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Discussion: Forbidden Features at COC Long

in: Orienteering; General

Aug 23, 2010 11:41 AM # 
There was a bit of a kerfuffle at the COC Long distance event with many people crossing forbidden features (lakes and swamps). I feel partly responsible for this, as perhaps the article I wrote about Forbidden Features left people with the incorrect notion that these features mapped as "uncrossable" are not "forbidden". Let me try to clarify...

Mapping Standard (ISOM) - has only five "forbidden" features - "out of bounds", "permanently out of bounds", "forbidden route", "uncrossable boundary" (a purple line), and "cultivated land". i.e. there is nothing in the ISOM that forbids you from crossing something that is "uncrossable" - such as an uncrossable lake or marsh (the feature will be very difficult to cross, but not illegal)

COF Rules - these were the rules that applied to the COC Long final. These rules say that any feature marked "uncrossable" is also forbidden to cross.

Okay - so that is that, quite simple? In Canada, uncrossable features are forbidden to cross,. Crossing these uncrossable features in the COC Long would have given a massive advantage in some situations.

But here's the confusing thing. Imagine that the Long Distance race had been sanctioned by the IOF as a WRE event. Then the M21E and W21E *categories* would have been subject to the IOF rules - and in that case, for those two categories only, it would have been okay to cross those lakes and marshes. But only for those categories - which would create the bizarre situation that, with W21E and M35 both on the same course, the W21E runners would be allowed cross the uncrossable lakes, but the M35 runner could not !

I don't know - is that any clearer?
Aug 23, 2010 1:05 PM # 
Quite clear, but hair-splitting. I imagine the controller would prevent legs across water in order to prevent swimming ability influencing the result. Unless it was that new WOC discipline, the water-o.
Aug 23, 2010 1:28 PM # 
Excuse my ignorance, but why do the COF rules explicitly forbid crossing a feature which is mapped as potentially uncrossable but isn't forbidden by mapping specifications?
Aug 23, 2010 1:35 PM # 
AZ, couldn't it be announced in bulletin that the COF rules regarding forbidden features are in place for M21E and W21E? Or is that not allowed? In other areas (like clothing restrictions) at IOF events they use the host country rules. Not okay for mapped features?
Aug 23, 2010 1:48 PM # 
In Adrians scenario (W21E vs. M35), all you have to do is put purple lines across any relevant lakes that could lead to a shortcut. It will be a little messy, but certainly makes the point. Problem solved! :D
Aug 23, 2010 2:06 PM # 
Christina - yes, it is possible to use the event bulletin to "trump" the IOF rules in a WRE event. However I believe that permission for any such rule deviation must be obtained from the IOF.

In fact, this happened at the World Champs recently, where a similar situation occurred - the olive green "settlement" symbol is not a forbidden symbol according to IOF rules, but the event bulletin specified that for the WOC races, it would be forbidden.

(this led to an interesting situation where GBR's Jon Duncan (I think) was spotted going through olive green by the tracking system. He had done this by accident and when he realized his error he returned through the forbidden feature, on the two-wrongs-make-a-right principle ;-)
Aug 23, 2010 2:29 PM # 
Well that's a fascinating bit of legal trivia, but frankly it seems like a poor bit of rule writing to deviate from the IOF norm, and a poor bit of course-setting to rely so heavily on a rather unusual rule for route choice.

So what is the reasoning behind the Canadian rule? Is there a good reason to deviate from the IOF rules, or is it simply historical?
Aug 23, 2010 2:42 PM # 
I don't know why this rule exists in Canada - it would be interesting to know.

But other countries also have their minor twists on the IOF rules. Perhaps not so major, I'll admit...

For example, the USA rules say that "Yards and gardens" are forbidden areas.

The Australian rules imply that private property is out of bounds, but I don't think it is explicitly stated anywhere. (Rule 3.4.2: The course must be planned to avoid tempting competitors to take shortcuts through private property and other out-of-bounds areas.)
Aug 23, 2010 2:44 PM # 
I wouldn't blame the course planner for "relying on this rule". In Canada almost all orienteers take for granted that lakes and marshes with black lines are forbidden to cross. It is only those that read my article that know this isn't the case all around the world. To us Canucks the question is "why does the rest of the world allow crossing of uncrossable features"
Aug 23, 2010 3:06 PM # 
An additional problem would be that "black line" features may also be possible/impossible to cross on different seasons.

I´d say that the map and/or notes/bulletins before a race should give enough information for the runner to make a quick (and hopefully correct) decision. My guess is that runners taking a chance and succeeding to cross the "uncrossable" would gain an unfair advantage if the situation isn´t totally clear about this being either allowed or forbidden/out of bounds in advance...

A general feeling I have is that this type of course setting should be avoided.

I don´t deny it creates a lot of route choice problems - but if some possible solutions are potentially illegal (but still doable) they are bound to create this kind of discussion ;)
Aug 23, 2010 3:13 PM # 
Totally wanted to jump on a beaver to cross one of 'his' lakes when I got dead-ended :)
Aug 23, 2010 3:48 PM # 
There are three passable routes from 11-12 on course 10. The fastest one is clearly to go straight through the 2m wide stretch of waist-deep water, whereas going left or right of the water features is apparently at least 2.5 minutes slower (I went straight if you want to compare splits). So in the rest of the world, there would be no route choice. However, this rule makes the straight route illegal, "generating" route choice.

Anyway, course-planning notwithstanding, the obvious solution to avoid this discussion in the future is to change the rules so as to make them compliant with the IOF rules. (You Canadians are always making the same argument about the metric system...). In that case, the possibility of setting legs with obvious routes that are technically illegal would be a non-issue.
Aug 23, 2010 3:56 PM # 
I believe the Canadian rule is there because Canadian mappers generally used the uncrossable feature sparingly and used it for lakes that were truly not safe to cross.
The mapper for the COC long is considered one of the best mappers in the world. I love his work but in this case he went overboard in designating marshes as 'uncrossable'. When I was picking up controls I found one area of a so called 'uncrossable marsh' where probably 20 to 30 competitors had beaten a new path 20 metres long through knee-high water. None of them would have been in at any physical risk by crossing that marsh. Did they gain much of an advantage by crossing in the marsh? Not likely; the alternative crossing at a beaver dam was hidden in thick bush but it was only some 20 metres away.
My course had a control placed just inside the tip of an uncrossable marsh that was bone dry. Should all who punched there been disqualified? I don't think so. Should the course have been thrown out? No. The jury made the right call. No protest; no foul.
I'm sure version 1.2 of that map will have some modifications.
Aug 23, 2010 4:42 PM # 
This generates another question in my mind: when connecting the lines between controls, if going through the lake (or for example buildings in sprint races), should the purple line joining the 2 controls go right through the "forbidden" feature? I have seen this on courses before where the purple line was going "around" the forbidden feature, but that only works if there's only one route choice around.... Anyway, is there a rule for that? I've also seen it if there's a mandatory crossing. I'm just curious because with my orienteering brain on, the 1st route choice I examined looking at the COC's long distance map was the one going through Canadian-forbidden waters! I strongly believe that is because of the Pavlov reaction I have of looking at the straight option first! Anybody has any idea about that?
Aug 23, 2010 6:39 PM # 
The course lengths were not really accurate. To give you an idea, I was well over 10 mins/km while I am typically around 7.5-8 mins/km in our local hilly terrain. Some of the route choices that were "created" by the uncrossable features meant that you had to go WAY around. The routes that went way around also usually involved finding and crossing thick little sections with beaver dams which made it even slower As you said they couldn't bend the line because there were usually several ways around the lakes and marshes. It did make for some very interesting route choices. On a couple of the legs, I had to spend 15-30 secs at the control figuring out what I was going to do.
Aug 23, 2010 7:09 PM # 
The fastest one is clearly to go straight through the 2m wide stretch of waist-deep water
Two meters? That's jumpable, which introduces another pholosphical issue.
Aug 23, 2010 7:27 PM # 
Adrian, I don't think you should feel responsible as in "Forbidden Features", you did indeed make the point that individual countries can make their own rules about this sort of thing. Specifically, you even wrote out the relevant Canadian rule (8.4.4).

Personally, I avoided routes across "uncrossable" features as I thought they might be forbidden to cross (I wasn't quite sure). On 11-12, I went north-west for about 150 m, around the end of the swamp and then carried on south-east to the control. I presumed that crossing directly south of 11, or crossing between the two spits to the east of 12 would either be difficult/deep or "forbidden".

In retrospect, given that beaver ponds featured in some important route-choice decisions, the Competitor Handbook should have clarified the legality of crossing "uncrossable" features. This is especially important for foreign visitors - who shouldn't be expected to have carefully analyzed COF's special rules to know the rules of the day.
Aug 23, 2010 7:36 PM # 
Brendan, wow, you were fast on 11-12, 2.5 minutes faster than anyone else on the leg. What this means (thankfully) is that no one else actually took that route (or at least executed it well). I took the right-hand route, made a 1 minute mistake on the way, and was 1.5 minutes slower than the other contenders on the leg. I know of one person who took the left-hand route and crossed the uncrossable gap between the two spits to the east of #12, but he was even slower than me so I'm not inclined to consider it a cause for concern.
Aug 23, 2010 7:58 PM # 
I think we should blame everything on AZ since he's willing to take the blame ;-)
Aug 23, 2010 8:06 PM # 
Why not you, Barbie? You could be the fall girl. You weren't even there!
Aug 23, 2010 8:28 PM # 
I don't swim well. If I liked to swim, I'd be doing triathlons instead of this. Can we please keep courses out of the water?
Aug 23, 2010 8:52 PM # 
Yeah I suppose I could take some of it ;-)

I'm actually surprised that lakes that are deep enough to require swimming skills are not forbidden by IOF. It does provide an unfair advantage to those who float well and/or know how to swim and presents a new liability that I'm sure our insurers wouldn't be happy about!
Aug 23, 2010 9:44 PM # 
Pink Socks:
Hmmm, maybe I should have stuck with my original courses at Moses Lake (US Middle Champs). The high water levels during the event would have required some crossings in chest-deep water. Sounds like fun!

Interestingly, beavers were involved with several of those water crossings in Moses Lake, but not in how you might think. At low points in between two ponds, the beavers have basically dug short, waist-to-chest deep "canals" by going back and forth over the years.

Totally wanted to jump on a beaver

During course-setting, I got close enough to one where I could have done this, but then I remembered how big and gnarly their incisors are (found some skulls out there), so I decided to take a few steps back and scare it away.
Aug 23, 2010 9:44 PM # 
It does provide an unfair advantage to those who float well and/or know how to swim

Examine your definition of unfair.

(Incidentally, USOF deal with this by having a rule that says "Courses shall be set so that swimming will not be necessary nor tempting as a route choice".)
Aug 23, 2010 10:04 PM # 
btw. wasnt there a barebones race in 97 or 98, where at one of them mass start races, the course went into an island, where the best way was to swim across instead of taking the bridge?
Aug 23, 2010 10:33 PM # 
Examine your definition of best ;-)

But, yes, this was a route choice. And again it was an American (James Baker) that took it! His punishment was to be Barebones course planner every year after until he couldn't take it any more and escaped to the UK. (with obvious implications for Brendan ;-)
Aug 23, 2010 11:31 PM # 
Re Map maker and excessive use of uncrossable:
2010 has been a very dry year in eastern Ontario. Marshes that were indeed dangerous to cross in 2009 are a pleasant stroll in 2010.

Then there are the beaver dams. Sometimes they fail making what were large lakes into passable meadows with a crossable stream down the middle. I'm not aware of any broken beaver dam in this case, but it happens

Like it or not the Canadian rule is clear, if it is marked uncrossable it shall not be crossed.

Is that a good rule? That has been debated a lot. Fun to watch, but I don't think I'll participate.
Aug 24, 2010 1:49 AM # 
As one who got disqualified on admitting that I had crossed an “uncrossable” wooded marsh (I heard the race director ask us to voluntarily come forward after I returned to the finish area to find my passenger) and also complained about my disqualification, I have a few general points to make and I can also provide some specifics about a couple of the legs on my course (7A). I thought the barrens part of the map was great terrain, something I had not run on previously, but one of the highlights was what turned out to be my illegal route choice.

I complained informally based on my recollection of being accustomed to seeing out of bounds water features being marked by clear, what I thought of as bold, black lines. By contrast, I consider the black lines around the race map to be relatively faint, obscure and narrow (see the reproduction in the Scandi-tario thread; the key portion of interest is the wooded marsh just northwest of control 17). I run with a contact in one eye in order to see in the distance and, while I can normally see small details close up perfectly with my normal vision, the contact in one eye causes me some loss in ability to notice fainter, narrow black lines. Also, there are numerous small cliffs through the barrens (far more than on the map), often at the edge of the water. It never crossed my mind until mentioned by others after I finished that I was doing anything illegal. I happen to have my most recent Mendon Ponds map still lying on my desk (a course in which I accidentally fell into a water pit up to my neck, as did quite a few others), another map with lots of wooded marshes, and it’s very obvious which wooded marshes are not considered crossable and which are crossable.

Before making a formal complaint, I was given the opportunity to consult the COF rules. I saw nothing about the out of bounds black line being bolder, but the rule book does provide for those out of bounds lines and the contour lines to be in a ratio of 18 to 14 in terms of width, i.e., for the out of bounds black line to be approx. 28.5% wider than a contour line. To me they look to be about the same width. That was the grounds for my then making a formal protest to the race director, which was disallowed on the basis that black lines around water features serve no other function. I did not then formally protest to the jury because the long course was the last event of the COC’s and doing so would have held up the awards, etc. at that point (although I was not in medal contention in any event, the decision might have impacted the potential reinstatement of others).

The less significant leg on which I crossed an “uncrossable” wooded marsh was between 12 and 13 on opposite sides of a wooded marsh. The wooded marsh was essentially dry land yesterday, which would have been visible to many runners going to 13 without even intending to cross it as part of their planned route. Based on the admittedly small sample size I spoke with, my impression is that a relatively high proportion of runners might have crossed that wooded marsh. The benefit in doing so was somewhat marginal. Based on where I ended up relative to someone who was near me on that leg, I’d estimate the benefit to me was less than about 15 seconds and for faster runners the benefit in terms of seconds likely would have been smaller. Crossing that wooded marsh was OK, but not easy.

On the other hand, when I crossed the “uncrossable” marsh between controls 5 and 6 on my course (near control 17 on the reproduced sample), I figured I might have saved about 4 minutes on a leg that took me 5 minutes. Despite having one of the slower running speeds, I had the fastest split in my category on that leg by a reasonably large margin. It would have been impossible for me to have done the leg that quickly taking a different route choice.

Setting aside the illegality problem, taking that route choice was a calculated gamble because I had to run slightly off course to get a view of the wooded marsh in order to decide whether I could cross it. If I had ended up rejecting that route choice once I got a good view of the wooded marsh, it would have cost me some time, maybe up to a minute, more so if I had changed my mind after starting to try to cross it. Based on my observation that virtually every place I saw water within the woods indicated on the map in both the middle and long courses, the water had dried up and the terrain was flat and easy running, I took the chance on checking out the wooded marsh. At the edge was a narrow ditch of water. It was a little far to jump, but it was only about waist deep. But then I encountered incredible running terrain. It was absolutely flat, no obstacles whatsoever, with a surface that felt like a slightly spongy, but firm moss, although I had to climb up a rock when I reached the other side. I heard a runner on another course talking about how he felt like Jesus running on top of the water. Meanwhile going around the marsh included pushing through some dark green.

I did give back the 4 minutes between controls 8 and 9 (the same leg as 20-21 on the sample map) when I chose an interesting orienteering leg that included a bunch of green instead of running a second let in a row down the road.

