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Map Scales Issue

Who Should Control the Use of Larger Scale Maps at Major Events?

Who should be responsible for deciding whether map enlargements should be used at major events in intricately contoured terrain, the planners and the controllers or, as at present, the Map Advisory Group? We set out below a case for a transfer of the current responsibility.

This issue is not a new one. The controllers and planners of many major events have beaten a path to the door of Map Group, now Map Advisory Group (MAG), usually to be rebuffed, occasionally to get a grudging approval, after lots of argument. For the 2008 British Long Distance Championships at Culbin, the then Events Committee eventually allowed the event officials to take the final decision. The planners of the 2010 British Middle Distance Championships on Haverthwaite Heights in the Lake District were finally allowed to give the older runners map enlargements, after initially being advised by Map Group that they should avoid placing controls for these runners in more intricately contoured locations.

Following the 2010 Middle Distance Championships, Lakeland OC attempted to get the issue of map scales in complex terrain on to the agenda for the first Association and Club Conference in 2011, but was not successful, even though this was the only issue raised by a Club or Association. The British Orienteering Board offered, instead, to set up a Working Party, but has since taken no further action on this matter.

Day 2 of the 2015 JK is to be on a new map in the Duddon Valley. At the suggestion of Martin Bagness, a very successful elite in his day and now a much respected professional mapper, who is both preparing the new map and planning the elite courses on Day 2, the controller and planners have requested that all runners should be permitted to use map enlargements, as well as the elite 18s, 20s and 21s, who use 1:10,000 scale maps for their Middle Distance races on Day 2 anyway. A similar application has been made for Day 3, which is on Bigland, near Newby Bridge. These proposals are summarised in the table below:

 

DAY 2 INDIVIDUAL

Age Classes                                    Proposed Map Scales

M/W 18E, 20E, 21E             1:10000 (no change from IOF / BOF guidelines)

M/W 16-                                 1:7500 (enlarged from 1:10000)

M/W 18, 21, 35, 40               1:10000 (enlarged from 1:15000)

M/W 45+                                1:7500 (enlarged from 1:10000)

 

 

DAY 3 INDIVIDUAL

Age Classes                                    Proposed Map Scales

M/W 18E, 20E, 21E             1:15000 (no change from IOF / BOF guidelines)

M/W 16-                                 1:7500 (enlarged from 1:10000)

M/W 18, 21, 35, 40               1:10000 (enlarged from 1:15000)

M/W 45+                                1:7500 (enlarged from 1:10000)

 

Unfortunately, MAG has already turned down both requests, without any discussions or visits to either area.

 

Samples of the Bigland map are presented  **** here ****, at the standard scale of 1:15,000, at the usual enlargement scale, whatever the terrain, of 1:10,000 and at our preferred enlargement scale for older runners in intricately contoured terrain of 1:7,500. Lakeland OC has carried out 2 surveys of runners' preferences, one by Carol McNeill, who offered a choice of map scales, and the other by questionnaire after a major event at which map enlargements were provided. In both instances, the vast majority of competitors preferred the larger scale maps.

Orienteering is a sport involving a combination of both running and navigation. It is not a test of eyesight, yet MAG continues to argue that British Orienteering should only use the map scales specified in the IOF Rules and that allowing the use of map enlargements will encourage mappers to include more detail on their maps. Participation numbers are in long term decline, yet scant attention is being paid to satisfying what is an obvious preference, for runners to be provided with maps that they can read on the run.

Should MAG be responsible for deciding whether map enlargements can be used, when major events are held on intricately contoured terrain? We don't think so. We believe that MAG should concentrate on ensuring that mappers produce maps in accordance with the Rules and that areas are not overmapped. We believe that the right people to decide at what scale those maps should then be provided to the competitors are the event planners and controller. After all, the controller is already responsible for assessing the suitability of the area for the competition in the first place.

We are making a Proposal to the next British Orienteering AGM, to be held at JK 2014, removing the responsibility, for deciding whether map enlargements should be used, from MAG and delegating it, instead, to the event controllers and planners. Briefly, the Proposal allows the event officials to give younger runners, except the elites, 1:10,000 scale map enlargements and older runners 1:7,500 scale map enlargements, in terrain where it is not possible for experienced orienteers to read their maps at the normally specified scales on the run.

If you prefer to be able to read your map whilst running through intricate terrain, please support this Proposal. If you cannot make it to the British Orienteering AGM, please resolve to send back your proxy (postal) voting paper, as soon as you get the AGM paperwork through the post.

 

Richard Tiley

Chairman

LakelandOC

 

Dick Towler

Vice-Chairman

LakelandOC

 

14th January 2014