Michael's ISOM2017 Symbol Extensions

This page was installed by of MAPsport Services and Orienteering Hutt Valley, and last updated on 31 May 2018. It consists of symbol numbers used by Michael to extend the OCAD default symbol table. Includes some variations to the OCAD default preferred by Michael - shown in bold. Extensions cater for foot orienteering (eg fences to be hidden for some courses, vs boundary fences that must stay on) and for Rogaine and MTBO mapping. Selected non-track black symbols use a special black colour which may be changed from 100% to 70% for MTBO with one click in the colour table. Extensions to the OCAD default colour numbers are also given below.

Michael has also defined a group of a symbols useful for cartography and map management, but intended to be hidden on the final map. These are separately described in "MAPsport's Hidden Symbols".

The layout is deliberately a simple table of fine print because this is a collection of map-maintenance detail. There is no agreement by anyone else to use these numbers, though their use would minimise symbol table bloat. They are recorded here mainly for the benefit of Michael's clients and anyone working on maps that he has produced.

The numbering keeps clear of the ISOM2017, ISSOM and ISMTBOM specification numbers. In general he uses a .900+ suffix rather than .001, .002 etc which, even if unused now, might conceivably be used by the OCAD default in the future. While not specified in the mapping specification, OCAD has introduced new colour numbers to go with ISOM2017 and he's kept clear of those too, with numbers in the 900 range.


  • All non-track black symbols use a special colour "Reduced black if MTBO". This enables quick conversion to and from a MTBO map where the non-track symbols are 70% black to make the tracks stand out. For foot-o this is set at 100%. It is possible that a few symbols have missed this treatment so would fail to go gray - please report.
  • 101.900, 102.900, 103.900, 101.901, 103.901 Contour/Index contour between, associated slope tag and formline. Symbols which allow alternate contours to be separately identified so that the contour interval can be halved/doubled with a couple of clicks. Specially applicable to rogaining maps - 20m is the topo standard and suits steep country, but 10m is better (and available) around urban areas where larger scales are often used.
  • 101.950, 101.951 Contour from other map and associated slope line. May be used for council contours which are sometimes too fine and wiggly, or for topo contours which are sometimes too coarse and approximate. File size can often be reduced significantly by deleting these contours, but its sometimes useful to have them immediately available for progressive map updating. (PS export before deleting, never throw any source material away!)
  • 101.990 Discarded contour. Used up to April 2018. Decided May 2018 there's no need for it.
  • 101.000, 101.900, 101.950, 101.990, 102.000, 102.950, 102.990 Contour line style in the default changed from round ends to square ends. Rationale is that strictly speaking a contour doesn't have an end but it is often interrupted for a feature or the edge of the map - and a square end matches this situation better. The spec doesn't lay this down, its just that the OCAD default gives you round ends.
  • 104.000 Earth bank. Overhang at the ends removed. My preference, the overhang also creates a problem with very short banks.
  • 104.900 Earth bank with shorter tags (two thirds) for places where there isn’t much room; eg useful alongside roads.
  • 107.900 Large erosion gully with one pointy end. Handy for branching gullies where you don't want an end to taper at a junction.
  • 201.001, 201.002, 201.004, 201.005, 202.000, 202,001, 202.002, 202.003 Cliffs and passable rockfaces in the default changed to square ends without overhangs. Allowed in the spec, its just that the OCAD default gives you round ends.
  • 302.905 50% Blue area only. OCAD gives us this symbol with a built-in border but not without. (It provides a 100% area only, and reluctantly gave us a 70% area only.) I prefer to draw my own lake borders which sometimes need to be interrupted.
  • 401.900 Non-spec scattered clearings, yellow dots like the old 402.
  • 401.901 Single dot for the above, hand-placing dots can avoid edge effects. (Though OCAD 12+ handles edge effects automatically.)
  • 402.001, 404.001 The green-dot versions of scattered trees, the dots increased from 50% to 100% green to avoid it looking like yet another shade with poor light or older eyes.
  • Added 406.902 Hedge of light green, 408.902 Hedge of medium green. For completeness, agree they may be hard to see. Darken up the icon for 410.002.
  • 417.000 The green circle is given a centre of a covering white so that it stands out better.
  • 418.900 Large green blob for eg patches of fight not quite big enough to shape. Its size is between the small green dot and the distinct tree; with twice the area of the small green dot.
  • 501.900 Discontinued after April 2018. Paved area "show-through". Used a lower version of brown where eg distinct trees are planted in parking lots and need to show through. But this is now the default.
  • 501.901 From May 2018 Paved area with a HIGHER version of brown where eg it needs to cover road edges, such as roads do when they intersect.
  • 502.903, 502.904 Wider major road 15-20m and 10-15m.
  • 502.990, 991, 992, 993, 994. Road versions with red infill. An elegant way of showing out of bounds main roads, by changing the fill colour to red. Other methods clobber paths that go closely alongside, eg on bridges. Of course its an unfortunate colour for colour-blind people.
  • 502.905 Narrow sealed road, sometimes handy for MTBO where the seal/gravel distinction is important. Should only be used at enlarged scales. 502.995 red infill version.
  • 503.900 and 901 Gray versions of the black road, for (non-std) showing underpasses. They use a covering gray. There are similar symbols in the MTBO track series.
  • The std fence symbol 516.000 is used for “fences on all maps”. Other fence varieties as follows: 516.900 fence no tags on all maps (useful for stockyards). 516.901 fence on some maps (to allow hiding). 516.902 fence no tags on some maps (to allow hiding).
  • The std ruined fence number 517.000 is used, but the gap is trebled. The rationale is that it should clearly be used for, and look like, a fence with gaps. An old fence which still has continuous wires and takes time to cross is no different for the orienteer than a regular fence.
  • 517.900 ruined fence on some maps (to allow hiding).
  • 519.000 Crossing point. My convention is that no crossing point symbol is used where a road or track crosses the fence, since a crossing point is implied. Other varieties as follows: 519.900 Smaller crossing point, the std one is sooo big! 519.901 Smaller crossing point on some maps (to allow hiding). Don't forget to hide these crossing points when you hide the fences!
  • 520.900 Area not mapped. Especially handy in urban areas, can underlie everything and detail progressively be added on top. Current practice for rogaine mapping is to use a gray for this, the various OOB symbols are too heavy in large amounts.
  • 521.905 65% Black building fill. OCAD gives us this symbol with a built-in border but not without. I like to be able to draw my own large building borders which sometimes need to be interrupted.
  • 522.905 Canopy area only. OCAD gives us this symbol with a built-in border but not without. I like to be able to draw my own canopy borders which sometimes need to be interrupted.
  • 601.901 Blue north line with arrow-head. When interrupting these lines for detail, turn the southern section into a regular north line to avoid a second arrow-head.
  • 711.002, 711.003 Zig-zag Out of bounds symbol for MTBO.
  • 831.000 to 840.000 MTBO track and other symbols (NZ version). Some subtle changes to these May 2018.
  • The foregoing are supposed to scale up with larger scales, although one might wonder about the 600- series. The 900- series which follows relates to layout, and should NOT scale up. Unless you want the map to look like a childrens story-book.
  • 904.000 to 948.999 various text symbols, with the 2nd and 3rd digit implying the point size. Generally the .000 and .001 suffixes are used for arial fonts, and .005, .006 suffixes for fancy fonts.
  • 960.000 Border lines here, just have a simple thick green one.
  • 961.000, 961.001 Areas for use by logos. 962.000, 962.001 Lines for use by logos.
  • 980.000 Punch boxes. Black line with rectangle mode, could do a point symbol? Brought across from ISOM2000 symbols
  • 991.001, 002, 003, 004 Cutting marks for the printer. Brought across from ISOM2000 symbols.


