Occassional thoughts about orienteering

Saturday, May 31, 2008

White contour lines


Some of the first O' maps in Kansas had white contour lines. Here's an example:

I don't know how Gene came up with the idea of white contour lines. I think it works quite well.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 5:55 PM


Thursday, May 29, 2008

Racing or orienteering?


The NY Times ran an article a few days ago about spotting talent in race car drivers. Here are a few quotes that struck me as having some relevance to orienteering:

...how a driver reacts to errors is also important. “Racecar drivers consistently make mistakes,” Mr. Barber said. “How quickly do they correct?”

A practice session or even a qualifying lap can be revealing. Still, it’s how a driver stacks up against the competition that matters most. Racing is about winning, after all,...

Mike Dillon, a former Nascar driver who is vice president for competition with Richard Childress Racing, looks for versatility in a young racer. “If someone can run in different series and still win, that’s an eye opener,” he says. “If he goes to 10 or 11 different tracks and still wins, then he’s done something.”

Mr. Dillon was intrigued by Mr. Gifford’s control on the one-third-mile dirt track and the fact that he wasn’t nervous during the unplanned tryout. After monitoring Mr. Gifford’s progress throughout the 2007 season, Mr. Dillon offered him a place this year in the Richard Childress Racing development program,...

...perseverance might qualify as its own kind of talent. Anders Krohn, 20, a first-year driver for Andersen Racing in the Formula 2000 series, spent years developing his own team of sponsors to help pay his way from Norway to the United States.

But determination, it turns out, is yet another thing that can be spotted at a young age. “By the time they get to 16,” Mr. Bailey said, “you can tell the ones who are racing because they want to be racers, versus the ones whose dads want them to be there.”

If you put all of this together, you get a pretty good list of attributes that might signal success as an orienteer: quickly correct errors; competition matters most; handles different different terrains; doesn't get too nervous; perseveres; and driven by their own determination.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 9:12 PM


Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Dogs in the terrain


I like dogs, but I get nervous around some dogs that I don't know. That's why this is my nightmare:

EOC sprint quali. Really bad race. To the first control I met a dog, which I had to bark back at. Lost some concentration and time there of maybe 10 secs max. Kept on going, until I on my way to the 4th control took a flight, trying to run through a hole in a fence with a metal threshold and reading the map at the same time. landed in glass and dog poo and crashed my compass.

After his run in with the dog, Anders Holmberg just barely missed qualifying for the A-final.

I think he's running the middle distance qualifier on Friday. I'll be hoping he doesn't run in to any dogs during that race.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 8:11 PM


Tuesday, May 27, 2008

WOC team ages


I took a quick look at the age of the U.S. WOC team runners. For some reason, I've always been a bit interested in the age make up of WOC teams. For example, I've written about the age distribution of runners at last year's WOC sprint and the 2004 and 2005 U.S. WOC teams and the 2003 WOC entries from all nations.

As best I can tell, this year's U.S. WOC team averages 31.4 years.

Eric Bone 34
Ross Smith 25
Eddie Bergeron 39
Wyatt Riley 35
Clem McGrath 34

Sandra Zurcher 27
Samantha Saeger 26
Hillary Saeger 24
Pavlina Brautigam 47
Viktoria Brautigam 23(?)

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 8:39 PM


Sunday, May 25, 2008

New scanner, old map


We replaced our old scanner with one that works. Our old scanner sat next to the computer, acting as a paper weight. The new scanner sits next to the computer, acting as a scanner.

I tested it by scanning an old map. I was surprised to find this particular map - it was the 3rd orienteering course I ever ran. I remember most of the course. Mostly, I remember the weather - cool temps and steady rain.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 8:59 PM


Saturday, May 24, 2008

US WOC Trials sprint course


Here's the US WOC trials sprint course (lifted from Peter's page):

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 6:04 PM


Friday, May 23, 2008

Long leg in Hungary


A quote (roughly translated) from OPN:

"That was really good and I'm very satisfied with the race. I missed a bit at the start on the difficult long leg, but I had good "flyt" from there on," said Jostein Andersen.

