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Printing General from 2011

Mostly about quality issues for major events, and the work flow required to achieve the best result. Home printers too. Related categories: Course marking (as that software often produces the printer-ready files) and Layout (as inclusion of bitmap logos sometimes affects the printing).

This page covers from 2011, for earlier discussion see Printing - General to 2010 There are also specific topics for paper, and for some events that had particular problems.

MT: Michael Posted: 3 February 2011, 8:15 PM

Elsewhere Jason wrote about transparency “… Michael tells me…”

I don't fully understand transparency in OCAD, and they were only theories Jason. It would be good if anyone who knows more were to enlighten us.

But what I THINK is this: in offset printing one colour goes onto the paper first, and then the other colours. There is some “show-through” of the underneath colours. In digital printing, each pixel is usually only one colour - whatever is top in the OCAD colour table. This allows the cartographer to take shortcuts: where green overlaps yellow for example it is the green that will be printed.

Now the IOF seems to be wedded to offset printing. So the good people at OCAD have provided a way where that pixel can be a combination of the top colour and the ones underneath it. Funny thing though, this transparency notion has only appeared recently and I doubt whether anyone would accidentally use it without deliberately choosing it.

I've always been nervous about overlaps working properly. I like to use curve following to abut areas of colour, and cut holes and fill them rather than just superimpose. But there are ALWAYS overlaps eg contours over green and yellow, and its a bit of a worry if one printer handles these things differently from another:-(

MT: Michael Posted: 3 September 2011, 9:35 AM

Thanks for pointing to this. An interesting thing is how few of the cases were using spot colour (the old printing method). We are using digital because it is more affordable for small print numbers, well it seems everyone else is too! An urgent issue for orienteering is therefore guidance in making the best of it. Close attention to minimum sizes and gaps is probably a big part of it.

Colours. I've never liked tweaking the colour settings that come with OCAD, as Paul says when the file goes somewhere else, or the printing industry gets better hardware etc, the tweaks are counter-productive. But I think that the settings that come from OCAD have no particular authority. Take “purple” for example, inexplicably it comes as 100% magenta whereas the Aussies (who have a colour-affected mapping convenor) recommend adding 30% cyan and 15% yellow to get PMS purple.

When our printer wanted to raise the price we looked again at buying our own printer. Ken Dowling (who has interests in a commercial printery in Melbourne) was passing thru and we chewed it over. Decided that we are best to stick with the expensive, regularly upgraded, machinery downtown.

MT: Jymbo Posted: 5 September 2011, 3:49 PM

We (Ken Dowling and I) tweaked colours before we printed the maps for BRO9. We have different map files now, 10/15,000 on paper/PRETEX Its not hard to import colour tables to suit the particular printer being used, and you get a very rewarding result from doing it

MT: Michael Posted: 20 October 2011, 11:03 PM

As I was saying, the Ozzies held a mapping meeting during Oceania concentrating on printing technology. Some of it was about evaluating a given digital printer and getting the colours right (or as good as they can be). Some of it was about achieving “the overprint effect” which is what happens in an offset press which is still the “gold standard” of the IOF. The expert here is ex-Dunedin Ken Dowling and his papers are on his website as Useful stuff. It might answer the mystery of the fuzzy printing of the Naseby relay maps.

MT: Bryan Posted: 16 February 2012, 1:57 PM

For the World Cup we are required to do offset printing.

Has anyone done any offset printing recently?

Did you use Ocad 10 and what option did you use: - export to pdf (cmyk process) - export to pdf (spot colors - combine or separate) - print to file (spot colour separations)

I'm concerned with the way Ocad handles offset printing (when I turn on the spot colours view I can see overlaps I don't want and when I print a spot colours PDF file I see wrong results - eg settlement areas have turned to yellow (where I've quickly drawn the surrounding yellow by not following the boundary exactly).

Keen to see what others have experienced. Also printing costs would be helpful so I can compare quotes with printers (eg proof print < 10 copies, small print run 10-200, medium print run > 200)

MT: The Map Guy Posted: 18 February 2012, 7:08 PM

I have off-set printed around 15 maps in the last 5 years. None were orienteering, but several had contour lines on them.

