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Discussion: Training for using OCAD 12

in: Orienteering; General

Dec 26, 2017 9:38 PM # 
Are there any Youtube videos out there on how to use OCAD 12?

Are there any training classes coming up in the near future? I live in St. Louis so I would prefer not to have to travel to the coast if possible.

When I download Lidar data and then try to import a geotiff (USGS) map of the area as a background map the maps do not line up. I am trying to follow the direction in OCAD but I just cannot seem to make it work.
Dec 27, 2017 1:11 AM # 
how much are they different?

You need to make sure they are using the same datum . The lidar probably used WGS1984 datum and the USGS Geotiff may well use NAD 1927 (which could be up to 300m different in N-S and E-W direction) . You can find out the difference for your location by using a point converter NAD1927 to WGS1984
Dec 27, 2017 1:59 AM # 
If you want the image as background then it is not essential that they line up the first time. You can manually adjust the background image to fit the map by selecting common points and bringing them together just as you would bring any non-geo-referenced image in to background.
But the beauty of OCAD 12 is that there are many types of LiDAR contour files that can come directly in to the map using the DEM import wizard.
However to answer your question, I could not find any OCAD 12 instructional YouTube videos. But, we Canadians, when we search for OCAD we are just as likely to be directed to the Ontario College of Art and Design as any mapping company.
Check with Ed Hicks about training classes.
Dec 27, 2017 3:20 AM # 
If you got the USGS GeoTIFF from TopoView or the old USGS Downloader, if you unzip it, it might have a .prj file or an .xml file.

A program like QGIS will use that file to set the projection when you load the image. I don't know if OCAD 12 reads those files.

One of the 30x60 files I downloaded had this .prj file:

PROJCS["Transverse_Mercator", GEOGCS["GCS_North_American_1927",DATUM["D_North_American_1927", SPHEROID["Clarke_1866",6378206.4,294.9786982]],PRIMEM["Greenwich",0], UNIT["Degree",0.017453292519943295]],PROJECTION["Transverse_Mercator"], PARAMETER["latitude_of_origin",0],PARAMETER["central_meridian", -85.5],PARAMETER["scale_factor",1],PARAMETER["false_easting", 0],PARAMETER["false_northing",0],UNIT["Meter",1]]

When you open the image in OCAD 12, look for these options (or look at your files for the prj file or xml file that corresponds to your USGS map image).
Dec 27, 2017 6:39 AM # 
I have no experience with LiDAR data covering anywhere near St. Louis but, contra iriharding, my expectation is that LiDAR data in non-coastal parts of the US is usually produced at the behest of state or county governments, with the horizontal datum typically being something specific to the state or part of the state that applies (in Virginia, for instance, the horizontal datum I will generally be either the Virginia State Plane North or the Virginia State Plane South. A quick googling of Missouri suggests LiDAR there might well use any of the 25 coordinate systems listed at Cross the river into Illinois and it looks as though there are 29 possibilities. You'll want to find out what horizontal datum and horizontal and vertical units the data uses (vertical datum is less crucial for orienteering purposes, unless you need to seamlessly match the contours on an overlapping or adjacent existing orienteering map) and convert it either to match the geotiff or to some other convenient datum and units that OCAD will understand. Personally, I always convert LiDAR data I'm working with to WGS84/UTM, with all units in meters (US data often comes in feet) using LAStools. OCAD will understand that and so will any GPS I've ever encountered. You probably won't need to transform the USGS geotiff in any way to get it to load accurately with respect to the transformed LiDAR, at least as far as your eye can tell, though if you determine that the geotiff uses some coordinate system other than UTM/WGS1984, you might prefer to convert your LiDAR data to the same coordinate system and select it to use within OCAD as well. No doubt it's possible to convert the geotiff to a different coordinate system, assuming you can determine, following cedarcreek's suggestion or otherwise, what coordinate system it uses as is, but I haven't had to tackle that problem yet so I'm not sure how you could most easily tackle that. I'm fairly certain Global Mapper can reproject a geotiff but only if you have access to a licensed copy (which costs some hundreds of dollars). I imagine QGIS could handle that sort of task as well, but I haven't dipped my toes into QGIS yet beyond simply installing it so I speak with no authority.
Dec 27, 2017 11:59 AM # 
All that jtorrance said OCAD 12 will do for you through the DEM Import Wizard if you can tell it what information is going in and how you want it to come out.
Dec 27, 2017 7:40 PM # 
To add to what jtorranc said, when I wrote what I wrote above, I was making an assumption about OCAD 12 that I do not know for certain. In GIS programs like QGIS, the program keeps track of each layer and each layer's projection, even if they are different. I know OCAD 12's lidar wizard allows specifying at least some US state planes for the lidar. What I don't know for certain is if it can handle multiple template files each with a different projection.