Long leg? This was from the Eruomeeting sprint race. The winning time was 18:12 and Andersen finished 3rd in 18:25.

I guess "long leg" is relative. I haven't seen the map on the web yet, but it'll be interesting to see.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 6:34 PM


Thursday, May 22, 2008

Grading system version 1.1


A couple of modifications:

1. Alternative training is worth 1 point.
2. The maximum alternative training points in a day is 2.
3. The maximum daily total of all training is 10.

The main result of these changes is that Boris gets more points than he would under yesterday's version. For example, Boris did an hour on the bike yesterday. That's 1 point. On Sunday, Boris did some O' training and a bike ride. I'll credit him with 5 points for the O' session (though it might not have been hilly) and 1 point for the biking.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 8:08 PM


Reducing following


The Norwegian O' Federation is conducting a survey (of "elite orienteers on all levels and others who have a special interest in the matter") on ways to keep runners from forming packs and going around the course together. It sounds like a worthwhile project.

Are you an elite orienteer? Or interested in the future of orienteering? Please use 5 minutes of your time to fill out a questionary about separation methods in orienteering provided by a work group set up by the Technical Committee of the Norwegian Orienteering Federation. The questionary has already been distributed to national team members through the national team trainers, and is now extended to a broader audience. The intended audience is elite orienteers on all levels - and others who have special interest in the matter.

More info and a link to the survey are here.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 6:56 AM


Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Grading system version 1


After thinking up a bunch of more complicated ideas I decided to start simple.

For any workout, the score is 0-5 points. Give the session 1 point if it is a run. If it is a hilly run, add a point. If it is in the forest, add a point. If it is fast, add a point. If it involves navigation, add a point. If the workout was not running, it gets one point (but no more). If you take a day off, but trained at least the previous two days, that day is worth a point (i.e. an earned day off is a point).

Here are my last few days:

Sunday - 70 minutes at an easy jog, hilly trails, carrying the map and reading it some of the time. That's 3 points (1 for a run + 1 for hills + 1 for some navigation).

Monday - a day off. Since I ran on Saturday, I get 1 point for an "earned rest."

Tuesday - 30 minutes with 6 x 400 meters of intervals on a flat trail. That's 2 points.

Wednesday - 50 minutes easy on a flat trail. That's 1 point.

I'll play around with this simple system a bit and see what, if anything, I learn.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 9:21 PM


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Grading training


Sunday, I did a 70 minute training run. I carried a map and kept track of my progress. I ran on trails with a few hills.

Yesterday, I worked late and didn't do any training.

Today, I did a short trail run with some intervals. I ran on flat trails. I would have run more, but I needed to get home and mow the lawn.

While I was mowing, I decided it'd be nice to be able to "grade" each run and then add up the grades on a weekly (or monthly) basis to get some measure of how well I'd trained. What I had in mind was a simple system. I'd count up points based on the training. I haven't thought through this very carefully, but maybe I'd give myself 3 points if I ran in O' relevant terrain and 1 point for each 30 minutes of running and some points for running hard (or easy when rest was called for) and so on.

Maybe it is a completely flaky idea (I've had a lot of those). I'll give it some more thought and see what I come up with.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 9:01 PM


Monday, May 19, 2008

Peering into the future?


I spent some time this weekend reading about lidar. People are developing computer programs that do much more than just create contours. They've got programs that analyze the raw data and characterize it. In other words, the software looks at the data and decides if it is a road or a building or a forest. I don't know how well these programs work. I suspect they are so-so. You wouldn't completely trust the characterizations.

As I was running in the forest on Sunday, I started wondering if someone could write a program to make an educated guess about the runnability of forested areas. In this part of the country, it is very difficult to consistently map the different shades of green. Having a computer program taking a first crack at it would be useful.

I also came across an experiment with using lidar to create 3d models of city buildings that can then be used in Google Earth. Cool.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 8:59 PM


Sunday, May 18, 2008

Looking at Canadian sprint results


Last night I took a quick look at the results from the Canadian WOC selection races in Ottawa. I was a bit surprised to see that Patrick Goeres' result in the sprint. Not that he won, but that he won a 12 minute race by over a minute.