All were printed using CMYK process from PDF files (what most printers want). Many had colour photos added using Adobe Illustrator and for printing those images accurate registration is crucial. Results have always been excellent. Modern computer generated images/plates can be made which are far superior than they were a few years ago so accurate registration should be straight forward.

We have got very lazy drawing maps then laser printing them. Laser printing is a CMYK process and the top colour kills anything under it so you can happily slap one colour on top of another and only get what you want (WYSIWYG). However, it doesn't work like that using spot colours - you get everything mixed together (ie. a blue lake place on top of a yellow background results in a “green” lake).

The cartographer has to carefully draw the map so the background area colours do not cover other area colours.

The other solution is to enter zeros in the right hand OCAD colour table where you want to kill any of the 6 spot colours. If accurate registration doesn't occur a thin white line may be visible around the object.

MT: The Map Guy Posted: 18 February 2012, 7:19 PM

Regarding costs for off set printing. Can't help you too much there as the client gets the bill, not me. I can tell you that metal plates are no longer used and the cost of “plates” (actually an acetate-like film) are about 25% of what they used to be - now around $30 for A3 plate. Plates are used only once then discarded, unlike their metal predecessors.

With offset printing the cost is all in producing the first map - therafter you are only paying for paper, ink, and machinery running costs.

Paul Ireland may be able to help you more.

MT: Michael Posted: 17 December 2012, 11:05 AM

The maps for this year's world champs were digitally printed. See

Thomas Gloor from OCAD (in Switzerland) wrote the article. He's on the IOF Map Commission, which has previously discouraged it for IOF events. Unfortunately the article is more about new OCAD facilities for logos etc than about digital printing. The link came from Ken Dowling in Melbourne who has had a lot to do with printing methods.

MT: Paul I Posted: 7 November 2013, 1:34 PM

Re Printing: one of the big issues is digital printing versus offset to which ISOM has been optimised for. I wonder if this will be a viable option. New here at 'Benefitz' on Auckland's North Shore…

MT: Michael Posted: 7 November 2013, 11:03 PM

Inkjet? Interesting.

MT: Kenny Posted: 12 January 2014, 1:05 PM

In response to Paul's post of 7 Nov on inkjet printing, following is the ISOM draft Inkjet section correction/update that I submitted. Note the later update at end.

…………….. [I still follow production print advances and in my opinion ink jet future at the Production level needs to be considered in the context of O maps. “ Speed: ink jet speed has increased significantly in the last few years. 168 full colour A4 pages per minute and 2,700 black A4 pages per minute. ” Operating cost: On a decline. Even at the office level, some of the latest inkjet colour printers are offering running costs below the toner equivalent.

While these Production level inkjet printers are currently very high end, the technology and benefits will devolve to the print shop end of the spectrum over the next few years. It is important to us as elsewhere in this paper, the advantage for O maps of liquid ink over toner was mentioned. Given that professional inkjet presses (proofing and wide format) already provide for colours beyond CMYK, we have a lot to look forward to. And all likely at no more than we are paying now (inflation excepted).

IOF may well have a watching group on such technology futures. But this paper shows no evidence of that. I believe IOF should have such a group and it should keep orienteers up to date annually on progress in the context of O map printing. That way we might avoid a lot of the issues that arose during the emergence of EP (laser digital) presses.

We have to recognise that O map printing is no longer very much in the hands of technically competent map makers and print shops prepared to run OCAD and Condes. Rather we have many amateurs who fail to consider map printing from the user viewpoint. They need education in advance. ] ……………

Later I submitted that this is currently most likely where out maps will be produced


MT: Paul Posted: 14 January 2014, 12:52 PM

Wow Ken, that's even bigger than mine. Great to see some really interesting printing developments and to have an orienteer keeping a close eye on these things and their suitability. Latest digital printing options should be part of the ISOM review.

MT: Michael Posted: 11 February 2014, 1:36 PM

Thanks Dwayne. An observation, when viewed on my screen the “purple” looks like 100% magenta, whereas the recommendation for achieving purple in digital printing includes some cyan. With (I think) normal colour-sight, I find pure magenta much better, but the spec is optimised for one of the colour-blind variants. We find ourselves “robbing Peter to pay Paul”.

