Orienteering Canada is working with its member associations and clubs to recruit orienteering mappers for the 2016 season. Please see the job posting
for more details.
Is it problematic to get foreign (European) mappers in Canada, like it is in the US?
Guy, are you referring to the process to get permission to bring a foreign worker into Canada or the process of actually recruiting a foreign mapper who wants to map in Canada? The first is quite difficult. The second is not so difficult.
$25-$30CAN/hour- Is this for fieldwork, drafting, or both?
@charm: I was referring to the first (permission...)
Sounds like Canada might have aligned its visa program with the USA's...
A great way to spend a couple of weeks in summer -- unless you mind being eaten by bears or wolves
Canadian wolves won't eat you. Canadian bears mostly won't. Owls, however, will certainly try.... http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/owl-skier-at...
Is it possible for someone to work as a mapper in Canada or the States and avoid the foreign worker regulations by being employed by a company back in his/ her home country and then the contracting club in Canada or the States simply buys the finished map files from the employing off-shore company? The worker gets paid by his/ her company back home.
I would really like to know the answer to gordhun's question too!
That arrangement has been used by clubs to at least make them feel better about the situation. Not sure it would really hold up to scrutiny at the border though, as the person here in the US is working here, even if being paid by a company from their home country.
It does make it easier on the club to justify the payment if it is made back to a company in another country rather than paying the mapper while they are here.
Apparently it's ok in the US for foreign visitors to sell their own art -- which could be a map...
Maybe it would Ok if they were from Mexico
Do planes get stopped at the border?
gordhun: Practically it could work that way. It's normally not a problem for a european to stay up to 90 days as a tourist in North America. Legally it's most likely not okay. The main problem is really that a foreigner has absolutely no RIGHT to visit Canada or the US. It's all up to border officials to decide if you are a tourist, business traveller or illegal worker. You should also note that they will save all prior border crossings in their database and that they may ask to see flight tickets to prove what the duration of the visit will be. So from a mapper's perspective there is always a risk, especially if you're doing several trips with long-time stays.
edwarddes: Yes, it works as a way for the employer to plead ignorance. "We just bought the finished map, we didn't even know the mapper was in the country."
tRicky: People get stopped at the border (the enforced border is usually inside an airport building). And if they can't prove that they have a valid reason for visiting the country they get sent back on the next plane at their own expense.
tRicky, maybe if Trump gets elected he'll have the Mexicans build a wall that's high enough to stop planes at the border.
I don't think the artwork angle is valid. We tried using that rationalization in DVOA. But events of the past year (which I won't go into here) torpedoed that.
I have a strong interest in this topic, have done some research and had a discussion with Glen Schorr a few weeks ago. I believe in the US, the only viable approach is to obtain an H-2b (temporary non-agricultural worker visa). If this could be coordinated across clubs by OUSA, it might be an economical option. One limitation of that particular visa is it can only be used by citizens of certain countries. Some foreign mappers would be eligible, others would not. I intend to look into it further.
gordhun, the restriction is the same whether the employer is domestic or overseas.
Also, in the US, if the work being done is a task for which compensation generally is paid, it doesn't matter whether the work is done on a paid basis or unpaid/volunteer basis. The concern of the legislation is that in either case a paid job potentially is being taken away from an American. Canada has similar types of restrictions on volunteer work being performed by foreigners without authorization.
New Zealanders take our jobs all the time.
Oh, I really should tie my hands behind my back, but it's been too long since I've thrown gas on an AttackPoint thread...
As a contractor who has worked in several countries with no trouble whatsoever and as a project manager who has hired contractors from several countries with no trouble whatsoever, I'll give this advice: pay people what they are actually worth. That completely defuses the "you're taking jobs away from our citizens argument." If you check, I think you'll find that the going rate for surveyors is significantly higher than what the orienteering community is willing to pay.
I appreciate ebuckley's comment, and think its about time to restate my money question, that hasn't been addressed, $25-$30CAN/hour- Is this for fieldwork, drafting, or both?
I don't completely understand what you are saying. I think you are clearly implying that mappers aren't paid what they are worth. Are you also implying that:
a) if they were, there would be more of them?
b) if they were, there would be more of them from the US (obviating any brain damage incurred by trying to import them)?
c) that it is not difficult to bring on foreign talent if you pay them enough?
