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Discussion: ISOM 201X

in: Orienteering; General

Sep 23, 2015 7:39 AM # 
What's the status of ISOM 201X?
Sep 23, 2015 8:18 AM # 
Sep 23, 2015 8:31 AM # 
I thought you'd be on top of this one.
Sep 23, 2015 8:43 AM # 
"Final preparation and publication" according to the last page of this document
Sep 23, 2015 12:29 PM # 
What is the date of this document? Also it has on the GANTT a Final call to federations in 2015 (but optional) - not sure that this happened, and a final draft hasn't come Australia's way.
Sep 23, 2015 12:46 PM # 
2014, October I think. First draft was published 2013 and soon after that was the second call, and then there is just optional third call and final preparation and publication left, so as far as I can see the document may simply pop up May 2016 in it's full perfectness, right on planned schedule.
Sep 23, 2015 4:38 PM # 
We wanted a concession to use some of the ISOM201X proposed improvements at WOC 2015, mainly to clarify the mapping of the fences and crossing points near the end. In 2014 Håvard Tveite told me...

"It is highly unlikely that the ISOM revision will be ready for WOC2015. That means you have to be prepared to use ISOM2000...
It will not be pretty, though... "

The draft has some nice ideas, but don't figure on being allowed to use them any time soon.
Sep 23, 2015 11:05 PM # 
Looks like the optional third call to federations means "optional whether we ask them". Could be the end of the "I" in ISOM.
Sep 23, 2015 11:18 PM # 
Unless you are running a WRE or higher, I would have thought anyone investing in a significant new map might wish to think seriously about jumping the gun. The idea of a map with a one year life doesn't sound all that sensible.
Sep 23, 2015 11:50 PM # 
We have a few maps that had a life of a single event. Nothing to do with ISOM though - just the location meant it wasn't feasible to run another event there!
Sep 24, 2015 5:25 AM # 
Graeme and IL - I certainly see no issues in mappers using the new ISOM for local events. Is an OCAD symbol set likely to be available any time soon?
Sep 24, 2015 5:34 AM # 
What's the rush? Is it so great?
Sep 24, 2015 6:41 AM # 
Simmo - last time they renumbered lots of symbols, and the good guys at OCAD dutifully followed suit - right down to swapping the green cross and the circle. Old symbol sets are still turning up and causing issues.
Sep 24, 2015 9:13 AM # 
So you're saying old Symos are a pain to deal with?
Sep 24, 2015 10:57 AM # 
tRicky. Anyone at the Easter in Bendigo ran on two maps that were oncers. Yorkshire Hill- access not available except for the one event. Crusoe Lake- access withdrawn after event. Easter will pay for most of the mapping though.
Sep 24, 2015 11:16 AM # 
Ah really, that nice map where we had to run through the canal several times? So much fun! :P I really should have beaten Craig on that one (would have been a very rare occasion) but my brain imploded near the end.
Sep 24, 2015 12:17 PM # 
From the last FOC minutes "The ISOM draft is expected to be ready in autumn 2015."

Lets hope it is not autumn 201X.
Sep 25, 2015 8:56 AM # 
autumn 2015? but that was months ago ;-)
Sep 26, 2015 1:47 AM # 
I am glad to see this slumbering subject woken up.

For what its worth, on Aug 5 Håvard Tv. wrote to me, "We are now finalising the final draft of the ISOM201x, and hope to distribute at least the symbol part to the federations this autumn."

The previous draft had an unprecedented number of changes, going in widely divergent directions. Many changes made good sense to me, others did not, and a few were frankly crazy, with serious non-mapping implications. I don't think this is a minority opinion.

I have been able to read much feedback from other countries, but I am not connected to correspondence from the other IOF commissions.
Has there been any publication of feedback from within the IOF?

Given the vast scope and controversial issues, I think it is very poor procedure not to have another round of review for this document. I think the IOF Council should demand this, and I encourage everyone listening to pursue their personal connections to request this.
Nov 18, 2015 10:37 PM # 
I made a request to MC to publicly post (IOF website?) all feedback (from national federations and intra- IOF) which the MC has received re ISOM 201X.
I received a positive response from Håvard Tv, and the involvement of Tom H (Sec Gen/CEO) to facilitate.
I believe this will help to provide a transparent process, as well as mutual education.
No promises on timing but stay tuned.
Nov 19, 2015 10:10 AM # 
Thank you Eric.
Dec 5, 2015 4:33 PM # 
Tom H tells me-
"The federation feedback from 2013 is now published on the Map Commission pages on the website.
The final draft of the ISOM 201x has been sent out for comment to member federations and discipline commissions today."
(Dec 3)
( I am still wondering about intra-IOF comments)
Dec 5, 2015 11:59 PM # 
.. and federations are asked for comments by 17 Jan 2016.
Dec 6, 2015 6:14 AM # 
and the first comment is obviously to suggest a realistic deadline for comments.
Dec 6, 2015 3:01 PM # 
Wow, I haven't read any of this new stuff, but yes that date is sickening, flat out nonsense, and I'm trying to be careful with my language.
Dec 7, 2015 4:14 AM # 
I have learned that the ISOM 201X feedback comments, linked above, intentionally do not include comments from other entities within the IOF, despite an explicit request to do so.
I am trying to address this, but could certainly use some more help.
Dec 7, 2015 10:28 AM # 
I can't speak for the other commissions, but if the Foot Commission is anything to go, our feedback wasn't a 'submission' as such - rather it was individual e-mail comments on a few specific points by some commission members.
Dec 7, 2015 12:15 PM # 
Blair, these are exactly the type of comments, that should be shown the light of day.
These comments are as important to the process, in some ways more so, as the jump-through-hoops "official submissions".
Dec 7, 2015 1:18 PM # 
Is the "final draft" that was "sent to federations" posted or linked someplace?
Dec 7, 2015 10:23 PM # 
I bet that IOF plan to post an article with a link in a few days.
Dec 7, 2015 10:58 PM # 
I think just publishing suggestions the map commission received from others is not particularly meaningful without the explanations from the map commission itself why each particular suggestion was or was not included in the final draft. I think the final draft should be accompanied by a note giving such explanations.

Also, given that at least for some of the changes the consensus is unlikely, would it make sense to have some sort of voting process where all federations could vote on at least 3-4 most controversial changes before they are approved? If this cannot be done online, then perhaps it's worth waiting until the General Assembly?
Dec 10, 2015 7:40 AM # 
from norwegian federation homepage

the five links are:

short introduction to the project

description of ISOM 201x

symbols as pdf file

symbols as OCAD file

symbols as Orienteering Mapper file
Dec 10, 2015 10:39 AM # 
Interesting to see this (especially given the epic AP thread it created back in 2010).

"Forbidden to cross an uncrossable body of water"
Dec 10, 2015 10:45 AM # 
Damn, triangles, squares and asterisks. What next, a rhombus? Parallelogram? Dodecahedron (when we start on 3D maps)?
Dec 12, 2015 11:21 PM # 
I'm guessing that many federations will again consign this round of comment to "mapping committees", when there are issues that affect how we run the sport of middle to long distance orienteering. The following are not solely "mapping" matters: declaring a number of features "not to be crossed", the number of greens that we represent runnability with; larger control circles on 1:10,000 maps; and of course the elephant in the room is the widespread use and enjoyment of detailed terrains that cannot be mapped at 1:15,000.
Dec 13, 2015 10:11 AM # 
Exerting central control on the use of complex terrains hasn't worked up till now. Why would anyone expect this to change just because a new edict is issued? The widespread use and enjoyment will continue. Mappers will be asked to continue to map these terrains because the punters open their wallets for them. Eventually WRE will become code for under-mapped or uninteresting terrain. One day someone will run a carnival with the one area mapped to two standards- one for the public race and one for the elite race. At that point there might be a move towards compromise to forestall a backlash. In the meantime, we may well have a continued use of the existing ISOM much like there are still computers using XP. May a thousand flowers bloom etc.
Dec 13, 2015 3:04 PM # 
Terje Mathisen:
I have contacted Håvard Tveite specifically re. the "Elephant in the Room", i.e. uncrossable features:

He stated that the uncrossable cliff symbol should only be used for _long_ cliffs, where a runner who takes a chance and manages to find a route up/down will gain an unfair advantage. I.e. this symbol was introduced purely for fairness reasons.

When everyone knows that such a cliff is illegal to cross, they hopefully won't plan a route across it.

The problem is of course the same as when we (some years ago) had a rule here in Norway that it was illegal to cross uncrossable water, i.e. with a thick border line: This rule was revoked simply because it was impossible to enforce it on a forest race, and some of the rule infractions happened by accident.

Now that exact rule is back in the new ISOM standard, otoh ISOM201X have included the sprint "Shallow (crossable) water" symbol as well, so now the mapper can use this symbol on a wide but shallow creek to signal that it is in fact legal & possible to cross it.
Dec 13, 2015 5:17 PM # 
When uncrossable cliff symbols is reserved for long impassable cliffs it means we have only one cliff symbol left for all the other cliffs. So some of them are 1m ones athletes can jump up without much delay ans some are impassable even for some of the elite athletes and impassable and dangerous for older folks and kids. That introduces significant source for unfairness and introduces great luck factor.

Same with impassable fence. It is so thick it is not practical to use for any regular fences and most likely (like impassable cliffs) it gets reserved for something like prison fences. That leaves us with only two usable fence symbols, regular and ruined. And if fence is not ruined there is only one alternative. So there is no way to tell is the fence easy to jump over or does one need to so serious climbing to do get over it. So lots of luck needed to get route choice decisions right.

Form line is so thin is is very difficult to see. It is as thin as marsh lines in todays maps, but just brown and it has gaps, so it harder to see than one single blue marsh line in todays maps. Dig any offset printed 1:15000 map check how thin those lines are. In old standard there is no equally thin lines used for anything other than as a stripe fill of this area symbol. If printed in 1:10 000 it is about as thick as it is in todays 1:15 000 maps, so older folks will not be able to read them in 1:10 000 maps. In 1:7500 it will be thinner than form lines in todays 1:10 000 maps, so those who struggle with 1:10 000 maps will not be able to read form lines in new 1:7500 maps and will need 1:5000 enlargements.

There is other issues but this impassable stupidity/lack of usable symbols together with the form line thinness are enough. It will not be practical to use this new standard for anything. Other than printing out some dozen special maps sheets for WRE classes only when there is WRE race. It will be impossible to adopt it to a national standard.
Dec 13, 2015 5:40 PM # 
Jagge, I think you've misread or misunderstood the commentary about impassable cliffs. It says that crossing a LONG impassible cliff is forbidden but it doesn't say you can't use the 'impassable' cliff symbol for short cliffs. I don't know at what point a short cliff changes to a long cliff.... Clearly the intent is to say that massive cliffs that drop straight down for many 10s of meters are forbidden to cross but do we really need a rule for that?

Similarly I think the rule about impassable vegetation is lost cause. Now when we're taking micro-route choices through the terrain we need to read all the detail to see if it's marked as passable or impassable??? That's just asking for trouble. To say nothing of the fact that changing the speed definitions of the different greens is just going to mess with our heads because we're used to it meaning one thing and now it means something different. It will take a long time to internalize those new definitions.

Why are they using different special symbols in the different colours? Wouldn't it be so much simpler and cleaner if all of the colours had triangular special symbols or squares or asterisks but not a blue triangle, a green square, etc. That one just doesn't make sense to me.

Finally, the one symbol that really needed to be changed in ISOM didn't... The number of times I've struggled with short bits of indistinct trails or indistinct trails with lots of twists and turns in them that get obfuscated by the massive gap in the symbol...
Dec 13, 2015 7:18 PM # 
No, I did don't think I misread or misunderstood. If it is mapped as impassable you are not allowed to pass in no matter how short it is. So you either use it and have plenty (~hundred) forbidden objects without way to enforce the rule or use it only for long ones and have hundred very difficult to pass objects mapped as passable. You simply can't let athletes to decide is something long enough to be forbidden to pass, and if you do that it is serious fairness issue too. most likely in practice it will be used a lot less than before, so plenty of not impassable (slow and difficult to climb) cliffs will be mapped as passable.

Like OUSA commented year ago, orienteering does not have a problem in this area that needs a remedy. Enforcement will not work on the self-reporting (honor) system, and the reporting-of-others system will only need to endless arguments. Just think of following. What we have had here is rare issues with long cliffs, something we could easily sort out with single thick purple line. But MC chooses not to use common sense, instead it injects new fairness problems to this sport. I think I am beginning to agree with Coti, MC needs a serious reality check.
Dec 13, 2015 7:30 PM # 
From the symbols document: "For fairness reasons, crossing a long impassable cliff is forbidden." To me that indicates that crossing a short impassable cliff is not forbidden.
Dec 13, 2015 7:43 PM # 
How long is long?
Dec 13, 2015 7:55 PM # 
"Barriers and forbidden areas

In orienteering terrain, there may be features that are forbidden to pass or effectively impassable. Such features need to be clearly identifiable on the map, and therefore need separate symbols. There are several symbols for impassable / forbidden to pass features (vegetation, water bodies / marshes, cliffs, fences walls, buildings, ...). For fairness reasons, features that are mapped using these symbols have to be forbidden to cross / pass, so that the competitors shall not have to consider taking chances when deciding their route choice."


"Passable / Impassable

Some symbols are defined as impassable and hence forbidden to pass for fairness reasons. That a feature is mapped using a symbol that is not impassable does not mean that it will be passable for all orienteers. It should, however, be passable by the average elite orienteer under normal conditions."

It does not solve any existing problems but introduces new ones, no matter how you interpret it. And this is just cliff symbol. It is same with fences, hedges, impassable marshes ... just read OUSA feedback from year ago, it all is so well put there I should not write anything other that point to it really. I believe most thought that forbidden nonsense would have been killed early enough and did not pay much attention to it.
Dec 13, 2015 8:00 PM # 
In that case the answer depends on where you read and there's conflicting wording in the proposed standard. Either way I think we're all in agreement that it's a stupid rule.
Dec 13, 2015 8:19 PM # 
Just to give perspective to MC's suggestion - I would have fixed those rare forbidden cliff issues like this:

Purple overprint and tapes, and only to those cliff that may introduce possibility to take risk and win. All other cliffs, let those who are lost climb, they will not win anything. Unless cliffs must not be climbed for environmental reasons, erosion or such. In most races this purple would not be needed and everything would be mapped just as before, so no harm done.

In Jukola 2012 there was dangerous ridge with impassable cliff made forbidden like this (7 -> 8).

They had to put stripes on whole hill to make sure it will be noticed. One single line like the one above would not do it, it would get missed until something like that get chosen as standard way to make cliff forbidden to pass, so runners would know to look for it.
Dec 13, 2015 8:36 PM # 
It's quite obvious that the MC has invented a problem that does not exist (has anyone ever gotten unfair advantage from going too quick through dark green?) in order to harmonize practice with the sprint standard. This will only lead to intentional mismapping in order to create route-chooses, again like in sprint-o.
Dec 13, 2015 8:45 PM # 
Why are they using different special symbols in the different colours?

It is not always easy to identify the color of a tiny symbol, especially for colorblind. Like this you could identify symbol also by shape. So it may be just smart to use slightly different shapes for those colors colorblind may find similar.
Dec 13, 2015 8:47 PM # 
In addition, as illustrated by Jagge, a high cliff is much more dangerous in a big relay like Jukola. Something my club mate experienced in 2006, being pushed over the edge by the horde behind him as he was looking for the "passable" gap between high cliffs.
Dec 13, 2015 10:25 PM # 
Does it really matter if a short uncrossable cliff is forbidden to cross? Who would cross it? And if they did, would it be an advantage compared to going around it? I think it's almost always something that there's no need to enforce, and no harm in forbidding it. Like a small, deep lake; nobody is going to swim across that. In the case of a long cliff, there may be a perceived advantage in trying to cross it, and you don't want to tempt people to risk their necks. My main concern is that having the cliffs forbidden will tempt course setters to set courses that cross such cliffs, creating a route choice to the left or right. And that may perversely make it more tempting for competitors to try to cross it. I prefer the rule that we have regarding uncrossable water (in the USA, I don't know if there's an IOF equivalent) that says that courses are not to be set such that crossing such a feature is a reasonable route choice.
Dec 13, 2015 11:03 PM # 
Thank you Jagge. That is a good reason.
Dec 13, 2015 11:42 PM # 
Jagge's solution of purple overprint for uncrossable features makes a lot of sense. And it can be immediately and easily applied to existing maps, without the need to change symbols to meet a new standard.
Dec 14, 2015 3:28 AM # 
Agee with Jagge in keeping it more obvious. Similarly I would much prefer a solution of having all uncrossable objects contain some type of Magenta as this is the universal OOB colour.
Potentially uncossable items could contain dots or dashes of magenta. That includes linear uncrossable features like cliffs, walls, fences, hedges etc. and also area symbols like gardens, the new Dark Green. To keep consistent it may mean the likes of an uncrossable swamp or lake keep the old black line around with magenta dots inside the line. Just some fantasising.
However, where will it end.
Dec 14, 2015 3:38 AM # 
However, where will it end.

Probably where the impassable feature finishes.
Dec 14, 2015 5:00 AM # 
I am certainly encouraged by these comments.
I'm not sure about the next step, since I think there is a problem larger than issue by issue disagreement.

On the uncrossability issue, I have already learned that IOF's own Rules Commission, in 2012, has stated its clear disagreement with the proposed principle, yet the Map Commission or at least the controlling member(s?) has completely ignored RC's advice and jurisdiction.

This apparent non responsiveness to any feedback, is the reason that I have been pushing for the posting of intra-IOF comments on ISOM 201X, so far unsuccessfully, along with the posting of the Federation comments.

If the MC is so blind or deaf to its fellow commission, can they be trusted to review well reasoned and informed feedback on any of the issues from the federations?
Dec 14, 2015 9:41 AM # 
Terje Mathisen:
Jagge, I agree that using purple overprint is a much better and more general solution to the OOB feature problem, not the least because it moves the problem out of the ISOM standard and into the event controller area of responsibility.

Back when all maps were offset printed and lasted for 3-10 years before they were updated, it was important to get everything mapped within the base map colors, i.e. excluding course overprint purple, but today there is absolutely no reason to not let the the map surveyor add those thick purple OOB lines to features like long dangerous cliffs.

This has the huge advantage of giving this entire class of route choice information a separate color from the base map, making it much easier to quickly see where you should _not_ go.
Dec 14, 2015 10:36 AM # 
Perhaps someone can start designing the logo for branding with the phrase- "Proudly non-compliant with ISOM16". ;-)
Dec 14, 2015 11:57 AM # 
Terje Mathisen:
Don't give up on ISOM201X!

Please read all of it before deciding that you need to ignore everything, I find that I agree with nearly every argument they state for the changes they are making this time, except for the sprint style OOB symbols.

Can we please assume that we will all give feedback to our respective national organizations about how "illegal to cross" line features is mostly a bad idea for forest races,and instead start discussing the rest of the proposed changes?

I believe that getting rid of the few few special 1:10K symbols and instead having a single standard for all forest maps is a very good idea, I also like the slight reduction in size for many of the point symbols which in effect makes it possible to fit more of them in a given area without making the map unreadable.

As they state in the project report (isom201x Project 201512.pdf) :
Generalisation shall follow the requirements for the scale 1:15000 in all cases. Terrain that cannot be legibly presented at a scale of 1:15000 is not suitable for international orienteering events, but may be suitable for international sprint orienteering events.

To me this means that we will soon get middle distance forest ("long forest sprint") races in really intricate terrain (i.e. like 25-Manna korten last year) which is mapped according to ISSOM instead of ISOM! :-)

Personally I would have been very glad if I had gotten a sprint map for that race.
Dec 14, 2015 12:43 PM # 
Personal opinions:

- Let the map standard be a map standard. Remove all rules and political agendas, including the infamous "Terrain that cannot be legibly presented at a scale of 1:15000 is not suitable for international orienteering events". These may be important points, but they are better served in separate rules and guidelines documents. And when rules and guidelines change there is no need to update ISOM, which takes decades...

- I'm strongly opposed to any reduction in symbol sizes. Change the scale instead! If there is glorious super detailed terrain that cannot be generalized, then map it at whatever scale is needed without shrinking the symbols. There are many many orienteers that struggle reading modern maps, making the sport much less fun. Don't make this situation worse. If anything I would prefer making the symbols slightly _larger_ now that map printing quality is typically worse than it was during previous versions of ISOM when offset was the norm.

- I'm strongly opposed to sprint map OOB symbols in ISOM.
Dec 14, 2015 1:19 PM # 
Terje, ISSOM's symbols sizes are often ISOM-1:15000 sizes, especially in the forest, so you may want to be careful what you wish for...
Dec 14, 2015 1:47 PM # 
Agree strongly with pi's points. And besides the aging eyes issue that many of us contend with, doesn't anyone think it strange that 20-30 year-old elites are now carrying magnifiers in [some] forest races? That should tell us something about map-unfriendliness. How does O expect to attract new talented young athletes when they see this?

Also, I like Jagge's proposed purple OOB solution. Much better solution for all of the reasons previously mentioned!
Dec 14, 2015 3:40 PM # 
Terje Mathisen:
@pi: I think everyone here agrees that the MC should _only_ care about defining the best possible mapping guidelines, letting the competition people to care about legality/OOB etc.

That said, the MC does have to deliver a symbol set that makes it possible to map real competition terrains, and that will always be a balance between making each individual symbl large enough to be clearly readable, and making them small enough that they don't take much more room than the detail they represent, because when this happens it becomes impossible to map clusters of small details accurately.

Reductions in symbol sizes are well covered by the corresponding recommendation to use more pure enlargements, i.e. they state specifically that a 1:15K standard ISOM map can be printed in 1:10K and 1:7.5K for older runners, and they even state that the very oldest can get 1:5K enlargements.

This has been handled OK here in Norway where H55 most often get 1:7.5K, at least in races where H21E runs on 1:10K, but over in Sweden the organizers of Gränsjakten, close to next year's WOC, was forced by the Swedish Orienteering Federation to _not_ use enlargements for any class below H60.

If the base scale is 1:10K then we should see at least 1:7.5K and 1:5K enlargements, and possibly 1:3.3K as well.

BTW, for the JWOC Tour this summer we used 1:10K maps only and for young and old runners we had 1:7.5K enlargements, but in order to make the course print look better, we used 1:10K size symbols instead of enlarging these symbols to scale.

Re OOB once again: This one is done, using purple overprint is a far better solution than reserving a bunch of special symbols. Thanks again for the example Jagge!
Dec 14, 2015 6:02 PM # 

Boulder field symbol seems to 2.5 x bigger that before. Impassable symbols have huge footprint. The old symbols set is downloaded from Finnish federation web site.
Dec 14, 2015 7:24 PM # 
I think this explains the Australian concern over the dotted ground changes.
Dec 14, 2015 7:27 PM # 
Jagge, I like your suggestion, but why we need uncrosable fence symbol + magenta if it should be clear from the map that you are not allowed to pass the uncrosable fence. If magenta overprint is the solution for uncrossable objects then there should be only one symbol for i.e. fence (not crossable+uncrossable fence; better only fence) and event organizer/mapper should define which objects must have magenta overprint.
Dec 14, 2015 7:53 PM # 
Why there is no room for Jagge in MC :)?
Dec 14, 2015 8:31 PM # 
Terje Mathisen:
Looking at Jagge's animation I really like the denser green stripe symbols, makes them much easier to read, and as long as the average green impact corresponds to the same runnability for a solid green area, I'm happy.

The thinner form lines with smaller gaps is a big improvement, while the area symbols for stony ground (instead of manually sprinkling a "random" pattern over it) is another step in the right direction.

I believe the currently defined boundaries between various green colors are wrong, i.e. the medium green covers a too large range, afair this is one of the things fixed in isom201x.

Fences could be repurposed as low/crossable and high/difficult to cross, with purple/magenta overprint for when it really is illegal to pass them.
Dec 14, 2015 10:06 PM # 
Yes, there do need to be two types of fence symbols, one for fences that can be easily crossed by a typical person:

and the other for fences that most people would not cross:

If crossing the fence (either kind) is forbidden, then add the purple.
Dec 14, 2015 10:47 PM # 
Jagge's animation is quite revealing.
The thicker wall issue was highlighted on the international mappers fb page by 'Sportmaps' of Espanola, and indeed could be very problematic.
I can see the alignment to ISSOM being of value in concept but here and with the uncrossable fence they have gone too far,. Sure make them a little thicker but with a foot print so wide it will be a real pain as it proposed. The double tag is obvious too so no need to be so extreme. I think the regular fence line is a fraction thick as well.
I had missed the random dot area symbol for scattered rock. The above animation is in my opinion proof that it is not a great development. For me it should be either place the dots individually or have a regular pattern screen. This is precisely what the Australians, who use it a lot, were concerned with.
Boulder field symbol was too small before, but again I believe it's taken too larger increase in size.
I had a little play with the idea of using purple instead to show the uncrossable features. I find that this is universally understood and can be applied on permanent objects during mapping, or temporarily by course planners, and they have the same consistency. I really like Jagge's solution for this above with his purple line. Some small change to his that I would consider would be to make the purple an approx. 80% tint so it doesn't distract from course markings. Also less likely to hide details underneath. And maybe this way the widths can be manipulated a little to fit in the map as required without destroying legibility.
I would even consider changing lime green gardens on ISSOM to be a light purple screen approx. 30% with a very skinny lined purple border. No longer could this be miss read or miss understood to a dodgy cheating athlete.

Moving on to other items I have some concern are:
I have reservations about the thinner form line, yes it looks fine above but I saw someone do it on a detailed sand dune map where there were lots of them, and it looked terrible.
Vertical green lines; agree with the densities but feel that they too easily hide the detailes below, a problem that could easily be fixed by changing the colour of the lines from 100% green down to say approx. 80%. this softens the look nicely to the eye IMO.
I still think a green line for vegetation boundary is strange. I would use dark grey rock against black dotted veg bdrys if they clashed. The green lines didn't work for me in many circumstances.
Two dot knoll sizes would be very useful for detailed sand dune terrain where there are many that look different on the ground or too distinct to leave off when cluttered.
The classification as a sandy track by using the ride symbol combined with rough open sounds interesting and makes sense. Could be useful very soon :)

The scale thing.... this is big picture stuff and sadly has either purposely been ignored or thought through and not explained well. It seems many would like to see some kind of differences for middle and long maps, be that scales or symbol set sizes, or at least the ability to make some change for special detailed terrain.
I'll stick with my thoughts that a middle would have the abilty to reduce all symbols by 10+% or similar, and a long distance on 1:15K map increase sizing by approx. 10+% (attempting to force more generalising and the need for magnifiers).
I hadn't considered using ISSOM being legally correct for a middle, even though I have run on one before (map by Gruver) and it was great. But to me it seems way too far off the normal expectations, and would allow too much detail to be mapped.
I would also like to see the allowance for long competitions running on a 1:12500 map where 1:15K is too detailed, this may be a great scale for non elite grades also.
Dec 15, 2015 12:07 AM # 
Jagge, thank you for the very nice alternating graphic. Perhaps in another thread you could tell us how to do that!

Paul it seems there are a few things about the world that we have to learn, to fit in with the MC. There are two types of terrains, those with a degree of detail that can be mapped at 1:15,000, and those that can be mapped at 1:4-5000. There is nothing in between. And gigantic boulders all have a patch of runnable forest on top.
Dec 15, 2015 12:12 AM # 
jjcote - maybe, but it is still confusing and unfair if the symbol is described as "that most people would not cross". Crossable fence should not be described in this way. If fence is higher than X then it should be forbidden to cross even that is possible to cross it somehow. Magenta overprint should give a clear information that is also dangerous not just forbidden. First fence can't be dangerous to cross and magenta would be missleading here. If such fence should be forbidden to cross then it is better to map olive green or OOB behind the fence and give the athlete the right information of what is possible to understand at the running speed.
Dec 15, 2015 12:44 AM # 
If we go to a thicker line for uncrossable fences, why do we need the double tag? I think this is a question worth considering in the interests of legibility.
Dec 15, 2015 12:48 AM # 
This fence is crossable:

This one is dangerous, even though I might be able to jump over it:

because it's electric. The area behind it might not be forbidden, if there's a crossing point.
Dec 15, 2015 1:19 AM # 
The second fence is uncrossable because there's sheep behind it. Those buggers are nasty.
Dec 15, 2015 1:49 AM # 
No longer could this be miss read or miss understood to a dodgy cheating athlete.

