Occassional thoughts about orienteering

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Hey Ogg, why don't you get us that meat?


I just did a little experiment after I read something on Attackpoint:

I find low-resolution jpg files to be of limited utility from a training perspective. They're fine for comparing routes, but if what you want is to get better at reading an orienteering map, you need an orienteering map.

And that got me wondering about the difference between a jpg and an OCAD map printed on my cheap inkjet printer. So, I did an experiment.

I opened a file from a jpg file from a DOMA archive and sent it to the printer. Then I compared it to an OCAD map printed on the same printer.

Are they different?


How are they different?

The jpg file doesn't print as sharply. All of the features are a bit softer. The jpg colors are rougher. In general, the colors have more saturation in the jpg file, making the map look brighter. The colors are less smooth in the jpg. In an area of a single color, there is a sense that the shading isn't quite even.

I think it is clear that the original map is better and given the choice, you'd rather look at and use the OCAD version rather than the jpg version. But, what caught my eye in the quote from Attackpoint was:

...if what you want is to get better at reading an orienteering map, you need an orienteering map.

The context is a discussion about making "leftover" maps from events available to people who want to use them, for example, for armchair orienteering or for running with a map in hand.

For the life of me, I can't figure out how a jpg file isn't adequate. It might not be as easy to look at or have exactly the IOF standard colors, but I'd think you could get as much benefit of using a jpg as using an OCAD map. That said, I've been known to train orienteering with black and white photocopies of maps, on tourist maps, using Openorienteeringmap, and using black and white photocopies of contour only maps. I've always felt you can get something out of just about any map as long as the map represents spatial relationships in a reasonable way.

I'm not saying that given a choice between a jpg copy of a map and a well-printed map, I'd pick the jpg. But, I do believe that you can get a lot of good from using those jpg maps that are so easy to find on the web.

I think the comment on Attackpoint represents something fairly common - an ability to identify problems over solutions. People see hurdles before they see opportunities. Many of us are hardwired to spot problems and to identify reasons a situation isn't ideal. Fewer of us are hardwired to spot the opportunities.

Maybe it goes back thousands of years. Seeing problems first might have suited us well. I'm imaging a group of cavemen. They are hungry. They come across a tiger eating some raw meat. "Hey Ogg, why don't you get us that meat?" Ogg would be well suited to point out that, while the meat might be good, he wasn't about to take on a tiger to get it. Ogg was well-served by seeing the hurdle rather than the opportunity.

I'm guessing that someone training to improve as an orienteer would be better served by seeing the opportunity rather than seeing the hurdle.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 3:27 PM


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