Discussion: IOF mapping standards and World Ranking Events
in: Orienteering; General;
Last weekend we had a set of races with multiple goals: US Sprint, Middle and Long Championships, World Ranking Events for M21+ and F21+, US Foot-O Team Trials - very high profile events for this continent. While event was extremely well organized and run, I can not keep quiet about significant (in my view) violation of IOF mapping standards: here are two of them I noticed just by running Red courses:
IOF Definition for symbol 4.206 : A small distinct boulder (minimum height 1 m). Every boulder marked on the map
should be immediately identifiable on the ground. To be able to show the distinction
between boulders with significant difference in size it is permitted to enlarge this
symbol by 20% (diameter 0.5 mm).
Here is my control descriptions for Red Middle (AKA World ranking event for F21+) :
control 11 - 120 - South-Eastern Boulder 0.3 m high, Southern Side;
control 13 - 109 - Western Boulder 0.5 m high, Southern Side;
control 14 - 161 - Boulder 0.3 m high, Northern Side;
Control 18 - 156 - North-Eastern Boulder 0.3 m high, North-Western Side.
My personal experience with all these locations: neither of them deserved to be mapped, by all standards, not just North-Easter US mapping "standards", where I race the most. Neither of features acceded the height of the control hung on a stand, and again, in my personal opinion, should never be selected as control feature for an international elite event.
Here is very similar neglect of IOF mapping rules from Red Long Course:
control 12 - 85 - Cairn 0.4m, Northern side.
From IOF Document called International Specification for Orienteering maps:
Man Made Features:
4.5.527 Cairn, memorial stone or boundary stone (or a trigonometric point in some countries)
more than 0.5m high.
I would like to point that that symbol is to be used for man made feature. In reality, from what I recall It was a 40 cm high, 25-30 cm wide single rock, surrounded by outcrops of smaller rocks on a ground, not elevated at all. Did not look man made to me, but I could be wrong.
I would like to hear from a proud mapper of the Chattahoochee Bend State Park, who's name I could not find printed anywhere on the map, course setter (setters), not named as such anywhere in the meet brochure , and IOF Event Adviser - Mike Minium, whom I respect a lot.
Also, I would like to hear from people who got affected by that, or did not get affected by that at all, and what do they think, may be it is not a problem at all, and I am blowing it out of proportion?
On a vaguely related topic, what premium would elite competitors be prepared to pay for offset printed maps for WREs? A recent quote suggests $4/map (based on the number of competitors we have for WREs in Australia) compared to $1/map for digitally printed maps. Would $3/race be considered a reasonable impost?
In the context of an entry fee of $42 for the most recent WRE in Australia, $3 is almost nothing. So what has the remaining $41 been spent on? And (for Hawkeye) what will the entry fee for WREs at the upcoming Tasmanian Carnival be?
An other typical beginner hobby mapper's error can be seen near controls 4,5,6 of long blue.
ISOM 2001, 103 Form line: An intermediate contour line. Form lines are used where more information can be given about the shape of the ground. They are used only where representation is not possible with ordinary contours. Only one form line may be used between neighbouring contours.
I remember half metre boulders mapped in the sand dune terrain of Druskininkai, Lithuania during the JWOC carnival in 2006. I was prepared to forgive them as there were only three boulders on the map and so even at that size, they were significant. Carried and dumped by a glacier in the last ice age.
I had the chance to see some of those small boulders and punch in at one of them. In my view it was appropriate to map them. They stood out in otherwise featureless terrain and the one I had as a control it was like a beacon on the tip of a small knoll.
A GAOC member named Sam Smith made all the maps. He is prominently identified in the meet guide. WOW that was a big job. Thanks Sam.
Simmo, $36 (middle distance and sprint), $46 (long distance). Online entries opening soon.
Sounds to me like Balter isn't as tough as everyone says he is.
There was plenty of notice given in pre-event bulletins that the rock features would be small. There was also a model map/event.
Speaking about map quality during this last weekend one negative comment is about INCONCISTENCY of mapping, especially related to the size of mapped features, ex. boulders, rootstocks, and such, as well as some features that should be mapped but were not. It definitely affected my results on both long and middle.
I really think that all championship level competition organizers may afford professional high quality mappers.
We really appreciate efforts of amateur mappers at local level but it is becoming bad carma that a good LIDAR base leads to poor quality championship map. Unfortunately (or fortunately) it takes really good mapper with tens of years of experience to create high quality maps.