Dodgy cheating athlete or an ignorant one? The dodgy cheating athlete is going to break the rules regardless of map colours. Our biggest issue with people going through OOB is not that it's done intentionally but that they have no clue about map symbols. After all, it looks okay to go through on the ground!
Dec 15, 2015 4:25 AM # 
like clockwork you are so reliable tRicky, and so correct.
I mean The dodgy, cheating, ignoramus athlete.

Purple would leave no excuses.

@jjcote: those sheep do look rather nasty. However for the Shortsighted it would be good to use a purple temporary line like Jagge's suggestion or similar here. The danger of a planner changing to thick black line in such cases, si that the fence might stay on the master map. Obviously there are other OOB symbols but this is an easily applied and understood option (needs to be opaque).
The first dangerous fence is quite a problem that I have experienced. I have ofter found some fences that, like you sample may be worth showing as uncrossable (purple or thicker black?) and a crossing point made and showed if there are no gates available and shown. Some people here don't map the gates which I find very wrong, as some people struggle to climb fences and at least know their options. Some farmers also do not like too many people crossing huckery fences, a good option would be to mark some as un crossable.
Dec 15, 2015 4:42 AM # 
Hold onto the electric fence. It will cure you of all sorts of ailments including but not limited to: Hiccups, PTSS, Ross River Virus, Fear of sheep.
Dec 15, 2015 6:52 AM # 
You say you see value in alignment to ISSOM. Really, or are you just polite? I can't figure out any value in it. And disciplines are supposed to be different after all.

I don't quite understand what is the problem with broken ground or stony ground Australians are referring to. It may look ugly in my snippet, just because I used area symbols and 0cad cuts symbols (doesn't draw only full symbols). It does not have to be that way, as far as I can see no-one is stopping you from ignoring the area tool and instead manually placing individual dots. What is new is densities that should tell that runnability. Is that a bad thing? For long the point density has been used to tell how stony or broken the ground is, isn't this just giving some guidelines how dense you should manually place those dots? And because pattern is supposed to be random there is room for variation and there must be some kind of transition between dense to sparse dot screen at the edge, I'd say as long as the density of our hand positioned dots are somewhere between those tree densities you are doing be doing should fine. But I may have missed something. Is the Australian concern about runnability, like a need to use dense screen of broken ground dots (for lots of pits or something) but pits doesn't affect speed, so it can't be done? Or what?

I am not that happy with undergrowth stripes. Making them more dense makes sense - it for example increases granularity - but it has negative effect on legibility. I am not sure is it good idea to go to extremes to get the amount of green ink same as with green mask with same runnability? I can understand the concept, but we are balancing it with legibility here. See, the problem is stripes can't be more dense for the densest undergrowth symbol, because runner would see just green and not stripes. So the only way to get enough ink is using thick enough lines. That's why green stripe is 0.12 mm thick, that is thicker than form lines. That's why even one single stripe line stand out better than form line. Shouldn't it be the opposite? With thinner lines those stripes would fall to background and make contours more legible. But then green% would match only if it is really dense, and then slowest symbol would look just like 60% green mask. I believe we can't have them all, we may need to make compromise and choose the right balance between "legible & usable" and "academic perfection of green% between symbols". In this draft the weight is ore on the latter.

(Terje, that idea of mapper producing initial purple layer for future planners sounds pretty good. It might also indicate mapper hasn't explored fully some big cliffs or really steep slopes because he see it's not supposed to be used for orienteering for being too dangerous).

Boulder field symbol was too small before

No it wasn't. Mappers just used to minimum size 0.5 most. You could use anything between 0.5 ... 1.0. Now it is fixed to 0.8, flexibility removed. How smart is that?
Dec 15, 2015 7:09 AM # 
The Aussie concern is that Europe is ruining orienteering by meddling with our rooted pits. We just want everyone to have a fair go and throw another shrimp on the barbie ya bogan. Too right; fair suck of the sauce bottle. It's all bulldust and you've got Buckley's of this going off. The revision's a furphy and you need to give it away or send it on walkabout cobber.
Dec 15, 2015 7:11 AM # 
Don't forget Oath.
Dec 15, 2015 8:51 AM # 

at left stripes new draft suggests, at right thinner version of it. This is just screen and on paper it may look different, but anyway thinner lines would distracts less but would not meet the % green target. So what MC is doing is sacrificing legibility for the more or less academic reasons (getting green % meet with the green masks with same running speed).
Dec 15, 2015 12:30 PM # 
@Tash: one thing which holding on to the electric fence hasn't cured me of is fear of electric fences (and New Zealand rogaines).

@Jagge: the Australian concern about rocky ground is that a changed symbol will camouflage the full-size boulders, I think. Our mappers have never used point density to demonstrate the 'rockiness' or runnability of the ground, because there is so much small rock underfoot on some of our granite maps that the rocky ground symbol tends to be used to describe where there are numerous rocks too small to be mapped as boulders, if that makes sense.

Also I agree about the undergrowth stripes.
Dec 15, 2015 12:56 PM # 
I hear ya Jennycas. I dread the day I get zapped while climbing over (instead of through) an electric fence.
Dec 15, 2015 1:07 PM # 
Two maps with stony ground dots, Finnish and Australian.

Australian map has much smaller dots. Current ISOM allows variation in dot size, 0.16 .. 0.2 mm and new has fixed 0.6mm. I can see that may be one part of the problem. Bigger dots may camouflage boulder symbols and leave no room for mapper to use common sense.
Dec 15, 2015 1:50 PM # 
Jagge - try this one. You will see many spurs with a single line of dots, because Australia is very old in geological terms we have narrow spurs with exposed rock. ISOM201X forbids the use of individual dots in a line. These cannot be drawn using the proposed screen.
Dec 15, 2015 3:25 PM # 
There looks always be some discrepancy (napper hardly ever wants to make it look like vegetation boundary), so how straight evenly spaced line it must be to make it not allowed? But true, bigger size and taking this line rule too seriously would make things difficult, reason enough to not adopt it as national standard I believe.
Dec 15, 2015 11:58 PM # 
Simmo I don't think the "proposed screen" is part of the specification, its just one way of achieving it. I don't see anything stopping individual placing of dots (except tedium).

An observation - these are AREA symbols, one would think that a bigger number of smaller dots would represent an area better. Down to the point where the dots disappear. I wonder if there's any evidence that 0.16mm black dots can't be readily seen.

And another observation, Australia's rocky lines are really an anomaly here. They are linear features and you have been knowingly mis-using an area symbol to suit. Successfully I might add.
Dec 16, 2015 12:58 AM # 
Our mappers have never used point density to demonstrate the 'rockiness' or runnability of the ground

We don't? :)

Gruver - it's not that they're linear features, they're just narrow area features in the same way that Tasmania might have an impassable thicket on a creek line that's only 5m wide. The sparse nature of the rocky ground symbol is the limiting factor.
Dec 16, 2015 1:22 AM # 
Agree the dot size might be the source of the unsightly problem, and perhaps the irregular rectangular shapes of the dots. And yes, easily fixed if there was a singular dot in the symbol set for individual precision useage.

I know... Lets stick with ISOM2000 ;)

actually I wonder what maps would develop if anarchy were to prevail, it could be an awesome experiment.
Dec 16, 2015 1:42 AM # 
Jagge says...
"You say you see value in alignment to ISSOM. Really, or are you just polite? I can't figure out any value in it. And disciplines are supposed to be different after all. "
You may be correct, with an element of polite conformity from me. I try hard to keep an open mind. I wouldn't necessarily chose alignment myself as the best options but willing to consider proposals because cross discipline symbols keep things simple and understood easily.
However I completely hear your point that there are differences and sometimes these are not always interchangeable. There maybe some compromise between the two or maybe not.
What I do struggle with though is that, in finding a number of problems with the final MC ISOM201X version, I am uncomfortable knowing these things have got through to this late stage not having been identified as problems.
Dec 16, 2015 2:00 AM # 
I finally got around to following Terje's advice about reading the details, and I was pleasantly surprised.
My comment about MC's "non-responsiveness to any feedback" should be lifted for the small detail mapping issues, not that I agree with everything, but that there seem to be some positive improvements. Still, I agree with almost everything that Jagge and others have pointed out here.

On the other hand, I have seen nothing to dissuade me that the "non-responsiveness" even more certainly applies to the big issue elephants -in-the- room, the non-problem "uncrossable" issue being number one, and the complete failure to address, perhaps the most real -problem issue, which is the use and mapping of the "missing scale" terrain which gruver highlights above.
I don't have an easy answer for this either, but it needs to be addressed, and in time for whatever that unrealistic date is ;-).

Both of these issues, and others, require the involvement of non mappers at the IOF level, and despite my pleading and digging emails, I have been unable to uncover significant communication between other IOF entities and MC, with one exception, and that is Rules Commission, David Rosen chair, thank you. I am beginning to think that MC is not totally responsible for this but that the other relevant IOF entities are sound asleep at the wheel.
I would love to be proven wrong. In the meantime, can someone help to wake them up?
And what was that date again?
Dec 16, 2015 5:51 AM # 
I've attempted to involve the national Technical Committee (separate from the Mapping Committee) in the 4 topics from my Dec 13 post. Suggest everyone do likewise. Oh and ask for more time. Around here the coincidence of Xmas and school holidays and summer causes an almost complete shutdown of rational thought.
Dec 16, 2015 9:21 AM # 
Simmo, the reasoning behind disallowing linear rocky ground areas is that it clashes with vegetation boundaries. On the map you posted there are a lot of sensible use of the rocky ground symbol, but there are also some places where I can't even tell if it's rocky ground or a vegetation boundary that has been mapped. For a competitor it's pretty important because they look very different in the terrain...
Dec 16, 2015 10:20 AM # 
Terje Mathisen:
As a couple people have noted, the area symbols for rocky ground are new, and they do cover a significant problem: It is practially impossible to manually create a "random" placement of individual dots, this is an experiment which has been tried many times.

However, as long as the ald single dot version symbol is still available, I really don't see what the probem is here?

We now will have 210 stony ground (area) 2010.001 stony ground (single dot) as well as 211 and 212 which are increasingle denser area symbols, indicating areas where it is correspondingly harder to run. I know that I have current mapping projects in areas with extensive granite quarrying, in these areas you often get fields covered with rubble: Too small-sized to map as boulder/block field but definitely very hard to run through.

Where I currently see the most arguments would be the few symbols which have been increased in size, particularly 208.001 individual boulder field symbol, illegal to pass fence and ditto rock wall. If we remove the illegal to pass symbols (replace them with OOB purple if needed) then I see the remainder as a big positive step for ISOM.

The symbols which I have problems understanding are the green versions of 508 Narrow ride, 508.002, 003 and 004! Having the 003 version which shows a white gap in a green background might make it easier to draw such a narrow opening in denser forest, but why do we need 002 and 004?
Dec 16, 2015 12:59 PM # 
Eriol... it all comes down to local context. The two Australian map examples given are from the Bendigo region. The forest is sparse eucalypt. To European eyes it might appear as scattered open land. Distinct vegetation boundaries (other than thickets) are non-existent. I can't bring to mind a single use of the distinct veg boundary symbol on any of our 30 or so local maps. Once you know this, confusion is highly unlikely. If you left it to us to review the ISOM, that veg symbol would disappear because it looks too much like linear rock features. How about a dark green line instead for distinct veg boundaries, much like the building edges in ISSOM are in black?. What.. that green line is already used for ski trails in the snow. Well we don't have any of that white stuff either so we can eliminate that symbol as well ;-) The point of these facetious comments is that local conventions are inevitable to deal with different terrain. Any mapping standard needs to protect flexibility to ensure world wide utility.
Dec 16, 2015 2:44 PM # 
My point was that you can draw stony ground in a zig-zag pattern which makes it highly unlikely to be confused with a boundary even in cases where it's a very narrow strip of stony ground.
Dec 16, 2015 3:01 PM # 
I was thinking the same. What draft text is trying to say is it should not look like vegetation boundary. If dots are not evenly spaced and there is tiny bit of zig-zag there is no problem. Wording should be changed to make clear this kind of use is perfectly fine.

Of course MC can argue it is so narrow it does not slow runner down much at all. But that makes no sense. All this type of features has two aspects, navigational and running speed, and both are important. If a feature is not important feature in scandi terrain it does not mean it can't be important elsewhere. How these differ from scandi ditches really, both are narrow linear distict features? And vegetation boundary affects running speed even less, why those are mapped but not these linear rock features?
Dec 16, 2015 3:03 PM # 
Eriol we basically have no vegetation boundaries in Oz. Refer to this thread for more on my views of the veg boundary symbol. I think you will have to come to Australia to view our straight line rocky ridges - here is an even more extreme example. (I've been searching for a photo, maybe other Aussies might be able to post one?)

In my post above I was not saying that individual placement of dots could no longer be used. From what I understand Australian objections are about a) not being able to place dots in a line, b) use of stony ground dots and boulder field symbols in very detailed granite areas in order to generalise the smaller but still significant rock detail (surely a primary aim of ISOM201X) is not allowed, and c) fears that the dot screens obscure other detail, particularly contour detail.
Dec 16, 2015 5:18 PM # 
From the new proposal "417...For areas with a lot of rock features, it is recommended to use the green line for vegetation boundaries..." No need to be confused?
Dec 16, 2015 6:13 PM # 
Nice summaries EricW and Terje.
Big one for me is also the 'missing scale' issue.
Something very different like a 'moving scale' might be cool where the symbols stay the same size no matter what the scale, and make the 1:10K map the default. (Close to ISOM201X would be fine), 1:7500 would allow for more white space and detail for special terrains, 1:15K would use larger sizes than present forcing more generalisation and less need for magnifiers. Semantics only as there are many possible ideas from the mapping community.

Actually I jumped on the panic button with a couple of items because if you only look at the pdf of the symbols you might be led to believe there are no such 'single stony ground or boulder field symbols, where in fact as Terje has said it IS in the symbol set.
After some more experimenting with the new proposals I am having more faith with the majority of the specifications, slowly easing my concerns over some things.
Oddities for some, like the thin green line for veg bdry might indeed work for some parts of the world, so it is good to cover all possibilities, true also for the large assortment of point feature symbols.

A couple of things that still concern me a little are:
Giant Boulders: If you draw the hole it doesn't seem possible to fill it with a colour, such as green, yellow or grey. Is that a problem?

Uncrossable Stone Wall: Just too big and ugly as we all established. The big dots are the main culprit.
Uncrossable Fence: I am starting to warm to it a little more, but perhaps a slight reduction in width is all that is needed.

Sandy Ground: I fear the dots are still too large. We often use this where there are contour details below, and unless the dots are quite small it is very hard to see the contours. I can't test this properly on a home printer though.

Out of bounds cross hatch: Are we to decide the best of the two sizes? I like this symbol which I had experimented with long ago, I prefer if the lines are perhaps a little thinner just so you can see more of the detail below (therefore the larger one is better for me because it has more white space).

Stony Ground Screens: Not sure I get the strange patterns.

Dark Uncrossable Green: Again there are two choices. I think the one with the heavy black screen may be a problem for some printers. The concept isn't bad because it is distinctly more recognisable from other greens, but maybe the dots should be spread out more, or a very thing black cross hatch instead.

Slow and walk Green shades: Again there are some options: 30% and 60% look better to me, but then that depends upon the printer also.

Gate: On some of our farmland maps we have many of these. I would prefer if they were slightly smaller, not much because they the disappear. But slightly shorter lines, and thicker than the fenceline itself, makes them stand out more nicely imo.

Small depression: Nice that it has been reduced in size a little, but I really worry they could be hard to see. I think the size is ok but the line thickness should be a little thicker to make them stand out from a contour line.(maybe a deeper U shape if I was being more creative).

So apart from those, and the addition of an opaque purple line for OOB lines, I think I can see some improvements and could live with this thing. (formlines pending).

Illegal to cross wording concerns me. I agree it makes racing fairer.. as long as there is no possibility of legal matters arising should there be property damage or personal injury.
Dec 16, 2015 10:17 PM # 
"and make the 1:10K map the default"

If there is a real interest what are you wating for? MC can have their standard for IOF races but for all other races there should be one open standard, more flexible for any terrain. MC science is just one side of the coin and we all know what is their answer. Give them a break, 8 years of work... Please stop, let IOF to apply the standard as it is. In each case there will be diviations from the standard as there were before. Standard is a standard, period. Havard Tveite: "My argument against 1:10000 is that it is a deviation from the standard."
Dec 17, 2015 1:26 AM # 
Fair enough kofols, with all due respect to you please don't take me out of context. I certainly am not trying to push my weight around (which isn't very much), merely just sharing of ideas. I agree with what you have said above in that a standard is of utmost importance, and that other people have made alternatives versions. But to me that is part of the problem, personally I don't like it that some mapmakers think they need to change things to suit their map/event.
I also respect Havard for standing strong on his principles. It is also one of my worries that the 'Long' could further lose it's classic place in the mix of O disciplines.
I do like the way ISSOM can have the same symbol set at two different scales 1:4k and 1:5k. and that no one tries to change the specifications.
Dec 17, 2015 7:51 AM # 
Simmo. Went through my hundreds of O-terrain photos, and weirdly, I don't have any that demonstrate that terrain feature (longitudinal rocky ground). Once this heat wave is passed I will head out and visit a few sites on that One Tree Hill map you posted. And before you say that its a typical weather weakling from the east speaking, I feel very uneasy walking through our forest on days of above 40 temperatures when everyone in the community is primed to report suspicious activity by potential fire bugs. To lots of people here, just walking through the forest is unusual.
Dec 17, 2015 8:50 AM # 
Make sure you don't mistake the rocky spurs for vegetation boundaries.
Dec 17, 2015 9:26 AM # 
IL Eastern-staters are generally much braver than Sandgropers over summer. We don't have any bush events between November and March. I have done bush mapping over summer, but only when the forecast was for below 30, and only between about 6am-11am. Hazards in WA forests in summer are fires, flies, ticks (not unusual to come back with hundreds) and the odd joe blake.
Dec 17, 2015 9:31 AM # 
jwolff the problem with the proposed green veg boundary is that colour vision impaired people will confuse it with contours - brown and green look similar to them.
Dec 17, 2015 10:15 AM # 
For some more Australian comments - see the documents at the bottom of this page
Dec 17, 2015 2:35 PM # 
Terje Mathisen:
@Robin: Re. AU comments: Lots of well-reasoned arguments there, I particularly liked the green/brown arguments: Personally I have excellent color vision, but when I'm printing course maps I make sure that all ISOM Pantone colors are properly calibrated for my paper/ink (laser toner) combination. I really appreciate getting positive feedback from color-blind orienteers in the area who tell me that "Terje, when you host an event I know I will be able to read everything, the remaining races in the series are most often significantly worse."

The one part I really missed was the famous elephant: Don't you have any long cliff lines in Australia? Or big stone fences, non-dry creeks/rivers etc.?
Dec 17, 2015 7:57 PM # 
I agree with Jagge on using purple for forbidden to cross. (In fact, I think that it would be good to generalize that to say that the colors except for purple are descriptive, and prescriptive info like forbidden to cross, forbidden or mandatory route, should be in purple, as well as the course. It's always seemed odd to me that a cable strung between knee-high posts must be mapped as double-tag fence if the landowner doesn't want people to cross it. Better to show what's allowed separately from what the orienteer will see.)

For form lines, I think that the option of a lighter colored line, or some combination of slightly thinner and a bit lighter color, is worthwhile. It is often difficult to tell terrain steepness due to use of form lines. In some terrain, the mapper adds a form line when the terrain gets flatter...and this can actually be legitimate in certain terrains where there's actually something to map between contours in the flatter areas, not shown by the adjacent contours. I think that index contours should be the same...a bit darker color, and not so much thicker. This would solve or reduce the thick contour problem in complicated terrain, without confusingly having the same contour shown two different ways (thick or thin), sometimes in close proximity. The standard hasn't used the increased options (such as additional colors) that newer technology affords, only worried about the downsides.

The comment about only mapping areas that can be depicted at 1:15,000 is obnoxious and damaging to the sport. I've enjoyed a wide variety of terrain in the world, such as the detailed limestone of Flock Hill west of Christchurch New Zealand, the sand hills of Saskatchewan and Manitoba, badlands in Alberta, box canyons in southern California, and more. Is the intention that even Middle events must use terrain that's optimal for Long, and not more detailed? Different places have different terrain, often markedly, and we're well served by making the sport work well with a wide variety of terrain, rather than centering it around a certain kind of terrain and discipline.

Rather than specifying a scale, I think that the standard should specify symbol sizes for whatever scale is used for elites (1:15,000 for Long at a WOC, but possibly other scales for other disciplines, events and terrain), and the degree of "photographic" enlargement for other age ranges (x1.5 for >=40 and <=14, x2 for >=55, x3 for >=70, perhaps).

For minimum feature size, why not let the mapper choose what's appropriate for the terrain, and only require that the mapped features be visible at competition speed in that terrain, and consistently mapped, with the minimum dimensions in the legend and event notes? I've been places where mapping boulders smaller than 1.5m would make the map unreadable (and as it was, it was sometimes hard to use boulders as control features, even with "southwesternmost" or "middle of five", because there were so many). In other places, half meter boulders were unique and quite visible.

Markedly thicker lines for uncrossable features exacerbate the challenges that mappers face with exaggerating distances to keep the map readable (and meet the minimum gaps between symbols that achieve the latter). High fences often are adjacent to a trail, sometimes a vehicle track. If there is a dot knoll that's five meters from the center line of such a vehicle track, but on the other side of the adjacent uncrossable fence, then the knoll needs to be moved away from the fence and track. But let's say that there's also a nearby boulder thirty meters from the centerline of the track, and a stream fifty meters from the track. Now the knoll and boulder are similar distances from the track on the map, but markedly different distances in the terrain. Does the mapper also move the boulder, so that the orienteer running down the trail or stream knows better what to expect? But what about the distance between the boulder and the stream? It can be exasperating to find a depiction that balances the objectives well, even with current symbols. It's part of the job of mapping, but why make these choices even more difficult with such a thick line for uncrossable features? A small change in the thickness of the line should be enough. In my experience as an orienteer, the double tag for high fence has always been sufficiently obvious as is.

Trying to depict what's safe is dangerous. One can drown in a couple centimeters of water, with nose and mouth down. That's the depth of a diffuse marsh some times of the year (or even of white forest in heavy rain). Take on the responsibility for deciding for the orienteer what's safe, and some lawyer will make a single log look hazardous. In America, I know of only two orienteering deaths, both due to heart failure. Should steep hills be forbidden to cross? Does that depend on age? But one of those deaths was in flat Houston. Humid terrains are forbidden to cross? Taking on the responsibility of making the choice of what's safe is unnecessary legal liability, and just unnecessary. I recall watching as a spectator as Thierry Gueorgiou ran down a rugged hillside jumping from large rock to large rock near a finish in Portugal. I recall a video of orienteers practicing jumping off small cliffs efficiently. The best orienteers practice crossing tough terrain, and know their limits. All humans have the ability to judge hazards; infants have been shown to have a notion already of "cliff". If swimming could give someone an unfair advantage in some leg of a race, then use purple to forbid the route (or better yet redesign the leg). Remove the notion of "crossable" from the standard. High/low, shallow/deep, wide/narrow are enough.

ISOM 2000 was rather good, and some useful tweaks have been suggested in the proposed new standard. But I wonder if there's a danger of a standard doing more harm than good, especially when the standard becomes ever more inflexible and less adaptable. Newer technologies continue to appear. If mobile devices reduce in price to USD 50, then they'll cost about what an epunch card/stick costs, or a rapidly settling thumb compass, and might be more rugged than the latter. If a competitor someday gets their map on their mobile device, and can choose whatever colors and scales they like, and perhaps even symbols and their sizes, then what it makes sense to mandate changes, markedly.

I think that some important major principles are at risk of getting lost in the clutter of details, like:

1) The map should be consistent. Whatever minimum size of boulder you choose as mapper, make sure that you map everything that size, and nothing smaller. If a contour has a wiggle, then the topography depicted by the wiggle must be shown everywhere it occurs in the terrain, even between contours (such as by form line or other topographic symbol). If it can't be, then that wiggle shouldn't be shown.

2) The map should be readable at competition speed.

3) The map should show what the orienteer will see at competition speed, and not what he or she can't.

4) The map should be to scale and relatively accurate (features in the correct location relative to other features on the map, categorized as described in the legend), with small fudges permissible for readability.

A map with the above characteristics achieves most of what's important. We shouldn't let the important principles sink beneath a mass of details, nor let those details restrict orienteering from various terrains. I orienteered this autumn in the Petrified Forest National Park in the Painted Desert of Arizona on a map with unusual features like "area of lots of petrified logs". It was wonderful. A sport that embraces terrain like that (and mapping standards flexible enough to accommodate terrain like that) will succeed better than a sport that says only certain kinds of terrain, amenable to an overly narrow mapping standard, and maybe not available near some cities, or only available in places hours from the city, are acceptable. We need to be careful about limiting orienteering to the terrains and disciplines that we fondly remember from days of yore. Didn't Park World Tour show us that?
Dec 17, 2015 8:13 PM # 
One can of worms I haven't seen mentioned yet.

We all seem to be talking about larger map scales---bigger maps of smaller areas.

What about mapping standards for adventure races? It seems like the default map is a USGS 7.5min series (1:24000 scale) in the US and a similar government topographical map other places.

paul wrote:

I also respect Havard for standing strong on his principles. It is also one of my worries that the 'Long' could further lose it's classic place in the mix of O disciplines.
I do like the way ISSOM can have the same symbol set at two different scales 1:4k and 1:5k. and that no one tries to change the specifications.

I just really object to the idea that "the only true way" is to use 1:15000 symbols at larger scales (like 1:10000, for example).

Partly I object because of the adventure race issue. You can't make the argument that the symbols have to be smaller for smaller scale maps (like 1:20000---How does MTBO handle symbol sizes at 1:20000?) ISOM reduced to 1:30000 would be ridiculous. Paying a mapper to map vegetation for an AR map in the same manner as a 1:15000 orienteering map seems similarly absurd.

I guess I'm with Terje and others who believe the "Terrain that cannot be legibly presented at a scale of 1:15000 is not suitable for international orienteering events" language doesn't belong in the mapping standard. It should be an IOF rule for IOF international competitions. The mapping standard should be about using all the tools of cartography to make the best and most usable maps of whatever terrain is available.

I'm conflicted on this, but I really just wanted to make the point that pressure towards "larger maps of smaller areas" seems to me to be false. I see lots of interest in Adventure Race maps, and I really haven't seen a lot of map standardization there.

Finally, where I live, we've mapped most of the large areas that are close by. To have any sort of a local event schedule, we're making "big maps of small areas", and the conflict with ISOM is a real problem. We're making it up as we go along.
Dec 17, 2015 10:50 PM # 
"I guess I'm with Terje and others who believe the "Terrain that cannot be legibly presented at a scale of 1:15000 is not suitable for international orienteering events" language doesn't belong in the mapping standard. It should be an IOF rule for IOF international competitions"

Many people have tried but you just can't challenge MC on this. It is Pandora's box. With this rule MC control the sport and not the Council. It is 3 years from now when I wrote this
12 Nov 2012 21:57
A disturbing map legibility trend
"I think that all strictly wording paragraphs (0 tolerance) about which maps can be used for International competitions must be written ONLY in IOF Competition Rules."

I wonder what FOC has to say about this. EricW is right. We need to know what other people inside IOF think not just what MC want.
Dec 17, 2015 10:51 PM # 
What about mapping standards for adventure races?

A very good point too, and worth making. Perhaps International Principles for Orienteering Maps that apply to all maps, plus a few standards specific to various disciplines (Sprint, Middle, Long, Ultra Long, even longer) makes sense. Or standards that are flexible enough to be adapted to all scales and disciplines.

the "Terrain that cannot be legibly presented at a scale of 1:15000 is not suitable for international orienteering events" language doesn't belong in the mapping standard. It should be an IOF rule for IOF international competitions.

