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Discussion: Last orienteering event in Arkansas?

in: Orienteering; General

Oct 12, 2019 12:39 AM # 
We are having an orienteering event in Arkansas on Nov. 2nd. I got to wondering when the last time there was an Orienteering USA club event that took place in Arkansas. I contacted Justin Reneau of ALTOS with this question. He is sure that it's been more than 11 years, and possibly over 15-20 years since ALTOS ran an event in Arkansas. Does anyone have an old map of an event in Arkansas? Or do you remember when there was an event?
Oct 12, 2019 12:54 AM # 
Dagnabbit, are you planning to have more? I'll fly down there to orienteer in Arkansas, but I might not be able to get to this one on short notice.

No orienteering in Arkansas that I can remember in the time I've bennn paying attention (back to the 1980s). But others more local may know of something.
Oct 12, 2019 3:02 AM # 
In short, there will be more. I'm trying to jump start a club. Even if it is poorly attended, I'll try again in January or February. And if the club starts to take off, we'll have a couple of events before early April.

So thank you for bringing this up -- there will be other chances. And to be frank, while I'm working hard to make this a good race, I assume my first event (and first forest course I'll have set) will not be as good as future ones.
Oct 12, 2019 3:48 AM # 
The first O' event of any consequence in Arkansas was also the last--an "A" meet out of Magnolia, Arkansas in 1978. A lightly improved piece of USGS map was used, with the chief improvement being switching some of the colors around so it looked more like what an O' map back then might look like.

When the O' Gods looked down and saw master maps were being used (also the last "A" meet to use master maps), they were so disturbed and angered that they put a 40 year curse on Arkansas, which is why there has been virtually nothing to remark on as relates to orienteering there since then. Of course, there are plenty of other states where little or no orienteering has been taking place for the past 40 years as well, so perhaps it is more myth than legend. The use of master maps at that event, however, is fact.

Either way, be-the-map, the coast appears to be clear for more O' in Arkansas, and if you do nothing else but have pre-printed maps on hand for your event, it will mark a giant advance in Arkansas orienteering.
Oct 12, 2019 5:21 AM # 
Will the events be near Little Rock?
Oct 12, 2019 1:22 PM # 
Rogers AR. Details are here:
Oct 12, 2019 1:51 PM # 
Wow! I hope you pull that off, get encouraged and decide to put on more events.
Two things you have going for you right from the start are 1) great terrain and 2) the USGS has available free of charge great LiDAR detail of the areas at least in NW Arkansas. The LiDAR tiles can be easily imported in to a mapping program such as OCAD thn combined with Strava heatmap and google earth details you have an orienteering map in hours, not weeks.
Another is the obvious support of the folks in Orienteering Kansas.
My one doubt would be for how long will that parking lot be large enough?
Three groups to target for a start as you move forward: local scout troops, local JROTC particularly if you have Navy units, local home school and private school groups.
By the way GuyO it is not near Little Rock but there is a place called Little Flock just north of Rogers.
Oct 12, 2019 4:42 PM # 
Stumbled upon orienteering as an event a couple years ago and have been waiting for something to appear near me (Fayetteville) to just get to learn it. Haven't really been running much beyond playing ultimate, but know I'd enjoy it in this context, so I look forward to learning and participating!
Oct 12, 2019 5:35 PM # 
OK, I've scoped out airfares from Boston to Fayetteville. I might have a conflict that first weekend, but you can expect to see me before long.
Oct 12, 2019 6:24 PM # 
One can also fly into Bentonville. And while there you must visit the Crystal Bridges museum.
Oct 12, 2019 7:56 PM # 
Here is a bit of a map in the same park as the November event:

The map is an automated KP map with a few features added.

A few snapshots of the forest:

And a short video clip:
Oct 12, 2019 11:52 PM # 
I walked through a trial course today and it went really well. The spider webs are finally gone, and I thought, "this is actually going to work."

