworking sanddune terrain, for the contours i usually use a thin 0.3mm hard carbon lead, i find black so much more controlable than red, it also doesn't break as often even tho it's thinner. The narrow diameter really comes into it's own esp if having to map at 1:7500. I then use blue for tracks, Green for veg and Red for open ground. Blue isn't and issue but i have a orange lead for unusual stuff. In reeally confusing areas i have been known to either number each contour line or even draw different height lines in different colours so they don't get mixed up. At the end of a days fieldwork it all gets redrawn onto a master sheet using all the 'normal' colours you would expect, like red for contours. Does anyone else do weird things like that?

BTW my preference for f/w scale is 1:5000 as you can pace count an calculate in your head so easily, 1:7500 which is better for avioding mapping to much detail is a real pain for measuring stuff all day long.

MT: Michael Posted: 21 May 2010, 1:44 PM

Jim, when I tried transparencies I found the colours not so intense as a laminated print. Paul, I too like black pencil and will use it for the contours in preference to black or red on my pen if there is a lot of contour work to do. In which case red for the black features.

I won't tell you what scale I fieldwork at but I reckon that 63-yr-old eyes and some experience can justify bending the rules. There is good reason for them though, and I managed to keep to 7500 through a Naseby job in my mid 50's.

MT: Linley Posted: 21 June 2010, 9:30 PM

Thanks for all your discussions about pens and pencils. It is a matter of trial, error and preference. I like the sound of the Pentel however I've settled happily with my Staedler pencils. Eric in Aus sold me some red leads, the local specialist drawing shop got me green and blue and those are all 0.5 Staedler. My main tool is a 0.3 black Staedler which I don't tend to break once I get going for the day and stop pressing too hard. Rock areas are a simple purple child's colouring pencil - invaluable at Earnscleugh.

I often write such small notes with the 0.3 pencil that I have to use a glass when I get home to read them! They are perfectly legible, just minature.

What is this mapping in the rain all about? That's the time I use for catching up with previous fieldwork on the screen.

MT: Bryan Posted: 22 June 2010, 7:25 AM

There have been several maps I've done which I'd class as wet areas - constantly raining or wet in the bush. If I only mapped in the dry then it would take ages to map. Also, I don't have as much spare time as I used to so I have to maximise the time in the field. 'Deadlines and commitments - what to leave in, what to leave out' - Bog Segar.

MT: The Map Guy Posted: 18 February 2012, 6:47 PM

<snip> I haven't worked out a solution for exporting waypoints from OCAD and retains the original control number. Suggest you contact the OCAD teamand see if they can provide it as an option. You can export the numbers with the circles but the text is also treated as a waypoint.

I can import a GPX waypoint with its number into OCAD in one step. Would be great to be able to export the same way.

MT: Michael Posted: 12 March 2012, 4:16 PM

Elsewhere, The Map Guy wrote: 3200 waypoints were recorded in situ… very little traditional fieldwork drawing on a map board

How do you relate waypoints to features Jim? With just a few I can write the number on my map in the field (dropping the first digit helps). With a moderate amount I can write notes round the edge of my basemap. But I suspect 3200 would use up all your edges, even with multiple sheets at fieldwork scale. Separate notebook? Dictaphone? Or have you got a GPS with an easy way to store a comment? Even to change waypoint type, mine takes far too many button pushes to be practical.

MT: The Map Guy Posted: 12 March 2012, 4:47 PM

I'll email you a copy of a day's work off my map board Michael. I just recorded the waypoint number and what it was using IOF symbols on the map board - bit what we used to write as “control descriptions” on a clip card.

The base map (contours and/or previous day's work) was on the map board as you would traditionally use.

Clearly 3200 waypoints were not done in one day, but 100-150 was not unusual. The GPS tracks (between waypoints) gave the line of a linear feature (e.g. gully line). Waypoints were reference points only - one heck of a lot more accurate than when I tried to map the same area without the GPS - using supplied contours.

It is very quick and OziExplorer is great software.

Pity you didn't get to the event Michael - I'll send you a map

MT: Michael Posted: 12 March 2012, 6:34 PM

Thanks Jim. So you put less on your mapboard at a time, to leave more space for waypoint notes, using a shorthand based on control description symbols. Probably some standard ways of working so you can tell which parts of the track represent linear features.

And the role of OziExplorer?

MT: The Map Guy Posted: 12 March 2012, 7:14 PM

OziExplorer is used to upload/download data to/from the GPS. I can easily edit the waypoint data (notes,renumber waypoints, if required). It also alows me to use an orthophoto or the original base map (or another map).

I then export the tracks and waypoints as a GPX file which is then imported into OCAD.