Well, and it really only belongs for Long distance events, and then only for elite and age 15 through 39. For Ultra Long, Middle and Sprint, and for other age ranges, other scales (and to some degree standards, such as urban symbols for Sprint) are appropriate. And certain terrains may present perfectly valid navigational challenge, but need other symbols. The sport will be much richer if "valid" events and maps can be had for limestone terrain like Flock Hill, petrified forest on badlands like the Petrified Forest National Park in the Painted Desert, box canyons in the Californian desert, some highly detailed terrain that I found above Lake Minnewanka in Banff, Alberta, Rogaine/AR, urban landscapes, and Scandinavian glaciated terrain, and not just a few of those. It's much more fun to participate with that variety, it's much more televisable for those who think that's a good thing (such as those hoping for sponsors for the elite), it makes usable terrain available in more places in the world (not everyone has terrain that's well suited to standard IOF disciplines and standard ISOM), and variety could probably be an exciting challenge for the elite (a "surprise" discipline series consisting of widely different formats, lengths, and Park World Tour, but varying in length from micro to six hour, and in terrain from urban to limestone to sandhill to badlands to terrains that we probably haven't considered). I've come across lots of terrain in my life which seems like it could make an interesting navigational challenge, but wouldn't fit well with the straightjacket "must be mapped for 1:15,000 even if printed at 1:5000 or 1:50,000...must be used for specific length challenging our traditions!".
Dec 17, 2015 11:07 PM # 
"I guess I'm with Terje and others who believe the "Terrain that cannot be legibly presented at a scale of 1:15000 is not suitable for international orienteering events" language doesn't belong in the mapping standard. It should be an IOF rule for IOF international competitions"

Many people have tried but you just can't challenge MC on this. It is Pandora's box. With this rule MC control the sport and not the Council.

No, they control the IOF with this, but not the sport. People continue mapping to standards that make sense for the terrain, and using formats that make sense for the terrain, when ISOM and standard disciplines don't work well. The danger is that, rather than an occasional unusual event and map, the mainstream drifts away from the IOF disciplines and standards. To a meaningful degree this has already happened...witness adventure racing, ROGAINE, mountain marathons, some urban races (is the London race ISSOM? I can't recall...but I think that some large urban races aren't). IOF has adapted to Sprint and MTBO, but narrowing rather than broadening the definition of the sport, which is what narrowing the map standards does to a real degree (especially when the map standards start to include event rules) risks having IOF represent a smaller fraction of navigational racing. The direction seems wrong. A more inclusive standard, working at more scales and a greater variety of terrain detail and type, seems like a better direction than further narrowing the definition of what's "real" O and a "real" O map, as these proposed standards regrettably do (in addition to making some nice and useful tweaks to the symbology). I don't know why the Map Committee members thought that further emphasizing the narrowness of terrain and scale, as well as venturing into event rules, were useful to do, when there were so many useful things that they did address.
Dec 17, 2015 11:28 PM # 
Don't you have any long cliff lines in Australia?

Yes, but not common (blue mountains springs to mind). Most of our cliffs have eroded away.
Or big stone fences

Only stone out here is the bedrock and the granite boulders.
non-dry creeks/rivers etc.?

A who say what now? :)
Dec 18, 2015 1:22 AM # 
How does MTBO handle symbol sizes at 1:20000?

MTBO has symbols? Typically if a boulder or other feature is mapped on a MTBO map, it's because it's right next to the track. Everything in the bush not otherwise visible to the rider is ignored. There's no real issue with clutter.

What about mapping standards for adventure races?

Huh? I must be doing ARs in the wrong country. If any AR organiser in Australia does anything more than adding a title to the base map that they acquired from the local parks department that's not less than 30 years old, they've gone above and beyond.
Dec 18, 2015 9:45 AM # 
The adventure in adventure racing is waiting to see what passes as a map.
Dec 19, 2015 8:37 AM # 
I wonder if some people are treating the OCAD (and OOM) sample files as if they are part of the specification. There is no requirement to use OCAD, or any software at all, so the files can only be an illustration and something to allow us to experiment. (For which, thanks.)

When an area symbol is required with a certain dot density, there is nothing to stop you doing the dots one by one if you wish. In due course, I would hope that OCAD and OOM might provide smarter ways of doing dotty stuff in bulk, without those messy edge effects, but that's nothing to do with the specification.
Dec 19, 2015 11:58 AM # 
ISOM 201X: Generalisation shall follow the requirements for the scale 1:15000 in all cases. Terrain that cannot be legibly presented at a scale of 1:15000 is not suitable for international orienteering events, but may be suitable for international sprint orienteering events.

IOF Rules (appendix 6, Competition Formats)

The Sprint profile is high speed ... Finding the controls should not be the challenge; rather the ability to choose and complete the best route to them.

The Middle distance profile is technical ... with an emphasis on detailed navigation and where finding the controls constitute a challenge.

The assertion that "Terrain that cannot be legibly presented at a scale of 1:15000 is not suitable for international orienteering events" is merely an opinion of the current Map Commission, and the qualification that more detailed terrain "may be suitable for international sprint orienteering events" is inconsistent with the sprint profile in the IOF rules. As the mapping standards and rules are currently written, does the middle distance requirement that "finding the controls constitutes a challenge" imply that the challenge is translating a generalized interpretation of the terrain to the detail on the ground?

The Map Commission has a strong view on map scale and generalization, but that is only the opinion of the current members; comments in this forum and elsewhere suggest that a different Map Commission might not adopt such a rigid approach. I had a look around the IOF website, but I couldn't find anything describing the process whereby Map Commission members are appointed, so I have no idea of how alternative viewpoints could be introduced.
Dec 19, 2015 3:39 PM # 
Instead of developing a map standard for Long events and calling that ISOM, why don't the map committee and IOF develop a core set of standards, applicable to sprint, MTBO, Middle, Long, and longer disciplines, as well as hopefully disciplines that we haven't thought of yet? Then create discipline-specific standards that adapt the core standard for the discipline? Already ISSOM and ISOM have large overlaps, which the MC is trying to reduce (for better or worse), and ski and MTBO map standards also have a big overlap with ISOM I think (but am not as deeply familiar with them). A core map standard would be useful to capture the key principles of orienteering mapping, and a common set of symbols and readability standards that work across disciplines. And then one discipline (like Long) doesn't need to impose its needs on other disciplines. (Already, 1:15,000 seems like the exception, partly due to printing technology, but more due to the desires of the typical (aged) orienteer, and also due to the terrain used (smaller and middle sized areas nearer the city, and sometimes due to highly detailed terrain). The sport has already voted on map standards with its maps. The choice for IOF is whether to accommodate the sport as it is and may become, or to say that only one discipline, not much done anymore in its pure form, is "real", and only write a standard for that.
Dec 19, 2015 7:58 PM # 
Personally I think this second draft is much better than the first which was a shame. However, it is far worse than Fantasia 1991 or ISOM 2000. Maybe the problem comes from those who interpret these rules by applying the zero tolerance famous rule.Maybe we should keep ISOM 2000 and change MC.
Dec 19, 2015 10:02 PM # 
Jim. I don't think you can say the MC preferences are typical for aged orienteers. I think they are typical of the current aged orienteering members of the MC with international elite memories. Most older orienteers have stayed in the sport because they like navigational challenges though their competition speed has slowed markedly. They like to get a navigational challenge but on a much shorter course. Generalisation for 1:10,000 makes this more likely. Two of the last four maps created by this over 60s mapper have abandoned the MC preferences. These were of gold mining terrain mapped at ISSOM standard. Mapping with 1:15,000 generalisation would have been a conscious choice to sacrifice some of the terrain value. The one event on these maps so far was organised as a middle format and the response from the aged orienteering segment was very positive. It was legible and gave them a higher ratio of navigation challenge for the distance travelled.
Dec 20, 2015 7:38 AM # 
It's a question how to measure and have realtime metrics about MC decisions/work. Same for other commissions and council. Let's say number of approved/not approved map deviations for WRE vs IOF events. Same with jury decisions at IOF events. I can't read any of jury's report or I'm wrong? There should be data available anytime which should be good also for reference and newcomers + who made the final decision + short explanation. These processes need to be documented in a proper way. I have always thought that leaders speak to much about developing the sport with no real work plan and concrete tasks/goals. Visions, strategies, etc are one part of leadership, the other part is transforming ideas into reallity. If leaders want to be respected they need to transform also intra-IOF processes. Maybe they don't want but other sports organizations did something and are doing because of scandals. This is what IOF also need to think otherwise people will write a motion for next GA.
Dec 22, 2015 6:28 AM # 
I've done our submission to the National Federation: it reflects (copies!) a lot of the suggestions and comments above.

A map standard should be largely scale-independent. While 1:15,000 should definitely be the preferred scale and used exclusively for IOF WOC/WRE elite competition, the statement in ISOM that “Terrain that cannot be legibly presented at a scale of 1:15000 is not suitable for international orienteering events” should not be included. The IOF should be looking to set the standard for all orienteering maps globally and narrowing its focus just to the few races and classes involved means it is missing this opportunity. The new standard has several issues of reduction or enlargement in symbol sizes which stem directly from this misguided emphasis.

This is the biggest problem with the new ISOM 201x. Specifically this affects the following symbols:

201 Impassable Cliff
411 Vegetation Impassable (forbidden)
515 Impassable Wall
518 Impassable Fence
529 Prominent Impassable Line Feature (e.g.Pipe)

And there are flow on effects to the following, which have all been increased in size – they should revert to previous sizes (410; difficult vegetation should revert as well)
105 Earth Wall
202 Cliff
513 Wall

All of the new “Forbidden” symbols are too coarse and prominent. They have too large a footprint and could potentially obscure important navigational detail or offset features so much that they affect a runner’s terrain to map interpretation.

A mapper should not be considering “Forbidden” when mapping, this is the role of the course setter and their controller. A feature should be represented on a map according to its visual aspect and prominence, so that it can be related from terrain to map and vice versa. This is the essential skill of forest orienteering. To make a fundamental change to that in terms of mapping according to various changeable bureaucratic edicts or safety concerns is to abdicate the mapping function. The use of the magenta “Forbidden” overprint is already in ISOM and can cover the needs and whims of the various land owners and managers more effectively: Magenta is universally understood by orienteers as “No Go”.

It is noted that the premise of ISSOM and ISMTBOM deviate to some degree from the concept of visual representation by denoting permissibility and speed of a particular route. These mapping standards have been developed specifically for that purpose and to test the particular skill sets associated with those disciplines. There is no perceived need to include these types of requirements into ISOM.

Not only that; but the new bigger, denser, symbols also fundamentally change the size distinctions understood by orienteers for decades now. Size in terrain is no longer a guide; the symbols have eliminated size or prominence as a concern in favour of whether it is “Forbidden” or not; on the day of the particular competition.

The same goes for dense vegetation (410) – the increase in “difficult to run” (fight) from 0-20% to 0-40% makes the symbol cover too many speeds. The old symbol was for “more than 25 min/km”, the new is “more than 10min/km”. Many orienteers will struggle to beat 10 min/km over their whole course, never mind in “fight”.

Legibility – Dense screens
Many of the new symbols are denser and in our view will make maps more illegible, obscuring other detail. These include:

114 Very broken ground*
209 Dense boulderfield*
211 Stony Ground, difficult to run
212 Stony Ground, very difficult to run*
407 Vegetation, slow, good visibility
409 Vegetation, difficult, good visibility
* = new symbols

Legibility – Lighter, smaller symbols
However, many others of the new symbols are lighter or smaller. Many of these are important features which should retain their prominence.

103 Form Line
214 Bare Rock
508 Narrow Ride
701 Start
703 Control Point
706 Finish

Offset Printing
The requirement for offset printing should be abolished. While the old offset style was far superior to most modern alternatives, technology has moved on and comprehensive printing guidelines for the new technologies are what are required now.

Finally, we see no good reason why the other Out of Bounds symbol (vertical lines) has been eliminated in favour of 709 (cross hatched).
Dec 22, 2015 6:36 AM # 
One reason why vertically striped OOB may have been abolished could be instances of narrow, N/S strips of land that cannot be crossed and in which the vertical stripe may not appear even if you fill it completely, kind of similar to the green stripe.
Dec 22, 2015 7:05 AM # 
Cross hatched is in the current ISOM as an alternative.
Dec 22, 2015 7:42 AM # 
Consistency of OOB? Cross hatch is generally dangerous area isn't it?
Dec 22, 2015 7:53 AM # 
O-ing, very well put. One missing header might be flexibility. Most of the the flexibility has ISOM 2000 is removed. No more flexibility in symbol sizes or much anything, everything seems to be fixed. Are they sure lack of flexibility always makes maps better? Intuitively it feels the opposite, especially when mapped by skilled and experienced mappers (and bad mappers will do bad maps no matter what we do). For example stony ground dot's diameter id 0.2 mm and vegetation boundary dot 0.22mm. ISOM2000 allowed smaller dot size for tiny ground and that flexibility could be used to differentiate these two symbols. Now this possibility is gone. Flexibility in boulder field symbol is gone and make it impossible to reflect the true footprint of the are so more inaccuracies or worse legibility can be expected with new standard. If I remember right there is plenty of good well put arguments in OUSA comments document.
Dec 22, 2015 8:25 AM # 
Personally I think it is not reasonable to expect current MC will do anything to the scale issue. Minor graphical fine tuning to the standard and not spoiling it with new disturbing concepts like OOB symbols would do fine for 2016. Initiative and clear request for scale flexibility must come from elsewhere. Foot O commission, athletes commission, IOF Council must get their act together first and push it and end up ordering that change from the MC.

To me it is obvious there should be just one forest orienteering mapping standard with no scale mentioned, designed to be implemented to scales about 1:3000 - 1:25 000, all dimensions in mm, ink on paper, no meters. Instead competition rules would say the scales this standard must be implemented for each discipline and how. So nothing would necessarily change, we just would be ready and all set to implement the standard to other scales in the future if community, council and commissions think it is needed and good for the sport. And national federations could use the standard to use areas "now not suitable for orienteering" in other scales without having to invent own mapping standard by themselves and at the same time gather experience for improving the standard for such use.
Dec 22, 2015 11:39 AM # 
Well done O-ing.
Dec 22, 2015 6:09 PM # 
Thank you O-ing, and I agree well done.

However I think there is a mistake in your list. Please double check me, but I believe the two (or three) smallest watercourses are actually increased in size, which I believe you/we would support.
I believe the corresponding symbol numbers have changed.

Thank you Jagge for the supportive "OUSA comments" comments.
Dec 22, 2015 9:41 PM # 
Thanks!. A lot of that was copied from or inspired by comments on this thread, so thanks are due to all contrbutors.

Inevitably there are mistakes (I'll use the sheer number of proposed changes as an excuse), and yes EricW is correct, the smaller watercourses are indeed bigger (0.3 and 0.18) in ISOM 201X than the 0.25 and 0.14 in the current one.

So I'm going to take them out of the "naughty" list above.
Dec 23, 2015 2:02 AM # 
there are a several things that are implicit in ISOM2000, ISOM201x (& ISSOM2007) - display of scale, contour interval, map legend. The only places that these are required explicitly are in the definitions of special landform, vegetation, water and man-made features (eg symbols 115, 116, 313, 314, 420, 421, 528, 529,530, 531, 532) where

The definition of the symbol must be given on the map.

and in the section on Map Enlargements:
Information about scale, contour interval and north direction shall be available also on cut maps.

Other than these cases there is no specification for display of scale (ratio and/or scale bar), contour interval (5m except where it is 2.5m) or symbol legend (partial or complete). The only specified indicators of scale are symbol size, and spacing of north lines, and even this is different in ISOM2000 and 201x - 500m vs 300m for 1:15k maps, and in ISOM2000 the spacing wasn't even defined for other scales.

I am much happier using a map where the map scale is shown graphically with a scale bar, rather than depending on a scale ratio and "knowing" what the north line spacing should be. When the map is displayed on a computer screen, or published in an event report later the scale ratio is meaningless.
Jan 3, 2016 6:06 PM # 
Terje Mathisen:
Have you all sent in your comments now? At least here in Norway the national comment deadline is about to run out.
Jan 4, 2016 4:32 AM # 
Its happening. I have been told comments above have been used.
Jan 4, 2016 6:25 PM # 
My last minute effort on contours:

Sent to the Swedish federation today. Not sure what they will do with it.
Jan 10, 2016 9:57 PM # 
Eriol, I noticed that map 2 has the centers of knolls filled in with a medium brown color. I have never seen this before. Other similar sized closed lines don't. Are these different (less prominent or even depressions? I agree with you about the index lines being confusing on most maps.
Jan 10, 2016 10:49 PM # 

Current ISOM symbol 113 is for an elongated knoll, available since the last ISOM update, I think.

I've seen it in use on various maps here in the northeast US.
Jan 11, 2016 1:34 AM # 
I think what Bob was referring to is the fact the knolls seem to be drawn with contour line brown and a lighter shade of brown as a fill. The ISOM knoll symbol is for a solid dark brown.
Jan 11, 2016 1:48 AM # 
Looks more like an artifact of the print/scan/copy process, or whatever horrible things that map has had done to it. Same effect (darker border) is on pretty much every block of colour.
Jan 11, 2016 7:49 AM # 
Terje Mathisen:
Most color laser printers will try to emphasize the edges of lines and other narrow objects by moving more of the darker ink close to the edge of the printed area.

This is easily visible if you have a high-resolution scanner and use it to scan in a test print (in order to verify line thicknesses etc.).

It is most noticeable on pantone colors which are a mixture of multiple CMYK colors, with contour brown the best (worst?) example.
Jan 11, 2016 7:59 AM # 
I'd say that's something image post processing algorithm has done to the image in scanner/camera or in photo editor. Some kind of sharpening. Something that does not exists in the original paper map, at least not with this magnitude. You can see the same in the spot color offset printed Jukola map and for sure thing does not exist in the original map.
Jan 11, 2016 8:13 PM # 
Map 2 is from the Swedish champs and it's printed at "Affärstryckeriet Västerås" which is one the best places in Sweden to get maps offset printed. Artifacts are more likely to be from scanning.
Feb 9, 2016 2:11 AM # 
Nice comments from the World's best user of orienteering maps!

Interesting thoughts on use of gps watches at WREs too.
Feb 9, 2016 3:01 AM # 
He makes a good point about scales, and adapting them to the terrain, not vice-versa.
Feb 9, 2016 3:06 AM # 
Succinct and to the point.
Feb 9, 2016 3:06 AM # 
It'd take a lot of work to adapt the terrain to the map.
Feb 18, 2016 10:49 PM # 
Some of you may have already noticed, but the recent round of comments on ISOM 201X are being posted on the MC website:
This may not be complete because there is apparently a federation approval process taking place before comments will be posted. The OUSA comments were just recently added.
If you don't see your comments, check with your federation about this approval process.
Feb 19, 2016 6:03 AM # 
Thanks for that Eric.
Feb 19, 2016 9:17 AM # 
Some really good comments there - it looks like most Federations who have commented would be much happier with the current ISOM. Most oppose the "Forbidden to cross" overreach - NOR, SWE, FIN, AUS, NZ, US with just one - FRA supporting it (but wanting the symbols smaller).
The strict 1:15,000 mapping also gets the thumbs down from most, including FRA and SLO.
Nothing from BOF or DEN though, so maybe there is a silent majority behind ISOM 201X??
Feb 19, 2016 11:48 AM # 
Now when I look at old presentations, six years ago ISSOM and impassable was mentioned only under water body. As I can see there is no sign of plans to implement "Forbidden to cross" as it is in ISSOM.

Then 4 years later "alignment with ISSOM" has appeared, and it is the very first issue mentioned in the list of reasons for this revision.

This "alignment with ISSOM" in practice means adopting ISSOM symbols and "Forbidden to cross" rules. Because it was listed first our MC may see it as the biggest and most important reason for this whole revision. This change was not supported much in previous round but it still stayed there all the way to the "final draft". I am afraid it wills stay there no matter what latest comments say because forces behind it seems to be pushing it no matter what, maybe for personal reasons or something. sort of makes me remember the way infamous micrO was pushed some years ago. Respect for MC has degraded quite a lot lately - not just me, that's the attitude around here.
Feb 20, 2016 12:07 AM # 
Where this goes from here is going to be very interesting. The USOF comments on the criticisms in this and other forums hint at some risks for the IOF and the MC in pressing ahead with the draft proposal.
Feb 20, 2016 8:06 AM # 
For IOF leaders might be best to think also about why we ended here after 8 years. Going forward with different MC chair as an option should be discussed. For MC members it is time to make self-assesment on latest comments so we can see how they are personaly alligned with the issues raised by the countries (not for the first time). I think this revision shows that orienteering evolved withouth MC able to control it. I believe that MC members are very professional in what they do, have good intentions, want to help orienteering to grow.....but they are just not managers able to finetune whole process and accept "the right" compromisses and timely decisions under pressure. This process call for decission from council; when and what are the latest council decisions about ISOM 201X?

Could anyone list all the council decisions from the start of the ISOM process?
Feb 20, 2016 10:48 AM # 
I think BOF have lost the will to live on this. They just invited individuals to comment.

Generally, I like the proposed changes. I find some of the comments rather mean spirited "We dont need this symbol in our country, therefore it shouldn't be in ISOM".

In particular, I can't think of any defence for the existing "high fence" symbol which means "you might be able to get over this, or you might not, you'll only find out when you get there at which point you'll have won/lost the race". Changing this to a symbol which means "dont go through here" seems like a no-brainer.

While I agree there are terrains best mapped at 1:10,000, they are rare, and I think that overmapping is already more of a problem than undermapping, at least in the UK. We've had several examples where an area was mapped at 1:10 under the pretext of being "too detailed for 1:15", only for it to pop up a few years later in a major championship reduced an illegible at 1:15. This presumes the point of the map is to enable you to pick the fastest route to get from one place to another, rather than maximising the number of places one can hide a kite.
Feb 20, 2016 12:27 PM # 
I was wondering about the Brits notable absence, and also about other individual (non-federation) comments which the MC chooses not to recognize. Can they be published somewhere, perhaps on this thread, perhaps someplace better?
Feb 20, 2016 6:28 PM # 
Terje Mathisen:
@graeme: I loved your comment about "places one can hide the kite" :-)

On one of my very first trips to the UK for orienteering (JK '75?) I remember a model/training race where we had a fairly open hillside and a control on a ditch bend.

I spent a couple of minutes locating the ditch while all the UK racers told me afterwards "Oh, that was easy: There was a single small but very dense clump of bushes so I knew that the kite would be hidden there!"

Re the MC acting like the mountain that gave birth to a mouse: I really don't think we should assume Håvard Tveite to be the problem here just because he is the leader:

I.e. the MC has a policy of never revealing any internal disagreements so we really do not know if any given ISOM modification was unanimous or a very close call between opposing factions.

Finally, I really cannot see any way the "illegal to cross" symbols will survive, and that is IMHO the most problematic change.

I was also surprised to see several national federations that opposed the thinner form lines without dashes: To me this is such an obvious improvement that it should be a no-brainer, but otoh if the map designer is good enough, placing control points in all the right spots the current dashed line is almost as readable as a thinner continuous line.
Feb 21, 2016 1:37 AM # 
I am a little amused at the use of the term "overmapping" to defend the 1:15,000 scale. Over mapping I take to refer to mapping features that just should not be mapped because they are inobvious due to size or being p[art of a crowd of features. This is a straw man argument when applied to terrains that have many obvious features that cannot be mapped at 1:15,000. If 1:15,000 is sufficient to map all useable terrains, then why do we need 1:5,000 for sprint? Sprinters are moving faster, will see even less of the terrain. Give them 1:20,000. The mere existence of ISSOM negates old arguments about 1:15,000 as the appropriate scale for middle distance terrain. Be consistent and argue for the repeal of ISSOM. Otherwise, support the legible mapping of all terrains suitable for orienteering, rather than define suitable orienteering terrains as those which can be mapped legibly at 1:15,000.
TGIF said it much more succinctly.
Feb 21, 2016 4:58 AM # 
Around here, I don't think you will find anyone who has spoken out more about over-mapping. However many orienteers enjoy feature-rich terrain, clubs seek them out, they advertise the "detailed" nature of their coming events. The crux of this is that the future shape of orienteering should not be left to mapping gurus, it should be a sport-wide debate. (And those matters that involve rules, should be the realm of technical committees.)

As far as I can tell, our federation Council and Technical Committee are asleep at the wheel. I wonder what will happen at international level.
Feb 21, 2016 9:18 AM # 
Terje Mathisen:
@TheInvisibleLog: I agree completely with you re the need to allow larger scales in order to properly maps detailed terrains, terrains which everyone, including the 15 km long distance championship elite runners seems to enjoy.

Personally I'm mapping the entire Asmaløy island in the Hvaler archipelago using ISSOM and 1:5000 (with 2 m contours), even though this probably makes it the largest forest sprint map in the world: About 11 sq km. :-)

Yes, most of the island could have been mapped quite well in 1:10 K with some generalization, but by keeping it as a sprint map I can show the really intricate rock and boulder detail in the slab areas, as well as making the parts around the middle school more suited for instructing beginners.
Feb 21, 2016 9:43 AM # 
@ EricW, here you can find my position. You can move to another thread if you want. My Federation sleeps and had not responded to the January 17 deadline. He did it before the first call but her opinion was not considered.

Here's the answer:

Dear Marian,

Thank you for your input.

Map scales: We seem to agree that 1:15000 is to remain the
base scale for orienteering (symbol dimensions are to be
optimised for that scale), and that a map in the scale
1:10000 shall be a direct enlargement of the 1:15000 map.
In my opinion that is the most important principle.

The use of map scales for the different formats is discussed
with the discipline commission for orienteering ("Foot O

Feb 21, 2016 9:48 AM # 
How could a thinner form line without dashes be an 'obvious improvement'? I already have great difficulty distinguishing steepness in terrain (on the run) on maps with many form lines and making them just a thinner contour would totally confuse the issue. Thankfully in Aus this isn't a big problem but other country's maps I'd hate to try and decipher.
Feb 21, 2016 11:59 AM # 
@Terje. So how do I get to run in an event on the world's largest sprint map? Sounds like an unhealthy overdose of fun. ;-) Last year I organised a classic length event on a 1:5,000 and will be doing the same in 2016. I
Feb 21, 2016 1:10 PM # 
Marian--you wrote a very clear, thoughtful note and that was the interpretation and the response? That is incredibly disappointing.
Feb 21, 2016 1:59 PM # 
There must be several larger sprit maps that that, just not forest sprint maps. For example this is over 15 km2. Will be used for helsinki city O next spring.
Feb 21, 2016 3:07 PM # 
Terje Mathisen:
@tRicky: Having thinner form lines help specifically in making it much easier to distinguish steeepness almost independenly of the amount of form lines: With the current setup a hillside with form lines between every contour looks nearly twice as steep as it really is, just from the amount of brown ink.

@TheInvisibleLog: I've hosted summertime events every year for a few years now, to begin with they were invitation only but last year I also had an open birthday celebration run on the 25th of July:

I intend to keep up this tradition in the coming years. :-)

Besides, since the map is completely open access, including the OCAD file which I upload regularly, you are free to setup your own training run at any time.

@Jagge: Yes, I know that several city sprint maps cover significantly larger areas, that was why I specified "forest". :-)

Finally, I agre with the MC that when the elite runs on 1:15K, other classes should get direct enlargements of this map, 1:10K, 1:7500 as well as 1:5000.

I strongly disagree that this is the only valid forest map scale though, we should be able to use something very close to 1:15K symbol sizes for a 1:10K map of an intricate middle distance area, and in that case non-elites should all run on 1:7500 or 1:5000 enlargements which would increase the symbols enough to make them readable by older eyes.

"Orienteering should be a running while navigating competition, not a visual acuity test!"
Feb 21, 2016 8:58 PM # 
@coti @Jagge
Seems such a disappointing response from MC.
Like you say, recognition of exceptions brings progress.
But this response clearly indicates there will be no variation from the map committee. When this formally comes to pass, perhaps it would be constructively provocative to commence the development of an "open" alternative mapping standard to guide the use of 1:10,000, develop an accompanying symbol set for OCad and OOM, use the standard at events where the terrain is not suitable for 1:15,000 and seek endorsement from Federations and elite names. If anyone had the energy, alternate maps according to the two standards could be developed to make the point.
Feb 21, 2016 10:55 PM # 
One "test print" that might be useful is displaying on a mobile device, and using that to navigate at competition speed. As telephones and tablets can already be as cheap as SI or Emit cards, and as they become more durable at that price point, it may not be long until it becomes easier for all to provide competition maps digitally, for reading on a mobile device. The device could also handle electronic punching. This would save map printing and bagging (or waterproof paper), possibly allow cheaper electronic control units, and allow finish download through standard hardware. It should make events easier and cheaper to organize, and save the arguments about which scale for which age group. Competitors would have more flexibility in how to render and view the map. .. scales, colors, etc. The technology and costs may be marginal at the moment, but that always changes rapidly, relative to the pace of new versions of the standard. Validating the proposed standard on a mobile device seems like worthwhile future proofing, so that the standard can survive fifteen years like ISOM2000 did.
Feb 21, 2016 11:03 PM # 
I think there are valid arguments for keeping 1:15000 as the base scale in most cases, to avoid overmapping.