One last comment: Even though COF rules, in contrast to IOF rules, take the same view about uncrossable features for middle/long courses as for sprint courses, I have seen warnings a number of times about not crossing uncrossable features in course notes for sprint courses, but I don’t recall seeing them for middle/long courses except to point out where they may be dangerous. In hindsight given what may have been a relatively large number of competitors crossing “uncrossable” features yesterday and the attractiveness of doing so in some places, a note might have been put in the course notes pointing out the general illegality of crossing water features in the barrens.
Aug 24, 2010 2:01 AM # 
Hi folks - here's the view from the course planner's standpoint...

In my mind the Canadian rule is quite clear and sensible, especially for water features. If a feature is mapped as uncrossable, it can't be crossed.

Adherence to the rule avoids the risk of runners being rewarded or penalized by taking a chance and attempting to cross an uncrossable marsh/pond - i.e. if the weather has been dry, the gamblers win, if it has been wet, the gamblers lose. While it would be nice to have maps that perfectly reflect the current state of water features, it is not practical to update all features immediately before an event, and conditions can change completely overnight anyway. Besides I think most orienteers realize that water features vary seasonally.
Consequently if the rule is followed then it's fair for everyone and runners are rewarded for skill (route choice), not luck (rolling the dry/wet dice).

There is also the safety issue, particularly for lakes/rivers - how deep is too deep? Knees, waist, shoulders, nostrils, swimming? (I wonder if the IOF's insurance adjusters have an opinion on crossing uncrossables???)

I disagree that the courses or leg lines could/should have been modified to avoid crossing uncrossable features. Firstly, it would have been completely impractical on this map, since about 1/3 of the area is covered by long ponds/marshes. The alternative would have been a lot of boring short legs running parallel to the ponds with no route choice. Indeed a key element of the course planning was to use the ponds and marshes to force route choice. In this respect I think most competitors enjoyed the intense head scratching out on the barrens ;-)

In hindsight, as bmay pointed out, a "rule reminder" in the competitor handbook could have avoided some grief. But as the old adage goes, "ignorance of the law is no man's excuse".
Aug 24, 2010 2:28 AM # 
Nicely said Brian.

I tried some arm-chair course planning and set some legs that avoided the lakes/marshes and ended up with exactly what you said - a kind of dull course filled with loads of short legs. In comparison it was a delight to run your course, one of the most unusual forest orienteering experiences ever, including several times running up to 200m away from the other end of a leg ;-) It was Venice-like in its route choices.

A "rule reminder" would be the only thing I can see as helping.
Aug 24, 2010 3:10 AM # 
AZ wrote:

But here's the confusing thing. Imagine that the Long Distance race had been sanctioned by the IOF as a WRE event. Then the M21E and W21E *categories* would have been subject to the IOF rules - and in that case, for those two categories only, it would have been okay to cross those lakes and marshes. But only for those categories - which would create the bizarre situation that, with W21E and M35 both on the same course, the W21E runners would be allowed cross the uncrossable lakes, but the M35 runner could not !

I would have avoided this situation by any means necessary. For this WRE case, I would have either announced that IOF Rules applied to every class and that the COF rule was set aside for this competitition (which is very difficult to do, since you're setting the COF-sanctioned national championship), or I would have announced that the uncrossable marshes are out-of-bounds due to environmental concerns. I would have asked around about marking the marshes with vertical magenta out-of-bounds lines (with no perimeter line). I might have placed a 20 or 50m tape at the edge of the marshes on the direct line or at tempting crossing spots and indicated those on the map as "magenta do-not-cross perimeter lines". (It's my understanding that a magenta (purple) perimeter line means it's marked by tape.)

I just read through a bit of the ISOM 2000---the symbols with uncrossable features. It sure seems to me that the intent (for all but sprint) is to let the competitor decide.

Where BrianG writes:

Adherence to the rule avoids the risk of runners being rewarded or penalized by taking a chance and attempting to cross an uncrossable marsh/pond - i.e. if the weather has been dry, the gamblers win, if it has been wet, the gamblers lose.,

...I say that is the point of the game. If you've been paying attention along your course, you might know that the marshes are dry, and worth a risk---You used the map and the information at hand and made a good route choice.

The one spanner in the works here is the concern of the park for letting a lot of people trudge through their wetlands. I wonder if we would be welcome if park managers knew we would set up legs where going through marshes was allowed or encouraged. Having been through a fair number of marshes myself, I have a hard time understanding how moving through a marsh hurts it, but I can see that it might. I suspect there is very little research about how much traffic can hurt a wetland, and the default response in the absence of real knowledge is to just not let people in marshes. This might provide AZ an excuse for his WRE example: "The "uncrossable marshes" are out-of-bounds as an order of the park manager. Violators face arrest."

But I'd probably still use some magenta (perhaps a very open overprint of lines or maybe even use the magenta perimeter line inside the black line but with no tapes), just for the certainty of foreign visitors who may not speak English or French (or for dumb Americans such as myself who give the always excellent COC pamphlet a cursory glance.)
Aug 24, 2010 3:47 AM # 
From the editor of the competitor handbook, I suspect that a rule reminder in the book would have received little notice, if any, until after the issue became an issue.
Aug 24, 2010 4:17 AM # 
Yep - the reminder would have to be placed in several places to be effective. But it is an education issue (IMO) and the savier that people become, the more they will look for this information. But I'd say that if it were very important, then the "rules reminder" should be on the website, in the info booklet, at the start line, and on the map. Certainly for Canadian Champs and other events with foreign runners, this reminder should be made prominent. (Another crazy Canadian rule: everyone must carry a whistle. That would probably catch people off-guard too).
Aug 24, 2010 4:21 AM # 
Seems like 'on the map' is the best place; the other locations are secondary. Everybody looks at their map [whether or not they read the booklet or signs at start]. :-)
Aug 24, 2010 5:04 AM # 
I doubt it would be read 'on the map' (who even checks the scale etc unless serious problems are arising?!), but would likely reach more people in the course planner's notes in the booklet. I think most people do read those (or at least intend to...)
I do agree that it would be good to alert foreign orienteers to any quirks of the country - just as we warn them about bears, poison ivy etc.
Aug 24, 2010 11:09 AM # 
Going forward, would it not make sense for Canada (and most other countries for that matter) to simply adopt the IOF rules? I think one of the intentions of the IOF was to provide a relatively uniform set of rules and governance world-wide.

I concede that the COF may amend the IOF rules to require whistles, and perhaps specify what ages go into what class or course. But in general, deviations from IOF rules should be discouraged. This may help prevent confusion in future, if all of us (in a global sense) are generally following the same set of rules.

Regarding the uncrossable features rules, I'm actually more aware of the IOF rule rather than the COF rule. While I did not cross anything marked uncrossable in the COC Long (the handbook did say that you would not be able to cross them, so why even bother to take the chance?), I would have been in ignorance of the COF rule in that respect. I generally regard the IOF as a "higher" body than the COF in regards to orienteering, and would have considered (apparently incorrectly) that the IOF rules would take precedence over COF rules.

Obviously there is a lot more to learn for many of us. But I do have to question why we are not simply trying to streamline the COF rules to be generally in concert with the IOF rules, rather than cling to anachronisms....
Aug 24, 2010 11:59 AM # 
I say that is the point of the game. If you've been paying attention along your course, you might know that the marshes are dry, and worth a risk

I disagree. If the late starters are paying attention the early starter's comments on the marshes, they gain an advantage. Not the point of the game.

But as the old adage goes, "ignorance of the law is no man's excuse".

I disagree in this instance. If I'm going to the Kazakhstan Championships, should I be expected to troll that federation's web site for deviations from IOF rules regarding how the game is played? Where you are allowed/required to go is the essence of the game, and probably shouldn't be tampered with. It would be like playing baseball in Kazakhstan and finding out the hard way that there is a rule that allows you to skip second base with 2 outs in prime-numbered innings.

Alot of smart people have spent alot of time defining a (more or less) culture-free, language-neutral set of symbology to describe where you can go, and what it is like there. Out of band mechanisms such as listening to early starters, looking at this mismapped marsh and assuming the others are mismapped, meet brochures in a particular language, notes and verbal instructions in a particular language at start, etc. need to be avoided. My personal experience is that the whole meet notes thing simply does not work in these situations -- we had a race few years back where the meet notes explicitly said features mapped as uncrossable were overloaded as forbidden to cross. The usual disqualifications and controversy followed even tho everyone got the meet notes in their native language. Some people got the message, and some people didn't, and therein was the inherit unfairness.

Everything the competitor needs needs to be described accurately using standard IOF symbology as interpreted under the IOF frame of reference. Any deviations from this principle will create unfairness, meet notes and other attempted out of band tinkering with the interpretative frame of reference notwithstanding, and it will only be a question of degree, depending on how material these deviations are.

Given this situation again -- as Wil suggested -- repealing that COF rule will make it more fair. One has to weigh fairness vs the putative benefits of that COF rule. Given constraints that prevented the map from accurately describing the terrain, everyone will accept and understand luck in that case, but the level of bad luck should not rise to disqualification.

JMHO, of course.
Aug 24, 2010 12:57 PM # 
Another course of action is to try and get the IOF rule changed, rather than the COF one. I don't much care for any pressure to cross deep water or high cliffs. Neither do I like a situation where you might feel able to take on an obstacle depending on what you see when you get there. The map should tell you. This principle is accepted by the IOF for sprints, and it could just as well apply to everything else.

In the meantime, whether its a WRE or a stroll in the park, the planner can mark anything they wish to out of bounds - to maintain safety or fairness or meet landowner requirements or even to increase route choice. It's just that defining some features as automatically out-of-bounds is rather more elegant than purple stripes.
Aug 24, 2010 1:10 PM # 
I tend to agree with Gruver. As it stands, the IOF rules rely on an interpretation of the word "uncrossable". It isn't written in the ISOM nor IOF rules how to interpret the word - I asked the chair of the IOF map commission and he told me that "uncrossable" in the ISOM means "difficult but not illegal to cross". But even that interpretation is questionable as one of the symbols clearly intended as forbidden is "uncrossable boundary".

So one very reasonable option would be to agree that "uncrossable" in the ISOM means forbidden to cross and then the entire world is playing the same game. And, while we're at it, we should make the olive green a forbidden symbol.

I understand the IOF is currently revising ISOM, in part to bring some clarity to its wording. Could be a good opportunity right now to clear things up.
Aug 24, 2010 1:27 PM # 
Its still up to the mapper to decide what is crossable or not - even on sprint maps - and I often don't agree with what they decided. So the map hasn't told me the truth. I'm pretty good at climbing fences and I'm not a bad swimmer, and I can often find ways up or down "uncrossable" cliffs. Just because the mapper can't climb a fence doesn't mean no one else can.

And we haven't even touched on enforcement. This would be a bit like the IOF following rule. Why have a rule that is unenforceable? In sprints where the area is smaller maybe, but on a 12 km^2 map? We might have to resort to asking people after they finished whether they cheated or not and then DQ the honest bastards.
Aug 24, 2010 1:35 PM # 
We might have to resort to asking people after they finished whether they cheated or not and then DQ the honest bastards.

Isn't that what was done?

Here's once where it might be an advantage to not always know where you are.

And I assume some slack was cut for anyone who fell off a beaver dam and should therefore have been DQ'd (or more accurately, DQ'd themselves) for being in an off-limits area? Though maybe it shouldn't have been according to the COF rules?
Aug 24, 2010 1:56 PM # 
I wrote:

I say that is the point of the game. If you've been paying attention along your course, you might know that the marshes are dry, and worth a risk

Then randy wrote:

I disagree. If the late starters are paying attention the early starter's comments on the marshes, they gain an advantage. Not the point of the game.

But you've extended my comment into an area that is already illegal. I specified "paying attention along your course". Early starters shouldn't be communicating with late starters, and reasonable attempts by the organizers should be made to prevent it. (And for the WRE or national championships case, I'd say the organizers have an even bigger responsibility to prevent that communication.)
Aug 24, 2010 1:57 PM # 
I never liked this rule, and have argued about it over the years. If ISSOM has normative content, fine. Thou must not cross certain things. Fine. ISOM doesn't make statements like that.

Those are the mapping standards.

I wasn't exactly clear what the rules were at the COC's, but I guessed that based on how pronounced the situation was from 11-12, that going around was supposed to be part of the game, and I gamely complied. I tried to avoid all other black lines, although it looks like I failed between 9 and 10, although, for what it is worth, I gained no advantage on that one.

I really wanted to go straight from 11-12, and would have if this was some local event.

If I had one suggested improvement for the elite course, it would have been to move 11 and/or 12. Despite the dogleg leaving 11, the route is rather trivial. There really isn't any route choice, unlike most other legs, and once you decide you aren't crossing the pond, you know you are going backwards. That was a little tedious. Moving 12 (or even dropping it) SE would have introduced a left route.

Otherwise, a wonderful course.
Aug 24, 2010 2:30 PM # 
In Finland olive green and 415 cultivated land are forbidden. It had caused disqualifying foreign visitors and other confusion. Often planners had left olive green (after asking permission for a event) and black dots of 415 to make gaps for competitors. If someone makes re run afterward he may end up running in placed one shouldn't. I don't like Finnish national approach much.

the rule avoids the risk of runners being rewarded or penalized by taking a chance and attempting to cross an uncrossable marsh/pond

We have diffrent greens and green stripes. Competitors get rewarded or penalized by taking a chance and attempting to cross those too. I can't see much difference between these and those impassableish places. In both cases course planner should make sure race is fair. Purple stripes over some key places and you could have had same courses at COC long using IOF rules wihout much confusion.
Aug 24, 2010 2:52 PM # 
I wonder if we would be welcome if park managers knew we would set up legs where going through marshes was allowed or encouraged.

The issue here is uncrossable water features, which includes lakes and rivers. Those are probably of lesser concern in terms of damage. On the other hand, we also have crossable marshes, which may well be more fragile than uncrossable ones, but everybody is welcome to tramp through them.

> I say that is the point of the game. If you've been paying attention along
> your course, you might know that the marshes are dry, and worth a risk

I disagree. If the late starters are paying attention the early starter's comments on the marshes, they gain an advantage. Not the point of the game.

Replace "marshes are dry" with "dark green isn't so bad", and think this through again.
Aug 24, 2010 3:15 PM # 
Uncrossable water features, is this the debate? We can choose the COF rule which errs on the side of water-crossing safety or we can choose the IOF rule which allows us to determine for oursevles if the water crossing is safe.
Aug 24, 2010 4:40 PM # 
Just put tape where you care. It's not that much tape.

P.S. My girlfriend, a novice, expected tape around the solid-bordered purplehatch south/east of the Finish. There wasn't any.
Aug 24, 2010 7:00 PM # 
I don't think it's customary (is that even a word?!!!) to tape in North America - or at least I haven't seen it done often. But I remember in Sweden coming to an Out-of-bounds area and seeing the tape and going "wow, I could have used that as an attack point"!!! I was shocked to see that! but it certainly makes sense when you think of all the people that lose track of where they are and could by accident enter an out-of-bounds area and never know!
Aug 24, 2010 7:09 PM # 
I distinctly remember tape during the US middle champs last year. And I did use a corner of the tape as an attackpoint...
Aug 24, 2010 7:37 PM # 
Indeed--that was well-taped.

I think there were environmental issues that demanded it, but whatever. They taped it up real good.
Aug 24, 2010 8:23 PM # 
Here's what the mapping standard says about out-of-bounds areas and taping:

709 Out-of-bounds area

An out-of-bounds area, see also symbol 528, is shown with vertical stripes.
A bounding line may be drawn if there is no natural boundary, as follows:
- a solid line indicates that the boundary is marked continuously (tapes, etc.) on the ground,
- a dashed line indicates intermittent marking on the ground,
- no line indicates no marking on the ground.
Colour: purple.

