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Attackpoint - performance and training tools for orienteering athletes

Discussion: how many clinics?

in: iansmith; iansmith > 2017-07-19

Jul 20, 2017 12:38 PM # 
The purpose of a clinic is to teach the techniques of mapping, e.g. in the old days how to put together the piece of base map with the mylar and what color pencils to use, though in the modern era the techniques might be somewhat different. How to know what to put on the map is something that comes with either having orienteered, or with practice mapping, not with more clinics. I once trained someone in a single one-on-one session, and she then went forward and fieldchecked a large map by herself, and did a great job. She was a competent person. Other people can attend a clinic every weekend for a year and will never be able to produce an acceptable map. The person who can map will still benefit from feedback, but that can be obtained locally from fellow club members.
Jul 20, 2017 8:01 PM # 
To your question about how many clinics - I don't know. Peter isn't big on documentation, so unlike the convention and website, there isn't a written update on the state of the mapping project. I was dissatisfied with the detail in the original proposal; it was approved at the April 24 meeting with a $10k allocation despite not really having any more detail. I will ask for more transparency on all three of the 50th anniversary projects - I think that because this is money donated and solicited specifically for these purposes, we have even more of an imperative to tell everyone clearly what we're doing with that money and allowing the Board to have oversight.
Jul 20, 2017 9:24 PM # 
I didn't actually ask how many clinics (you did, asking how many clinics someone need attend, and I was sort of answering your question), but yes, knowing specifically what is planned is clearly needed.
Jul 20, 2017 9:28 PM # 
Oh oops.
Jul 20, 2017 9:38 PM # 
I should have been less ambiguous.
Jul 31, 2017 3:06 AM # 
My take:

How many weekend clinics does someone have to attend before they become a competent mapper? - None. Quite a few orienteers have managed to become competent (enough) without ever attending a formal clinic.

How many maps must someone make before they have the experience to make accurate maps? - None (I'm with JJ on this, the crucial thing is having orienteered enough to know what needs to be on the map. Positioning the features that should be depicted accurately is the relatively easy part, now even if perhaps it didn't used to be so.)

Do we know if anyone will show up, and will they follow through on the path to becoming a competent mapper? - No.

But I nevertheless think OUSA offering clinics is worth a try - you can go through a fair bit of fumbling trial and error in the process of learning to map autodidactically. Perhaps there are enough would-be-mappers lurking in the US discouraged by the seeming enormity of the task who will come out of the woodwork if OUSA endorses and offers clinics for beginning mappers to make the effort worthwhile. Worst case - hardly anyone signs up for the first clinic Peter organises and the drawing board gets gone back to. Or I guess that's the second worst case, with worst being the outcome you hint at fearing, that people show up but in the fullness of time it becomes clear that none or hardly any of them developed into adequate mappers.

I know Peter has been reaching out to mappers. Do you know whether he has another list of people who have told him they want to learn how to map?
Jul 31, 2017 3:12 AM # 
Back in the late 1980s, there was an annual mapping camp organized by Bil Shannon, with Pat Dunlavey as the instructor (and with me as instructor for a couple of years in the early 1990s when Pat stepped down). People paid money to travel to New York to attend this, about 20 a year, I think. There was definitely interest. The camp lasted 3 1/2 days and covered all aspects of mapping, from getting permission through to printing.
Aug 1, 2017 11:24 PM # 
I suppose I should take that as encouraging - presumably the current potential demand would be comparably large. Although back then, with the internet barely existing, a clinic may have been the only game in town other than finding an experienced mapper to teach you or trying to teach yourself from books. Nowadays, there are a lot of online resources and communities available to the aspiring mapper. Though as I think I alluded to before, perhaps too many, enough perhaps to induce decision paralysis regarding how to begin.
Aug 2, 2017 12:48 AM # 
@JTorranc, I am unaware of the precise details of Peter's plans; he is not overly forthcoming with documentation. It is my impression that he is choosing the locations of the clinics in an ad hoc fashion to correspond with national meets and available setters. I think what may be expedient here - rapid clinics - may not necessarily be the most effective, but dunno. Attendance will speak for itself. What I'm most curious about is the return on investment - given $N and m hours of volunteer time, how many maps are made, or how many people make a useable quality map (i.e. become "mappers").
Aug 2, 2017 3:44 PM # 
I was taught orienteering mapping by Hans Bengtsson and Steve Tarry almost four decades ago (and then additional advice from others over the years). Over the decades, I've done various mapping in eight states, generally small, but a couple of bigger ones, as well as being club and provincial mapping director at various times. I remember Hans describing spreading knowledge and developing volunteers as his main task, and he built the largest club in North America. Having more paid mappers domestically seems worthwhile too.
Aug 2, 2017 3:49 PM # 
What's the best avenue for learning is of course a worthwhile discussion. Workshops, or local guidance, or self learning, or some combination. But not all of those will be feasibly available for everyone, so it may be best to have a bit of each of those.

This discussion thread is closed.