MT: Michael Posted: 27 March 2014, 2:28 PM

Tch tch Map Guy. People with one of the various colour-blind varieties will be down your throat. Unfortunately the specification purple is not the best for the majority but is not the worst for most colour-blind people. I find the numbers don't exactly leap off the page, particularly in dense stuff like sprints, and any improvements are helpful.

MT: Kenny Posted: 23 April 2014, 7:16 PM

The rasterisation of Layout Layer is present in OCAD 11. Due to my print background I noticed an issue early in the piece and discussed with OCAD Support.

See for the detail. I tend to do a post or SAQ for any issues I find or that are reported to me and which are unlikely to be resolved in that immediate future. So maybe subscribe to the RSS feed or one of the email options to help keep on top of such issues.

You might also like to browse as there are printing related topics based on my experience as a printery owner allied with the work Jim Russell and I have done on colour for digital presses. ………….

Indigo press (liquid toner). OA Mapping officer tried this about 2 years ago but no joy. However Easter last year was printed on Indigo presses unbeknown to the officials who had submitted their work to an offset printer. The result was certainly virtually as good as the best toner based digital press result we have had.

In theory you can get a range of PMS colours on the more recent Indigo presses. However much of that depends on the press having available the relevant specialist colours to mix with the CMY and K. Generally only the larger printerys will have both the press capacity for 6+ colours simultaneous with CMYK and have the colours relevant to us in stock.

I am about to write an item on what I believe is the most likely print technology offering short runs, great colour range and sufficiently low prices.

Regards, Ken Dowling

MT: AlisterM Posted: 23 April 2014, 10:27 PM

For the 2013 NZ Champs we achieved good results using Condes 8, with an Ocad 8 or Ocad 10 base map. Most of the graphics and text were prepared in ocd format using Open Orienteering, but some third party logos were jpegs. All graphics were overlaid in Condes. I generally export the map as an eps file to send to the printer as this avoids possible complications with pdf's. However we did some test prints as pdf's with equally good results and I am unsure what file format was actually used by the course planners for final map production runs.

The creation by Michael Smithson of standard set of graphic elements for all the maps for use in Condes was very helpful, although the use of a font for the event logos which doesn’t work in OCad was an extra complication. However the other planners all had some difficulty in getting all aspects of map layout finalised. Problems included getting the map boundary set to the correct dimensions for printing to the edge of the trimmed A4 page, using the correct scale bar, using the correct version of logos, and using Condes canvases for layouts at different scales.

We did a number of test prints at various stages of mapping and planning to ensure that were not going to be any problems with colours and resolution, particularly as we were using Teslin 115 paper for the first time. We also did prints of the IOF test file to help identify potential problems. However the lack of a club copy of the IOF printing test sheet to compare the quality of digital with offset printing was annoying.

We did tweak colour settings, especially for yellow, on different maps to improve the clarity of small clearings for Tuhaitara and Dalethorpe or to reduce the intensity of the background on the Kura Tawhiti map. This also meant that issues such as reducing symbol size for 1:7500 scale maps were identified at an early stage.

Despite good forward planning Murphy's Law struck in the last few days as files were not submitted by the planned date and the printer experienced two machine breakdowns. The last maps were only printed the evening prior to the sprint race.

For the Canterbury Champs the printer requested that we use nevatear waterproof paper rather than Teslin. The map clarity for Tuhaitara was not as good as had been achieved for the NZ champs, but we haven't investigated what the reason for the difference was.

MT: theoman Posted: 24 April 2014, 2:58 AM


- Multiple test prints, both in-house and at the printers we used for final maps. - Comparison of colours following test print with colour wheel. - Simplified map layout with all 'graphic elements' done in OCAD.

TONIC2014, there were no printing problems.

MT: JohnR Posted: 3 May 2014, 10:16 PM

Why don,t we put the logos in the program and keep the map clear of rubbish and problems—simple

MT: rhigham Posted: 4 May 2014, 8:26 AM

To get an overprinting view of course files in OCAD use the draft mode in menu item 'View', then all the hidden knolls and slope lines under the purple bits can be seen.

MT: onemanfanclub Posted: 4 May 2014, 10:22 AM

…or, following on from Robbie, as Ross and Duncan (Sprint the Bay) and one or two others have figured out, there's a whole Other Side of the piece of paper with plenty of room for sponsors' logos and the like.

