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Discussion: Orienteering is different at 1:15,000

in: Orienteering; General

May 1, 2018 5:42 AM # 
I don't know if folks have noticed this (or perhaps forgotten), but I find competing on 1:15,000 scale maps is really a different kind of orienteering. I find it is more of a "macro" scale orienteering where you focus on the bigger picture landforms instead of the little details. It feels as if almost by changing to 1:15,000 as if the map has been "pre-simplified". You see the big-picture easier and focus more on the routes.

Has this been discussed before or have others noticed this?
May 1, 2018 8:01 AM # 
I was looking forward to day 2 of the recent Aus Easter carnival because it's *always* at 1:15,000 but bugger me if they didn't go and make it 1:10,000 this year just because Tasmania is different.
May 1, 2018 10:09 AM # 
That coming from a resident of the State where they have a history of claiming they are different.
May 1, 2018 10:51 AM # 
Age 41 and with no glasses yet, 1:15k orienteering for me is increasingly a question of "direction and pray" as I can't really read any of the detail....
May 1, 2018 1:11 PM # 
As an age 60+ orienteer who started having problems reading 1:15000 20 years ago, I say the elites should have them and enjoy the simplified map, but please don't subject your older orienteers to them. Even using glasses and a magnifier I have trouble seeing the detail on a 1:15000 map.

Maps from early days were on larger(?) scale (I never know which word to use when talking about 1:25000 or 1:40000 vs 1:15000) with even less detail. Some have even been shared on Attackpoint.
May 1, 2018 2:44 PM # 
I know 1:15000 is harder for older eyes, that is why I said "or perhaps forgotten" recognizing that many of us aged out of enjoying 1:15000 maps. I was referring more towards elite/those that can still enjoy that smaller scale.
May 1, 2018 4:05 PM # 
I had a 1:7500 map at a recent MTBO event when all other classes had a 1:5000 map and unfortunately the organiser didn't follow ISMTBOM that says that all scales of 1:10,000 and below have the same symbol sizes so the 1:7500 was 33% smaller in this regard. I really would have appreciated the bigger symbols in that event as it's harder to read on a bike!
May 1, 2018 5:04 PM # 
Even as an elite lad, I'm not too fond of 1:15,000. My eyesight is fine but I still have a hard time reading the details. As far as I know, this scale is supposed to allow the long courses to fit on the map. However most organizers seem to have no problems printing maps on bigger pieces of paper. Sometimes the courses just use a corner of the map and it feels like 1:15,000 is used just for the sake of using it.
May 1, 2018 5:44 PM # 
I'm too old to read 1:15 easily, and I think shrinking the map to A5 size (like at the UK Easter JK event) is simply perverse.
You can always simplify at 1:10, and you can read it too.

But... in the UK the shift to 1:10000 has brought a change in what's regarded as a "big enough" area, and what's "long leg". And with it, a change in planning style: we've lost "big-picture and focus more on the routes" style orienteering. Which is sad.
May 1, 2018 5:51 PM # 
my old eyes can't read features at 1:15000 anymore without support of aids such as reading glasses. A couple of years ago reached out the Flying Pig organizers to sign me up to the longest courses that had to have 1:10000. So, if blue was to use 1:15000 and red to use 1:10000, red it was. On the other hand, a young elite participant told me that it was preferred that national meets always offer a course in 1:15000 scale because that is the standard for elite international competitions.
May 1, 2018 6:36 PM # 
1:15,000 is pretty useful for long legs (as in, 2+km). Larger paper doesn't work that well for such long legs I find. I'm well past the age when I could read 1:15,000 unaided by optics, but, like Graeme, I'm sad that that part of orienteering has largely faded. It's not the only interesting part of the sport, but it is one. I need optics anyway, so the occasional 1:15,000 map to enable long legs would be acceptable for oldie me. I think that some of the issue with readability is printing; offset allowed for crisper images. The characteristics of inkjet and laser printing have been often compensated for by enlarging fifty percent, which makes people think of 1:10,000 as the smallest readable scale. Better inkjet paper seems to make a significant difference. I've also considered experimenting with spot color inkjet printing, but have too many other projects right now, and the best prospect for printer was reported as slow.

Larger vs smaller: If you think of a scale as a ratio, then 1:10,000 is a larger ratio than 1:15,000. Thus, 1:15,000 is a smaller scale than 1:10,000 by that metric.
May 1, 2018 7:42 PM # 
It´s not only the orienteering is different also the courses are different. Whenever I got the now seldom chance to run a long distance on a 1:15000 map I got more and better long legs.
Also I´ve got bad eyesight I´ve still prefere a 15000 over a 10000 map at a long distance race, cuse long distance is about route choices not about the details.
May 1, 2018 8:03 PM # 
Regarding larger/smaller...when I think of 1:15000 vs 1:10000 -- one can fit a larger mapped area on the same size paper at 1:15000, the smaller scale. Thus my confusion.
May 1, 2018 9:08 PM # 
But a given piece of terrain occupies a smaller piece of paper.
May 2, 2018 5:03 AM # 
I agree with the thread's topic. It's different again at 1:40-50,000, and enjoyable too. And a graveyard on a hillside at 1:2000 was superb.