So they used the wrong symbol then, I guess.
Aug 24, 2010 11:31 PM # 
I think eddie was arguing against making some symbols uncrossable globally, but his words actually underline the need for it. Of course competitors (and the mapper) will have a range of views of danger. Swimming and rock-climbing abilities are not currently thought of as skills that may be tested on an orienteering course, so on these the mapper should make a call that is conservative. And it is quite easy these days for the planner and controller to amend those decisions and change the map at quite a late stage.

There are differing legal environments round the world, but all organisers have a duty of care to not put participants into risky situations. And (a lesser imperative) is the duty of the controller to eliminate chance as much as possible.

Beside these issues, policing comes much lower down. Most participants are honest.
Aug 24, 2010 11:35 PM # 
I think it boils down to this: Collectively, mappers, course planners and meet officials must differentiate between physically uncrossable (generally for safety reasons) and out of bounds (which might be for any number of reasons - ecology, no permission from land owners etc).

Part of the problem is that "physically uncrossable" is subjective, and can change seasonally. The basic (i.e. not overprinted) map presented to the competitor should be all that is needed to show physically uncrossable, and the definition of that should not be that hard for us to agree on – it should simply be how a “reasonable person” would look at it. Of course a six foot, three inch elite runner may be able to cross a body of water that a 10-year old boy can’t. But given that orienteering is not an “adventure race” I think a “reasonable person” would conclude that a lake is a barrier to a person participating in what is a running sport. This is especially true if you consider a fairness factor – given that orienteering is a sport of land navigation and not an adventure race, is it even fair to offer up a route choice option that would differentiate between people who can and cannot swim? So a well printed (IOF Standard, legible) map (with a legend – remember those?) should be all that is required to inform the orienteer that “No – you can’t cross a body of water”. Let’s not forget – orienteers themselves have a responsibility to understand the symbols and the rules.

Also though, meet organizers have a responsibility to confirm that the body of water is indeed uncrossable and if conditions have changed such that it becomes crossable – well isn’t that one of the great advantages of OCAD mapping – that ‘last minute’ changes can be made? (So remove the black line, call it crossable marsh or pond, lighten the blue screen, whatever).
Aug 25, 2010 12:24 AM # 
Often I'm admiring the breadth and intensity of discussion, the many valid points - but rarely have time to digest at home in the evening. For once, I copied & pasted into an email for work perusal. Often wonder how much AP might be done on employers' time (AP/sports/etc etc filtered out, rightfully so, for me).
Aug 25, 2010 12:31 AM # 
Canada has 25% of the World's fresh water and is surrounded by three oceans. We know water the best. Time for IOF to follow Canada's lead.
Aug 25, 2010 5:16 PM # 
Part of the problem is that "physically uncrossable" is subjective, and can change seasonally. The basic (i.e. not overprinted) map presented to the competitor should be all that is needed to show physically uncrossable, and the definition of that should not be that hard for us to agree on – it should simply be how a “reasonable person” would look at it. Of course a six foot, three inch elite runner may be able to cross a body of water that a 10-year old boy can’t.

Just to add a little extra flavour to this confusing issue...

At WUOC in Borlänge last month there were two different map printings used for the Championship event and the public races (that were also our District Sprint Champs). A number of fences that were deemed crossable for the WUOC runners and marked such on the map were changed to uncrossable for the "general public" that included for example 10-year olds.

An innovative solution of this problem I would say.
Aug 25, 2010 7:26 PM # 
One possible way to make ISOM uncrossable features forbidden for specific events would be to add a thick purple line on top of the thin black one -- but, to avoid more clutter, leave out the purple hatching. This would also allow the course setter to leave crossing some features mapped as uncrossable to the orienteer's discretion (though, this would only work in Canada if the current rule wewe repealed).
Aug 25, 2010 7:34 PM # 
The ISSOM 2007 mapping specifications document states:

2.3 Barriers that are forbidden to cross

To make sprint orienteering fair to all competitors, features that are represented on the map as impassable, independently of their effective passability, shall not be crossed.

This rule is essential for two reasons:

1. It is impossible to declare an exact height when an obstacle becomes impassable. Effective passability depends very much on the physical characteristics of the competitors such as body height and strength. If features represented as barriers on the map are declared as forbidden to cross, the conditions are the same for all.

2. Crossing of certain areas and linear features in parks and urban terrain may be forbidden by law.

Running and navigational skills should be the success factors for competitors in a race, rather than luck when it comes to climbing or jumping barriers or violating public law.

Consequently, competitors who do not obey this rule, which is part of the IOF competition rules, must be disqualified.

I don't see why these arguements are limited to the Sprint discipline. I hope that an update of ISOM yields similar rules for Middle and Long. Orienteering is about using a map to navigate. If the map says it's "uncrossable", we should simply accept it, not roll the dice and hope that we can cross (whether it be a cliff, fence, or body of water).

I thought the route-choice challenges presented on Sunday were brilliant. I would have been far less impressed if I was obligated (in the interest of being competitive) to go wading through waist deep beaver swamps.
Aug 25, 2010 8:31 PM # 
Mister May, once again, you make a very smart point.
Aug 25, 2010 9:28 PM # 
isn’t that one of the great advantages of OCAD mapping – that ‘last minute’ changes can be made?

How do I do this last minute change to year ago offset printed maps we often use here? As far as I know there is no symbol for making forbidden allowed.

Example. On same offset printed map I have had first impassable marsh first forbidden, couple of weeks later it was allowed and third time same summer the very same narrow marsh was again forbidden except two allowed gaps in it. How do you do that with Canadian rule with using year old offset printed 1:15000 map? With IOF rule it's no problem, just some purple stripes.

Course planner is the one who is responsible race is fair. If there is possibility to get advantage by crossing impassable stuff he can always put some purple stripes. It isn't that difficult. And supervising those key spots is lot easier than supervising all impassables on the map.
Aug 25, 2010 10:58 PM # 
Jagge: that is why there are permanently out of bounds symbols and temporary out of bounds symbols. If something is likely to be out of bounds at one time and not at another then that should be left to the overprinting. Only something that will always be out of bounds should be printed on the original map
Aug 25, 2010 11:15 PM # 
Ah yes Jagge, those of us in the small orienteering countries forget that the big countries frown on "just enough" digital printing. Perhaps the situation is best as it is - different rules country by country, and use of purple. And is there anything wrong with the elite women swimming the lake in a WRE while the M35 go round...
Aug 26, 2010 12:01 AM # 
In Canadian Rules Jagge's marsh would be mapped as a crossable marsh, and then purple over-print used for those situations when it is not crossable.

I'm starting to think more and more that the Canadian rule is the interpretation that makes more sense than the IOF interpretation
Aug 26, 2010 12:20 AM # 
bmay's point is an excellent one - I remember at our training camp for JWOC in Spain, earthen terraces were marked as crossable slopes, and they were generally anything but for a girl only just taller than 5 feet! Most of the guys however, had no problem. You were in trouble if you planned routes across them as a small person, but generally fine as a tall one.
Aug 26, 2010 2:03 AM # 
I remember a Finnish map with numerous crossable drainage ditches about 5 feet wide. As a 50-year old, they were a lot more crossable in the first half of the course than in the second half. (Climbing down and up was really a pain.)
Aug 26, 2010 3:20 AM # 
So, on an ISOM map, what would the list be of uncrossable features that would be designated forbidden to cross?
1) Lakes with black line banks
2) Uncrossable marshes with black line banks
3) Fences with doubled tags
4) Stone walls with doubled dots
5) Uncrossable cliffs with a thick bar
6) Buildings
(plus settlements, cultivated land, and black or purple vertical stripes).

But not dark green.

Anything else that belongs on the list, or any of the above items that don't belong? (motorway? railroad?)
Aug 26, 2010 3:39 AM # 
Scanning through ISOM, I'd say the following should be forbidden to cross - if we are to go with the "Canadian Interpretation":

201 - Impassable cliff (thick black line, possibly with tag lines)
301 - Lake, but only if it has a black line around it
304 - Uncrossable river (must have black bank line)
308 - Uncrossable marsh
415 - Cultivated land "seasonally out of bounds" (though in my opinion must be over-printed with purple OOB if it is "OOB" at the time of the race)
521 - High stone wall (thick black, with double dots)
524 - High fence (thick black, with double tick marks)
526 - Building (black)
527 - Settlement (olive green)
528 - Permanently out of bounds (black stripes)
534 - Uncrossable pipeline (thick black, with double chevrons)
707 - Uncrossable boundary
709 - Out of bounds (purple lines)
710 - Dangerous area (purple criss-cross) - redundant & could be replaced with 709

711 - Forbidden route
Aug 26, 2010 4:13 AM # 
I just don't buy the idea that the map determines crossability and not the runner. I'll give an exception for the course setter's purple or magenta markings, but not to the map.

Others have said that crossability changes seasonally, and that's right. But crossability also changes hour-by-hour. Last year's JWOC (in Italy) had a day with a huge downpour. The "crossable" streams became uncrossable (or at least dangerous) during the event. The night after a rain, I set controls on a dry flood plain that was underwater six hours later (with no rain in the meantime).

Are you going to go edit all the bank lines in the winter when the marshes are frozen? (And I've actually ran around the edge of a frozen lake and crossed one very carefully---that's almost a death wish here in Cincinnati, although in 1977 or 78 people walked across the Ohio River.)

I think the Canadians have been unfairly prejudiced by their national rule. I think it is normal for the runner to decide---again, unless the course setter, and *not* the mapper---says otherwise. {Edit: And there is an exception here for the "vertical bar" out-of-bounds and hatched dangerous area markings that a mapper uses.}

Eddie and PG have hit on the showstopper here. Enforceability. Usually, the runner is going to notice that something is uncrossable, but they might not for a variety of reasons, and I'm not willing to DQ someone who made the choice and did it (almost proving that the map was wrong). (Among the reasons a runner might not notice something is uncrossable include the fact that it's not really uncrossable.)

Sure there are exceptions for non-advanced courses, but these are issues of course setting and not of disqualification. I never tempt a non-advanced orienteer with a swimming leg. I'll put a leg across a big lake, but not across a short little cove---although I'm still looking for that opportunity on an advanced course in warm weather. We regularly set legs across uncrossable streams when we have checked the weather and feel like it's not going to become dangerous. (And I've screwed up A-meet courses where high water caused people to swim in some cold water, so don't feel like I'm criticizing the course from last week.)

I've also set A-meet courses on slopes I was really worried might get someone hurt, but in the worst case I can think of, there was an around option, and you could look down before you decided. (I also did the slope myself and felt it was a reasonable route.)

And I don't mind the idea of declaring features out-of-bounds to make an event more interesting, as long as it's announced adequately and hopefully marked on the map in a manner that makes it fair.

Every time I set an A-meet, I look at the map so much that I have to remind myself that the map is not the course. The course is out there in the woods. I can see the need to declare the map "right" in sprints, but not in the real woods. The woods is real. The map is just an attempt to explain reality, and at some level, it's always wrong. It is just backwards to let the map say what is uncrossable. The runner can see if there is a hazard. The runner can use observations to decide if a feature's crossability might be misrepresented, and then use that misrepresentation to his or her advantage.
Aug 26, 2010 11:12 AM # 
that is why there are permanently out of bounds symbols and temporary out of bounds symbols. If something is likely to be out of bounds at one time and not at another then that should be left to the overprinting

Ar you suggesting we should not use impassable marsh at all, no cultivated land symbol at all, and not olive green at all and so on? We get opportunity to run on all those time to time. Sounds bad idea to me, just think of people getting clear maps for training purposes. How can they tell where one can or are allowed to run?
Aug 26, 2010 1:01 PM # 
What strikes me as somewhat amusing here is that all the Canadians have circled the wagons and dug in their heels (excuse the concatenated metaphor) and are reflexively defending the rule generally, and the particular reliance upon it this past weekend.

And most of the gadflies are located elsewhere.

But can we please move on to something more interesting? For example, is hockey necessary? Go.
Aug 26, 2010 1:11 PM # 
For example, is hockey necessary?

Of course not. You can easily make a map without hockey.
Aug 26, 2010 2:17 PM # 
I find that the whistle blows too often in hockey, especially if the grass is cut real short so that the ball flies out-of-bounds often.
Aug 26, 2010 4:39 PM # 
Hi all, I just signed up - my first post!

I'm still reading all of this, so I hope I am not repeating points.

1) The map had an excessive use of the black line. If you finished with wet shoes, you should have been disqualified. What? Your not suppossed to get your feet wet in Orienteering?

2) "The jury made the right call. No protest; no foul."
I agree with this judgement, however, they should have un-disqualified everyone and then opened the floor for protest/confession. The people that came forward early and fessed up were immediately disqualified. Everyone else was told "Don't tell, and we won't ask". That's not fair.

3)It was an awesome course and I enjoyed it immensely!
Aug 26, 2010 4:55 PM # 
@vnelson: Welcome! ...and what took you so long?? ;-)
Aug 26, 2010 5:03 PM # 
I debated whether or not I should even start because I injured my left foot in the sprint. I'm glad I did, because it was a great course. I limped all the way.

Or did you mean what took me so long to join?
Aug 26, 2010 6:13 PM # 
I'm pretty sure Guy was asking why it took you so long to join AP. Regardless, it's good to hear you made it out onto the course and had a good time despite an injured foot.
Aug 26, 2010 8:16 PM # 
I find it equally strange that citizens of the "caution: this coffee is hot" culture aren't more concerned about liability. But in any case, isn't the point that you should be able to tell if a feature, for example a cliff, is crossable from the map without having to go to that feature to look?

I think really we Canucks are simply embracing the new world of ISSOM - the world of clarity, lack of ambiguity, and equal opportunity for all. Time for ISOM to catch up. And for the US to adopt the metric system while we're at it.
Aug 26, 2010 8:31 PM # 
AZ is introducing a lot of slippery philosophical issues. A cursory response...

Obviously the quip about American litigiousness is just to stir things up. Whatever it is now, America, for most of its history, was a cauldron of risk taking and opportunity. That is why it became great.To the degree that culture erodes, so will the country, but I digress.

ISSOM a better standard? Interesting. Now I think you are really trying to stir things up. Not only does it tend to compound the errors of arbitrariness by imposing a subjective (in many cases) view of the world, from a practical point of view, the ISSOM standard, with respect to legibility and denotation, is misplaced in much of North American orienteering. ISSOM many times does not improve the presentation of information or enhance the correspondence of that presentation with reality.
Aug 26, 2010 9:37 PM # 
Ok, all ridiculous rants about nation's cultures aside, the core of the matter has already been mentioned in several posts. Orienteering is fundamentally a running sport! We should not test swimming abilities or rock climbing abilities to determine the best orienteer. Can we all agree on this and discuss how to best present the proper information to the competitor? I am genuinely interested.

In the case of the COC long, as j-man put it himself, it was clearly obvious that the marshes and lakes were supposed to be uncrossable, otherwise the whole point of the course design would be ridiculed. And in many cases, attempting to cross would involve guessing on a potential crossing point location, and then jump into an unknown depth of water/mud and hope for the best. Is there anyone on this discussion that actually thinks this kind of random gaming should be part of our sport?

Having said that, I do think that it would have been proper procedure to do a quick map revision about a month before the event. There were several features mapped as ponds (especially the smaller ones), that were in real life grassy meadows! Apart from the issue of ability to cross, it was simply confusing to be expecting to see these water features that weren't there. And I'm certain that the fact that some of these mapped smaller water features were indeed without water, contributed to provoking some runners to take a gamble and try to jump a narrow crossing later on the course.
Aug 26, 2010 9:40 PM # 
j-man, you are talking about ISSOM being "misplaced in much of North American orienteering". I have a hard time understanding what you are trying to say by that. Can you please give a few concrete examples?
Aug 26, 2010 10:00 PM # 
My rant was only half serious, so I hope you aren't too worried about that. I'm happy to go on though...