MT: Michael Posted: 21 May 2012, 2:32 PM

Anyone know anything about the SIRF IV chip? Is it on consumer-level GPSs yet, or smartphones? Any other GPS advances here or nearly here? What about devices that can use the satellites that the Russians or the Europeans are putting up?

MT: Dwayne Posted: 21 May 2012, 3:15 PM

All the latest Garmin watches have SirfStar IV (including the cheapest FR110 - my daughter has one). My old school FR305 has SirfStar III chip. The SirfStar IV is heaps faster to pick up a signal - 30s vs 1:30 is average. The iPhone 4s has GPS and GLONASS (russian) chips built in. My new phone has GPS-A (assisted) which means it uses the cellphone towers to help locate satellites quicker - sometimes within 10 seconds of turning on the GPS. The Europeans only have 2 sattelites up currently I think. Chinese have about half of theirs up, but mainly cover northern hemisphere at the moment

MT: mark Posted: 21 May 2012, 3:16 PM

The latest Garmin eTrex handhelds use the Russian GLONASS satellites as well as GPS. I think the Samsung Galaxy S2 uses the SIRF IV.

MT: Michael Posted: 21 May 2012, 4:53 PM

Thanks. Do these make an appreciable difference to accuracy? I'm quite prepared to wait a minute longer to pick up signal. I'm hardly ever dropping signal even in heavy bush but would like greater consistency and freedom from rogue wanderings.

MT: Dwayne Posted: 22 May 2012, 8:22 AM

Selwyn Palmer is the one who I would talk to about using GPS for field work etc. But I doubt that he is listening in here.

MT: mark Posted: 22 May 2012, 9:30 AM

I discovered last night that my Sony phone picks up both GLONASS satellites and GPS and the accuracy is still crap compared to a Garmin GPS only handheld.

MT: Kenny Posted: 3 June 2012, 11:40 PM

Michael, re SIRF in GPSrs, phones. On the home page of OZ Mappers Corner for OCAD Users site ( there is a link to a relevant item I recently sent in. It expands a little on the info already given. Geoff Peck's original comment may be of interest also.

Accuracy of GPSrs down under is improved if WAAS is turned off. See

btw I abandoned plans to test my Android against my SIRFStar IV Garmin eTrex or 402 when I realised my year old Android has a SIRFStar III chip. No contest!

MT: Kenny Posted: 3 June 2012, 11:42 PM

oops, that should have been Garmin 205 not 402.

MT: Selwyn Posted: 7 June 2012, 5:13 PM

Every few months I look at stuff on Maptalk. I see Dwayne dropped my name in it. When I upgraded from 60CSx to 62s (SiRFstarIV chip) there was a noticeable improvement in accuracy, and especially in speed of acquiring satellites. In forest I always plug in a Gilsson antenna and tape it to my shoulder which makes a significant difference under trees. I think Michael puts his antenna on his hat. My 62s lost its ability to recalibrate the compass while I was cycling in the States. By the time I got home it was out of warranty. I had a prolonged discussion with Garmin Australia about NZ Consumer law. They eventually replaced it. It still would have been fine for orienteering mapping as I used a real compass for that. But while I was waiting I bought a Montana 650t which is possibly a slight improvement on reception, but it's really cumbersome to take fieldworking, so the Montana is great for geocaching and cycle touring, but I've gone back to the 62s for mapping.

MT: NW Posted: 12 June 2012, 9:28 PM

MT: Jason Posted: 4 July 2012, 3:41 PM

The Swedish package for field surveying to CAD with gps claims to provide sub-meter positional precision: The handset appears to be a convenient form, rugged build and grunty platform for this purpose. I see the system utilises differential GPS feed to do this. Although real-time dGPS is available in NZ it may not be of the right format for this package? Has anyone tested the dGPS function of System Asmund in NZ? What is the PC Mapper proprietary software like to use?

MT: Michael Posted: 2 November 2012, 8:50 AM

Slightly related to Jason's last post, I got all excited when I found out about (thanks Steve Pyatt). This appears to offer a time series of “corrections” which could be applied (when back home) to the data from a hand-held GPS to improve its accuracy. But a bit of googling dampened my enthusiasm a bit. Seems that the errors as seen by the fixed GPSs may be quite different from the errors in my hand-held, due to different set of satellites each may be using at each instant. Anyone got any experience with this? If its not usable in this way, I wonder why was the PositioNZ network set up?

MT: Michael Posted: 7 May 2013, 3:13 PM

Years ago Svend suggested the 4-colour Bic for fieldwork. Works fine, WHEN its fine. But I've just found the answer for damp conditions. Try Inkjoy. Cheap as chips, well I haven't done an endurance comparison but at under $1 each its not an issue. I've found black, blue and red but not green. Rubs out with the typists eraser I use. (Typists. Remember them?)