At the same time, everybody (including the MC) agrees that there are terrains that cannot be mapped at 1:15000. The disagreement is whether such terrains are suitable for international competitions. But even if they are, using them would require a separate (perhaps similar, but still separate) mapping standard for 1:10000 maps. Developing such a standard would take time, so it seems reasonable at this time to go ahead with refining and adopting ISOM201X as the standard for 1:15000 maps and then develop a separate 1:10000 standard, which can be done by the MC or, as mentioned above, by the community at large (though in the latter case it is important for it to be "constructive," rather than "provocative", using the terms TheInvisibleLog uses above).

Until the 1:10000 standard exists, all forest maps for WREs should be done using 1:15000, as they are now. When the 1:10000 standard is adopted, 1:15000 should still remain the default (to address overmapping concerns), however, WRE organizers should be able to make rule deviation requests to use 1:10000 that will be granted if and only if the organizers prove that the terrain cannot be mapped adequately at 1:15000.

Then there is a separate issue in cases when the terrain is mapped successfully at 1:15000, but the organizers still feel that they want to use the 1:10000 enlargement even for the Elite long race. I think even now it is possible to make a request to do so; but in any case, this issue has little to do with either new mapping standards or the MC work.
Feb 22, 2016 12:07 AM # 
Providing maps to competitors in digital form, for use on a phone or tablet, is going to open a can of worms and dump it right on the table, and there will be a lot of pushback, because of the GPS issue. That will really lower the barrier of entry for using it. I'm not saying it won't happen, and I'm not saying it shouldn't, but be prepared for outrage.
Feb 22, 2016 1:47 AM # 
I was outraged just reading that post.
Feb 22, 2016 2:08 AM # 
It is appealing, though, to move the responsibility of waterproofing a piece of paper onto the competitor (who has to waterproof electronics, presumably in a manner that still allows the touch screen to be used).
Feb 22, 2016 3:00 AM # 
I do not follow the logic of the current scale rules protecting us from overmapping? There are two forms of overmapping. One is the mapping of minor features that do not meet the minimum mapping size. This can happen at any scale. The other form is placing too many features on a map (despite them exceeding size thresholds for mapping) and reducing legibility. Perhaps the current insistence on 1:15,000 mapping encourages the latter fault in a world with rapidly improving base maps and a customer base that is interested in complex terrain rather than tough long slogs? In which case the current rules are about defending one view of the orienteering experience rather than being about map legibility.
Feb 22, 2016 6:50 AM # 
"protecting us" sounds a little bit strange to me. In general we should accept that nobody use ISOM - 1:15 as a standard nowdays but rather as a guideline. I think this attitude towards ISOM will stay no matter the final draft. How many countries have their own version of ISOM (Sweden....) and what they will do to backup the new ISOM? The only way to control the ISOM would be to control also all the national sanctioned events which are under federation's authority. It would be better to ask (not obligatory) federations or organizers to make an evaluation on a formal form for every map not drawn by standard and was used for sanctioned event. These kind of reports available to all would allow us to discuss and evaluate the annual changes to ISOM. I would say MC need to help us to exchange, to collect views and share it online without formal procedures and time delays. Their work is to manage this process and not "protecting us". Two different approaches and I am not sure the current chair is able to switch and to adobt his management skills to new reality.
Feb 23, 2016 8:35 AM # 
MC minutes from January 22-23

'HT ... will consult with the Foot-O Commission and the Rules Commission on the issues of map scales for veterans and "forbidden to pass" symbols.' So no movement from 1:15000 as far as elites are concerned.

Some observations on other points in the minutes:

Correspondence - HT only presented 'the highlights' from 650 emails received!!!??

5 Ongoing Projects - MC is going to 'create some examples to advice on mapping in complex areas.' We can all look forward to these :-)
Also 'WRE Printing: Very few maps had been received by the MC' and in the previous paragraph 'difficulty in maintaining offset printing'. I wonder if these are related, ie WRE organisers don't use offset, and then don't send their maps to MC because they'll cop the MC's wrath!
Feb 23, 2016 1:46 PM # 
Terje Mathisen:
The case for only using 6-color analog offset printing via custom print plates for each color separation is clearly lost.

It is still feasible to require this for the base maps, then use digital overprinting for all the different courses/classes/forkings, but the future is clearly digital map+course printing direct from OCAD or via a print processor, right?

If we start with that assumption then we have to re-evaluate mapping standards, i.e. what are the best possible line thicknesses, symbol sizes and color combinations in order to provide maps that are readable at competitions speed for all competition classes?

Personally I believe the future direction will be to decouple the actual map scale from the official (printed) scale, i.e. print on demand at whatever scale each competitor (optionally) requests in her entry form.

Personally I would be very happy to pay USD 5-10 extra for such a service!

The really crucial question however is this: Would the H21E runners (like TG) do the same, accepting that they had to run around with an A2 size of paper in order to get 1:10K instead of 1:15K?

We have just one good sample point in high-end international competitions, in the form of Jukola which provides 1:10K maps to everyone and for all legs, including the 16-17 km last leg which Thierry usually runs: If 1:10K maps are feasible here they are also feasible for the WOC long distance!
Feb 23, 2016 2:04 PM # 
Thanks simmo.
Feb 23, 2016 10:55 PM # 
Terje. Did you mean to say in the third para that if we are evalauating map standards down to line thickness, then we need to evaluate on the basis of future printing being digital rather than offset? I expected the para to end this way but it seemed to stop before it was ready. If this is what you meant, it makes sense to me.
As for it still being feasible to require custom plates and 6 colour offset for base maps... last time I ordered such a product round here I discovered that the printer outsourced the job to another business with a HP Indigo without informing us. They were no longer interested in running spot inks through their offset machine for a small client like the orienteering community. Their reasoning was that we wouldn't be able to tell the difference. They would have done the job offset if we had been prepared to go CMYK rather than spot. This business had been the clear choice for offset map printing for 30 years (back to the 1985 World Championships). My conclusion is that in this country with small elite fields and thus small print runs, any requirement for spot offset for WR events is unrealistic or worse, discriminatory.
Feb 23, 2016 11:54 PM # 
I gave up on spot color offset when my "local" artisanal print shop retired. Probably about as hard to find now as a traditional photogrammetric base map. Or maybe there's still some old geezer running a single-color Heidelberg up in some remote mountain village who would be happy to print maps, given a three month lead time. I think that horse has left the barn.
Feb 25, 2016 4:41 AM # 
... or as hard to find as a stamp-pad overprinter. But the word, "overprint" lives on in our mapping specifications.
Feb 25, 2016 9:17 AM # 
overprint is central to many of the arguments. It betrays the underlying notion that in ISOM201X the organiser is only responsible for purple, everything else belongs to the mapper. This archaic notion was explicitly refuted in ISSOM, and is equally pointless in ISOM.

Two examples:
The "forbidden to cross" decision will normally be one for the organiser, not the mapper. Giving the organiser the ability to use thick black or thick purple lines, whichever gives the clearer picture and removes ambiguity, seems an obvious step.

Mapping at 1:15000 also seems right in most terrains to produce a map of a reasonable size for a great M21E course. But the scale of the map actually used should belong to the organiser. Most M50+ simply can't read a map made for M21s, we need a blown up version. 1:15->1:10 is fine, with all th symbols enlarged.

I think Terje gives quite the wrong impression about Jukola - what I've had at Jukola looks like an ISOM 1:15 map blown up to 1:10, which is perfect for me. But it's a completely different thing from the cluttered, overmapped "1:10" maps one often sees: I'm sure it would be usable at 1:15 by 21s. To me, Jukola exemplifies how it should work - good mapping for a sensible scale by the mapper, and a good decision to print at a larger scale by the organisers.

So, as far as mapping goes, I'm happy with all the changes in ISOM201x. My only concern is that MC should not still assume that the organiseronly has responsibility for things which can be done with an overprinter.
Feb 25, 2016 9:25 AM # 
Terje Mathisen:
@TheInvisibleLog: Yes, that is exactly what I meant!

I spent two months getting my HP 4700 certified as a map/course printer, most of the time was needed to fine-tune the CMYK combination to be used for each of the official Pantone colors specified for map printing.

Blue is easy, Yellow a little bit harder, then all the Greens, while Brown is really hard to get correct: In order to get close enough to the correct color I needed to modify all 4 CMYK components and while doing that I made micro-scans of both the PrintTech reference sheet and my samples.

The problem is simply that for the thinnest brown lines (1:15K contours at 0.14 mm) there isn't really room for finely graduated fractions of each ink while still leaving a sharp edge to each line. What my printer does (and probably most others) is to run a unsharp mask filter over the calculated ink dot distribution, this has the effect of placing more ink closer to edge and less near the center of a such thin lines.

600 DPI corresponds to 2.36 dots per 0.1 mm or 3.3 dots across a contour line which is perpendicular to the printer dot pattern. Curved lines might fare less well. :-(

If these kinds of effects will be the standard for future map printing, then we might need to modify the symbols/colors/line thicknesses in order to optimize the legibility of such CMYK printed maps.

Going to 1200 or 2400 DPI will more or less solve this particular problem, but a true 2400 DPI print on an A2 sheet (as used in Jukola) will need 2.1 Giga-pixels or more than 8 GB of print processor RAM, so this will not become standard very soon. Halve this for A3 and you still need more than 4 GB just for the raster image, i.e. a 64-bit cpu to address it.
Feb 26, 2016 10:32 PM # 
I enjoyed the "Rowdy" map post and story while it lasted.
Feb 27, 2016 1:18 PM # 
In terms of digital printung being the future, it seems to actually have been the past and present. In the last ten years, I'd have to strain my memory to think of an event map I received that was offset printed. I thought fifteen years ago that IOF should think of how to optimize a map for CMYK et al. Replacing some of the line and dot screens with more colors seemed like an obvious step. But even now that spot color offset is long dead, the new standard doesn't seem to make many adaptations for even the current printing technology, let alone what may be coming during the life of the standard, sigh.

In terms of 1:15000, the arguments for it being the standard to prevent overmapping seem to all implicitly relate to the Long course. Middle has been an international event for decades. Why do any of these arguments make sense for Middle? I recall MicrO being proposed; why is it in IOF''s interest to declare any such form of orienteering to be a priori invalid? Or Ultra Long, which could perhaps benefit from 1:20000, and a level of detail that's appropriate to that scale? I still fail to see the reasoning. The right way to avoid overmapping is to specify minimum separations between symbols (done), to offer generalization symbols like boulder field or group of boulders (done), and to allow minimum point feature sizes to be set appropriately for the terrain. Map scale seems like an issue for the event type (1:15000 for Long for elite) and age group. Symbol sizes should be as printed at the elite scale, other age group scales by enlargement, with no reference to what that scale should be (that's an event format issue).

By providing a specialized app for orienteering, one might be able to limit the GPS issue. Switching apps to view one's GPS location doesn't seem terribly efficient or useful. Knowing one's location without easily knowing where that is on the orienteering map seems to leave one with a lot of computations to do while racing, which seems more distracting than helpful at competition speed, when one's mind is usually pretty fully occupied even without that. But preventing GPS is another train that's left the station long ago. Are competitors truly frisked for all the devices they might be carrying in their bottle holder, shoe, underwear, wherever else any of the numerous devices might be hidden? They're not used because they're not useful, or they're used illicitly already without people caring. Of course, one could worry about someone hacking the app to overlay the GPS location, which could be more useful. But e punch cards could be hacked already, the way that they're currently used (control code equals the code that the e punch records), and few bother to fix that by using a secret code for each control, and mapping that to the control code (what's shown on the control descriptions) in the event software. Personally, I think that the theoretical cheating issues are more horses that have left the barn, and few people are (nor ought be) bothering to chase them. Following has always been more of an issue, and just trusting people seems to be the de facto for most of the potential cheating issues.
Feb 27, 2016 2:55 PM # 
So, is it time to start using thinner form lines yet?
Feb 27, 2016 4:01 PM # 
Terje Mathisen:
@guskov: As I've written earlier, I believe it is time to do so, even if the problematical brown color is even harder to get right when line thicknesses go down.

A thin continuous line makes it easier to show the shape of the terrain, while avoiding the problems you get when intricate details (and lots of form lines) makes everything look twice as steep. If you have thin form lines between every regular contour then the slope will seem about 50% steeper instead of twice as steep.

(Most of the problems I outline above can of course be solved by having a good mapper who is capable of placing the minimum number of form lines needed, and by placing control points on those lines so that you avoid unfortunate line gap locations.)
Feb 27, 2016 6:02 PM # 
Instead of minor tweaks to improve the symbology and standard for the now defunct spot offset printing, why didn't the map committee take on the bigger, more relevant challenge of optimizing the symbology for the digital printing that's been the norm for a decade (more colors available, but certain combinations are hard to make into crisp lines, so use "purer" colors for lines...magenta, red, purple, cyan, black, blue, green...and a variety of relatively "solid" colors instead of all the line and dot patterns...various shades of olive or teal or orange instead of vertical green lines or horizontal blue lines or yellow dot patterns)? Even if a WOC organizer manages to print offset, what kind of sport is it if our competitors run on such a map only at WOC, and on digitally printed maps nearly everywhere else?
Feb 27, 2016 6:23 PM # 
After thinking about the new standard for a while, I'm opposed to adopting it at all. It has some tweaks that would have been useful improvements if adopted fifteen years ago in the previous standard, but offer little benefit to justify the confusion of a new standard, with maps of two different standards used until clubs can update all maps to meet the new standard. (Some of the changes likely require field work, like minimum symbol separations, unless done in a really hacky way.) And the proposed standard does little to address the real current and past need, the ability to print legible competition maps (maps readable at competition speed) on inkjet, laser or other digital printer. It missed the gorilla walking through the room, digital printing and the death of spot color offset. And I do suspect that the standard will soon be two technology generations out of date within a fifteen year lifespan, as people who already come to events festooned with myriad devices begin to do the obvious and use those devices to replace paper map, e-punch, magnifier, control description sheet, manual event check-in, map pre-printing. (No panacea, but neither was inkjet printing, and yet it took over due to ease.) I'd suggest restarting tabula rasa, and imagining what a navigation sport map standard could be without limiting oneself to a prior standard. Maybe clubs and federations and individuals should experiment as a start to this.
Feb 27, 2016 8:54 PM # 
I think using more colours instead of dot screens is a bad idea, given the variations in the colour output between different printers and especially the need to serve the colour-blind.

Middle courses use enlargements of 1:15000, not 1:10000. So overmapping prevention applies to middle courses as well.

Paper maps are still superior to phones in some respects, in particular, the ability to fold the map. When the map is unfolded (when making a route choice, for example), it's as large as or larger than a pretty large tablet that would be inconvenient to carry as you run. Moreover, only pretty expensive smartphones have the necessary screen resolution. When I run, I want to concentrate on the course, not on how much it will cost me if I fall and break it.

Regarding GPS, I think most people agree that, while GPS is useless most of the time as a routine technique for experienced orienteers, it can help the less experienced, especially when they make a mistake, and there are rare cases when even elites can benefit from navigation devices (as mentioned, for example, by Daniel Hubmann in his comment on worldofo). I also like the argument that allowing GPS will hurt the image of orienteering - you will not be able to claim when explaining to outsiders what orienteering is that it is navigation without a GPS, and it will be difficult to convince them that it's still hard even with a GPS.

No rule is enforceable 100% of the time, but that does not mean there should be no rules. Embargo rules, for example, are pretty hard to enforce - you cannot patrol the whole forest all the time - but does that mean there should be no embargoes?

Finally, let's keep in mind that the IOF only has direct control over high-level events, so it seems logical that the map commission also makes rules primarily for such events, not for some small local races where the organizers cannot afford offset printing. This is the same in all sports. FIFA makes soccer rules for world cups and similar high-level competitions; it does not care how kids kick the ball in their backyard. Just because not every community can afford to build a proper soccer stadium, does it mean that FIFA should change the rules to allow playing on substandard fields with substandard balls?
Feb 27, 2016 9:52 PM # 
1:10 is in this category ''pretty hard to enforce" at first place and even if more and more backyard organizers and runners are asking for this there is a silent minority who are constantly saying that our terrains are good enough only for backyard events. I'm also looking forward to -> MC project to advice on mapping in complex areas. It should be called ISCOM 201Y
Feb 27, 2016 11:18 PM # 
Not the terrains which can not be used in conditions of optimum readability at 15,000 are not good for orientation but 15 000 scale is not suitable for complex terrain. It's so obvious.
Feb 27, 2016 11:30 PM # 
Maybe Benny will save us.
Feb 28, 2016 6:24 AM # 
coti: so we have two groups with different approach how they see orienteering as a sport. First one - mayority - want to addopt terrains to approprite scale and second - minority - want to addopt map scale to all terrains. If overgeneralization makes a map unusable then the massage from MC is that we cant practice orienteering as a sport on official WOC standard maps. We can practice orienteering only as a hobby leisure activity on great maps which are not suitable for orienteering as a sport. MC is soo stubborn and missed the target big time. What council members think about this issue should be very transperent before MC start a project on their own .... There should be a plan and a goal and not just a consulting sessions as a backyard project.
Feb 28, 2016 10:04 AM # 
Following this debate at a distance one point strikes me, the requirement for 1:15. When even the current men's long distance champion argues other scales should be considered appropriate and he orienteers at virtually double the speed of the vast majority of orienteers. Surely what is significant depends on the terrain and the speed the competitor is moving, not one size fits all, seemly based on long distance O at elite speed. It's akin to giving 80% of orienteers a detailed road map to go walking with. As for the suggestion that some terrain is too detailed to use at 1:15, isn't that what most us enjoy, detailed terrain on a legible map? It appears this is about setting a standard suitable for elite long distance races and ignoring what is appropriate for the vast majority.
Feb 28, 2016 11:16 AM # 
Yes. But if a club wants to use a map at some time in the future for a major event with, say a WR, then they are going to specify that the map is to be ISOM compliant. It won't be common to then remap at 1:10 for later events for normal punters.
Feb 28, 2016 12:21 PM # 
It seems the default scale of symbols will be based on how easy it is to hold and study legs of 2k plus as I'm confident TGIF can cope with possibly more detail on a 1:10 map for legs less than 2k. Are there other arguments given by MC why 1:15 is better than say 1:10?
Feb 28, 2016 7:15 PM # 
Indeed, as MChub says, Middle distance is now done on 1:10,000 enlargement of 1:15,000. But what's the argument in favor of this, as opposed to mapping for 1:10,000 using the same printed symbol sizes as 1:15,000 (not 50% enlargement)? If a 1:15,000 map is readable at competition speeds, then surely a 1:10,000 map using the same symbol sizes, minimum separation between symbols, etc., should also be readable at competition speed? This would allow more complex terrains to be mapped for Middle, which seems just fine for the intent of the discipline...highly technical navigation and fine map reading...while Long has a heavier element of (long) route choice (2-4 km legs) and maybe dealing with thinking (needing glucose) while running into the fat burning regime, and Sprint is about ultra-fast decisions and extreme precision and accuracy while running at 5K road race speed. Why limit the map complexity of a Middle to that of a map used for Long, when its already using a larger scale? Why is overmapping for Long the same as overmapping for Middle (or Sprint for that seems to be accepted that the latter needs or at least can withstand more detail)?
Feb 28, 2016 7:40 PM # 
Indeed, phones and tablets may be too pricey at present to risk (especially the big brands), but looking at cheaper well regarded phones from Asia, and looking back at the feature/price progression of other forms of computing and devices over fifteen years, will high resolution devices be available (perhaps as glasses or watches or such) for the price of an SI card or Emit card within the lifetime of an ISOM 201X, if approved? I suspect so, probably within the next five years. And then we'd be in the same old situation of IOF saying "no, stop, you can't use the new tech, everything is optimized for the old tech!" even if the old tech already has been unavailable for ten or fifteen years, or relegated to the occasional dusty basement. I could live with a new standard not supporting the latest tech if at least it were optimized for the current tech, but it does seem like an opportunity lost. People respond well to sports with the latest tech, and are willing to risk three thousand dollar bikes, or expensive kayaks, paragliders, or cameras, in races. If orienteering wants to be determinedly retro (and spot color offset is way retro, as is restricting GPS tech that's in nearly every device one carries), then it should play it up more. Go back to late 1800s clothing, etc.
Feb 29, 2016 12:24 AM # 
I see the map scale issue as a bit of a tug of war, and perhaps it should be. As a bit of background, as far as I know, the first time a 1:10000 map was used at a WOC (maybe at any international elite race?) was WOC 1993 for the Short event (roughly equivalent to the modern Middle Distance). Getting permission for this was a serious struggle. Up until then, everything had been 1:15000 (or 1:20000 in distance history), and the position of the IOF officials was that 1:15000 was the only appropriate scale. Our argument as organizers was that we wanted to provide the same map (of very detailed terrain), but just enlarge it to make easier to read at the more frenetic pace of the shorter race. There was grudging agreement, and Jackie Jones and Pole Brook were printed at 1:10000. I don't think anybody was unhappy with the end result.

There was concern about 1:10000 maps, though. Mappers will put in too much detail, some said. No, no, was the response, a 1:10000 map uses larger symbols and is simply an enlargement of a 1:15000 map, not to worry. But sure enough you wait a few years, and you find people wanting to make 1:10000 maps, but with the old, smaller symbols. It's special terrain, they say. This terrain apparently either came into existence in the interim, or always existed but was unfortunately unusable until this mapping breakthrough.

So that's the story, right? Well, maybe, until some well-meaning organizers, faced with a 1:10000 map that has all of these tiny symbols jammed together, decide that it's hard to read and they try to get permission to print it at 1:7500 or 1:5000, with enlarged symbols. And once that gains a toehold, will somebody find some even more "special" terrain that you can do justice to only by mapping it at 1:5000 with the original 1:15000 symbols? Etc.

Slippery slope, or straw man?

Where the truth lies in this is clearly a matter of opinion. Are there really mappers who tend to show off by jamming as much unnecessary detail as possible into every available inch of paper? Are there in fact terrains that are absolutely wonderful, but that simply can't be represented usefully by ISOM2000?

I will mention this: Surebridge Mountain, well known site of the WOC93 Classic race, is a mighty detailed stretch of ground. At the time, the old 1:15000 standard was the only option for mapping it, and the result was quite usable. Would it have benefitted from the option of being a 1:10000 map with the same size symbols, and the opportunity to show more detail? Not in my opinion. In fact, I think it would have been better if it were somewhat more generalized.
Feb 29, 2016 12:43 AM # 
The slopes on my local Colorado terrain are often slippery, and yet I love orienteering on them. Here's to wherever the slippery slope of allowing different scales, different terrains leads us. I have occasionally come across terrain that could best be mapped at 1:5000, and would be fun to orienteer on mapped at that scale. Yes, it could be mapped at 1:15,000, but would be a different thing with what can be shown at that scale. 1:15,000 and the Long distance are one kind of orienteering, 1:5000 ISSOM and Sprint are another, and I see no reason to limit to those two. Indeed, some (even many) maps would benefit from more generalization for the format of orienteering they're used for. More detail is not always better. (In fact, for Ultra Long, I suspect that 1:20,000 with higher minimum sizes for boulders and such could be better. ROGAINE seems to do well with 1:25,000 or so, with just the detail shown on government topo maps.)
Feb 29, 2016 12:57 AM # 
I suspect that athletes who compete at international events also use facilities that meet international standards at national and regional events, and at least sometimes when training. Granted, the local children's school may have facilities to a lower standard (but maybe town's three middle schools were built with Olympic pools). But for sure, for most sports, creating facilities to international standard does not require pulling an octogenarian out of retirement and pulling some ancient equipment out of a basement or museum.

If the argument for ISOM colors is color blindness, I question how effective ISOM colors are for the colorblind based on the experiences of my late red-green colorblind father. And remember, there's not just one kind of color blindness...hard to optimize for all. A better way to make maps fair and equal for the color blind would be to return to black and white maps. It's not hard to find good quality 1200 dpi printers, the issue of color alignment is removed, and the contrast is good for all colors. 1200 dpi can make a number of nice, distinctive screen patterns. Or if using mobile devices someday soon, let the competitor choose the colors that they see best. (The mapper could recommend a set of colors that best show the distinctions, tweaked from a standard ISOM set of colors, but the orienteer could decide.)
Feb 29, 2016 10:49 AM # 
Terje Mathisen:
Color blindness could (should?) be handled similar to my brother's suggestion of having the ability to custom print maps at any scale specified by the competitor:

We could also have an entry form method to specify the actual (CMYK) combination to be used for each of the standard ISOM/ISSOM colors.

This would of course be a significant amount of extra work for the map/course printer, a lot more than just adjusting the printing scale, but I'm sure that many color blind orienteers would be able to enjoy our sport a lot more if we did so:

Afaik many/most forms of color blindness still leave a lot of different colors that can be easily distinguished, even if they are different for each athlete.

One way to do this would be to optimize a OCAD color set and then apply this set before the course/map print, the only limitation would be that all maps would have to use the exact same color numbers, probably the OCAD default set?

Another, even more flexible method would have a competitor-specific template and then import the race map/course: This would even make it possible to use different symbols to avoid problems like brown and green dots looking very similar: Just change the green dot symbol to a star or some other unique form.

Taking this to the extreme you could conceivably make it possible for a person with pure monochrome vision to read an orienteering map.
Feb 29, 2016 12:10 PM # 
Slippery slope, or straw man?
There were calls for 1:7500 maps for this terrain, used for the British Champs this weekend.
To me, the detail looks unreadable at 1:10000.

Here's how it looked in 2009

I have an acceptable 1:15000 version from way back in the 90s on a bit of paper.
Feb 29, 2016 1:55 PM # 
Terje Mathisen:

The Night O map is readable on screen with sufficient zoom levels, but the drawing could probably be improved:

Personally I find freestanding cliffs (not connected to a contour anywhere) to be really bad. Having slope tags on all of them, even on the minimum size cliffs where the slope tags are as long as the cliff itself makes a map much less readable imho.

The freestanding cliffs are the same on both versions, but the new one illustrate quite well how the green strip symbol can make a map much harder to read.
Feb 29, 2016 3:56 PM # 
Those map clips show how the same terrain can be shown at different levels of detail. As part of a Long course, I suspect that the old 1:15,000 version that you have on paper would have been adequate. For Middle, I think that the increased detail that it's possible to show on 1:10,000 would make it more interesting. As you show, at any scale it's possible to show too much detail for the map to be readable; a slight generalization over the latest version would probably be ideal for 1:10,000 (or using 1:7500). This is as true at 1:15,000 as any scale, so I don't see how specifying 1:15,000 as the one scale to rule them all helps at all. One can and does get overly busy 1:15,000 maps. A better solution is increasing minimum symbol separation (as suggested), tweaking some symbol sizes, and perhaps adding some criterion for overall detail (perhaps a complexity metric that mapping software could compute). But once these anti-overmapping provisions are in place, they should work for any scale just as well as any other scale. The optimal scale is more about event format and kind of orienteering...1:15,000 for Long, 1:10,000 for Middle, 1:7500 for Middle Night, 1:5000 or so for Sprint, etc. (for elites, with various magnifications for age groups).
Feb 29, 2016 6:06 PM # 
I agree with Terje on every point, re graeme's linked map(s).

I know tagged cliffs are the British tradition, but this is a clear example of why they don't work in an area with many cliffs.

And yes, unattached cliffs, and contours that don't integrate the cliffs, very rarely exist in nature, with properly drawn contours. Doesn't hurt readability, but is a bad indicator.
Feb 29, 2016 9:19 PM # 
+1 Jim
Mar 1, 2016 1:53 PM # 
I'm not going to defend the freestanding cliffs, but I wonder how you would do it? With 1m cliffs and 5m contours there seem to be several bad options.

1/ Freestanding cliffs (and then I think you have to have the tag lines to distinguish them from paths)

2/ Extra formlines to join the cliff (but the map is already cluttered, so...)

3/ Move the cliff to the nearest contour.

4/ Move the contour up and down to capture the cliffs.

5/ Omit smaller cliffs

@Jim: Different maps for different disciplines sounds like a good idea, but in practice it is unworkable. Can you imagine having to make two different maps for the US champs, one for middle, one for classic? A principle of ISOM, which I strongly support, is that you only need one map (i.e. one OCAD) which can be printed at a larger scale. Such a map should be readable and of manageable size in all competitions, which is why 1:15 is the base scale for classic orienteering where you expect to have 2-3km legs (or 1.5-2km legs for old folk like us).
Mar 1, 2016 2:50 PM # 
We already have different map standards for Sprint and for Long. I don't think that it would very often make sense to map the same terrain for both. Different formats call for different terrain. For those 2-3 km (or sometimes even 4 km) legs, it's good to have terrain that lends itself to long route choice legs. For a Sprint, one may want a university campus or city centre. For Middle, one wants to pack lots of navigational challenge into, say, 5km. Sure, an organizer often makes compromises, but why bake them into the map standard (and do so for one format but not another)? It makes Middle the poor cousin format. I've seen a lot of fascinating terrain that would work well for Middle; why forbid it in favor blander terrain that works well for a longer format? Especially as WOC tends to have separate maps for Middle, and it's not infrequent that other events do too, often of terrain too small or unsuited for Long. And why a priori rule out standard maps for even shorter or longer forest formats?
Mar 1, 2016 4:33 PM # 
Especially as WOC tends to have separate maps for Middle
No it doesn't. Uncoordinated late updates aside, WOC middle map is the same as used for public long races (i.e. a 1:15000 map with all symbols enlarged). And while I didn't always see eye-to-eye with the IOF regarding middle, we were completely agreed that there's no difference in navigational challenge between a great W65 long course and a great M21E middle.

