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Discussion: ISSprOM2019

in: Orienteering; General

May 14, 2019 11:07 PM # 
..has been published by the IOF, to replace the sprint spec ISSOM. See for the spec and also a list of changes. Optional for this year and valid for IOF events from 2020.

As usual there will be surprises, misinterpretations, conversion issues, work-arounds, etc, and this community has been helpful to tease these out. So I start this topic for the purpose.
May 14, 2019 11:16 PM # 
Pink Socks:
There are several notable changes, but there's one that creates a new rule difference between ISSprOM and ISOM: 100% green is impassable and illegal in ISSprOM, but is slow and legal in ISOM.
May 14, 2019 11:41 PM # 
Something that we may have brought on ourselves. In the revision of the ISOM there was argument (which I supported) that the spec should not have any "rules" content. This particularly applied to "thou shall not cross" issues. I think the IOF council over-ruled the Mapping Commission on this.

The same principle has been applied to the sprint spec revision. Whereas there were a number of do not cross features in the ISSOM before (high fence, cliff, deep water etc) this is no longer the case. It may not be obvious when reading the detail, as words like "impassable" are still used, but the introductory words are adamant - all rules related words are extracted from the specification.

It seems to me that this might catch many countries on the hop. For most of our orienteering we are governed by national not IOF rules. And if we want to stop runners in a sprint jumping down a cliff (I know the orienteer who received spinal injuries in a Park World Tour race) then we have to put these restrictions in our national rules. We have 7 months to do it. (Or perhaps to say that we will delay the use of ISSprOM, I guess.)

This stance seems to have been taken to absurd lengths. For example in the changes document, Out of Bounds area: "The mention forbidden to cross has been removed." Am I right in thinking that out of bounds may be crossed unless there is something in the applicable rules? So each country may need to review its competition rules and define those no-go features. As we (country by country) so choose. And not forgetting to say that out of bounds is, er, out of bounds.
May 14, 2019 11:51 PM # 
I was composing the above when Pink Socks posted. I think the word "impassable" is going to create confusion. It seems to be used to mean not able to be passed to all intents and purposes but a determined person could possibly pass. If you have found where it says "illegal" then please point it out.

The changes document says "For Impassable vegetation the mention forbidden to pass has been removed."

These documents will be translated into languages other than English and I can only see further confusion over this term.
May 14, 2019 11:55 PM # 
Pink Socks:
From ISSprOM, my emphasis underlined.

1.1 Conventions

Several words are used to signify the requirements in this specification:

• Must / Shall / Required mean that the definition is an absolute requirement.

Must not / Shall not mean that the definition is an absolute prohibition.

• Should / Recommended mean that there may exist valid reasons in particular circumstances to ignore a particular item, but the full implications must be understood and carefully weighed before choosing a different course.

• Should not / Not recommended mean that there may exist valid reasons in particular circumstances when the particular behaviour is acceptable or even useful, but the full implications should be understood and the case carefully weighed before implementing any behaviour / action described with this label.

• May / Optional mean that an item is truly optional.

410 Impassable vegetation (A)

An area of dense vegetation (trees or undergrowth) which is impassable. Running speed is almost 0%.

Minimum area: 0.3 mm² (footprint 5 m²).
Impassable vegetation shall not be crossed.
Minimum width: 0.4 mm.
Colour: green 100%.
May 15, 2019 12:06 AM # 
Thank you, Socks. Seems to be a conflict between the two documents there:-)))
May 15, 2019 12:18 AM # 
Ayeee! Pink Socks’ escaped italics ... captured! :)
May 15, 2019 12:18 AM # 
I truly feel for the translators.... I remember when living in Taiwan that conveying the meaning of such nuances is very tough when grammar rules don't align well between languages. This is where a translator should/needs to be truly native proficiency bi-lingual.
May 15, 2019 12:34 AM # 
Pink Socks:
Whoops, thanks Hugh!

The changes document is confusing in that regard. Yeah, they removed the sentence about being forbidden from the previous spec, which sort of makes you assume that it's no longer forbidden, but what's left in the current/new spec still makes it forbidden.
May 15, 2019 1:54 AM # 
Heehee, I do that in my log all the time, Pink Socks.

@ken could save us from ourselves somehow, I’m sure.

Pink Courier now!
May 15, 2019 1:58 AM # 
May 15, 2019 2:04 AM # 
You are so evil.

