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Discussion: Course design - Frequent Cat Long F21

in: Orienteering; General

Apr 10, 2016 11:16 AM # 
Here is Frequent Cat's design of a Long F21 course at Otter Creek, for your review.

Apr 10, 2016 11:31 AM # 
At a quick count (errors quite possible), I get 465m of climb. If I get a chance, I'll go back and count the others that didn't show a climb in the descriptions.
Apr 10, 2016 6:06 PM # 
Move 10 up out of the wicked steep a wee bit, and legs 7 through 13 are v nice. Maybe just skip 14,15,16,17 for a nice course!
Apr 10, 2016 11:10 PM # 
Many of the legs (even of moderate length) have route choice, which is nice. The longest leg is 1.5km, but there are two others over a kilometer. The length around on 8 to 9 is just enough to push one into the complex straight navigation. Similarly, the initial down and up that the trail route requires on 12 to 13 makes leaving 12 toward 13, or south, viable, and the latter may make for a better attack. On 9 to 10 there's less route choice after the first 800m, though one could theoretically go left to avoid the complexity of the camp.

The terrain at and below 10 appears to be roughly a 45 degree slope, leading down to a cliff. Depending on the footing (I've not been there), that could be dicey. (In Colorado, steep slopes can be slick due to decomposing granite. That's probably not the case in the humid east, but slopes vary in slipperiness for a given steepness.)

A minor point, but for lower courses 20 (code 219) is too difficult a last control, and thus if the event had lower courses, one might need a second last control and second finish chute. (That wasn't part of the course design challenge, but is often a practical consideration in many events.)

The course may be too long even for a WOC Long F21. It's as hilly as WOC 2015 Long F21, and 2.3km longer. WOC 2015 Long terrain was described as "generally runnable, with localised deep heather and very little bracken", which sounds like not vastly different runnability to this terrain, given that some light green terrain is used. (But with gender parity winning times, it might come close.)
Apr 11, 2016 1:13 AM # 
Mr Wonderful:
I really like 8-9 and 12-13.
Apr 11, 2016 3:32 AM # 
This map is missing features compared to the other maps. At least all the black roads are gone, as well as many trails.
Apr 11, 2016 4:29 AM # 
I think there are a number of nice legs on this course though, I second ndobbs suggestions to raise 10 so it's near the top. Maybe also consider eliminating 14, 15 & 17. Even with that though, I think the course may still be a bit too long.
Apr 11, 2016 5:49 AM # 
Terje Mathisen:
I agree with JimBaker that this course is probably too long, and with carlch that some controls might be skipped, but without #17 the route from 16 to 18 would seem to be an obvious big left around everything (including a part underneath the control description as printed here!). OTOH, maybe that route choice isn't that obvious, so making it available would improve the course?

Another option for making it shorter would be to remove 11 and move #12 to the east of the road, maybe close to the yellow patch/reentrant.

You could also remove the last control and use #19 as the new last, with an on-the-track last control for easier courses and enter the assembly are from the north-east.

A final shortening tweak would move #3 back 30% towards #2, to the brown spur/gully (?) and then go directly to #6, skipping 4 & 5.
Apr 11, 2016 1:13 PM # 
Nice having start and finish together, but how do you get to the assembly area without crossing runners on 8-9?

Seems rather long, would leave out 14&15.
Apr 11, 2016 1:32 PM # 
I notice that the north lines are not parallel to the edge of the map as cropped (but the control descriptions are). Some orienteers dislike not having the edge of the paper not parallel to north; at least one would want that in event notes. The control numbers are supposed to be oriented to north iirc, which I suspect they are not, looking at the numbers 11, 13 and 14 relative to north lines and scale bar. As Julie says, some map features are missing, like the black line roads near 10. Maybe something happened with the software used?
Apr 11, 2016 2:09 PM # 
It's a Swedish submission. They have to slant the lines, otherwise people might use the edge of the paper.
Apr 11, 2016 3:14 PM # 
Decimal separator is comma in CD km figure.
Apr 11, 2016 4:28 PM # 
ISOM 2000:

Section 2.2, last two paragraphs: "The map must contain magnetic north lines and may additionally contain some place names and peripheral text to help the competitor to orientate the map to north. This text should be written from west to east. Text within the map should be placed to avoid obscuring important features and the style of lettering should be simple.

The sides of the map should be parallel to the magnetic north lines. Arrowheads may be used to show magnetic north."

This suggests that the text in the control descriptions should also be written west to east (i.e., oriented to north if using the Latin alphabet), and indicates that sides of the map should (but not must) be oriented to north.

703 (Control number) says that "The numbers are orientated to north."

So, edges of the map aligned to north are preferred, as is text oriented to north, and control numbers to north are a must.
Apr 11, 2016 4:32 PM # 
Wow, the "control numbers to north" requirement must be close to impossible to implement on a map that doesn't have north at the top of the page? I don't know if Condes supports tilting text to match the tilt of the map.