Sorry for being obtuse, just want to understand what is explicit (and implicit) in your argument.
All that said, the analogy to surveyors doesn't seem helpful to me. If the orienteering community needed surveyors, do you think they could pay them what mappers get? If the orienteering needed a New York lawyer, could they pay them what mappers get?
I don't need to tell you this, but there is a market clearing price for everything, and some supply is less elastic than others.
The linked posting seems crystal clear to me that both fieldwork and drafting are expected for the $25 to $30 Canadian per hour, with a maximum of 40 hours billing per week.
$18 (USD) to $21.50 at current FX rates.
If jtorranc is correct, as EricW is probably hoping he isn't, expecting fieldwork and drafting for that rate may make it difficult to get a professional product. But, maybe it can, if ebuckley is at least partially right.
USA soil has only 2 local practicing mappers capable of world class mapping. Both concentrating their efforts in specific geographical areas. Thank you Mark and Mikell!
OUSA/Canada clubs' needs far exceed their mapping power. There is no doubt that foreign professional mappers are needed to provide for sustainable flow of championship events. Real mapping rates should be at least 2x higher than above. $800-1000/1km2 including drafting are pretty typical these days. It does take lots of talent, professional experience, and hard work to create championship level maps.
That supports ebuckley view. I just hope that OUSA/COF may make it easier for clubs to pass via legal hurdles.
Those good ol' fat days are now gone. 7.25 USD is the pay rate, or they can work for food. Read this:
You'll forgive me if I don't put a lot of weight on the world financial market opinions of someone calling himself Tyler Durden.
I thought yurtets was Tyler Durden?
Long ago when I was a volunteer involved in managing professional mappers for a Canadian club and later for a Canadian province, various expenses were paid the mappers in addition to the hourly rate. Many times we could not find a Canadian orienteering mapper willing to do the needed mapping, and so we went through the process to obtain work permits for foreign mappers. Is the equivalent of US$20/hour plus various expenses, but sans benefits like health insurance, a living wage? I dunno. It's hard to work year round, and the field work is very tiring (from when I've done it). But it's also not minimum wage. I know some bright, hard working people who make well less than US$20/hour, even including the value of benefits they get. Perhaps a higher wage would encourage more North Americans to take up orienteering mapping, and maybe that would benefit North American orienteering (though NAFTA doesn't seem to make it any easier to hire mappers cross-border than from elsewhere in the world, so really you'd need to encourage both a pool of Canadian mappers and one of American mappers). But I suspect that some of the obstacle is the need to work far from home and family, often by oneself in a remote forest, for extended periods, as well as the fact that most orienteers already have careers, and aren't looking for another. (And that generic surveyors, who would sometimes apply, really don't have the understanding of orienteering needed to make proper ISOM maps. It's not just a matter of changing symbols. Or is this wrong?) I know that if I decide to throw my hat in the ring for pro mapping next year or the year after (I'm already available for my local club within an hour's drive of my home), my interest in a particular pro mapping project would likely depend on the quality of terrain, region, insects, lodging, my personal schedule and other factors, as much as dollars. But that's just me. I've wondered sometimes why more national team members didn't try pro mapping as a natural complement (and income source) to their O training, suspecting that the answer was that most of them had careers they liked already, and weren't that interested in going whole-hog orienteering. Perhaps that's an interesting question to ask them. If the answer is "because of the pay", then that might support the higher pay argument. If the answer is "I have no interest", then that might point back to the current way of getting mappers.
It may not actually say this on the job posting but for any foreign mappers we host in Yukon, we cover (besides the wage) accommodation, food, vehicle and gas. Oh - and beer.
I've wondered sometimes why more national team members didn't try pro mapping as a natural complement (and income source) to their O training
It'd put a hole in your physical training - even when I'm fit, 40+ hours in the field plus drawing time leaves me pretty shattered.
It's a combination of a lot of factors you mentioned. It's hard to do it full time from a physical point of view, and then it might be hard to rustle up enough consistent work to make a living from it, assuming you can attract a living wage. So then you need another job. And that job has to take precedence over mapping a lot of the time, because otherwise you get fired from that job.
