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The Slump on catching features

Show Profile  Chris Forne Posted: 18 November 2012, 12:08 PM  
I'll probably get myself in trouble here, but I thought I saw a map of the slump being hosted on catching features competitions. In the spirit of fairness shouldn't this be made available on the WC webpages for all competitors to download and use?

Also, I know it happens at most world champs and other major events, but it seems a shame to me that in many cases part of the skill in doing well is how well you can study previous maps, aerial imagery, lidar data, etc, and possibly make your own maps or catching features terrain from GIS data.

I guess it's one of the big problems with the increasing availability of high quality GIS data, as you would be silly not to make use of this information if it is available and allowed to be used, but to me it just doesn't seem to be part of what orienteering should be about.

Maybe most people enjoy this aspect of the competition, and therefore perhaps it should be encouraged, but I'm not so keen on it, and might just be the odd one out.

Show Profile  Chris Forne Posted: 18 November 2012, 12:14 PM  
I guess the other question is, is there anything that can be done about it? Maybe not, unless we hide deep in an unknown forest.

Show Profile  theoman Posted: 18 November 2012, 12:57 PM  
Catching features is just a game chris. Its like in any sport, only the best prepared win. Its very rare you get a sport where someone can just rock up on the day and win.

JWOC this year they had a similar predicament. The qual was on a previously used map, which was traced and then put onto catching features. Did it help much when it came to the actual race? No, not really. There were a few familiar features, but largely simulating a race on a computer game is nothing compared to the actual competition.

There are many aspects of orienteering that can be considered 'unfair'. For example, I have never run on the slump whereas quite a few others (including yourself (I assume), Ross). Running on a map is way more valuable than playing a computer game.

It could be prevented by running on new maps everytime, which isn't too hard for major competitions.

Show Profile  Alistair Posted: 18 November 2012, 1:43 PM  
I think it's also sad that we are using and area which has and old map for the WC in the Hawkes Bay (I don't know if there are old map of the Waitarere & Wellington areas?). NZ has an abundance of areas which could be mapped which could be used for the WCs. The idea of running a race in unknown terrain is lost in most of the world now for elite races, especially with the IOF's constant re-use of well-established races like the Post-Finance race in Switzerland every year.

Show Profile  Michael Posted: 18 November 2012, 3:35 PM  
The goal of training for most sport is to simulate some aspects of the game. I don't think you could write a robust rule that would stop this simulation Chris. Would you for instance prevent studying a paper GIS (ie previous map)?

Show Profile  rob.g Posted: 18 November 2012, 10:16 PM  
It is a very good point that any previous maps should be posted on the WC website.

The Slump to me is a very average choice of area, especially when the IOF insists fences are put on the map.

Show Profile  Chris Forne Posted: 18 November 2012, 10:55 PM  
Previous paper maps are nearly just as bad. I remember back in 2003 WOC in Switzerland, after Thomas Bührer won the Gold in the long distance, he was telling us how he had already planned many of the long route choices that were encountered in the final from analysing previous maps.

Show Profile  Chris Forne Posted: 18 November 2012, 11:24 PM  
I guess studying previous maps or GIS data is often helpful, and therefore probably a good idea if you want to do well. It just seems unfortunately that this comes into play, and perhaps we should think more about this in the future when choosing an event area for major competitions.

Also, if nothing can be done to prevent this from occurring we need to be more open and active in embracing this technology both as a sport and as a national team.

Finally in fairness of competition, data available to some should be available to all. I know a scan of the previous slump map has been placed on the WC website, but it is low quality and significantly harder to convert to catching features than an OCAD copy which some competitors have presumably got hold of. Therefore at the very least we need to make an OCAD copy of the map publicly available on the website.

Show Profile  Michael Posted: 19 November 2012, 12:59 AM  
So, Chris, you might have some thoughts about providing maps to "Swedes travelling in the SI". Heh heh.