MT: Paul I Posted: 6 May 2014, 2:56 PM

Duncan/Ross, any chance of some additional advice from informed technical masters? Unfortunately I don't think some sponsors would be that keen on likened to rubbish.

MT: DMjunior Posted: 7 May 2014, 10:47 AM

We use adobe illustrator to prepare the maps for STB. We set the courses in ocad and then export as PDF's and then bring into illustrator for all the borders and stuff. Works a treat (according to Ross who does that side).

MT: The Map Guy Posted: 7 May 2014, 11:24 AM

I too have been preparing maps as described by DMjunior for a number of years. AI is very good for importing multiple and/or complex raster images (including photographs). The only drawback is the PDF file size can get fairly large. Resizing and placement of the image is dead easy compared with trying to import it in via OCAD. Condes also allows easy importing/resizing/placement of raster images.

MT: Martin Posted: 28 May 2014, 10:16 AM

Does anyone have a spare hard copy of the IOF print test sheet?

MT: Michael Posted: 26 August 2014, 12:56 PM

A few months ago I delved into something called “overprint”, which ISOM recommends. I bounced ideas off a couple of other OCAD gurus. Here is my conclusion.

The current OCAD symbol/colour sets (what you get from File… New) use a technique called overprint. In skilled hands this is good. In unskilled hands it can produce undesired colour effects, such as ponds in open land turning out green. These days we expect that what we see on the screen is what we get on a printer, and these overprint effects are not thus.

If you are not familiar with overprint, I recommend you turn it off. Go into the colour table where there is a column for it, and untick all colours which are ticked.

One of the uses of overprint is to allow detail to show through purple course markings. You can do this another way by creating a special purple which is underneath eg black, Personally I find this not enough and I like to go over my course markings and make cuts over any detail.

The message: standard OCAD colour sets do not always print the way you expect. Results depend on how the file makes its way to the printer and you may be lucky. But unless you are skilled it is better to avoid “overprint”.

MT: Martin Posted: 26 August 2014, 11:45 PM

the overprint effect is worthwhile pursuing, but i've found it does need a good quality printer. Overprint (and the colour of the course markings) is particularly important for map legibility for colour blind competitors.

Michael, i've found the colour effects you have come across come about due to lazy cartography where yellow (open) and blue (pond) overlap causing green, for example. Mapping specifications show which symbols/colours are meant to be layered and others that aren't.

There's a good guide to achieving overprint in digital printing here:

MT: Michael Posted: 27 August 2014, 12:28 AM

True Martin, I don't like colours to overlap. But I don't know anyone who cuts a thin hole in open land for every stream. We may have escaped problems only because our printer's management software has to be set to recognise the overprint effect in our files.

MT: Martin Posted: 28 October 2014, 3:00 PM

Digital printing is a mixed bag and brown is the hardest colour to print accurately as it's a mix of other colours which all need to be lined up.

I think that's where the Kawakawa Bay map suffered; especially when combined with yellow farmland (remembering that Plantation is forest and hence white).

The paper probably doesn't help achieve bright colours.

I've got an IOF tech sheet and have been trying to match the colours (with difficulty) and have been testing some of the settings used across in Australia. For those with NZSS maps of Waiuku Forest it would be interesting to know your thoughts on those colours.

A test print on the big printer at work produced looked pretty awesome but that's another story.

MT: Michael Posted: 20 May 2015, 1:13 PM

Current all-in-one printer recommendations? I'm just thinking about my own needs as a mapper - scanning, low numbers of drafts for checking and fieldwork; bit of text of course. Current Epson has outlasted a couple of printers, and I don't seem to lack any function. It would be good to avoid paying a mint for ink but I'm not optimistic.

MT: Paul I Posted: 20 May 2015, 1:59 PM

There may be better but I have the HP Officejet Pro 8600 Plus. Good scanner and copier and fax (I still use one occasionally)waterproof vibrant ink on plain paper. Large cartridges, paper tray, memory card slots and usb slot, plus eprint. Wireless or wired. Must be a newer model out now as had for a couple of years. Bit of a big beast though. Not the printer if you want to use for photography though…. photos are ok but there are much better dedicated printers for this. This is one for graphics and does a great job. I would recommend it if there aren't other better recommendations.

Interested to hear what others like. Hard to know what is true or not when reading online reviews.

