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Mapping news from the IOF and other countries, blogs by respected overseas mappers, what we can learn from world champs maps etc. Evaluations that the IOF makes of some of our maps.

MT: Michael Posted: 12 July 2008, 7:44 PM

Following the World Masters Orienteering final on 17 October 2009, a two day mapping workshop will be held for Australian and New Zealand mappers on part of the areas used for the Masters qualification and final races. The emphasis will be on changing contours and the convenor will be Eric Andrews.


MT: Michael Posted: 14 July 2008, 6:10 PM

From the world champs maps on the web, I suspect they've used the “transparent” option for the purple. I haven't used it but think it has the potential of reducing the need to break circles and lines. Do you think the course stands out though? Wonder what the competitors thought.

MT: onemanfanclub Posted: 14 July 2008, 9:00 PM

In the context of a sprint map with lots of big buildings it worked for me sitting down in front of a screen. Not as hard a test as running with it in your hand though. And would it work so well in a more trad orienteering context?

MT: Paul I Posted: 9 May 2009, 12:26 PM

Check this out from the IOF Map Commission after evaluating the 2008 year maps. Sure scares the hell out of me…

“Final comments Form lines In my opinion something must be done. It is frustrating to observe good mappers to spoil their own maps loading them with hundreds of unnecessary form lines. Probably, the most simple solution is to abolish form lines from the ISOM revision, although mappers may not like it. Form lines may be necessary only for hills or depressions. However this problem may be solved by introducing two new symbols: hill top (for instance a brown *) and depression bottom (for instance an empty brown star). We can even introduce two sizes for these two new symbols (shallow or evident hill/depression top/bottom). In this way we solve also two problems: eliminate the use of an imprecise area symbol (a large closed contour line) for a control symbol hill or depression which in reality is meant as a point type control point and indicate the precise location of the hill top or depression bottom. In this way is even possible to locate more than one hill/depression top/bottom within a single closed contour line, or even both type of symbols. Of course this would not impair the use of the closed contour line when it is small enough. This is in the direction of greater generalization and would give the same information with much less map loading. Courses Let us suppose to design on the same terrain and on the same map two different courses with the same winning times. One with 15 to 20 controls, 3 minutes interval start; another one with 36 controls, a butterfly and 2 minutes interval start. Then let the same 80 competitors run both. I am ready to bet against anybody that the placing will be different, the podium (the first six) will be different, and most probably even the medals will be different. If we all agree that this is so, it means that we have two different sports, not the same sport. Which one is the orienteering we want? We may choose the second, but remember that it is against development, overwhelmingly difficult for competitors from newcomers nations, overwhelmingly difficult to be organised by newcomers nations. Do we really want the same ten nations to win WOCs and WCs, to organize WOCs and WCs in saecula saeculorum? Is this the way we want to follow to become Olympics? Is it not a simple 15/20 controls course difficult enough? How can we pull away young people from other sports and convince them to run these crazy courses?”

… and apparently we're too pathetic to do butterflies. Say What? I don't like our chances of the new ISOM going down well with very many mappers if this stuff is anything to go by.

MT: Michael Posted: 9 May 2009, 5:06 PM

You're right Paul, this reads (after downloading 4mb no less) like the result of a conversation over the teacups. Some things may be valid errata like two formlines between contours, but to extend this to banning formlines is bizarre in extremis. We aren't told who compiled it and I wonder if it has been formally endorsed by the Mapping Committee. If so they must be well outside their brief to be critiquing the courses, and beyond that bemoaning developments in orienteering!

I haven't got a problem with differing formulae producing different winners:-)) We haven't finished yet with new types of orienteering.

MT: Jamie Posted: 10 May 2009, 7:38 AM

I normally stay away from your peoples mapping thread, because mapping scares the hell out of me…

But that is priceless…“How can we pull away young people from other sports and convince them to run these crazy courses”…!!! It reads like something made up by Paul to stir the pot, but too ridiculous.

On the mapping bits I feel that I have run on some damn good maps with detailed contours in my life, whats broken?

MT: Svend Posted: 10 May 2009, 7:19 PM

The evaluation report on the 2008 year maps was compiled by Sergio Grifoni, an Italian member of the IOF mapping Commission. If anyone should like to send him a message, his email address is:

MT: Michael Posted: 7 September 2010, 8:49 PM

Came across an interesting blog kept by the mapper of a new area in Georgia, US. He's been going for a year and the job isn't finished yet. Not specially technical, more philosophical.