With the exception of some downed trees in some of the reentrants, the entire area is white forest. There are some cliffs, which LIDAR picks up quite accurately, but no boulders. So LIDAR by itself mapped the area very close to "good enough" for a local meet (thanks to Spike for sending me the data) . I'm adding some man-made objects and some rootstocks, but that's about it. It's simple terrain. So yes, the maps will be pre-printed, and they'll be LIDAR accurate.
Oct 13, 2019 1:52 AM # 
I'm adding some man-made objects

Any stills out there? :-)
Oct 13, 2019 6:46 PM # 
be-the-map I suggest you look on Facebook for the story of Chris Gkikas and the WNC orienteering club. Get back to the beginnings and you find the story of how one man found his passion for orienteering, brought the sport to his hometown, made maps, built his own timing system which they used until they could get an SI system, found a few other orienteers in the area to form a club made more maps and sprinkled in there are an amazing variety of events.
For those folks who feel tapped out doing one event a year I look at Chris and then say to the others "pshaaw!"
You are where Chris was three years ago and where I was seven years ago and where North Country Orienteering was two years ago and where almost every other club was at some point in their existence.
Oct 13, 2019 11:07 PM # 
Danng!! We have been trying to get a club going here in the Little Rock/Hot Springs area, there is a lot of interest from the Raid the Rock adventure race. Unfortunately I am doing a mtn bike race Nov 2! Raid the Rock is Nov 9th too. We only have USGS maps, no orienteering maps. I have the latest OCAD and am planning to make maps as I have time. Where are you getting your LIDAR data?
Oct 14, 2019 1:13 AM # 
For the event at Hobbs State Park we're using lidar from here:

You can download lidar around Little Rock, too.

The map for the event at Hobbs is lidar run through Karttapullautin with a little extra field checking.
Oct 14, 2019 4:11 AM # 
Looks likely that Nancy and I are in for November 2!
Oct 14, 2019 11:06 AM # 
Rocky 33. I highly recommend Spike's source of LiDAR. Sometimes it is hit and miss as not every state/county puts their LiDAR product freely available on this site.
But it looks as if Arkansas is a motherlode of LiDAR. It is available in LAZ tiles, the projection is UTM (transverse mercator) and it is free.
If you have the latest OCAD then don't worry about Karttapullautin. You can get the same product from OCAD with the OCAD DEM wizard download.
Just for an example here is a very quick job contours only of an area called Brady Mountain apparently not far from Hot Springs.
Oct 14, 2019 10:45 PM # 
I'll be visiting family in West Fork that weekend. I'm being "treated" to a Razorbacks football game that afternoon, so I may need an early start.
Oct 15, 2019 2:54 AM # 
Spike and gordhun thanks for the info! I can use all the help I can get - I used to put on meets when I was living in IL for IRVOC so I'm familiar with OCAD but I never have made base maps so I'm a little lost on how to get them started in there. If we can just get a few maps made I know we could have some real o-meets on real o-maps. Lake Catherine State Park in Hot Springs is a good choice, I've been told. In Little Rock I wanted to do Burns Park and Pinnacle State Park.
Oct 15, 2019 3:01 AM # 
be-the-map or Spike, do you have a FB event for this orienteering meet at Hobbs, or something I can share? Even though I can't make it, there are a lot of people in Central AR that would be willing to make the trip I'm sure, especially those getting ready to do the Raid the Rock adventure race the following weekend. I'm so happy to hear that we are moving in the right direction on getting orienteering going in AR. When I moved here I was a bit sad to find out there wasn't a club. I went to one meet put on by ALTOS in Shreveport and they told me they didn't have any maps in Arkansas (which made me wonder why Arkansas is in the name?). I have had it on my to-do list to get it going but unfortunately have not yet dedicated the time and energy necessary to do so.
Oct 15, 2019 3:15 AM # 
Nevermind, found all the links from the earlier posts. I've shared it to the Spa City Orienteering Society page (beginner o-club for Hot Springs area) and on my personal FB page, hope that gets some more folks out to it!
Oct 15, 2019 1:12 PM # 
rocky33: Is this anywhere near what you are seeking for a base map for Burns Park? The contour interval is 5 meters with 2.5 meter help contours but it seems strange that there is such a large relatively flat area in the NW part of the map.
The start of the map came off Open Street Map with Strava Heatmap to check the trails. Contact me if you have or need other information. I can turn this map over to you in any OCAD version you have.
Oct 15, 2019 1:22 PM # 
The northwest part of the park is flat like that. I spent a winter in Little Rock many years ago and started an O map based on the USGS map. It would definitely be a nice place for introductory orienteering, and probably deserves a large scale map.
Oct 16, 2019 12:55 AM # 
Yes, gordhun! And as Christina said, that area is completely flat.
Oct 16, 2019 1:32 AM # 
Okay rocky33 I had some time today so I worked on the map a bit with a Google Earth image in the background. Occasionally I looked at the park in Google Streetview and I just salivate imagining putting on an event there, say with 200 - 300 JROTC youth as we are getting in Florida. It is a really good sign when the street view images allow you to see well into the forest!
But my wife and I are about to embark on our annual snowbird migration to Florida so I won't be looking at that map much for quite some time to come.
If you would like to take it over my e-mail address is gordhun at rogers dot com Just tell me what version of OCAD you are working with and I'll send you the file. I'll also continue to work on it if you would like.
Oct 16, 2019 9:30 PM # 
Rocky 33: sorry for the delayed reply. Thank your for sharing it with the Hot Springs folks. (Quaff the elixir!)

