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Discussion: pre-register and pre-printed courses vs old style copying

in: Orienteering; General

Oct 1, 2019 5:07 PM # 
andreais:
I was wondering which US clubs still use regularly or sometimes the practice of participant copying down their course before heading out, especially if not pre-registered. And if so, do you thus see an increase in pre-registrations? I know there are a lot of other aspects to consider for pre-print versus not pre-print, friendliness to new-comers, etc., various why reasons pro or against, would like to hear them.
I am looking at it from waste impact perspective, and I know that is narrow, but I deeply care about that and it makes me cringe every time the stack of leftover maps is larger than the capacity for repurposing ..... maybe donate to a school to teach something related to navigation, orienteering crafts....
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Oct 1, 2019 5:24 PM # 
BorisGr:
QOC routinely uses leftover maps for printing control descriptions for future events. I think that's a nice solution.
Oct 1, 2019 5:36 PM # 
jjcote:
The pile of maps left over after a meet is dwarfed by the junk mail and flyers that accumulate in my recycling bin.
Oct 1, 2019 6:14 PM # 
Geoman:
Leftover maps make interesting placemats at a party. Introducing your guests to orienteering and provoking discussion. (My daughter used leftover O maps as her wedding placemats.)
Oct 1, 2019 6:39 PM # 
Mr Wonderful:
Copying isn't fun, and running out seems less professional than even our most modest of aspirations should be. Much rather have some extra so everyone can run what they want, at least until we sell out capacity like a gravel bike race.
Oct 1, 2019 7:21 PM # 
coach:
I agree with the waste aspect, the NEOC storage locker is stacked with unused maps. There is no way to repurpose them as maps. I have seen clubs print new course maps on the back and the QOC idea has appeal. In the end though, we are throwing the paper, hopefully it gets recycled to more paper.
Oct 1, 2019 7:35 PM # 
Swampfox:
Why not use those leftover maps for informal club trainings?
Oct 1, 2019 7:54 PM # 
iansmith:
BOK in North Carolina has a nice solution: the advanced map contains all the advanced courses with appropriate cutoffs, like a nesting doll. That is, the map will have the longest course (red, say). But the green course is a subset of the red course - e.g. controls 1-8 and 13-18 - that is indicated clearly ("CUT HERE"). Brown might be 1-6 and 15-18. This requires specific, particular course setting, but is an interesting solution that also allows people to charge mid-course.

We might also encourage people to leave their maps if they don't want them. A used map that's folded isn't as useful or aesthetically pleasing as a brand new map, but it's better than nothing. I have seen events with higher-than-expected attendance recycle maps for subsequent users when they run out.
Oct 1, 2019 8:15 PM # 
Cristina:
Why not cut down on the guesswork by requiring pre-registration for orange and above? Pre-registration can be as simple as a google form asking for name and course.
Oct 1, 2019 9:23 PM # 
peggyd:
Even if you require course drawing on blank maps, you'd need to print a bunch of the blanks. And unless you never update your maps, they may not be useful again.

QOC, besides the printing of control descriptions on leftovers, has a big database of number of participants on each course for all our maps going back years. Though not perfect, it gives us a good idea of how many of each course is likely to be needed. Valerie M. is an expert at this (though she inexplicably printed 60 Blue maps for our last local meet, and we ran out of Orange & had to recycle ... she probably just swapped those courses in her brain!).
YMMV.
Oct 1, 2019 10:52 PM # 
jjcote:
If you print plenty of White and Yellow and hang onto extras, you have the option of reusing those courses at a subsequent meet. They are less likely than other courses to be affected by things that would require updates, and people on those courses who stick with it are likely to have moved up a course by the next meet.
Oct 2, 2019 5:03 AM # 
Bash:
Following up on Cristina's comment, almost all southern Ontario O events offer pre-registration with online payment until 24-36 hours before the event. Event day registration is usually possible at a higher price but maps aren't guaranteed. Sometimes a club warns that only 10 extra maps will be printed. There was pushback at first: "People don't want to plan two whole days in advance" or "Some orienteers won't use credit cards on the Internet". But now it's just normal - and similar to a lot of other events.
Oct 2, 2019 6:48 AM # 
O-ing:
If you only make orienteering available to pre-registered, or committed orienteers it’s difficult to see how you are going to get new people in. Orienteering is an obscure sport and scaring prospective customers off by saying « limited » or « no map guarantee » is not the best. Every event I organise I make sure « All welcome » is featured on any publicity.
Oct 2, 2019 11:04 AM # 
jjcote:
Cristina suggested pre-reg for advanced courses. You still accommodate the newcomers.