My normal recommendation is "Avoid confusing the cartography software by reprojecting everything into a common projection." Like jtorranc, I use the WGS84 UTM series (326xx for northern hemisphere, 327xx for southern).

Reprojecting rasters (images) in QGIS is quite easy. For small projects, I do a three step process: "Raster-Misc-Merge", "Raster-Projection-Reproject", and Raster-Extraction-Clipper". But you have to understand the whole GIS software thing at least a little bit before you can do that.
Dec 28, 2017 12:58 AM # 
I hope Gord is right about OCAD 12's capabilities - like cedarcreek, I'm wary absent personal experience confirming it can handle whatever one throws at it without issues. It would certainly be highly optimistic to assume it has every coordinate system in use anywhere in the world programmed into it, so you might need to resort to other tools even if Gord is right for 99%+ of data you might run across for anywhere in the US. In any case, the crucial thing is knowing enough about the data you've acquired to be able to make whatever software you're using interpret it correctly. And while that kind of metadata won't be included in the data files (at least never in my experience, which leads me to believe it's not even possible to embed it in LAS/LAZ files), I've never had much trouble getting the metadata from whatever source provided the data itself. Good luck and please tell us how you get on.

P.S. I don't recall every hearing of anyone in North America offering formal OCAD training other than Ed Hicks. I think I recall him advertising a two or three day class held earlier this fall. He's in the northeast US. Maybe he'd be willing to offer a class somewhere more in the middle of the country that would work for you if a critical mass of likely attendees coudl be assembled.
Dec 28, 2017 2:27 AM # 
Well, I did formal 0CAD training at Bill Shannon's mapping camp, but that was 25 years ago...
Dec 28, 2017 2:32 AM # 
I'm no expert on LiDAR and all those terms that you guys throw around. Metadata? What the f is that?
However I know what has worked for me (and sometimes not worked if I'm not careful or not lucky). This is a hit and miss system. But when I hit it is great.
It depends on the aforementioned OCAD 12 and a USGS website called Earth Explorer
When I'm seeking LiDAR information for a spot in the US, mostly Florida but I've also searched with success NY, MA, GA and NC I'll now first look to Earth Explorer.
First you have to log in or register - no problem; it is painless and they do not send you endless e-mails or photos of young Russian women looking for husbands.
Then the real First it asks you to select an area which it will pinpoint for you.
Then you select more specifically the area that interests you.
Click on Data Sets
Click on Digital Elevation and choose LiDAR
And hit Results. This is where you get lucky or not. If they have LiDAR data for that area they will display if for you. If they don't you'll get 'no data available'. End of trail.
If you get data there will be a chance to see which LiDAR tiles are actually relevant to your search. Download the data you want and let OCAD 12 take it from there. Actually OCAD DEM import wizard will ask you to make choices along the way but if you have not bought OCAD 12 there is no sense telling you all of this.
BUT here's one thing: as one person suggested above make sure USGS and OCAD are talking about the same data systems. I made the mistake of assuming once and found OCAD was interpreting data feet as data in meters.
Dec 28, 2017 11:55 AM # 
Meta data is data about your data. It is like the label on a can. If you had a can without a label, there is no telling what you might have for dinner tonight. Is it soup? beef stew? or just a can of tomatoes? The meta data will tell if the file you downloaded is high-quality Lidar or just a DEM derived from old paper maps. Meta data will tell you if they are using feet or meters. Meta data will tell you if the locations are based on a 1927 survey or the modern scientific World Geodesic System of 1984. Many US states use their own local measurement system called a "state plane". All the data you use in your map should use the same coordinate system, named WGS-84. All measurements should be in meters. The projection should be a UTM grid. If not, convert the data before you begin
Dec 28, 2017 12:46 PM # 
Kevin, that last part is what I learned recently. I also learned that if I correctly tell OCAD 12 DEM Import Wizard what information is going in it will convert the data to what is needed.
Dec 28, 2017 5:23 PM # 
Nothing against Earth Explorer but my first place to look in the US is the download client of the National Map Viewer - And if I don't find exactly what I want there (usually that means LiDAR point cloud data with nominal point spacing less than 1m from a survey conducted within the last handful of years), I'll keep looking in state or country level data repositories - e.g. for Maryland and for Virginia (though I haven't yet tried to download anything from this one and don't immediately see how one would do so - maybe that site only shows avaiability and the data itself has to be obtained by some other means). At the national level, USGS isn't the only game in town - I've obtained data from both NOAA and USDA in the past. There's definitely been a trend towards consolidating LiDAR data previously available from a variety of government sources, often at county and municipal level, on a smaller number of platforms covering much larger areas but we haven't reached the nirvana of all extant US LiDAR data being searchable and downloadable from a single source yet.
Dec 28, 2017 5:43 PM # 
Some county governments hold on to their Lidar closely. Some are not available to the public, and some are only available at cost. Several counties in my state are on the National Map site but many are not. In one county, Lidar data for a medium-size park was priced at over $5,000. Talk to your county commissioner about Lidar access for non-profit recreational users.
Dec 29, 2017 10:25 AM # 
Terje Mathisen:
I took a look at the lidar coverage of Harriman state park, the processing ran overnight but then OCAD 12 64-bit failed to load the resulting 1.2 GB dxf file.

