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StatNav - New Zealand's Unofficial Orienteering Rankings

Show Profile  StatNav Posted: 11 May 2013, 6:46 PM  
Have you ever wondered how you rate against your rivals and clubmates? You need wonder no longer because at StatNav we've been tracking the performances of around 1000 New Zealand Orienteers so you don't have to.

Since the beginning of 2011 we've been applying the BOF ranking formula to all Red courses at NZ events of OY level and above, compiling a ranking list using each orienteer's best five results from the last twelve months. This list, along with rankings for all grades from M/W16 up and every NZ club, is now available online at:

Finding the information to use in the StatNav rankings is not always straightforward. In particular, there are a number of orienteers whose birth year we have been unable to find. These orienteers appear in the Overall Rankings and their Club Rankings but not in the Grade Rankings. If that applies to you or one of your friends or rivals we'd love you to update us at

By the way, you will notice that we bill ourselves as New Zealand's UNOFFICIAL Orienteering Rankings. There are official rankings; these differ from ours in the algorithm used, the events considered (the official rankings don't rank anything after the NZ Champs in 2009) and the fact that we validate every event manually, trying to remove as many mistakes and anomalies as possible. The official rankings can be found at

More complete details can be found at


Show Profile  mcroxford Posted: 11 May 2013, 10:03 PM  
Awesome. Just simply awesome. Well done.

Show Profile  onemanfanclub Posted: 12 May 2013, 9:15 AM  
I hesitate to criticise something that obviously a lot of work has gone in to, and fills a void, but there a couple of points I'd like to raise in the hope that the void could be filled even better!

I don't understand the logic behind excluding sprint results. Given the criteria of "OY or above" there are probably more sprint races you could use within the ranking period than there are middle. Also these will tend to be races with larger fields, and with different combinations of people competing directly against each other, both of which (based on a VERY limited understanding of the ranking maths on my part) are things that would help keep the rankings "truer". When I look in detail at these lists I find some people with unrealistically high or low rankings, and some people I'd expect to see well into the top 250 I don't find at all. My gut feeling is that this is because people who compete in a "strong" OY series will outrank similar or better (to a point) orienteers who live in regions where the local competition is weaker or non-existent. The more data-points that you have that bring people from different regions together, and combine more people on the same course, the less these 'local' effects will skew the results. Most sprints at the level you are considering happen as parts of weekends/carnivals that people do travel to, and have a flatter course structure than the equivalent level of middles and longs, so meet the conditions above.

Also I'd like to suggest either a change in who is included in the M21 and W21 ranking, or an "open Men" and "open Women" list (if there is such a thing and I missed the link you can stop reading now!). At the moment, when a number of our top elites happen to be under 20 or over 35 (or 40!) the 21 lists are a little irrelevent. The overall men's ranking you can easily get from the full list, but if you want to directly compare Georgia Whitla, Rachel Smith and Laura RObertson for example, you either have to scan down the full list and hope you don't miss any other women who might be in the top-ranking mix, or look across 3 different lists and note the overall scores to see who is higher.

Show Profile  onemanfanclub Posted: 12 May 2013, 9:30 AM  
(ahem) disregard last paragraph above, I've just discovered that you can click on "men" or "women" on the "grade rankings" drop-down menu, on my first explore I thought you could only select from the age class lists that appear when you hover over each sex... my bad. BUT on the subject of drop-downs, I guess this depends on people's screen size and possibly browser, but the club list is longer than my screen so I can't actually look at anything after Southland in the alphabet... make the drop-downs smaller perhaps?

Show Profile  Jymbo Posted: 12 May 2013, 1:06 PM  
Something similar from across the ditch

Show Profile  StatNav Posted: 12 May 2013, 4:21 PM  
Nic, I'll give due consideration to your thoughts about Sprint events. I excluded them because they tend to have a different spread of results to classic events and also because I thought that the British ranking system that I based this on excluded them. Looking back at the BOF website I see this isn't actually true and of course the World Ranking system, which actually has real world effects in terms of deciding start slots at events so must be relatively robust, includes Sprint events as well. Luckily, there are no major Sprint events planned in NZ for some time as far as I'm aware so there is time to consider it.

