Occassional thoughts about orienteering

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

What does Norway need?


What does Norway need?

An orienteering development philosophy.

That's the two sentence summary of an article from OPN.

If I understand the Norwegian correctly, the article makes the case that Norway has been without a philosophy or model and that at the national team level the focus changes with each coach. Anders Garderud focused on developing running speed to prepare for the WOCs in continental terrain. While the current coach - Petter Thoresen - is focusing on technique. The two coaches between Garderud and Thoresen had their own ideas, too.

The article notes:

There are examples of other nations that have had great success and have built up a philosophy about developing elite athletes.

As I read the OPN article, I was struck by the parallel with an article Dan Chissick wrote about orienteering in Israel.

I'm not sure USOF has any sort of philosophy for developing orienteering athletes. Without really thinking about it, I'd describe the US approach as - it is up to each individual to develop as they want. It isn't necessarily a bad approach given the nature of the US. It probably isn't the best way to increase chances of elite success.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 8:21 PM


Monday, September 28, 2009

The Swiss Talent Code


Brent wrote about Swiss orienteering using a framework from The Talent Code.

The Talent Code is worth a read if you're interested in performance in just about any endeavor.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 8:27 PM


Sunday, September 27, 2009

QR track from yesterday's trail race


I ran a 5K-ish trail race yesterday at Clinton State Park. The race began at "campground 1" and headed east from the start. I carried the orienteering map, keeping track of where I was and glancing around now and then. Not much to say about my race. I kept a decent effort, but wasn't moving as fast as I'd have liked.

I liked the course. For the most part the trail was fast. A few spots had a bit of mud and the trail along the shoreline was a bit rough.

The Lawrence Trail Hawks - a trail running club - hosted the race. The turnout was small, maybe 20 runners (a 1:1,500 scale version of Lidingoloppet). It was a really nice start to the weekend.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 7:27 PM


Thursday, September 24, 2009

How should I pick my next mapping project?


I woke up in the middle of the night thinking about mapping. I'm finishing up a project and wondered about my next mapping project. Off hand, I can come up with several different areas to map. I started thinking about how I should decide which are to map next. Then I fell back asleep.

The question remains. How should I decide which area to map next? I decided I'd come up with some basic info about each area:

1. How far away is the area from my house?
2. Have we mapped the area before?
3. How large is the area?
4. What facilities (parking, restrooms, etc) does the area have?
5. What other uses does the area get (e.g. mountain biking, camping, horse riding)?
6. Would it be practical to map in the summer?

I thought about including some information about the terrain. But we really don't have any good terrain, so that's not really important.

I don't really need to include anything about basemaps because all of the potential areas have easily accessible Lidar data.

My current plan is to fieldcheck to sprint standards even if the area is a bit larger than a typical sprint map. In part that's because a lot of our terrain is well suited to 2 or 2.5 meter contour intervals.

What else should I think about when picking my next mapping project? Leave a comment if you've got some suggestions.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 8:50 PM


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Yellowstone vacation snapshot


I spent some time looking at snapshots from my recent vacation at Yellowstone.

Though it wouldn't be possible to get permission to orienteer at Yellowstone, there is free Lidar data of the upper geyser basin.

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Posted by Picasa

posted by Michael | 8:12 PM


Monday, September 21, 2009

Setting the tone


It is a bit lazy to just lift something Peter wrote, but I thought this was interesting and worth repeating. About the quality of last weekend's A-meet, Peter wrote (emphasis added):

I've been orienteering at Rochester events a number of times over the years and have always enjoyed it. They just have a knack for it -- good orienteering, of course, but also just a really pleasant vibe. I'd give Rick Worner a lot of credit for that. He's both so relaxed and so together, and it rubs off on the others. You could learn a lot by just watching how he handles himself. Very cool. He'd be the first to say he doesn't do anything, but he sets the tone, and the tone is important. And then add a lot of other folks working very hard (Linda, Will, Rob, Mike, many others), the whole thing just seems to click.

The older I get, the more I think things like setting the tone matter.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 7:49 PM


Sunday, September 20, 2009

SMP sprint race


I ran a sprint race yesterday at Shawnee Mission Park. Not much to say about my race. I worked hard. I'm not in very good form, so I wasn't moving very fast.

I've been fieldchecking a sprint map and it showed. I was reading the map well, but wasn't quite seeing the big picture, seeing the overall structure in ways that would have made my race a bit faster. That should come back with a bit of map study and another couple of training sessions focusing on race techniques.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 4:38 PM


Monday, September 14, 2009

O' video from Italy


Well done orienteering video from Italy.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 8:27 PM


Sunday, September 13, 2009

Mapping rules of thumb


When I'm mapping, I have some rules of thumb. One is to be cafeful about mapping any feature where I catch myself thinking, "that's be a great place for a control." I've found that when I see a feature and think of it as a control location, more times than not the feature just shouldn't really be mapped.

When I see a feature and think it'd be a good place to put a control, I try to ask myself, "would I notice the feature if I was running past it in the middle of a leg? Would it be useful for navigating on a leg?" Often the answer is, "not a chance."

When I first did some mapping in Sweden I remember vowing to avoid mapping kolbottnar (i.e. charcoal burning areas). As an orienteer, I almost never noticed kolbottnar. But after a bit more experience in the Swedish forest - both racing and mapping - I started noticing kolbottnar. How strange? I still remember updating an old map and noticing some kolbottnar that the original mapper hadn't drawn. I added them.

I couldn't resist myself today. I was working on a sprint map and saw a little wall next to a building. My first thought was to leave it off the map. I decided to look behind the wall. It turns out that the wall surrounds a small area that a course setter could use as a control feature (it is next to a building so it isn't especially difficult). I worked out a way to draw the feature and, I hope, keep it legible at 1:5000. I probably should have just left the feature off the map.

I wonder what other rules of thumb mappers use.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 6:36 PM


Friday, September 11, 2009

A tiny orienteering map


I'm a fan of tiny orienteering maps. So, I liked this map:

I watched a bit of the live video coverage of the event. You can see the video at One&Other.

Here are some previous posts about tiny orienteering maps.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 8:35 PM


Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Wishing I was 25 years younger...


...because this would be fun:

...a new project with Kongsberg O-lag which is to offer to young and promissing foreign orienteers the possibility to stay in Kongsberg for some weeks, months or years...

I spent a few days in Kongsberg a long time ago (maybe 1986?) - living at a youth hostel and running around on the 1978 WOC maps. I remember beautiful forests and great maps. I remember running enough each day that I was completely drained and enjoying every minute.

If you happen to be a junior reading this, check out Damien Renard's blog for more info.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 9:03 PM


Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Banning compasses?


Reading the discussion of the Swedish rule on GPS and orienteering brought up an idea I've wondered about before. Why not ban compasses?

Banning compasses would emphasize the map reading aspect of the sport and would reduce the mechanical use of a tool. It would make the sport a little bit cheaper.

For the most part, maps are good enough that you don't really need to have a compass to find your way around a course.

back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 8:55 PM


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