Everyone is agreed that there are a few special terrains where 1:10 is necessary - typically when there are many large solid objects >2m that you can't get past - but in the majority of cases the extra detail is only there for flag-hiding, not navigation.
Mar 1, 2016 7:48 PM # 
Terje Mathisen:
@EricW: Afaik you will never get a stamp of approval from the map checker here in Norway if you have unattached cliffs on your map. As you note this very rarely happens in nature, and when it does you probably need at least a form line there to indicate where the terrain slopes down.
Mar 1, 2016 8:03 PM # 
Terje Mathisen:
@graeme: Here's how I would fix that particular map:

a) The terrain is very flat, so it would be legal to map it with 2.5 or 2m contours, in which case the problem goes away.

b) For at least half the freestanding cliffs it seems very easy to float the nearest contour a little bit up or down to capture the cliff face. I.e. there are small knolls with cliffs around it where the contour _must_ be wrong!

c) If you cannot show the relevant knolls while also hitting the cliffs, then a few form lines are in order.
Mar 2, 2016 8:59 PM # 
Hmm, a two meter cliff can easily occur between five meter contours, and statistically speaking normally does. If one's terrain is steep enough, then a cliff would be touching a couple of contours anyway, but in shallower terrain, moving a cliff to the nearest contour is decreasing accuracy, and adding a form line just for the cliff's sake is needless clutter. What reasoning is there for moving a cliff to the nearest contour or form line? Is this in ISOM somewhere? Or just a local Norwegian standard? Simpler is better I think...just show the cliff where it is, and avoid adding form lines to display what's obvious from the cliff or rock face anyway. A cliff between contours gives a very clear picture of what terrain and rock to expect; don't overmap. Earth banks, a similar feature, are actually easier to read if they're not touching a contour...I would tend to gap a contour for an earth bank, for legibility. I wonder if this "rule" came from people's desire to use the oh-so-clever tagless cliffs, which then potentially created the problem of how to distinguish a cliff from something else, or how to tell which way's up. If the tags are needed, use the tags.
Mar 2, 2016 9:14 PM # 
I think you move contour (or form line) to the closest cliff, not the other way around. But I would not know, we have one cliff on our twenty maps.
Mar 3, 2016 1:32 AM # 
@graeme and others- Nothing wrong with Terje's response, but if you want a longer winded reply, here goes.

Cliffs may occur randomly relative to theoretically level contours, but they do not occur randomly relative to properly mapped, not exaggerated, O map contours, which should be drawn to show the prominent shapes.

Given that contours and cliffs (even tagless), have line thickness, and that cliffs tend to only occur where contours are tight, the odds of a theoretically unattached cliff are lowered even more.

Then we get into terrain types. In most geo-topo situations, cliffs are highly associated with prominent shapes (knolls, spurs, terraces, changes in slope) that reflect the resistance of rock to the shaping forces of nature. In terrain where ice has shaped igneous rock, the association of cliffs with prominent topo shapes approaches 100% This situation applies to most Nordic terrain, some Alpine terrain, and includes parts of North America, and probably some Southern Hemisphere terrain I'm ignorant about. In this terrain type, almost always every cliff is naturally on, or hanging below a properly drawn contour or significant form line, or is part of a steep slope where contour contact is inevitable.

In other terrains this association is reduced, especially when cliffs are less bedrock related and more like partially emerged boulders, and when the shaping force is water or wind(?), and the rock is softer.

This British sample terrain certainly does not look like glaciated igneous bedrock terrain, so I can believe that a couple cliffs might be properly left dangling, but very few. Still, for those who have mapped or spent much time in "Nordic" terrain, unattached cliffs are an eyecatcher that usually indicate a mapping weakness.

Graeme conveniently left out the most common solutions: A. draw the correct contour shape, or B. move the cliff to its correct location. For the sake of discussion, we can assume the British Champ mappers didn't make a gross mistake, but this is not a normal assumption.

Addressing Graeme;s options:
1/ path conflict with tagless cliffs? I think the Norwegian (+ others?) practice of rounded ends for cliffs and square ends for trails helps significantly.

2/ extra formlines? No argument for redundant formlines, but when there is a significant shape, sometimes an extra short form line gives value. Sometimes shaping the cliff is enough.

3/ move a properly placed cliff? No. Does this really need to be stated?

4/ move the contour in height to get the prominent shape that holds the cliff? Very likely, as mentioned above, and as mentioned with Terje's "float"phrase, and as addressed in ISOM 2000, 4.1, which strongly suggests this solution and allows up to 1.25m deviation on a 5m map, which is more than adequate in my mind. This has to be done gracefully, so that realistic shapes and relationships are maintained.

5/ omit smaller cliffs? Yielding to those on site, this is nevertheless a distinct possibility, if the standard applied was 1.0m. I have sometimes mapped and approved of 1.0m cliffs, but rarely in areas with many cliffs, like this terrain.

Tags- If tags are needed to clarify slope, I'll strongly suggest using the brown variety, which can be carefully placed to avoid clutter, rather than adding to it.

Brits don't want to hear it, but the Ozzies are all over you when it comes to mapping rock. :-)
Mar 3, 2016 3:10 AM # 
Thanks Eric. I can confirm that a lot of Southern hemisphere terrain requires cliffs to be attached to contours - most of it in fact. And yes, we are all over the Brits at rock mapping - and mining detail too. And it's all down to the two men who made our '85 WOC maps.
Mar 3, 2016 5:00 AM # 
I've seen a lot of terrain. In general, I see no reason for a cliff to be on a contour. Normally it will fall some random place between them. Imagine moving all the contours down by half a contour interval. Are the cliffs still attached to a contour?
Mar 3, 2016 5:10 AM # 
Well, maybe so. Cliffs in general aren't like boulders. If you had cliffs that were 1/2 contour interval high, and you could make an animation of the contours sliding (floodwaters receding), the cliffs would appear somewhat "sticky", in that the line would reach out to the cliff from above, and then stay with it from below, because there are relatively flatter spots above and below the cliff. The effect is enhanced with non-mathematical orienteering contours. If the cliff was a full contour high, you'd be guaranteed to have one line through it, and it would be surprising if there weren't two. That's not the case with other sorts of features. It's not that cliffs land on contours, it's that contours are "attracted to" cliffs.
Mar 3, 2016 8:58 AM # 
Terje Mathisen:

As EricW so eloquently stated, you never move cliffs to contours, instead you follow the ISOM rules and move contours to where the terrain shapes are!

I.e. an orienteering contour is an indication of where the steeper parts of the terrain is located, not a mathematically flat curve. Letting the same curve float up and/or down by up to 25% of the contour interval is the proper way to handle areas where significant terrain features (and a cliff is the most significant feature there is!) occur between the (typically LiDAR-derived) mathematical contours occur.

The real art of drawing good maps is the ability to do so so very gracefully that the orienteers never notice that the contour isn't objectively correct!

I know at least a couple of people/groups who have worked on automated routines to help figure this out:

The most obvious idea is to calculate the second derivate of altitude, i.e. the first derivative of slope: High values in this image corresponds to areas where the slope angle changes quickly, and should act as attractors for the contours.

At the same time contours needs stiffness to withstand this attraction and limit the maximal excursions to that 25% limit, and even more importantly to limit the rate of altitude change: Letting the same contour designate features both 1.25 m above and below the correct altitude within a smaller area is _very_ noticable to the runners!

To preserve subjectively correct contour intervals any contour adjustments must also put force on the contours above and below, the processing to handle all of this is not trivial and will probably never match that of a good/experienced field surveyor.

PS. In order to do slope angle differencing you need dense and really high-quality LiDAR, the usual 0.5 to 2 points/square meter with significant altitude noise in each point will just give you something that looks like pure noise. It might be better to start with a low-pass filter over the height map since this can also remove most of the random noise in almost flat areas, where you can see LiDAR contours meander around every single tuft of grass or bracken.
Mar 3, 2016 11:35 AM # 
In plain English Jim, you will be a good mapper when you can 'fix' contours so that they look 'right' to an expert orienteer - which will almost always be different to the contours of your base map (even Lidar).
Mar 3, 2016 12:01 PM # 
Wish I could write like Terje and others do in a second language.
Mar 3, 2016 12:15 PM # 
By the way, as a note to those who don't know him, Jim has been mapping (sometimes professionally) since about 1977.
Mar 3, 2016 12:16 PM # 
Which explains why my kartapullautin runs go overnight. The cliff phase seems to take forever. Even though around here the program seems to do little more than smooth the lidar contours (we have few cliffs) - and has no idea at all how to handle mining detail. Looking back on those two sentences I realise my English looks less competent than that expressed by Terje.
Mar 3, 2016 12:19 PM # 
On reflection this leads me back to the question of the 1:15,000 scale and our mining terrain. Kartapullautin effectively removes all but the grossest mining features from its map. Presumably this is the algorithms attempting to maintain a strict 1:15,000 scale of mapping. Does this say anything about ISOM scale incompatibility with our mining terrain?
Mar 3, 2016 1:19 PM # 
Has anybody considered a best of both worlds, or worst of both, compromise scales of 1:12,000 or 1:12,500?
Mar 3, 2016 1:56 PM # 
Brits don't want to hear it ...
Before BigJon and his SNP mates pile in, I should mention that floating crags and unnecessary crag-tags are seldom seem in Scotland. Scots join other colonials moaning about English cliffs.

Exposing further my ignorance - what does kartapullautin do? I had my first go at mapping with Lidar last year on a complex sanddune area (which most agree requires 1:10). It was a disaster - any choice of "lines of equal height" missed most of the shapes and I ended up with an illegible mess and some nicely contoured tufts of grass.
I just contracted someone who knows what they're doing to map it for the Scottish champs.

@FE. For most events, my preferred scale is A4 ;)
Mar 3, 2016 1:59 PM # 
Terje Mathisen:
@jjcote: My first (neighborhood) map was drawn directly on blank drafting paper when I was 15 or 16 years old, I had my first paid map survey job 3-4 years later.

I started orienteering in 1967/68, since then I've run at least a few thousand competitions (currently about 75/year), but it was the combination of LiDAR data and JWOC 2015 which got me back to serious map work about 5 years ago.

@EricW: Yes, English is my second/third language, but I know I have read far more English than Norwegian books, and I did live/work in the US for a year as well.

@TheInvisibleLog: This is a key difference between Jarkko's Kartapullautin and my own code: He wants to create the best possible training maps, while I try to generate base maps which provides maximum help to the surveyor.

BTW, my own code is currently spending a _lot_ of time doing the opposite of Kartapullautin filtering: I look for small voids in the ground points coverage in steeper slopes, this is because most automated ground detection SW will smooth out little ledges in the hillside, effectively removing all smaller cliffs.

I have a strong suspicion that exactly the same smoothing effects will destroy the fine detail in mining areas, detail that my latest updates might be able to (partly) recover. If anyone has some (preferably fairly dense) LiDAR of such terrain I'd love to take a look at it!
Mar 3, 2016 2:12 PM # 
Terje Mathisen:
@FE & graeme: Re. strange scales:

We run a series of friendly competition/bbq parties every summer, the other two organizers (Svein Jakobsen and Egil Iversen) have both been on the Norwegian international team. On Egil's map of the area above his summer cabin the standard scale is indeed A4, this used to be around 1:6600:

Last year he had surveyed a bit more so when I printed his maps I made it exactly 1:7500:

When I do survey hikes with my wife I always use A4 scale, i.e. whatever the scale needs to be to fit on a sheet.
Mar 3, 2016 2:48 PM # 
I should have said in my earlier post, whether anyone had considered putting forward a scale of 1:12,000 or 1:12,500 as a scale that meets the requirements of those that advocate either 1:10 or 1:15 as the ideal default scale for ISOM symbols.
Mar 3, 2016 3:12 PM # 
Terje Mathisen:
@FE: 1:12500 has been suggested several times.

Afair I have competed at least one time on that scale but I can't remember when so it must have been many years ago, probably around the time when 1:15K was first under attack by those who wanted to fit more details. :-)
Mar 3, 2016 3:19 PM # 
@Graeme, I was on the verge of mentioning that I thought I saw notable progress with the recent WOC maps.
Congratulations to them before they hang me.
Mar 3, 2016 7:02 PM # 
As Terje says, it's a lot of work to move contours around...not just one, but then all the surrounding ones. If there are two cliffs near each other, one 2.5m higher than the other, then it could be quite a mess. It's not at all clear why this moving of contours to cliffs necessarily improves the map; it seems more like a soft, vague notion that has become a mantra. If the terrain massively deforms to the cliff, then one would naturally map the contours so even without the cliff. But in lots of cases, the cliff, even if part of the bedrock, is just a feature on the terrain little different than a boulder, especially the smallest cliffs, not significantly affecting the surrounding topography. There seem like better matters to spend one's O mapping effort on, like representing the terrain. We already spend huge amounts of time mapping areas that already have government topos, most of which are way better than they were decades ago. It's crazy having to explain to people all the unusual things that we do with maps, and things like this make the sport sound flaky. Much like proposing a map standard in 2016 that's centered around a printing process that hasn't been commercially available for a decade. (Even twenty years ago, clubs across America (a rather geographically large country) were sending most maps to one printer, in order to get the printing "right", because it was difficult to get a typical printer to conform to the exact colors, etc.)

I increasingly wonder whether all this arcane mapping is gaining us anymore, and whether we wouldn't be better off saving ourselves the cost and effort by using available maps. 38 years ago, making my first O map, I thought that orienteering maps were massive improvements over government topos. Since then, remote sensing and its automated interpretation have improved enough that the government topos near me are fine representations of the terrain. For cities, campuses and youth camps, there are usually even more detailed maps available, often mandated by the government. Troops sometimes come to our events as additional training before a military navigation competition, but then find the maps hard to read, as do other newcomers who need twenty minutes of explanation of our unique symbology. And yet we wrap the sport into a pretzel around the cost of creating our own maps, to a standard that few others understand, for the benefit of odd notions like having contours run through the tops of cliffs for those who find it unsettling if they don't. ISOM 201X and low value o-mapping arcana are turning me off the idea of O maps as a special thing, and off ISOM. O mapping is becoming hidebound, rather than improving the quality of orienteering, a sport that would be a lot easier to promote and to enjoy without most of the baggage. My most fun orienteering recently was on a non-ISOM orienteering map of a badlands with extensive petrified wood. If we spend effort mapping, let's focus 100% on the simple principle of representing the terrain in a way most useful at competition speed, which seems to be getting lost. Let's resurrect our sport for those who'd like to enjoy it, rather than make it pointlessly difficult to keep going.
Mar 3, 2016 10:23 PM # 
@terje. Sent. Not the most complex, but available.
@Jim Orienteering is an increasingly fragmented market. Some enjoy what you describe. The popularity of events such as the OO-Cup tell me that others will travel for a different experience.
Mar 3, 2016 11:07 PM # 
I'm one who has traveled a lot for such experiences (including down under, Europe, and across the US and Canada), but I also see a club of great people struggling under the volunteer load that we make harder through things like a map specification that makes printing harder than it need be (or fuzzier than need be if printed by practical means), and map stylization fetishes like cliffs must be touched by a contour. I'm one who loved the best ISOM maps, and the experience of navigating on them. But government topos have gotten better, printing technologies have changed, and ISOM seems to become a preserve of antiquity rather than a practical way to make maps that are good for navigating at competition speed. We seem to be losing the plot. I think that we need a hard steer back toward what's most important (such as good, readable, usable-for-navigation-sport maps), and let go of the rest (spot color offset, whiny one-upsmanship about esoteric mapping preferences with weakish basis and mixed impact, GPS-phobia, etc.).
Mar 3, 2016 11:37 PM # 
Why would a local club volunteer worry about ISOM map specifications?
Mar 4, 2016 2:01 AM # 
If a club's maps are ISOM, then they're hard to print readably at 1:15,000 using available technology. So, one must enlarge the map, and either print on huge paper (also hard using available technology), or crop it just so (which takes effort). And then, if making maps, volunteers spend forever, when really the main point of capturing the key features for navigation should be easy using available base materials. Our club has numerous volunteer projects ongoing, with few finishing. This absorbs volunteer effort, but doesn't give much benefit of new terrain for that effort.

In interest of disclosure and clarity, I'm not coming from a topo orienteering background. I made my first ISOM maps as a teenager (I've now been M50 a couple years), traveling on bicycle as I didn't have a driving license yet. I've had major roles in a World Cup, APOC and World Masters, been mapping director of two clubs and a provincial association, if I recall, as well as VP Competition of a national federation, and took a year off university making ISOM maps across America. I finished a small ISOM map a few months ago (except that it's too detailed for 1:15,000, so I guess it's not quite ISOM nor, accordng to ISOM, suitable for orienteering), have another on my map board, and yet another kartapullautined and scouted, including a test-run with a 1.75km leg. But, especially with the new ISOM (and this thread), I'm starting to wonder if I'm doing more harm than good to the sport by making more ISOM maps.

The metric that I would propose is "the most and best orienteering on maps well suited for competitive navigation", by which the latest ISOM fails miserably. The implicit constraint is always "with available resources (time and money)", so effort saved on less important things can be spent on more important things. Specifying an antiquated printing technology because some people prefer it if cost and effort were no object (but they always are) means that we get less orienteering for the money and effort, and in practice poorer maps when people do the inevitable and use practical printing options rather than fanciful ones. It's staggering that a new ISOM is being proposed, but does nothing to improve the quality of ink jet printed maps, the de facto standard for a decade, and in use for far longer. (Nor even take a peek at any possible future map rendering methods.) It also limits our choices of areas to map if the cost is so high that we need to feel sure of a decade or two of use. Many land managers can't guarantee us that, but can approve a single event just fine.

Arguments for moving contours to meet cliffs do little to solve practical problems like a top world orienteer opining that the map did not show the needed vegetation info to decide which route was faster. Admittedly, that question spans course setting, mapping and map standards, but seems far more likely to improve an important characteristic of an orienteering map (or of course setting). (When this discussion started, it triggered a memory that I have yet to resolve into a specific map and date, but I recalled seeing a map in which the contours looked odd, and commented to the person with me, who responded that the contours had to be moved to hit the tops of the cliffs, and that's why they were where they were. Leaving the contours where they probably were on the basemap would have, in that instance, given better info about terrain shape and relative elevations of the cliffs, and how much the hill rolled down before reaching the top of the cliffs, but some mantra got in the way of just mapping things right. Surely the standard that the contours should depict well the shape of the ground is enough, and wouldn't lead to these oddities? Sigh.)

I have done a lot of hiking and snowshoeing lately off trail in the forests near here, and the government maps seem perfectly adequate for navigation (unlike many of the topos of my youth, at least for finer navigation...I recall making an ISOM map from a topo in the early 1980s/late 1970s, and literally none of the features matched the basemap (topo), except for the trail junctions...sadly, the next generation of that topo looked a lot like the O map that I painstakingly made...USGS had switched to using newer automated stereoscopy apparently). The active orienteers sometimes comment that they recognize all the terrain on our maps from having orienteered on it so many times, despite enormous mapped area due in part to an Olympic grant and many week long national events here. Perhaps focusing more on important things like having an adequate map for navigational sport, and less on lower value criteria that seem more like nostalgia for the sport of our youth, might let us have more navigation sport for our effort. I recall a very top North American orienteer writing something that sounded very similar a decade or two ago, and I was on the other side of the argument. But I've heard other very active orienteers say similar things from time to time, and have actually had more fun in recent decades on simple maps of unique, interesting terrain than on repeated events on the same old ISOM map that takes a decade to pay for. I also recall the elite fighting the orthodoxy with Park World Tour, which was in part about not overly limiting what orienteering can be. I would rather a sport that eagerly embraced the ability to orienteer at areas as varied as Petrified Forest National Monument, Anza Borego desert, Great Sand Dunes National Park, Flock Hill, city centers, Hopewell Rocks, and more, with the requisite flexibility in mapping to allow all that, and just enough mapping to support the needed navigation, rather than having just a few areas mapped to ISOM used over and over again. A standard should do as much as possible to further the sport, and this one seems to be drifting away from that focus, avoiding important issues while nodding to the nostalgia of my generation and older.
Mar 4, 2016 9:21 AM # 
FE: we have a mining area that makes Australia's look simple. A year ago I was meshing the several maps together and consulted a number of respected mappers as to scale. The result: ISOM symbol sizes at 1:12,000. The sprint after all has a scale of 1:5000 which is (I quote) "suitable for most terrains". And for some terrains you are allowed 1:4000. With the same symbol sizes.
Mar 4, 2016 10:00 AM # 
Terje Mathisen:
@JimBaker: I really agree that enormously improved public map data makes a big difference.

I have stated in public in Norwegian mapping conferences that I believe the advent of LiDAR and the corresponding extremely cheap & accurate contour detail should lead to a new way to make orienteering maps.

I.e. from many, many hours training on and field checking base maps I've found that even in fairly steep terrain I can use continuous (no dashes) very thin (0.09 mm) 1m form lines and the resulting image is in fact easier to read than just having 5 m contours, and of course far less work to generate and optimize.

The resulting map is in some ways similar to a slope angle image in that the shade of brown provides an immediate visual indication of steepness, and the pattern of flow lines show terrain formations like spurs and gullies very well.

Needless to say the longtime professional mappers really didn't like this: "You should be able to show all relevant terrain features using just the 5 m contours, with at worst a few 2.5 m form lines added!"

They are of course correct, but if the alternatives are

(a) No orienteering map or
(b) A non-ISOM map mostly generated automatically from public data

then (b) is clearly better.

Similarly it seems possible that you could take all the vegetation hits and use that to generate a continuous green scale, where the shade of green would more or less directly correspond to the running speed in that spot.

At this point field checking would pretty much consist of locating and placing all point and line features and marking the boundaries of fields, marshes and other area features that you cannot get directly from the public topo data.
Mar 4, 2016 11:31 AM # 
Apologies for hijacking the thread - but you started it;)

a top world orienteer opining that the map did not show the needed vegetation info to decide which route was faster.
This had less to do with mapping standards than with an SEA refusing to accept that the best route in summer would be different from when he visited it in spring, and demanding that the map represent what he saw in the spring, not what we saw the previous summer. TGIF's assessment is the same as what the planning team had been saying for months beforehand, and I was only prevented from resigning by the threat that if I did, the leg would be imposed and the women would have it too.

Whatever the standards are, idiots can still **** it up.
[Yes, the WOC2015 team are still pissed off about this and will remain so until we get advice from IOF about our final report]
Mar 4, 2016 12:25 PM # 
Terje Mathisen:
@graeme: We had almost no such problems with the JWOC, with a single exception:

One of the Event Advisors absolutely refused to allow us to map ant hills on the Middle distance map, even though the ants in this particular terrain have developed the ability to make 1.5 to 2m tall ant hills, probably because that allows them to get above the deep winter snows a month or two earlier in spring.

There is of course an official ISOM symbol for such ant hills (a brown cross), and we had already planned to use them for around 10 controls on the Middle final and for my JWOC Tour public race on the same map, but due to that EA we had to hide that symbol on the map and move all the controls. (We have made them visible again now and will leave them on the map for any future events! )

The main problem occurred in the areas where we had no other suitable control feature within 100+ meters, there I had to change my courses quite a bit.

PS. We are of course somewhat proud that the international observers have told us that JWOC last year was an even better event than WOC, even though the WOC Long had the best course planning of the year according to the WoO voting.

(The JWOC Middle final was the highest-rated Middle distance.)

JWOC was in effect organized by a single orienteering club (Porsgrunn O-Lag which is located 2.5 hours from Rauland), with help from the local sports club Dyre Vaa and volunteers from a few other clubs, mostly people who like myself have a winter ski cabin in the area.
Mar 4, 2016 2:17 PM # 
@terje I heard many good things about JWOC, anthill or no anthills, and I've no doubt your middle distance was better than ours (but we did have the top rated relay :). Rumour has it the IoF regarded the WOC Long as a disaster, despite what WoO thinks. But since we're still waiting for any official feedback, that would still be a rumour.

About your anthills ... There is a question of consistency across the map, so if you map an anthill where you need it for a control site, you also have to map similar-sized anthills everywhere, cluttering the map elsewhere.

Should you map features consistently across the map, or do you the map the significant features in each part?
Mar 4, 2016 6:03 PM # 
Terje Mathisen:
@graeme: Both JWOC and WOC were high points of the season, let's leave it there. :-)

The relevant map had exactly the same ant hill specification over the entire map, so there was no problems with the consistent mapping requirement.

Let me check...

OK, as I wrote above this particular ant family is mostly concentrated in the Middle terrain, with 364 such huge ant hills in the quali & final maps, but the field checking also found 13 of them in the long final area, all 377 were hidden on the JWOC maps.

The total area of these maps was big enough that the ant hills don't clutter them, those brown crosses are outnumbered by far by other much more visible symbols:

441 minimum-length cliffs, 2264 normal small cliffs, 4260 boulders, 250 large boulders, 295 large cliffs with slope tags, 2458 dot knolls etc.
Mar 4, 2016 7:01 PM # 
I recall WOC 93 organizers expressing frustration about Controller decisions that the organizers were later criticized for (such as too-short courses...organizers had the lengths right, knowing how fast terrain in that area is from long experience). I think that event advisors, and their decisions, should be included in post-mortem reviews of major events, and discussions of lessons learned. I'm not aware of how much outside feedback they get on their decisions, as I suspect that few know what those decisions were. We can't improve without putting it all on the table to review and do the five-why's. I'm sorry to hear about such a frustrating situation, and that in JWOC. I hope that advisors are open to taking feedback and learning lessons from these.
Mar 4, 2016 8:19 PM # 
Terje Mathisen:
@JimBaker: I'm not particularly bothered now by the decision to exclude the ant hills!

In the end it didn't make the courses worse, it just gave us a few hectic days of additional work relatively close to the printing deadline.

I do hope, just like you, that both positive and negative impact from the EAs are included in the IOF reporting. I strongly believe that the overall effect of having official EAs have been very positive, I have heard (from people directly involved) about several critical issues with world cup events that have been caught by good SEA work.
Mar 5, 2016 5:40 AM # 
@ Jim - cliffs again. A cliff is a natural phenomenon, whereas contour lines drawn on a map are a human construct. If the two don't match, then it has to be the contours that are wrong.

With traditional base maps the human producer could never be sure - in forested terrain - just exactly where the ground is, so good mappers invariably corrected his (the photogrammetrist's) contours. Cliffs are a good clue, on the ground as to where the contours really lie, so our photogrammetrist in Australia learned to try to pinpoint cliffs on his base maps, and we fieldworkers were taught to get the cliffs positioned and drawn accurately (they are usually all different shapes and sizes) before finalising the contour lines.

In our experience also, erosion of the softer ground at the ends of the cliff produces a small gully to either side, for which a contour, or at least a form-line, is required.

Lidar may be more accurate. I don't know too much about it, but it is still a human construct, subject to human error, and in my view therefore not to be 100% trusted. As I understand it, one usually orders Lidar in much smaller intervals than the final map will use, so it will pay to have a good understanding of the terrain - particularly where the cliffs, banks, etc. are - before deciding which of the Lidar's (say) 1m lines will be the map's 5m contour line.
Mar 5, 2016 3:34 PM # 
The main shortcoming that government maps have, and are likely to always have, is that they don't show vegetation speed. In some areas (e.g. much of Colorado), this makes little difference because the terrain is uniformly fast. In other places (e.g. New York) not having the mountain laurel shown would be a disaster. This is much more important than whether you can show little details that you'd run past in a second or two. Rootstocks are a great example. They're undeniably there, but not mapping them does not make the map any less useful for navigating (except in some extreme cases like fallen redwoods).
Mar 5, 2016 5:21 PM # 
Terje Mathisen:
@jjcote: As I wrote above I believe my main contribution to base map generation has been improvements to automatic vegetation classification:

Particularly in areas with subtle/gradual changes in vegetation thickness it can be extremely hard to survey meaningful borders between various runnability graduations, in such areas using the lidar cloud to pick likely green border locations can be a big help.