Right now in the USA, probably, only Mark and Mikell are in that league. If not them, please, invite a good European professional mapper for your next championship map.
dated April 14, is that what you call plenty of notice. I happened not to visit event web site this weekend, and a little piece of paper hanging on the way to start without clear indication that is very important, does not cut it to me for World Ranking Event.
You and Mike Minium are IOF advisers: how much power IOF adviser has to prevent clear violation of IOF guide lines?
As Event Advisor, there should have been more oversight early on. For that I will admit inadequacy. At some point, there must be a decision whether an existing map can be adequate or whether the area must be remapped, or the event cancelled or WRE status revoked. That's a tough call to make especially in a country where we have too few WRE's and every one is vital to give an opportunity for North American's to be ranked.
Sam Smith, the mapper, put years of effort into this project. Overall, this was a very worthy mapping effort and the resulting map was certainly appropriate for local and national level competition. However, there were inadequacies, particularly the small size of many mapped features. These are important issues, especially for an event of WRE significance.
Georgia Orienteering Club has years of experience putting on national level events, and producing generally good maps (with a noteworthy exception or two which have been discussed at length elsewhere). With their level of experience, it was assumed that they would be capable of handling a world ranking event. They did many things extremely well, and many aspects were even to exceptional levels or set new bars for future events. But the bottom line is that the map and courses are the most important aspect of any competition, and I have to admit that despite Sam's best efforts, there were discrepancies from what a WRE map should be.
I first visited the site February 9 to 11. At that point, I became aware of the inconsistencies in mapping of rock features, and some of the fairly small objects that were shown. At this point there was a serious decision to be made. Could the existing map be corrected to standards or completely remapped in time for the event? At a previous WRE, I had determined a sprint map to be inadequate, and we completely remapped it just weeks before the event. But with the size and complexity of the area, entirely remapping was no longer a practical option. Likewise, making a complete pass and re-mapping every single feature to a new standard was simply not practical. Should I have cancelled the event or recommended withdrawal of WRE status? We can debate whether that would have been a correct decision, but I think it would have caused much greater upset of many more orienteers that continuing forward. At this point, I made a number of notes of the more serious map corrections and problem areas, and asked Sam to give attention to correcting these difficulties.
I also realized that it would be necessary to post notes advising competitors that features below standard size were mapped. It was definitely my failure that I did not get these notes written and posted until the night before the event. I had wanted multiple copies clearly posted on the way to the start, as well as at registration and website, but not many actually got posted and it is my fault if any competitors missed them. Was simply posting these notes the standard for how a WRE should be run? No, of course not. It was an effort to make the best of a difficult situation and make competitors aware of the mapping discrepancies.
That said, in spite of the small features, I ran both the M-21 and W-21 courses for both days, and felt them to be fair and appropriate. Some mapped objects were below normal size, and while this was wrong, competitors with appropriate expectations should have been able to execute the courses cleanly. The M-21 and W-21 courses were appropriate for a fair competition.
Going forward, I think we in the USA in particular need to look at planning WRE events farther ahead, looking at the map and mapper, and not just granting WRE status because an event has won a championship bid or is hosted by a respected club. We advisors need to evaluate the map farther ahead, and we need to plan to put in the same time and effort we would as a championship Event Director and Course Setter. And host clubs will need to have an expectation of paying for multiple EA visits if a preliminary visit finds significant problems. To be sure we get it right is going to take more investment. As I have advised more WRE's, it is apparent that the Event Advisor needs to have a much more active role, and from a much earlier date, even when the most respected club is hosting the event.
Along those lines, we need more certified Event Advisors in North America. Because of this shortage, I somewhat reluctantly agreed to advise this event, even though I was Event Director of a championship event just two weeks before. In retrospect, this was also a bad decision which I intend not to repeat. The more WRE's I have advised, the more it has become apparent that even the most respected club that always gets everything right, really needs close oversight of every aspect from the very beginning.
I have a lot of trouble with the 1m prohibition in the ISOM. Certainly there are northeastern maps with mapping standards that ignore anything smaller than car-sized boulders---and for good reason. But in Cincinnati, and I'm guessing for this map in Georgia (since I wasn't there), these smaller rocks are reasonably mapped. I've set events where controls on reentrant junctions (that is, with 3 linear features leading to the controls) were giving people trouble. Adding these small point features in an otherwise vague area gives runners the ability to relocate, and it gives the setter a slightly better leg set up: You might have to find a reentrant junction first, but the flag itself is a reasonable attack away. And I'm a big believer that having the stand taller than such a rock is a positive rather than a negative.