MT: Michael Posted: 2 June 2015, 12:29 PM

Thanks Paul, from the number of printer responses, it seems that you and I are the only ones not doing paperless mapping:-))

MT: Michael Posted: 11 September 2015, 10:07 PM

Don't buy an OfficeJet Pro 8620. It's only good for black on white unless using special paper. When black is printed with colour adjacent on regular paper, it spreads like blotting paper. Today I detected a slight stepping of a long straight line as it went down the page, and on closer inspection there are nine “rows” that aren't printed properly . (Don't feel bad Paul, at least you replied:-))

MT: Paul I Posted: 12 September 2015, 9:06 PM

I still feel bad. I do wonder if mine has some differences in quality as I think it's fairly good. I mostly use HP inkjet colorlok paper. not the cheapest but not one of those specialty smooth coated expensive papers either. I have the Officejet pro 8600 Plus. Have noticed a new Epson printer that claims to be great , like they all do. Poor that there is nowhere to get sample prints in this industry.

MT: Michael Posted: 30 March 2016, 2:16 PM

The map paper and printing at the 2016 nationals looked great! Would be good to know the bones of the process - course setting software, how print-ready files were produced, the type of paper, etc. I presume the 1:10,000 maps used 150% symbols, was there further enlargement for the 7500 and 5000 ones, or not.

MT: mcroxford Posted: 30 March 2016, 10:25 PM

I'll try and respond soon, once the rest of the wrap up happens. IN the meantime though the printing was done by Red Kiwis' printer in Fielding on Teslin. This was after inspecting test prints from four printers from around the country. All courses were set on Condes to ensure consistency and the layout for all maps was completed by Bryan Teahan. We all had to go through a rigorous checking procedure of every course file. Uncertain of the mapping approach in OCAD. I'll write up more soon.

Big thanks to Bryan Teahan on the formating and to the mappers - Bryan, Jason Markham, Nick Hann and Carsten Jorgensen.

MT: Bryan Posted: 16 April 2016, 7:43 PM

Used 1:4000 and 1:10000 Ocad master maps with standard symbol sets.

All layout done in Condes 9 - in my opinion a lot easier to create final layout than using background maps in Ocad with no problem with raster images/logos and vector lines. Easy to cut and paste logos / layout / text between condes files and between courses in a condes file and to create multiple customised layouts quickly by masking parts of the Ocad map. No issues with saving as PDF and printing.

I now have Ocad 12 but I haven't tried the layout menu - has anyone used it before?

Compared to my experience in 2014 (using Ocad mainly), this was a lot quicker and easier to produce finished maps and we were able to go to printers on schedule 10 days before the nationals. The printer (Fisher print in Feilding) were able to print on their digital printers in two days (and I also requested the printers do a quick check of the files as a final QA - eg no duplicate files, no funny layout). Printing looked to be better than any printing we've done on Teslin before and almost the same quality as offset printing.

Duplex relay pdfs were created in Condes (with race numbers printed on the back).

For each event, a checklist was created and checked by planners, controller and myself each time a new version of either the Ocad master map, or the Condes file was created with a final signoff from planner and controller for printing.

MT: Michael Posted: 6 April 2017, 1:53 PM

Fraser, Paul: you can specify “overprint” in OCAD but various things that happen after that can foil you. Our print shop used to require us to put the job in a special queue before OP would be actioned (much like the settings in Adobe viewer). At some point though, they changed their workflow software and now action it without asking. Regardless of all this, I find OP is not a magic answer, and do a lot of circle and line breaking and number re-positioning.

MT: The Map Guy Posted: 6 April 2017, 10:32 PM

If others are like Fraser and can't see the difference in the control circles in the overprinting on page 12 of ISOM 2017, and you are using Adobe Reader, go to Edit\Preferences\Page Display\Use Overview Preview, and select “only for PDF/X files”. It should then show up on the monitor.

Now printing it is another thing - you need to choose “simulate” overprint (well that is what I used in Adobe Illustrator as it didn't print correctly with my version of Adobe Reader even though I could clearly see the overprinting on the monitor (not quite WYSIWYG). specify “overprint” in OCAD but various things that happen after that can foil you. Our print shop used to require us to put the job in a special queue before OP would be actioned (much like the settings in Adobe viewer). At some point though, they changed their workflow software and now action it without asking. Regardless of all this, I find OP is not a magic answer, and do a lot of circle and line breaking and number re-positioning.

