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Discussion: What is a ride in map-reading?

in: Orienteering; General

Feb 22, 2023 5:15 AM # 
I am boning up on my control clue symbols. I can't find the definition of a "ride" on sites that share orienteering symbols. Does anyone know, and could you provide an image or picture of one, if necessary?
Feb 22, 2023 5:24 AM # 
It's a linear clearing in a wooded area. A wide one is what you'd often find a power line running through, shown as a strip of yellow, typically with black dots on both edges. A narrow ride, shown as a series of long thin black dashes, is a more subtle thing. It's kind of like a trail that isn't there. You don't notice anything in particular on the ground if you look down, but you can see the break in the tree canopy if you look up. Sometimes it's where a small power line used to run, but they can exist for other reasons.
Feb 22, 2023 5:26 AM # 
In a plantation forest, it's often where a row of trees has been removed.
Feb 22, 2023 5:34 AM # 
This includes some photos, as well as how the feature may be mapped. Additionally, this pdf has an example of the symbol it might show up as in a control description, listed as “Firebreak, ride” in Column D.
Feb 22, 2023 5:59 AM # 
Awesome answers, and fast too! Thanks!
Feb 22, 2023 9:23 AM # 
They are called "rides" because foresters used to patrol the woods on horseback.
Feb 22, 2023 10:57 AM # 
I thought it was a creative route for a mountain bike orienteer.
Feb 22, 2023 5:00 PM # 
in the Midwest we have many where there are big underground utility lines, like gas pipes. They are often deceiving in their runnability, though, because invasive prickly shrubs love growing into them.
Feb 22, 2023 6:36 PM # 
Sometimes old road beds or logging tracks. In some cases, they are very easy to see but slow running because of invasive shrubs and fallen trees. In other cases they can be more more difficult to see - less obvious on the ground or through the vegetation. Wide rides (yellow strip) should be easy to spot and mappable to current runnability (add green underbrush lines if they are setting thick and slow), but the narrow long black dash rides can be one of the least consistent map symbols as far as knowing how easy it will be to see or how easy or difficult it will be to run along.
Feb 22, 2023 11:22 PM # 
I think the previous comments cover this subject rather well.

At risk of nitpicking a little controversy, I am going to suggest that Example 1286 in Zsibthorp's ISOM link is not the most practical or common(?) way to map the depicted feature, and should be reconsidered by the MC people.

Granted, this combo ride w/yellow solution meets the letter of the definition, and some otherwise reasonable mapper might do this, so its worth being prepared.

However I'll suggest that one of the standard trail symbols.would be a preferable and more normal(?) solution. (probably 505- difficult to judge scale in a photo)

The runnability is clearly improved/ maintained and better than natural terrain. This may not be the most common type of trail but is is not rare either,
I don't know of any language or principle that says a trail must be bare earth, or can't be grassed.

The trail option is simpler for mapper, using one symbol rather than two, as well as the orienteer. A beginner shouldn't have to deal with this frankly obscure symbol that appropriately precipitated this thread, and an experienced orienteer shouldn't have to deal with the already cited runnability and appearance ambiguities inherent with this symbol.

Also granted, context might be a factor, If the surrounding trails on this map, or region, are of a notably different character, the mapper may have a case, but not as an isolated demonstration for the rest of the world.
Feb 23, 2023 5:53 PM # 

I'm not convinced with what you're saying. While I agree that in North America rides are uncommon symbols. It seems to be much more commonly used in Europe. I'd have to read it again but I think according to the strict wording in the IOF spec that it is supposed to be a ride because there is no worn footpath on the forest floor.
Feb 23, 2023 8:18 PM # 
@ Canadian
I encourage you and others to read the relevant definitions again, and take a good look at example #2392 under the 505 trail symbol.
Feb 23, 2023 8:58 PM # 
None of those pictures look particularly like the sort of ride that I associate with the narrow ride symbol. But the kind of ride I have in mind would probably be difficult to get a good photograph of (it can be hard to recognize in person!)
Feb 23, 2023 9:15 PM # 
The definition of narrow ride includes the following wording "which does not have a distinct runnable path along it." That wording is not as strong as my human memory brought it out to be.

I will happily concede that that example 1286 could be mapped using either symbol. Personally, which way I'd map it depends on what other trails and rides look like in the terrain. Consistency across the map is important.
Feb 23, 2023 10:36 PM # 
Despite taking issue with one of the examples, I think these new(?) illustrations are a very useful addition to the ISOM, and somebody is deserving of commendation.
I guess it also shows that I haven't had a serious look at the ISOM for a while.
Thanks Zsibthorp
Feb 24, 2023 2:01 AM # 
It's my understanding that this 'wiki' that Zsibthorp linked to is a complement to the ISOM and other map specification documents and as such the illustration re not an 'addition to the ISOM'. Symantecs perhaps but still. I haven't explored this wiki much.
Feb 26, 2023 4:01 AM # 
As a contributor to the wiki in question, I see its usefulness as shining light on the sometimes subtle (and sometimes not) differences in symbol interpretation across the world. These differences are sometimes due to terrain differences and sometimes to long standing local cultures. In this part of Australia the wiki revealed our different interpretation of the boulder cluster and rocky pit symbols.
Feb 27, 2023 1:11 AM # 
Based on the responses, it sounds like a good question, even when the Wiki is cited:). All I know is that folks are always thinking it is a trail symbol, and usually it is not a trail. Typically causes chaos from beginners to intermediate.

Things can always be improved:)
Feb 27, 2023 4:23 PM # 
I always interpreted a ride as an old vehicle track that's overgrown. Like, you can't see any difference in vegetation/surface, but there is a change in the terrain, wherher be a dent or an elevated platform of sorts.
Feb 27, 2023 8:12 PM # 
In the eastern US, I think this might be the most common type of ride, but not the only one.
I wonder if JJ is thinking the same above. These rides certainly don't make strong photos.

This discussion thread is closed.