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Discussion: Wait, what?!?

in: Charlie; Charlie > 2016-06-03

Jun 4, 2016 4:39 PM # 
Are you saying that that little strip of green on the way to the finish is the out of bounds green? Sure doesn't look like it, and there's no legend on the map to compare to. Could have protested (not that you'd want to ruin the Trials). I mean, that green looks to be the same green that's surrounding #1; did you go around THAT? And what is that bright green on the map? Not that that looks like the out of bounds green either, but I would have guessed that that's what that was. Plus, what is that red area in the middle? I'd guess out of bounds, but there's no such symbol in ISSOM, is there? Frustrating.
Jun 4, 2016 6:55 PM # 
I like the multicolour north lines :)
Jun 4, 2016 8:47 PM # 
The stuff around #1 was out of bounds. The map is littered with little bits of out of bounds green.
Jun 4, 2016 9:35 PM # 
Particularly difficult because the tiny bit of green was on the line of sight from the last control to the finish, and there was no intervening vegetation where I crossed it, instead a gap about 30" wide. But it's the team trials, and folks who want to be on the team need to be able to see stuff that small and need to look out for it, even while running into the finish.
Jun 4, 2016 11:14 PM # 
Almost all of the green on the map was olive green, ie. Out of Bounds. Flowers, plantings, even bark mulched areas, all per the requirements of the college. Basically you could run on grass and pavement and a few trails. All this was made quite clear in the meet notes.

I think there were 3 DQs. Charlie had the misfortune to be just behind Steve Richardson at the last control. Steve, readily admitting to a total brain fart, ignored the entrance to the finish chute and jumped over the flowers trying to get back in the chute. Said afterwards he knew instantly he'd f'ed up. Charlie made the mistake of thinking Steve knew what he was doing.

No protests, even from the trials person who did the same thing as well as taking the direct route to #1 through the OOB.
Jun 4, 2016 11:20 PM # 
The purple in the center of the map is ISSOM 714, 50% purple overprint for temporary construction or closed area. They are starting to do a lot of construction on campus and are fencing off areas for staging and the actual building itself. This was discussed in the meet notes.
Jun 8, 2016 12:42 AM # 
OK, but what Charlie fails to mention is that there was a finish chute, two strips of wide yellow tape, on poles about 1 meter high, running from about 10 meters from the last control to the finish. You had to run right by the end of chute to stay on the sidewalk!
I put up the chute, under Ed's direction, and we both stood in the exit of the last control. "no way anyone can miss this, " I surmised. "Yep, looks good" agreed Ed.
Jun 8, 2016 12:49 AM # 
There was also yellow tape just like it all around the building, so not all that noticeable, really. No reason to conclude that this particular tape was important when all the other yellow tape wasn't. Not saying I shouldn't have found it, but when I went back to look at it later it was still hard to figure out. It appeared to me that the path of least resistance was along the left side of the left streamer, which ended in a hedge. If you are going to have a dedicated finish chute, it seems to me conventional to put a control at the start of it, and if it doesn't follow the straight line to the finish, to curve the line on the map to approximate the desired path.

Of course, I wasn't really looking at the map anyway, just heading on the direct line to the finish and following Steve. Maybe if I had been alone I would have figured it out. Maybe not.
Jun 8, 2016 2:39 AM # 
Its also a case of where control descriptions are very important, especially in a sprint. The finish leg was marked as navigate to the finish, not follow taped route to the finish, which means you still need to read the map from the go control to the finish line. Race brain makes you do silly things though.
Jun 8, 2016 3:03 AM # 
So... the control descriptions said you were supposed to ignore the yellow tape and find your own way?

I've learned that there's no finish chute that somebody won't miss. Put a control on a lone boulder in a Wyoming prairie, put a van 200 meters away with a banner next to it that says FINISH, same as the last few days, nothing else anywhere around, with two long strands of pennants to funnel people in, and a few will jump over the pennants and head for oblivion.
Jun 12, 2016 3:06 AM # 
Thanks for the pointer to ISSOM 714, Ed. How did you choose between that in ISSOM 709? 714 is supposed to be "in plan shape".
Jun 13, 2016 7:39 PM # 
You have three options for mapping out of bounds areas:
Olive Green,
Purple overprint lines,
50% purple overprint area symbol

The Holyoke map used all of these, but to represent different things.

I prefer to only use the olive green for solid constant areas of out of bounds with a definite border, like gardens. If part of an area is out of bounds, but there isn't a change in surface characteristic at the boundary between allowed and forbidden, I don't think olive green should be used. The olive green also doesn't allow you to show detail inside of the area beyond some buildings and maybe trees. That leaves 714 and 709 for all the other areas, and its really a mapper/course setter/controller/stylistic choice for what to use in each case. 714 works well for small areas like restaurant seating along a street, where 714 would not show up well or with a clear boundary. 709 allows a lot more detail to be seen through it, and works in places where you are not relying on the edge of the purple lines to show the boundary, like the street that was OOB on the holyoke map.
Since everything is digitally printed, I also have a lot more control over overprint vs knock out, which adds another level of choice. I don't think 714 should ever be used knocking out everything below it, as then it is just a massive block of purple. With 709 though, the choice is less clear. For small areas knockout can emphasize the OOB lines a lot more, but is dangerous because that also covers up features along the edge that make a nice defining line like the pavement edge symbol.

Given more time before printing, and more confidence as to what fences would exist exactly at the time the sprint was run, I would have mapped an uncrossable fence around the construction area and used 709 inside of it. But given the that we expected everything to be ill defined for the boundary (they were putting up fencing as we drove onto campus that morning), I felt that the uncrossable fence symbol was too prominent and too tempting to expect to be able to use navigationally. With 714 over everything, it was clear that area was OOB, but where fences were not up yet, you still could see the detail of the edges of buildings and paths to navigate with.
Jun 13, 2016 10:54 PM # 
Thanks for sharing your thought process, Ed. I suspect that some of my questions come from the fact that the online copy of the map wasn't representing the colors very well. As I mentioned at the outset, the blob looked red to me, and nothing was visible under it. Also, the areas that apparently were olive green on the printed map didn't look like olive green on my computer screen.
Jun 15, 2016 1:12 AM # 
Bearing in mind that I'm colorblind, my feeling is that ISSOM has completely fallen apart, and it's unlikely that I'll be participating in any urban sprints in the future. I did not run the Team Trials sprint, but I did look at Charlie's map, and I think I would have just DNFed and walked back before even getting to the first control.

Olive green was originally a color used only to fill in entire neighborhoods, and it was chosen because you could make it by combining two spot colors. In my opinion it was always a dubious choice, but it used to be that you could figure it out from context. Now that it's being used for small areas that carry the risk of disqualification, and there's only a subtle distinction between it and ordinary green, and it varies from map to map in this era of process color printing, it's become little better than a crap shoot. This is a worse abuse than what happened to vertical green lines, which have also become an abomination. I don't blame the mapping or the course setting in this case, I blame the established mapping standards.

Sorry for the rant.

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