Anyway... the ISSOM standards includes this language:

"Sprint orienteering differs from the longer established forms of foot orienteering. Whilst foot orienteering events traditionally have been staged mainly in forested areas, sprint events can be staged in any type of terrain. The use of parks and urban terrain in particular has important advantages: it brings the sport to where people are, and offers opportunities for increasing public and media awareness of orienteering, in accordance with the objectives of the Leibnitz Convention.

The expansion from classical forested terrain into parks and urban terrain presents new challenges in orienteering cartography. The current international specification for orienteering maps (ISOM 2000) contains symbols that are suitable for representing forested terrain. However, to ensure fair sprint orienteering competitions, the symbol set needs revision and extension in order to better accommodate parks and urban terrain. There are a number of reasons why the cartographic representation of terrain for sprint orienteering requires a different approach compared to that used for representation of ‘classical’ forested terrain..."

While your question deserves a lengthy response, articulating just what aspects of ISSOM may be inferior to ISOM in certain contexts, the entire emphasis of these standards has been to accommodate non-traditional terrain.

Most sprints (*) in North America use variations of 'classical' forested terrain. Of course, I am well aware of the great things going on in Vancouver and elsewhere, and that is all good, but ever since there has been this compulsion to host sprints, their numbers have increased, but the terrain has not been all suitable.

(*) of course I'm generalizing, but I think a casual sample of American sprints (I went to a lot last year) allows me to make some broader inferences.
Aug 26, 2010 10:01 PM # 
ISSOM is a better standard to the extent there is no question of interpretation about what is crossable and what isn't. All things that are forbidden are clearly stated as such in the specification document.

There are some issues with the choice of symbol regarding runners' ability to differentiate between them, but not with the meaning of each symbol.

I would like to see ISOM have the same clarity.

(Pi, is that more acceptable? You boring Swedes ;-)
Aug 26, 2010 10:12 PM # 
Again, this is an interesting philosophical argument and maybe does reveal cultural differences.

ISSOM is "better" because it obviates the need to think for oneself and instead accept the authority of a single person (i.e., the mapper, in my admittedly reductionist characterization of things.)

vs. the ISOM standard which lets the market decide, if you will.

I wonder what Locke would make of all of this?
Aug 26, 2010 10:51 PM # 
> I've actually ran around the edge of a frozen lake and crossed one very carefully---
> that's almost a death wish here in Cincinnati
I think we could let the forces of natural selection solve the ISOM v ISSOM argument. ;-}
Aug 26, 2010 10:59 PM # 
I still don't understand. You say that ISSOM is misplaced in America because the introduction in the document talks about the possibility to move orienteering into more public arenas? Whether this has happened or not on this continent, the actual content of ISSOM is a set of symbol definitions. Surely these definitions work as well in any part of the world? And they certainly don't exclude forest sprints.

And no, the ISSOM is not "better" because it obviates the need to think. It is "better" because it makes it clear that our sport is fundamentally a running sport, i.e. we are not testing the ability to climb high fences or swim across canals. It is still the person who can think the best, i.e. who can find the best routes around these obstacles, that we would like to see as the winner.
Aug 26, 2010 11:11 PM # 
haha kudos for moving away from the hockey and still keeping it super interesting
(and quite humerous thanks to AZ and J-man).

I am with all of you that believe ISSOM is a better standard with reference to what's forbidden and what's not. But the next question is: can we make our voices heard with IOF? or is this whole discussion highly stimulating but likely to result in just another AP discussion?
Aug 26, 2010 11:29 PM # 
I think it's not necessarily a given that orienteering is a running sport. Because most of the terrain that is used is runnable, people who are interested in running have gotten involved with it. But perhaps it's a "moving through terrain" sport, and the map shows you what you need to know to determine what is the fastest route. Some places are shown as steep rock or deep water, and those are going to slow you down considerably, just as dark green will. Alternatively, since people enjoyed the route choice problems presented at the Ottawa meet, perhaps it's more interesting to arbitrarily declare some other features as forbidden in order to have more interesting courses. A course setter could declare all yellow areas on the map out of bounds, and have interesting legs that require the runners to weave around them (or in terrain like that found in Wyoming, maybe everything mapped as white would be proscribed, and you'd have to stay out in the open).
Aug 26, 2010 11:53 PM # 
@vnelson: As jteutsch said, what took you so long to join (and post on) AP?
Aug 26, 2010 11:55 PM # 
As very specific sections of Gatineau Park become closed to recreational activities, our maps may actually look like that in the future.
Aug 27, 2010 12:06 AM # 
At WOC they certainly "arbitrarily" made certain areas out of bounds. This happened in the Sprint Final and in the Relay (I think it was the relay - perhaps it was the long). They did this by over-printing purple and bounding the area with flagging tape in the Relay. In the sprint they put a barrier across a road and across an opening in a wall and marked both with the "uncrossable boundary" symbol.

I don't see anything wrong with accepting what the mapper & course planner decide as to what will be allowed to cross. I don't think these decisions would be made without some reason on their part, and I'm willing to live with what they put on the map. Especially since I imagine the reason would be either safety or more fun route choices.
Aug 27, 2010 1:50 AM # 
was also at woc middle final
Aug 27, 2010 2:10 AM # 
I agree with bmay and AZ, ISSOM has clarity and certainty that ISOM lacks. Uncrossable symbol = forbidden to cross. End of story.
Consequently the map in your hands at the start of the race describes a level playing field for everyone. No interpretation, no subjectivity, no "wait until you get there and see" quandary.
Hence I think ISSOM is a much more robust standard with respect to fairness for competitors.
Aug 27, 2010 2:34 AM # 
@GuyO: We've only been orienteering for a year. We didn't get to know that many people last year. This year we did NAOC, Barebones, and COC. Time to join!
Aug 27, 2010 2:54 AM # 
Those symbol definitions may not work well in any part of the world. Or any type of terrain. It is important to consider the genesis of ISSOM in considering its raison d'etre. It wasn't developed because ISOM was broken due to not correctly denoting what is forbidden or not. This is all a red herring and you know it.

It is misleading to suggest that ISSOM is an improvement over ISOM because of this. If anything that aspect of things is incidental. ISSOM conveys this crossability information because it is more germane in the types of environments the standard was developed for. The primary motivation of ISSOM was one of legibility and retaining as much of a rather well conceived mapping language in a slightly different domain.

We should all go study some Kripke. Some of us some Socrates.

Anyway, I think I'm beginning to understand why this is bothering me so. This is extolling the more arcane and esoteric aspects of orienteering (denotative content of arbitrary symbols) over the idea of a race through terrain and across obtacles.

When we are talking about putting up artificial barriers in the sprint for the sake of route choice, it is starting to get a bit silly. Of course, this is from the same country that tried to foist Micro-O on the world, so their good ideas seem to be boundless.

Why not run a race on a golf course and put up some plastic barriers? No one will get their feet wet and it will be good for TV. Probably better than the real thing.
Aug 27, 2010 3:27 AM # 
Thank you Clem.
Aug 27, 2010 3:30 AM # 
Precisely. I'm with you, Mr. The Kid!

I think the ISSOM standard is a step backwards. My biggest gripe about running on an ISSOM map is I have to spend a significant amount of my mental capacity (and I don't have much to spare) trying to decide if the open area in front of me is legal to cross or if I'll be DQ'ed, because even if its olive green on the map it likely looks yellow in the terrain. What if I'm off by a block and I cross it and get DQ'ed? That's lame. I should only have to think about how to get from point A to point B. That's the fun bit. The mapper has given me some idea of how crossable certain features are (cliff thicknesses or shades of green). I can see what the mapper has in mind at a model event and then I can make my own decisions about how to navigate. Leave the overly restrictive, multi-page rule book for the trail-O folks. Let me run, crawl or swim any way I like in the terrain. The onus is on the course setter to deal with the terrain as it is, not try to juke the symbology (or modify the map) to make his courses more interesting.
Aug 27, 2010 3:36 AM # 
I think the artificial fence in the WOC sprint final was lame. It was added to make the first leg more interesting, given the self-imposed limitation of having the start and finish in the town square, which was itself in the middle of the least interesting sprint terrain in the whole city.

Similar complaints were lodged about the arena for the finals and the relay. There was ALOT of dead running through this arena, and the courses suffered for it. The poor course setter was overly constrained by the selection and setup of the arena. Don't get me wrong, arenas are great, but the courses should wag the dog.
Aug 27, 2010 3:51 AM # 
This is an awesome thread.
Aug 27, 2010 3:56 AM # 
I'm hopeful that some day following a major North American race we
will be able to hit 100 comments in a thread discussing route choices and the performances by the elite runners instead of ridiculous comments about hypotheically falling off beaver dams. Time to start that thread now
Aug 27, 2010 4:14 AM # 
Wow, my English isn't even good enough to follow this language...

So if we are a bit more practical and discuss the specific case of this COC long, and let's assume that the mapped water features were truly impossible to cross by fot, i.e. you would have to swim, then what exactly are you saying? You actually think that it should be allowed to swim across if you are able to? (I find this hard to believe) Or are you saying that if you want to use this map, you have to course plan so that no route choice is tempting you to swim? (I.e. this particular map would basically be useless for interesting long distance orienteering).

Or in the case of a very high fence in a sprint. Let's say there is a model map with this type of fence and Greg Walker figures out that he can climb it. Eddie Bergeron tries, but is not able to. Now in the WOC qualifier Greg climbs the fence on the long route choice leg and runs it in 1/3 of the time it is possible for Eddie to do it in. You are actually speaking in favor of such rules for our sport?

And in my mind this is a separate discussion from sacrificing orienteering value in favor of arena production.
Aug 27, 2010 4:19 AM # 
> It wasn't developed because ISOM was broken due to not correctly denoting what
> is forbidden or not.
The forbidden to cross rule came soon after the injury to Cassie Trewin in a PWT sprint at Graz where the course took competitors over an 'uncrossable' cliff, complete with gym mats at the bottom. Perhaps legal issues were part of the reason.
Aug 27, 2010 4:32 AM # 
This thread is ridiculous.

As a matter of fact, I am quite willing to say that legs should be avoided that tempt runners to cross obstacles that you don't want them to, no matter whether the symbol used is the writ of God.

I am sorry to say, but 11-12 on M21E was an egregious example of an unnecessarily tempting leg. There were no others of that degree on this otherwise great course. And that leg could have been easily improved to avoid the contrived dogleg of sorts. If that is the case (only one questionable leg), I will assert that this particular map does not need black lines for interesting long distance orienteering. (Or did people 'swim' on other legs?)

The vignette about Eddie and Greg is cute, but not helpful. Can we please have the mapper determine every area in the terrain where different runners may be differently abled?

As for new threads--I already attempted to hijack this one to talk about the purpose of hockey. That fizzled, and it has devolved into this. Of course, we know that the most interesting AP thread ever (or close to it) was about the OUSA logo. Clearly, these things are more interesting than elite performances (and I'm only being partially facetious.)
Aug 27, 2010 4:33 AM # 
This is indeed an interesting thread. But I am with Magnus. To me it is fairly simple:
1) In Canada - lakes are uncrossable, as they should be, for reasons of safety, perhaps liability, fairness and the nature of the sport being essentially one of land navigation, not an adventure race or survival game.
2) The map symbol (black line of certain width) is supposed to tell the orienteer this. (Although perhaps in this case, the blue could have been lighter (screened) so the full width of the black line showed better and/or the line needed to be slightly thicker.)
3) It is the responsibility of the competitor (or coaches) to know what all the map symbols mean, and what the rules are (i.e. that you will be disqualified if you cross what is mapped as an uncrossable boundary).
Aug 27, 2010 4:42 AM # 
Regarding the threat of litigation, I would feel much more exposed if I started dinking around with the map symbols in a big way. I'd much rather have the mapper be someone who is an independent contractor with a major language barrier, and living somewhere a plaintiff's subpoena is unlikely to reach. (Note to attorneys from the future searching for incriminating evidence: That is a facetious statement.)

But in all seriousness, I can't anticipate what every competitor will do. I tend to check every reasonable route that I see, and I ask the vetter to do the same. The problem is that some legs have such a multitude of routes that it's simply impossible. I am surprised at nearly every event I set at the routes people take---Sometimes I saw the route and just thought it was a bad route, but other times I simply didn't see it. I think it's crazy to think the setter can anticipate what every competitor will do.

I want that map to be a coherent product and I certainly don't want to take the responsibility to assess every crossability decision made by the mapper. Taking my winter example---I'd want the runner to know that the extremely flat surface they're crossing was mapped as uncrossable, and therefore likely to be deep if the ice breaks. I'm protected by a waiver where the runner has taken responsibility. {Edit: My job here is to make sure that my course didn't force the runner to take that chance---that there were other, better options.}

I'd argue that the ISSOM position is actually more likely to result in litigation:

Lawyer: "Did you set a leg along a dangerous, uncrossable feature where a runner who made the simple mistake of not checking the map enough could easily, innocently, and unknowingly run into a veritable quagmire of shoe-sucking mud so deep that he fell face-first into a thicket of thorns so thick he nearly died from the loss of blood?
You: "Well, I wouldn't say..."
Lawyer: "Objection your honor---I'd like a Yes or No answer. ... And isn't it in your national rules that features mapped as uncrossable are not to be crossed? ... Do you think it's okay to force runners to pass so close to these dangerous features? Isn't that a negligent and reckless position? That hidden marsh has no safety fence! You bastard!"
Judge: "The jury will disregard that the plaintiff's counsel called the defendant a 'bastard.'"
Aug 27, 2010 4:53 AM # 
at least I finally get to contribute something useful. whats up now Eddie?
Aug 27, 2010 4:57 AM # 
A good time to re-state that we should be guided by (a) a duty of care for the safety of participants and (b) a duty to minimise the effects of chance.

Seen in the context of history, I understand that when early orienteers first started tweaking the standard topo maps, and later when we started making maps specifically for orienteering, there were some who lamented the loss of "the real character of orienteering"...
Aug 27, 2010 5:02 AM # 
I agree completely with Clem. Its the course setter's responsibility in this case. You shouldn't tempt people to do something you don't want them to do.

By the way, I've followed Greg across a swolen stream at Oringen and it was this very situation (I think it was you). It was waist deep on someone, but over my head. Mapped as a crossable stream. On most days it would have been. This is Oringen. The courses were set weeks in advance of the deluge. Advantage: biggins. Now what?
Aug 27, 2010 5:28 AM # 
We do however tend to be myopic about the variety of environments throughout the world. Some countries print just enough maps for immediate needs and can readily change the map event by event; others do a print-run by offset technology and have maps "on the shelf". Some countries have a liberal view of land ownership and a "right to roam" so that "settlement" does not imply "out of bounds", others regard the land around a house as automatically private. Cultivated land might have different meanings in different places: always out of bounds, or out of bounds sometimes but not right now. Some countries have vast differences between the seasons, others may be fairly stable. Some countries have a litigatious climate; others not. And no dount many other things (because I am myopic:-))

So it's not easy to write a specification that is universal. We should try, but there might be some things that countries will feel they have to put in their national rules.
Aug 27, 2010 5:40 AM # 
But there's already a symbol to account for these variations in the International (I)SOM standard. Its called purple.
Aug 27, 2010 7:19 AM # 
Its called purple

Yep. Mapper maps as he sees the terrain. Planner uses purple to make race fair, no lottery with impassables. ISOM is quite perfect approch from this perspective.

