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Discussion: A word from the President of IOF

in: Orienteering; General

Dec 19, 2017 3:16 PM # 

Dec 19, 2017 4:04 PM # 
No pressure, I'm mapping the sprint prologue event at our next major carnival! I don't think I'm internationally recognised.

(btw the acronym sucks)
Dec 19, 2017 4:10 PM # 
Did we reach the limit or do we need to find the finance somehow so the show go on? On the other hand I got the feeling that IOF is willing to step back and forget about the Olympic dream for a minute and all those activities where costs produce low value for the sport. Focus on basics is always a no-brainer. It would help if we can define long term goals and decide which are worth to follow based on the finance we have. My suggestion to IOF: Olympic dream only if you are able to "find a good marketing managers"
Dec 19, 2017 9:21 PM # 
Based on that commentary, why would one bid for a WOC?
Dec 20, 2017 3:54 AM # 
IOF event organisers select the best local mappers, who usually are very strong individuals with their own ideas about things

Pfft. This guy has no idea.
Dec 20, 2017 4:49 AM # 
@Juffy @tRicky Do you have any ideas?
Dec 20, 2017 5:30 AM # 
"IOF event organisers select the best local mappers, who usually are very
strong individuals with their own ideas about things"

As opposed to the IOF controllers?
I was trying to give this guy the benefit of the doubt, but yeah that clinches it.
Is there anybody in the IOF with a better grip on the reality of maps or courses, who isn't blinded by such arrogance?
Please tell me there are some IOF advisors that don't have this attitude.
We need to get beyond name calling.
Dec 20, 2017 10:59 AM # 
@EricW very strong individuals with their own ideas about things"
As opposed to the IOF controllers?

Our IOF event controller was a very strong individual with no idea about anything.
Except that he was in charge and took responsibility.
Right up to the moment when Tero and the Team managers started complaining about the stuff we'd been trying to tell him. Then, suddenly, it was the organisers responsibilty.
Dec 20, 2017 11:30 AM # 
Just what we need. An incentive to leave an audit trail of decisions so the blame can be appropriately shared. I love our local club events with one person as organiser/setter.
Dec 20, 2017 12:09 PM # 
Graeme, your story is one of my primary sources, and unfortunately seems to be the rule rather than the exception.
I'm holding out hope that there are still some reasonable people like others who I have met, but might be less involved today.

Coti is another source with a similar story. Thanks for posting.
Dec 20, 2017 12:36 PM # 
Came here to say what graeme said.

From an IT perspective I'd like to see the IOF take the lead on IT systems at major events, having a core IOF IT team to lead the local team. There was a lot of reinventing the wheel, and it was a lot of (volunteer) effort to do that could have been avoided with a core set of systems in place for organisers to tap into. Perhaps they have moved more in this direction since (I haven't been involved much) but we were essentially left alone in 2015. There are obviously arguments for and against this (including the obvious moving funding away from local suppliers) but for simplicity sake it's a must.
Dec 20, 2017 11:38 PM # 
Actually Graeme is (a little bit) wrong.

We had two different IOF controllers at different times. They both had strong ideas - unfortunately, the ideas were rather too frequently contradictory! This tells you a lot about how poorly set up the rules and guidelines are set up if the IOF appointed final arbiters of "HOW THINGS SHOULD BE" can have such wildly different ideas, and the ability to enforce them. It puts far too much power and responsibility onto one person, which is not fair for that person or the organising team that has to deal with them.

To quote Leho:
"I strongly suggest all organisers to make a deep analysis of capacity and competence in the organising team, and not to try reinventing the wheel and repeat mistakes from previous organisers. My personal suggestion is to find good marketing managers to raise money and invest into event quality."

My personal suggestion would be for the IOF to produce a half decent manual on how to organise and plan a WOC - this would save a vast amount of wheel reinvention.

