Technical info

IOF review of control description and mapping symbols (2017)

During 2017, the IOF carried out a big review of control descriptions and mapping symbols. We won’t be able to update all our maps to comply straight away but we will be doing so as and when logical to do so over the coming months.

Control descriptions: no major changes you need to know about that I can see apart from the addition of a new symbol for out of bounds areas like flowerbeds in parks and urban areas which looks like a flower head in a box (right).
There a couple of others but not that will affect our areas or those of neighbouring clubs but if you want to take a look at the full details then look at the International Specifications for Control Descriptions 2018.

Spoiler alert! That document is not as grim as it sounds and actually worth having a look to teach or refresh yourself if you’re a bit sketchy on these as it has some great illustrations from page 18 onwards of what the feature described in the control description looks like both on a map and on the ground, some examples below (click each to enlarge):








(We used to have some small foldout guides to hand to beginners explaining control descriptions. Maybe an idea to cobble some more of these illustrations together to print on the back of maps for beginners to refer to for Summer Series events?)

Map symbols: most of the changes are tweaks to colours and line thickness to try and enhance legibility of maps for everyone but especially for the older age groups or those with colour blindness or other visual impairment.
The International Specification for Orienteering Maps 2017 will tell you everything you ever wanted to know about these specifications (and some!) so to save blowing your minds I’ve had a quick flick through looking for major changes or additions that I think we might come across.

Addition of a coloured outline to the ride symbol showing runnability.
E.g. rides in open woodland often have thicker vegetation due to more sunlight getting through to ground level so are actually harder to run along compared to surrounding terrain. You could figure that out quite quickly when you get there and not a problem in open woodland but worth knowing in advance if the ride goes through light or dark green – look for a white or yellow band surrounding it as shown here otherwise don’t bother.

(Think this is a new one.) Variation on the rough open land (shown here) and open land (yellow background) with trees –  now shows green spots for bushes/thickets and white spots for trees.

Gigantic boulder so high and steep it’s impossible* to climb. We don’t have many of these but Maroc’s Dinnet  map may be featuring some soon. (*Sounds like that’s just going to act as a distracting challenge to the likes of Gareth and Ian H to me!)


Vineyard or similar cultivated land containing dense rows of plants offering good or normal runnability in the direction of planting.  One for RR to use when they they next update the biomass plantations on the Carmichael Estate map.



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