Part of my argument is there are plenty of mapped point features that don't stick up 1m : Pits, depressions, small marshes. It's really a judgement call. And using stands that are typically 30-inches high (0.75m) means the flag can't be hidden behind a 0.3m (12-inch high) boulder. (And I'm saying this as someone who has set courses with the flag near the ground behind a concrete pad less than 1 foot high. If I didn't think it was fair, I would have used a full-size stand, and I would make extra certain the flag was visible.)
I guess I'm trying to make two points:
1. It is reasonable to map these small rocks when the map doesn't have many rocks.
2. It is sometimes a good idea for the flag to be more visible than the feature.
It seems to me that there are some problems cropping up in association to WRE's in general. This event in the US seems to be disregarding the rules, but at least the rules in question can be opened to interpretation, to some extent.
I ran two WRE events in the UK recently, the British Sprint Champs and the JK middle distance. At both events people were running with GPS watches (ones that people have before been disqualified for wearing) and, at the latter, there were some serious mapping discrepancies with the vegetation. For the JK I saw people finishing wearing GPS watches so I asked if it was o.k. to wear mine at the start and was told it was fine, so I did because I wanted the data. This seems like blatant disregard for the rules by the organisers (never mind whether or not the rule is appropriate or not)
Should the IOF be looking back at these events and deciding afterwards that certain standards were met and the rules were followed and making a judgement on whether to include the race in the rankings? I don't know if this is part of the IOF event advisors job already or not.
@cedarcreek- totally agree with you on 1m limit for certain stone-less terrain, but please, not 30 cm. I would go for math rounding rule 51+ cm counts as a meter, but nothing less than that size.
Furthermore, depending on lighting condition at the time you visit that control area, naturally you see small terrain details better when sun is out. But in all fairness to competitors, one's ability to spot a feature shell not depend on the sun being out or not.
Also, I believe, the reason 1 meter limit is introduced to provide fairness and encourage speed navigation, rather then introduce some trick games between course setters and athletes. By mapping smaller objects on a map, you are encouraging slower running speed, and giving clear advantage to people with better distance vision, as they can spot smaller object better and from further distance. By limiting it to 1 meter minimum size, we are somewhat leveling the plane.
(I believe the rules are written by older folks :)
I would like to thank Mike Minium for his answers and input. Definitely you had tough choices to make, and I mostly agree with your position. The one advice I give to course setting team when I involved in such activity for local or national events is: if you have any questionable location for a control site, no matter how much you are in love with that idea, move control to close reliable situation - fairness above all.
Based on that, all what I would argue with course setter are control locations. I do not think there was a need for a new map, just some minor corrections to control locations (within 50 m radius).
And to support my active position on improving the quality of all orienteering events in the country, I would like to get IOF certification as international meet adviser, and would appreciate some advice on how to get it .
Part of my argument is there are plenty of mapped point features that don't stick up 1m : Pits, depressions, small marshes.
Actually, ISOM also specifies that pits and small depressions must exceed 1m in depth.
(That said, I think a lot of professional mappers ignore that guideline too)
I have seen reports from mapping workshops in Sweden and the Czech Republic where 10 to 15 so-called professional mappers all interpreted the same piece of terrain with significant differences so could the US Champs areas have been mapped differently? Of course they could. But for what purpose? One of the beautiful challenges of our sporrt is for the participants to see the terrain the same way the mapper saw it.
Also, I highly doubt the WRE event results would have been any different had the best mapper in the world made the map.
The maps are a fair (as in fair play not fair as in mediocre) representation of the terrain. Thanks again Sam Smith.
For some reason mapper saw it in different ways on different parts of maps for both long and middle courses. I think we are challenged enough by courses to spend additional efforts trying to interpret what mapper decided to see or didn't see across the map.
So called professional mappers usually avoid this kind of amateurism providing consistent mapping style.
I didn't even touch some misplaced controls on long red (although within the circle)...
A little bit of sour taste after otherwise excellent weekend.
BTW, 3 seconds separated 1-2 on Long Blue and 8 seconds in M-45+ Red. I am not sure how much of that can be attributed to confusions with map. I am more than sure that WRE results would be different if maps were created to IOF standards.
I hope that Balter the Adviser may challenge the map and course quality in the USA. Last years I, unfortunately, saw too much of weak mapping and course setting at USA championships.