I am well aware of the fact this thread has right from the beginnig been about marketing - keeping discussion going on about COC terrain and the great map and future maps out threre. Thas fine by me, well deserved, must be great terrain for sure, and I have been happily playing my part :) But I hope no-one has taken this all seriously and begins wasting time for working on suggestions to IOF map commission. It will end up with a polite ansver.
Aug 27, 2010 10:12 AM # 
end of thread!
Aug 27, 2010 11:13 AM # 
Not quite. All you ISOM lovers and "Its called purple" believers ... here's the thing:

Say there is a cliff that you want to mark as forbidden to cross - you would suggest putting a solid purple line there marking it as forbidden. But I would read the isom and see that this purple line means 'uncrossable boundary", and according to the IOF "uncrossable" means difficult to cross, but not illegal. i could then cross it with no penalty. Woops - that didn't work.

The point is that ISOM is ambiguous and self-contradictory if you believe the Map Commission head's interpretation of the word "uncrossable". If you accept the "Canadian interpretation", then it is neither of this things.

By the way, who says that "uncrossable" means difficult to cross???
Aug 27, 2010 11:18 AM # 
And, since gruver brought it up, what is the point of the settlement olive-green symbol if it is not forbidden? Why not map it using non-olive green if it is okay to go through? And in what part of the world is it okay to run through people's back yard?
Aug 27, 2010 11:42 AM # 
solid purple line
No, stripes. There is room for those if cliff is so big one can loose by not going around. Adding some stripes is not that difficult and it is used a lot.

in what part of the world is it okay to run through people's back yard

Our races are mosty on private owned forest. We can't arrange events there wihtout permission. From this perspective there is no diference is it forest or back yard, we can't arange event wihtout permission. Nad when we ask permission, we can get it for forest but back yeard as well if that is needed, for exampel if olive green back yeard is the only way to get from one part of the area to an other. Like I wrote in Finland it is not allowed to go trough olive green, so we need to take olive green away for the race maps to do this (like FIN5 2008). And re runners may and up runnig on peoples backyards year later. We have same problem with cultivated land. This is why I find ISOM is better thatn the Finnish national one and our national approach is just asking for trouble.
Aug 27, 2010 11:57 AM # 
Also take a look at leg 5-6 above. If impassable cliffs are forbidden to cross, should we disqualify all those who fail to find the same gap as Olle did, but instead did find some other gap to go down and use that instead and think it's the right one? And blame mapper for not finding all gaps there is from all cliffs (I an think of better mapping use for the money used for mapping those gaps)? Or draw all cliffs as passable, even if most of us will not be able to climb any of them?
Aug 27, 2010 12:09 PM # 
AZ wrote: As it stands, the IOF rules rely on an interpretation of the word "uncrossable". It isn't written in the ISOM nor IOF rules how to interpret the word.
I think a reasonable person would actually say that it is and that ISOM is quite clear.

707 Uncrossable boundary
Colour: purple.
A boundary which it is not permitted to cross.

Elsewhere the use of the word "uncrossable" clearly relates to physical difficulty e.g. "A black line around a water feature indicates that it cannot be crossed under normal weather conditions"

So I don't think you can say that ISOM is ambiguous and contradictory, at least to most people.
Aug 27, 2010 12:50 PM # 
Using AP as a learning experience, those of you in the Boston area coming to the NOD event at Great Brook Farm (think sprints and yes this is a cheap plug!), you will be treated to liberal swathes of "fuchsia" overprinting (aka 709) cos the corn is high (maize for anyone outside NA) and the crop areas are verboten (no amazing maize mazes or crop circles please). I stopped short of drawing 707 around the ice cream concession stand since it's your time and money, but the ice cream is very good and deserves a visit off course.
On a serious note AZ's article was very helpful and, perhaps wisely, I am not going to weigh in here except to say I am a fan of ISSOM. Now field hockey and cricket I understand. Anyone for cricket?
Aug 27, 2010 3:20 PM # 
Orienteering is a running sport, but it is not a track sport. Or a trail sport. It is a battle with nature. It is a race over terrain, through muck and green. If you're too much of a pussy to get your feet wet, you're no Canadian champion in my book.

Sprint orienteering is a contrived variant. As such, the standard can be "precise". A one foot tall fence can be mapped as impassable for the sake of route choice generation. That is contrived. Leg 11-12 on the M21E COC long was contrived. Let's not have any more sprint legs on long courses, please!

Aside from this issue, I thought the courses were great.
Aug 27, 2010 4:54 PM # 
O-ing - I must admit that the 707 wording is clear!

But it is the "elsewhere" part of your argument that bothers me. Shouldn't words mean the same thing throughout the rules?
Aug 27, 2010 5:08 PM # 
Parts of this thread make me recall an experience I had many years ago. I was attending a two day A meet and found a restaurant for breakfast on Sunday morning. It was a large restaurant and quite crowded. Over the din of conversation I heard a single word wafting from across the restaurant and I thought, "There are orienteers here!" So here I hijack the thread to ask: What was the word that instantly told me there were orienteers in the restaurant?
Aug 27, 2010 5:25 PM # 
"A black line around a water feature indicates that it cannot be crossed under normal weather conditions"

As a hydrologist with a research focus that includes examining wetland water table dynamics I can tell ya the term 'normal weather conditions' is pretty lame. What is normal in a continental or maritime climate? Also, as BG eluded to earlier it is not uncommon for the water level in streams, ponds, rivers, and wetlands in Canada to vary by 10's of cm to >1m in days and even hours during 'normal weather conditions'. Why? The Mighty Canadian Beaver. yup our National rodent can alter route choice and make our sport more enjoyable (although difficult for map makers).
Aug 27, 2010 7:53 PM # 
Charlie: Was it "DQed"?
Aug 27, 2010 9:07 PM # 
@ Charlie: "Reentrant" . It doesn't exist in any other sport.
Aug 27, 2010 10:23 PM # 
AZ - unfortunately any dictionary will show that words usually have more than one meaning. I think ISOM goes a long way to explain the intention behind the use of the term "uncrossable" in various situations and in particular whether it is intentended to be "permitted" or not.

In terms of water features e.g. streams and marshes, trying to define "uncrossable" as a definite (Yes-No) term, as many have alluded to in this thread is impossible. The mapper should do the best they can as per "difficulty of passage for a reasonable elite level M21" and leave it to the setter to decide on the course and permission or not.
Aug 27, 2010 10:34 PM # 
@ Charlie: controls?
Aug 27, 2010 10:36 PM # 
Aug 27, 2010 10:40 PM # 
Keep guessing, folks. (I know the answer to this one. It's an ordinary word, not something that a non-orienteer wouldn't understand.)
Aug 27, 2010 11:11 PM # 
O-ing - of course I understand that words have multiple meanings. But there are lots of words to choose from, and a good Standards writer will choose those that are unambiguous. That writer will avoid words like "uncrossable" that require fine-print to explain how they are to be interpreted (note that the "cannot be corssed under normal weather conditions" is not actually in the description of symbol 301, but instead is in the pre-amble to the "Water and Marsh" symbols).

I'm not arguing about whether these symbols should be forbidden or not, what I'm trying to say is that the use of these ambiguous words weakens the ISOM. By comparison the ISSOM is much more carefully written and hence I claim a better standard (from the point of view of ambiguity and clarity).

After 130 postings in this thread, we nutcases all understand how the ISOM tries to define "uncrossable", but imagine a new orienteer looking at a map legend that includes "Uncrossable boundary" and "Uncrossable river". I really don't want to have to explain that one is forbidden to cross but the other cannot be crossed and that those are two entirely different things ;-)
Aug 27, 2010 11:33 PM # 
Rogain! High five!
Aug 28, 2010 12:09 AM # 

This thread is well above its head
And quite ready for bed.

But if it had another theme...
Oh well, we can only dream.

What might it be?
Come tomorrow, one can see.

For surely the sun will rise...
To continue the conversation of the wise.

But if it had to be told
And may I be so bold?

What we say here today
Is ephemeral, to wits' dismay....
Aug 28, 2010 1:07 AM # 
Sporting withdrawal
Aug 28, 2010 1:22 AM # 
Aug 28, 2010 2:15 AM # 
Pink Socks:
Aug 28, 2010 2:42 AM # 
Boom, boomed?
Aug 28, 2010 8:47 AM # 
I'll give it a bit more time to percolate, but I note that "boom" is not a word I heard back in the 90s. At least in these parts it seems to be of more recent vintage. The word I am thinking of is timeless in orienteering circles.
Aug 28, 2010 8:51 AM # 
Aug 28, 2010 8:52 AM # 
Aug 28, 2010 8:52 AM # 
Aug 28, 2010 11:08 AM # 
Aug 28, 2010 11:26 AM # 
Aug 28, 2010 11:34 AM # 
Aug 28, 2010 12:52 PM # 
This is getting interesting. The incident in question occurred in '94 or '95, so attack point would have been possible, but not Attackpoint. Anyway, that's not it.
Aug 28, 2010 1:36 PM # 
Aug 28, 2010 1:36 PM # 
purple lines
Aug 28, 2010 2:56 PM # 
Aug 28, 2010 3:05 PM # 
Aug 28, 2010 4:07 PM # 
Parts of this thread... Based on that preface and the context of this thread, I am inclined to agree with danf: "uncrossable"

On the other hand, "map" certainly would fit.
Aug 28, 2010 4:10 PM # 
Aug 28, 2010 5:05 PM # 
Aug 28, 2010 5:34 PM # 
Aug 28, 2010 6:15 PM # 
I think reentrant.
Aug 28, 2010 6:38 PM # 
That's three votes for reentrant, and that is certainly a plausible guess, but it's not the one
Aug 28, 2010 8:04 PM # 
Aug 28, 2010 9:28 PM # 
Contour ?
Aug 28, 2010 10:10 PM # 
Nice hijack, Charlie!
Aug 28, 2010 10:11 PM # 
sidehilling or gaiters?
Aug 28, 2010 10:15 PM # 
(2nd try) Marsh (most people say "swamp")
Aug 28, 2010 10:40 PM # 
Pink Socks:
Aug 28, 2010 10:42 PM # 
dot knoll (or just knoll)
Aug 28, 2010 11:08 PM # 
Charlie specified a word, so I'm just adding these because they're unusual phrases (?) I hear orienteers use, not because I'm guessing Charlie's word.

Third Green
White Open
Aug 28, 2010 11:27 PM # 
Pink Socks:
Aug 28, 2010 11:35 PM # 
Green course?
Start time?
Aug 29, 2010 12:06 AM # 
bearing ?
Aug 29, 2010 12:28 AM # 
Dibbler is another anachronism. Pretty sure it was unknown circa 1995. Nobody has it yet.
Aug 29, 2010 12:44 AM # 
Start triangle
Aug 29, 2010 12:45 AM # 
Aug 29, 2010 12:47 AM # 
Pink Socks:
Aug 29, 2010 1:24 AM # 
Map case
Aug 29, 2010 2:06 AM # 
Beaver dam.
Aug 29, 2010 3:00 AM # 
Aug 29, 2010 3:40 AM # 
Pink Socks:
Ooh, nice one Dan.
Aug 29, 2010 3:54 AM # 
Aug 29, 2010 4:11 AM # 
Aug 29, 2010 7:21 AM # 
Control description
Aug 29, 2010 11:51 AM # 
Aug 29, 2010 12:01 PM # 
It's time for a hint. I'm pretty sure I know the answer, because I've heard Charlie tell the story. But consider the source -- my memory sucks, so maybe this is a totally bogus hint. :-)

But here it is anyway --

You'll find this magic orienteering word in the first dozen or so posts on this thread.
Aug 29, 2010 12:07 PM # 
Waist-deep? ;-)
Aug 29, 2010 1:18 PM # 
Aug 29, 2010 1:19 PM # 
Aug 29, 2010 1:48 PM # 
As of right now, it appears seven times in this thread (now don't go running a word count program, people...)
Aug 29, 2010 2:19 PM # 
Aug 29, 2010 3:01 PM # 
Aug 29, 2010 6:02 PM # 
Pink Socks:
Aug 29, 2010 6:49 PM # 
I haven't counted... has forbidden been mentioned?
Aug 29, 2010 10:46 PM # 
Aug 29, 2010 10:51 PM # 
olive green
Aug 29, 2010 10:56 PM # 
Aug 30, 2010 10:44 AM # 

Aug 30, 2010 3:15 PM # 
I'll speculate that it will be used at least once more when the answer is revealed...
Aug 30, 2010 3:28 PM # 
Aug 30, 2010 3:37 PM # 
Aug 30, 2010 5:08 PM # 
This is probably one of the most succesful acts of hijacking a thread that I´ve seen :)

BTW, it couldn´t be kerfuffle, could it?
It´s just about the only word not mentioned before...
Aug 30, 2010 5:14 PM # 
It wasn't so much a hijacking as it was an act of kindness.
Aug 30, 2010 5:45 PM # 
Aug 30, 2010 6:05 PM # 
Aug 30, 2010 6:29 PM # 
Ok, I ran a word count program. 50 words have occurred 7 times. Should I start guessing from the list?

guess number 1: hockey
Aug 30, 2010 6:35 PM # 
Aug 30, 2010 6:40 PM # 
boundary was mentioned 11 times. However VNELSON did appear 7 times (8 now :)
Aug 30, 2010 6:44 PM # 
I would have bet a fair bit of cash that it wouldn't have taken this supposedly smart crowd anywhere near so long to get just a single word? Why the problem? Any connection with the fact that many of the posters are Canadians? :-)
Aug 30, 2010 6:46 PM # 
Aug 30, 2010 6:58 PM # 
Of the words that appear 7 times, the following 23 words also appear in the first 12 posts of this thread:

give enough clearly woc possible feel early wrote using avoided makes anyway change control distance always certain making setting orienteer ap before try
Aug 30, 2010 7:01 PM # 
I'll guess its one of these 5:

avoided :)
Aug 30, 2010 7:02 PM # 
@ eddie: boundary was mentioned 11 times.

Yes, however....
CHARLIE posted the question..
PG Said he knew what it was because he heard the story...
JJCOTE Said I know it, and it was used 7 times..

How do we know JJ is correct?

If a Beaver Dam failed the night before the race creating a new lake that was not on the map....

Could you cross it?
Aug 30, 2010 7:23 PM # 
And who is a knight and who is a knave?
Aug 30, 2010 7:24 PM # 
Aug 30, 2010 8:03 PM # 

You got me on that one.

What is Balter?
Aug 30, 2010 8:04 PM # 
Hey, j-man and eddie---nice hijack.
Aug 30, 2010 8:05 PM # 
No, correctly formed it should be "what is a Balter?"
Aug 30, 2010 8:13 PM # 
Balter can also be a verb.

The word count analysis presented above is insufficiently sophisticated. And I have a warm feeling inside that the answer is going to get amusingly self-referential. Still at seven.
Aug 30, 2010 8:25 PM # 
Umm, seems folks still aren't getting the one word that describes the essence of orienteering.... :-)

Now, think, even though JJ says it only appears 7 times in this thread (assuming he can count?), this word cuts to the heart of the matter.

For what it's worth, it pops up in other sports that are just like orienteering (like golf). Said in about the same annoyed tone of voice.

And you would never have thought, given all the smart people that are supposed to hang out on AP, that it would have taken them so long to solve this little puzzle.

I don't know, JJ and Charlie, shall we give any more hints or is this enough? I know Balter would get it very easily, but he hasn't been seen here recently.