MT: Kenny Posted: 7 April 2017, 2:40 PM

Fraser, whether or not OCAD CS print control numbers with overprint is up to you. I just checked out OCAD 12 CS and found that the default for control numbers is that a white frame around a number is printed. As with Condes, this is to make numbers more visible on some area colours. If you select the number symbol and turn the white framing off, you will find that overprint effect works on control numbers.

Interestingly, you would think from the terminology 'framing' that the purple number itself would not be affected by the white. However, after some tests it looks like the framing is accomplished by creating the white background to the whole number then extending out by the designated distance. That is an easy way to handle it. I think it should be handled such that if framing is on then it does not affect the overprint effect of the purple. I'm asking OCAD Inc about this and will advise further.

MT: Kenny Posted: 7 April 2017, 3:17 PM

Oops - I thought latest post was at top of page so missed Jim's post after Fraser's.

And oops2 because I forgot to mention that overprint effect for the control number purple in OCAD 12 CS is not on by default. Personally I have not had a need for it but can see it might well be useful in detailed areas. —

Adding to Jim's note, you will find that some (mainly newer, smaller) digital print centres do not have overprint effect turned on in their RIP (Raster Image Processor) software. This critical setting is called Composite Overprint in a Fiery brand RIP and similar in Creo and other RIPs. You can see this on page 13 of my guide for digital press operators Although the actual settings may be different, showing a competent press operator this page should be sufficient for them to locate that setting. —

Oops3. Having written that guide some years ago and gradually educated the orienteering community here about overprint in digital, recently I printed maps for an event at a new local print centre without even checking whether overprint effect was working on their printer. Embarassingly, and too late, I found it was not. Fortunately this was an mtbo map so little detail. And I had taken great care in cutting circles and lines and placing numbers. So as far as I know, it was not noticed.

MT: The Map Guy Posted: 7 April 2017, 3:27 PM

I can recall Hans Steinegger telling me it was a difficult thing to implement framing when I suggested he add it back in the OCAD 8 days. He did achieve it.

OCAD now has a team of experts so they may come up with an alternative. Mind you, I can't see why it needs to be altered for control numbers - only the control circles and lines need overprinting (if the circles/lines are not cut to reveal detail below them). Condes is brilliant for chopping pieces out of circles and lines.

MT: Michael Posted: 7 April 2017, 4:35 PM

A while ago I established that, to get the overprint effect, our print shop had to run the job thru a special queue. Essentially doing what Kenny describes. For rogaines (no specification, yeehaaaa!) I just have a “lower purple” and break a lot of circles. But recently I noticed the overprint effect appearing. Oh yes, we changed our RIP, they said.

So the chickens are coming home to roost, and you won't have any warning until you pick up your maps. Standard OCAD colour sets have overprint switched on for various colours. One of them is blue. If you're not careful, green streams in open land. And if you're lazy, green lakes too.

MT: Paul I Posted: 7 April 2017, 8:44 PM

Kenny you legend. It didn't occur to me that the edging effect was probably the reasoning for the lack of overprint effect to the numbering. I think on most maps the white edging is superior for clarity anyhow. For Barlow road map above we made the numbers bold so to help stand out in all the green. I note in the ISOM2017 it states the numbers to be standard only.

MT: Posted: 8 April 2017, 11:16 AM

WHITE FRAMING OF PURPLE CONTROL NUMBER Hubert Klauser of OCAD Inc quickly responded re this topic (see about 6 entries above)as follows;

“The white outline has some advantages (I use it often) but it cannot be used together with the overprint flag in the same symbol. If the white would not background the whole number, you would have problems with flickering between the purple and the white.”

Hubert says there is no solution to the flickering of which he is aware. But if you do know a CS brand that can handle properly, white framing with overprint effect,then Hubert (and I) are keen to know of it.

I haven't tried blend mode in place of overprint flag but as Hubert mentioned it, but not as a solution, and as there is no obvious interaction between blend mode and framing, I expect the same result.

I do hope you North Islanders and WMOC/Oceania are not adversely impacted by the weather QLD has been sending you. Looks bad in the bay of Plenty.

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