>One of the beautiful challenges of our sporrt is for the participants to see the terrain the same way the mapper saw it;
It is precisely this attitude that turns orienteering into “wilderness adventures”, which could be fun for some, I don’t know. Orienteering, as opposite to this type of fun, does require an adequate map.
Of course, certain things are open for interpretation, and different professional mappers would make noticeably different maps of the same area. Yet, EACH of those maps would be a good map, and an orienteer would be able to recognize them as good maps, some maybe better than others, based on personal preferences, but all of them being adequate. Put it a different way, inherent to the process subjectivity does not affect the ability to distinguish a good map from a bad map, and it does not mean that effort to produce an appropriate map is futile.
>Also, I highly doubt the WRE event results would have been any different had the best mapper in the world made the map.
Not that the result list would be turned upside down, but yes the results would be different. Moreover, the results in this case would be fair (as opposite to “unfair”), and more accurately representing the relative strength of competitors.
...or do not see the terrain at all when you go thru the unmapped vegetation, were you can loose body parts. Gord, have you seen how many exellent navigators came to the finish line on Sunday, looking like they just met Fredy Crueger, and barely escaped. If the map was correct and controls are placed fairly, that shell not happened, because you have a choice to avoid green. It was a lotery like: you see a patch of green in front of you, you decide to go left or right, and with the map and terrain we had it was at least 50% chance to get even in crappier vegetation, not mapped! there were controls in "white" woods you could not see unless you are 10 m away, because of unmapped green. Thanks, but no thanks to Sam Smith.
Greg, see the IOF web site for the info re the process to become a WRE advisor
. The qualification process includes:
1. Be an active foot orienteer.
2. Have competed in countries other than your own.
3. Have successfully controlled major national events in the last 3 years.
4. Be competent in the English language.
5. Have attended, and have been an active participant in, an IOF Event Advisers Clinic
6. Be familiar with the following IOF Publications:
• Competition Rules for Foot Orienteering Events
• International Specifications for Orienteering Maps
• Control Descriptions
• Principles for Course Planning
• Guidelines for World Ranking Events
7. Be recognised as a top standard controller/event adviser and endorsed as suitable by your Federation.
I've heard that active foot-O can be cured with a special, medicated ointment.
@charm - Thank you, but # 4 is a difficult one, need j-man's help.
There are limits to what I can do. But, the power of Balter has no bound.
I see why they call it "Attack Point"
The lack of IOF Event Advisers in North America (and the geographical concentration of those that you have) is a concern, and one the IOF is aware of. I'd be interested to know what the barriers to accrediting more are from the North American point of view - is it simply a lack of Event Advisers clinics (which is fixable), or are there other issues too?
(Incidentally, the possibility does exist that a WRE where standards are seriously violated could have its WRE status cancelled; this was seriously considered, but not ultimately done, for a recent event in Europe which was run on a map at an unsanctioned scale).
FYI, there's a strong chance I will let my accreditation expire at the end of 2012 primarily because I would like to focus on the rogaine side of organizing navigation activities for the next many years.
I must have been at a different event. I thought the Sunday map was excellent. (Saturday some small issues, nothing too serious for M21, but overall nice. And I don't see what's wrong with multiple form lines in this particular case where the terrain is very flat in a small part of the map - it was extremely clear on the ground.) Sunday's map, though, was great. Seriously, I could read every rock and every patch of green I needed to, no problem.
Around here, the mapping of under-size features is all too common. Things that look like a knoll from the down side, when you get up on top its just a flattening of a spur. Things that look like a depression from above, when you get there they wouldn't hold a cupful of water in a thunderstorm. These are perhaps understandable given the difficulty of estimating a horizontal line in undulating country - but a boulder? Either it comes up to your waist (on the top side) or its not a boulder. OK your thigh if its especially distinct. As with graphic design, blank space tells a story.
Seeing a bunch of open form lines thrown locally is a telling sign about map quality. And yes there exist, and in fact there are many, maps where this type of terrain is mapped nicely. Simple exploring RouteGadget is likely to help—no need to take my word.
Entirely different question—can an elite orienteer adjust and figure out a map like this, and avoid errors. Surely, it is possible. Done it many times. The higher your running speed, the less likely you are to notice problems with a map. Do you have time, or inclination, during a race to stop and take another look, in case you found the control?