This was just for the NJ* LAZ files, when I tried to combine everything in one go it crashed, possibly due to incompatible encodings of the various scanning projects involved?
Dec 29, 2017 1:12 PM # 
(I was told in downloading from Earth Explorer to always use the LAS option instead of the LAZ file because of the difference in file size. Or maybe I have it reversed)
Dec 29, 2017 2:51 PM # 
LAZ are smaller. About 1/7 the size of LAS. I always do LAZ if I can choose.

Also, we had a recent thread on an email reflector that advised using The National Map (link above) over Earth Explorer. They explained TNM is the supported web service going forward, and it will slowly diverge as Earth Explorer is left behind.
Dec 30, 2017 6:34 PM # 
Thank you for all your wonderful comments.

I am using the Missouri LiDAR LAS file download tool from the University of Missouri. I have also used the national map view. I after reading all the comments I believe my problem is that the USGS map is in NAD27 format. I will try downloading a file converter and see if that fixes the problem. I will also try loading a GEOPDF file.
Dec 31, 2017 12:43 AM # 
NAD27 isn't a file format, it's a coordinate system. You need to translate it into the same coordinate system as your geotiff, using something like QGIS...
Dec 31, 2017 1:04 AM # 
I would explore GDAL, particularly GDAL Warp, something like:

gdalwarp -t_srs '+proj=utm +zone=15 +datum=WGS84' -overwrite original.tif utm15.tif

Good luck! Report what you discover. If you send links to the files you are trying to import, someone might be able to lay the solution out exactly for you.
Dec 31, 2017 10:54 PM # 
QGIS is a front-end for GDAL, so if you use the menu item "Raster-Projections-Warp/Reproject", it will give you a dialog box that creates the command line that hughmac4 mentioned. The problem, in my experience, with the USGS files, is that the projection of the file doesn't match what you'd expect from reading the map margins. When I load these files in QGIS (using the checkerboard "add raster" button on the left side), you can see the projection USGS used. Hopefully when you use the menu item above, QGIS will auto-populate that "Source CRS" box for you. Then you just need to specify {edit: destination CRS} UTM 15 NH (projection 32615, ?) if that is the correct UTM zone for the file. When I reproject, I specify a Bilinear option---this makes the reprojected file look better (less pixellated). (I tried all five options, and decided Bilinear looked best. Then I found a reference that said bilinear was intended for warping/reprojection raster images in this manner.)

QGIS is a big file to install (over 300 MB), but it's awesome, and no weird ads or anything. It's open source.
Jan 2, 2018 8:11 PM # 
I downloaded QGIS but I could not figure out how to get it to convert my file. It would not open a tiff file. It was looking for a gps file extension. Are there any free nad27 to wgs84 file converters out there.
Jan 2, 2018 9:18 PM # 
GDAL! GDAL! See my 'gdalwarp' post, above?