Is this the right one?
May 15, 2019 3:21 AM # 
May 15, 2019 3:33 AM # 
Is pink a new sprint colour?
May 15, 2019 6:57 AM # 
tricky font captured, but OMG, pink socks just escaped!
May 15, 2019 7:41 AM # 
Enough already, you're starting to look like a sprint map drawn with ISSProm2019!
May 15, 2019 11:45 AM # 
Terje Mathisen:
I believe the key idea is that all illegal to pass areas (in ISOM, and now partly in ISSprOM) should be shown with purple overprint. In the same vein, any tunnels/underpasses must also be shown.

Map symbols are all in the "should not pass" category for ISOM, sprint maps still differ, right?
May 15, 2019 3:57 PM # 
I believe the key idea is that all illegal to pass areas (in ISOM, and now partly in ISSprOM) should be shown with purple overprint.

I don't think so. I think the idea is just that the text saying a certain symbol is to be considered forbidden to pass or enter has been moved from the ISOM (ISSprOM) booklet to the rules booklet. So for example the high fence symbol (double tags) or the darkest green hedges will be defined as 'forbidden to pass' in the Foot O rules instead of in the ISSOM (ISSprOM) text as before.

At least that is my interpretation of what is supposed to happen. Putting purple over every OOB area or every uncrossable hedge, fence, etc etc would be a nightmare on many forest maps and most sprint maps, rendering the map unreadable and the purple course symbols impossible to to see.
May 15, 2019 5:50 PM # 
Pink Socks:
I think the idea is just that the text saying a certain symbol is to be considered forbidden to pass or enter has been moved from the ISOM (ISSprOM) booklet to the rules booklet.

The IOF's foot-o competition rules do specify forbidden-to-cross symbols in 17.2, but ISOM 2017-2 and ISSprOM 2019 also specify forbidden-to-cross symbols in the 1.1 conventions section combined with the symbol definitions (I copied an example in an above comment).

...the darkest green hedges will be defined as 'forbidden to pass'

Just so we're clear here (you may already know this, but I can't tell from your comment)... the darkest green (100% green, 50% black, oftentimes used for illegal-to-cross hedges) has been removed from ISOM and ISSprOM. The only option for mapping illegal-to-cross hedges is now to use 100% green (what I call "dark green"). This color is illegal in ISSprOM, but legal in ISOM.

Edit: fixed my stupid parentheticals
May 15, 2019 6:39 PM # 
Your HTML tags are balanced, but your parentheses are not. (Okay, fixed.)
May 15, 2019 11:00 PM # 
(you may already know this , , ,

yes I do - it has been the topic of considerable discussion:
May 16, 2019 2:31 AM # 
I think the main change from the new specification is the tightly defined minimum separation, minimum areas and other related specifications and the inevitable introduction of digital testing of compliance.
May 16, 2019 3:51 AM # 
Holy smokes, it is still so, so hard to find the mapping specs on the IOF webpage. (I know, I should have just followed gruver's link on the top of this thread, but I naively thought I could just go to the IOF webpage and dig down from there).

And, how on earth can they have a link titled "ISOM 2007" that actually points to "ISSOM 2007"? Similarly, how can they have a link titled "What has changed from ISOM 2007 to ISSprOM 2019"?

May 16, 2019 5:02 AM # 
Ok, the rules (section 17) specify which features are forbidden to cross in Sprint Orienteering.

These are and will become (I presume in the 2020 Competition Rules) ...
ISSOM 201 Impassable cliff => ISSprOM 201 Impassable Cliff
ISSOM 304.1 Impassable body of water => ISSprOM 301 Uncrossable body of water
ISSOM 309 Impassable marsh => ISSprOM 307 Uncrossable marsh
ISSOM 421 Impassable vegetation =>ISSprOM 410 Impassable vegetation
ISSOM 521.1 Impassable wall => ISSprOM 515 Impassable wall
ISSOM 524 Impassable fence or railing => ISSprOM 518 Impassable fence or railing
ISSOM 526.1 Building => ISSprOM 521 Building
ISSOM 528.1 Area with forbidden access => ISSprOM 520 Area that shall not be entered
ISSOM 534 Impassable pipeline => ISSprOM 529 Prominent impassable line feature
ISSOM 707 Uncrossable boundary => ISSprOM 708 Out-of-bounds boundary
ISSOM 709 Out-of-bounds area => ISSprOM 709 Out-of-bounds area
ISSOM 714 Temporary construction or closed area => ISSprOM 714 Temporary construction or closed area

The new ISSprOM spec does include the phrase "shall not be crossed" in the description of each of these features, so it does indicate which features are forbidden to cross. That said, I prefer the ISSOM spec which lists, in nice clear magenta writing "(forbidden to cross)". We've basically gone from something that was quite clear, to something that is less clear.

From a competitor's perspective, there's mostly no change. The exceptions are ...