Maybe it's different for you older guys (I'm not sure how old you are, Jim, but you seem to run the same course as the late-50s guys :) ), but as a - relatively - younger mapper I see no way to make it work as anything other than a hobby.
...we cover (besides the wage) accommodation, food, vehicle and gas. Oh - and beer.
Peyton Manning might be interested, given that last perk
...Though you might end up with a map with only paths and miscellaneous man-made objects.
A few comments:
1) Bill Anderson, one of the few Canadian professional o-mappers, quotes the same rate ($26-28/hr) in his note on mapping athttp://www.wgacarto.ca/PRODUCING%20AN%20ORIENTEERI...
2) A link to the Canadian job posting was posted at Orienteering Mappers Int., a Facebook group with many European professional mappers as membershttps://www.facebook.com/groups/485564718218028/
So far, none of the comments mentioned the pay rate, so I suppose it's not totally unreasonable.
3) If I remember correctly, Anne Teutsch in her talk at the Canadian Champs dinner last year mentioned that in response to a similar ad they got quite a few applications from Canadian surveyors (none of which had orienteering experience, so none were hired), so I suppose the rate is not much lower than what surveyors get.
4) As charm mentioned, the problem is not with recruiting mappers, but rather with going through all the hurdles created by the government. It is unclear how raising the pay would solve that problem.
5) Ultimately, the problem is that there are too few orienteers per map in NA (~200 participants in a Canadian Champs vs. ~20k in O-Ringen, with not too dissimilar mapping requirements), so, assuming that the same fraction of orienteers want to become mappers both here and in Europe, one would expect that there would be fewer orienteering mappers per map as well.
Re national team members as mappers: Jeff Teutsch did a couple of maps in PEI for the last Canadian Champs/Maritime O-fest and both Eric Kemp and Alex Bergstrom have done maps for our club. All three are current Canadian High Performance Program members.
Juffy makes important points. Mapping is not easy. For the same reason that a well-run course leaves you mentally wasted... mapping is demanding physically and mentally. 40 hours of any job doesn't leave a lot of time for elite training.
"As a contractor who has worked in several countries with no trouble whatsoever and as a project manager who has hired contractors from several countries with no trouble whatsoever, I'll give this advice: pay people what they are actually worth. That completely defuses the "you're taking jobs away from our citizens argument.""
That seems to be mixing two things, although I don't see any mention of whether or not a work permit was obtained if required. 1. Is the work being done legally? 2. Is it being done even if not legal because the restrictions are difficult for the government to enforce in the case of someone staying relatively short-term (less than the duration permitted for a tourist)?
On one occasion I worked overseas for 4 months, and I did so because a department of the national government retained our firm on condition that the firm send someone over to the local office on minimal notice, knowing the local office was too small to handle for the project. Did the government department retaining our firm care that I was doing work for them without getting a work permit from Immigration? No. Was I taking a job from anyone local? Absolutely not. Could I have obtained a work permit? Definitely, except that there was no time to do so. On landing with my one way ticket, I would have told Immigration that I was there to work on a business deal, but without volunteering that I expected to stay for 4 months.
It’s not whether jobs actually are being taken away from citizens and lawful residents, but whether on enacting very broad restrictions, the legislature believes jobs might be taken away and uses Immigration as a gatekeeper and/or restricts numbers. It’s not a matter of what people are paid or whether they are paid what they are worth. The biggest complaints about the restrictions in the US come from the major high tech companies, and it’s not that they fail to pay big bucks to their employees.
EricW - it is for both fieldwork and drafting.
Forgive me a silly question, but if compensation is per hour, what difference does it make if its for fieldwork, drafting, or pencil sharpening? If 200 hours were spent on a project, would you not pay for 200 hours?
It's an old tradition - maybe a holdover from pre-ocad days when drawing took a lot longer? In my experience it seems to be dying out - my last two jobs the client has said "WTF? Don't be an idiot, just charge a flat rate." :)
Would it make sense for OUSA or COF (or both) to sponsor training surveyors in the particulars of mapping for orienteering? I don't consider myself a mapper; I've only done tweeks to a few maps and played with karta-whatsit. But maps are key to the sport; the national federations should take a lead in making sure there are qualified mappers.
40 hours of any job doesn't leave a lot of time for elite training.
How do you figure?
