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After the recent discussion on map drawing software, it occurred to me that it might be a good idea to create a map template that new measurers could use to make their maps.

When David Reik mentioned OpenOffice, it seemed like the perfect environment for such a map template, since it is free software that works on both Windows and Macintosh PCs.

With that in mind, I have created a map template using the OpenOffice Draw program. It includes all the elements necessary for a certification map, including example roads, course route, mile marks, mile mark descriptions, etc.

David Reik and Duane Russell provided many helpful suggestions, corrections and comments during development, but it would be equally helpful to get the same from others as well.

The map template and instructions are located at
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Mark - Thanks for doing the research and creating the template. It should make it pretty easy for measurers to create digital maps. That OpenOffice is free is a huge benefit!

OpenOffice will also create PDF files for you, which is a big help. It allows 300 dpi for the output, which is critical.

While we are sharing tools, I have made my Excel Certification Applications available, also, on my Website. It has worksheets for 5k, 10k, Half-marathon, Marathon, and other distances, as I measure different distances. Calibration calculations, ride calculations, and the complete Application in one worksheet.

Again, Mark, thanks for researching the mapping software!
To see how the drawing program worked I downloaded and installed Open Office on my PC, which runs on Windows XP. I played with the program a bit and decided I didn’t want it.

I decided to restore my computer to a few days ago. This, in the past, has always been an effective way to get rid of recently-acquired software installations.

The system was successfully restored, but Open Office was still there. I was unable to find it in the “add or remove programs” list in my control panel.

So I guess I’m stuck with a program I don’t want nor need. I’ve deleted all the folders I can find relating to Open Office, and maybe have got rid of it.
After the restore the icon remained on the disktop. I clicked on it and Open Office opened up. I clicked on one of the options and it opened too. I concluded from this that the program was alive and well somewhere.

I don't see it as a problem unless I find that it has somehow interfered with my Microsoft Office program, which so far has not happened.

Did you decide that Draw looks like Powerpoint, which you already have, so you didn't really need it? Most of the OpenOffice programs look very similar to their Microsoft Office counterparts. They were designed that way so the transition would be easier. In fact, OpenOffice will read in MS Office files (Word, Excel, etc.) and will also output in those formats if you choose.

But even though the OpenOffice programs look similar to the MS Office programs, they have some advantages. In the case of OpenOffice Draw, the advantages over Powerpoint for map drawing include:

1) It's free. And it has been available for free since 2002, so that's not likely to change. Even if you already have MS Office, you'll still need to pay for the next version.

2) It has layers, which makes it easy to use a background map as a guide.

3) It has much better control over line thickness and text size and text manipulation.

4) It will export to PDF format.
I've downloaded the openoffice draw program and I'm trying to follow the directions. I'm on a Mac right now, so I used grab to put a gmap-pedometer of a course as the map background.
I'm stuck at that point. I've pulled up the draw menu and set the color and size of black line, but I cannot seem to actually draw a line. Lyman Jordan tells me I must have the line level hidden by the map background or something like that. I hunted for "arrange" and found that in the menu-- but written in gray not black, so I apparently can't use it.
I'll welcome anyone's help on this, feeling kind of dumb at the moment!
Is it possible that you have locked the background layer but it is still the active layer? If that's the case it won't let you draw anything while that layer is still the active one.
You do want to have that background layer locked so you can't accidentally select the background picture (and then move it by mistake), but you'll need to change the active layer to start drawing other stuff. You do this by selecting one of the other tabs at the bottom of the window.
Mark, I tried your template for the first time this week for a simple 5K. Had to work through some challenges with the documentation (e.g., it assumes that certain tools are visible when, by default, they are not) and the street drawing (e.g., had to figure out I needed to draw a Bezier curve to draw a semicircular connecting portion between 2 parallel streets), but I got it to work.
When using File, Export to PDF, all of the contents of the hidden, non-printable layers got thrown into the PDF (background image, etc.). I installed and used PDF Creator to print to a PDF, and then I could create a clean PDF. Did I miss a step somewhere in exporting to a PDF from OpenOffice?
Hi Alan,
It's great that you're giving OpenOffice try.

Which drawing tools did not show up for you by default?

The bezier curve tool is pretty confusing and frustrating. I don't use it much. I decided that for beginning computer map drawers it's probably best to avoid.

I just retested the "Export to PDF" option. On both my Mac and PC the layer must be both Visible and Printable for it to show up in the exported PDF. Could you email your OpenOffice file to me? I could try it on your particular file.
Hi Mark - When I started the template, the Line and Filling toolbar was not visible, and the curved course arrow was assigned to the Details layer, not the Course Map layer. The segmented line sample IS assigned to the Course Map, as expected.

Since I've just started using this, I have not yet figured out how to addintermediate points to the curved course arrow using the edit points tool; I'm sure I'm not the only measurer that would appreciate a step-by-step example
showing how to do this added to the manual, or perhaps a link to a youtube video showing the process.

Here's a link to a zip archive that has my .odg file, a PDF printed using PDF Creator, and a PDF created using the Export to PDF tool in OpenOffice. The latter has ALL of the layers exposed; even the Layout layer with the red arrows.

Thank You for organizing all of this; it sure beats pencil and rulers on paper.

- Alan
No worries. I had a hunch, when I saw your post, that it was due to a buggy version of OpenOffice (v3.10). So, I downloaded 4.0 and installed it 20 minutes ago, and it exported fine. So, that's done.

FYI - The PDF created by printing to a PDF using PDF Creator was 43,807 bytes, and the PDF exported via OpenOffice was 57,157 bytes, over 30% larger.

Thanks for the help.
- Alan

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