1) We are losing the dark green ISSOM 421 Impassable vegetation (green 100%, black 50%), which is currently forbidden to cross. What is currently permitted to cross "ISSOM 410 Vegetation, very difficult to run" (green 100%) will become forbidden to cross "ISSprOM 410 Impassable vegetation" (green 100%).

2) A more minor change, the area symbol ISSOM 709 Out-of-bounds-area is comprised of purple vertical stripes. The new area symbol ISSprOM 709 Out-of-bounds area is comprised of purple cross-hatching.
May 16, 2019 7:04 AM # 
Terje Mathisen:
Thanks to robplow, bmay & the rest of you for making the new ISSprOM rules a lot clearer to me.

I guess it is a slightly bad sign that the chairman of the Norwegian MC cannot keep up with all this, but in my partial defense I've been concentrating a lot more on ISOM since we're having the WOC here this summer.
May 16, 2019 9:32 AM # 
I agree with Brian - having the forbidden areas etc defined in the mapping standards makes much more sense. The current situation of defining them in the rules goes back to the final months before the release of ISOM 2017, The MC wanted ISOM 2017 to define certain areas and features as forbidden in the same way as ISSOM. But there was disagreement from the IOF council and other committees(rules, foot O, etc). Taking the definition of forbidden features away from the mapping standards and into the rules was a way to work around the impasse. At least that is what I am guessing happened - truth is I wouldn't really know.

In any case now we have the the situation where the first rule in the map section (15.1) says:

Maps, course markings and additional overprinting shall be drawn and printed according to the IOF International Specification for Orienteering Maps or the IOF International Specification for Sprint Orienteering Maps.

Then ISOM and ISSprOM say: to find out which features are forbidden go back to the rules - section 17.

Really clever. Kafkaesque even.
May 16, 2019 2:34 PM # 
I agree with Rob and Brian. One thing that the previous regime (having rules about forbidden areas in the mapping specs) did was to encourage some competitors to actually look at the mapping specs! (And to have some appreciation of the mapping process before blaming the map after a bad run!)
May 17, 2019 7:34 AM # 
Well I still feel more comfortable with rule setting outside the remit of the MC. They have enough to deal with. Issues of scale and forbidden areas seem more logically to be with each disciplinary group.
May 17, 2019 7:45 AM # 
We were a country that felt there were lots of national differences about land access, attitudes to health and safety, etc, and argued against additional restrictions being in ISOM. We had no issue with "out of bounds" meaning "out of bounds" though, and this is certainly a ridiculous consequence.

I bet AZ is having a good chuckle about all this:-))
May 17, 2019 8:04 AM # 
Around here sprint organizers and mappers are afraid the 100% green will not be different enough from middle green and may vary too much between printers, middle green being in some maps about as dark as 100% green in some other maps making maps more vulnerable to misinterpretations. They would like to keep the more easily identifiable green+black version, but consensus is it is too hopeless to try to get MC to fix this and get that back, better just adapt no mater what lollapalooza they end up producing. Current suggestion is not using middle green at all in ISSprOM2019 maps. And since cmyk tone is supposed to be hand edited anyway no-one can blame you if it just happens to end up to a little bit darker side. But still the danger is some map producers are not aware of the danger and forbidden green will sometimes be too light and some sprint areas will be lost after some running through hedges.

Note, here arranging sprints has been about getting permission to use private properties. We literally race on backyards of peoples homes, zigzagging hedges between private houses. That's why this not failing with this issue is essential to be able to arrange the type of sprints we have here.
May 17, 2019 8:39 AM # 
Well I still feel more comfortable with rule setting outside the remit of the MC.

except rule 15.1 basically says the mapping standards ARE rules. There is no avoiding it.

Either put the whole of the mapping standards into the rules or none of them. Splitting them is just confusing.

I wasn't aware of anyone complaining about the forbidden to cross stuff being in the sprint specs until the push to add them to the forest specs which is what caused this separation.

One of the basic principles of the original ISSOM was that OOB/forbidden areas are critical for sprints (what Jagge just said) so it makes sense to define these carefully in the specs. (It also talked about the need for the mapper and course setter to work together)

Now the specs (which is what mappers read - the rules: not so much) are quite vague about this. Now you have to read the rules as well to understand which symbols are OOB/forbidden. Just another level of complication and confusion
May 17, 2019 9:01 AM # 
So should this have been left to just the MC?
May 17, 2019 9:39 AM # 
Major mapping issues like that should be discussed in collaboration with the various committees - mapping, rules, Foot O, etc. None of them are operating in a vacuum - they are all part of the whole.

In an ideal world the issue of scale should certainly be integral to the MC and driven by them - in consultation with rules, Foot O, athletes etc.