However, suppose you notice during Model event that overgrown, barely visible, track is mapped as a trail. I am referring to the vicinity of control #2. What would you think when you are getting, early in the Long course, on a track, way more distinct then the one above, yet unmapped. Is this a minor problem?
Later in the course you see a trail that you do not expect, and conclude: OK that is another one that they forgot to map. But this time you are wrong—you misinterpreted the situation and you are in the wrong place. But you already do not trust the map, and the error that is coming will cost you. Lack of CONSISTENCY in mapping is not a minor issue.
I also think sticking rigidly to the 1m standard is foolish. As ISOM says...
Absolute height accuracy is of little significance on an orienteering map.
Would anyone seriously map a 0.5m man made cairn of three rocks in a sea of unmapped natural 0.9m rocks?
A knee-high boulder could be very distinct, and if so mapping it may be OK. Once its on the map, its quite good to use it as a feature since a "rock, 0.3m" clue actually means "look for a flag". Tricking people into thinking they can use it as an attackpoint is surely less fair?
On controllers. It seems to have got rather arduous to become a WRE controller nowadays. I controlled my first WRE aged 25 in 1988, at which point I was quite able to scoot around the area and check all the flags were in the right place on the morning of the event. Now at (you do the math) I couldn't do that, and no amount of courses and knowing the rules will help if a flag vanishes on the morning.
I assume the problem for the US is the IOF Event Advisors Clinic. 25 years on I'm not a WRE controller anymore because I haven't been to one.
No doubt Balter M50 will do a fine job, but we need to get back to the idea that you can do these jobs in your 20s and 30s. There are plenty of people, even in the US, who know their stuff. The greybeards need to show them more respect.
Graeme, no disrespect, but I thought WREs started in 1997 officially, 1995 inofficially (they didn't keep the scores until 2000)? There were WCups before then.
OK, Vlad. I don't remember the exact name (North American Champs +) , but it had a big international entry and was whatever you needed a foreigner to come and control your event for you. And EricW was planning, so everything was in the right place anyway.
So Mike Minium organizes a very successful 4 race flying pig weekend and at the same time he is controller for a separate WRE weekend! This guy is an orienteering organizer superman. What dedication to the sport.
The EA doesn't necessarily need to do the control checking - just be satisfied the person doing it is has the skill for the job and adequate plans are in place for taping of sites, checking of tapes, putting out controls, final independent check of all controls, etc.
@ feet - I had same opinion of both maps as yours, until I had to slow down, and understand what is going on. You are the stickler to the rules then how you justify mapping 30 cm rooks, when IOF symbol clearly says 1 m minimum size. My point: you can distinct 1 m boulder from 100 m away in open woods, that distance is much shorter for 30 cm rock. Orienteering becomes a lottery. And to see this, take a look at splits for top 20 on middle blue - it is either non of you can navigate well, or there is a serious underlining problem with fairness there.
The mapper (and all mappers) should reread the specifications regularly.
And so should those who plan and check major events. All maps have areas where things are not quite right. Poor old Sam has got the stick, but it seems that someone chose to use seriously under-size features as control sites; and someone else approved them. It's possible to set a good event on an imperfect map:-))
Poor old Sam has got the stick, but it seems that someone chose to use seriously under-size features as control sites; and someone else approved them.
It's not obvious how the course setting duties were divided, but the first name on the list of the course setting team is Sam.
Returning to the issue of mapping standards or lack of such.
Only today noticed that the overgrown track, highlighted with streamer tape/markers, and mapped as trail in the area of control 2 on Model Event has disappeared from the Long Course Map (this map included the model area). Then question is what was the purpose of Model if not to mislead people about mapping standards?
The model map in the packets should be the same as the long competition map. The PDF emailed out earlier was mistakenly an earlier version. The mapper had mapped all streamered "future trails" not knowing when work would be done to build them. Right before the competition the unbuilt ones were removed ("hidden" in OCAD parlance). This on the theory that it is much easier to delete a mapped object than to draw a new one. Anyway, unfortunately, the emailed practice map was generated from an earlier version. Compare to the print version that went in your packet.
Unfortunately, I printed pdf at home, and went directly to the Model,
without picking up the package (did it next morning).
I did not want to get stuck in city traffic in Carrolton, since I did not participate, and generally was not interested, in sprint event.
Oh, the traffic in downtown Carrollton is overwhelming!
for T/D and feet, who did not notice anything wrong with map or course setting: just out of curiosity:
take a look at times and distances on a map for controls 6 and 7 (red course)
and the map:
both legs are very close in distance, navigational challenge, 2 contours up 2 contours down, vs 4 contours up, yet times are ~ 30% different.