If you are anyone else wants a one-flyer pdf that announces the event, I will send that to you. Email me at: herrnstein at gmail dot com

And now that I know there are some Little Rock area orienteers, we ought to consider something in that area, or perhaps something in-between Little Rock and Northwest Arkansas. Pedestal Rocks area perhaps? (Extremely hilly, but GREAT boulder/cliff features.)
Oct 18, 2019 10:46 PM # 
> There are some cliffs, which LIDAR picks up quite accurately, but no boulders

If you reclassify the lidar with lasground_new from the Lastools collection, using the wilderness option, some of those boulders will appear.
Oct 18, 2019 11:07 PM # 
>but no boulders

When we ran at Hobbs a couple of years ago there were no boulders in the lidar, but there were also no boulders in the forest.
Oct 18, 2019 11:51 PM # 
That might explain the failings of lidar. I would purchase a new set that added boulders to the terrain. Makes it easier for the course setter...
BTW, I have also been amused at the title of this thread. "Last event" implies no more will happen, which is entirely counter to the content. "Most recent event" perhaps. Given some access issues in my neck of the world, the word "last" sets the pulse racing.
Oct 19, 2019 12:06 AM # 
We've found some sink holes in the lidar. That'll make the orienteering a little more interesting. Here's an example:
Oct 19, 2019 12:50 AM # 
It's almost like you didn't write anything, Spike ("there were also no boulders in the forest"). Or maybe you need to repeat it a couple of times for emphasis? ; )
Oct 19, 2019 12:56 AM # 
Sink hole? Was there a Civil War battle in the area? I once saw a park on the outskirts of Frankfurt, Germany with literally hundreds of depressions that looked just like that.
Oct 19, 2019 5:40 AM # 
For me Swampfox is the most amusing person on AP. So when my attempt at humour goes flat, I think I need a new script writer.
Oct 19, 2019 6:32 AM # 
I'd be depressed if I was sunk on the outskirts of a German town too.
Oct 20, 2019 5:45 PM # 
"You can get the same product from OCAD with the OCAD DEM wizard"