How many elite athletes spend 40 hours a week pursuing something orthoganol to their sport? Professional athletes spend those 40 hours on their sport.
I wasn't sure of the reason behind Eric's question but I was curious too about the answer.
Also, here in the US, I suspect it is easier to find someone to draft a map than it is to find someone to do the field checking.
What's your bar for elite? Yes, TG logs 20 hours per week, sure, and incurs ancillary time to support it, so beating him is full time. Others have done well on less.
Orienteer A: Best WOC: 15th, <8 per week body-moving-time in the year achieved
Orienteer B: Best WOC: 9th, <9 hrs per week body-moving-time in the year achieved
@carlch: Does it ever make sense for field checking and drafting to be done by different people? I suspect it must be extremely awkward and error-prone to draft a map using someone else's field checking notes?
@origamiguy: is there any experience anywhere in the world with non-orienteers doing orienteering mapping? I think the usual assumption is you need some experience in the sport to understand the requirements. Also, my understanding is that most surveyors' jobs are very different from o-mappers': surveyors do very precise measurements with special tools in a limited area, such as a construction site, whereas an o-mapper's job is to make a large map that "feels right" at running speed. It's a complete change of the mindset - it may actually be easier to teach a person with no mapping/surveying experience. Perhaps those who do topographic maps can be taught to do o-maps, but are there many surveyors doing that kind of job?
To Mr Wonderful:
Logged activity time accounts for <1/4 of actual time elites spend on sport. Including traveling, recovery, therapy, etc. It is close to 40hrs/week.
There are either not very many elite orienteers, or a shed load more getting paid than I guessed.
What's the bar for elite?
I'd be curious how many orienteers hit the top 30 in the world with a regular 9 to 5 job (with a nod to Sergey's points.)
Maybe some irregular 9 to 5 jobs (that allow you to sneak away for 1.5 hours at lunch, etc.)
With all due respect, I wasn't necessarily referencing orienteering in my post. I love it and all, and the guys/women at the top are awesome, but it isn't the most competitive sport.
I'm not sure how old you are, Jim
Early 50's. I started O mapping in my early teens.
Indeed, mapping is tiring. 40 hours field checking per week plus elite training sounds like too much. But 30 hours field checking a week, 10 hours drafting, plus training might be feasible? (When I was younger and training harder, I might have been able to handle that, though I was never elite.) Plus mapping is frankly good orienteering practice in itself (when I first started mapping as a youth, I leapt from an advanced beginner to fairly solid intermediate after just one 30 acre map). Also, it saves one driving time out to terrain for training. But agreed it's hard to get full time employment. In America, one might theoretically be able to field check year round by mapping in southern California, Arizona, Texas or Florida in the winter, and other places in the spring, summer and fall, but it isn't always the case that all those places have enough pro mapping needs each given year (I think?). And it's a hard on-the-road life. Not saying that the elite should or shouldn't pro map, just pondering the factors in why or why not. There seems like at least some synergy, though also some downsides.
I concur with the comment that the interest received from surveyors suggests that the pay rate is perhaps reasonable, or at least isn't the biggest issue. (But, I wonder whether many pro surveyors work mostly with remote sensing, with just a small part of their time in the field. This goes to the question of why one would ever have a different rate for drafting than field checking...the latter is tiring, isolated and sometimes involves slow movement in insect-rich forest (I've had a compass lanyard dissolve all the way through from DEET while mapping), while the former can be done in a comfortable chair in an office near the drafter's family and friends. There always seemed to be more pro drafters than pro field checkers available when I was a club or provincial mapping director looking to get maps done.)
In terms of jobs that allow you a 90 minute run each day, I once had a job (during high school) testing and programming for a Computer Aided Design company. I didn't have a car, and the only employee near enough to me to car pool was the president/CEO. So, he lent me his car, would work from 4am until I picked him up at 7am, let me drive him the 45 minutes to work while he worked in the passenger seat, worked until 6pm or sometimes later, and then had me drive him home. Since they only needed me for eight hour days, that left plenty of time for 90 minute runs if I wanted (not that I often had energy for this, though sometimes did). As a bonus, he taught me every back road between his house and work.
Fair points j-man.
