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


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