1. Patrick Goeres 12:06
2. Mike Smith 13:09

Patrick won 11 of 17 legs.

Patrick ran the first leg in 39 seconds. Mike ran it in 51. Only one other person was under 50 seconds.

It makes me think that either (a) Patrick is just that much faster than any of the others and/or (b) he's figured out something about sprint orienteering that the rest haven't and/or (c) he got a bit lucky.

I was curious to see the course...and today, I found it. Brent posted it and I lifted it.

The course looks reasonable. Lots of direction changes and several places where it'd be easy to skip a control or go to the wrong control. I was a bit surprised that they ran on a regular map rather than a map field checked under the sprint standards.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 4:08 PM


Saturday, May 17, 2008

Summer vegetation


I took a short run on the bike trails at Clinton State Park today. The summer vegetation is out. You can't see much more than 15 meters into the forest in any direction. It is disorienting.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 8:11 PM


Thursday, May 15, 2008

Nomeland on his leg at Tio Mila


Arild Nomeland ran the 2nd leg at Tio Mila for Kristiansand OK's winning team and wrote about it at the KOK elite blog.

Here is a rough translation of a bit of what he wrote:

I was with a pack of 6-7 teams on the way to the start triangle. I decided to run the left route choice on trails in order to get a safe and good start. None of the teams around me went that way. I have to say that my pulse went up a bit when I didn't see any headlamps either ahead or behind me. I tried to push hard without getting too much lactic acid. On the way into the first control I saw a lot of the known teams and know that I'd had a good start.

If you can read Norwegian, the original article is worth a look. If you can't, you can check out the Google Translate version. It isn't perfect (and some of the translation is a bit strange) but you'll get the idea.

My New Toy

I picked up a Radio Shack Infrared Thermometer yesterday. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with it, but I can tell you that the glass of Smithwicks sitting next to the keyboard is at 51.5 degrees and tastes good.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 9:07 PM


Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Another look at some terrain using lidar


I spent a bit more time playing with lidar data.

This image is pretty interesting. You can see the stream and ditch beds. The scale, by the way, was inadvertently cut off. Each tick mark on the bar scale is 50 meters. One of the more interesting features that shows up in the DEM is a line that runs straight east-west across the lower part of the image. That line is an old stone wall.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 9:16 PM


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Everest climb documentary


Instead of writing something, I spent most of the evening glued to the TV watching a PBS documentary about climbing Everest (You can apparently watch the entire program online at the link).

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 9:47 PM


Monday, May 12, 2008

Ice vests


I spent some time this weekend in front of the TV watching the Giro d'Italia bike race. The Slipstream-Chippotle team won the team time trial. According to an article in Velonews, part of the secret was warming up with ice vests.

Then Lim pulled out his secret weapon: white vests filled with ice that riders donned to keep their core temperature low and allow the legs to warm up without overcooking their body temperature.

“We warmed up with ice vests, which are not fun to warm up with,” Vande Velde said.

If I had to orienteer in hot weather and I had more money than I knew what to do with, then I'd buy myself an ice vest.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 8:39 PM


Saturday, May 10, 2008

A Swedish comparison of lidar and O' maps


A comparison of a lidar basemap and an orienteering map from Sweden:

The image is from Erik Zander's paper on lidar as a method for producing orienteering maps. The paper is in Swedish, but has some nice graphics that compare the data he got from lidar to an orienteering map of the same area. Here is the PDF file.

Reading Zander's paper inspired me to play around with some local lidar data. I've been using a free program called Quickgrid to produce contour maps which can be exported and used in OCAD. I also installed a demo version of Global Mapper which seems to have a few more features than Quickgrid (and let me open some lidar data that I can't open in Quickgrid).

With Global Mapper I was able to easily view some of the shaded relief lidar data. These files showed a reasonable amount of detail - like ditches and roads - that aren't necessarily visible in the contours alone.

I'll keep experimenting...but, now I've got to go do some organizing around the house (and packing).

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 12:15 PM


Friday, May 09, 2008

Urban Basketball?


I came across this map today:

It is from "Urb-O", which seems to be a way to begin to introduce kids to orienteering. You can see a short video.