MT: Michael Posted: 16 September 2010, 9:47 PM

And here's a facebook page by a top mapper. Ales Hejna is a Czech who maps as “Olles Maps”, he has mapped in NZ and he did the sprint map for WOC in Trondheim.

Ales is on the IOF Mapping Commission, and one of his links is to the proceedings of the mapping conference at Trondheim. Three matters from that were interesting. 1. Some of the files were needlessly large, if someone wants to download the 39mb of the Danish paper please give me a summary 2. Several papers on LIDAR, a common thread being that its great but it encourages excessive contour detail 3. A summary of the revision of the ISOM. The “road map” says the second call for national submissions is happening about now with evaluation of them by the end of the year.

MT: Michael Posted: 3 November 2010, 3:57 PM

Ales Hejna's Facebook wall refers to an article about printing technology in the digital age; based on experience with the maps for WOC 2010. State of the art stuff.

Ales has also published a comparison between a “virtual map” of an island and a real orienteering map. His virtual map was made without going there, entirely from published materials such as aerial photos. Some top competitors are doing this before a competition. An interesting issue for the conscience.

On the IOF website are issues of the “Scientific Journal of Orienteering”. Generally the papers are IMO opinion pretty useless. But there's a good overview paper on the state of orienteering mapping in Vol 17, by Laszlow Zentai, former chair of the iOF Mapping Committee.

MT: richardh Posted: 8 February 2012, 11:31 PM

On facebook I am friends with Olles Maps and Jan Kocbach. They both post interesting stuff, and the link to ocad 11 wiki came from Olles Maps.

MT: richardh Posted: 9 February 2012, 12:02 AM

Correction. The good gen comes from 'liking' the following pages on Facebook Ultimate orienteering Olles Maps Routegadget Check the vids out in the last one, such as RR37 YouTube link

MT: mcroxford Posted: 22 June 2012, 6:53 PM

MT: Michael Posted: 12 July 2013, 11:30 AM

Interesting to see what we can learn from the WOC maps. Probably the middle is the toughest test of the detail vs legibility problem -$FILE/Middle%20Q%20MEN%201.gif First thing I noticed after reading the ISOM discussion on formlines is, there are a LOT of formlines! Maybe they should have used 2.5m. They have at least made the best of them by dash control, hardly any gaps in places of high curvature. Second is that the rock seems clear, even to the extent that they have been able to also use vegetation boundary dots! Malcolm Ingham's comment may tell us why: “Any rock features shown on the map are really big, meaning that a lot of rock detail of a size that would normally be mapped in New Zealand is not shown.” And they have not resorted to representing the absent rock detail with stony ground dots as the JWOC middle mappers did. Other comments?

MT: fraser Posted: 18 May 2016, 9:54 PM

Maps are now available for this years' World Champs.

Automatically generated with LiDAR and Land Survey data, they have been released now “to ensure equal possibilities for all nations”.

MT: Michael Posted: 20 May 2016, 7:48 PM

Top Australian mapper Eric Andrews has died. Eric was a specialist in mapping the detailed granite areas that are popular there, and that gave rise to extremely pertinent advice on generalisation, which will live on. Something like, I look around and ask which rocks put their hands up and say “pick me!” The rest don't go on the map. The middle and long in this year's Oz Champs will be in the Queensland granite belt near where he lived, and may well be on his mapping.

MT: The Map Guy Posted: 21 May 2016, 4:09 PM

I am devastated to hear of Eric's passing. He was truly a Giant in fieldworking techniques and a great mentor. Whenever I find it tough about deciding what is to go onto the map I ask myself what would Eric do, and the “pick me” principle resounds in my brain. Eric's teachings have never let me down.

Thank you Eric for your wisdom, expertise, and the pleasure and challenges you gave me running on your maps. You have left big shoes to fill, but your legacy will carry on for generations in those orienteers who pursue the art of making maps.

A mighty totara has fallen in our orienteering forest - or should that be a eucalyptus?

MT: Michael Posted: 23 August 2016, 11:19 PM

Any comments on the WOC map cartography? Good things we might not have thought of, bad or hard to interpret things?

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