I suspect my elite threshold is also relatively low. Eg, the US marathon trials tomorrow will select three runners to finish a mile back from the Olympic podium winners, and I'll still count them and many of the other trials contenders as elite enough.
Does it ever make sense for field checking and drafting to be done by different people? I suspect it must be extremely awkward and error-prone to draft a map using someone else's field checking notes?
In the days of ink-on-mylar drafting, this was standard practice. I've drafted way more maps than I've surveyed, the majority of them on the computer. But these days, I suspect that there are very few mappers delivering their work in pencil form, almost everybody is drafting it up, either in the evening on on rainy days. This makes practical sense for several reasons, even though for some mappers the finished product might be of higher quality if somebody really skilled at drafting took care of that part.
But that's not what I thought Eric was asking -- not whether the employer wanted undrafted field notes to have someone else enter into the computer, but rather whether the mapper was allowed to bill for his drafting time as well as his fieldwork time (as opposed to billing for the fieldwork but being expected to draft on his own time).
In terms of whether it's possible to map full-time and be able to train adequately, Swampfox is a pretty clear example demonstrating that it is (back in his mapping prime, that is -- these days he maps much less and primarily earns his livelihood sitting in front of a computer).
Years ago when a bunch of clubs round here were organising a festival and lots of mapping was required, the national mapping agency was persuaded to do the cartography. It was a disaster. Contour ends all over the place, banks pointing uphill, you name it. The lesson is clear.
In the days of pen and ink cartography, this stage was perhaps more specialised than today, and handing over the fieldwork as a nicely drawn "survey draft" was the norm. This carried over into the early OCAD days, but preparing a survey draft was recognised as an unnecessary step. It wasn't foolproof either, even with orienteers doing the drafting. Much better for the fieldworker to draw their own work. And we will gradually shift to drafting in the field, I think. The distinction will disappear.
I had a lot of success stories, but I agree, the process has changed, and I consider it pretty unlikely that an occasion will ever arise again for me to draft something that I didn't fieldcheck. There are some people who are lousy at computer drafting, but they're probably pretty bad at producing legible pencilwork, too.
And we will gradually shift to drafting in the field, I think.
I'm not yet convinced this is either realistic or even preferable - certainly not with current tools. I would much rather make a less-than-perfect draft in pencil in the field and spend more time on the PC (aided by both fieldwork and memory), than spend a lot of time on my feet in the field tweaking things with a sub-optimal user interface.
PC time is physically cheap, regardless of how much you charge for it. :)
I have no interest in debating the relative merits of amateur versus professional mapping; I'm merely pointing out that if the visa is the issue, the way to get around that is to pay a proper wage. The only job classification recognized by the INS that could be used to obtain an H1-B visa for a mapper is "surveyor" (I know this, because SLOC/A&E brought one over a few years back). Surveyors make more than $18/hr. So, if you want the visa, you have to match the rate.
(Obviously, these comments are from a US perspective. My dealings with contracts to/from Canada lead me to believe the situation isn't much different there, but I can't say for sure).
As an American with a degree GIS and cartography I personally would love to make orienteering maps. I also have high expectations of myself and without proper training I would not want to make maps. With that being said if I could find some one to mentor me I would be willing to make maps.
Since American surveyors have been mentioned in this discussion and since I have some experience working with surveyors they would have no interest making orienteering maps. They have large investments into high precision equipment, survey crews, and their time to get licensed which is significant. They also won't give up thier going rate which is around 135 dollars an hour if not more depending on the firm. Surveyors in America also have an attitude about them that would also make them difficult to work with on something new and less profitable.
Juffy: I'm not yet convinced this is either realistic or even preferable
Personally I'm not ready yet either. I'm slow to take up new technology but now I wouldn't be without my GPS and have learned to recognise and contain the errors. However there are early adopters out there doing the pioneering for us:-)
I'm somewhat tempted to try and do a back of the envelope calculation of how much cash flow passes through OUSA affiliated clubs annually and how much of it could reasonably be expected to be devoted to professional mapping services if there were no limits on the supply of same with real bite. I rather suspect the number of full-time professional mappers the US (or Canada or even both taken together) could support at the current level of orienteering activity and event fees isn't all that large, even supposing there was no problem of potential mappers mostly having more lucrative career options, being reluctant to embrace a largely nomadic existence, etc.