I also came across a Norwegian newspaper story about the event. Since Google Translate just added Swedish and Norwegian, it seemed like a good opportunity for a test. Here is a bit of the article translated by Google:

Urb-o stands for Urban Basketball, and is a newly-established offerings for children and young people in Sandviken. Every Thursday, anyone who wants to be with and run - with or without a map.

Basketball? Google translated "orientering" to "basketball."

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 6:46 PM


Thursday, May 08, 2008

Mapping Party?


Mapping Party? I came across the term when I was browsing through Yep Sport. It turns out there is something called an Open Street Map:

OpenStreetMap is a free editable map of the whole world. It is made by people like you.

OpenStreetMap allows you to view, edit and use geographical data in a collaborative way from anywhere on Earth.

A Mapping Party turns out to be a meeting where a bunch of people get together and do some fieldchecking and then update the Open Street Map. They also have mini mapping parties:

Everyone should meet at the designated meeting place. Have coffee and plan who will go where.
IMPORTANT: Exchange phone numbers.
Go surveying. It should be possible to cover the whole area by bike within two or three hours. Coordinate by phone as necessary.
While surveying, identify a suitable pub for lunch and for pub/restaurant/accommodation for the evening.
When all surveying is complete, and not before, rendez-vous at the pub.
Have lunch and spend the afternoon uploading and editing.
On completion retire to the selected evening venue.

It sounds fun.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 9:17 PM


Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Quickroute from West Point "Classic"


Here is my Quickroute from the "classic" day at West Point (M40 course):

The cadets put together a nice course in fantastic terrain. I wish I'd felt a bit stronger (i.e. I wish I'd spent more time training and less time eating over the last 6-months). It looks to me like my pace slowed quite a bit after about the 5th control (except for when I was on a road).

Despite moving slowly, I had a lot of fun. Orienteering is so much fun. Running in the forest makes you feel like a little kid.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 8:48 PM


Tuesday, May 06, 2008

West Point Sprint Quickroute


I didn't make it up to West Point in time to run the middle distance race on Saturday. But, I did make it for the afternoon's sprint race. Here is my Quickroute:

The Quickroute track shows pretty clearly the different character of the different parts of the course. The first loop was mostly forest, mostly rough, mostly slow. The second part of the course was much faster and a different kind of orienteering. That short of variety is nice.

Running around the camp at West Point was fun. Still, running around the camp at West Point when your surrounded by some of the best orienteering terrain in the nation seems a bit strange. I'm reminded of Aspleaf's sprint O' flowchart.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 8:14 PM


Friday, May 02, 2008



I should be on an airplane on my way to Newark. I'm not. The flight was canceled due to weather. I'll be on a flight first thing tomorrow a.m. But, I doubt I'll make it in time to run the middle distance race tomorrow. If the flight is on time, I should make the afternoon sprint race.

Speaking of weather, a tornado passed by last night. We woke up about 2 a.m. when a blast of wind hit the area - lots of wind and a bit of hail, but no real damage at our house. About 3 miles to the southeast, they weren't so luck. Here's a snapshot of some of the damage (lifted from the KC Star web page):

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 7:22 PM


Thursday, May 01, 2008

Short quote from Ingunn Weltzien on sprint orienteering


Ingunn Weltzien finished 2nd in the Swedish sprint champs. Here are a couple of roughly translated quotes from Kondis' report of the race:

"...I started easier than in my previous sprint races and I spiked the first control. I had good "flyt" and was able to stay concentrated through the whole course. On the course I lost around 5 seconds on one control, and I've got to be very satisfied," says Weltzien.

"...I'm trying out different tactics...My goal is to prepare myself in every sprint race. I'm not thinking about a place in the WOC, but I'm focusing on the perfect sprint race," says Weltzien, who is more self confident than ever.

I saw a video report and it seems as if the course was fast and the orienteering simple. The results were tight. In M21, 1st place to 32nd (last) place was less than 2 minutes.

I can't quite figure out what I think about sprint orienteering. I guess it is fun. But, it still just doesn't seem right.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 9:27 PM


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