The colour table is based on the latest OCAD12 default, as modified by me. It serves standard maps, OHV rogaines, and MTBO. Colour numbers are not compatible with the sprint colour numbering, grrrr.

The OCAD colour tables are constantly changing in detail. I have attempted to stay clear by adding new/alternative colours using 900-series numbers, with the last 2 digits referring to a related OCAD number. Some of them are not used on this map but are part of a wider picture.

In colour table order from top to bottom:

  • 912 Covering gray. Non-spec colour for underpasses in MTBO and rogaine maps. Above everything except course markings, use with discretion. Normally same as the canopy gray ie 20%
  • 902 Reduced Black if MTBO. This enables quick conversion to and from a MTBO map where the non-track symbols are 70% black to make the tracks stand out. For foot-o this is set at 100%. Appears just under colour 2 Black 100%. There may be some rarely-used symbols which have escaped this modification - please report.
  • 908 Red road infill. An elegant (although bad for colour-impaired people) way of showing OOB major roads is to use a red infill. Have sometimes used red circles too, eg special controls in score events. Appears just above colour 8 50% Brown road infill.
  • 932 Orange for smooth MTBO. The MTBO spec has this experimental colour in an appendix for ridable off-track land; update of this spec has been talked about for years. Its not in the NZ MTBO Mapping Conventions and too powerful for large areas. Stands out well so may be good for small patches. Appears above colour 32 100% Yellow.
  • 935 Yellow 30% to be used for pale yellow (rough open etc) if Full Yellow is reduced for largely open maps. Appears to be an oversight in the spec, and OCAD hasresisted a request to provide it. Appears just below colour 34 50% yellow; asked OCAD to provide it in the default but they declined.
  • 924 Lazy Olive Green. Version of the OOB olive (colour 24) placed at the very bottom of the colour order enables whole suburbs or farms etc to be coloured in, with passable features drawn on top as required. Latest answer to the need for a non-overpowering "not mapped" colour.
  • 930 Lazy Gray. OHV's traditional "not mapped" colour. Up to April 2018 was 15% black but some rogainers thought it was white. From May 2018 30% black, also gives better definition of the whites and yellows on top. May be a bit dark but has to be different from the canopy gray.