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Attackpoint - performance and training tools for orienteering athletes

Discussion: Map Analysis #2

in: Orienteering; Training & Technique

Feb 5, 2023 5:00 AM # 
Here is another map analysis for anyone who is interested. How would you get from Control 5 to Control 6?

Here is the map
Feb 5, 2023 12:46 PM # 
Depends how hot it is. I might just go for a swim instead.
Feb 5, 2023 1:00 PM # 
I would bail to the trail, run south to the intersection, follow the edge of the first marsh and then follow the vegetation boundaries to the control
Feb 5, 2023 2:53 PM # 
Im interested in what better o’ers than I would use for attack points for 1, 2, 4, and 5.

Feb 5, 2023 2:54 PM # 
Sorry, i meant 6 not 5.
Feb 5, 2023 4:01 PM # 
@o-darn -- for getting from Control 1 to Control 2 I would try to follow the hill, walking south southwest, just above the big drop until I hit the big trail. Therefore, the big drop off would be to my right as I walk down the hill. The top of the big drop looks almost like the top of a cliff given how close the contour lines are, although it gets more gradual the more you follow it south south west, creating a kind of handrail.

Then I would follow the big trail until the trail bend. I would use this trail bend as my attack point for Control 2, although there might be a need to take a little jog around some thick forest along the bearing to Control 2. I would look for the control in between the two vegetation boundaries. The Cormorant Pond is a catching point in case I go past the control.

But I would be following this route with trepidation as the map features used for this route plan are more subtle than manmade objects, path intersections, tips of ponds and lakes, etcetera that you see on lower skill courses. Interested in what others think of this plan.
Feb 5, 2023 6:33 PM # 
5 to 6? That's an okay leg,
My route would be from 5 to roughly aim mostly south but a little west, expecting to hit that trail near the letter B
then follow the trail, measure and follow the larger trail about 150 meters to about the letter G. The exact distance doesn't matter. Then again going rough compass south west head towared the distinct vegetation change that surrounds the pond.
Head south to where I can see the land start to rise and I know that just west of that hill where Control 1 is will be control 6. Use the sight of that hill as a collecting feature.
I see the contour interval is only 1 meter. Some orienteers would skoff at that but this is Florida. One meter makes a BIG difference.
Feb 5, 2023 10:39 PM # 
Thank you. My question was specifically about attack points. We learn to use CAR (and I learned to make it CARE with exit — avery useful to me) but on a course, about 1/3 of the time I have no idea what a goodd attack point woukd be. i just end up using the terrain to get me to the control. But I wonder if I’m just not good at seeing attackpoints as the target for route planning, rather than just heading for the control itself.
Feb 5, 2023 11:33 PM # 
Mr Wonderful:
Perhaps interesting reading: Full Speed No Mistakes
Feb 6, 2023 1:18 AM # 
The full speed no mistakes article was fantastic. I helps someone like me who is now learning to navigate based on terrain changes rather than path bends, intersections, buildings, and other man made features.

@O-Darn: You said "i just end up using the terrain to get me to the control. But I wonder if I’m just not good at seeing attackpoints as the target for route planning, rather than just heading for the control itself." I think if you're already using terrain you're ahead of the game. Most beginners start out using obvious attack points that aren't terrain-based, and from my reading (as in the Full Speed-No Mistakes article), they navigate easily using terrain features.

I am also interested in what others think about getting to the other controls in the map in the opening of this thread. This is a green course so there aren't obvious attack points for a lot of the controls.
Feb 6, 2023 2:07 AM # 
I might just go for a swim instead

Feb 6, 2023 6:38 AM # 
That's alright, we have those in Australia too so I'm quite good at tackling them.
Feb 6, 2023 8:40 AM # 
Florida mostly has alligators, which are much less scary than crocodiles.
Feb 6, 2023 9:46 AM # 
Attack point? Whoever it is that is teaching new orienteers that the one way to navigate an orienteering leg is to look for the attack point please stop it. It is not useful to focus in on one strategy of several.
In football (American or world) it would not be useful to tell a player to always take tens steps then turn to the left to get the pass, would it? No, the player has to be prepared for many possibilities. Same in orienteering.
An attack point is one of several tools in an orienteer's kit and is probably not the most frequently used one. But who counts? Well for this course I counted and found probably one control where the attack point would be the most useful tool.
What else is there to use? Off aiming, collecting and catching features, hand rails, pace counting on a compass bearing and very useful here elongating and/ or enlarging the control. I described above how to use off-aiming and elongation to confidently approach the control #6.
Feb 6, 2023 11:05 AM # 
The name of this website is kind of misleading. Perhaps Ken should rename it 'Attackpoint and other useful orienteering methods'.
Feb 6, 2023 11:45 AM # 
No this website is well-named but it has nothing to do with orienteering.
Post an opinion here and it will not be long before at least one of a dozen or so will attack your point.
Feb 6, 2023 1:01 PM # 
Ha ha. Feels like a family.

Thx! “For this course I counted and found probably one control where the attack point would be the most useful tool.” I feel reassured. It’s just the controls I’m missing not the attack points. ;-)
Feb 6, 2023 7:54 PM # 
Might help to think about "expanding" the control circle as part of your "C" in CAR. In the case of control 5, when you expand the control circle you can see that the spur off that hill will be nicely visible and the dot knoll will be an extension of the spur.
Feb 7, 2023 2:12 AM # 
I like Gord's comment about thinking erroneously that attack points are the only way to find a control. I think it's good for people who are starting out on white or yellow courses. But I'm realizing that when you get to Orange courses or higher, you do need to understand how to use terrain features, pace counting, compass bearings, collection, and catching points.