Really quite disappointing.... :-)
Aug 30, 2010 8:38 PM # 
Aug 30, 2010 8:41 PM # 
It is obvious!
Aug 30, 2010 8:47 PM # 
*disap* does not appear in the first 12 posts of this thread. In fact it only appears in the previous 3 posts.
Aug 30, 2010 8:53 PM # 
Hmm - I'll give it another try: "rules" - but usually in a context with an expletive to really show the annoyance. That would be very much in keeping with this overall thread wherein an unusual rule must have caused significant use of expletives.
Aug 30, 2010 8:53 PM # 
Aug 30, 2010 8:56 PM # 
I still think its hockey.
Aug 30, 2010 8:56 PM # 
Are re-hijacks allowed?
The one thing that has puzzled me since the COC long event around the beaver ponds is how can there be a beaver pond - or dozens of beaver ponds - with no signs of recent beaver life? The dams look as if they were made by beavers but all that brush growing in the mud of dams would normally be prime food and building material for the beavers. The brush has not been touched in years. Why have the beavers gone away? What killed Bucky the Beaver?
What would happen if the dams were removed and the pond bottoms returned to their natural state? One thing for sure: it would change the complexity of the orienteering in the area.
Aug 30, 2010 8:58 PM # 
"rules" appears 53 times. "rule" an additional 47 times. It is in the first 12 posts.
Aug 30, 2010 9:13 PM # 
Iv'e done a word count and compared it with the words in the first 12 posts.

I can't see anything that:

describes the essence of orienteering.... :-)
pops up in other sports that are just like orienteering (like golf)
instantly tells you there are orienteers in the restaurant.

I'm starting to think the word is "sucker". 8>)
Aug 30, 2010 9:23 PM # 
definition - it first appears in the 24th post but seems to fit with jjcote's hints.
Aug 30, 2010 9:23 PM # 
It doesn't matter what the answer is, the real answer is Balter. Balter is like 42, but to the googol power. Balter is like the essence of orienteering, if orienteering were life.
Aug 30, 2010 9:25 PM # 
Navigat/ion would.
Aug 30, 2010 9:26 PM # 
The root *defin* appears 12 times, and as you say, not in the top 12.
Aug 30, 2010 9:28 PM # 
The root *navi* appears 5 times, and not in the first 12 posts.
Aug 30, 2010 9:31 PM # 
Aug 30, 2010 9:31 PM # 
unfortunately, balter only appears once (above jj's now infamous number 7 post). Which is a shame, really. The count better be seven, or all the dental floss in the world won't help him out of this jam ;)
Aug 30, 2010 9:33 PM # 
swim: 13
swimming: 8
swimmer: 1
Aug 30, 2010 9:34 PM # 
I really shouldn't give a hint that might stop this, but it is something a kid often says about life.
Aug 30, 2010 9:36 PM # 
Aug 30, 2010 9:45 PM # 
Aug 30, 2010 9:46 PM # 
confuse - this word "occurs" in confusion (4 occurences, including 1st post) and confusing (3 occurences).
Aug 30, 2010 9:47 PM # 
Aug 30, 2010 9:48 PM # 
fair: 11
fairness: 5
unfair: 4
fairly: 2
unfairness: 2
unfairly: 1
Aug 30, 2010 9:50 PM # 
Yep, confuse works. Does it relate to golf as well? It works with balter, noun and verb.
Aug 30, 2010 9:51 PM # 
fairness + "un" fairness = 7
Aug 30, 2010 9:52 PM # 
If it contains fair, jj will eat my shorts.
Aug 30, 2010 9:56 PM # 
Just for the record, unfair was in post #10.

And take a careful look at the far left side of my last hint. You all got tunnel vision?
Aug 30, 2010 10:03 PM # 
You mean this: (assuming he can count?)
Aug 30, 2010 10:07 PM # 
Nope. But I just made it a little more obvious. :-)
Aug 30, 2010 10:09 PM # 
I'll bring the shorts...
Aug 30, 2010 10:14 PM # 
Hey Eddie, do you think the hints were unfair?
Aug 30, 2010 10:17 PM # 
Well, I thought I had written the code to solve the problem, but it seems I left out a critical line:

void ReadjjsMind();
Aug 30, 2010 10:23 PM # 
unfair: 4
unfairness: 2
unfairly: 1

And PG's hint is awesome.

I had a mindblock with gail's hint. The only thing I hear kids say about life is from teenagers, includes a really dirty word, and has a website.
Aug 30, 2010 10:31 PM # 
hahaha PG is awfully clever! I guess only the left-handed people noticed the clue!!
Aug 30, 2010 11:09 PM # 
I even know who the orienteer was who said it in the restaurant. But I ain't tellin'.
Aug 31, 2010 12:30 AM # 
It was a specific individual, but it could have been anyone.
Aug 31, 2010 12:37 AM # 
unfair that no one bit on the beavers but at least its over!
Aug 31, 2010 12:48 AM # 
Four more lines:

So much as been said...
All clues have been read;
Indeed conclusion to the thread?
Might we be the grateful dead.

(the courses were long
And some got 'em wrong;
But how they got wet
Is anyone's bet...)
Aug 31, 2010 2:31 AM # 
So, how many people were "voluntarily DQed" in the COC long? And on which courses?
Aug 31, 2010 3:43 AM # 
I'm fairly certain that all people marked as "disq" in the results belong to this category. Looks to me like 7 people on 4 different courses.
Aug 31, 2010 3:53 AM # 
Those crazy F55-64s! Just can't help going all Rambo and getting wet, eh? :)
Aug 31, 2010 4:36 AM # 
How about all the unusual MPs in M21? Clem, is your routgadget route admissable? I sure hope not :) Someone posted briefly that it might have been only one course, but I'm not sure. Was anyone "involuntarily DQ'ed" for the same reason?
Aug 31, 2010 4:56 AM # 
I know for a fact that it was more than one course.

Regarding MPs in M21 I know that most cases were simply a matter of abandoning a long, tough course (as you can see in the splits). Mike Smith ran the full course and thought he had punched control 3, but apparently it did not register. Brendan clearly took a "walk" across the water to 12, but I don't know if that had anything to do with him going home after control 15?
Aug 31, 2010 5:10 AM # 
Do you know if the race director asked each and every runner if they crossed any "uncrossable" features after they finished, or if it was an announcement in the arena or something like that?

It appears that all 7 listed as disq in the results are Canadian. Given that this is a Canadian rule and at least a majority of Canadians were assumed to know this rule existed, I would have expected a majority (or at least an equal number) of the disqs to be US or other foreign runners, but that doesn't seem to be the case. Were they just not asked for some reason? Maybe Canadians are just more honest than the rest of the world (seriously, its possible). In any case, its hard for me to see how enforcement of this rule could have been applied uniformly (fairly :) across all the runners on all the courses based on the 7 disqs in the results.
Aug 31, 2010 5:32 AM # 
There was a general announcement through the PA system in the arena, asking people to voluntarily come forward.

I did hear second hand information that not all who had crossed "uncrossable" water features did actually report themselves, but since no formal protests were filed, I guess that was the end of that.
Aug 31, 2010 10:04 AM # 
Graeme Rennie came forward immediately after his race and DQ's himself.
They made an announcement asking others to do so.
6 others came forward. (Oh-Oh, this could be a big problem...)
The jury met to discuss.
They announced the "No Protest, No Foul" Ruling.

The ruling implied (to me) that they didn't want anyone else to come forward.
Although not stated, it implied they were going to UN-DQ everyone and open the floor to protest. I was surprised to learn that the voluntary DQ's stayed in place.

I personally was aware of the rule and did not cross any black lines.
I saw one guy up to his waist in a lake. I don't think it was helping.
Aug 31, 2010 10:30 AM # 
I wonder if Charlie heard someone talking about course(s) in the restaurant?
Aug 31, 2010 10:37 AM # 
Yes. Just not these courses, as the restaurant encounter took place over 15 years ago. Perhaps someone else has heard a similar restaurant discussion recently. I wouldn't be surprised.
Aug 31, 2010 12:16 PM # 
So to summarize.
OOC hosts a great COCs. BG sets a great long course on a great Olles map on great terrain and Magnus runs a great race and wins his first National title. most Canadians appear to like, know about it, and respect the uncrossable rule. it appears many non Canadians on AP don't like the rule. Several non canucks call it an unusual rule. One person implies that by following our own rules Canadian Champions (present and past) are not champion'esque in his books. Good suggestions have been made how canadian race organizers can educate others and remind them of Canada's rule prior to races. Many Canadians here think IOF should follow in Canada's footsteps. The thread was hijacked. Then Eddie concludes that Canadians are the more honest people than the rest of the World. Yes Eddie and more peaceful too.
Aug 31, 2010 1:12 PM # 
Eddie--I presume you must be referring to my route from 9-10? Yes, it appears that I did cross the uncrossable (the 2nd linear body, of three, on my leg was the only one which was not 'crossable'), but that only really became apparent in Route Gadget. On the ground--based 1) on my easy time jumping from one bank to the other--almost making it, but getting into water just around my knees, and 2) the fact that where I crossed--at the boundary line between swamp and pond--was not clearly black-bounded (in the heat of battle, especially) I didn't think anything about it. But, when drawing my route, it became apparent.

I did not hear the altar call, so to speak, at the finish, so I did not know to come forward. Actually, I didn't realize I was guilty until a day or two later when I could look at the map under good light and close up. As an aside, I will say the printing (darker blue and oddly jagged lines everywhere--which don't come across in RG) impact the legibility. In any case, I'm not making excuses. I'll accept the punishment, but don't feel like hari-kari today.

But, I have in the past... I am quite sensitive to this issue ever since this event.

There, I DSQd (myself). Basically, this is how I see this issue:
1) There was some instruction given that you were not supposed to cross uncrossable features. 2) This was not an ISSOM map. 3) Things were not indicated in the field.

So, what do I do? Well, on leg 10-11 here (sprint 1) I cross a wall: You can probably see which one. It had the two dots (in ISOM parlance, this is a "high" wall (521), not even "uncrossable".) It was, in fact, rather easy to cross. On this leg, doing so was no real advantage. But, later, on 4-5 of sprint 3, I draw upon my experience of the 'crossability' of said wall to do it again.

I was actively disqualified for this transgression in sprint 3 by the organizers. In umbrage, I disqualify myself in sprint 1 also.

To this day, I maintain I was in compliance with the letter of the law, if not the spirit. It was debated quite a bit back in the day, and while everyone has moved on, it certainly was a memorable moment for me.
Aug 31, 2010 1:52 PM # 
Clem, I remember the Norristown event well. For most of us that was our first real experience with the ISSOM crossability restrictions.

What I'm really trying to get at here - and this isn't an isolated event among US and CAN A-meets - is what *actually* happened in these protestable situations. Often times we never even hear that a protest was filed. All we hear is the sugar-coated version of how great the event was and how hard the organizers worked and how much fun it was. All true statements, but they don't change the facts and they don't help us learn from the situation so we can correct it and prevent it from happening in the future. There are also repercussions in the situations where either the jury denies the protest or decides not to act on it, or no protest is filed, even though its clear to everyone that a foul did indeed take place. I'm not a believer in the "no protest, no foul" mantra. Almost all of us have found ourselves in a situation where we feel a protestable event has taken place but we choose not to file out of some personal desire not to make waves or we feel that it doesn't matter to the results or because we don't want to be labeled a complainer (this last one is probably the most common reason). Not taking care of these things is doing the sport a disservice.

A foul most definitely did take place here. There wouldn't be a 200-odd post thread on this subject if there wasn't. You can argue about whether the special CAN rule - different from the IOF worldwide accepted standard - is a good idea or not, but its my belief that the real foul here is the bogus results list due to the completely random enforcement of this rule here. Asking people to voluntarily come forward and DQ themselves, whether people are honest or simply don't remember or broke the rule by mistake (i.e. they were lost), is simply bogus. Its a random selection of people who are DQed. If there was an official in the forest watching for people swimming in lakes and taking numbers it might be different - sort of like a random enforcement a-la a police speed trap on the highway. But the way this was handled here is, simply, unfair. You have to either let the results stand as-is, or throw the whole set out. Otherwise there is no way to say for sure who really was the best orienteer here.

The reason this matters so much to me (I wasn't even there), is that the results of this race fold into the ranking (and WOC team selection) systems of at least 2 countries. So not only was a foul committed against the honest bastards who came forward, its trickle-down to many more folks who weren't even there. Had this thread not been started we wouldn't even have known about it, even if we did want to try to do something about it before our own rankings were affected.

As things stand now this kind of thing will just happen again in the future. Will the "Canadian Rule" be in force at the Hamilton GLOF events? If so I might want to re-think my decision to attend or not. Getting the rest of the world to drop the ISOM standard in favor of ISSOM (adopting the CAN rule) seems absurd. I mean, really.

Clem, sorry I used you as one example here, of many I've heard about. I have no desire to see you fall on your sword. Quite the contrary.
Aug 31, 2010 1:57 PM # 
From past experiences, I don't recommend the marshes in Hamilton as being conducive to rapid travel ;)
Aug 31, 2010 2:01 PM # 
Eddie--I appreciate your attention to this matter.

But, just to revisit the Norristown thing again, I want to emphasize that was as ISOM map, not ISSOM. That was one of the big issues for me. Had the map been ISSOM, there would have been no complaints from me. My issue was enforcing ISSOM rules on an ISOM map.

This really is a hijacking gone very wrong...
Aug 31, 2010 2:07 PM # 
Norristown was strange in so many ways :) The ground was covered with snow and pancakes. The windows were full of staring eyes, just out of view in the shadows. Goats were jumping over 8-foot walls in a single bound.

I didn't remember that about the ISOM mapping standard though. So it was basically the same as this one - the CAN rule applied on an ISOM map in a set of sprints.
Aug 31, 2010 2:12 PM # 
Yes. Norristown state mental hospital in happier times.
Aug 31, 2010 2:13 PM # 
:) whatever you do, do NOT hit the "next" button at that link!! This is your final warning...
Aug 31, 2010 2:21 PM # 
And that was the one I really wanted to link to...
Aug 31, 2010 2:24 PM # 
Yes, I took one of several illegal routes from 11-12, and probably wandered into some other "uncrossable" marshes while wading around in dark green. But then I destroyed my ankle on the way to 15 and was clotheslined by a barbed wire fence as I crashed to the ground, ending my run. I also got to the start 5min late, so all in all it seemed like a moot point to DQ myself, though I suppose as a nominal Canadian it would have been the correct thing to do. I didn't hear any announcement at the arena.

Hammer - my comment on Canadian champions being legit had nothing to do with following/not following rules. My problem is with the notion that orienteering, as a "running" sport, should avoid areas where running is difficult. 2 seconds of wading through water should be acceptable to any orienteer, in my opinion.
Aug 31, 2010 2:41 PM # 
is that the results of this race fold into the ranking (and WOC team selection) systems of at least 2 countries.

Not a US ranked event.
Aug 31, 2010 3:01 PM # 
We all live under special rules that apply only in some countries, cities, houses ...etc. The problem is not with having such a rule. The problem is with the fact that not everyone knew about it and especially, as you explained so well, with its inconsistent enforcement.
Do you really feel that if there is a local or national rule that differs from those of the IOF then you won't compete?
PS I suspect that the reason that the organizers didn't give us special warning that uncrossable really meant "thou shall not cross" was that they assumed, as I did, that everyone understood that.
Aug 31, 2010 4:23 PM # 
I certainly didn't know that CAN rule before this thread, so had I been there I likely would have crossed a few things. I think its a shame to be restricted from traveling across features in the terrain simply by statute. Brendan is right.

I still say one of the strengths of orienteering is its universal-ity. Thus the special symbol set that is language invariant, the mapping standard, etc. Someone should be able to show up in any country on the planet and run a race legally, without having to worry too much about "special" rules. O will lose something if we start enforcing excessive rules on the navigation itself. Course setter's and meet notes should be short to non-existent. Show up, grab a map, have fun.
Aug 31, 2010 5:01 PM # 
I agree with what Eddie is saying, but I just don't think that we should measure the ability to swim as part of our sport, and I think it would be kind of silly to always overprint all lakes with purple. This is what I'm curious to understand. Forget about the COCs, I'm talking about the general case. In cases of route choices around lakes/rivers where swimming is required to cross, are you speaking in favor of allowing swimming as a legitimate route, or should all such water be overprinted with purple, or should course planning never involve route choice around such water features?