I nailed both controls, and here what I saw: #7 was, in my opinion at least 25-30 m closer to #6 than, mapped, I wish, was wearing GPS to prove it, so this is just a guess at this point. I know it is probably my personal issue, but when I start noticing stuff like that on a course, I start double guessing my navigation and the map, and race goes to drain sooner or later.
And here is why I started this whole thread: look at leg to 18: I am pretty much going on a straight line, cross reference my position when I crest over the spur, it is overcast at this point, I look down the slope, looking for 4 "boulders", not yet looking for control "behind the feature" - "first find the right feature then see control" in my mind, see absolutely nothing from about 70 m away in open woods, and I can see as far as bottom of this reentrant, stopped, scanning the slope for noticeable boulders, see some higher up, start walking toward that, realized from about 100 m away, what it is on a map (legit to map rocks ~ 1m high), now I know where I am, project my look one more time down the slope and see the stupid control, among rocks that stick out of the ground no higher than 20cm. Gentlemen, this is bullshit, the way I see it, and if the sun was out I would spot the control in no time, and that has nothing to do with the sport of orienteering, I know. If this would not be a National Championship Event, Team Trials and WR event, I would never start this thread. (I read Mike Minium's notes on a way to start, but I was in a hurry, I moved my start to earlier time to accommodate team selection meeting, and did not register all it said in my mind as important info).
Bare in mind, if control description was: bag in the woods, center of the circle, I would nail it in any weather conditions. I would be knowing then, what I am looking for.
Clue description, above, for #18 was:
Control 18 - 156 - North-Eastern Boulder 0.3 m high, North-Western Side.
The small size was expected and runner knows control will be visible. This was clear on Middle clue sheets distributed in the meet packets.
There are 4 boulders in the circle, non of them was higher then 20 cm above the ground :), remember IOF:A small distinct boulder (minimum height 1 m). Every boulder marked on the map should be immediately identifiable on the ground". This is World Ranking Event course!. Runner shell expect that organizer is not cheating the rules!!! Runner Shell expect that controls are in right place, see another thread on this, Brown Course Saturday. And it was pointed to course setter well in advance before the race that location is wrong on that control. That does not win my respect for the mapper/course setter, even if he spent 3 years mapping this park, where, a pro would do it in 80 working days.
When I see a control description like that, I assume control is not visible from the line of approach, otherwise it is absurd and pointless to specify where you hung the control in relation to rock on the ground, And after being burned on a 0.4 cairn, witch was not a cairn, but a single rock sticking from the ground day before, with control well hidden from my view behind it, I did not expect to see control at all.
I've always thought the mappers mission is to help the course setter as much as possible and that is clearly where the "Every boulder marked on the map should be immediately identifiable on the ground."-rule comes in to play. If there is any hesitation about which of several boulders is on the map and which is not, then use the boulder cluster symbol instead. If none of the boulders is big enough to ever make it as a boulder on their own, then use the stony ground symbol (just 3 or 4 small dots with reasonable spacing works quite well).
My general rule is: Don't map point features that should never be used as control features! If you do, they will be used and there will be complaints.
And I see several reasons to try to adhere to the 1 m minimum height rule even in terrain with very little rock detail. Smaller boulders can sometimes be covered by leaves, braches or mudslides with just a little bit of bad luck, making them much harder to find. They are also more likely to be moved out of place by manual power or forestry machines. I also personally like the idea that the actual control feature should be more visible than the control flag, and that probably accounts for the mapstandard disallowing the mapping of most things smaller than a cubic meter or so.
is instructive - and it refers to maps at two or three times bigger scale than standard orienteering maps.
For WRE events, organisers are supposed to submit the map and courses after the event to the IOF Mapping Committee. Would be interesting to see what they think of last weekend's maps.
My experience on 18 was much like Greg's, except I spent 6 minutes running around wondering where my boulders were. It hadn't occurred to me that the small size of the boulders made a difference (I'm pretty sure on my first approach I was above them and, like Greg, could see pretty far but couldn't see any boulders) and I assumed that I just had a brain fart, since nobody else seemed to have had a problem with the leg. I'd love to have a chance to look at that area again and see whether, imho, those boulders seem mappable. I can't really say, based on my hazy memory, one way or the other.