@Carl, JJ, and others- Mostly I wanted a simple answer to a simple question. I didn't want to start a debate on mapping compensation on someone else's public service announcement, but I guess that horse has left the barn.
Yes, I wanted to keep up with going rates, but even more so, the arrangement, since I have never dealt with a direct $/hour basis for mapping, as a mapper or administrator. Almost everything I've dealt with in USA and Norway has been $/km2, with a little bit of $/project.
However, also in my mind is the possibility of a $/fieldwork hour basis w/drafting included, which JJ speculated upon, and I give him 3/4 credit for reading my mind. To me this makes sense, not just because of the different value of the two jobs, but how they relate to the job site. I agree with the others who believe that practical in-terrain drafting is still a ways off.
However, there is another important driving factor I haven't seen mentioned, and that is the administrator-provided costs and services (including opportunity cost), usually associated with supporting the mapper on site. While these overhead costs & services are ticking away, it should be in everybody's interest to maximize the time spent doing fieldwork, while saving the drafting for the unsupported and more comfortable setting. That is why a $/fieldwork hour arrangement makes sense to me.
As someone who has long advocated that one of the more useful things that the federal OUSA organization could do would be to employee and then deploy a full time professional mapper to member clubs, perhaps I should do the back of the envelope calculation.
Really rough... a pro mapper might be able to do 1 square K/week. At $1,000 per K (or $25 per hour), that works out to $48K per year--maybe take out a month for vacation/travel, you get 44 square K of new/refreshed mapping.
I could come at it from another angle (the revenue one). It is clear that OUSA already spends much more than that on professional salaries. So, if there is a will, there is a way. Needless to say, this service could be priced fairly, and still provide great utility to the clubs while generating a margin for OUSA. Real ROI.
The bottom line is that maps are the sine qua non of this sport. They are critical for A events and local events.
10 days of classic A events would easily use 50 square K. It seems to me that this isn't a luxury--it is what's necessary to preserve a modicum of the sport going forward.
And there are full time, professional mappers available, just none in the US.
Perhaps this needs to go beyond the national federation level. IOF wants to expand orienteering past its traditional base in northern Europe. It should provide training of qualified mappers in new areas; perhaps define what "qualified" should mean and conduct testing to certify orienteering mappers. Orienteering cannot expand without maps in new areas.
DangerZone wrote: With that being said if I could find some one to mentor me I would be willing to make maps.
Dude, you live about 15 miles from Eric! Eric, can you get Nate started, or find somebody else who could? Doesn't take that much mentoring, and you can start out with something low-key, get some feedback, and move on to more challenging stuff.
"IOF wants to expand orienteering past its traditional base in northern Europe"
Except that IOF through its mapping commission (MC) wants to apply a northern Europe template to all terrains. Check the ISOM 201X thread. Many terrains outside Europe will be "unsuitable for elite orienteering" and won't be able to be mapped under the proposed regime. The IOF MC even wants to introduce regulatory aspects before visual appearance into maps, turning mappers into police.
that works out to $48K per year
And I assume the local club who wants the map then pays for the upkeep of the mapper, along with any data acquisition costs to make the base map?
Actually that might work in the US with your much greater LiDAR coverage. In Aus if you want laser data you often have to fly it yourself - the mapper's actual fee ends up about 25% of the total cost of producing the map.
Don't forget the cost of getting a pilot licence!
Getting lidar flown should be cheaper in WA than Victoria. There must be an oversupply of mining industry service providers. In Vic our lidar is held tight by a consortium of government agencies who have ignored the open data access policies of successive State governments. I don't understand why arses are not kicked.
I think that boat's sailed, Log - scuttlebutt is that Fugro has recently shut down their aerial division over here.
Log. That is your problem - and I'm surprised Trick-E has not weighed in on this yet -to get action from government it is best to lick, not kick the aperture in question.
Quiet lobbying to Premiers section responsible for Open Access Data implementation yielded nothing. Normally if a department refuses to implement govt policy as required by Premiers Dept, arses are kicked (in a PS sort of way... execs do not get bonuses etc). This group seems to lead a charmed existence in that regard. [From someone who has just retired after 32 years working mainly in policy for said State].
This discussion thread is closed.