@gordhun I have heard this couple of times before, but still haven't seen comparisons and I can't comapre myself, I don't have access to a recent ocad. I believe slopes should look quite the same, but detailed hilltops should look quite different. Do you have recent ocad? Could you (or anyone with latest 0cad) make you make autogenerated type of 5m + formlines (or just 2.5m contours, possibly every second being dashed "formline") of area with both slope and also detailed hilltop, something already mapped. Like tile of the US champs Moreau lake map?
Oct 20, 2019 9:45 PM # 
Jagge; I can do it but I can't do it right now or for several days. My wife and I are about to join millions of Canada geese and begin our annual migration to Florida. Then I have an event to stage on Saturday and another the following Saturday so if someone else can do the demo that would be great. Moreau has ideal information for a demonstration.
But here is what happens with OCAD 12 and OCAD 2019
First I open a new file and import the desired area from Open Street Map selecting ISOM 2017 for the symbol set. This gives a geo-referenced map in UTM.
That gives me all the information from OSM minus the names. Most symbols are already in the correct ISOM symbol. Some are not identified. Easy to fix
Then I get the laz files from USGS, check their data - not all are in Transverse Mercator projection
Import the laz file selecting the file's projection and whether feet need to be converted to meters. OCAD will automatically convert the information from the other projection to UTM and place the contour information correctly.
OCAD then asks what information I want. I usually just select the contours and Digital Terrain Model. It also asks what interval I want and offers contours, index contours and form lines. It depends on the terrain which I choose. On one current map it is .5 m. /2.5m. On another it as 2.5/ 5/ 25.
It also asks in OCAD 2019 whether I want original or smoothed contours. This feature for me is worth the price of admission alone. The smoothed are not so smoothed that they are taking out small reentrants, etc but they sure get rid of a lot of 'noise'.
But I could select Digital surface model and get a vegetation height sheet, slope gradient and a number of others. These sheets are put in background (template) and are only visible one at a time. Nor do they go forward when the map is moved from one computer to another.
The vegetation height sheet is very useful in picking out clearings to add to the map but other than that I don't find them very useful so I don't often use them.
I'm not sure if this information is helpful to you or anyone else but it is all I can provide right now.
Oct 22, 2019 7:38 PM # 
Jagge, rather than waiting for someone to be able to send you their work you cn compare KP and OCAD 2109 for yourself by downloading and using their free trial verson.
Oct 23, 2019 6:50 AM # 
I know, I am just reluctant to use 21 trial days just to make contour comparisons that most likely are not that interesting. I'd rather use it when I have time and opportunity to do something more with it.
Oct 23, 2019 11:56 AM # 

I'll send you some snippets of a map I am working on.
Oct 31, 2019 1:48 PM # 
Course notes are posted.
Nov 3, 2019 2:16 AM # 
Sounds great! Looking forward to hearing results and a full report!
Nov 3, 2019 3:56 PM # 
So now we can answer the question that started this thread: the last orienteering event in Arkansas was held on 02 Nov 2019 ! Thank you to be-the-map for arranging everything, field checking and course setting. The weather was perfect (sunny and 50s) and the woods were wide open. We had 16 starts, with a few local folks, and others who traveled from far away (thank you JJ and Nancy!). If you attended, please add your splits to the Attackpoint page (
Results are here:
The map with advanced course:
2019-11-02_Hobbs State Park

Points 8, 9 and 13 were cool sinkholes. The flat areas were beautiful for running. Contouring was a bit difficult due to tough footing (lots of small loose rocks under the leaves).
Nov 3, 2019 4:24 PM # 
That looks fun!
Nov 3, 2019 5:02 PM # 
Glad we came! And don't forget Jim Henderson, who came from Connecticut.
Nov 3, 2019 7:06 PM # 
tough footing (lots of small loose rocks under the leaves).

Reminds me of running a similar terrain in St. Francois State Park.

For this type of terrain a few long legs would make the course way more interesting.

17 to Finish straight downhill is not good (not safe)
Nov 3, 2019 7:27 PM # 
The downhill finish was fine, given the circumstances.

Nice terrain, fine map, interesting course, controls in the right places, perfect weather.

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