I honestly couldn't read half the details on that map (even within control circles, where some discretion should be used to avoid such problems) while sitting with Wyatt at the awards ceremony. I know my eyes are worse than they used to be, but I still have the luxury of perfect vision, so I wouldn't feel responsible for map reading issues if I were you.
[Start crew hands you a 3x5" index card]
"Have fun on your 10k course!"
Yeah, particularly given the size of the map... it really was unnecessary. Darned IOF rules...
I can relate very much to the whole thing being a hesitation. The few legs where I was not trying to make sense of the squiggles were so much relatively faster than the ones where I was struggling to read the map. To me, that was more the indicator of being old, because my whole race wasn't slow, just the harder to read parts. Of course, also harder to navigate so I'm sure that's some of it, too.
Jon ran M40 with a 1:10 and just laughed when he saw my map!
The black brown balance in the printing weren't right, as so often the case these days.
I'm not convinced IOF rules are the problem but it might be that just I'm not up to date on the current rules. It once was that maps were supposed to be drawn to be legible at 1:15 and then allowed to be enlarged to 1:10 for the non-elite courses. This map seems to be a case of cramming as much as can fit into a 1:10 and then shrinking the result to 1:15 for the elite courses, making it such that you have to use a magnifier to read it. Unless the rules have been changed, they are(/were) that way in order to prevent this exact result.
So yeah, the 1:10 maps were almost exactly 8.5x11 and one could argue that's plenty small so why bother shrinking them even more for WRE. But an alternative view is that there's too much detail mapped, making it too hard to read while running, which is also supposed to be half of the sport. If things devolve to a competition of walking around with headlamps and magnifiers, that's going to be a pretty significant barrier to entry for new participants.
Ageing eyesight has changed the sport for me. Much less reading the map on the run, less reading of detail, less enjoyment as a result. Larger scale might help (1:7500 on 11x17?), or someday soon just going to mobile devices so that people can have the scale and colors that they like. The maps are already digital.
From the "picture is worth 1000 words" dept, have a look at the animation on TGIF's log
2003 vs 2016 from Saturday that directly compares a piece of both versions of the map. Which one is more legible? Which one would be more fun to run with?
That was a fun animation. In my youth, when I could read with the paper touching my nose (or at arm length), I'd have preferred 2016. Today, 2003 has a pleasant readability that would make orienteering fun. I miss that kind of readability, which allows a flow of reading on the run. Not being able to read without stopping and magnifying changes the sport a lot.
I recall having been quite a bit more confused when I went for a training run on the 2003 version several years ago.
I feel like the 2003 and the 2016 versions of that map are examples of two extremes. The 2003 image has barely enough information to get by, and is maybe over-simplified. The 2016 version has so much extra information that you can't read the contours for all the black gunk printed on top. Some compromise, printed clearly, would have been a good map. It's certainly a fascinating terrain.