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Discussion: a shame of hong kong

in: Orienteering; General

Nov 7, 2017 12:23 PM # 
Is this really orienteering?! I think it is a cross-country run with route choices only!


I don't want to do orienteering in Hong Kong anymore. The following in mainland China is much more interesting.

Qinglonghu Forest Park
Nov 7, 2017 1:03 PM # 
Okay. I'll bite. Yes it is really orienteering. If I had a choice of the two areas to go to events on the same day I certainly would choose Green Dragon Lake Forest Park 1) because there is more open woods and 2) because it is flatter and I don't like climbs.
However if there were events one weekend after the other I would go to both.
The challenge for making orienteering a world-wide sport is that not all terrain everywhere in the world can resemble Scandinavia or western Canada. We have to adapt the sport and its expectations to the local terrain.
It looks to me as if the course setter at Aberdeen Reservoirs has done a pretty good job of giving route choices to somewhat obvious points, more like MTB-O or ski-O than most foot-O but it is still orienteering to me.
Nov 7, 2017 1:07 PM # 
Just be thankful you're able to run.
Nov 7, 2017 2:30 PM # 
You make use of the terrain you have.
Nov 7, 2017 7:40 PM # 
I'd be very happy to run on the Aberdeen Reservoirs map if it was the only orienteering available (and I'm saying that having lived somewhere in the past where there was no orienteering).
Nov 7, 2017 7:40 PM # 
Why did you go to Hong Kong for orienteering? You go to Sweden or Finland for orienteering. You go to Hong Kong to fight with the wicked Tong Po to show to the world that America is #1
Nov 7, 2017 8:40 PM # 
I reckon this thread was started in Leningrad.
Nov 7, 2017 9:08 PM # 
People go to Hong-Kong orienteering if they love orienteering and that is the closest orienteering they have without paying 10x an arm&a leg to get there.
Nov 7, 2017 9:10 PM # 
A top Canadian orienteer commented that there's no terrain that's too easy, only orienteering too slowly for the terrain (or something like that). Orienteering faster makes everything difficult. (Of course, I'm not sure that anyone's tested that theory on the extensive seemingly featureless playa where Burning Man is held, but on terrain that largely just offers trails on topography, with enough fitness, it should hold. I've certainly found truth in it when fit enough to apply it.)
Nov 7, 2017 11:42 PM # 
Be thankful you didn't have to field work all those green gullies.
Nov 8, 2017 1:34 AM # 
Hong Kong has so much to offer that I'd get over the stylized orienteering. Clearly, mainland would have to have better terrain. So?
Nov 8, 2017 1:37 AM # 
Log - looking at the total lack of features in the gullies, I'm not convinced anyone did. :)
Nov 8, 2017 2:01 AM # 
No assumptions in my statement. ;-)
Nov 8, 2017 2:36 AM # 
If we want orienteering to be a genuinely world sport, we need to accept that in perhaps half the countries of the world, forest orienteering as we understand it is not going to be feasible - either there is no forest, or (as in most tropical countries) it is too thick/steep to be usable, or it's too risky because wild animals or people with guns hang out there - and so the sport will have to take other forms, mostly urban ones. I'm impressed that Hong Kong manage to do as much as they have with the terrain that they have.

That Chinese map is the whitest I've seen from eastern China. Whether that means the forest is actually runnable on the ground...
Nov 8, 2017 3:17 AM # 
That Chinese map is the whitest I've seen from eastern China.

That's racist.
Nov 8, 2017 5:20 AM # 
it's too risky because wild animals or people with guns hang out there
Reminded me of Bodymore, Murderland. No orienteering in that hellhole.
Nov 8, 2017 5:25 AM # 
This whole thread is somewhat ludicrous. Aberdeen Reservoir (on Hong Kong Island) is not the least bit representative of Hong Kong orienteering. The bulk of Hong Kong, and the great bulk of Hong Kong orienteering, is in the New Territories, including many other islands reachable by ferry, which has lots of excellent orienteering terrain. When I lived in Hong Kong, Hong Kong was said to have a higher percentage of parkland (something like 40-45%) than any country in the world. Also, without having a car, I had no trouble getting to any Hong Kong orienteering event by public transportation and/or bicycle. The one thing Hong Kong maps lack (and in that respect Aberdeen Reservoir is typical) is white. However, the typical O map in the New Territories is predominantly yellow, with small pockets of green, although it can require a long uphill hike through green to get to the start.

By the way, I attended what was, as far as I know, the first A met in mainland China with a reasonable amount of foreign participation (just before Hong Kong hosted APOC), and the terrain was not better than in Hong Kong. A few different aspects of orienteering in mainland China for the event I attended:
1. I doubt the committee of army generals who organized the event had to bother getting any permits, including when we were running through people's orchards, etc.
2. It was a quick drive to get to the event from the foreigners' hotel in downtown Guangzhou because anytime our bus reached a red light, the police sirens would go so we could pass through the intersection without having to stop.
3. The controls generally were manned. The Hong Kong elite men said that when a Chinese runner would be near a control, the person manning the control would blow a whistle to help the Chinese find it.
Nov 8, 2017 5:39 AM # 
Sounds like Chinese AR where all the controls were manned but we needed it in some instances because the maps were rubbish.
Nov 8, 2017 2:39 PM # 
The problem is that such a course is used as local ranking, which forms the most important part of elite and team selection. By using such course as a criteria, the result is that anyone with great physical fitness (especially climbing ability) becomes the elite competitor.