What's the map, though, dofishman? If it's just a normal USGS topo, the ones from the National Map should 'line up' just fine 'out of the box', and (even cooler) as a GeoPDF (not Geospatial PDF), you can use gdal_translate to grab only the 'layers' from the PDF (I like Hydrology & Transportation) that you actually want (and ignore the contours, County Lines, whatever), and generate a TIFF. Get the layer info:

gdalinfo USGSMap.pdf -mdd LAYERS

Then grab and make a TIFF:

gdal_translate USGSMap.pdf USGSMap_Trans_Hydro.tif --config GDAL_PDF_LAYERS "Transportation,Hydrography"
Jan 2, 2018 11:04 PM # 
You started out asking about getting instruction to help you line up a geotiff image as background for an OCAD 12 map.
Evidently either the map or the geotiff image is not correctly geo-referenced.
Every bit of advice you have received, including mine, has been unnecessarily complicating. I think we were all assuming you would prefer to import the topo information directly in to the map.
It is a simple matter to get an image, including tiff images, aligned as background in OCAD 12 as it is with every OCAD back to 8.
Here's how to adjust a background map in OCAD 12
Jan 3, 2018 1:31 AM # 
What, and break the georeferencing?!? Oh my. *grabs popcorn* :)
Jan 3, 2018 3:44 AM # 
Nooooooooooo :)
Jan 3, 2018 6:07 AM # 
1. Open QGIS. Answer okay to the tip dialog box.
2. Click the button on the left side that looks like a checkerboard. If you hover the mouse over it, it says, "Add Raster Layer".
3. Navigate to and select your TIFF file. Click ok.
4. It will either (a) load, or (b) ask for the projection to be specified, and then load.

I don't have any idea what you are doing that is asking for a gps file extension. Which GPS file extension? GPX? Something else?

If it doesn't work, tell me what USGS map, state, and year of revision you're trying to convert.
Jan 3, 2018 1:05 PM # 
Terje Mathisen:
You really, really don't want to break georef info for any mapping resource, but as long as you limit yourself to _improve_ the georeferencing of older resources, I'm OK with it. :-)

When I create new base map data for areas with older existing maps I often find that the old map either has no georef info at all, in which case I just open the old map, move it to approximately the right coordinates and then import the new base map as a background map: This allows me to fine-tune the position of the old ocad data, usually a simple affine transformation is sufficient, but I have had a few cases of maps that were constructed based on photogrammetry without sufficient reference points: This can lead to a map which is skewed vertically so that the horizontal error is dependent on the local vertical height, and in that case rubbersheeting is the only way to bring the old map into useful alignment with the new lidar data.

JWOC2015 Middle distance was a case in point, the old map had relative errors of 30-40 meters depending upon how high up you were in the main hill, I tried multiple times to fix this and finally ended up with 130+ hand-placed reference points for the rubbersheet transform.
Jan 3, 2018 5:58 PM # 
Terje---I've been looking for advice on how to georeference old OCAD maps. It looks like you recommend trying Affine first (with how many points? Four?), but if there are widespread errors to just go crazy with the rubbersheeting?

Does anyone have a workflow or checklist? When I've attempted to georeference OCAD files, I realize I need to strip out the text around the map itself. Sometimes I'm expecting a 3-5 degree change in magnetic north, so the new map won't always be able to use the old margin text without significant reformatting.

Eddie used to have images that showed how the points moved from the original to their georeferenced locations. I wish I knew how he did that (assuming it was a software output and not manual work).
Jan 5, 2018 6:19 PM # 
cedarcreek - I figured out how to open my geotiff file in QGIS, but when I tried to convert it to WGS84 it said it could not parse raster formula.

I am attempting to make an orienteering map of Don Robinson State Park. I have LiDAR data from the state and national viewer, a geotiff and geopdf of the USGS map of the Pacific Missouri quad. I also have a shape file in which I cannot open which is suppose to have the park boundaries in a georeferenced file.

I am going to contact the site administrator for the park boundaries to see if I can get the data in a different format.

I will keep you posted.
Jan 5, 2018 7:58 PM # 
Typically the shape file comes with a package of files that all have the same filename, but different extensions (the part after the period). Typically there are five files, and it is good to keep them all together. So you might have outline.shp, but then outline.prj, outline,dbx, and others. You should be able to open the shp file in OCAD 12 and convert it to an OCAD symbol or symbols.
Jan 6, 2018 6:37 AM # 
dofishman sent me several files, including two TIFF files of the USGS map and a single shape (shp) file with no other files (such as the dbx with the same filename).

It was in fact more difficult than I expected. The TIFF files he sent didn't include any projection or metadata information, so I went to the TopoView website and downloaded the same 24K quad in geotiff format. When I unzipped that, it had a prj (projection file) and an XML file with a lot of the metadata in XML format.