Brendan is just being silly in his comment about wading for 2 seconds. We all know that can be a normal part of orienteering (regardless of nationality) and very few of us are "too pussy to get our feet wet". The issue in the particular case of the COCs was a combination of two things; many of the marshes and lakes mapped as uncrossable were in reality possible to cross without swimming (i.e. a mapping error) and the fact that the course planning severely provoked runners to "take the chance" (yes, I agree that leg 11-12 on M21E was contrived and too extreme).
Aug 31, 2010 5:06 PM # 
If you don't want people to cross something, you should either 1) mark with purple or 2) set the course accordingly. Make the time-penalty for crossing severe enough to discourage people from doing it without explicitly disallowing it.
Aug 31, 2010 5:39 PM # 
Eddie - I think all US orienteers read ONA cover to cover, no? And in there I clearly pointed out the Canadian Rule well in advance of the COCs ;-) [Yeah, like, that's a joke, eh?]

Seriously, even if the Canadian's were to eliminate their rule about uncrossable features there would still be national rule differences. The one that puzzles me the most is the Olive Green - not forbidden in ISOM, the IOF rules, nor in some Scandinavian countries. Completely forbidden in USA & Canadian rules and other Scandinavian countries. Kind of forbidden in Australia.

It's hopeless ;-(
Aug 31, 2010 5:49 PM # 
Keep in mind, just as you didn't know this was a rule in Canada, Canadian's are equally astonished to find out that it *isn't* a rule everywhere else.

That I suppose is one thing we've all been able to learn!
Aug 31, 2010 6:05 PM # 
Universality is an admirable goal but given points AZ, pi and gruver have stated above it just isn't going to happen. There will always be needs for national differences. For example I recall reading on AP that the USOF rules allow non ISSOM for forested sprints. Heck, the governing bodies of hockey can't even agree on the size of the rink.
Aug 31, 2010 6:06 PM # 
For those that don't like the Canadian rule how do you suggest marking an impassable cliff 'forbidden to cross'?

and on a lighter note, I nominate bshields and eddie to lead a US committee to seek universality in the rules governing NAOC eligibility.
Aug 31, 2010 6:44 PM # 
I'd be happy to do that. We need Canadian counterparts though. The way I envision this is a joint US-CAN committee comes up with an agreed set of eligibility rules. Then those get passed back to the BODs of the respective federations. They either vote yes or suggest amendments. If there are amendments, these go back to the joint committee, then back to the BODs, until its done. Just need to set some hard time lines for this to happen to make sure it actually does. The issues have already been discussed heavily on AP, this year and 2 years ago.

And for the cliff I recommend either purple Xs or an oval of purple stripes.
The "settlement" symbol needs to be standardized, I agree.
Aug 31, 2010 7:35 PM # 
You have to remember that ISOM originates from the time when maps really were offset printed, in large volumes, and except for in certain bigcompetitions were overprinted with teh course, some minor corrections and for the time forbidden areas.

Due to the overprinting technique, overprinting especially large areas could get dirty. Hence some features were declared "permanently out of bounds". Different features for different reasons in different parts of the world. Deviations were practical and pragmatical.

Today we can act differently. Practically all maps are either offset or laser printed including course information. It is quite simple to add the standing purple lines, where and when they are needed. And I do not think anyone has ever suggested to overprint all lakes with purple, only where it migth be tempting to cross. Although in Sweden it is quite customary to see all fields overprinted.

I'm no friend of the principle "If the map and the terrain don't agree, follow the map". Indeed I'm no friend of sprint orienteering either although I see the justification for ISSOM. I find it truly ridiculous to deprive anyone of the joy of crossing an open marshland in dry August, just because it's flooded and dangerous in March.

As Jagge pointed out, we have the same discussion in Finland where all "dotted fields" are declared permanently out of bounds. Every year some foreign runners are dq:ed for crossing or running inside the ditch. Every year finns competing in Sweden complain the swedes were crossing forbidden areas. We never learn.

I remember from the time when I started orienteering that the map really was not the territory. You always had to interpret the map and take calculated risks like: that hill is open rock and runnable, there probably is a path along that valley or the marshlands are probably dry.

I still think that's a part of the beauty!
Aug 31, 2010 8:33 PM # 
For those that don't like the Canadian rule how do you suggest marking an impassable cliff 'forbidden to cross'?

Does that need to be done?
Aug 31, 2010 8:47 PM # 
This has been touched on a few times but I don't think I've seen any answer that I find sufficient -- what should have been done by the organizers (and/or the jury) to deal with the fact that people crossed areas not to be crossed?

I don't think what was done worked. It didn't get a valid set of results. What should have been done? I don't know. But just ignoring it doesn't help.

Even if you think that the solution is to have people turn themselves in if guilty (if they know they are guilty? if they think they are guilty?), it is still foolish to think that you have communicated that solution to everyone by announcing it on the loud speaker. People aren't listening, people have left....

Doing nothing also wouldn't have gotten a valid set of results.

The only thing that would have gotten a valid set of results is throwing out all the courses. But no one really wants to do that.

So what's the message here for the future? What do we do next time?
Aug 31, 2010 9:05 PM # 
re: Purple X's - interesting choice.

711 (purple X's) - A route which is out of bounds
707 (purple line) - A boundary which it is not permitted to cross

I think 707 is the better choice, but now that I look at the wording for 711 I'm confused - for example, it clearly covers a trail that should not be followed, but would it be forbidden to cross that trail? (Another place where a bit of rewording in the ISOM might help ;-)
Aug 31, 2010 9:08 PM # 
I was thinking of an oval shaped area of purple stripes 709 (Out of Bounds area) , perhaps without a bounding line if it isn't marked in the terrain.
Aug 31, 2010 9:12 PM # 
If a cliff is mapped as "uncrossable", by which the mapper means "not reasonable or safe to cross", does it need to be actually prohibited? If someone wants to spend 5 minutes scaling a cliff instead of 20 seconds running around, that's their choice. And if they're dumb enough to jump down...
Aug 31, 2010 9:31 PM # 
I agree Cristina. Completely. But if one wanted to explicitly prohibit that action for whatever reason I think it could be done with purple.

I have an interesting story about a cliff from the middle qual at WOC this year. We had a short leg heading diagonally towards a long "uncrossable" cliff. I aimed right to hit the far end of it but came out near the center. There was a small gully with a tree down across it and I tried to go down the gully. It got really steep and was pretty high, so I chickened out and climbed back up...went around. Cost me big time. I was talking to Nikolay afterwards. He ran a different heat but had a similar leg. He hit the cliff in the same place, even noticing the same notch with the tree down. He went in, saw footprints on the ledge halfway down (I'd estimate it was 8 feet to the ledge and maybe another 6-8 to the bottom from there, everything except the vertical face was moss-covered). He said since someone else had obviously survived the drop (no body at the bottom) he figured if he fell he'd just bounce on the soft moss at the bottom. Its true, the whole place was like running around on a damp sponge. He made it down ok. I don't think it was optimal for either of us. Hitting the end on a bearing would have been faster. But at least we had the option. And I'll note that neither of us *intended* to hit that cliff in the middle. The mapper mapped it correctly - most people would have considered it foolish to try and cross in a race. Dangerous? perhaps. Non-optimal? Definitely.
Aug 31, 2010 9:36 PM # 
We need Canadian counterparts though

Don't worry Eddie, I'm Canadian.

Brendan is just being silly in his comment about wading for 2 seconds.

I appreciate your point of view and I think we're more or less on the same page here, but I think your notion that people might be required to take a route that involves swimming is kind of silly, too. Clearly, as organizers, we should avoid dangerous areas. I think we should also avoid unpleasant areas (e.g. dense prickly undergrowth), or routes that require actual swimming (which was not the case for the COCs). This is for fairness as well as for everyone's enjoyment of the sport.

However, the question is: which of the organizers should be responsible for this? The claim is being made that responsibility rests with the mapper to make the map crystal clear as far as what is passable or not. I would argue that this is untenable, because there are many factors that go into whether an area is "dangerous" or "unpleasant", among them are seasonal variations and different standards for different courses.

These factors are better understood by the course planner than by the mapper, so I would argue that the primary responsibility rests with the course planner. If an ambiguous situation arises where competitors might be tempted to do something dangerous, the course planner should change the course to avoid the situation. As a last resort, pink lines can be used to indicate routes which are not to be taken. This practice is allowed for in the COC rules.

The nature of sprints is such that the route choice inevitably involves taking passability into account, so it makes sense to enforce strict rules in the mapping standard, and it is generally much easier to do because features are clearly delineated in urban settings. That is why ISSOM is necessary - it makes sprint legs possible. But nobody wants sprint legs in traditional-format orienteering courses. They come across as contrived. So I don't think it makes sense to translate the spirit of ISSOM to ISOM.

In summary:
-Dangerous routes should be avoided by course planners, not accounted for by mappers.
-ISSOM-type rules make sense for sprint maps, but not for traditional orienteering.

I apologize if my earlier remarks offended any Canadian champions.
Aug 31, 2010 9:54 PM # 
Wow, Brendan, I think we are of similar mind about this, but you said this better than I would have. Thank you.
Aug 31, 2010 11:38 PM # 
Pink Socks:
Random fact:

AP has been around 10 years now, and this forum has seen 3000+ threads. Of the 6 longest threads, 5 of them have started in the past year! (This thread is 4th longest)
Aug 31, 2010 11:59 PM # 
Picking up on an earlier point regarding the crazy F55-64s and the more recent point by PG. The 2 F55-64 actually crossed a narrow marsh at the opposite end of a pond to the control. They did this to reach a path on the opposite side. But they realised in hind sight that it was shown uncrossable. So when the announcement was made, they 'fessed up. In actual fact they didn't gain anything by this route choice (neither was a fastest split) - and if I had seen it as a route choice I might also have opted for it.....
So, what to do - if not for this event, but for the future? Should we have guidelines in place? I agree with bshields that the responsibility should rest with the course planner, in conjunction with the controller. However, even with the best will in the world, things will slip through.
Sep 1, 2010 12:18 AM # 
The technically correct thing to do is DQ everyone who broke the rules. Obviously, there's no way to enforce that when a significant fraction of the map is out of bounds. In a few special cases (i.e., 11-12 on M21E), breaking the rules would have resulted in an insanely fast split and would therefore be detectable, assuming no SI failure. In that case, the cheater's result should be protested by anyone who cares and the jury should DQ the individual.* Alternatively, an official could have been placed at the illegal crossing point. This is commonly done in sprints. Other than 11-12, cheating was most likely not hugely beneficial, so without any evidence, I think you just have to let it slide.

Take-home message: if the fastest route is illegal, it's not a good leg.

* - anyone who was knowingly breaking the rules could have punched their map for a couple of controls and claimed SI failure, so even SI won't get you out of trouble.
Sep 1, 2010 12:40 AM # 
Hey Brendan--you have really thought through this cheating stuff, eh? ;)
Sep 1, 2010 1:14 AM # 
Evidently not, I punched both controls.
Sep 1, 2010 1:15 AM # 
bshields>> Well written and well argued!

I'm still wondering what you would have done between 11 and 12 if the map would have actually been correct and you would have had to swim?

Fundamentally, what this is boiling down to is whether long and narrow water features can be used to create route choice, is it not? Whether the map symbol itself means forbidden or purple overprint has to be added, you are arguing that this style of route choice orienteering is not in the spirit of traditional forest orienteering. Maybe there is something to that, but I'm not entirely convinced. Is it not that it feels strange simply because it is an unusual terrain type? Leg 11 to 12 on M21E felt contrived because it only offered one legitimate route that involved running back from where you just came. However, there were other legs, e.g. on the course M20 ran, that presented a more traditional left/right route choice, but illegally "swimming" straight across was the fastest route. Is that kind of course planning also not in the spirit of forest orienteering?

Regarding the actual disqualifications, it's rather unfortunate that many runners who did not gain any time were thrown out.
Sep 1, 2010 1:19 AM # 
Is it commonplace for a jury to decide not-to-decide because it's the very end of the A-meet and everyone would rather begin their long journeys home?
Sep 1, 2010 1:33 AM # 
Re: 11-12
I'm not a fan of swimming, so I don't think the fastest route should involve actual swimming in a well-designed course. But if it does, then you've got to go with the fastest route, right?* As a course planner, I think you should avoid this kind of situation.

* - a further consideration in this case is that the maps for the second half of the course were not sealed, so I'd likely be setting myself up for disaster come control 23.

Re: route choice philosophy
I find it offensive to be obliged to dogleg. It's part of the game in sprints, but I really hope it doesn't become popular in traditional forest orienteering. In that sense, the M20 leg is certainly preferable to the M21E leg, but I still don't think it's good practice to present an illegal route that is fastest.
Sep 1, 2010 3:09 AM # 
Feet wrote: "From past experiences, I don't recommend the marshes in Hamilton as being conducive to rapid travel"

In the words of your club're too pussy to get your feet wet feet. ;-)
Sep 1, 2010 3:16 AM # 
Clearly. In fact, he is too pussy to be in CSU entirely. Go Ross! Go CSU!
Sep 1, 2010 3:23 AM # 
re: impassable cliffs

>" But if one wanted to explicitly prohibit that action for whatever reason I think it could be done with purple"

I will try to post what the three suggestions look like tomorrow but all of the ideas (line, X, oval) obliterate other important details in the vicinity of the cliffs.

Purple haze = 0
Canadian rule = 1.
Sep 1, 2010 3:24 AM # 
So don't do it.
Sep 1, 2010 3:52 AM # 
I can be down with these route choices (the race looked super fun!), as long as all the competitors clearly know what is allowed, and what isn't. Not cutting across from the middle of the lake seems pretty clear cut if it's explained well in advance. (Which seems to be the exception. Off the top of my head, I recall a half dozen races where some out-of-bounds rules were not clearly communicated and the competition suffered)

The thing that makes me uncomfortable is the corner cutting scenario. I'm running in the woods, and it's my job to always optimize my route. Now say that optimal route skirts around an impassible marsh where the closer I get to the marsh the faster I can travel? How am I to know where the edge of that 3-meter thick black line sits, and when exactly do I commit a foot-fault?

Am I supposed to hold well back to play it safe when the race is on the line? In most sports that's not a dilemma. There are meet officials, so if I push too far, I get caught and bear the consequences. But if I've got to self report, then it's an issue.
Sep 1, 2010 5:58 AM # 
I don't think what was done worked. It didn't get a valid set of results.

Here is a ``valid'' set of results that captures the essence of the day ...

The Canadian champions are:
M20 - Colin Abbot
F20 - Kendra Murrray
M21 - Magnus Johansson
F21 - Carol Ross
And they are to be congratulated on their fine performances!

I am super-impressed with Graeme Rennie's run - and equally impressed by his honesty in self-reporting his rules transgressions. He will have another day to fight for a national championship.
Sep 1, 2010 7:24 AM # 
Sep 1, 2010 12:14 PM # 
“In a few special cases (i.e., 11-12 on M21E), breaking the rules would have resulted in an insanely fast split and would therefore be detectable, assuming no SI failure. In that case, the cheater's result should be protested by anyone who cares and the jury should DQ the individual.”

I’d agree except that the DQ shouldn’t require that someone else protest. I’d suggest in that case the race organizers have the ability to DQ someone without a protest just as they do when they have a monitor on the course to watch for infractions. I’d further suggest that the race organizers may even have an implied obligation to the other competitors to review the SI splits where crossing an uncrossable feature enables someone to have an insanely fast split. I had one of those on the long – a fastest split by a significant margin when none of my other splits was better than 6th and not many were in the top 10.

There were four factors at play here:

1. Numbers of legs in which crossing an uncrossable feature was significantly advantageous, perhaps marginally advantageous or neutral.

