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Attackpoint - performance and training tools for orienteering athletes

Discussion: when the top of a posted map is directed to south

in: Orienteering; General

Aug 10, 2019 2:37 PM # 
don't know about you, but was totally confused by the multiple posted map on this campus, and depending on which side the map was facing, sometimes the top was North, and other times it was South.

PS: this is an "Ivy-Leage" campus ... geniuses ...

Aug 10, 2019 2:52 PM # 
isn't the idea the map is oriented to the point of view of the person standing in front of it.

If that is what is happening it should be a something an orienteer might well approve of.
Aug 10, 2019 3:05 PM # 
Locator maps like these *should* be oriented but usually aren't. I was walking in Philly a few weeks back and the maps on light poles in the museum/tourist area were actually oriented. I wanted to applaud right there in the middle of the street.

Now, if some of them are randomly upside down or sideways with no correlation to reality, that would be confusing.
Aug 10, 2019 3:33 PM # 
I like that the maps are oriented that way. I wish the store directory maps in shopping malls were oriented the same ... it's a mental scramble to turn everything in my head. People who aren't experienced map readers probably have a really hard time.
Aug 10, 2019 5:45 PM # 
North at the top is bizarre and arbitrary for an immovable map. It only makes sense for a portable map (that you can orient yourself), or a map out of terrain context (like a map of a whole country, or a weather map).
Aug 10, 2019 7:50 PM # 
Good on the university for posting the map 'orienteering style'.
But is it all that big an issue? Do we just need the 'We Are Here' sticker and one more identifiable point on the map and we can be away to the races no matter the map's orientation.
Aug 10, 2019 9:13 PM # 
IMO it's more mentally difficult when the map is not oriented. But maybe this is a problem non-orienteers don't have because orienting the map never occurs to them, so they are used to using it with the "top" facing up no matter which direction they are actually facing? When I go somewhere like a zoo, amusement park, etc with my family my father, who is the only one of us who hasn't done at least a little bit of orienteering, always asks me why I'm holding the paper map upside down or sideways. He doesn't get it.
Aug 10, 2019 9:34 PM # 
The government building I work in has "in case of fire" maps on the walls but the maps are not in the orientation I would expect. For example, if the emergency exit is shown on the left side of the map, it's actually on the right end of the corridor as you're facing the map. I've complained about this, but hey, government. If they mounted them on the opposite wall they would be o.k., but as it is it seems like it would be chaos if people ever had to use them.
Aug 10, 2019 11:42 PM # 
I guess I'm an exception as an orienteer, since I almost always read road maps with north up -- because that's the way I've always read road maps, years before I orienteered.

Several months ago, Waze started orienting the map (without me telling it to do so), and it was confusing to read. And it appeared that the genius programmers had removed the option to keep north up. When they finally wised-up and restored the option, I went right back to north-always-up.

Can't say for sure how I'd feel about fixed maps being oriented, like in sherpes' example...


Just to be clear, I DO orient orienteering maps, while orienteering.

Also, I do not use the spoken directions with Waze (or GoogleMaps)
Aug 11, 2019 12:15 AM # 
To teach map reading I was using the example of the car GPS changing its orientation as the vehicle turned a corner and that is what the orienteers should be doing. Then I was told that quite a few drivers choose the option that the gps device map is always oriented north and just the direction of the vehicle on the map changes.
And GuyO you are not alone. One of the more experienced orienteer/ adventure racers in Florida says he always keeps his map oriented to north, too.
Aug 11, 2019 2:33 AM # 
I also set the car GPS to have north up. Otherwise I have no clue as to what actual direction (N, S, etc.) I'm traveling in. The GPS would just tell me that the direction I'm going in is the direction I'm going in. I find it very disconcerting, especially in unfamiliar areas, to have no idea where I'm heading.
Aug 11, 2019 2:48 AM # 
Really interesting because I would have thought orienteers would prefer all maps oriented. On the GPS, for example, I absolutely need to have it oriented because occasionally it says something that isn't totally clear and I have to glance at the screen to see the route. I want to know instantly if I'm turning or bearing right/left without having to really think about it, and if the map isn't oriented I have trouble determining that quickly. Especially when dealing with other things like heavy traffic or a complicated intersection.
Aug 11, 2019 3:39 AM # 
For foot orienteering I rotate the map to the direction I'm going.

For MTBO I always have north up (except at the start so I can get oriented, but I rotate it back on the way to the first control).
Aug 11, 2019 3:42 AM # 
I once talked to a car rally navigator - he told me that turning (orienting) the map was considered a big no no.
Aug 11, 2019 10:23 AM # 
The GPS on my dashboard doesn't orient the map, and I find it annoying. (I haven't looked into changing it because the infotainment system in my car is such a disaster that I'm afraid if I adjust anything it will cease to work at all.)
Aug 11, 2019 12:12 PM # 
I have the same experience as jjcote and furlong47 with GPS being fixed to North. We had a rental car in France some weeks ago where this was the case which was particularly annoying in heavy traffic and complicated intersections. We had to make several new starts circling around the place we were going to without finding the (only) way in.
Aug 11, 2019 12:28 PM # 
I want to know instantly if I'm turning or bearing right/left without having to really think about it...especially when dealing with other things like heavy traffic or a complicated intersection.