I've found that it is definitely possible to recognize features like brush undergrowth (possibly green stripes) or density changes in planted spruce forest.

I've also found it relatively easy to recognize small depressions and potential dot knolls using 25 cm contours as a working step: Both types of features turn up as smaller concentric loops, going up means dot knolls, going down means depression.

The key issue is that we need access to the raw lidar points, not just preprosessed elevation grids or fixed contour lines.
Mar 5, 2016 8:13 PM # 
@jjcote - Yes, I'm thinking about topo map use here in Colorado above 2500m, where there's little thick vegetation of consequence. I've found the topos here quite usable for navigation. But there are also other sources nowadays, like open source LIDAR (which kartapullautin'ed shows thick veg reasonably would be great to see what Terje's tools show), state park map data (fairly detailed apparently), and youth camp map data (which the county requires the camp to create). Extensive thick vegetation, and certain longer cliffs, are important to capture somehow, where present. But there are more options nowadays, and even if vegetation has to be field surveyed, it's way easier on a topo that shows even minor details, as I've found modern ones to do far better than twenty or thirty years ago.

There are some terrains where ISOM-like standards are the way to capture the interesting bits (like an area that I've scouted about 70 minutes drive from downtown Denver...wonderful reentrant and rock detail atop some minor ridges and hills that make for long leg route choice as well as fine navigation). But the latter means adapting ISOM to inkjet printing, which it's not well suited for, as spot color offset seems insane and anyway straight-jacketing (no continual expansion of the map as time permits). In other terrain, like some on Rampart Range, government topos seem adequate, and might allow a break from the same old maps. In yet other terrain, some extensive, and free, seven point per square meter LIDAR data can probably make just fine maps directly with little field checking needed. (MIkell Platt allegedly field checked 4 sq km to ISOM standard in five days using this data, admittedly a remap of an existing area, but apparently the base made from the LIDAR was quite good.) If one just wanted a training map and not a national event map, then using straight kartapullautin of such data might be just fine, or kartapullautin with some quick field checking. (I do wish kartapullautin or other algorithm could pick out boulders seven LIDAR points per square meter, I wonder if it could pick out at least the bigger boulders, and have been tempted to try to experiment with the data and see. I don't have the other characteristics of the LIDAR data to hand as Finder isn't working on my Mac at the moment...four major fixes to my Mac in several months, despite it leading a sheltered life on a modern desk, but I digress.)
Mar 5, 2016 9:47 PM # 
Terje Mathisen:
@JimBaker: I would love to take a look at your 7 p/sqm lidar, particularly if you also have high-res ortophotos!

If those boulders are 1-2 m I would probably find them either as dot knolls or small vegetation clumps; either would be easy to just click on and convert when surveying.

You could also use my Hvaler granite slabs technique which is to field check while running with my Garmin clock, hitting the intermediate time button each time I touch a boulder which should be included: Afterwards I verify the exact location using the ortophotos where the shadow of the boulder is quite distinct.

Can you give me a link to some of your source data?
Mar 6, 2016 3:03 AM # 

is the most recent dataset that I downloaded, I think. You'll have to re-request the data by resubmitting the job (by clicking the link), since it's been more than 7 days since I requested it, but it takes less than an hour usually, often less, and then it'll send you an e-mail with a link to download the data.
Mar 6, 2016 3:09 AM # 
Sorry, ten points per sq m.

Other info at

I don't have high res orthos.

Thanks if you find anything interesting by looking at the data.
Mar 6, 2016 4:18 PM # 
Terje Mathisen:
@Jim: I'll take a look as soon as I can get a copy, it seems like one or more servers are down for maintenance this weekend, I've waited several hours without even being able to define my email login ID.

I also tried to download a smaller area which wouldn't require an ID but that didn't work either so I'll have to wait until tomorrow probably.
Mar 7, 2016 12:13 PM # 
Terje Mathisen:
@Jim: Success! When I registered with a gmail account instead of my .no personal domain everything worked very quickly. :-)

I generated 1,5,25 m contours, slope/cliff background images and my default vegetation object mapping, then I exported the map as Google Earth raster (kmz) and took a look in GE Pro:

I found a large amount of dot knolls, some of them are real knolls, a few are really a dense vegetation cluster/single tree, but a large percentage corresponds to boulders visible on the GE aerial images.

My vegetation classification found that this terrain is either open or forested without significant intermediate vegetation, i.e. white forest.

One important exception is that I classified a number of patches as white with green stripes, these correspond to visible boulder fields, so surveying should be quite easy:
with world file

The entire ocad 11 file is here:
Mar 7, 2016 1:14 PM # 
I seem to have processed that three years ago with the version of Pullautin of that era.
Mar 7, 2016 1:24 PM # 
Terje Mathisen:
@Jagge: Nice! One difference is that you allow a lot more small patches of open land, I use a low-pass filter on vegetation classifications which removes the smallest areas.

We have both found cliffs on the sides of some of the larger boulders, while you seem to disregard the fields of medium-sized boulders which I show with green stripes.

I have also located a fairly large amount of dot knolls (some of them boulders) and depressions, but the actual contour detail is very similar since the terrain surface is quite smooth.
Mar 7, 2016 1:51 PM # 
I did that so long time ago I have no idea of the settings I used. Most likely I used something that gives relatively good open land mapping in southern Finland forests with Finnish lidar data making it draw too much yellow.

The objective was to produce legible map at 1:10 - 15 scale, something one can print and run out of the box. Usually plenty of dot knolls are not draw for legibility reasons (it a dot knoll touches contours it is not drawn). And back then Pullautin did not try detecting undergrowth so "undergrowth" (like boulder fields) became green.
Mar 7, 2016 4:10 PM # 
Awesome! Thanks Terje (and thanks Jagge...I somehow hadn't noticed that earlier KP). I'll take a look, and go out on the terrain with it. (Lately the snow cover has been thinner, a bit of a mid-winter dry spell.)
Mar 8, 2016 6:49 AM # 
Out of curiosity I re-processed the snippet with Pullautin version as of today.

I must have experimented with building detection or something because buildings and bigger rocks were mapped with black in the old map. There is some tiny differences, but not much.
Mar 8, 2016 7:15 AM # 
Terje Mathisen:
On this version you have green stripes on some boulder fields, just like my code generates. As I stated yesterday this terrain with smooth ground surface and very little brush vegetation results in pretty similar LiDAR processing independent of the sw used.

It still looks like Jim can use my dot knolls as an indication for where he should locate big boulders.

The boulder field -> brush vegetation classification is probably unavoidable, there is no obvious way to determine the difference between the laser reflection patterns, except via multi-spectral lidar where you can check the intensity variation for the various frequencies/laser colors. Since such scans can see differences between various leafy tree species it should be easier to separate rock from pine needles.
Mar 8, 2016 7:38 AM # 
Terje Mathisen:
I just took another look at Google Earth, this time with a partially transparent OCAD export which included my automated cliff detection layer:

It really seems like you could take my base map, convert most dot knolls to large boulders and all the areas with many small cliffs to boulder fields, and many orienteers would be quite happy to run on the resulting map! (You would of course add in the roads and stuff from government topo data and/or the slope image.)

I would have spent a few hours manually tweaking the 5 m contours to capture some spurs and other features that just happen to lie between the main contour lines, or you could just convert some snippets of the 1m contours to regular form lines to show small knolls etc before hiding the rest.

The main thing here is that the dense (10 point/sqm) really do result in significantly more fine detail on my base map, particularly in the boulder and rock outcrop patches.
Mar 9, 2016 7:48 PM # 
I have an OCAD file where I overdrew the roads, trails and power line over a kartapullautin template map that I made last fall. I'll incorporate yours as another template layer Terje, and flip between the templates as I field check. When I did a test run a few months ago on a 1.75km leg, the kartapullautin seemed quite accurate in contours, veg and major cliffs. The main missing features were boulders, of which there are hundreds, so the new base will help. I'll find out how fast the field checking goes. Still some snow in the woods (a mix of bare ground and knee deep), and late March and April sometimes have heavy snows, so it could be soon or it may be a couple of months.
Mar 17, 2016 8:40 AM # 
Has anyone ever tried mixing own toner for a laser printer? I am thinking of mixing magenta and yellow and little bit black toner to get correct brown for contours and using this as a magenta toner in a laser printer. Like this brown would be set as 100% magenta and it should be sharp. To produce other O map colors one would need to change color settings a bit and some colors like blue and purple would be impossible to print without having a second run with an other printer (and having alignment problems). But yellow and green should be possible to produce just fine and something like 100% cyan with 20% black might do for blue and courses could always be hand drawn for trainings or printed with an other printer - not any different from spot color offset days. The advantage would be sharp brown (contours).
Mar 17, 2016 9:47 AM # 
A big convenience of computer printers is the lack of need for multiple passes when printing maps with courses. Alignment issues can be a major nuisance.

I wonder whether it might work better to use a printer with five colors, like some inkjet printers. Perhaps one could replace one of the blacks with brown, but then one might need to write one's own printer driver to make it all work right. I've never experimented with such.
Mar 17, 2016 1:15 PM # 
Terje Mathisen:
@Jagge: Making custom print colors would be a great solution, the key would of course be to start with a printer with at least 5 or 6 separate color cassettes?

I.e. insert the custom Pantone colors and print with solid inks only!

The problem would be the cost for such a printer, it will be _much_ cheaper to simply use a printer with sufficient resolution to accurately mix any CMYK combination even on very thin lines. :-)

BTW, even if you start with Pantone brown instead of CMYK Magenta, you should still be able to mix almost the full color gamut, i.e. any three independent colors describe at least a color triangle that can be reproduced.
Mar 17, 2016 3:19 PM # 
My rather cheap inkjet printer has five colors of ink...cyan, magenta, yellow and two blacks. For O map purposes, one black (probably process black) might suffice, and the other (photo black) could be replaced with brown, theoretically. (In practice, there's probably a bunch of software work to do, as well as inkjet cartridge filling.)

An advantage to a pure brown might be the ability to print legibly at 1:15,000. Often inkjet printed maps are 1:10,000 for legibility, which I think isn't just old eyes but the fuzziness of printing a thin brown line CMYK. But maybe I'm wrong.
Mar 21, 2016 10:51 AM # 
> Lidar may be more accurate. I don't know too much about it, but it is still a human
> construct, subject to human error, and in my view therefore not to be 100%
> trusted.
All depnds on the processing. Probably 99% trusted compared to photogram perhaps 90%. For basic spur gully contours anyway.
Jul 9, 2016 3:17 PM # 
So this thread has been dead for a while, but I certainly hope some progress is being made. I know nothing more than what is posted on the MC website.

Some notes-

There seems to be some turnover in MC membership, no longer including Ales Hejna, the one member that I knew to have significant real world map making experience. (I may be ignorant of other's experience)

The minutes of the previous meeting (Jan 2016) state that HT will "...consult with the Foot -O commission and with the Rules commission on the issues of map scales for veterans and “forbidden to pass”symbols."
I am glad to hear this, finally.

The next meeting is scheduled during WOC in late Aug. with the agenda item "Finalisation of the ISOM –hopefully."

Can anybody tell us more?
Jul 9, 2016 5:38 PM # 
Terje Mathisen:
I'm going to attend the mapping conference which takes part on Friday during WOC week, i.e. on a rest day for the champonship (& the ROC Tour spectator races).

I assume we'll get to know whatever the current status is at that point!
Jul 10, 2016 2:56 AM # 
Per the latest OUSA Board minutes (pdf), Glen Schorr, Cristina Luis, and one other will attend the AGM. Don't know if any of them plan to attend the mapping conference.
Jul 10, 2016 7:24 PM # 
While you're at it - maybe you can ask if we'll ever get any feedback about WOC2015.
Jul 11, 2016 4:00 PM # 
@ EricW : I believe that departure of Alex (the youngest and most experienced mapmaker from MC) is not auspicious... In my opinion, you can not call mapmaker, if you do not realize at least 5 maps each year, and professional mapmaker with minimum 10 maps per year.I don't know about this experience how members of MC could say that (maybe only Luděk Krtička..) Not very gratifying news that will discuss just about categories of veterans about the scale of the maps. It seems like a bribing by veterans critics,who are most vocal. MC forget once again, ISOM must be made for all the runners and for all the terrains.
This proves that the MC is still deaf to the demands of elite runners.Now, I'm sure 100% : IOF should have reform commission MC, before reform ISOM .
Jul 12, 2016 1:31 AM # 
As well as Jagge (above), the JWOC long map showed that the planner and controller already have the tools to make cliffs out of bounds, if required. But, I'm preaching to the converted here...
Jul 12, 2016 3:36 AM # 
Nevertheless, a timely example.
I have to admit, even though I was scrutinizing the JWOC Long with the OB cliff areas, I didn't make the connection with ISOM 201X.
Jul 12, 2016 10:49 PM # 
I would go a step further on the JWOC map- the OOB mapping is clearer and more obvious than the using a symbol for an OOB cliff. From a duty of care position, I would judged the existing method as more responsible.
Jul 13, 2016 2:47 PM # 
@ EricW: The last revival of the debate about ISOM 201X was last winter, after the MC has sent the final draft from Deс 2015 -
...Eric...glad to hear you... :) Alexey
Jul 13, 2016 5:02 PM # 
@ Alexey, likewise good to hear from you, especially in this forum,
and thanks for (re) posting a very good link, to refresh everybody's memory.
Jul 14, 2016 9:37 PM # 
Is there really shading of south facing slopes on the JWOC map?

I must be missing the point with the cliffs too - they have marked whole areas of slope out of bounds, which is indeed very clear. Are you saying they had to do this because there's no way to show that the problem is dangerous cliffs?
Jul 17, 2016 11:50 AM # 
I suspect that a special version of the maps were prepared for viewers at home, with relief shading and white shadows on all the course markings. Certainly the relay map we saw is special - it has all the forkings:-)) Perhaps someone can confirm or deny?
Jul 17, 2016 12:41 PM # 
Terje Mathisen:
@gruver: You are absolutely right, the Swiss have used such shaded maps for TV coverage for a while now, afair they did the same in the last WOC they hosted and I think I have seen it a few other times as well. I.e. O-Ringen or Jukola?
Jul 17, 2016 7:59 PM # 
Graeme, using out-of-bounds prevents someone from trying to pick a line through the dangerous crags and potentially getting off-line and stuck in a dangerous situation.
Jul 17, 2016 10:44 PM # 
I'd read it as, "Don't go here, because other people have decided it's a bad idea. Like the mapper, when he didn't fieldcheck it". I consider this a reasonable approach; instead of wasting time mapping that mess, just declare it out of bounds and come up with a way to keep course setters from using it.
Jul 17, 2016 11:57 PM # 
Graeme a number of countries, in their submissions on the ISOM revision, have said they believe that its the mapper's job to map what's there, often making judgement calls on passability. And its the planner and controller''s job to make the call on declaring stuff out of bounds, in the light of fairness, safety, and compliance issues. They have the purple course marking symbols to use and I would guess they did so here.
Sep 16, 2016 11:34 AM # 
Nothing to indicate much joy here. Unless you want a laugh to brighten up your day. The MC plans to tackle the ISSOM in 2017.
Sep 16, 2016 1:44 PM # 
Glad to see some changes are being made for colour blind individuals. I have had really big problems at some events where the print quality hasn't been great. Often the main difficulty is the use of green 100% as a thicket on open land. Hopefully there will be a move to green 100% black 50% or otherwise outlining thickets/flower beds.

Also hoping for some new symbols for rough open. Very difficult to see the difference between rough open and light green when they are very small areas on the map (e.g. France WOC 2011).

I also provided feedback through my federation on some of the colours but never received any response...
Oct 26, 2016 11:51 PM # 
I hope its OK to give him public credit, but coti was paying better attention than I was, and noticed this:

Scroll to page 4 item 9.2, and page 10 item 24.3 for the news relevant to this thread.
Oct 27, 2016 1:23 AM # 
For the lazy, or bandwidth-constrained:

TH [Tom Hollowell] presented the report from the Map Commission (MC) regarding the ISOM revision project. The report included a description of changes to the specification, specific information regarding the mapping of impassable features as this was a key change proposal, and a draft version of the new ISOM standard. MC noted that the ISOM specification was in near final version and that Council should now review it prior to finalisation.
Council discussed the report and the draft standard. Council agreed that there were 2 issues in the specification which should be consulted further with stakeholders;
• The consequences of the specifications’ descriptions regarding impassable features, and
• The specifications’ wording regarding Map scales and Map enlargements.
Council would therefore task FOC [FootO Commission] and RC [Rules Commission?] with consulting and commenting on these 2 issues, noting that member federation consultation should be done if deemed necessary. Council noted that it was important to resolve these issues prior to a final approval of the specification.
Oct 27, 2016 10:47 AM # 
I got the impression from the presentations at ICOM that everything regarding impassable features was already resolved, but apparently it wasn't...
Oct 27, 2016 3:10 PM # 
They reached an impasse.
Oct 27, 2016 7:42 PM # 
I guess after WOC long the idea that a symbol meaning impassible would be useful is catching on...From TGIF's log

there was this “impassable” river to cross. Impassable, but not forbidden, as state the ISOM at the moment. I didn´t felt comfortable with this, still I took the risk. Swam a couple of meters, as the river was large and deep where I crossed, despite choosing a place where the black line was cut (probably only for a better legibility of the cliffs though). I was not the only one considering this option BUT I don´t think a good course should offer this kind of option. In my opinion, the impassable features should just be, like in sprint, forbidden to cross. And as far as I know, it will be like this in the new version of ISOM (alleluia!). I enjoy swimming, it is not the problem, but I don´t think orienteering should be about the one who dare to swim, or eventually climb the biggest cliff.
Oct 27, 2016 9:09 PM # 
Dark green -> everybody knows that this mean impassable but it is not forbidden and you dont have black edge to understand that. River -> black edge is used today and if we want to implement the universal solution than I think Jagge proposed a good example how to use purple for these situations. I also think that if we say that all impassable futures should be forbidden to cross then we are in trouble. If something is forbidden -> by sport rules this mean that you should be DISQ.
Oct 27, 2016 10:25 PM # 
Kofols is right, the problem is compliance. It is the planner and controller who must decide whether areas should be out of bounds, and they have the tools (course marking symbols) to use. They also have hundreds of volunteers to stand in the forest to check whether anyone is breaking the rules:-)) Fortunately many countries have submitted that this is a competition/rules matter, and not a mapping matter, and its good to see that it has been referred. And the issue of scales.
Oct 28, 2016 1:17 AM # 
Are you saying if you swam the river, the fish could loan you their scales to get across? Is this considered outside assistance?
Oct 28, 2016 2:34 AM # 
I think maybe TGIF should reconsider that alleluia. That leg was poorly planned - super long and very early with virtually no chance to assess; a big bonus if you chose the easy wide road route choice and an impassable cliff on the more direct route. TGIF "took the risk" - so he saw and understood that the cliff was mapped impassible. Making it "Forbidden" would have meant everybody running along the road - how ridiculous. That would not make the leg better, just stupid.
Oct 28, 2016 5:45 AM # 
I am more curious about the scale issue. Quite a few national associations took issue with the current position of the MC.
Oct 28, 2016 11:57 AM # 
@kofols. everybody knows that this mean impassable You might "know" that but...

In fact, current ISOM has 410 Dark green as "less than 20% of normal speed". It's perfectly common here that the fastest route involves e.g. taking 30sec to push through 10-20m of rhododendron, rather than running a few 100m round. But rhododendron might be truly impassable - there's no way to determine the best route from an ISOM map.

@O-ing, yes we now know that it was a bad leg, from the unmapped electric fence to the off-the-map best route. Just because the map meant they couldn't tell that, doesn't make it any better.

I suspect there was some "meta-navigation" going on here - the logic being

This is WOC, so they won't have planned stupid legs...
If the road route is best, then it's a stupid leg...
Therefore the road route isn't best...
Therefore that river must be crossable
Oct 28, 2016 11:00 PM # 
That sounds about right.... good thinking.
Oct 29, 2016 7:50 AM # 
I am not sure how you "read" dark green but at our maps dark green means impassable. It is too thick or too much thorny or too low thick vegetation that you cant run straight not even zig-zag. Normally, people go around dark green. I like the logic that when I see dark green this mean impassable, so none one can gain advantage even if it is just 20m of dark green. If it is possible to go through than this is not dark green and it is a mapper mistake which can influence on the final results.
Oct 29, 2016 9:09 AM # 
I think that is exactly graeme's point. If Slovenian mapping standards deviate from the international standards, an orienteer from Scotland will not be able to interpret the map properly. They will expect to be slowed down to less than 20% of their normal speed... not necessarily stopped in their tracks.

Another way to think about it, how would you prefer to map the case that graeme explains above, with 20m of rhododendron? That sort of vegetation is certainly slower than 20% of normal speed, but passable and part of a viable route choice. I don't see a reason to restrict mappers to only using dark green for truly impassable terrain.
Oct 29, 2016 11:17 AM # 
I've long noticed that determining the fastest route using green markings is not necessarily possible even with lighter greens. Is 300m of light green faster or slower than 500m of white? The wide range of running speeds for each level of green (and a small range even for white) make this unknowable, by a large margin. (But I'm not sure there's any practical symbology that gives that info, and we seem to have a sport anyway.) So, what are the critical properties for green symbols?
Oct 29, 2016 11:53 AM # 
The problem with a lot of Australian green is that it's only slow until you stumble across one of the ubiquitous kangaroo trails. If even the roos don't go through there, it's dark green. :)
Oct 29, 2016 12:50 PM # 
Dark green does not exist in ISOM, only in ISSOM - I think Kofols is getting confused. ISOM has 100% green, which is green, not dark green, though I admit it is darker than the other ISOM greens. It stands for 0-20% runnability, which I think is a problem because it can represent (for example) Graeme's rhododendrons or absolutely impassable blackberries. So, in my view ISOM needs dark green, as specified in ISSOM.

If there are kangaroo tracks they would have to be mapped Juffy:) (Probably by showing a lighter green stripe through the dark green.)
Oct 29, 2016 1:58 PM # 
If there are kangaroo tracks they would have to be mapped Juffy:)

Have you been drinking?
Oct 29, 2016 3:08 PM # 
No, but remember that kangaroos are more my size than yours. If you were ever at Pinjarra Hills you would have noticed areas of lighter green in the (very prevalent) 100% green - most of these were small animal tracks that I mapped very carefully as they could be used to get through the worst of the thick stuff. Slow, but not as slow as 20% runnable.
Oct 29, 2016 3:23 PM # 
Completely agree that the 0-20% definition has always been a problem, at least in the abstract, and should be changed. Saving the dark-est green for "impassable" (or practically so) is an extremely important principle, and I am so tired of repeating this.

However in reality, the current dark-est ISOM green can, and does (at least for enlightened mappers), already function as "impassable" for practical purposes, for years/ decades, for the most commonly used terrains around the world. No need for an additional ISOM green even without the problematic legal issue of the ISSOM version.

JimBaker above, makes the important point. You want a map that tells you the runnability with more real, not imagined, precision than the current three shades (4 incl white)? You are dreaming. This is not the reality of human mapping, nor is it worth spending the time/ money/ torn clothes requiring mappers to flail around the thickest crap attempting to do define yet one more level of runnability.
Oct 29, 2016 4:44 PM # 
AND course setting needs to at least share responsibility on these general issues. Before adding rules to solve problems, how about first asking if the course setting team isn't better positioned to solve problems.

From this year's WOC, the high profile problem legs, Long #2 and Men's Middle #22 (the "green" leg) do not require ISOM solutions, but were simply the result of poor course setting discretion, with problems that could/should have been anticipated at anything higher than a local event. Granted, I'm sitting an ocean away, but the problems were hardly surprising.

Course setters and controllers need to think conservatively, avoid falling in love with "special" legs, revise the leg/ routing, or do the homework and map revisions if circumstances demand and allow.
Oct 29, 2016 6:12 PM # 
"If Slovenian mapping standards deviate from the international standards, ..."
We dont have our own official standards. For instance, I dont understand why Sweden has its own separate mapping standards, why not just ISOM?

Maybe our deviation is good for ISOM development. Our mappers from my knowledge use it in this way. I think we are still within the rules; 0-20%, and agree that definition should be changed.
Oct 29, 2016 7:23 PM # 
Around here the guideline is 100% green is not used. Such vegation simply does not exists around here. Sometimes I see it used, usually for mapper selecting that symbol in 0cad by by accident and never noticing the error.

But I am not entirely sure 0-20% definition is the real problem. Planner simply should make sure no one has to enter such area and if somene does so he looses time. And if there is possibility such route choice is viable he uses purple to make it forbidden. If you change it to "impassabe in practice", how would you map something that slows you down to 5..10% but is not genuinely impassable. With a ligher green shade? Isn't that a fairness problem?

I don't want to run or see legs with route choices of pushing through < 20% speed forest. Thats not orienteering, just like swimming or rock climbing isn't. As I see it, 0-20% may be just fine just like our current cliff and water body rules are. But planning and planning guidelines possibly aren't.

Please, no legs with a possiblility to win time by climbing dangerous cliffs, swimming over rivers or pushing trough 5% speed vegetation. Making such areas forbidden makes things just worse, because it is asking for planning such legs, because then there would be this new possibility to rely on athletes to not break rules, rules that can't be enforced.
Oct 29, 2016 7:25 PM # 
Fair enough points. And really, this is the purpose behind a model event before a serious competition. I guess part of the special joy of orienteering travel is learning how to "read" the greens on maps from around the world. For instance, when I moved to Uppsala, I needed to revise how I looked at swamps. In the US, I would not think to run through them for even 10 meters, where as a course in Lunsen is about 80% marshes.

I guess also now, through the power of AP, you can see that not everyone knows/agrees that dark green = impassable :)
Oct 29, 2016 9:32 PM # 
Please, no legs with a possiblility to win time by climbing dangerous cliffs, swimming over rivers or pushing trough 5% speed vegetation.

This, I think, is the answer. In fact, the USA rules say (or at least used to say) that legs should not have feasible route choices that involve crossing uncrossable water features. Once in a while I take a route that involves dark green and find an easy way through it, and I almost feel like I cheated. It's not good course planning when something like that can happen.
Oct 29, 2016 10:50 PM # 
If there are kangaroo tracks they would have to be mapped Juffy:)

We can't even get people to map the trailbike tracks, let alone random kangaroo tracks.
Oct 29, 2016 11:15 PM # 
To be clear, I don't think that mapping lots of additional levels of green is feasible, and I don't mean to suggest that. My point is more that the granularity of green mapping means that route choices between green and white, or between levels of green, are inherently quite a bit of a guess. (Therefore, they shouldn't dominate courses, or at least important courses. ) Ten meters through light green? No biggie. Hundreds of meters? A significant unknowable element.
Oct 30, 2016 7:56 PM # 
Where there are no model events (and most competitions don't have those), I find it part of my challenge of getting into the course figuring out what the different levels of green mean to the mapper. Then, in theory (if I do this well), I can adjust route selection. The problem comes when the levels of green are not mapped consistently on the map and there is quite a bit of difference on how much it slows me down.

The other confusion factor is the undergrowth screen on top. In theory, the % of green corresponds to the level of runnability, but when would you use light green vs. white with undergrowth markings, when the net effect on runnability is similar? Once again, different interpretations exist and sometimes on the same map too.

So I think the first principle should be that at least the green/undergrowth symbols are used consistently across the map. Then we can start talking about differences between maps, countries, types of vegetation...
Oct 31, 2016 6:36 AM # 
Back to the impassable futures and forbidden to cross.
1. This combination should be reserved only for dangerous situations, like caves, big cliffs, etc and marked the area on the terrain as we do today.
2. For all other situations we should consider to use "out of bounds" or marked route if this is necessary for any reason.
3. Using just impassable symbol on the map for futures or area where in reality is normal passable area is asking for troubles. It should not be allowed to make courses / tricky legs just because it is possible to put impassable symbol on the map. ISOM is not ISSOM.

In my opinion it is easier to make all rivers, streams passable for those where the level of water changes during the season from dry to impassable. It is always easier for smaller events and course planner to use purple then updating the map.
Oct 31, 2016 6:46 AM # 
Are you saying what's a passable feature now may be impassable in the future?
Oct 31, 2016 6:58 AM # 
Yes, depends on the weather.
Oct 31, 2016 7:38 AM # 
Shades of green...
Oct 31, 2016 9:10 AM # 
France has some interesting terrain, doesn't it?