Is it clear yet whether the mapper was indeed the main course setter? This in my eyes is a situation that should always be avoided, especially on a new map. If at least one extra round of eyes agrees the boulder is big enough, then that's an extra safeguard in place.
Having said that, I enjoyed the weekend enormously (although it did break "the rules" in many ways) and understand it was run on low manpower. I say the above with a view to simple ways of avoiding the situation in future.
I should chime in that I also really enjoyed the weekend and the courses. The middle would have been especially enjoyable were it not for all those vines... I've got a lot of souvenirs from them so I won't forget GAOC for a week or two. :-) But perhaps the map should be revised by another set of eyes so that future meets are even better.
+1 to GregBalter on red #18 - same problem and time lost. Also agree on #6 and #7 and mapping in their vicinity.
On the positive side middle red course layout and flow were very nice and championship appropriate minus the map quality. Appropriate mapping and moving controls a little bit here and there would make such an enjoyable experience!
And many thanks to all volunteers who put nicely start, finish, and results areas together with festivity and competitors in mind.
I wish the IOF would offer a little more guidance aside from the 1 m guideline. While mapping I encountered a number of slabs of rock in a flat area. They were only about 40 cm tall but were at least 2 X 3 m in area. I could have left them off the map, but put them on. A running orienteer might hesitate upon seeing such large objects that were unmapped. Possibly the IOF guideline could include a minimum area component for objects shorter than a meter.
It does - smallest area of colour at 1:15000 is 0.5mm*, ie 7.5m diameter. All features smaller than this must be either exaggerated or omitted. If they are close together you can't exaggerate them without distortion.
Why not show them as stony ground?
*0.5mm for full colour, 1.0mm for screens.
Ther's nothing wrong with leaving stuff off the map. I leave trees off all the time.
I only leave trees off if I'm starting from a blank piece of paper.
@bb - maybe use knoll if it is that big. I don't recall a min. height for knoll.
It does - smallest area of colour at 1:15000 is 0.5mm*
Correction - the ISOM spec says the smallest area of colour is 0.5mm2
, which for a square feature is 0.7mm (or ~10m @ 1:15000) on a side, or for a circle is ~0.8mm (12m) diameter.
Since BB's rocks were neither the 1m minimum height for knolls, or large enough to be mapped as bare rock, I can't see how you've got any choice other than stony ground.
That is not right Juffy.
About the minimum dimensions ISOM says:
'All features smaller than the dimensions above must be either exaggerated or omitted, depending on whether or not they are of significance to the orienteer.'
So just because an area in the terrain is smaller than the minimum size on the map does not mean it has to be left off - on the contrary, if it is 'of significance to the orienteer' it has to be put on the map. At a JWOC a few years ago the mappers left off very significant clearings in green pine forest simply because they were less than 12m in diameter - so stupid - all small features are exaggerated on the map (a small boulder symbol has a diameter of 6m at 15000) - if you leave off everything that is smaller than its symbol size there is not much left to map.
I was a bit flippant about leaving them off, but we need to know more. You obviously feel that they are significant. Why? Are they rare enough and spaced enough that you could exaggerate them as suggested above, and describe a particular one in a control description? What would you call it? If not then is it an area of such things? Do they "affect the going"? This is in the context of what's typical for the map, some areas around here you could run in bare feet, others have stuff on the ground and you are always meeting minor obstacles, including going up and down 40cm.
Rob - of course. I was just correcting Simmo's maths.
TBH it really doesn't sound like they're all that significant, although we're all being armchair experts without some shiny photos to bicker over. I mean...40cm high and a couple of metres across? I guess you could pile a few rocks on top and call it a cairn, LOST_Richard style? :)
A 2x3x0.4 m boulder slab has roughly the same volume as a spherical boulder with a diameter of 1.5 m. If it is likely to be a significant navigation aid to a passing orienteer, map it. (And add a comment in the event notes that lets competitors know that some boulders are short and wide.)
I wasn't interested in your maths juffy - it was the second paragraph that concerned me.
I didn't say they should be left off, I said they sound like they were too small to be mapped as either a knoll or bare rock.
I generally leave arguments about the disparity between symbol size and physical size to Simmo, because he seems to enjoy them. If a feature is significant, I'll find a way to map it and hang the standards. Are these slabs in open forest, or buried in the undergrowth? Are they the only rock in the area? Are they the biggest rocks in the area? Who knows (other than BB)?
How about we stop waving ISOM and our walking sticks at each other, since neither of us have half a clue what the actual feature we're arguing over looks like?