Here's the text in the PRJ file:

PROJCS["Polyconic", GEOGCS["GCS_North_American_1927", DATUM["D_North_American_1927", SPHEROID["Clarke_1866",6378206.4,294.9786982]], PRIMEM["Greenwich",0], UNIT["Degree",0.017453292519943295]], PROJECTION["Polyconic"], PARAMETER["latitude_of_origin",0], PARAMETER["central_meridian",-90.6875], PARAMETER["false_easting",0], PARAMETER["false_northing",0], UNIT["Meter",1]]

This file is telling the GIS or cartography program the datum (North American 1927) and the Clarke 1866 ellipsoid, plus the details of the projection (Polyconic) with a particular central meridian, and northings and eastings in meters.

So when I clicked on the checkerboard and pointed toward my two USGS TIFF files, QGIS loaded them automatically in the right place. I went to the project-project properties-CRS dialog box and clicked "on the fly", so I could use web maps such as open street map to just get an idea that the USGS map was loading in the right place.

So with OTF (on the fly) checked, I went to Web-OpenLayersPlugIn-OpenStreetmap-OpenStreetMap, and that changed the projection to 3857 and allowed the OSM image tiles to load. I could see that a river running through the USGS map was perfectly lined up with the river shown in OSM. This is just a good check I like to do.

The problem that David was having (I think) was that the projection used by USGS for the map image isn't a standard projection in the QGIS projection database. So it appears as a * or as nothing where there is usually a text blurb.

So, then I turned off the OSM layer (unchecking the box in the layers list) so it wouldn't glitch when I changed to a different projection (CRS), and right clicked on the USGS layer, and selected "Set Project CRS from layer".

This let me do what I mentioned before: Raster-Projection-Warp/Reproject, and then fill out the dialog box. I clicked "Select" for the output file (always click select---never type in the box), made sure it pointed to the correct folder, and typed a new filename---the same USGS used with _UTM15 appended to the end. Then I selected the Target CRS as UTM15 (32615). The trick was that I left the Source CRS blank. Because it's not in the QGIS database, there isn't a way to select it easily. By leaving it blank, it will use the default project CRS which we set from the loaded USGS image file earlier. Finally, I set the Sampling method to Bilinear and hit OK to run the conversion.

Here's the parameters that QGIS uses for the USGS file in question. You'll see similarities to the projection file above:

+proj=poly +lat_0=0 +lon_0=-90.6875 +x_0=0 +y_0=0 +datum=NAD27 +units=m +no_defs

Compare that to the parameters for UTM 15 NH (32615):

+proj=utm +zone=15 +datum=WGS84 +units=m +no_defs

I'm guessing the "NAD27" datum automatically invokes the Clarke 1866 ellipsoid, and the "WGS84" does the same for the GRS80 ellipsoid.

The point of this isn't that you have to know this stuff, it's just that you have to be aware of it so you'll notice if it's not working. Normally, if you just keep the ancillary files, like the PRJ and XML and DBX and TFW, together with the image and vector files, the program takes care of all of this for you.
Jan 6, 2018 3:25 PM # 
Cedarcreek, this is our beginners guide to georeferencing old maps. I don't know that this is what you were looking for but it works for us. Since you know how to edit OSM you can probably create a file the makes it easy.

Written by sadNav.

" Executive summary: load the OSM file first as a georeferenced template, then load the OCAD map as a template.

First, go to and zoom to the area of interest. Then click the "export" button at the top left. It should offer you an option to manually select the area from the map you are looking at. This is best because it will let you zoom in or out a little more and crop out the areas you don't need. Make sure you get a big enough area so you have good reference points. Reference points are anything that will show up on both the OSM map and the OCAD map. Road intersections, buildings that are visible, streams and sometimes even parcel boundaries may show up. Save the exported file (default filename is map.osm).

Start OOMapper and begin a new project with the same symbol set. Import the map.osm as a template, georeferenced. It should prompt you for reference system, UTM is the best. OOMapper will want to look up magnetic declination on the NOAA website just using my regular browser. I would skip this for now as this will change with time.

At this point you should have a blank map and the OSM template showing lines for the features you captured. Now import the old map as a template.

In the Template Setup window highlight the old map you just imported. Adjust the opacity so you can see both the map and the OSM lines. Use the Move By Hand tool to slide the map close to the correct position. Then use the Adjust... tool to select pairs of points to do the final scale/rotation. Make sure that every pair of points starts on the old map and matches to the OSM template. In other words, select a road intersection on the old map, then select the same road intersection on the OSM template. (CAUTION: If you click one of the pairs in the wrong order it messes everything up and you have to start over). Do this for 3 or 4 points and try to use points from different edges of the map to get the most accurate rotation and scaling. Then click the box that says Apply Pass Points. The old map is now lined up to the georeferenced OSM template.