MT: Michael Posted: 4 June 2013, 3:28 PM

The Inkjoy has exceeded expectations, not only writing on dewy tracing film but also when there is water on the surface. I have found you can get a box of assorted colours - includes green but as its not a very intense colour I may use the magenta or the purple for vegetation boundaries and codes. The box of 12 was the massive sum of $7.82.

MT: fraser Posted: 23 August 2013, 10:07 AM

OpenOrienteering wants ideas for its Android app.

It seems like you could avoid a lot of double handling if you can do the fieldwork directly on a tablet or other mobile device.

MT: Jamie Posted: 23 August 2013, 7:06 PM

Man, I'm so going to take up mapping when you can draw the map straight onto a tablet

MT: rossmaxmo Posted: 24 August 2013, 4:48 AM

That has been possible for a while Jamie - time to get started

MT: fraser Posted: 13 January 2014, 5:32 PM

Any recommendations for buying tracing paper? Looks like there is none left in town so I will need to order some online. Thanks.

MT: Michael Posted: 13 January 2014, 9:40 PM

Selwyn gets it in bulk. He's getting low but he gave me a “ration” recently.

MT: Martin Posted: 13 January 2014, 9:54 PM

fraser, try Drafting Film (Permatrace) from

MT: fraser Posted: 13 January 2014, 10:58 PM

Cheers. Is 75 microns the preferred thickness?

This stuff in Christchurch sounds the same, and preferable than ordering from the UK, might give them a call tomorrow.

MT: Melissa Posted: 14 January 2014, 11:22 AM

MT: Paul Posted: 14 January 2014, 12:34 PM

I used to get mine from Aarque Graphics, one in Wellington and Auckland. 75 micron is quite thick making it hard to see through. I see Aarque has some double Matte Film at 50 microns, however single matte is even better to see through. They are selling A3, A4 and rolls however it is not cheap in anyone's language. It needs to be a dimensionally stable product, ie doesn't stretch, and also waterproof. Selwyn is looking at getting a large order from somewhere as you can't easily source small amounts. Selwyn if you find some put my name on the list for sharing a portion please!

MT: The Map Guy Posted: 3 February 2014, 10:42 PM

Regarding drafting film. I have tried reusing the same bit of film - managed to get 6 uses of the same bit of film and I'm sure I can get more use from it. I use coloured Staedtler 0.5mm pencil leads (hard to get too) which can be erased after I have scanned and drawn up the fieldwork.

Most of my field work involves extensive GPS use with lots of notes about the waypoints (in graphic shorthand like we used to use on clip cards) rather than lots of alterations to the base map. Seems to work fine for me.

Once erased, often assisted with a little water, I degrease the film with white spirits and I'm set to go again.

Nothing like a bit of recycling!!!

MT: Michael Posted: 26 September 2014, 10:46 AM

Garmin 64S (and maybe others) pull in Glonass satellites as well as US ones. Any experience as to whether it makes an appreciable improvement over the trusty 60/62 series?

MT: Michael Posted: 27 September 2014, 6:24 PM

Updated my Mapsource to the latest (6.16.3) and now it crashes on attempt to save as GPX. Google reveals this has been going on since 2009 or so. Any advice? There's a kludge whereby you open a successful GPX first, then upload, then delete what you don't want, then it will work. Bizarre.

MT: Michael Posted: 27 September 2014, 7:37 PM

It doesn't happen to everyone. Further research implicates 64-bit operating systems, and Mapsource versions from 6.15.something. Now where's that old Mapsource disc…

MT: Selwyn Posted: 22 October 2014, 10:28 AM

It has been a problem to source good drafting film in NZ. I have spent many months trying to source thinner single matt from overseas. Several years ago I bought a large supply from UK which they stated was single matt 50 microns, but when it arrived it was double matt. There's almost none left. Manufacturers in India, China and Russia were not good at communication or assurance about quality. USA didn't seem to have what I wanted. Finally got another UK manufacturer to respond logically to my description of our fieldwork purpose. Their suggested film was not actually listed on their website, Kernow Coatings. I sent small sample sizes to Michael W, Mike B, & Paul who were satisfied with its improved clarity and writing/erasing with various writing devices. If it gets wet it goes a bit white, an issue identified by the supplier, but when I scanned it the white didn't interfere with the fieldwork image. To me it's a vast improvement on previous films I have used, especially when using aerial photos as a template. I have imported 5000 sheets of A4 size. Product description is: Drafting film, AQ Clear Single Matt, Code 075DCDS, 75 microns (coating seems to add approx 10 microns). My intention is to sell this film on to NZ mapping fieldworkers. Selling larger quantities at landed cost now will help me recover from the outlay of about $3000. The landed cost is about double the price in UK after paying for freight, GST, various customs fees, travel and some re-packaging. It has come in bundles of 1000 sheets. Rather than counting smaller amounts I can accurately weigh or measure with a micrometer up to about 200 sheets. My sell price at present is 57 cents per sheet + any freight costs. It would be nice to sell larger orders right now, but 100 sheets will fit into an A4 envelope and weigh about 800 grams, qualifying for $2.40 letter postage. Next year I will sell for around 65 - 70 cents to deal with my capital outlay and storage. If you are interested, email me and can sort out payment and freight options. If you are going to Auckland Champs at Labour Weekend. I can find someone else to being your purchase. I am not running Auckland Champs. Selwyn Palmer (9) 625 7798