An even more important idea is for the IOF to listen to past organisers and learn from them. Unfortunately the whole tone of the article is that the IOF is perfect. The danger of this attitude - frequently demonstrated in many walks of life - is that you never learn from your mistakes.
Dec 21, 2017 12:02 AM # 
My personal suggestion would be for the IOF to produce a half decent manual on how to organise and plan a WOC

I look forward to reading the first draft of IOFWOCM 202X.
Dec 21, 2017 3:25 AM # 
Seems that wherever we are in an organisation (a) the dum-dums below us are pretty inexperienced, don't see the big picture, etc etc, tho we never have time to sit down with them, prepare guides on good practice, and (b) the turkeys above us are out of touch, one size doesn't fit all, just let us get on with the job, etc etc.
Dec 21, 2017 8:56 AM # 
Terje Mathisen:
When we hosted JWOC 2015 it was more or less handled by a single club (Porsgrunn O-lag) located about 2.5 hours drive from the venue, it was only feasible because Rauland is a very popular xc skiing area so many club members already had cabins there. The organizers got significant help from the local sports club which has less than 10 (?) orienteers but many contacts with landowners and commercial venues. A number of people from other clubs with cabins in Rauland were also shanghai'ed into the organizing crew.

Afaik we had very little (if any) conflict with the IOF SEA (from Sweden), the only major issue being the wonderful 2m tall ant hills on the Middle distance map which we were told to take away (i.e. hide the brown crosses in OCAD) at a relatively late stage and after we had already used a number of them for controls.

For my spectator race on this map I had to modify about 10 courses, some of them significantly because there were no other possible control details near the original ant hill location, but it probably didn't take more than 3-4 hours extra since I had surveyed and marked at least 30 spare control locations.
Dec 21, 2017 9:07 AM # 
Seriously, you had to remove 2m high ant mounds from the map? That's ludicrous. I've run at events in NSW/ACT (Australia) where they'd used 30cm termite mounds for CP locations (which is definitely not ISOM compliant). Some were difficult to find in areas of 1m high grass trees.
Dec 21, 2017 10:27 AM # 
Terje Mathisen:
@tRicky: Some of them might have been "just" 1.5m+ but they were definitely very visible above the 10-25 cm of blueberry & heather ground cover.

Anyway, the main issue here is that "The best JWOC ever" was organized not by a federation but effectively by a single club, with help from a few people like myself, my sister Marianne and my age-mate Håvard Steinsholt who designed the courses for 3 of the 5 spectator races. The championship courses got help from former and current national team runners like Anders Nordberg/Anne Margrethe Hausken Nordberg who also have winter cabins there but the Middle courses (which won the WoO voting that year!) were designed by Per Christian Hagen and Thore Kornmo, so they had to handle the ant hill problem.

Is is notable that those ant hills are so spectacular that the fact that they were not shown on the competition maps had to be noted in the final briefing to the coaches:


Special features: There are several
anthills of different size and appearance in
the terrain.
These are not shown on the map!
Dec 21, 2017 10:34 AM # 
Terje Mathisen:
Here's a typical example of one of these ant hills:

Not the most visible but still quite spectacular imho:
Dec 21, 2017 10:53 AM # 
And as with all communications, the briefing items would need to have been approved by the SEA, heh heh.

Just a thought, we could use him/her down under, to get rid of those under-size anthills in Australia, sandhill depressions in NZ that are ankle deep, and knolls that are just a flattening of a spur. But I suppose he/she is pretty busy in Europe, dealing with charcoal burning platforms.
Dec 21, 2017 11:40 AM # 
The thing that strikes me is that if they were removed 'at a fairly late stage’ then the chances are that many of the runners had already been training on maps that had similar anthills mapped. So the late decision to remove meant the competition map no longer matched the training maps.

Unless the anthills were unique to this particular mapped area.
Dec 21, 2017 12:09 PM # 
Seems that wherever we are in a volunteer organisation...
There are three ways that work
1. I'll do it my way
2. You'll do it your way
3. I'll do it your way

And one that doesnt
4. You'll do it my way.

Good management is about converting situation 4 into situation 3.
Dec 21, 2017 1:07 PM # 
Terje Mathisen:
@robplow: That was in fact the reasoning given for the omission afaik: These ant hills are almost exclusive to this particular hill/map, so the training areas have very few of them (but not zero!).