If this is purely a discussion of mapping that's one thing. But keep in mind that the ultimate presentation of a good, fair course to the competitor is not soley the responsibility of the mapper. The mapper can only do so much. Hopefully he/she is depicting the physical terrain in a way that makes sense to the competitor - a consistently mapped area that "as much as possible" sticks to the mapping standards (and guidelines or rules about legibility). But others involved in organizing the event also have a role to play - namely the course planner and controller. If a portion of the map is poorly mapped, it should not be used. If an area of the map (despite the mapppers best efforts) is 'confusing' then perhaps it should not be used. If specific point features are 'debatable' then avoid using them. There is also some responsibility on the competitor -- simply to know that nature doesn't come in just 105 (or whatever #) symbols - that not all boulders are perfectly spherical 1.2 metres high. That sometimes knolls look like boulders and boulders look like knolls. That there are going to be different interpretations of "rough open w/ scattered trees".
On a related note, I would prefer a map that is consistently mapped, even if that included some slight variation of the standards, and as long as that is mentioned in the event info as bmay suggests. Better a map done consistently by one person, than an area mapped by 2-3 people that have each mapped the vegetation slightly differently and applied their own staandards/interpretations tto cliffs, boulders and knolls.
Since BB's rocks were neither the 1m minimum height for knolls, or large enough to be mapped as bare rock, I can't see how you've got any choice other than stony ground. sounded pretty definitive to me. But now you are saying you meant sounded like. Sorry, I missed that nuance.
If a feature is significant, I'll find a way to map it and hang the standards. The funny thing about that is the standards explicitly state that significant features shall be mapped (as I pointed out) so you are not 'hanging' them at all - unless of course you use a non-standard or 'below minimum size' symbol. And yes I agree - sometimes it is acceptable to do that. Though many disagree.
All I was saying is that bare rock was still an option, which you were (mistakenly) ruling out. At least that is my interpretation of what you wrote. And since I have heard this kind of fallacious logic before (on a JWOC map no less) I thought it was worth addressing.
More generally I was reacting to the general tone of the response to this question - which waｓ 'leave them off' - which I think is part of the broader trend of demanding less detail on maps, as an over reaction to a perceived problem with overmapping.
since neither of us have half a clue what the actual feature we're arguing over looks like Now that I agree with. Which is why, if you reread my original post, you will see that I made no suggestion at all about how these features should be mapped. Short of going into the terrain myself I would be very reluctant to offer such 'advice'.
Really it's quite simple - if they are 'significant' they should be mapped. If the mapper is unsure if they pass that test - get someone else to come and have a look at them and give a second opinion. If that's not possible you just have to make a decision. That's what mapping is all about. There is rarely a right or wrong answer. Look at any examples of the same area mapped by different mappers and you will be surprised by the lack of uniformity. This is not nessarily a problem - a good orienteer is quite capable of adapting to different interpretations. Indeed that is just one of the skills an orienteer needs to develop.
And, Juffy, my posts have pointed out that small features can be mapped (if significant) - it's just that they have to be exaggerated. And if the exaggeration affects other, more significant features then have a re-think about whether your feature ought in fact to be left out.
@upnorthguy - agree with most of your points, and of course we want consistency, particularly with vegetation. But over here we might have two, pretty identical 1m boulders on the same map; one gets to appear on the map because it is clearly significant in an otherwise almost boulderless part of the terrain, the other is left off because there are several 4m boulders and a couple of 5m cliffs in the same 100sqm.
Simmo - what you are describing is hardly confined to to WA (or even Australia). And it is entirely consistent with ISOM - in an area full of 4-5m rock features a 1m boulder is obviously not 'significant'. Context clearly affects what is significant.
I second the thrust of robplow's comments, and possibly all the specifics as well.
Context is everything. Yes, that can mean practicing inconsistency, even within a given map.
If the feature is significant, map it, in the simplest way possible.
Boulders are one of the most compact, least cluttering symbols.
Despite the lengthy discussion, this situation does not sound unusual to me.
Because of this, I seriously question the need for pre-meet notes. These notes have a tendency to become far too lengthy, often like a travelogue and often a lazy escape for problems which should be solved by revised course design. Therefore the few important points that might occur at an event fail to get communicated. Save the pre-meet notes for more serious issues.
Orienteers have, and can deal with this type of a map situation, which is usually self describing in the terrain, even for the people who resort to legalese-measuring stick arguments in post meet discussions.
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