Orienteering during Lockdown

Whilst regular orienteering events are currently on hold, there are still opportunities to get out there and enjoy the essence of the sport, whether you're a seasoned orienteer looking to hone their skills, a runner seeking an alternative to that cancelled race, or a family looking for something to keep the children entertained.

Permanent Courses 

Permanent Course controlThe club has five permanent courses spread throughout our area. Each has a selection of pre-planned courses making use of the permanent marker posts that you can tackle at a time of your choosing. For most, maps can now be downloaded for you to print at home. See the individual page for each area for more details.

MapRun

MapRun screenshotMapRun is a free mobile phone app which, having selected a course, will notify you when you're in the correct location for each control (unlike a permanent course, there is no marker on the ground). The club has a back catalogue of MapRun courses available which you can participate in at any time. Most use urban areas with a simplified map which you can either view on your phone or download to print out. Once completed, you can compare your time and route with other participants.

Whether you choose a permanent course or MapRun, please be courteous to other users of the area and make sure you follow the government guidelines, particularly with regard to social distancing.

More MapRun

We've had a few more takers for the Lakeside Virtual Challenge over the weekend but you still have until next Sunday to get your name up in lights. If you're in the Chandler's Ford area, I've also just added a choice of three MapRun line courses designed to take you on a tour of some of the small pockets of woodland in the area. If that's too far to travel, why not set up a MapRun course near you? There are now two short videos on the SOC YouTube channel that take you through creating a course on Open Orienteering Map and then testing it out with the MapRunF app, all in less than five minutes! If you then want to share your creation with others in the club, send the course and map file to webmaster [at] socweb.org (me).

Armchair Course Planning Competition

Whilst we await a return to the forest, I thought it would be fun to have an armchair course planning competition for club members to get those little grey cells warmed up again! This will also give those who attended Terry Smith's excellent introduction to Condes a chance to test out their newfound skills. If you missed the session, a recording is available. The details of the competition are as follows.

Competitors must plan a Green course to the British Orienteering guidelines on an OCAD map of Bramshaw Wood available by emailing webmaster [at] socweb.org. There are no constraints on where you place the start and finish, and you may use all parts of the map (highly unrealistic as any experienced planner will tell you!).

Entries will be judged on their adherence to the guidelines (e.g. distance, technical difficulty, safety, and correct use of control descriptions), presentation (e.g. accurate positioning of control circles and ensuring that important detail is not obscured), and providing interest to the competitor!

There will be two categories: one for those who have never planned above a Level D event, and one for more experienced planners. Entrants should declare what category they are in when submitting their entry. Ian Moran has kindly agreed to act as judge and will provide feedback on all entries.

Those looking for inspiration can view the courses from last year's November Classic on RouteGadget, Barry Elkington's article on planning a TD5 course, and Graham Nilsen's guide to course planning. Please, whatever you do, DO NOT visit the area

You can use the course planning software of your choice, but details of how to install a copy of Condes using the club's license can be found in the member's area. Entries should be supplied as a PDF of the map and course, including control descriptions, along with the course source file (Condes or otherwise) emailed to webmaster [at] socweb.org by the AGM (23 July). Good luck!

There was a question during today's session on course planning on a Mac. Sadly both Condes and the free Purple Pen run only on Windows. If you have a Windows license, they do both run fine under virtualization options such as Fusion, Parallels, or the freely available VirtualBox. If you only have macOS then the best option is probably Open Orienteering Mapper. This is primarily designed as a free alternative to OCAD (which it does pretty well) but the course planning support is nowhere near as good as the Windows options.