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Discussion: mapping cost

in: Orienteering; General

Sep 13, 2022 1:14 PM # 
I live in Texas and am a long time Scouter. I have two camps I would like to have professionally mapped. One is 150 acres and the other is 750 acres. Both are a combination of pasture and steep rocky hillsides and vegetation ranges from open grassland to impassable briars. They are both bounded by a river on one side and fences on the other three.

Can anyone give me an idea of what this might cost?
Sep 13, 2022 1:49 PM # 
May I ask where those camps are at? I am with the Austin Orienteering Club and this can be a win-win opportunity if those are within a 2-hour drive from Austin.
Sep 13, 2022 11:09 PM # 
Hi Avi-

Not close to Austin I'm afraid. I am one of the guys who helped with the map of Lost Pines though so you have seen my work. Not the best but not the worst. Right now a shortage of time is my biggest problem.

BTW, I am still trying to figure out what happened with the deal at Belton. I am more than a little put out with Longhorn at the moment.
Sep 14, 2022 12:37 AM # 
As a non-profit, youth-serving organization, BSA troops / councils / camps are also eligible to apply for grants under the Youth Mapping Program. There's at least one Eagle Scout mapper on the board that I'm aware of, possibly more.
Sep 14, 2022 2:28 AM # 
Ironically, I was cost estimating a Scout camp map when cmpbllv yelled around the corner to look at AP.

I've found there are typically two parts to any large Scout camp: the developed camp and the far trails/full property.

The developed camp, with all its buildings, pavilions, tent platforms, maze of trails, and other infrastructure is often in the 120-150 acre (0.5-0.6 sq km) range, and is often best served by a single-page ISSprOM (sprint orienteering) map, 1:4,000. This is plenty big enough to use for multiple iterations of beginner & intermediate navigation.

The full property (and the far trails) are often best served by a single-page ISOM (forest orienteering) map, 1:10,000. Depending on shape, 750 acres (3 sq km) fits on a single page. The detail of the developed part of camp is generalized away because it doesn't all fit.

An orienteering basemap (LiDAR contours + some autogenerated stuff + some imagery derived detail) =/= "professionally mapped" (as you asked for), if by professionally mapped, you mean field checked, on the ground, and then cleanly drafted by someone with experience. The first is effort measured in some hours. The second is effort measured in scores of hours.

The first you can get for free. Gord is particularly generous and prolific. If orienteering had a Johnny Appleseed of basemaps, Gord is certainly the top North American contender.

Knowing nothing about the camps, the manmade detail, the rock and vegetation detail, quality of the LiDAR, etc, I'll give you a spitball on professional mapping: $1,500 for the 150 acre camp (ISSprOM) and $3,600 for the 750 acre camp (ISOM) or $1,500 for its developed part (ISSprOM). That's field checking and drafting...not travel expenses if he/she isn't local.

I'd think the goal of that professional orienteering mapping is a product that would appear error-free to a "competitor at speed." Think National Ranking Event and whether people would be griping about the map afterwards. That's many steps past what most Scout camps currently have (a sketch map lacking any semblance of spatial accuracy, and a topo map (typically USGS derived) showing contours and almost no detail).

To be fair, an orienteering basemap is low-hanging fruit to combine the topo contours with spatially accurate sketch map detail. It's a step forward in teaching the basics of navigation. It'll leave serious/advanced orienteers underwhelmed.

Hope the random thoughts help. Now, having ignored the cost estimate I sat down to do, maybe I'll just copy and paste from AP...
Sep 14, 2022 7:19 PM # 
Marc are you having Al put together basemaps for you?

John Torrance charges $27.5/hour plus $66 per day. When I did the Rhodes-France Scout Reservation map I figured the cost at $25/hour for the GIK (Gift In Kind) letter from the council. If you can provide a place to stay you might be able to save.

I usually figure a minimum of $10 per acre.
Sep 15, 2022 6:33 PM # 
Mr Wonderful:
TanZ is super affordable (too affordable?) for lidar crunched + trails from his desktop. It was luxury at a local AR compared to the previous USGS. He was so cheap, we had to redo our licensing scheme in order to avoid some sort of multiple-maps-of-the-same-venue arms race.