Show Profile  rossmaxmo Posted: 19 November 2012, 5:02 AM  
In a lot of big competitions the organisers openly sell the OCAD versions of the maps to teams. I agree that it's only fair that they're available to everyone, but it is up to the event organisers to release them (or the team coaches to do some recon).

Of course some people might have an old copy of an OCAD map, but that doesn't give them the right to share it publicly, especially when it is a map of private land. There needs to be some control over these things.

I don't have a problem with the Slump being used, I think it's a good area (better than tussocky coastal dunes in my opinion), and I think it would be possible to set good courses there even with the fences on the map. However, I'm disappointed that the area wasn't mapped from scratch for the World Cup. Mapping technologies and styles have improved/changed a lot since that map was first made.

Show Profile  Michael Posted: 19 November 2012, 10:25 AM  
Some interesting ethical issues being brought up eh.

First old paper copies of maps are legitimately in orienteers' hands. There's no way to stop them being looked at, so organisers should publish non-editable versions for all. For study. I'm not sure whether that would include simulation. How do you create a CF version of the terrain, do you NEED the OCAD or does it just make it a lot easier?

I'm surprised that any event organiser would sell the OCAD (presumably you mean previous versions). Anything offered to some but not others is surely an affront to fair play, especially if money is involved. I agree with you Ross that if you have an editable version (OCAD) it has probably been supplied for a limited purpose (mapping, planning courses, training but not close to a big event) and shouldn't be used for other things. But quite possibly the owners (clubs) haven't been clear about their copyright.

Show Profile  Chris Forne Posted: 19 November 2012, 11:16 AM  
I'm not saying that anyone should just share an OCAD copy of the map if they have one. But if some competitors have access to a copy and others don't this is a blatant abuse of fair play. Therefore, the organizers have a responsibility to make sure everyone has access to the OCAD file.

Show Profile  rossmaxmo Posted: 20 November 2012, 1:12 AM  
Yep Michael, I meant previous versions, not the new one of course! But even that is quite rare. But they do often sell their OCAD maps for the training areas.

The organisers don't need to put up the OCAD file though, just a PDF would be fine I'm sure. You should write to the organisers Chris, nothing will come from Maptalk

If you want the catching features version of the map, you can just email the guy who made it:
- I didn't ask him though, I think it's a bit unrealistic

Show Profile  Chris Forne Posted: 20 November 2012, 2:38 AM  
O.K then, while I'm on a rant, how about drawing your own maps of the area from aerial photos and Lidar data. Surely this is a form of surveying and should not be allowed under IOF foot orienteering rules...

26.5 Any attempt to survey or train in the competition terrain is forbidden, unless explicitly permitted by the organiser. Attempts to gain any information related to the courses, beyond that provided by the organiser, is forbidden before and during the competition.

If you think this is O.K is there any rule against acquiring your own aerial photos and Lidar data to make a map of the competition area. Is this allowed?
What about flying a small unmanned helicopter through the competition are to generate a complete street view or realistic 3D model.

Or slightly less direct, what about acquiring the data of someone else if it is not publicly available, is this allowed?

I think it is all rather unclear, and should be clarified before the use of technology leads to unfair advantages.

Show Profile  rossmaxmo Posted: 20 November 2012, 4:10 AM  
It says you can't 'survey or train IN the terrain' nothing about using other data sources.

If there were rules against doing this, I'm sure they would have taken away Fabian Hertner's Silver medal in Trondheim:

Show Profile  Bryan Posted: 20 November 2012, 10:53 PM  
ISSOM specifications for Middle and classic events haven't changed since 2000.

Geoff Morrison in my opinion is a superb mapper and interpreter of complex terrain.

Stewart Hyslop is a great photogrammetrist.

Lidar is not all its cracked up to be and in some instances can create extra work.

Those with pre-conceived ideas about an area may come a cropper.

Contact organisers and ask them if they would make the Ocad file available.

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