At NAOC 2014 in Canada (which came at the end of a dry period), there were features mapped as uncrossable marshes on the model map - less so on the competition maps - which were dry or almost dry at the time of the event.
Oct 31, 2016 9:27 AM # 
• "The specifications’ wording regarding Map scales and Map enlargements.
Council would therefore task FOC [FootO Commission] and RC [Rules Commission?] with consulting and commenting on these 2 issues, noting that member federation consultation should be done if deemed necessary. Council noted that it was important to resolve these issues prior to a final approval of the specification."
So finally its has been recognised that its not the MC responsibility to set rules for the sport in isolation.
Oct 31, 2016 10:20 AM # 
It's important to remember that the organizers do not start with the map and make the terrain, normally. Therefore, each level of green typically will not be uniform, but vary quite a bit in runnability. If the fastest route depends on whether the green is 80 or 60 percent of normal ruining speed, or 40 or 20%, or 10 or 5%, then the course is unfair, because an ISOM map does not make those distinctions. That's not a fault of the mapper, nor due to a lack of model event. I was once faced with mapping an area of saplings that varied significantly in its runability across its hundreds of meters of width. It all ended up light green (and properly so), I recall.
Nov 8, 2016 9:26 PM # 
@EricW @paul @jagge @coti or somebody else... Public invitation to apply for MC.
Nov 9, 2016 7:46 AM # 
Terje Mathisen:
I saw that invitation, but since I've just taken over the leadership of the Norwegian MC, and we retain Håvard in the IOF MC, another middle age Norwegian guy is probably not needed. :-)
Nov 9, 2016 4:38 PM # 
It would be nice to have someone outside Europe on the Map Committee. There are several experienced folk. Any interest among them?
Nov 10, 2016 12:51 AM # 
trying to imagine if it would be a case of putting a cat among the pigeons or jumping into the lions den! But more seriously of course it is a great opportunity for the right person. To me the ideal person has a passion to encourage the mc to a more open world view, and to gather and discuss issues and ideas on open forums such as AP. I would like to see an mc which takes into account not only elite competitions and traditions but also looks to cater for a large, and somewhat under valued, older demographic of orienteering participant.
I would say that any member on the mc should also have high approval from their own federation and be a respected representative for that nation and be able to connect any perceived divide because it seems to me to be missing in the current set up. Alternatively a highly motivated and passionate individual who is open to many ideas from all corners of the globe could very well also be a great addition to the mc. I think there are quite a few qualified people here, it would be good news if any of you clever people gave it a shot. Make MC Great again... too soon?
Nov 10, 2016 11:24 AM # 
Extract about ISOM201X from the Minutes – Foot Orienteering Commission – Meeting 5–16...

10 Rules
ISOM 201x: Council agreed that there were 2 issues in the specification
which should be consulted further with stakeholders:
o The consequences of the specifications’ descriptions regarding
impassable features. The majority of FOC is not in favour of
defining the dangerous features to be out of bounds by definition.
We would like the out of bounds definition to stay the way it is.
In FOC’s opinion, it’s the course planner’s rather than the
mapmaker’s responsibility to define out-of-bounds areas. We see
the characteristics of ISSOM and ISOM areas to be very different
– hence it is in FOC’s opinion acceptable and desirable to have
different map standards for sprint and forest maps. Action AL to
inform TH and Map Commission with TD responsible for any
further correspondence.
o The specifications’ wording regarding Map scales and Map
enlargements. Council would therefore task FOC and RC with
consulting and commenting on these two issues. FOC agrees with
Council’s view on this to leave out the unnecessary sentence and
paragraph. The map scale issues should only be handled in the
rules. Action AL to inform TH and Map Commission.
Nov 11, 2016 12:33 AM # 
Thanks for the links Alexey, and kofols (above).
Both of these are encouraging, at least from my perspective.

"...Council's view ...the unnecessary sentence and paragraph."- I haven't found specifically what this refers to.
Can somebody illuminate?
I have a hopeful guess.
Nov 11, 2016 1:47 AM # 
I think the New Zealand submission tell us what this is about.
"The specification staunchly proclaims the scale of 1:15,000 as the standard orienteering scale. It provides for nothing else, until you get to 1:5000 for sprint orienteering (fast non-technical usually urban competition). In New Zealand
there is widespread use and enjoyment of detailed terrains which cannot be mapped at 1:15,000. (The specification provides for a proportional enlargement to 1:10,000, but since symbol sizes enlarge too, this does not allow any additional detail."
Nov 11, 2016 7:23 AM # 
Let's wait a little bit of the final version ISOM201X, compare and understand which items were unnecessary :)
I guess outright bans to cross impassable features have to disappear and etc.
Nov 11, 2016 11:11 AM # 
You mean this...
Terrain that cannot be legibly presented at a scale of 1:15000 is not suitable for international orienteering events, but may be suitable for international sprint orienteering events.?
which is already in current ISOM and always seemed to me more of a "rules" issue.

Trouble is, if "Terrain that cannot be legibly presented at a scale of 1:15000" is now suitable, then MC are pretty much back to square one, because they'll need to define new specifications for 1:10 maps of those terrains.
Nov 11, 2016 12:11 PM # 
And not just 1:10 but also all possible scales rules may allow. In practice it means standard should be independent of scale and instead define symbol sizes and widths all as millimeters on paper. And one could implement it to any scale. About Like I hoped two years ago.
Nov 11, 2016 12:30 PM # 
Terje Mathisen:
@Jagge: It is indeed very tempting to have fixed-size symbols, independent of scale, but I think we also need to scale up most symbols to make them readable by the very young and the older orienteers.

Independently from this is the already established recommendation to use pure enlargements for improved readability for the older classes.
Nov 11, 2016 12:39 PM # 
Terje yes, implementing these standard size symbols to "any" scale and then making pure enlargements, just like I wrote there, for older folks or some other reasons (like being forced to use less perfect printing methods).
Nov 11, 2016 12:59 PM # 
Trouble is, if "Terrain that cannot be legibly presented at a scale of 1:15000" is now suitable, then MC are pretty much back to square one, because they'll need to define new specifications for 1:10 maps of those terrains.

That is not necessary at all.

All you need is a set of symbols specified in mm as they will appear on the printed map. That is already the case in ISOM and those symbols are (in theory at least) supposed to be easily legible to the non visually challenged. All that needs to be 'added' is to be allowed to print at larger scales than 15000 WITHOUT enlarging the symbols, if the level of detail in the terrain warrants it.

In theory you could allow any scale as Jagge says. In practice you would probably want to restrict it to a few 'round figure' scales eg 15000, 12500, 10000, 7500. For each scale there would be a corresponding enlarged scale (with enlarged symbols) for the older classes. Pretty simple really. Very easy to implement. A couple of paragraphs of text and table of allowed scales and corresponding enlargement scales)
Nov 11, 2016 1:01 PM # 
ISSOM has fixed-size symbols.

So if you have a 1:4000 ISSOM map, and you see a 0.5mm thick black line with tags, then its a crag. Unless you're an old person using 1:4000 blow up of the elite's 1:5000 map, in which case its a fence...
Nov 11, 2016 1:38 PM # 
That's a poor example: the tags on a fence are distinctly different t the tags on a cliff. But you could probably find another example of possible confusion but it will be a purely theoretical exercise. In practice such confusion is extremely unlikely. Personally I don't notice the thickness of lines in terms 100ths of mm's when I am orienteering, or even in the 'armchair'. The only time I would notice that is if I delve into the symbol settings of the OCAD file. What I notice is relative thicknesses and those stay the same.

I think you are overthinking it all. Seeing a problem where there is none (except in theory).
Nov 11, 2016 2:19 PM # 
Not convinced 0.75 long and 0.14 wide is "distinctly different" from 0,75/0.18 - and I had to look it up to see which is which (and the cliff can twist to make the tag look like it's at an angle - see ISSOM spec).

But its true the main message "dont cross this" is the same.

OTOH I have already been on a jury about DQing someone for jumping down a retaining wall on an ISSOM map. The question was whether the symbol was the 0.4mm thick #521 black line "uncrossable wall" or the 0.3mm thick black line "passible rock face" #203. You couldn't see the feature *at all* from above, only once you were down could you see it was brick not stone.
Nov 11, 2016 2:39 PM # 
YOu also have to factor in the spacing of the tags - cliffs have more than fences. But OK it is possible to manufacture confusing examples no matter how careful you are in drafting the standards. A good mapper is aware of such things and takes care to 'tweak' the drawing to avoid ambiguity.

That jury example demonstrates a failing in ISSOM - the fact that ISSOM retains the passable rock face symbol from ISOM and it is too similar to the uncrossable wall symbol to expect the runner to be able to differentiate (ie the relative sizes are not different enough). But that is a separate problem
Nov 11, 2016 2:51 PM # 
I guess what I am trying to say is it is easy to come up with theoretical problems. In practice if you try to design the standards so as to try to eliminate all possible theoretical chances of ambiguity you are setting yourself an impossible task. At best you will end up taking years longer than you expected - sound familiar? I think that in many of the cases of like that which come up in discussions like this one the 'answer' is not necessarily to be found in adding to or modifying the standards. Often if you do that you end up with unintended consequences that are worse than the original problem. The 'answer' is for an intelligent and experienced mapper to be aware of the possibilities for ambiguity and to make some small changes that will reduce the problem. It's a big world with endless varieties of terrain and nobody has seen them all. You can't possibly cover all the possibilities in a 50 page booklet. At some point you have to trust the mapper in the terrain to make decisions and give them enough flexibility to to be able to show unusual or problematic features but not so much flexibility that what they end up drawing makes no sense to anyone else.
Nov 11, 2016 6:41 PM # 
I'm having difficulty understanding what is meant by "Terrain that cannot be legibly presented at a scale of 1:15000".

Is the problem that mappers aren't capable of choosing which features are the most significant ones that runners will notice when travelling at race speed? Is this not what differentiates a "good" mapper from a mediocre one? Or is there something else I'm missing here?
Nov 11, 2016 8:09 PM # 
I think Rob pinged it. The Australian submission suggested that the ISOM needs to maintain world-wide utility. The draft specification didn't do that.
Nov 11, 2016 8:41 PM # 
+1 robplow; I agree that the correct, and simple, answer is what you suggest. Same standards in mm, just allow other scales, still with enlargements for the older categories. By the way, it's not just allowing larger scales than one to fifteen; I could imagine this being useful for making one to twenty maps for events that would suit.

In terms of fossils question on terrain representation, I've been in terrain that is have a hard time representing well at one to fifteen, such as some limestone terrain west of Christchurch in which passages were only a few meters apart. One could, of course, just map the detailed bit as boulder field or a single rock pillar, but that wouldn't capture the terrain terribly well, showing what's passable where. So maybe it's more a question of being able to capture the essence of a terrain well, rather than not being able to map it at all.
Nov 12, 2016 1:50 AM # 
Mitch: from ISOM section 2.1 An orienteering map is a detailed topographic map. The map must contain the features which are obvious on the ground to a competitor at speed. It must show every feature which could influence map reading or route choice: land forms, rock features, ground surface, rate of progress through the vegetation (known in foot-o as runnability), main land uses, hydrography, settlements and individual buildings, the path and track network,other lines of communication and features useful from the point of view of navigation.

There is an obvious tension between that paragraph and the need for legibility. There are plenty of cases where it is impossible to 'show every feature which could influence map reading or route choice' and maintain legibility. An obvious example is urban areas - they simply cannot be fairly mapped at 15000 which is why ISSOM was developed. Sure a mapper needs to be able to generalise but some things just cannot be generalised (Jim's example is a good one but by no means the only one) In such cases the very act of generalisation introduces unacceptable unfairness. The 'solution' is to use a larger scale - this is commonplace these days. For the MC to still stubbornly insist on one size (15000) fits all is simply out of touch with reality. To suggest that between urban terrain and forest that can be mapped well at 15000 there are no in-betweens or that any terrain that does fall into that gap is 'unsuitable for orienteering' is absurd. Not only absurd but demonstrably false - there any number of great areas that are better mapped at larger scales (Croatian/Slovenian karst, Czech sandstone, sand dunes, Christchurch Limestone, French volcanic terrain, etc etc). All of these terrains make great orienteering and provide very enjoyable experiences. To say they are unsuitable for orienteering is insulting. The implication behind such a statement is that Scandinavian terrain (which can almost always be mapped adequately at 15000) is the only truly legitimate terrain for orienteering. Such an attitude is not only arrogant but if allowed to hold sway will have detrimental effect on the development of orienteering as a world wide sport.

World-wide utility is a pretty vague statement open to a variety of individual interpretations. My feeling has always been that the MC interprets it in a way to mean that maps are only useful if they conform very strictly to the letter of the law - no exceptions however minor. The (unintended?) consequence of this is to reduce the utility of ISOM as it doesn't allow any leeway at all. And I would argue that far from making orienteering a better and fairer sport it has the opposite effect. It actually forces inferior outcomes on mappers resulting in poorer maps and a lower quality experience for the runner.

Usually when I say things like this the response is along the lines of 'unless the rules are followed exactly it will be chaos'. That is a massive over reaction. I am certainly not advocating a free for all - I think that ISOM is an excellent standard and should be followed as closely as possible. But as I said above it cannot possibly cover all possibilities so a little give and take at the edges is nothing to worry about. It is not a radical idea - it is simply what is already happening anyway and it has always been that way.A map that conforms absolutely 100% to ISOM would be a very rare thing indeed. A unicorn perhaps.
Nov 12, 2016 2:28 AM # 
Another example is the gold mining terrain in north east Victoria. The main features are sluiced erosion gullies. There are very obvious features that an orienteer would expect to see mapped. When these are dispersed across the landscape they are easy enough to map with some exaggeration of their size. When they are squeezed close together, mapping them with exaggeration is not always possible. The orienteer would still expect them to be on the map, but the map legibility suffers. I am thinking of Rowdy Flat which probably wasn't suitable for a 1:15,000 map, but which was mapped at that scale anyway. There was a test mapping of the terrain and a test run by a group to assess whether to continue. If we had been dispassionate we would have said it wasn't suitable at that scale and shouldn't be used. But the terrain was such a joy to pit oneself against, that the unanimous opinion was to go ahead. This caused some challenges for the Event Advisor who wasn't in on that decision. The maps first use was for an IOF WR event. The map was presented at the required scales, but for every event since it has been presented at 1:7,500 to make it legible. Mapping at 1:10,000 would have resulted in a much more legible map. I think this experience demonstrates that many orienteers, if given the choice, will choose complexity over generalisation.
Nov 12, 2016 1:46 PM # 
AND there is a world wide trend, for better or worse, towards using more of these hyper detailed terrains.

I agree with the thrust of the posts above.
I also believe that much of the mapping of these hyper detailed terrains appears to be overdone and in need of generalization, with details that actually hinder map reading, rather than help.
However I think this "illegal chaos" mapping is less problematic than having our leading mapping authority/document (MC/ ISOM 201X) directly putting its head in the sand..

Glad to see the Rowdy Flat reference in this context.
A posted image of this map (World of O since removed?) and accompanying in-terrain video, really caught my attention, as this seemed to be an example of mapping super detailed terrain, with careful selection of detail, that resulted in a clean readable map image, perhaps not at !:15, but at least for 1:10. I'd be glad to hear more from people closer to the situation, and the principles involved, since this might be a worthwhile example for the world.
Nov 12, 2016 10:55 PM # 
I can give an overview of the base maps. Another orienteer had mapped Rowdy Flat using a real time corrected GPS to create a 1:5,000 scale map with all the main features but no contours. Alex Tarr was given this plus a 20 metre contour interval map (three contours I think). From that he produced the map used for the Oceania Championship. There have since been competitions on both maps, the original 5,000 map and the ISOM map. The ISOM map is pretty much impossible to read at 1:15,000 unless you have young eyes and 20/20 vision in good light. At 1:10,000 it is usable for young eyes. All other age groups need 1:7,500 for an enjoyable experience. The 1:5,000 map is confusing to some because of the lack of contours. But it is certainly legible. The ideal would have been to present the existing ISOM map at 1:10,000/7,500 with the symbols scaled to 1:10 rather than 1:15. It doesn't require remapping, just a change in the symbol set. A perfect candidate for scale independent symbol sets.
Nov 12, 2016 11:16 PM # 
There are a lot of good ideas here about how ISOM should allow other scales. Is it worth someone here trying to propose text for the new ISOM? We're not the Map Committee, but in my observations of committee work, such text proposed by outsiders can be useful, either to be referred to and considered, or conceivably even taken as is, for formal review by the national map committees. Or, of course, MC could ignore it. But it sounds worth trying to turn the ideas into a proposal, because I think they're right.

By the way, I think that smaller scales (1:20,000, 1:25,000) should be considered. These might require flexibility for the mapper to adopt and state on the map different minimum feature sizes (5m minimum boulder size, perhaps), in addition to the different scale with the same mm sizes of symbols.

On the subject of needing variances from ISOM, for the 1992 World Cup Final map we requested (and were granted) the use of purple north lines. The 3000 boulders on the map (plus a number of trails, cliffs and other features with black ink) would have meant far too many gaps in black north lines, making them not look like north lines, or creating large areas without north lines. The many small streams and small marshes meant the same for blue north lines. You'd probably need to look at the map to see this. Sensible limited variances are worthwhile for enabling use of the varied terrain of the world, which in turns makes for a more exciting, and more global, sport.
Nov 12, 2016 11:38 PM # 
I have always thought that an idea converted into a solid proposal helps. The longer a proposal is around, the more normalised it sounds to those involved in an issue. I would add to the scale independence issue, that it would also be reasonable to have in the rules (not the ISOM) a statement that Long Distance should be conducted on scales of 1:15k.
Nov 12, 2016 11:45 PM # 
Certainly, competition rules stating the standard scale for each format of event (Middle, Long, other distances) can make sense. For forest relays, it may be that either 1:10,000 or 1:15,000 could work well, and so for that format it might be worth specifying a standard scale and an alternate scale that could be used when the terrain makes that scale better.
Nov 13, 2016 12:01 AM # 
the map should display the map scale as a ratio, and explicitly as an annotated scale bar.
In ISSOM currently, with symbol size defined in mm independent of scale, the only required feature that shows the map scale is the spacing of north lines at 150m - there is no specific requirement for scale or contour interval to be displayed on the map.
Nov 13, 2016 12:11 AM # 
I sometimes put a scale bar between two or three north lines to show their spacing, which makes a reference that an orienteer can then use throughout the map to judge distances (especially newer orienteers who need to adapt to our scales).
Nov 13, 2016 12:15 AM # 
And yes, requiring scale and contour interval to be indicated should be part of the standard, perhaps with a waiver for WOC if it's in the bulletins or if the rules standardize the scale and interval for the event.
Nov 13, 2016 11:41 PM # 
Suggested ISOM text regarding scale:

(I'm starting with the ISOM 2000 text as shown in, and suggesting replacement or modified sections. Perhaps I should start with some draft of the ISOM-201X text, but I've lost track of what's the latest. Maybe someone can adapt or suggest text for the latest ISOM-201X draft. Comments and counter-proposals are welcome. Of course, we're not the Map Committee nor any official body, but wise experienced mappers and orienteers are on the board, with exposure to varied terrain, and I suspect that the result will be useful in some way for the furtherance of this worthwhile topic.)

2.2 Content
The map must contain regularly spaced magnetic north lines. The spacing of the north lines must be printed on the map in terms of meters on the ground, for instance "Magnetic north lines 500m apart". [...]

3.1 Scale
The scale for an orienteering map following this specification may be 1:2 500, 1:5 000, 1:7 500, 1:10 000, 1:15 000, 1:20 000 or 1:25 000. The terrain must be legibly presented at the chosen scale. For any event you are organizing, note the recommended or required map scale per the relevant competition rules, which may or may not allow some of the above scales, or may require a waiver for certain scales.

Enlarged versions of the map may be made, such as for older or novice orienteers, or for spectators. The symbol dimensions, minimum sizes and minimum spacings shall also be enlarged in proportion to the enlargement of scale. Where practical, however, the dot screens should remain the same, and not enlarged.

For practical reasons a map should not be larger than is necessary for the orienteering competition. Maps larger than A3 should be avoided, unless the map is provided on a handheld digital device capable of panning and zooming instead of on paper or plastic.

The scale of the map shall be printed on the map, for instance, "Scale 1: 15 000".

3.2 Contour interval

The contour interval for an orienteering map is 5 m. In flat terrain a contour interval of 2.5 m may be used. It is not permitted to use different intervals on the same map.

On maps with a scale of 1:20 000 or 1:25 000, a contour interval of 10m may be used.

The contour interval shall be printed on the map, for instance "Contour interval 5m".

3.3 Dimensions of map symbols


Dimensions in this book are given at the unenlarged printed scale.

[...] [Remove reference to 1:15 000][...]

3.4 Enlargement of maps

Where a map is enlarged, all lines and symbols must be enlarged by the same factor as the enlargement of scale. Area screens made with fine dot percentage tints should not be enlarged wherever possible, i.e. screens at 60 l/cm.

107 Earth wall

Distinct earth wall. Minimum height is 1 m. At scales of 1:20 000 or 1:25 000, a larger minimum height may be used, and shall be stated on the map.

108 Small earth wall

A small or partly ruined earth wall shall be shown with a dashed line. Minimum height
is 0.5 m. At scales of 1:20 000 or 1:25 000, this feature may be omitted.

Nov 13, 2016 11:51 PM # 
The spacing of the north lines must be printed on the map in terms of meters on the ground, for instance "Magnetic north lines 500m apart".

Or the north lines may tie into a graphic scale bar. (I prefer this, because it's language-independent, and I always do it when I draft or do layout for maps.)(Somebody will probably find a counterexample...)

Actually, a good idea might be a standardized "data block" to appear somewhere on the map, clearly stating the scale and contour interval in a universal, language-independent format, large enough to be easily found.

For practical reasons a map should not be larger than is necessary for the orienteering competition.

Is this intended to exclude the oldskool practice of giving everyone a map of the entire park?
Nov 14, 2016 12:11 AM # 
Good suggestion. Then maybe:

The spacing of the north lines must be indicated, either by stating on the map in terms of meters on the ground, for instance "Magnetic north lines 500m apart", or by inclusion of a scale bar that abuts at least two north lines [some text defining a scale bar probably needed].

Maybe a short section describing the data block would be useful. Language independent is definitely good (though of course it still would depend on numerals 0123456789, which seem fairly universal).

The text about not being larger than necessary is copied and pasted from ISOM 2000. I was just providing the complete section for 3.1, rather than snippets. I appended the bit about digital presentation, which may (or may not) make moot a maximum paper size.
Nov 14, 2016 12:30 AM # 
Numerals are assumed to be universal, since they're used for control numbering and on control descriptions.

The data block should be shown by example, maybe with a couple of alternatives in order to accommodate various layouts. I think the text in it should probably be as simple as "1:15000 5m", probably enclosed in a rectangle, likely with the height of the numerals specified (maybe the same size as control numbers? or some multiple thereof?), and possibly with the font and/or color (or color options) specified. (Maybe something like black with a light yellow background, to make it distinctive and easy to spot?) The two values could go either on one line or one above the other. Have to address whether to use a decimal point or a comma for 2.5m.
Nov 14, 2016 12:59 AM # 
For the scale, the text of ISOM uses a space instead of a comma or period for the thousands separator. For two and a half meters, it writes 2.5m. But some countries might be unhappy with that, so I suspect that either 2.5m or 2,5m should be allowed in the data block.

Using the height of control numbers for the text of the data block makes sense, as that's a size chosen to be seen quickly at competition speed, and which orienteers are looking for when they first turn over the map.

By the way, I had thought that the enlargement ratio should be stated on the map (and thus probably in the data block), though I didn't end up putting that in my draft. But if there's a data block, then I think it probably makes sense to include. So, "1:15 000 5m", "1:10 000 5m 1.5x", and so forth. (Or maybe it should be "1:10,000 5m 150%".). Too cryptic for beginners, but explanatory text could be included, including for scale, interval, north line being magnetic, etc.
Nov 14, 2016 4:03 AM # 
Is this intended to exclude the oldskool practice of giving everyone a map of the entire park?

Just a couple weeks ago I was at a meet where in a rather confusing area a few people converged to discuss where we might be on the map when another fellow came over to join the discussion and try to relocate himself. Once we had narrowed it down to a fairly small area he was having trouble finding it on his map, at which point we discovered that on the map for his course the area where we were standing was covered by one of the legends.

Not the first time I've seen this in recent years, either, though in my observation it seems to happen more often with novice orienteers.
Nov 14, 2016 4:22 AM # 
I'm not sure that the enlargement ratio is interesting information. Others may feel differently.
Nov 14, 2016 11:22 AM # 
Enlargement ratio is a function of layout of the map. If the event layout is undertaken in a program such as condes, then there is no need for it on the map. These days my maps consist only of the mapped terrain, north lines, a visual scale to show the distance between north lines and a small metadata block that contains mapped scale, contour interval, map name and some form of geographic locator. The course setter can decide on the print scale for each event. We have a condes template file that provides all the layout options that one might need. The print scale is automatically added by condes as part of the template.
Nov 14, 2016 12:42 PM # 
There's an interesting dual meaning of map here...the digital file of the terrain representation, distinct from the course file, versus the piece of paper (or plastic, or someday tablet) in the orienteer's hands, including any course overprint. I've taken ISOM to mean the printed thing when it refers to map, and to include course markings which it describes, excluding control descriptions, which are sometimes part and sometimes not part of the map. Thus something is part of the map even if it's part of the course markings.
Nov 14, 2016 7:00 PM # 
If it goes to zoomable tablets, scale and enlargement go out the window and will need to be reconsidered at that point.
Nov 14, 2016 7:40 PM # 
I see two separate roles in the production of the map. One is for the map maker who works to a mapping scale and a given symbol set. This choice of scale/symbol combination is informed by the ISOM. The print scale is a responsibility of the setter and event organiser and they make their choices based upon the competition rules. These rules should not be the responsibility of the writers of the ISOM. Yes, I know this thinking is not completely clear.
Nov 14, 2016 10:08 PM # 
I agree that there are two sets of issues at hand. They do overlap a bit, though, or are at least affected by each other. For instance, if the map is made for 1:7500, but the organizers want to hold a Long on 1:15000, it isn't just a matter of printing, of course, hence the value in raising the issue of event format scale at mapping time, at least in passing, I think.
Nov 14, 2016 10:22 PM # 
I'm not sure i get the logic why scale should be a rules issue not ISOM. It seems a pretty fundamental issue that obviously has to be dealt with in ISOM and it seems illogical to suddenly say the MC has no say on scale of maps  and hand it to another committee . I think the only reason there is any discussion of taking the decision on scale off the MC is because they have been so intractable on the issue and this is just a way of working around them. No one has ever mentioned the idea until very recently. The MC is meant to be the definitive authority on mapping issues and that includes scale. The problem is their refusal to accept what everyone else already wants and is already doing as a matter of course in non WOC, WC, WRE etc events. The solution is for the MC to act more reasonably. Surely the IOF can give the MC directions, tell them to come up with ways of allowing greater flexibility on scale.
Nov 14, 2016 11:57 PM # 
I would prefer the issue of scale to be decided by a Commission that includes more than just mappers.
The situation reminds me of the recent history of the game of cricket. Those defending a strict 1:15k standard are much like the traditionalists who claim Test cricket is the only important form of the game. Meanwhile, Twenty-20 grows and grows and grows.
Nov 15, 2016 10:21 AM # 
Terje Mathisen:
Re cricket: The closest I have ever been to cricket was a junior orienteering camp at the same site as the local/county junior cricket team. Here's most of what I remember:

a) The rules are mostly incomprehensible
b) The game is supposed to be boring
c) This is a "sport" in which you are NOT supposed to sweat.
d) The people throwing the ball are incredibly accurate
e) The ball is not a ball as I know it, rather a block of hardwood. :-(
Nov 15, 2016 10:25 AM # 
Terje Mathisen:
Re map scales, zoomable maps and scale indication:

All maps should probably have a meter scale bar on them so that enlargements don't need a different scale designation.

Raster screens should NOT be modified for enlargements! Currently we have just such a requirement for the yellow "bomb" raster as the main difference between 1:15K and 1:10K, the MC have very wisely imho removed that requirement from ISOM201X. It is far simpler to print maps when you don't need to modify the digital files for each new scale. Otherwise I agree with Jagge's and JimBaker's points.
Nov 15, 2016 10:31 AM # 
This should help.