Finally, set the old map template back to 100% opacity. At the bottom of the template setup window choose Edit-> import and remove.

You can verify this worked by looking at the Georeferencing info (Map menu). It should now show valid Geographic coordinates (lat/lon) in the reference point section.

You can then save the file back into OCAD8."

Also, I changed my username from crazytom to jerkface at my wife's request.
Jan 6, 2018 9:21 PM # 
Terje---I've been looking for advice on how to georeference old OCAD maps. It looks like you recommend trying Affine first (with how many points? Four?), but if there are widespread errors to just go crazy with the rubbersheeting?

That's what I ended up doing with the photogrammetric base map I was handed for the 2017 Canadian Champs terrain in the summer of 2016 - affine transformation using three road or road/driveway junctions near the corners of the roughly triangular basemap got everything pretty close to where it belonged, which was helpful for purposes of finding point features on the map in the terrain, but I ended up doing a rubbersheet transformation to move on the order of two or three dozen (would have to look for the file of coordinate pairs to say exactly) widely scattered point features, mostly dot knolls/rockpiles, identifiable on the base map to where my GPS said they were. The result was quite good - after that things matched up no worse to my eyes than they usually do, given the limits of GPS accuracy, with a LiDAR base except along the northwest edge of the map where I had to do a second rubbersheet transformation to make the road along the park boundary line up where aerial photos said it ought to rather than offset by something like 10 to 15 meters.
Jan 8, 2018 6:11 PM # 
Matt, thank you for all your work. I now have LiDAR data georeferenced to a USGS map and should be able to produce a basemap for field checking. I was also able to load a Google Earth map of the area. This was a good lesson on how GIS is more than just the tiff or shp file which I was not aware of. I still have a lot to learn about QGIS and all the other programs that people use along with OCAD 12 to produce Orienteering maps.
Jan 9, 2018 6:33 PM # 
Does anyone know why my OCAD 12 blanks out the screen (map and background map) traces a few of the maps contour lines, and freezes my input and then erases the contour lines while I am trying to draw lines and curves on my map? After it has erased the contour lines it has drawn on the blank screen OCAD returns to the place where I left off and lets me input a few more points before blanking out again. When I am editing the curve it does not freeze or blank out the background map, but it still likes to trace the contour lines. Is there some setting that needs to be changed?
Jan 9, 2018 9:59 PM # 
It might be good to "optimize/repair" your map file. After importing OSM data, you may be left with numerous undefined symbols which can clog up the works. Let OCAD optimize your map file and remove these unused objects, then save the map with a new name, i.e. myMap_2.ocd. Save the old map file as a backup - just in case you need some of those objects you just deleted.
Jan 12, 2018 4:05 PM # 
There are some training tools from OCAD. You might try:
Jan 13, 2018 4:13 PM # 
I there a way to use a .gdb file in OCAD or QGIS. The Missouri Department of Conservation has there conservation area boundaries in a .gdb format.
Jan 14, 2018 3:00 AM # 
If boundaries are "tracks" or if vertices are "waypoints" as defined by Garmin, open in Mapsource, Basecamp, or other sw than can read. "Save as" a gpx and import to OCAD.
Jan 14, 2018 4:04 PM # 
gdb are ArcInfo files. QGIS should be able to open them. If not, send a link (or the files if they are are small) and I can convert them for you with Global Mapper.
Jan 14, 2018 5:53 PM # 
Yes, QGIS should work (drag & drop, even?) or GDAL, assuming the version of the files is > 10 (I think?):

The GDAL Way

Get Layer Names

ogrinfo -ro -so FILE.gdb > FILE_info.txt

Look in the FILE_info.txt file for the layer names, then:

Export a Layer or Layers from GDB to Shape

ogr2ogr -f "ESRI Shapefile" FILE_Shapes FILE.gdb Layer1 Layer2 ...
Jan 16, 2018 2:46 PM # 
pop quiz of the day-

How can I import this .shp file into OCAD 12 with free gis tools? Conversion to .dxf file on UTM/WGS84 18N using QGIS is not working for me.
Jan 16, 2018 5:04 PM # 
Erik check your email
Jan 19, 2018 12:54 PM # 
thanks who reached out. just need to use one line of code in gdal for re-projection and could import shp file directly into ocad, qgis wasn't working for some reason.
Jan 25, 2018 4:52 PM # 
After consulting with Gian_Reto Schaad of OCAD he was able to solve my "ghosting" problem. Having "Snapping" turned on caused the problem. Turning it off solved my problem.

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