I think the Swedes use titled north quite a bit? Do they ignore the rule? Or do they have some fancy way to adjust text in course planning software
Apr 11, 2016 5:34 PM # 
Perhaps one uses course setting software to draft the courses, produces a PDF, and then rotates and crops that PDF?

Text oriented to north is a good thing I think, as it's one more way to quickly see north. And there are usually several complaints when the paper is not to north. I'd suggest to save oneself the effort of non-north paper, and just use a bigger sheet if needed. A local store will print 11x17 (similar to A3) on 80 lb paper for $1 each in modest quantities.
Apr 11, 2016 10:50 PM # 
I've done tilted north lines a couple of times, I think, and I've also seen it done the way I prefer, which is to orient absolutely everything except the edges of the paper to magnetic north. It works out well when done that way, such that once you fold the paper, you can't tell that anything is strange. I would be reluctant to have the angle be anything subtle, probably at least 15 degrees. The particular one I'm thinking of that I did was 27 degrees, on 11x17 paper at 1:10000.

But I didn't get the impression that this course map was tilted on purpose, or for any particular reason.
Apr 12, 2016 6:39 AM # 
Sides are parallel with meridians or local grid, so I'd say this map was tilted to get it geo-referenced to make sure distances are correct (and maybe also get route choice climb estimations from DEM ?)
Apr 12, 2016 7:37 PM # 
Frequent Cat has submitted a second version, based on feedback:

Apr 13, 2016 2:00 AM # 
Start: Convenient and good for all courses.
S-1: Early challenge over rather subtle terrain right out of the starting block. Nice to have the trail behind the control to catch those who are not quite into the map yet.
1-2: Good control location so that there are 3 route choices: straight, trails on the left (east) or road. Could be even better if the control were moved to the small green speck just north of #2. At present, I think the road is the best choice because the runner can take off on the small road, hop down to the small trail, hit the switchback and be practically at the control. But a little too easy. Moving it to the northern green patch makes the road look less attractive and the trails more appealing. The trail route leaves you at a trail junction attack point with an angled descent of a few hundred meters which is more challenging.
2-3: I like the choice of using the stream and spur contours or just going on compass. With the control in an otherwise bland location, I like that being able to read one's proximity to the end of the spur is helpful here.
3-4: Choice of going around the spur and angling upward to hit a point feature in evenly steep terrain which is tough, versus going around on the upper trail and encountering extra climb. Forces one to decide whether to climb early or climb late. Someone (Hammer? Tom Hollowell?) once said, climb early.
4-5: Fairly easy since the nearby trail is likely to be encountered enroute.
5-6: Good leg. Requires compass, reading subtle detail until near the control, some green to complicate things and road is no help. Lots of concentration required on this leg.
6-7: Nice leg. Lack of handrails forces a fairly straight leg using compass and reading the big reentrant enroute, then reading more map detail to avoid parallel errors near the control. Lots to keep track of enroute.
7-8: Not much route choice here. Some challenge working one's way through the buildings, roads, trails, yellows, through camp. Upon leaving the camp, the trail leads to an AP at the trail junction. Location is not too challenging except for having to locate the control on an angled descent.
8-9: This is a rather straight compass leg since it is perpendicular to trails and the road and in bland terrain. Requires careful navigation.
9-10: Good use of bland terrain forcing runner to use compass but still pay attention to subtle detail near control.
10-11: This looks deceptively simple being short and having a trail just before the control, but it requires crossing the trail at just the right point so as not to overshoot the control on such a steep hill.
11-12: Get rid of this leg. It is too steep to traverse. The runner will have to climb up to the trail and then back down again. No fun. If the runner misses it, it is no place to be wandering around looking for it.
12-13: Based on above comment, I'd skip controls 11 and 12 and connect 10-13. The straight route would be the best route requiring compass and map reading to avoid parallel errors near the control from the various gullies/reentrants. Not that hard of a leg though. That said, I do like the possible route choices from your 12-13, but I still feel that 12 is a problematic control location.
13-14:Good leg. Three route choices. Placing the control on a point feature on that broad spur requires angling either upward or downward depending on direction of approach. Nice choices here.
14-15: Fairly easy using the ditches and the bend in the road as an AP. Late in the course though an easier leg is welcome.
15-F: An easy run in is always welcome. Good opportunity for spectating finishers with Finish in Arena.

Overall, I think this is a better course than the first. I did not read the others' critiques so as not to be biased in my own critique, but I would have expected that 11-12 leg to be eliminated in the second version of the course. Nice mix of medium and long legs. A short leg or two helps to change the tempo, but 11-12 would not be the way to do this. Also, a nice mix of dealing with the steep slopes versus the more bland terrain with subtle detail.

This discussion thread is closed.