Trouble is, multiple issues keep getting rolled into one. The styles of orienteering we run. The feature density of terrains that we like. The mapping specifications. The degradation of eyesight with age.
May 2, 2018 5:58 AM # 
Agree with the OP. A good 1:15000 map is great for a true long distance event. At least for those of us with perfectly fine near vision. Problem is that it seems to be a lot harder to print a good 1:15000.
May 2, 2018 1:47 PM # 
The longer courses at Tiomila this year used A2 maps in order to fit the courses on 1:10,000. I never got a good overall picture of where the course was going, just a few legs at a time.
Long night (that I ran) even had a 31.5cm leg on paper!
May 2, 2018 4:17 PM # 
JJ's explanation is indeed helpful. The same area will fit on a smaller piece of paper at 1:15 vs 1:10, hence the larger number is the smaller scale.
May 2, 2018 4:18 PM # 
A2? jjcote's joking about maps the size of bedsheets seems to be getting more real every year. ;-)

I'd add to gruver's list, enlargement to compensate for printing technology (which is distinct from, and additive to, enlargement to compensate for aging eyes). But, I'd also argue that the issues in gruver's list (and the printing technology issue) all touch on each other. The format of event affects the level of detail that's optimal (and vice-versa), and the most desirable scale. As do most of the other issues. One issue can be discussed in isolation to a degree, but I think that one runs into key overlaps quickly. As the A2 comment begins to get into, scale affects reading large areas of the map at once, and thus the ability to absorb a long leg as a whole in order to choose and plan a route (or, as roar posts, to get an overall picture of the course).
May 2, 2018 4:21 PM # 
1/10 000 = 0.0001
1/15 000 = 0.000066

0.000066 < 0.0001, so 1:15 000 is smaller scale than 1:10 000
May 2, 2018 4:21 PM # 
For scale in general, it usually works better to use coarser/finer rather than larger/smaller.

For paper map scale, it does not sound quite right though, or maybe it does.
May 2, 2018 6:55 PM # 
I usually say higher or lower scale. Higher scale is a bigger number on the right side and it's as if you're looking at the map from higher up in the air so you can see a larger area. i.e. 1:15,000 is high vs. 1:10,000 is low. It makes sense in my head...
May 2, 2018 7:19 PM # 
I agree with ShadowCaster. I also ran 10-mila on an A2 map, last leg in my case, a 15 km course (19 km running distance).

The A2 paper size really isn't suitable for orienteering. Folding and re-folding on the run is very annoying. It's impossible to read ahead and get any overview of the long legs without standing still and unfolding the bedsheet. Forget about unfolding the abomination to check control description (in relays there aren't separate descriptions, but mercifully they had the codes printed next to the circles).

Courses of this length should be 1:15 on reasonable paper size. The problem of course is that with today's detailed maps it's not possible to read for most people at 1:15 even with offset printing.

And so we are back at the endless debates about the intertwined aspects gruver mentions...
May 2, 2018 7:45 PM # 
Maybe some club on each continent should offer a 1:15,000 ISOM2017 long course event with the kind of long legs for which that scale and level of detail is best, in good route choice terrain. Those interested in that kind of orienteering can attend. That could create demand and supply for such maps, without affecting the high detail middle course (and long middle course) events and maps.
May 2, 2018 7:50 PM # 
Terje Mathisen:
As an H60 runner I am really glad Jukola and Tiomila both use 1:10K even for the longest legs.

When I ran the Long (forked) Night at Jukola in 2012, for the first and only time, I had just advanced into H55, and I would have been totally helpless on a 1:15K map.
May 2, 2018 8:07 PM # 
Here we go again...
May 2, 2018 8:08 PM # 
I use high magnification reading glasses from a dollar store, particularly ones that are narrow in the vertical dimension so that I can see over and under them. It's far from a perfect solution, but probably nothing is (including an A2 size map). Some other people have used magnifiers designed for dentists, easily flipped into view or out of the way.
May 2, 2018 10:05 PM # 
So... what scale did Phileas Fogg use and how did he get the overview required? What paper size (or perhaps, globe diameter)? Eyesight, I would think a monocle...
May 3, 2018 12:03 AM # 
I usually say higher or lower scale

Unfortunately in conflict with the standard convention, though.
May 3, 2018 1:13 AM # 

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