We ran out of maps at a meet I was running last year. We had electric power, so I pulled out my inkjet printer and started printing more. The last arrival was an experienced orienteer taking his grandchild around a White course. The printer was out of yellow ink by then, so the open areas were all pink, but Steve was okay with that.
Oct 2, 2019 2:43 PM # 
Bash:
Agreed, what clubs do in southern Ontario is a step beyond Cristina’s suggestion (which is how things worked here 10-15 years ago) but it’s a step in the same direction. In addition to reducing map waste, it means race checkin is very quick, and there isn’t much need to deal with cash at the event.

I’m impressed that newcomers in other regions just randomly decide at the last minute to show up for orienteering events in out-of-the way locations. I’ve almost never seen that happen here. In my experience as a longtime registrar, the newbies are the ones who sign up earlier and write me with questions about which shoes to wear, what type of compass is best, etc. They’re nervous and they want to be well prepared. They’re also accustomed to other events and sports, from theatre to team sports, which often require an advance commitment rather than just showing up. To them, that’s normal. It’s the experienced orienteers (some of them) who wait until the last minute to sign up or write the organizer a few hours after the deadline to request a map.

When I put on a mountain bike orienteering race in a popular biking area, we did print extra maps and hoped to attract some riders who happened to be in the park that day. That could work in some race locations with lots of random passers by. We did some O-vangelism but none of them was willing to try it on that day so I have lots of spare note paper now!
Oct 2, 2019 3:06 PM # 
Bash:
Btw there are still some events where it's the norm to just show up, e.g. smaller weeknight club events where people might need to make a last minute decision based on when they get home from work. And even the club that said it only printed 10 extra maps actually printed a few more. I've never seen an organizer run out of maps.

I'm not saying this system is for everyone. I just figure it's worth knowing about the different systems used in different places. Southern Ontario's preference for pre-registration and online payment arose from a desire to make life simpler for volunteers, some of whom were getting burnt out.
Oct 2, 2019 9:36 PM # 
Terje Mathisen:
As I've reported previously I host 5-10 events every year, pretty much all of them without any pre-registering required. This does mean that I usually end up with 50-100 spare maps, so this represents a sunk cost of around 100-200 NOK (~$10-20), but that is still an insignificant part of the total budget.

This year I actually achieved some reuse, by using the same courses for my regular middle of summer event ("Svabergsprinten") as for the IOF VIP/Media race which I hosted on Aug 15, the WOC rest day. The IOF event used the remaining race maps from the July event plus some extras which I printed out when I knew approximately how many to expect in August.
Oct 2, 2019 10:23 PM # 
andreais:
There are a lot of great ideas in here. I am actually printing the waiver forms for pre-registered participants on some of the maps. And there are actually many things our club is already doing. We have a great map manager, statistics from the past, looking at the weather and target audience to not run out of maps, but also minimize overprinting.... I like, e.g., jj's idea of recycling white and yellow courses, not just the maps. I was primarily trying to find ways of having less of an environmentally wasteful impact, especially as we are in a sport where we think of ourselves of connecting and being in nature and having a low impact - and yes, I know, the low impact refers to the trampling by orienteers compared to maybe a trampling herd of buffalos.
I guess it was the almost 2 reems worth of Ledger (A3) and 2 reems worth of Letter (A4) size paper sitting in front of me that had collected over a bit more than 1 year....
Oct 2, 2019 10:23 PM # 
O-ing:
I, and newcomers, don’t know what « orange » is. The point is in the event messaging - is it going to be positive « we want you to come and try it » or « limited entry, hard courses are not available, we’ll probably run out of maps anyway »
Oct 2, 2019 11:35 PM # 
gordhun:
Suncoast Orienteering's problem with leftover maps is slightly different. We average about 200 participants per event and the vast majority are JROTC cadets pre assigned to courses and start times. Knowing that there will be a number of no-shows and a smaller number of last minute entries it is fairly easy to come close on the number of maps to print and if we are short we re-use maps collected from the early finishers.
So where is the problem? I'm a big believer that every orienteer should be taking their map after the event and copying on their route to replay and learn from their strengths and weaknesses. I have been doing that for pretty well exactly 50 years now. (You should see the map from my first event in Oct '69!! It is like a newspaper - black & white and red (ink) all over ) It dismays me that probably about half of the cadets at any event are just as happy to leave their maps behind.
So why do I burden you with this? Just in case any of you have any magic bullet to convince orienteers that there is value in taking their map, marking their route and learning for the next time. Do you?
Oct 2, 2019 11:43 PM # 
GuyO:
In my experience as ED, there have usually been a handful of people who didn't know they could keep the map. Then again, they usually try to "hand-it-in" rather than just leave it somewhere.
Oct 2, 2019 11:55 PM # 
Bash:
@O-ing, you seem happy with the way you're doing things, which is great.