It is an interesting (very) local adaptation to the deep snow they get every year: By making a much higher (2-3X normal) ant hill they get above the snow a month or even two earlier in the spring, but I have never seen this anywhere else in Norway.
Dec 21, 2017 1:48 PM # 
The anthills seem like a neat feature. Unusual terrain is part of the spice of the sport.
Dec 21, 2017 5:19 PM # 
Terje Mathisen:
@JimBaker: I agree!

I have just reloaded the Rauland ocad base on my machine and selected all the anthills: There are 377 of them, of which more than 300 are located on the Middle distance hill or next door on the MQ terrain. Besides those there are a couple of clusters on the Long map but none (that are mapped) on any of the training areas.

Based on this I can at least partly understand why the SEA veto'ed them, even though I think they are really neat.
Dec 21, 2017 5:44 PM # 
I certainly wasn't there, but it seems sad that unusualness of a feature would be a disqualification for showing it, given that the training maps had at least some. (In fact, it might be disconcerting to see such 2m high features not depicted.) There really isn't any universal terrain anyway. Maybe someday I'll end up on that map, with anthills shown hopefully.
Dec 21, 2017 7:43 PM # 
I'm going back to the President's word. I'm afraid the stalas was right, Captain Ahab chasing Moby Dick. Those who have another opinion or oppose will be thrown overboard.

I think a federating discourse is much more motivating than a speech that only blamed local organizers or '' local mapmakers who usually have very strong individuals with their own ideas about things''.

Personally, I'm very disappointed. Perhaps the president is not sufficiently informed but in many cases the involved EA' s have a much smaller field experience than the local organizers. Without organizers and local cartographers, there would be no orienteering. Even for major events there are cases where EA has less experience than local organizers.

Perhaps it would be more beneficial for the IOF to recruit all local competences and work with EA without arrogance.

What does it mean '' from a total cost perspective, it's sometimes cheaper to use an internationally recognized and approved mapper? '' My opinion is that this phrase will open the door to business of all flattery. Many mappers do not dare to express their opinion of fear of not having any work from the IOF.
Dec 21, 2017 9:06 PM # 
One good reason to not map anthills is that they are quite fragile and prone to attacks from all sorts of animals. A bear or boar can totally flatten a big anthill in just a few minutes in search of food. Or they can be used for hibernation in the winter and later collapse. Badgers or birds like capercailles and woodpeckers can also do some serious damage. So if you map them, you can never be sure if they will remain next year and the map might be out-of-date pretty quickly.
Dec 21, 2017 11:31 PM # 
Eriol, thanks for the comment. I appreciate your metaphor, but here we are talking about principles and not ephemeral things. PS: I'm glad you appreciated my post
Dec 22, 2017 9:44 AM # 
graeme, I hope you're proud (actually) about having an almost-personalised reference in Leho's rant :-)

The funniest (not) bit for me is that it's written as if they were in a position of strength, ie had way more organisers to choose from than needed. When in fact it's the complete opposite.
Dec 22, 2017 9:46 AM # 
ps, coti, while you're here, I am still in awe about how you mapped all that terrain for the French WOC.
Dec 22, 2017 10:56 AM # 
Terje Mathisen:
@Eriol: If you look at the sample image of a typical ant hill there, it is quite obvious that no serious predators who damage them exists in that terrain, i.e. they must last for decades.

BTW, the map owner turned the ant hill objects back on as soon as JWOC had finished, in the Norwegian Veterans championship this August they were all shown. :-)
Dec 22, 2017 11:11 AM # 
@ Arnold.Thanks,but it was relatively easy because I did not have to do with the damage caused by bears, boars, squirrels,badgers,capercailles woodpeckers and other terrible predators, a situation where only an approved and recognized IOF mapper can solve this terrible problem.