MT: Bryan Posted: 22 October 2014, 1:15 PM

Is it possible to get a sample I can test?

I was lucky to get a left-over large roll of excellent drafting film from my work but with the mapping I'm currently doing I'll probably run out in several months time. I'm also recycling and keeping the film not used or only partially used. I also have the old sheets (a lot of which are blank) from way back when we didn't use Ocad to print maps.

I may also look at going completely electronic in the field (as Russell has done using hand-held, GPS and momap) but a significant part of my time spent mapping is when it is wet (sometimes pouring rain) and I can do this with drafting film and waterproof pencils. Also a lot of my time is spent crawling through thick undergrowth.

MT: Selwyn Posted: 27 October 2014, 11:00 PM

Bryan, I have wondered about about going fully electronic also. But I'm a bit dubious about carrying the extra weight on my increasingly disabled fingers all day. I do have some spare sample sheets. Can post to you in A5 size for testing. Email me with an address to post to.

MT: Paul I Posted: 28 October 2014, 1:20 PM

Bryan, where did you find your waterproof pencils, and can they be rubbed out?

MT: Bryan Posted: 29 October 2014, 7:45 PM

Paul, easy to get waterproof black. Have tried many colour leads - most don't work in the rain. Pentel is what I use - it can be rubbed out (on good quality drafting film).

see invoice below:

Detailed Invoice: Date Ordered: Monday 21 June, 2010


2 x Pentel Hi-Polymer Ain Pencil Lead - 0.5 mm - Blue (PENTEL C255-BL) = $6.00 2 x Pentel Hi-Polymer Ain Pencil Lead - 0.5 mm - Red (PENTEL C255-RD) = $6.00

I got this 4 years ago and I still have plenty. With just three 0.5 colours I can do most fieldwork - I use the blue for vegetation (and canopy). I also use waterproof pencils (Yellow - to highlight open/rough open/semi) but not necessary and green (for watercourses/water/streams). Both the yellow and green need to be sharpened often.

I fieldwork at 1:1500 (complex buildings), 1:2500 (sprint), and 1:5000 (non-sprint) - usually double the scale of the finished map so lines don't have to be too fine.

Only problem - I use a lot of drafting film.

MT: Ad Posted: 30 October 2014, 9:32 AM

MT: rhigham Posted: 19 April 2015, 11:39 AM

First completely paperless map making process in NZ? Red Kiwi have just hosted the NI Secondary School Champs. The long was held on a new map at Scotts Ferry which was based completely on LIDAR data and field-worked on a tablet (with external GPS assistance) using MOMAP software - no paper at all.

MT: The Map Guy Posted: 20 April 2015, 7:30 PM

Well done Russell. Did you ever print a paper draft for checking purposes? We still have to carry a piece of paper to read whilst orienteering.

MT: Martin Posted: 7 May 2015, 4:35 AM

Russell could you provide some insight into your experience and the setup you used: what sort of tablet? did you use a gps receiver? Which software package?

MT: Michael Posted: 10 May 2015, 9:10 PM

Be good to hear more from Russell but in the meantime

MT: Paul I Posted: 20 May 2015, 2:10 PM

Re paperless tablet mapping. Thanks Russell. It would be great to hear about your experience out in the field. There must be good and bad. Currently I like the ability to sketch shapes and objects, and manipulate space during fieldwork. But it's true there is a whole process that could be eliminated. I also wonder if much of the time fieldwork might be much slower as final cartography is being done while in the field instead of behind a desk???

MT: Michael Posted: 28 April 2016, 3:04 PM

A question for those who load kmz files onto their GPS's - what's the best tile size? I notice overlap discrepancies which presumably come from differences between WGS and the NZ grid, will they go away if I make many smaller tiles? Is it influenced by the accuracy of the grid-magnetic angle? Or anything else?

mapping/mapping_tools.txt · Last modified: 12:50pm Tue 25 October 2022 by