I am always curious as to what percentage of our (SMOC's) audience would know or care about lidar + trails + rock piles vs. champs level. 10%? 20% 30%? No one new for sure.
Sep 15, 2022 9:11 PM # 
The most important things in fieldchecking versus a basemap are: 1) trail completeness, 2) vegetation. If lidar processing can get the vegetation more or less right, a lightly fieldchecked map may well be fine for most purposes. That's true in some terrain, not in others.
Sep 16, 2022 11:49 AM # 
What do you mean by your licensing scheme, Mr. W?
Sep 16, 2022 4:08 PM # 
Terje Mathisen:
You guys all need to get together and start working on! was our "proof by example" that is was doable, so when we started getting complete Norwegian coverage we also started Since then Spain, (parts of?) Denmark and (most of?) Switzerland had been done.
This is a wonderful starting point for discovering where it is worthwhile making proper O maps.
Sep 16, 2022 5:50 PM # 
Mapant in the US is a bit more complex since every state has different data sources, and even within a state the data is inconsistent. Still quite possible, state by state, though! I know Greg A. is quite interested in getting such a thing going.
Sep 16, 2022 6:58 PM # 
Same in Canada. Still not much coverage in Ontario though all the main O clubs are now in the lidar coverage. anybody?
Sep 16, 2022 7:08 PM # 
I want a, I want to be part of making a, the idea of undertaking a is very overwhelming.
Sep 16, 2022 7:58 PM # 
Mapant in Finland, Norway and those other European countries are truly impressive for those of us enthralled by the idea of bringing meaningful topographic detail together with the usual civic map material.
But I don't think we can hold our breath for it in the USA or Canada.
In the US, for example, there are two main federal agencies collecting and distributing LiDAR tiles - NOAA and USGS National Map Viewer. Their projects come from state-wide projects, county projects, (in Florida) Water Management District projects and probably a ton of others.
In the USA TNM has over 5 million LiDAR tiles available but covers only a little over half the country. NOAA has similar numbers, covers some areas overlapping the TNM and covers mostly only states bordering the coasts and Great Lakes.
Failing those two there is sometimes luck in going directly to the counties and other local agencies but it is hit and miss.
State level mapant would work with about 10-15 US states and Puerto Rico.
However if the aim is to find potential orienteering areas all is not lost. There is a program called Strava Heatmap. Many of us gps watch users are recording our routes to this world-wide site, even if we don't know it. The more users going over a certain area/ trail the darker the line. I find tis useful at times to look for where there is a conglomeration of dark trails. Conclusion: if there are a lot of people tracking in that area there must be public access. If there is public access there must be potential for an orienteering area and it is worth investigating further.
Sep 16, 2022 8:09 PM # 
There is USGS Lidar coverage of approximately 75% of the lower 48 right now. That is already a very meaningful amount of area, especially if you are making some kind of comparison with Finland, Switzerland, etc.
Sep 16, 2022 8:19 PM # 
The closest equivalent to Mapant I know in the US is probably

It's a little less elegant, but it lets you patch together layers from a remarkable number of sources, and the UI is pretty smooth and fast. Some of its functionality (such as ability to print maps) has been limited since it was commercialized.
Sep 16, 2022 8:59 PM # 
I think that even just beginning the process of creating a mapant of the US with whatever is available would be pretty awesome. I've talked to some of the juniors in the past that would definitely be interested in helping out but who might need some support as we got started. It would just (I say 'just' very hesitantly because I do recognize that it would be quite the undertaking) take someone (or a few people) willing to be the lead in the project to get the ball rolling and then I think there would be a lot of people who would volunteer to help from there.
Sep 17, 2022 7:49 PM # 
Mr Wonderful:
licensing scheme

Before my time, at one point an adventure race may have used one of our maps without permission, so the orienteers said, well that wasn't right please stop, and then we will license it at a rate of not less than an orienteering event (why would orienteers pay more to use their own map? being the rationale), so $5 / team.

Once Lattanzi offered a $100 map, we lowered it to $100 per event for map usage, and free if you are the race promoter outfit that made the map (eg, Lost Arrow Sports maps it, they can use that map for free) even if the club paid you to make it. This avoid the arms race we hope, as otherwise the club, me for my very occasional races, and the two main AR outfits, might all be "better off" making their own resulting in four maps of the same venue when we should instead be making more unique maps (assuming we had enough hosts and we don't).

Not sure it is the right answer, it is the answer we have at this time.
Sep 18, 2022 4:48 AM # 
Ah, interesting - thanks.
Sep 18, 2022 12:13 PM # 
Terje Mathisen:
Re the difficulty of having independent sources and not full coverage:
Here in Norway every single community/city owns it own mapping data, so getting the topo detail means downloading 15-20 different objects types from each of ~300 communities. The actual lidar coverage is stored per project (currently about 1500 of these, all split into 800x600m laz tiles), with really irregular borders and anywhere from 1 to 10+ projects covering each spot, except for a handful of square kilometers which are still missing. When we released we had about 60-65% lidar coverage, then over the next few months we started tracking each new project within 2-3 days.
Sep 28, 2022 4:00 PM # 
John Brady and co Tahoma Coach Chris Cooper are prolific mappers they have all of Maple Valley, WA mapped and have completed tons of new or updated maps around WA+++.
John is super knowledgeable about Lidar and also using drones to aid in mapping. Might be a good add to your mapping team communications. He’s also made some specific mapping training videos.
Sep 28, 2022 11:04 PM # 
Speaking of Washington do any of you there or in BC have any use for an orienteering map of a small park in Blaine WA - Lincoln Park? or of downtown Blaine? I spent some time there this summer catching up with relatives and when I wanted to escape I went to do some field work.
And we did a family orienteering/ trivia game through part of the downtown.
Anyone is welcome to the maps, not finished but definitely started.
Sep 29, 2022 12:29 PM # 
Gord--we spend our summers in Whatcom County, WA, alternating between cmpbllv's parents in Blaine (Birch Bay) and a cabin in Glacier. Would love to see these maps, and _may_ move them forward at some point. To be honest, I spend more summer time doing cabin maintenance than I do trail running, mountain biking, backpacking, etc...
Oct 2, 2022 4:10 PM # 
As an aside for those working in areas where there is no available LIDAR. It is becoming a bit easier (read cheaper) to construct a basic base map using free software and satellite based contours obtained through Open Street Map (OSM) and David Dixon's version of OSM openorienteering map;

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