@Eriol, thanks for your advice, when I'm going to meet this kind of situation in the forest, I'll contact you.
Dec 22, 2017 11:35 AM # 
Same with WOC 2013 anthills
Dec 22, 2017 7:03 PM # 
Terje Mathisen:
@Jagge: That's interesting, particularly that they enabled the ant hills for the spectator race! We could in fact have done the same since the spectator races used a unique map area so it had to be printed separately from the Middle maps, but when I lost all my ant hill controls in the area which overlapped with the Middle final I didn't even consider using them on the rest of the map. (I never even visited any of the JWOC controls since I knew that they would all be very carefully vetted.)
Dec 22, 2017 7:48 PM # 
The ant hills as shown are very distinct in the terrain and must have been frustrating for competitors to not see such features on their maps. If something created by little insects was not allowed, surely using a dot knoll symbol would have been a reasonable alternative. Even if the hills were attacked by animals, there would be a bump of sorts left.
Dec 22, 2017 8:20 PM # 
I think I have to apologize to Eriol. My poor English and Google Translate does not help me all the time. I misinterpreted his post about ant hills , believing he had a connection with my previous post.
@ Eriol, I sincerely apologize. I hope you accept them.
Dec 22, 2017 11:56 PM # 
In this season of goodwill, I would like to extend an apology from all of orienteering to the ants. Still, at least they were appreciated by the vets.
Dec 23, 2017 12:22 AM # 
They work hard to turn over our soil here every few hundred years.
Dec 24, 2017 7:14 PM # 
@jagge. Surely this is what is for?
Dec 25, 2017 12:36 PM # 
Dec 25, 2017 8:51 PM # 
Jagge, you are the best.
Jan 12, 2018 1:32 PM # 
Some reflections on the words from the President
Jan 14, 2018 4:01 AM # 
riley mcfarlane :
XD I'm guessing the IOF President likes their vocabulary very literate with seeming like a lot of beating around the bush. If it wasn't for the local controllers, mappers & setters there would be no orienteering! Why doesn't the IOF President like to tell us how it is very sharply and be willing to adapt? Seems very stubborn. Seriously, why would you disrespect new & upcoming mappers, controllers and course setters? After all, we are the future of the sport. Reminds me of the great NBA coach Phil Jaxon who was a terrible General Manager. #FireCurrentIOFPresident #BlairTrewin4President #StefanoRaus4President

Our main Goal should be enlightening Orienteers the sport & Guide topographers with controllers & setters to work as a TEAM, to show the Olympic committee that we are a sport which has a bright future!
Jan 14, 2018 3:49 PM # 
Stalas makes some good points about the difference between what IOF looks for in bids (arena, television/streaming, etc.) and what the IOF president says he looks for (maps, courses, timing). And also about the costs. Graeme makes good points about the relationship with controllers, which seem similar to what I heard about another WOC.

It strikes me that I never heard of similar problems with Park World Tour (though only knew of it from afar, so maybe just didn't hear). Did it have similar problems, and if not, what lessons could be learned from it? From a distance, it gave the impression of succeeding in marketing, televising, finances and quality of competition (whether that's true or not, I have no solid knowledge).
Jan 14, 2018 7:01 PM # 
Scotland got into PWT well after its heyday, its worth remembering the PWT essentially invented sprint racing and the mixed sprint relay (though that didn't turn out too well).

I planned a PWT in 2010, and organised one in 2014. The general idea was the same as WOC - organisers needed to raise money, courses were designed to look good on screen and to the public, technical quality was important, but secondary:

We're still using images from that control in Perth :)

The big difference from WOC was that in PWT the elite athletes were the central attraction. The organisers needed to big them up! From the prize fund (~$7000) to all expenses paid for the invitees. But it wasn't elitist, anyone could rock up and try to qualify for the final, then race for the money. Indeed, non-invitee Tuomas Kari pitched up, got through the open qualifier and took third prize.

PWT had its event advisor: Jorgen Martensson. Jorgen has ten WOC medals from the biennial WOC era and is comfortable in his own skin. He commanded instant respect, but he essentially left us to it, chipping in the odd suggestion.

I think we actually got more sponsors on board for the PWT than for WOC. Certainly, it was more fun.

This discussion thread is closed.