My suspicion on that issue (scale) is that the current mapping committee members are very conservative on the issue which is at odds with the general trends and contrary to the wishes of the majority of orienteers. And that is why the foot O commission and the IOF council have acted. Because the MC wont.

But that doesn't mean that is how it should be. Surely a decision like that, about maps, should be made in conjunction with MC. Instead you get this situation where, if you read it carefully, the declaration is quite inconsistent with ISOM 2017's hard-line stance on scale: "all forest maps have to be mapped strictly for 1:15000". That is just encouraging confusion.

So yes I agree with you Neil that the issue of scale of needs to be liberalised. But I still think the logical place to deal with that issue is in ISOM. That fact that it has been moved to the foot o rules is an indication to me that the MC is out of touch with current trends and unwilling to act on them.

The best solution to this situation would be to change the attitudes of the MC so there was no need to invoke work-arounds like this that involve going behind the back of the MC.
May 17, 2019 11:14 AM # 
Pink Socks:
Current suggestion is not using middle green at all in ISSprOM2019 maps.

Here in Seattle, nearly all forest is either medium or dark green, so I don't really like my options here.
May 17, 2019 3:52 PM # 
@robplow. Why do you think that IOF declaration contradicts ISOM ? ISOM tells us to always map at 1:15000, then enlarge the map to make a 1:10,000 (e.g. for Vets, middle, relay). The way I read it, they're just saying you can use that sort of enlargement in long races. Do you think they intend to create a different standard for 1:10 (Long race) from 1:10 (Middle race)?
May 17, 2019 4:42 PM # 
Here are two direct quotes from the 'declaration'

In detailed and steep terrain 1:10000 could be more suitable, and the use of 1:10000 should be more flexible than today.


The IOF Event Adviser for each event may approve 1:10000 map scale for long distance competitions if; The mapping of the terrain cannot be correctly read at 1:15000.

the second one in particular is in direct contravention of ISOM which says:

Generalisation shall follow the requirements for the scale 1:15 000.

ie: if the mapping of the terrain cannot be correctly read at at 15000 you haven't followed " the requirements for the scale 1:15000"
May 18, 2019 4:45 AM # 
The OCAD blog (which if you so choose pops up when you open OCAD) has a posting about symbol sets, and a link to a simple "Symbol Set Overview".
If you don't have the auto blog, its address is
May 18, 2019 11:30 PM # 
What Rob said. Exactly.
May 19, 2019 2:21 AM # 
I honestly don't know what to make of that declaration.

Two theories:

1. I suspect you (graeme) may be right in that they only intended to say you can use 10000 (with 150% enlargement of symbols) for long races( which was not previously allowed).

2. They are deliberately trying to push for a change in the mapping standards to allow for 10000 maps that have more detail on them that is possible on a 15000 map.

If the first theory is correct that would mean no change to the ISOM requirement that all maps be mapped/drawn to 15000 standard: 10000 maps being just a simple enlargement., ie NOT a way of cramming in more detail. But that is not what the declaration says so if this theory is correct then whoever wrote that declaration clearly doesn't understand the relationship between 10000 and 15000 in ISOM because if they did they would not write things like " mapping of the terrain cannot be correctly read at 1:15000." The very basic rule of ISOM is that for detailed terrain you have to generalise and simplify until it can be read at 15000. If that is not possible the terrain is not suitable for international orienteering. The old ISOM actually said that. That line has been removed from the latest ISOM . So while it is no longer overtly stated like that it is still implicit - if you follow ISOM2017 correctly you cannot add more detail than what can be read at 15000

Perhaps someone on the foot o committee can tell us how this declaration is supposed to be interpreted. Blair?

Do you think they intend to create a different standard for 1:10 (Long race) from 1:10 (Middle race)?

What would you need a new standard for. All that is needed is to allow 10000 maps without 150% enlargement of symbols. Ie for 'detailed or steep ' terrain allow maps made at 10000 with symbols the same size as for 15000 maps (or perhaps a 125% enlargement instead of 150%). That would enable the mapper to include more detail, but the map would still be just as legible as a map made at 15000 (because symbol sizes and minimum gaps would be the same). Of course then you would need enlargement to 7500 for non elite classes - already common practice in many places..

No need for a new standard - just an extra paragraph or two in the scale section.
May 19, 2019 4:42 AM # 
Maybe the reasoning is pragmatic. Maps will be submitted for WREs or maybe regionals that will be problematic when printed at 1:15. Puts the EA in a very difficult position. Require a remap? Probably no time. Probably beyond the budget of the organisers. Allowing printing at 10k gives an escape clause for someone who is in the end just another volunteer. But as you say, its a compromise rather than a resolution.
May 19, 2019 2:10 PM # 
If the old standard doesn't work, obviously you need a new one.