Just for the record (since this is way off the original topic), your comment doesn't apply to southern Ontario. Courses aren't colour coded in Canada. For non-championship events of the type we're discussing, course options (if any) are described in English on the web page for the event. Event messaging is positive, entries aren't limited, and clubs encourage newcomers to come out. Clubs simply encourage people to plan ahead by at least 24 hours or so, which looks professional and is understandable to newcomers, especially in a sport where almost everyone is volunteering their time. I'm not aware of any case where a last-minute participant has not been accommodated. But for clubs with a lot more volunteer power than we have up here, the benefits may be less.
Oct 3, 2019 12:11 AM # 
O-ing:
Hi Bash - congrats on everything going so well in Ontario. But I was in part responding to your comment about your club issuing a warning about limited maps. Warning people isn’t a positive message in my opinion.
Oct 3, 2019 12:59 AM # 
tRicky:
It's kind of a double edged sword. On the one hand, people may read it and think 'Oh they might run out of maps so I won't turn up' but on the other, if someone does turn up and there aren't any maps left, they'll not think much of the sport given they had no warning. In my experience we've never completely run out of maps though, just on certain courses, so you can always talk someone into doing a different course (well except at Tash's MTBO event earlier this year where everyone wanted to do the medium course and half didn't finish, despite Tash trying to talk them down to the shorter course).
Oct 3, 2019 1:12 AM # 
andreais:
@gordhun - some cadets started saying that if they have their Strava or whatever track, they do not need drawing, cause the software does it more accurately. My answer to that was that drawing helps them see how well they are capable of remembering, and also learn from "this is where I thought I was" and "here is where I was" and then start thinking why they thought that. I also used to see cadets leave their maps behind, but the leaders have made it part of their review process at school, and the cadets are expected to have their maps with the routes having been marked right after returning from the course. Yes!! Catching on! And I do hand leftover maps to the JROTC leaders on days they are at our events.
Oct 3, 2019 3:43 AM # 
Bash:
I was in part responding to your comment about your club issuing a warning about limited maps.

I didn't say it was my club, and I haven't seen that on any event web page recently but I never heard anyone say they thought it was presented in a negative way. If someone missed the deadline and was concerned about not getting a map, they'd usually write the organizers to reserve one (thus pre-registering). I've never heard of anyone ending up without a map. Looking at the next event on the southern Ontario calendar, it says there is a $10 surcharge for race day registrations.

Because advance commitments - and consequences for procrastination - are normal in other aspects of people's lives (concert tickets, restaurant reservations, marathon registration), this has been a non-issue. Orienteers here just complain about the usual things orienteers complain about - map quality, control placement, etc. :)

But if pre-registration and pre-payment aren't desirable to other orienteering clubs, that's totally cool.
Oct 3, 2019 4:31 AM # 
simmo:
We have a directive published on our website stipulating minimum numbers of maps for each course. We rarely run out of maps, and if we do then early finishers seem willing to hand over their map to be re-used.

Really, when printing is so cheap ($0.70 per map) why would you not print a few more than you expect to need?
Oct 3, 2019 4:47 AM # 
Bash:
It sounds like everyone is printing a few more maps than they need. They just have different ways of determining what that number is.
Oct 3, 2019 6:09 AM # 
tRicky:
Wow we print 210 maps for a bush event? That's keen. Mind you so is 65 for MTBO.
Oct 3, 2019 5:37 PM # 
BrianJohnston:
In Manitoba, pre register online (or by email or phone). Extra maps available. Pay in person at the event. Working well. We get a few newcomers.
Oct 3, 2019 6:19 PM # 
dofishman:
I put on a Scout Orienteering Festival every March. No pre-registration required so we have lots of maps left, especially if the weather is bad. In the fall we use the left over maps for a "First Class" orienteering event that requires pre-registration. I also pass out used map for training event.

And yes my club still has stacks of old offset printed maps that we use for long events.
Oct 6, 2019 8:47 AM # 
TheInvisibleLog:
Beware the availability heuristic. Waste was a feature of the old days of offset printing and hand drawn courses. Instead of estimating how many maps you needed for the upcoming event, you had to estimate the number of copies needed for the life of the map when placing the print order. Inevitably there were some major miscalculations that only became apparent some years later. Our club just converted many hundreds (or maybe thousands) of copies of one old offset A3 map into A5 notepads.
Oct 6, 2019 10:21 AM # 
tRicky:
I think our association's equipment shed is still full of offset maps, unless they've also been repurposed.
Oct 7, 2019 8:58 PM # 
dofishman:
We always purchased an extra 1000 maps because most of the cost was in the set up and after that the cost was very little.

We have some big maps that will not fit of standard size paper. We sometimes offset print these so we can sell maps of the complete park.
Oct 8, 2019 3:16 AM # 
yurets:
I know of only one club within the USOF that currently uses copying from the master map as a standard practice.

Totally agree this should be outlawed. It is very easy to ask people to preregister, or just send an email to organizers.

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