Friday, 24 April 2009

EastWest Mapping produce new Dublin Mountains map

Barry Dalby of East West Mapping has produced an excellent new map of the Dublin and North Wicklow Mountains at 1:30,000 scale. The map, published in March, extends from around Sandyford to Ballinastoe on the east side and from Rathcoole to Valleymount on the west, covering the uplands in between. The map, printed on Pretex waterproof paper (now used for many O-maps) has a wealth of detail which would interest outdoors people. In addition to forests, walking routes and parking places, the map is worth buying just for the heritage and historical information. Barry and his brother Clive have walked, cycled and driven over the whole area in 2008 to survey the map.

The 1:30,000 scale would appeal particularly to the likes of walkers, hill runners and mountain bikers who want to explore off-road, and the 20-metre contours with shading for altitude show the land shapes clearly. Mountain marathoners and those looking for an interesting destination for a hike will also find it useful, as will anyone looking for a new orienteering area to map.
Speaking of orienteering maps, Barry is a professional surveyor who previously worked as an instructor at Tiglin Adventure Centre, and has been an active orienteer for many years.
Three further maps are planned in the same series: Wicklow Mountains West, Wicklow Mountains East and Lugnaquilla.
The map costs €9.95 in the shops or €11.45 including Irish postage from from EastWest Mapping. Visit EastWest Mapping here.

Thursday, 23 April 2009

TRIMTEX to Supply Irish Senior Team Gear

The Irish Senior Orienteering Squad has entered into a three-year contract with Trimtex to supply them with new orienteering gear in advance of August's World Orienteering Championships in Hungary.

After some discussion among team members at the last World Orienteering Championships, it was decided to obtain new O-gear. A primary goal was to ensure that each team member would have a set of top-quality gear. Brendan O’Brien, Director of High Performance at the Irish Orienteering Association, was contacted about the plan, and gave the go-ahead.

During the Swedish O-Ringen 2008 (the week following WOC in the Czech Republic) many O-gear suppliers had stalls promoting their collections. After speaking to some of the suppliers, Trimtex was chosen. Pär Olofsson, at Trimtex Sweden, became our contact-man. After many initial ideas and trial runs, Pär Olofsson and squad members Andrew Quin and Neil Dobbs came up with the final design for the squad gear. The idea behind the final design was to have a competition top that would be instantantly recognisable as the Irish top, and yet not be too blatant. The designers hope that they’ve achieved that!

The new squad gear includes the O-top, O-pants, a trainer jacket and trainer pants for warm-ups/cool-downs, and a singlet top for sprint races.

Trimtex can produces top quality gear for clubs, and can print complex designs that can be developed to the clubs' wishes. They currently supply several Irish clubs, including Cork O, 3ROC, GEN and CNOC, with their O-suits. Laser-printing ensures that the O-top doesn’t lose its print-pattern, despite rough treatment. For a more complete picture of Trimtex’s collection visit their website here.

If you have any further queries, contact Pär Olofsson Tel: +46 26 249892, Email:

Here are the designs:

Monday, 6 April 2009

2009 Controllers' Course Report

The 2009 Controllers' Course was held in Kilcoran Lodge Hotel, Cahir, on 21st March, with the practical session in the nearby Glengarra Wood. It was attended by nine orienteers and run by Mike Richardson (Deeside OC and 3ROC) and Harold White, Controller of Technical Standards was in attendance.
(The Controller is one of the key people in running a competition: he or she represents the interests of the competitors, ensuring that the courses are fair, that the map is accurate, the controls are correctly sited etc, and that the rules are adhered to. Being an event Controller is a serious job and a responsible, despite the picture above - Ed)
The course covered the responsibilities of the Controller, the principles of good planning, and included several practical exercises. Continuous reference was made to the IOA Rules and Guidelines which highlighted the need for their revision and upgrade. Under Rule 4.2.2 the Controller appears to have ultimate responsibility for an event where he may require the Organiser to cancel it if necessary. This is in contrast to both the International and British Orienteering Federations' rules where the Organiser has the ultimate responsibility, albeit taking advice from the Controller and/or IOF Event Advisor.
The Controller should be involved from an early stage and agreeing the assembly/start/finish areas, and for major events should be agreeing the competition area and map. Also to be considered are the environmental impact and safety provisions. A lively discussion took place on the requirements for colour courses. The important point for the Controller is to ensure that the course lengths and times are right with times being the over-riding influence, and provided the courses meet the correct technical standards.
Mike Richardson produced a graph plotting the class winners’ time in minutes per km against the age classes for the British Championships in 1991 and in 2008. The resulting smoothed J-shaped curve was similar in both cases but the latest version showed a distinct improvement in running speeds across all of the classes. Predictably the Elites had the fastest speed with the winner in 2008 averaging 4.2 mins/km. This is the important benchmark for scaling all other course lengths from. (Harold White intends to do a similar exercise for the Irish Championships).
Using the planning principles, an exercise was carried out to assess from a series of event maps what colour standard they were planned for. Another exercise involved checking control sites in the adjacent wood where in some cases the marking canes were placed in the wrong location.
It was pointed out that decisions by the controller are based in many cases on a subjective assessment, and therefore are open to discussion with the Organiser and Planner.
The maps for the exercise in Glengarra Wood were supplied by CorkO who also marked some of the control sites from their recent event.
It proved to be a well received course with positive feedback from those involved. Our special thanks are due to Mike Richardson. Slides from his presentation will be posted soon on the IOA website. To maintain the momentum, it was suggested that say yearly, a meeting should be held for the Certified Event Controllers to discuss current topics such as the standards for colour events, and to share experiences.
Harold White
Controller of Technical Standards
24 April 2009