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Discussion: What is it like to orienteer in Florida?

in: Orienteering; General

Mar 29, 2021 3:40 PM # 
Well, this is not quite typical terrain but it is there. At a recent JROTC event Mathew Benjamin of JW Mitchell HS recorded his route with a GoPro. This competition was at Alafia River State Park, southeast of Tampa. The open fields are a clear indication that the area was once ranch land. The linear ponds are a clear indication that phosphates were once extracted from the land.
It is what we 'navigators' call a runners' course and Matt crossed the 5.5 k in less than 40 minutes. Only two were faster. The full competition results and Livelox tracks can be perused at the Results tab of
Mar 30, 2021 12:29 AM # 
I was wondering if this was the same type of mining/quarrying terrain that some highly regarded non-orienteering courses named Streamsong (Red, Blue, & Black), were created on.
Google Maps gave me the clear answer, just about 10 miles away (straight line), with the same aerial patterns.
Gord, have you navigated around there also?
Mar 30, 2021 11:30 AM # 
Yes, same type of terrain, same mining but the difference is that in the Alafia River area a lot of the old oak hammocks survived the ranching and mining. It is a great park for orienteering with three very different mapped topographies.
I once considered trying canoe/kayak orienteering in an area a bit north of Streamsong but it would involve some portaging and kayakers in Florida just do not like to get out of their boat until they finish and I don't blame them.
Mar 30, 2021 9:00 PM # 
Thanks for the video Gord, great memories of that lovely terrain.
Mar 30, 2021 9:55 PM # 
What is the contour interval on Alafia?
Mar 31, 2021 12:34 AM # 
The contour interval is 5 feet. Why feet? The contours came from an organization called the Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD, commonly called Swiffmud) and they gave the choice of shp files of 5' or 1'.
I chose the former and unlike a las or laz file where I can choose how to manipulate the data it came as a .shp file where the sender calls the shot.
Why is the contour interval not on the map? I cut this portion from a much larger O map of nearly the whole park. Just forgot to bring the contour interval up.
Good to hear from you billa. He, Bill Anderson, was a great help in map consultation and course setting for the first time this park was used for orienteering. Also impromptu coaching of some of the JROTC orienteers. Yes great memories Bill.

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