So much this. When the directions aren't overly clear ("turn left" vs "bear left" or "take the fourteenth exit from the roundabout") and you just need a quick glance at the map to work out what it's expecting, the last thing I want to be doing is trying to translate up/down or left/right.
Aug 11, 2019 1:23 PM # 
Although on the flip side of that, north at the top is okay when planning a route (as opposed to executing one), and it is pretty weird to be on a twisty road and have the map image wildly swinging back and forth, which I imagine most users would find intolerable. I think the ideal would orient the map not instantaneously, but rather as a function of the overall direction that I'm heading, in particular, trying to get it so that if there's an upcoming intersection, it shows the map so that the intersection is oriented with straight being up, before I get to it. I suppose somebdy somewhere (Google?) is working on that.
Aug 11, 2019 2:24 PM # 
I always switch to north at the top for planning, then back to orienting for driving. The map constantly moving about on winding roads usually doesn't worry me much but sometimes it is annoying and I switch back to north at the top - it is just one tap on the touch screen.

I use Google on my android tablet for cars that don't have a GPS. It already zooms in (for intersections) and out automatically - I actually like it better than most in car gps systems. Nice to be able to program the route before getting into the car.
Aug 11, 2019 11:33 PM # 
I suggest that the vast majority of 99%+ of non-orienteers just ignore mall and campus maps. Or stare at them and leave confused.
Aug 12, 2019 10:49 AM # 
For footO I keep the map oriented to travel. For skiO, however, where you're going much faster at times and making many turns, and can't thumb the map, I keep the map right side (north) up. Otherwise I find I have to keep searching for my current location on the map and lose concentration. The codes are also on the map next to the circles and this also makes them easier to read. With the map oriented north I mentally back off to the "10,000 foot level" and visualize an aerial view of the venue.

For driving I often switch back and forth between the detailed step-by-step map and the overview. I like to know the context of where Google is taking me. In Vermont that may mean short cuts on dirt roads.
Aug 12, 2019 1:29 PM # 
I suggest that the vast majority of 99%+ of non-orienteers just ignore mall and campus maps.

I disagree with your 99% theory; I've talked to a lot of friends and acquaintances who don't orienteer about their use of maps, and many DO orient road maps and other maps and lament shopping mall maps that aren't properly oriented. They just don't care to participate in the sport.
Aug 12, 2019 1:53 PM # 
I have a good friend who I'd tried to get to go orienteering but she always insisted she was terrible with maps and had no sense of direction. She finally sheepishly admitted to me that when she was reading a road map in a car she had to turn it so the direction of the map matched her own direction. She was naturally practicing the number one orienteering skill without realizing it.
Aug 12, 2019 11:53 PM # 
I disagree with your 99% theory

You can't argue with statistics.
Aug 13, 2019 1:25 AM # 
90% of tRicky's statistics are made up.
Aug 13, 2019 2:00 AM # 
The codes are also on the map next to the circles and this also makes them easier to read.

At the 1991 USA Relay Champs, the courses were printed so that the control numbers were rotated to be right-side-up when you had the map oriented for each leg, that is, they were all pointing in different directions. The course setter was new, and thought that was how it was supposed to be. It wasn't particularly well received.
Aug 13, 2019 2:13 AM # 
That was a bit of a twist, but the bees at one of the controls were more annoying once the first-leg runners woke them up and they were ready for the arrival of everyone else.
Aug 13, 2019 3:54 AM # 
And my anchor runner was rushed to the hospital...
Aug 13, 2019 4:10 AM # 
No epipens in 1991?
Aug 13, 2019 5:34 AM # 
I’ve got a map of my school in my office. It is ‘upside down’ on the wall. A few people have tried to ‘fix’ it for me, but it works much better if I have to explain to new students/families where different things are.
Aug 19, 2019 11:05 PM # 
What, orienteers using GPS in cars? I though they just printed maps from google before the trip.

I think it's good practice to read a map in any orientation and figure out what's going on (i.e. where you are and where you want to be). That essentially makes orienteering "easier" when you are able to rotate the map and orient it. If you can hone the skills of quickly walking up to a map looking at it and making decisions about where you need to go, you should be better at map reading. Any map practice helps. Don't be "locationally challenged", if you have the ability to orient do that, if not, figure it out.
Aug 20, 2019 4:04 AM # 
What, orienteers printing maps from Google? I thought they looked at Google, mentally planned a route then memorised the trip before starting....

...then desperately hoped they had a relevant map with them when they discover they hadn't memorised ALL the decision points
Aug 20, 2019 4:07 AM # 
I thought they looked at Google, mentally planned a route then memorised the trip before starting....

That's pretty much what I do. I used to do it with rogaine directions too and consistently managed to forget one turn along the way.
Aug 20, 2019 7:58 AM # 
Sort of back to somewhere near the topic...There's currently an empty section for sale close to my home, advertised by a large billboard with an aerial photo. Even though I can recognise the surrounding streets and at least one distinctive building in the photo, it is oriented so differently from what I would expect that I just can't fully relate the image as a whole to the real world immediately surrounding it. I'm assuming it's 180 out but I'm not even certain of that... Unfortunately I'm not in a position to buy the property just to make the billboard go away.
Aug 20, 2019 8:02 AM # 
There are other ways.

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