The Best Map in Israel   2 comments

I'm progressing nicely with the map of Odem Forest, which I've already written about a few times, and I'm going to make a statement: THIS IS THE BEST MAP IN ISRAEL.
I don't mean the best mapping, though of course I'm doing the best that I can. I mean the best piece of paper that can be used for orienteering. My statement is based on what I think defines a good map:
1. Technical difficulty – a good map is challenging, and offers difficult orienteering on different types of courses (middle, long). This can be caused by an abundance of features for fine orienteering, a lack of catching features such as paths, complexity of contours, low visibility, or other things.
2. Runnability. Well, not exactly, but similar – the ability to move through the terrain fast enough to make the map-reading a problem. The terrain shouldn't be so slow (physically) that you're reduced to a pace slower than your orienteering ability.
3. Fun – wandering around on the map should be fun, not torture.
4. The map should be accurate.

Assuming that number 4 is covered (from an objective point of view), I can vouch for the other three. Unlike most Israeli maps, Odem has very few paths, an abundance of features (mostly clearings, depressions and cairns), and very fast runnability (little green and a moderate slope). Basically it's a patchwork of clearings of various shapes and sizes, with varying visibility – you can usually see to the edge of the current clearing, but not beyond. All the clearings look similar, so relocation is very difficult. Keeping to a compass bearing isn't easy, because although the forest is runnable you're moving around trees a lot. In short, it's a very different challenge from any of our other maps.
It's also a fun forest, in a cool area (over 1000m height), with lots of shade, almost no thorns, and few rocks (though some stony ground).
I'm not saying that we don't have some great maps here. I'm just saying that this is the ultimate terrain in this country, and it's better. Unfortunately, It's also the farthest map from the centre of the country (at 2.5 hours from Tel-Aviv, it will be the farthest national event ever), but that's still not too far away by European standards.
Another thing – I've seen (and run on) lots of maps around the world, but I've never seen similar terrain. Does anyone know of a place like this somewhere else?

Mark the date – 13th November, 2010. That's the best date for being in Israel this autumn.

Posted 26/07/2010 by dchissick in Uncategorized

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2 responses to “The Best Map in Israel

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  1. lucas writes: map in Auvergne region in France. Never been there but I guess it's not as open as the map you describe, but it made me think of it.

  2. Hi LucasI can see the similarity in some parts of the map. One big difference is that the French map has relatively small patches of this type of terrain, while Odem is one large homogeneous area (obviously I can't show all of it yet, before it's been used).Dan

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