2. A map that did not correspond with the terrain on the day of the event, at least with respect to wooded marshes, including legs of the type mentioned in 1. Not only were both indicated wooded marshes that I crossed easily crossable, they weren’t even wooded marshes. One was light to medium green woods without any water that I could see. The other was a narrow channel of waist deep water and a large meadow (i.e., dark yellow with a thin blue line alongside).

3. What I have contended was inadequate marking on the map (or printing problem?). (Also no warnings in contrast to warnings about no running on the roadway, just the shoulder, even though I could see no distance advantage to running on the roadway.)

4. The COC rule that anything shown on the map as uncrossable may not be crossed regardless of how crossable it actually is.

There were 7 DQ’s. By comparison, we have gordhun seeing where 20-30 competitors had crossed one of the uncrossable marshes while picking up controls. Someone has noted that all DQ’s were Canadians. I further note that all but one were 45+.

“The jury met to discuss.
They announced the "No Protest, No Foul" Ruling.
The ruling implied (to me) that they didn't want anyone else to come forward.”

That’s not what it was. When I told the race director that I had crossed an uncrossable feature, I also mentioned that I hadn’t realized it was an uncrossable feature and that I didn’t think the uncrossable aspect was adequately shown on the map. He told me about the problem of the conditions having changed since the map was made last year when it was much wetter. The race director then informally consulted three jury members concerning the adequacy of the markings on the map (which I had neither requested nor expected). The result was the announcement that the jury cannot make a ruling because it had not received a formal protest, so that if anyone wanted the jury to actually decide the matter, they would have to make a protest.

I don’t either leg would have been hurt if the feature had not marked uncrossable. In one case the route choice otherwise was just whether to go around the marsh to the right or the left. In the other case there was no real route choice and what I hear was some tough green. it was certainly an unexpected fluke expecting to see a wooded marsh and finding a wide open meadow in its place, but a dramatically different situation like that can be addressed by a map revision. What if the situation had been reversed with the map being made when there was a meadow that on race day was a possibly uncrossable marsh? I would generally consider any route choice that involves crossing an unseen marsh to be at least a bit of a gamble because of the degree of variability of marshes of wooded marshes.

Re the COC rule: The comparison has been made to the IOF sprint rule. The enforceability aspect presents a possible difference. Typically in sprints I have seen monitors on the course where there is a temptation to cross something marked uncrossable. I haven’t seen the same on other Canadian courses. A principle of law-making is that laws that are unenforceable generally are not good laws.
Sep 1, 2010 12:28 PM # 
"No protest, No Foul" May have been poorly chosen words that were not well thought out.

@rlindzon: You were in discussion with the jury, so you got more information than the general crowd. All I heard was the announcement which I interpreted as: unless someone complains about it, were not going to worry about it. My wife and son went away with the same understanding.

Nobody else felt the need to come forward after that announcement.
Sep 1, 2010 12:34 PM # 
There's also a philosophical problem in this case that one is assuming that the competitors know whether or not they crossed an uncrossable feature. In addition to that fact that some might not have noticed he bank line on the map, don't forget that sometimes people simply don't know where they went. Yes, we are used to the notion that adept orienteers keep track of where they are all the time, but there are occasions when people head off in a certain direction, lose contact, and relocate later. If the appearance of features in the terrain looks different than what the map shows, this is likely to happen more often. Asking people to voluntarily DSQ themselves is problematic in that scenario.
Sep 1, 2010 5:36 PM # 
Brendan's suggestion of DQ insanely fast splits happened at the first Edinburgh City Race. There was a route choice straight down a road that had an uncrossable road across it. The only legal routes for far to the right or left, to go underneath the uncrossable road. A huge number of people (including myself) didn't spot the uncrossable purple hatching once oxygen debt hit. The organiser/planner took the fastest legal split from the men's elite, and DQed anyone who went faster than that. Around a third of the field was disqualified. It maybe shoul dhave been clearer on the map (with two lines showing around choices perhaps?), but it was a fair choice to DQ everyone - it was marked on the map as OOB, just not particularly visible when you were exhausted!
Sep 2, 2010 4:42 AM # 
A difficult issue as indicated by the number of posts (even allowing for the light relief in the middle). Whatever rules we invent or run under there will have to be judgement in following the duty of care for safety, and minimising luck. A practical guide might be, "lead us not into temptation".

So, not matter what delighful route choice options are provided by various terrain obstacles, we should be wary about those that tempt people to transgress. And in this regard its the physically-but-not-legally passable ones that are the problem. At the end of the day it's the controller's job to approve the courses.
Sep 2, 2010 1:29 PM # 
Eddie asked "Will the "Canadian Rule" be in force at the Hamilton GLOF events?"

Short answer is Yes (Hamilton is in Canada). ;-)

Long answer. The WRE rules will be in effect for the sprint but there are no uncrossable lakes or marshes or cliffs on any of the viable routes in the sprint. Or in Gruver's always eloquent and intelligent postings wording - you won't be tempted to cross those features. But impassable ISSOM symbols (like uncrossable fences) will be in effect. For the other races the Canadian rules will be in force but again participants would gain no advantage crossing those features. Four or five courses on the long or middle distance race will climb and/or descend the Niagara Escarpment. Like in so many areas in southern Ontario the landowners
strictly do no want participants attempting to cross the large cliffs on the Niagara Escarpment do to safety and environmental concerns (some of Ontario's oldest trees cling to these cliffs). The Canadian rule that competitors are not allowed to cross these features has satisfied the landowners and as such we are permitted to enjoy our sport in some pretty great areas. As such it is important to have this rule in play. Safety and avoiding environmentally sensitive areas will always be a high priority on the courses I set. Given the discussion here I will likely suggest to our controller to add purple OOB symbol on and below these dangerous cliffs so that competitors are not tempted to cross them. Jagge's examples above work well. It is not possible for us to 'tape' these cliffs since they are sporadic and cut though the south end of our map so we will need to hope that our participants obey the rules. We will either have volunteers or motion detection cameras located at these areas. (photo radar for orienteering) to enforce the rule. Enforcing this now appears necessary because losing access to areas is just not worth it. Somebody could also argue that the 100's of hours of volunteer time organizing a race might not be worth it either given that orienteers are a tough crowd to please. BUT GHO only organize GLOF once every four years as we strive to give participants a great high quality orienteering weekend. We encourage constructive criticism and will always try to make our races better. We have a very experienced group of officials lined up and are excited about showing off an area that was used for the first World Cup held outside Scandinavia. This is going to be fun race weekend and are offering lodging right at the finish line of all races to make your weekend more enjoyable. But as a level 4 COF official I will always follow the COF rule book.
Sep 2, 2010 2:58 PM # 
Just to change the topic ever so slightly...

At the end of the day it's the controller's job to approve the courses.

Unless you run in the US, in which case I'm not sure there are controllers. In the US I understand there are "course consultants" - I was one for the US Champs earlier this year, but I was never sure what my duties and responsibilities were. I certainly don't believe I had any "approval" function.
Sep 2, 2010 3:25 PM # 
Controllers are not routinely used in the US, although a position of "event controller" is defined in the rules. A course consultant usually operates from afar and has input but no real authority to mandate changes. A "vetter" is used with the resposibility of checking control locations and descriptions to insure their correctness. The vetter may have input on appropriateness and fairness of the courses, working with the course designer. So some of the functions of the controller are covered, but not with "approval" authority. Ultimately, in my experience the course designer is "self-controlling", which is not an ideal situation and needs to be improved.
Sep 2, 2010 3:33 PM # 
Pink Socks:
For the US Middle Champs, I had Eric as the vetter, and AZ as my "course consultant". I basically interpreted that as Eric would officially bless my course design and control locations, with regards to technical challenge and fairness (micro). And that AZ would be an overall event adviser, including suggestions and critiques on start/finish locations, arena/spectator production, and course philosophy (macro).

AZ volunteered for the job, and I figured, "Wow, this is a bonus! I'm getting a Canadian who knows what he's doing to help me out!"

I think the recent successes of the big Canadian event are due to a significant focus on the macro stuff at events. The big picture, so to speak.

[edit: I wasn't the meet director for the event, so I can't comment on the officiality of AZ as course consultant, and whether or not he was required, by rule, or whatever. I just looked at the USOF rules, and it makes mention of course and event consultants, which are different from vetters.]
Sep 2, 2010 4:09 PM # 
The issues hammer brings up are serious ones, and worth heeding. But, they are hardly new and exist independently of the whole ISSOM/ISOM debate.

At the end of the day, this just demands common sense. Don't set legs where runners will be tempted to do illegal or hazardous things. Don't have people run in private or environmentally sensitive areas.

If you have been doing this for a few years as a club or individual, you will have been exposed to these issues. Just think through what might happen, and avoid, to whatever degree possible, undesirable outcomes.

I've set on maps that have had (at the same time): dangerous cliffs, environmental no-nos, private property, etc... and it is a pain, no doubt. The courses that ensue are constrained, but that is part of the fun of being a course setter.

Finally, I will put in a plug for purple overprinting, taping or no. It is like seeing a guy in a monkey suit, or better. Black lines and other normal map symbols are things you can tune out. If you really want people to avoid things, don't take chances. Don't put them near those things, and if they have to go there, make it obvious that, for this event especially, that they are off limits.

This really doesn't have to engender all this reinvention. These guidelines have existed for years, well before ISSOM, and are just best practices that everyone should follow.
Sep 2, 2010 4:13 PM # 
Regarding course consultants in America: yes, they are required and they should be leaned upon. But, this system has so many problems. I'd rather fix the US healthcare system.

Sometimes, you have to realize that good enough is a goal worth striving for.
Sep 2, 2010 4:23 PM # 
Re: Course contultants and event advisors - they exist in Sweden and have for a long time, but I don´t think they have ever had full approval or veto rights...

Common sense is a good thing to have regarding most of these issues - if you have set courses for a couple of meets and also been exposed to various problems caused by other course setters you know what to avoid or not...
Sep 2, 2010 6:27 PM # 
In the U.S., both Course and Event Consultants are defined in the Rules. USOF (Orienteering USA) routinely provides Course Consultants, and routinely chooses not to provide Event Consultants.

If you happen to be a non-USOF club applying for sanctioning for your event, then Orienteering USA is required to provide both Course and Event Consultants per agreement. If you are a club, tough luck. You can ask for an Event Consultant but you will almost certainly not get one.

Some very high-level events in the past few months did not have Course Consulants, and the organizing club was quite unhappy about the situation.
Sep 2, 2010 7:20 PM # 
If you happen to be a non-USOF club applying for sanctioning for your event, then Orienteering USA is required to provide both Course and Event Consultants per agreement.

This is a misrepresentation, because you omit to mention, Tundra/Desert, that non-clubs also have to pay expenses for said consultants. You also omit to mention that Orienteering USA can waive the requirement for a consultant at its sole discretion.

That said, there is recognition that course and event consultants are a Good Idea. I don't know which event recently failed to get a course consultant - perhaps you can be less vague, Vlad. Event consultants have been thin on the ground recently. This is, hopefully, changing.
Sep 2, 2010 7:23 PM # 
j-man said "At the end of the day, this just demands common sense. Don't set legs where runners will be tempted to do illegal or hazardous things."

I don't agree with this at all.

We go to great expense and effort to make maps that illustrate as well as possible what we might meet on the ground. The runner then continually makes choices as he runs.
Lets start with the trivial. You notice a green slash area ahead on the map (good visibility, hard to run). You don't say "oh my, the course setter screwed up, I might scratch my legs in this hazardous situation". You proceed around or through whatever seems best at the time.
Next you are navigating through an area with lots of small uncrossable ponds and cliffs. Again you don't go into a panic, but instead are happy that there is the great navigational challenge of finding your way quickly through complex terrain.
But you make a mistake and you come up against a marsh marked as uncrossable. I guess if you are running in the US (or most of the world), you can decide to go around or you could try to second guess the mapper and course setter and go across. In Canada the decision is quite clear. You go around or you are a cheat. You don't say that the course setter made a mistake. You say "I blew it, I was off my intended route".
Sep 2, 2010 7:45 PM # 
This is a misrepresentation, because you omit to mention, Tundra/Desert, that non-clubs also have to pay expenses for said consultants.

And if the sanctioned party were a club, would it not have to pay the Event Consultant's expenses? USOF Rules are silent upon the matter, and simple common sense suggests this. I fail to see a misrepresentation.

I am not sure if the event director of the event I am talking about would like to be on the record. You (Sanctioning) should know which of the Championships lately didn't get a Course Consultant.
Sep 2, 2010 8:52 PM # 
Huh?? This is all very confusing. What, for example, is a non OUSA club??

My first reaction to j-man's earlier post was to suggest that the "many problems with the system" could be easily fixed by adopting something similar to the Canadian officials system, using it as an example of a "best practices" - or at least a "good enough practice" - that would improve things. But now I'm sensing he may not have been exaggerating as much as I first imagined when he said he'd rather fix the US Health system ;-(
Sep 2, 2010 9:05 PM # 
I don't know what to say. I suppose that Canada and the US are two countries separated by a common language, a border, and who knows what else.

I stand by what I said. Use some common sense.

And with that, I'm signing off from this thread. If I come back here again I'm going to have to gouge out my eyes.
Sep 2, 2010 9:22 PM # 
A non-USOF club is any organization that does not wish to join USOF, or is prohibited from doing so by a certain USOF official's ruling that each USOF club must be a tax-exempt non-profit 501(c)(3) organization.
Sep 2, 2010 9:29 PM # 
I didn't realize Get Lost! attempted to become a member club. Is it really true that clubs have to be 501(c)(3) to be members? I bet lots of USOF clubs have never applied for this status.
Sep 2, 2010 9:33 PM # 
The ruling is recent (~2007), ostensibly motivated by new IRS policies for tax-exempt non-profits, of which USOF is one. The interpretation of the IRS policy is that you can't have affiliated non-tax-exempt-non-non-profits if you want to be 501(c)(3). Most clubs' status predates the ruling. Following the ruling, a lot of clubs (e.g. BAOC, NEOC) have been scrambling to become 501(c)(3). GL!! was formed in 2008 and we were aware of the ruling, so never even tried to apply to be in USOF.
Sep 2, 2010 9:33 PM # 
Interesting. So its in the bylaws somewhere?
Sep 2, 2010 9:36 PM # 
It isn't. It's an interpretation.
Sep 3, 2010 1:16 AM # 
@AZ Was "Use some common sense" aimed at you or me?
or both
or was it self-referential?
Sep 3, 2010 4:20 AM # 
Twas I who wrote "it is the controller's job to approve the courses."

I also earlier admitted myopia, we all make the mistake of assuming everyone does things the same way. In MY country it is the controller's job to approve the courses, according to the national rules, which are patterned on the IOF rules as they were a while ago. The IOF rules may have changed since, I don't know, and other countries are of course free to make their own rules.

But we have a view (I thought inherited from the wise international community but could be wrong) that SOMEONE must take ultimate responsibility for the event. This includes overseeing the course design, map printing, and the placement of the markers in the correct positions, on the day systems, volunteers, everything. I said overseeing: some may be done personally and some may be delegated. This "controller" is a person of experience, there are training clinics and a certification process.

Independent checking has virtually eliminated the "control in the wrong place" or the "control with the wrong code" at major events. It has also improved the quality of the course design although I can see that in a large country with lots of resources both of these could easily be "contracted out". But the buck stops with the controller. Hence my suggestion that this is where matters of judgement get the tick or otherwise.
Sep 3, 2010 11:46 AM # 
"And with that, I'm signing off from this thread. If I come back here again I'm going to have to gouge out my eyes.'

Well... "Well said";
Put the thread to bed:
"Thread, be gone, be dead".

"Should you (re)arise,
Please do so in disguise -
So as to save Clem's eyes".

This discussion thread is closed.