Occassional thoughts about orienteering

Monday, February 21, 2011

Reference maps


I came across some discussion over at Attackpoint about how to measure map quality (part of an effort to make some decisions about priorities for updating maps).

My first thought was that deciding which areas are priorities is more about the club's "values" than about any objective measures of the areas. My second thought was, it'd be a lot of fun to explore all 60 maps and check them out. I really like poking around different areas and seeing different types of terrain.

The general idea of how to talk about different maps and terrains is something I think is interesting. In a local context, I think it is useful to talk about areas in comparison to a reference map that everyone is familiar with. Around Kansas City, the reference map might be Shawnee Mission Park. These days, you need a reference sprint map, too. Johnson County Community College might be the best reference map.

The advantage to a local reference map is that it helps everyone speak the same language when they talk about different areas. It is pretty easy to put together lists of similarities and differences. And that list will be meaningful to people familiar with the reference map.

When you start to look at areas that span a wider geographic region, you probably need to move beyond the reference map approach. It starts to get ridiculous to compare Shawnee Mission Park to, say, Lunsen. "Lunsen is flatter than Shawnee Mission Park." That's true, but it hardly gets at a useful distinction between the two terrains.

To talk about a wider range of areas takes a different approach. That's a topic for another day.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 3:28 PM


Sunday, February 13, 2011

Heads up training


Marianne Andersen wrote about keeping your head up while orienteering and described some training exercises for working on the skill. The article is at Kontrol (and is in Norwegian).

The map above is an example of a way that I train to keep my head up and look far ahead in the terrain. I design a course and then run it, but instead of actually going to the control, I just go to a spot where I can see the control (or the feature if there aren't markers put out). The example - which is hypothetical - shows my route as a dashed line. The small circles are the points where I'd be sure I'd seen the feature.

I think it is a useful exercise. It is also a nice way to make use of a map that you're familiar with.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 5:08 PM


Sunday, February 06, 2011

Some notes from yesterday's video


The graph shows how often I looked at the map during yesterday's training. LAM/min means "looks at the map per minute." I counted the looks while I was reviewing the GPS+video+map at Attackpoint. While I watched the video, I counted several things. I counted how often I looked at the map; how often I looked at the direction I'd leave each control on the way to the next; how often I fell down; and how often I was reading the map actively versus passively.*

The training was a bit unusual. The snow made it a lot slower to move. Since there aren't any controls out, I was a bit extra careful as I approached features that weren't point features. I wanted to make sure I was at the correct spot. For example, at the last control, I checked the map a couple of extra times to make sure I wasn't above or below the part of the feature I'd circled.

I won't draw any strong conclusions from the video and counting the things I was counting. I think I see some tendencies....like, I do a better job with "active" map reading when the terrain is smooth (e.g. in flat open forest). I also see to have an internal clock that reminds me to check the map, even if I don't really need to look at it.

*By "active" I mean looking at the map to pick out a feature I'd see in the future. By "passive" I mean seeing something in the terrain and looking at the map to check it off or, in a couple of cases, to see what it was.

An example of what I mean by "active" is on the video at about 13:15 to 13:20. I looked at the map to make sure I had a plan for what I'd be doing after I dropped down a couple of lines (2.5 meter contours on this map) at a point where the shape of the contours bends (which is where I am at about the 13:40 point in the video).

An example of what I mean by "passive" is on the video at about 16:05 to 16:10. I see the shape of a hillside off to my right, then look down at the map to see exactly which part of the hillside it is.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 10:43 AM


Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Some head cam discussion


Worth a look - some discussion on Attackpoint about orienteering, thinking, headcams, etc (see also the comments on this entry).

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 4:28 PM


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