But what about when the map is really old? I don't trust old maps to have copses, vegetation boundaries, and clearings accurately depicted on the map. Nor do I trust that light green forest is navigable anymore -- it could have become impassable if the map was created 10 years ago. Thoughts on that? How do you handle maps that are really old?
Feb 7, 2023 2:18 AM # 
I think it depends on the area, but if the green is something you can get through, but it just might be a bit slower, I often find that I just basically ignore the vegetation. I think it comes down to knowing the type of vegetation that grows in that area, whether it be from previous experience or checking with others that know the area better before going out if ignoring it can be a viable option. Clearings I find don't change to the same extent, so they should be pretty safe to use as a navigational feature, but green vegetation I would not use to navigate unless I knew it was a recently updated map.
Feb 7, 2023 3:53 PM # 
Gordhun is correct, attackpoint is an abstraction that it useful in certain situations, but it is not any kind of sacred cow
Feb 7, 2023 4:53 PM # 
I have no idea what the vegetation is like, but the only options I see are the trail to the north or straight through the veg on a bearing. And the only option that seems viable to me is the trail.

Even if the mapper did a great job mapping the veg, trying to read it while running quickly is pretty futile. Detailed reading like that slows you down more than the advantage you get from running straight. And running on a bearing is almost always slower than running off features. Add that to the runnability and that's already enough for me to call it a no-go.

On top of that, once you bust out of the green on the other side, you're going to have to be pretty certain of where you are, unless you get lucky and can already see the flag. It could work, but the mental energy you'll have exerted beforehand and after relocating will break up your flow and waste even more time.

But you'll be able to move faster on the trail to the north because of the lack of veg. You'll also move faster because you're confident. And you've got the trail junction just northwest as your attackpoint. As it says in the link Mr Wonderful posted: "Full speed, no mistakes" does not mean run full speed, make no mistakes. It means take the route that lets you run full speed with no mistakes. And that means specifically you, not the general you, since the route you're confident running without mistakes will not be the route someone feels confident running without mistakes.
Feb 7, 2023 4:58 PM # 
Also, I see loads of attackpoints for each control, but what attackpoints work depend on how familiar you are with the terrain, the mapping style, and reading subtle features so you can pick out the most visible points.
Feb 7, 2023 8:41 PM # 
OP, you can also do replays of that event on Livelox and see what routes seemed to work out the best. I just went to and selected All events from United States and searched on the word "Moss" and there are FLO events from 2017 on.

Of course, reading the strategies of other orienteers on here is very helpful, but I find Livelox replays are also really helpful to see how different strategies seemed to play out.
Feb 7, 2023 9:18 PM # 
Terje Mathisen:
#6 is actually quite hard to miss! First SW to the path, leaving the green behind, then the path past the junction almost to 'G', before a coarse direction: On the right you'll have the distinct vegetation boundary, and on the left the big hill where #1 was located!
Feb 8, 2023 12:10 AM # 
Wow @TimMcl, the Livelox approach is great! You can learn a lot about how the front runner made it to each control. I know where I'm going to be spending more of my time in the future -- on LiveLox! I still think its of value to post possible routes here so people have to think through it on their own. But Livelox is a good place to go after its been discussed thoroughly.
Feb 8, 2023 9:46 AM # 
I have went through and explained in a quite detailed way most/half of my 2022 races.

My plan was to go through all 2022 races but not sure will that happen, I may move on to 2023 races. I wonder should I try doing some of them in English? The thing is, a plain route just does not tell much what runner was thinking, so some kind of explanation with some pinpointing used features on map is quite useful.
Feb 8, 2023 9:04 PM # 
Jackson Rupe:
I would hit the trail west of six, get to the intersection, then cut off, follow along the marsh into the distinct vegagtation boundry, and follow it into six.

@o-darn I would use the end of the trail as an attack point to number 1, I would not worry to much about having a specific attack point into number two, just handrail along the distinct veg boundary and lake, for number 4 I might use the distinct vegatation boundry to jump off, an for six I would use the end of the distinct veg boundry of the medium green.
Feb 16, 2023 9:43 PM # 
Jagge, yes please to some in English! I’ve found some others’ that were subtitled to be helpful but vary hard to read and follow the orienteering at the same time. I also appreciate the videos using GoPro to see what the terrain looks like relative to the map. (I think I’m much better at route choice than visualizing the terrain and executing.)

I,d also be really interested in your thought process at the beginnng of a course when you first tuen over the map. What are you looking for and thinking through, and for how long before or while you are well on your way to tue first control. Or, what do you do when studying old maps ofmthe terrain?

I’m an advanced orienteer but inconcistent. There is a lot of repetitive info online and then other topics that I think only orienteers with access to coaching get….

Thank you all!
Apr 20, 2023 2:33 PM # 
Here we go :)

My second race (third O sesson) of the year. making this video was a lot harder than I thought, harder than the O course. I seem to not know the vocabulary. Or the voice.

Apr 23, 2023 9:38 PM # 
Thank you for that. It’s always helpful to me to hear the thinking of more experienced o’ers, including reflecting on other route choices or what they might have done better.

This discussion thread is closed.