If this is just a colour code training event, there's absolutely no problem at all.

Another problem in Hong Kong is that, greens are commonly denser of the ground, i.e. white on map = slow running only, and 20% green = slow walking only, 50% green = barely passable on most maps. The result is that I dare not even pass any green on Hong Kong maps, and pass white with caution, just like I wouldn't attempt to pass 50% green elsewhere in the world, and pass 20% green with caution, but run in white with near full speed.
Nov 8, 2017 4:25 PM # 
The saying in Hong Kong was: Don't try to go through anything shown as fight because you'll lose the fight.
Nov 8, 2017 5:28 PM # 
miklcct, take a look at the mapping standard (ISOM 2017) and see what it says about whites and greens.

From the section on white forest:
"Typical open forest for the particular type of terrain. If no part of the forest is easily
runnable then no white should appear on the map."

My interpretation is (and always has been) that while note entirely subjective there is definitely leeway as to what exactly is meant by white. In some parts of the world white might be slower than in other parts as long as white still means 'runnable'. The various greens are then defined as a percentage of that speed.

This issue, of course, is part of why there are model maps and training camps leading up to the major international races.
Nov 9, 2017 9:10 PM # 
Terje Mathisen:
@yurets: Why do you suggest going to Sweden or Finland?
Norway has more interesting terrain than either of those, imnsho. :-)
Nov 9, 2017 9:18 PM # 
@ Terje:

Terrain in Norway is too tough, unforgiving, it is only suitable for an elite runner (both physically and technically well-prepared), the rest will be either lost or end up with a broken leg. Or will say "never again" after the first experience.
Nov 10, 2017 1:49 PM # 
I'd love to see what people did between 3 and 4. Did anyone try to fight the green and swim? Or did everyone run around on the road and trail, and have to double back on the same trail back to 5?
Nov 11, 2017 12:19 AM # 
Hard to swim on an uncrossable body of water or don't you pay attention to ISOM?
Nov 11, 2017 3:42 AM # 
Mr Wonderful:
This isn't ISSOM, cross what you want.
Nov 11, 2017 5:10 AM # 
Cross what you can...
Nov 11, 2017 10:37 AM # 
How many competitors have read the ISOM? I haven't, and never noticed black lines vs. no lines before now. I doubt more than 3 percent of the people in my local club have even heard of ISOM. The ISOM doesn't say it's not permissible to cross though: "A black line around a water feature indicates that it cannot be crossed under normal weather conditions." I looked at a local map, and there's a black line around a pond that I have swum across before, though not during an orienteering meet. It would be easily passible when frozen in the winter for ski-O.

Maybe the OP went to the meet and knows how people actually ran it?
Nov 11, 2017 11:48 AM # 
Ignorance of the rules is no excuse against a DQ - I dare you to try it at a major event one day! - and yes ISOM (I was not referring to ISSOM) says it is uncrossable, which in my understanding means not to be crossed.

For interest I cross 'impassable' garden beds at uni campuses all the time when not at an orienteering event. Does that mean it's okay during the event?
Nov 11, 2017 3:07 PM # 
Impassable, but not forbidden, as state the ISOM at the moment
should just be, like in sprint, forbidden to cross. And as far as I know, it will be like this in the new version of ISOM (alleluia!). I enjoy swimming, it is not the problem,...
Nov 11, 2017 5:19 PM # 
Mr Wonderful:
I read 2017 ISOM a couple times for the relevant section, and nowhere have I yet found "uncrossable is forbidden to cross". I thought I read it was going to be changed for 2017, but I can't find it when I read the 2017 version.

I recall reading on AP that in Canada, there is the interesting dilemma that the Canadian governing body forbids crossing uncrossable, but that IOF didn't, so if you had a WRE in Canada, you could cross uncrossable, but only on the WRE.

If you don't want someone somewhere, set the leg appropriately or slap some purple on it and hope for the best.
Nov 11, 2017 9:53 PM # 
The rules in the USA say (or used to, I'm not going to look it up now) that you aren't supposed to set a leg where swimming is a feasible route choice. Putting the onus on the course setter, who has time to plan things well, rather than the competitor making snap decisions. I like that approach.
Nov 11, 2017 10:52 PM # 
Hmm... oh well, seems silly to me to say in the regulations that something is uncrossable but then say you can cross it. No wonder people get confused when trying to make sense of ISOM. This is as much an explanation as I could find in ISOM 2017:

In orienteering terrain, there may be features that are effectively impassable or uncrossable. Examples are buildings, fences, walls, high cliffs, water bodies, uncrossable marshes and very dense vegetation. There may also be features that are out-of-bounds to the competitor, that is, they shall not be crossed or entered. Examples are environmentally sensitive areas and private land.