As for the club list drop down, I've now grouped the clubs into Super Series Regions so that this isn't a problem. I started off NI / SI but even this was a bit dodgy if you're from Wellington.

And Nic, I'm recording 4 results from you in the last year so if you run at QB (and your ankle cooperates) you should appear in the June ranking list.

Show Profile  theoman Posted: 12 May 2013, 4:31 PM  
Real orienteering is done in the forest

Show Profile  Keith Posted: 12 May 2013, 5:54 PM  
I wouldn't treat the BOF system, as gospel. The BOF rankings have some pretty inherent flaws. I'm not entirely sure of the reasons but it tends to overrank veterans & women. Looking at your list subjectivly it seems more accurate.
There are various reasons why the BOF list is a bit rubbish, you could trol Nopesport & AP to have a look. Suggestions include:
- lack of cross fertilisation (probably also a challenge in NZ).
- Not iterating the start up long enough, therefore runners which are overanked have a significant high overanking that they have a self fulfilling effect on their own scores.
-Including sprint/urban races...... (though it excludes night)

Given the how widely discounted the BOF/SOFT lists are of this type I would suggest if you can generate something that feels "physical" you should just stick to your own ideas.

Nice work (whoever you are)

Show Profile  onemanfanclub Posted: 12 May 2013, 6:11 PM  
thanks for the response. the redesigned menu works much better :-)

frankly at the moment I'm quite happy to not be ranked given where I'd probably appear on the list :-/ but I suppose once I am there the horror of how low I am on it may be the kick up the butt I need to get back into shape!

Show Profile  Michael Posted: 12 May 2013, 6:29 PM  
Indeed, nice. And you have certainly put a lot of work in, thank you. If you've followed the tweaks that have resulted in the IOF system then we should trust you, as most of us are not staticians, but a system that recognises both the spread and level of the results seems good.

I hope that putting all results from short to long red courses in the same "bucket" is statistically OK. That is, I don't actually run on the same course as Chris Forne, though I sometimes run against someone who sometimes runs against someone who sometimes runs against Chris.

Sprints? Depends entirely whether you want to rank all-round orienteering ability. I'd say the sprint might be sufficiently different from middle/long that it would be interesting to do separately, if you are prepared to. It surprises me somewhat that the IOF rankings are "all in".

Show Profile  Dwayne Posted: 13 May 2013, 2:25 PM  
Yes Sir, I like it. Reminds me of what the Auckland OY Series points system used to be like - allowing comparison across age groups. But better because it is NZ wide - nice.

My preference would be to include sprints where they are part of a weekend carnival - e.g. Nationals, NI Champs, Queens Birthday etc. But probably not standalone events.

Show Profile  Michael Posted: 13 May 2013, 2:33 PM  
I can see reasons for an all-round ranking, or for a ranking of some definition of rural events, separate from urban events. What's your reasoning for including some sprints but not others, Dwayne?

Show Profile  Tane Cambridge Posted: 13 May 2013, 4:11 PM  
Umm btw...I haven't run for Dunedin for three years now! My club should be: PP

Show Profile  AllanJ Posted: 13 May 2013, 5:30 PM  
It's imteresting that I'm ranked in the M50's when I've never entered or run an event in that age grade and not likely to for a few more years yet.

Show Profile  Michael Posted: 13 May 2013, 6:45 PM  
Tane and Allan, your points have been anticipated by Dr StatNav and instructions given on what to do about them. An indication of the quality of this piece of work:-))

Show Profile  Dwayne Posted: 13 May 2013, 7:59 PM  
Michael - because the system only uses OY level races and above, I assume that only the top level sprints would be included as well. Not club level - hence my choice of multiday event sprints (presumably of high quality). Maybe just have the criteria as A level events? Don't know the rules around A level without looking it up so I would leave the finer points to smarter people.
I do, however think that sprints should play at least some role in the ranking, though not a major one. The IOF certainly thinks sprints have a large role to play in the sport (whether we are in full agreement or not)

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