Cricket Explained to a Foreigner

You have two sides, one out in the field and one in.
Each man that’s in the side that’s in the field goes out and when he’s out comes in and the next man goes in until he’s out.
When a man goes out to go in, the men who are out try to get him out, and when he is out he goes in and the next man in goes out and goes in.
When they are all out, the side that’s out comes in and the side that’s been in goes out and tries to get those coming in out.
Sometimes there are men still in and not out.
There are men called umpires who stay out all the time, and they decide when the men who are in are out.
Depending on the weather and the light, the umpires can also send everybody in, no matter whether they’re in or out.
When both sides have been in and all the men are out (including those who are not out), then the game is finished.

– Attributed (tenuously) to the Marylebone Cricket Club.
Nov 15, 2016 11:24 AM # 
yellow "bomb" raster
what's that? I can't see any yellow rasters in ISOM that have different specs for different scales. That would indeed be a very bad idea.
Nov 15, 2016 11:41 AM # 
Terje Mathisen:
@robplow: Mea Culpa!

I read in one of the early documents about ISOM201X that they had specifically gotten rid of one (or a couple) of very small differences between 10K and 15K scale maps, where the 10K symbols were _not_ a pure enlargement of the 15K symbol with the same number.

Until now I believed this to be 402 and 404, i.e. the (Rough) open land with scattered trees, but when I checked now I saw that according to my OCAD 12 installation they are the same, with 0.50/0.75 and 0.70/1.05 mm dot sizes. I.e. exactly 50% larger.
Nov 15, 2016 11:56 AM # 
Now I am going to 'nitpick' .The OCAD symbol set is not the definitive place to check the specifications. Whenever I want to check what is right I go to the definitive source - the ISOM booklet. OK in practice you should expect OCAD standard symbols to accurately reflect ISOM but the fact it is it's a copy of the standards made by someone at OCAD and sometimes mistakes are made. And then people edit their OCAD symbol sets and forget they have done that and then swear their edited symbols are ISOM when they are not. I have seen that more than once.
Nov 15, 2016 12:31 PM # 
Terje Mathisen:
@robplow: I always create a new project/map when I check such things, but as you say there might be errors in the OCAD 12 templates.

If you have the booklet handy, can you check where/if there are any actual differences for raster objects?
Nov 15, 2016 12:36 PM # 
certainly not for any of the yellows - I just checked - and I am pretty certain not for any other screens either. if there are then I (and many others) have been doing it wrong for years.

If you want to check:

to find it it's as simple as googling 'ISOM'
Nov 15, 2016 12:38 PM # 
Section 3.1 Maps at 1:10 000 must be drawn with lines, line screens and symbol dimensions 50% greater than those used for 1:15 000 maps

you'd think if there were any exceptions they would be mentioned here!
Nov 15, 2016 1:40 PM # 
The following sentence to the one robplow quoted, and section 3.4 Enlargeent of maps, state the exception to enlarging dot screens:

Where practical the same dot screens as used at 1:15 000 will give the most legible map and are therefore to be preferred.

3.4 Enlargement of maps

Where a map is enlarged to a scale of 1:10 000 or greater, all lines and symbols must be enlarged by 150%. Area screens made with fine dot percentage tints should not be enlarged wherever possible, i.e. screens at 60 l/cm.

I used ISOM 2000 as a basis for my suggested scale text rather than ISOM 201X since I'm not sure where to find the latest of the latter. Does someone want to make a pass at proposed text using the comments on my proposal and using the latest ISOM 201X draft?
Nov 15, 2016 2:07 PM # 
perhaps where it says all lines and symbols must be enlarged by 150% the author(s) meant enlarged to 150%. (or enlarged by 50%)
Nov 15, 2016 2:51 PM # 
give that man a 20% pay increase...
Nov 16, 2016 6:54 AM # 
Terje Mathisen:
Thanks JimBaker and robplow!

It also says about enlargements in 3.1:

Where practical the same dot screens as used at 1:15 000 will give the most legible map and are therefore to be preferred.

Until now I actually believed that this sentence referred to the visible "dot screens", i.e. the 402/404 "bomb rasters", thanks a lot for pointing out my error!

Those area screens are more or less just a way to define intermediate colors then? I.e. if your print device supports full resolution colors of the required tint, then that is even better than any stochastic mix of white and full color ink dots.

In which case it should be perfectly OK to optimize them based on the actual printing device instead of using a fixed line density.
Nov 16, 2016 11:14 AM # 
My opinion is that the sentence above really applies only to spot color printing, which is just about gone these days. Patterns such as open with scattered trees, vineyard, cultivated land, indistinct marsh, etc., should be enlarged along with the other symbols. It's only the fine screens used to create lighter shades of a color, where you were not supposed to perceive the individual dots, that are supposed to remain at the same dot pitch, but with process color printing, this becomes irrelevant. (So I'm agreeing with Terje and others.)
Nov 16, 2016 8:35 PM # 
What Terje and J-J said about fine dot screens. This should have been better addressed in the standard long ago, given how much inkjet printing has taken over. A WOC only standard isn't what ISOM should be. Rather, it should be a standard for orienteering maps. Inkjet should be the standard (because it already long has been the de facto standard), with spot colour the big event exception (where printers can still be found), and digital presentation considered (as I suspect it's soon to happen for some navigation sport if it hasn't already, and we may as well try to be ready).
Nov 16, 2016 10:09 PM # 
ISOM hasn't been revised since 2000 so no surprise it doesn't cover digital printing. The issue has been addressed in separate documents. Not necessarily easy to find and in my experience as a WRE course setter even the event advisors were unaware of them. see section 12. Map

Nov 17, 2016 1:41 AM # 
I'm curious, did the recent Regional Championship in North America use offset printing?

That's great that the document exists, though it doesn't say much about inkjet. By updating the standard for inkjet printing, I really mean re-optimizing the colors, symbols and so forth for the technology. Why print contours in some complicated mix of different percentages of different colors, rather than something solid and thus less grainy? In the drafts of ISOM 201X, it's still offset-centered, even though it's hard to find anyone who still does offset printing and can be trusted to have the patience to do it as we need it. And, for North American events, it means years or more likely decades before a reprint is needed (and thus before an update can be done). Yes, I can see the value for WOC and World Cups, but inkjet is what we're using for most of our orienteering. The standard doesn't reflect the sport. And soon, offset will be two generations of technology behind. If handheld devices let people register themselves, time themselves, render their own map (no printing needed), and share their results, splits and GPS tracks, for not much more than the cost of an SI card, and without the need for expensive SI units in the field (use cheap beacons or such instead), then that'll be a boon to the sport, and I can't imagine people spending time finding 90 year olds who know how to run the old presses (and care to), or program the SI units, or so forth. Another thread on here relates how the volunteer burden makes it hard to sustain the sport in some cities. I know my enthusiasm to find somewhere that'll print offset (after all the old places stopped doing it), rather than walking to one of two nearby shops that'll print large size laser or inkjet affordably in my small mountain town, is minimal, when instead I could set a course, make a map, run a training or teach a class. I'm saddened when the committee setting standards is more concerned about a few events than about a standard for our sport as a whole. Creating a standard for WOC maps that then isn't used for 95% of the orienteering that people do is not making the sport better.
Nov 17, 2016 2:04 AM # 
7 color spot offset printing is fully dead in north america. I get laughed at if I mention it to a printer as a viable way to print the volume of maps we are talking about. Spot colors in addition to process colors is still a great way to make the highest quality maps. I have done CMYK+Br on a digital offset press with great results. Most of the newer Indigo presses are 7 color, so can do CMYK+3 spots, so we could do CMYK+Br+Bl+Gr and it would be indistinguishable from a 7 spot print, as only yellow would be process, and there are no fine yellow details on maps, with the added benefit of being having full process color for your map design elements and logos.
The biggest loss in process printing is a fault of the software we use, and that is the overprint effect. I recreate this in my printing software flow to generate a CMYK file that is similar to what spot colors would produce. The brown overprint on green effect is one of the biggest things to be that differentiates a great readable print from a run of the mill laser print. Without the overprint effect, you frequently get yellow ghosting along the edges of the brown contours through the green and the whole thing loses crispness.
Nov 17, 2016 8:36 AM # 
Terje Mathisen:
@robplow: The WRE documents are interesting, particularly in the implied requirement for extreme DPIs:

ISOM 2000 requires the symbol dimensions on the final map to be within 5
% of the given sizes – this is a very strict requirement. For instance the
marsh symbol has lines with a width of 0.10 mm. The resolution of the
printer will then have to be better than 0,005 mm. 0.0005 mm/dot:
0.000196 inch/dot -> 5102 dpi.
For instance the contour symbol has a line width of 0.14 mm. The
resolution of the printer will then have to be better than 0.007 mm. -> 3629

I.e. they require at least 20 dots across the width of any line, or 10 times the Shannon criteria, which makes for _very_ sharp lines indeed.

Since contour lines can be at any angle we must allow for a sqrt(2) reduction, but that is still at least 14 dots across any contour. With such print quality I would really prefer to replace all form lines with half thickness continuous lines.

Anyway, current high quality photo printers operate at 4800 DPI with 7 inks (CMYKcmy), the only real problem here is the fact that most inkjet inks are exceedingly non-waterproof, which makes color laser printing a much more useful solution. Have anyone found an affordable A3 laser printer with 1200 DPI or better resolution?
Nov 17, 2016 9:53 AM # 
I'm not interested in the mathematics of it - just what the printed map looks like.

My experience with inkjet is it is sufficiently waterfast - using the one side coated inkjet paper. You have to put it in a plastic bag but if water leaks in the ink doesn't run. And they seem to be able to produce much better results than laser printers. The problem with inkjets is they are so slow - not such a problem for smaller (<200?) events as would be common in many countries.

Terje I thought you had got certified as a approved map printer by NOF. That's with a laser printer isn't it?
Nov 17, 2016 11:59 AM # 
Terje Mathisen:
@robplow: My certification has currently lapsed since I forgot to send in any samples from the race maps I printed last year, I'll see if I can fix that. :-)

Yes, I use an HP 4700 (of which I have 3 available) which provide up to 9000 sheets from the CMYK toner cartridges (far less with a mostly solid color saturated sprint map), this can print around 8 maps per minute and the ink is waterproof. The printer driver resolution is just 600 DPI for a raster image but it seems that when sending in line objects the actual HW is capable of more.

It does produce very nice printouts at 1:10K and even 1:15K is quite good unless there's a lot of overprint.

The inkjets I have tried do not stand up to Norwegian weather, and the cost per map is almost an order of magnitude higher due to the horrible ink prices. Isn't inkjet ink one of the most expensive commodities ($/kg or $/liter) you can buy, well up there with perfume and other luxuries?
Nov 17, 2016 9:44 PM # 

Nov 18, 2016 1:30 AM # 
Yeah, but do take note of those pesky asterisks. These prices are all in AUD, so the $5544/liter is roughly $4100 USD.

And then there's the quantity. This is quoting the price for a 60 ml cartridge. The 700 ml bottles used by a large format printer that I used to deal with at a research facility were something like $165 each, which is roughly AU $225/liter. So somewhere between champagne and vodka at that price.

Obviously most of the price of tiny consumer-size cartridges is not the ink itself.
Nov 18, 2016 5:19 AM # 
As the graphic says in the fine print... "many of these inks are available in larger quantities for relatively cheaper prices". That's why they almost give away small inkjets. And, of course, why the "starter cartridge" exists. If they had full cartridges it would be cheaper to replace the printer than to buy a new cartridge set. A joke product. And the joke is on the consumer. You can get back on topic now.
Nov 18, 2016 9:10 AM # 
This is a very known marketing trick - operating costs are always more expensive than the device itself :(
Nov 30, 2016 8:41 AM # 
Review from OCAD AG, which also touched upon the ISOM's revision -

Other aspects of the review, I believe will be of interest to many too.
Dec 1, 2016 8:49 PM # 
First and second course of the year on a scale 1:7500. Detailed terrain that is not suitable for IOF events. It is going to be hard for IOF to support HT views. Things changed in the last 10 years what is suitable terrain for orienteering.
Dec 1, 2016 10:58 PM # 
That is based on the votes of enthusiastic orienteers. In Australia we would say "the punters have spoken".
Dec 1, 2016 10:58 PM # 
I guess we shouldn't be surprised. Uber vs the taxi industry. Internet vs newspapers. I think the history of orienteering mapping includes resistance, first to correcting govt maps, then to the notion of producing special-purpose orienteering maps.

BTW that OCAD review looks interesting, is there an English version anywhere?
Dec 1, 2016 11:47 PM # 
Well, I believe it's not the best example for defending a changement of politique of MC or IOF. I know very well this terrain because I mapped 60-70 % of this map in 2008 and this edition is only a copy-paste. Why I say that?!? Because even it's a spectacular and gorgeous terrain is a very dangerous terrain, and only very few of Orienteers may feel comfortable in this land. This land is excelent for the world champions, but not good for medium and weak runners. Attention! I'm not saying that this land should be banned for orientation, but who's used only able to do so.

I strongly believe that the resolution of many issues still stands in close collaboration between MC, athletes, mappers, Course setter and Food O Commision. For now MC (HT) wants to control everything and this is not healthy.

Fear of such examples can make IOF and MC become unapproachable and other extraordinary land, unfairly penalized. By the way, this is an example of the Year 2016 Course setter and not for the map. Course setter Ludo Ruiz did an extraordinary thing because it is extremely difficult to trace in this field.
Dec 1, 2016 11:53 PM # 
Not only was the "Course of the Year" on 1:7500, it was a 12.9 km Long distance! Setting Long-distance on 1:7.5 is a huge difference from IOF's stuck-in-the-mud view that 1:15 is the only viable scale for Long distance orienteering.
Jan 30, 2017 12:09 PM # 
EXTRACT from the IOF Council Meeting regarding ISOM2017 on 01.21.2017 (paragraph 16.1)
16.1 ISOM 2017
Council preliminarily approved the International Specification for Orienteering Maps ISOM 2017 for final editing. The approval was given based upon the final edit being in accordance with the consultation which had been conducted prior to the Council meeting, regarding the 2 items:

1. That the concept of impassable features being forbidden to cross be removed from the relevant symbols in the specification and dealt with instead in the IOF rules.

2. That texts regarding map scale, which do not affect the technical specification and generalisation requirements, be removed from the specification and instead dealt with in the IOF rules.

Final editing would be conducted by the MC in collaboration with LZ (Laszlo Zentai), MS (Mikko Salonen) and MD (Michael Dowling) and final Council approval of the specification would be given by e-mail decision as soon as possible.
Jan 30, 2017 2:25 PM # 
MC is not responsible for competion map scale anymore. Hope this is not too personal for HT. First step in the right direction.
Jan 30, 2017 2:38 PM # 
These seem like two right modifications. Very positive news in my view.
Jan 31, 2017 4:57 AM # 
Sense prevails... eventually. And in this somewhat limited context.
Feb 10, 2017 6:54 PM # 
Terje Mathisen:
As I've argued here before, it is pretty obvious that we are way overdue another step in competition scale for international championships:

We started on public topo maps in 1:50K, then got the first proper orienteering maps in 1:25K, right?

I personally remember the steps to 1:20K and then relatively shortly afterwards to 1:15K, but since then we've been stuck even though we have added so many more mappable features that it is today perfectly possible to make a totally unreadable map even if you keep strictly to all the rules regarding minimum feature sizes and separations.

The easiest way to do so is of course to map an area with both intricate rock detail and vegetation that varies between open yellow and effectively impassable green.

Up to now the official response of the IOF MC have been that such areas are "usuitable for orienteering", but this totally fails to notice that real orienteers of all levels, from TG to 70+ old girls and boys love the challenge such terrains and maps deliver.

I am of course thinking of the 2016 WoO "Course of the Year" winner , this is a type of terrain where the elite would orienteer better if they could get a map in 1:12 500 or 1:10 000, but with the current 1: 15 000 symbol sizes.

The current workaround is to offer "Extended length forest sprint" races, this is similar to some of the City Races on sprint maps covering huge areas.
Feb 11, 2017 3:17 AM # 
Looking at that map, though, I have to wonder whether that same area could be mapped with a lot fewer fussy little details shown. Is it really necessary to map individual bushes, as seems to be the case here? If there's a crack in a rock, do you have to show it, or can it just be a rock? And there seems to be topography depicted with form lines that I'm not sure I really care about. Would a race on a oldskool map of this area be workable and fair, and maybe more enjoyable?
Feb 11, 2017 3:21 AM # 
If there's a crack in a rock, do you have to show it, or can it just be a rock?

It's like you don't even know the meaning of "fun". :p
Feb 11, 2017 9:42 AM # 
Terje Mathisen:
@jjcote: A small crack in a rock that doesn't lead anywhere can be generalized away, unless it looks similar to another crack that does provide an opening through or a path up to the top: In that case both have to be on the map, right?

Re. the smaller dark green patches (individual bushes), here the situation is similar to above: If you just have a bunch of such bushes which you can run all the way around, then the "scattered trees" generalization symbol works perfectly. The problem comes when those patches form a labyrinth with just a limited number of passages all the way through: In order to find such passages you have to depict all the vegetation with the same detail.

I am less certain about all the form lines, it is quite possible that some of them could be generalized away, but I suspect that if I were to orienteer there I would need those form lines to help me match up all the other details, i.e. they can provide crucial information in order to locate the exact path through those labyrinths.
Feb 11, 2017 11:51 AM # 
But the main "question" now when the things will change is still in the air. Can we expect that such terrains and map scale 1:7500 will be allowed for WREs or let's say for WOC middle distance.
Feb 11, 2017 1:33 PM # 
Terje, I think you have some good language here describing when different levels of detail are needed (or not). I hope these concepts make it into official language and practice, whether that be MC/ISOM, or other IOF policy.

Currently it looks like IOF has taken the scale issue away from MC, which is OK by me for the short term, given MC's dysfunctional handling of the ISOM. However, in the long term I think the scale issue needs to be a coordinated issue between multiple IOF commissions, including the MC.

II believe very few terrains have legitimate reason to be shown at 7500 (for good-eyesight classes). Granted, some of these 7500-appropriate terrains exist, and are attention-grabbing terrains, so this difficult issue needs to be addressed.

Even so, I think most of the demand for 7500 printing serves "normal" terrains that have been overmapped, which is a separate, difficult issue, and arguably more important.

In general, I think the standards for "significant detail at running/competition speed", long established in ISOM, are close to ideal, and should be maintained, otherwise orienteering leaves the realm of sport, and becomes a silly game, with reduced appeal that is self inflicted.
Feb 11, 2017 3:22 PM # 
Flexibility in scale is good, but this is just daft...

That the concept of impassable features being forbidden to cross be removed from the relevant symbols in the specification and dealt with instead in the IOF rules.

You might have hoped that ISOM would be international. The clue, after all, is in the title. But no...

Suppose I run the US champs, red course, and up ahead is a high wall (I understand Americans are keen on these nowadays). Am I allowed to climb it? Well, maybe I was paying attention and remember its under OUSA rules, and maybe I read those rules, and maybe I can remember there no prohibition, so over I go. A W21E follows me and guess what? She gets DQ'ed because it was a world ranking event and the IOF rule forbids crossing.

Daft. And yes, I said that already.
Feb 11, 2017 4:11 PM # 
Graeme, your concern seems to imply that mapping standards are international, but event rules are not. Indeed, national mapping standards seem to have been subsumed by ISOM, and yet national event rules are not necessarily entirely aligned with international ones, and that could indeed lead to confusion, or at least more sets of rules to remember.

However, you also imply that the decision means that "forbidden to cross" won't be shown on the map, and the orienteer will have to rely on memory of a long list of event rules. I think that roughly the opposite is likely the case, in that organizers wishing to show that a feature is forbidden to cross or follow will use a clear people indication, rather than the orienteer remembering which of a long list of symbols is deemed forbidden to cross. (Is swamp forbidden to cross?). This, to me, is a marked improvement for clarity, and simplicity too.

We organize symbols by color already. Now, all indications of where the orienteer may and must go...marked routes, forbidden routes, out of bounds, indeed the control locations too... are shown in purple. Simple, easy to remember, easy to see.

If national rules instead dictate which features may be crossed without use of the purple indication, or if ISOM 2017 has removed the purple out of bounds symbols (I didn't understand that to be the case, but maybe I misunderstood), then indeed it would be confusing and make orienteering less about orienteering. Is there a reason to believe that this is the case? Or is this merely a move of "may not" to purple?
Feb 11, 2017 6:15 PM # 
@greame Could you elaborate the problem? On a first sight it is more like a course planner mistake. Elite course (WR rules) should not be in conflict with other courses/legs (national rules) especilly if there is possible to have a different interpretation of the competition map.
Feb 11, 2017 6:55 PM # 
use a clear people indication

"Alright people, let me be clear about this..."

(I know, autocorrect, but I had to think for a second. :-) )
Feb 11, 2017 7:11 PM # 
I try to correct the autocorrects, but sometimes they slip by. They're pretty persistent sometimes. I actually thought I'd fixed that one. Hard to convince AI that I really mean purple. Daunting thought with self driving cars...
Feb 11, 2017 7:45 PM # 
IOF and national rules are different: there's no mechanism to avoid that.

e.g. in the UK sprint race distances are measured straight line, IOF rules are shortest route. We've had events where the WRE class has a longer advertised distance than the non-WRE class even though it's the same course! Its daft, but at least with ISSOM all the information is on the map.

If you have a WRE at a National meet, you end up with different rules, possibly on the same course. It may be legal for one competitor to cross a wall, but not for another competitor in the same event and at the same time. You can always blame the competitor for not knowing the rules. Or call it a planner error if its confusing, but ultimately the fault is with the standards. Surely its not too much to ask that the International Standard has unambiguous standards rather than create complication and extra work for others?

@JimBaker (Is swamp forbidden to cross?): in some countries yes, in others no, in IOF - it seems we'll have to wait and see. And according to the map legend ... well I can't find an example where it even says.
Feb 11, 2017 9:04 PM # 
@graeme...the latter indicates that the current ISOM wasn't solving this issue. The right answer is to require the course drafter to use the appropriate purple symbols whenever something mustn't be crossed, followed, or so forth, rather than (sometimes) making it implicit on the feature, which is just an arcane rule in itself. I read IOF's decision in that's pushing us toward a single, clear indication of "mustn't cross", rather than memory of a rulebook. Indeed, some national federations might instead say "here's the list of which features mustn't be crossed, unless it's in the event bulletin, except on Tuesdays", but that's the next battle. Do you disagree that it's better for "may not cross" to always be purple, rather than a sentence in ISOM next to various symbols like high fence, high cliff, and so forth?
Feb 13, 2017 6:48 AM # 
Terje Mathisen:
@EricW: Updating the mapping standard to allow micro-detailed terrains, or rather terrains like that French WoO winner, where _some_ parts of the terrain require an extreme level of detail:

The only way to do so is in fact by keeping the feature/line sizes while increasing the scale! It is somewhat eye-opening to look at some very good 1:20K maps from the early seventies which look very white even though the terrain is quite hilly:

The contours are only 0.10 mm (instead of 0.14/0.21 for 15K/10K today) thick, which would make them pretty much impossible to print with any currently available laser printer.

I.e. we have to face the fact that at least by number of events, a huge majority will in fact be using printed maps and this should probably be taken into consideration when we're updating the ISOM:

An orienteering map is like a radio/network link layer encoding, where you select symbols with maximal distance from all other symbols that would by used nearby, in order to minimize the likelihood of decoding errors, right?

This is actually much more critical for printed ISSOM maps, where the thickness of many different symbols indicate legal/not legal to pass.
Feb 13, 2017 4:42 PM # 
...making it implicit on the feature...
This recently created some problems for the organizers (or rather the competitors) at ESOC (ski-O Champs). A number of competitors crossed a lake that was perfectly skiable - but according to ski-O rules and map norm forbidden - and were actually DSQ´d but later reinstated after a protest!?
I don´t know the full reasoning there for the final decision, but at least it shows that marking forbidden/out-of-bounds areas with purple symbols is a better idea than relying on everyone knowing the norm.
Feb 13, 2017 10:37 PM # 
@JimBaker. Yes I do disagree that uncrossable fences, cliffs, swamps, ponds, roads and cultivated fields should be shown in purple (as well as compulsory routes and compulsory crossing points). I think this is archaic, going back to the days when the planner only had access to purple, and the map was unchangable for a decade between events.
At the moment, various blue, green, brown, black and yellow symbols* are used to mean uncrossible. Do you want to make them all purple? If not, should they be defined once, in the mapping standard, or separately in every national rulebook?

* e.g. Lake, settlement, motorway, railway, cultivated land
Feb 13, 2017 11:17 PM # 
@Graeme, yes I think that "may not" and "must" (proscriptive and prescriptive) should always be shown in purple, and descriptive in other colors. Eliding the two is a mistake for the many reasons given by various people in this thread.
Feb 14, 2017 9:45 AM # 
@JimBaker, We can disagree on that one. But I don't think purple swamps is what is being proposed by ISOM201x.
Feb 14, 2017 11:39 AM # 
Long time ago courses were hand drawn. Later the purple stuff was hand printed with a special device like a giant stamp-pad. That made it possible to print some generalized purple OOB. But back then there was some point making some symbols forbidden to cross. Current Finnish adaptation of olive green being forbidden in isom maps dates back to those days of difficult purple overprint. Now printing purple is no problem at all. I still sometimes see older course setters avoiding purple just because it used to be troublesome. Avoiding purple sounds archaic to me, does not sound that smart move now when it finally is made easy.

Here course setters of less important events often has no access to editing map file. For software license reasons (course setting only). In addition, less experienced setters may make poor adjustments and mapper may get the blame.
Feb 14, 2017 2:04 PM # 
If a swamp or lake is uncrossable, it's not a good idea to make crossing it an advantage. If it is, then I think purple is called for.

Is the latest ISOM 2017 available somewhere?
Feb 14, 2017 6:28 PM # 
Are we even sure that MC has accepted the conditions for approval?
Feb 14, 2017 10:47 PM # 
I didn't see the latest version, but I haven't seen it suggested anywhere that all out of bounds will go to purple.

Jagge makes the key point: once long ago the course setter "owned" purple, the mapper "owned" everything else. So the mapper could designate OOB areas with black lines, or the setter with purple lines. By the time ISSOM came in everyone had access to all colours* and "Collaboration between courser planner and mapmaker is important.". ISOM was a pretty decent standard, so this is the one new innovation that ISOM201x needed to address.
Feb 14, 2017 11:45 PM # 
From above:

Council preliminarily approved the International Specification for Orienteering Maps ISOM 2017 for final editing. The approval was given based upon the final edit being in accordance with the consultation which had been conducted prior to the Council meeting, regarding the 2 items:

1. That the concept of impassable features being forbidden to cross be removed from the relevant symbols in the specification and dealt with instead in the IOF rules.

Does the latter mean that purple out of bounds is removed as well? Or simply that the notion of cliffs, etc., being forbidden to cross as well as uncrossable is removed? I had understood the latter. If so, this suggests that the only way to forbid crossing something is to place it in a rule, or mark it using purple. I sincerely hope that things tend toward the latter rather than the former. If the proscriptions are too complex to depict in purple, then they're probably too complex full stop.
Feb 15, 2017 6:59 PM # 
Terje Mathisen:
@JimBaker: It is pretty obvious that the intention is indeed to let the event organizers determine exactly what areas/features are crossable, and the main way to depict this would be by using purple, unless the underlying map symbol is one of the normally OOB designations.

I.e. here in Norway we have primarily the "garden olive green" and "cultivated land", which by default are always OOB, but they can be designated as OK in the event rules.

A typical example is Blodslitet, the late October ultra long distance race in Fredrikstad which takes part long after all the fields have been harvested, so here those fields are by default crossable and purple overprint is used to designate any exceptions to this.
Feb 15, 2017 7:38 PM # 
I remember Blodslitet. A symbol that indicates seasonally out of bounds like cultivated land makes sense, to avoid the need to mark all the cultivated fields in purple for each summer event (though I wonder whether orienteering software should better support flipping between summer, autumn and winter representations). It's good to limit the number of those symbols I think, and reduce the degree to which they vary around the world and between events. My preference is for everything I need to know to appear on the map using ISOM/ISSOM symbols, with only a few special rules specific to an event or location. In Blodslitet, the info that "cultivated fields may be crossed because it's after harvest, except as noted in purple" worked just fine. Not hard to remember, since the notion of fields being in crop or not is fairly basic. More esoteric or complex rules can be harder to remember or interpret at speed, and make the sport more like the specialty logic puzzle orienteering event that a fellow clubmate organized in which one had to confer a long list of rules in order to determine whether a control was a control and whether a punch was a punch. For instance, one control wasn't a control because it wasn't woven nylon, but the punch hanging from it was nevertheless a punch because it was within two meters of another marker that did meet the definition of "control". That novelty event came to mind when graeme posted his concern about potentially needing to remember a long list of national or event rules when orienteering.

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