Such features are very important for route choice and may also present a danger to the competitor. They must be clearly identifiable on the map by using very visible symbols as indicated in this specification.

In an ideal world, all features mapped using barrier symbols would be impossible to pass / cross. But nature is complex, conditions vary over time, maps have to be generalised, and the competitors do not have equal physical abilities. This means that a feature that is mapped using a barrier symbol could turn out to be passable / crossable, but to what extent it is possible to pass / cross cannot be determined by inspecting the map.

That a feature is not mapped as impassable does not mean that it will be passable by all orienteers. It should, however, be passable by the average elite orienteer under normal conditions.
Nov 12, 2017 5:35 AM # 
Followers of the ISOM revision will know that (a) the mapping commission tried to make certain features "not to be crossed" (b) many counties submitted against this, for reasons of compliance monitoring, and that there were other tools for the planner to use (c) the IOF council decreed that the new spec would not determine what was not to be crossed.

Followers of AP further back will know of the research done by AZ, who pointed out that the various international, national and local rules often had differing things to say about areas not to be entered or crossed. So, it depends on where you are in the world, and the level of the event.
Nov 12, 2017 5:42 AM # 
So, would it be faster to swim or not? That's the more interesting question.

Also, in Canada, would you be DQed in ski-O for crossing frozen ponds with black outlines. That would be quite a Gotcha!
Nov 12, 2017 5:58 AM # 
Depends if you are a good swimmer or not - I am definitely not! Plus unless your map had been waterproofed, is it worth the risk?
Nov 12, 2017 6:09 AM # 
I've watched too much of "River Monsters" to just jump in.
Nov 12, 2017 6:09 AM # 
One of the things which came up in the ISOM discussion is that if an organiser of a specific event wants to make something which is mapped as 'uncrossable' as 'forbidden to cross' (and is prepared to enforce it if necessary), they can do so by using the purple OOB overprint symbol.
Nov 13, 2017 4:34 PM # 
Not sure if the references to Canadian rules here are current. I recall a few years ago asking a Canadian event controller and being told that the rule there had recently been changed. (And this was a year or two after the big discussion about them not allowing crossing of "uncrossable".) Someone who knows for sure should weigh in here.

Regarding ski-O the general practice has historically been that skiing over frozen water bodies is allowed (including in Canada), unless the organizers state otherwise, which I can only ever recall happening when ice is thin and there's a safety concern.

These days with the common practice being to wait to print maps until the last night so that last minute changes can be made, it would be easy enough to add some purple to water bodies that need to be avoided.
Nov 13, 2017 9:40 PM # 
The competition rules should be clerer about what happen in such cases. In athletics it is clear that the false start means DQ. No need to have a jury for such things, nobody protest against it or trying to bypass with senteces like this.

"There may also be features that are out-of-bounds to the competitor, that is, they shall not be crossed or entered."

We all know what should happen in such cases. It would be better to be precise what is the result. ...entered, otherwise competitor is DQ.

But not in orientering where jury want to have a control when such accident happen. So there is a posibility for jury to interpret a rule which is not clear enough. We all know why. Make a simple rule, enforce it and be strict. Done.
Nov 13, 2017 9:42 PM # 
Since when is nature “simple”? Since when is a map black and white?
Nov 13, 2017 9:56 PM # 
The competition rule should be simple. Don't mix it with ISOM. If the terrain is dificult to map then put clear information into bulletin or present it at the race meeting but keep the rule simple. We are talking about sport and this rule could "should" be black and white. This would be also a challenge for SEA's to do their work - map and course control before the race and not relaying on jury to cover their part of the job.
Nov 14, 2017 1:23 AM # 
It is, of course, much easier to determine if a false start has occurred than if someone has entered out of bounds. (Until we have every competitor carrying a GPS tracker -- that's how hang gliding competitions work, and it's prohibited to enter restricted airspace.) It's best to keep the courses away from out of bounds areas, and to make it so that entering one is not advantageous.
Nov 14, 2017 5:49 AM # 
The Canadian rules under ISOM were changed to be consistent with international rules to allow the crossing of "impassable" water features.

andrewlee, regardless of ISOM, I find it hard to believe anyone would consider it a permissible route choice to illegally swim in other people's drinking water (the map is called Aberdeen Reservoirs so that's hard to miss).
Nov 14, 2017 8:05 AM # 
There are plenty of reservoirs where swimming is legal, including the one that supplies 84% of the drinking water to where I live. I have never been to Hong Kong, so I wouldn't know the specific rule at that reservoir.
Dec 13, 2017 9:16 AM # 
Swimming is prohibited in all reservoirs in Hong Kong.
Dec 15, 2017 1:46 AM # 
The Shame of Hong Kong is so huge, it is coming back
Dec 15, 2017 1:51 AM # 
Can you orienteer in the reservoirs?
Dec 15, 2017 1:55 AM # 
only if you do Reservoir dog paddle.
Dec 15, 2017 3:54 PM # 

This discussion thread is closed.