You could just enlarge the map without rescaling the symbol sizes like you suggest. Lots of maps round here are like that. But that would miss many of the reasons people advance for 1:10000.

e.g., you might want a smaller contour interval (normal for sand dunes) or a smaller minimum size for "unusual" features (isolated 0.9m boulders or crags are pretty significant). And would you make the minimum size for area symbols smaller? Too-small crags still not mappable, but too-small bare rock becomes mappable? And can you use this new small-symbol 1:10 map for middle distance? And where non-elites used to need a 50% enlargement, now they just get 33%?

It would be a shame to solve only half the issues.
May 19, 2019 2:56 PM # 
you are over thinking it. If you allow 10000 with no enlargement that means everything including minimum gaps and areas.

Take your bare rock example: if the minimum area for bare rock grey on the map is x mm2 at 15000 it is still x mm2 at 10000 but the footprint of that area has just got smaller. So you can fit more of those areas in. There is no minimum area for a slab of bare rock in the terrain. Just if you map an area that if drawn exactly to scale would be smaller than x mm2 on the map you have to exaggerate it. It is up to the mapper if a small area of bare rock is 'significant' or not.

Boulders small cliffs etc - I think most experienced mappers don't interpret the 1m as an exact and strict rule (more a guideline as they would say in Pirates of the Caribbean) . 90cm is close enough if it is 'significant'. So what about 80 cm I hear you say? Is that measured on the uphill or downhill side of the boulder? If it's flat is that from ground level or top of the grass? Winter grass or summer grass? Going down that rabbit hole will drive you insane: you''ll be standing in the terrain muttering 'to map or not to map' and never get anything done. Eventually a passer by will call the call the cops and you'll be dragged off to the nuthouse. Minimum heights are just guidelines - the important concept is to map what is 'significant'.

Most of what you are talking about as 'problems' that need to be fixed are really just the sort of stuff an experienced mapper understands and deals with every day. If you try to define every little thing like that you will end up with an ISOM 200 pages long and effectively useless because: a) no one can be bothered to read it all, and b) even if they do they can't follow it because it is full of (unintended) internal contradictions.

Would you be wanting less than 2.5m contours (which ISOM currently allows) for sand dunes? I have no problem with freeing up contour intervals - make it the mapper's choice. Easy enough to do these days with lidar. Back in the late 80's I was mapping around Stockholm where all the maps were made with 4m contours - the theory being it was a more optimal interval for that particular terrain. It certainly resulted in less temptation to over use formlines. I recently made some sprint maps around Winnipeg with 1m contours. I felt it showed the terrain better. (Winnipeg is built beside the Red River. Wikipedia describes the Red River Valley as one of the flattest places on earth.)

50% enlargement vs 33% .Those are both just arbitrary figures derived from the standard scales of 15000, 10000 and 7500, which are equally arbitrary. They are just nice round figures. No one that I am aware of has ever done any studies into the 'optimum' scale of O maps. Perhaps if someone did it would turn out to be 1:12 348.7. Of course far more likely the answer would be either 'it depends on the terrain and the user' or 'there are so many variables it is really impossible to come to any useful conclusion'. But anyway maybe 50% enlargement is more than is necessary - maybe 33% is a better option. But if you want to crusade for 10000 maps to be enlarged to 1:6667 I won't object.

for sprint maps the recommended enlargement is from 4000 to 3000: ie 33%. Maybe we should be enlarging 15000 maps to 1: 11250.
May 19, 2019 11:54 PM # 
Nice to get back to talking about sprint maps:-))

The recommended enlargement for young age groups is 1:3000. For older age groups enlarged maps are recommended. That's it. No number. (Unless my eyes are even worse than I thought:-))

In the World Masters with lots of age classes I would think that we would have two or three different enlargements. In a smaller event in a small country I would like to see at least a 150% enlargement for vets, relative to what is provided for the open classes. I would like more of my age (72) to enjoy sprints because we can potentially outrun our navigation capacity - the true delight of orienteering. But this is so often spoiled by having to stop to puzzle over the map.

IMO there is nothing wrong with 1:2666, or any other square number.
May 19, 2019 11:57 PM # 
I believe the recommended scale for children's courses is 1:letter (or 1:A4).
May 19, 2019 11:58 PM # 
The same issues will emerge with quite a few of our sprint maps once there is a digital testing regime. As an example, the sprint at our 2019 Easter national carnival appears to have been mapped at 1:3,000.

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