Map Memory   Leave a comment

Part of my job is working with Tableau, a leading data visualization platform, and recently I had an idea for creating a memory game (matching pairs) using the software. When I succeeded, I posted it on Tableau Public, which is free for everyone to access, and then I added a set of orienteering maps as the pictures (the default set is colored emoticons). Anyone can open the page and play – note that you have to select the “Orienteering maps” theme on the left, and that refreshing the page rearranges the “cards”, so they’re not always in the same locations:!/vizhome/MemoryGame_15741092815080/Memory


I’ve made the same game with triplets instead of pairs, which is a bit more difficult:!/vizhome/MemoryGame-Triplets/Memory


I’m not looking to make a business out of this, but it has potential, for two reasons:

  1. Tableau Public is free and can be accessed by anyone on the internet, with no limit on use. The games even work on a mobile phone, and the page can also be embedded in a separate website.
  2. The games are scalable – with very little effort I can add additional themes (all I need is a set of 24 images: other maps, IOF symbols, etc.) or increase the number of pairs, though I think 24 is enough as the maximum.

So feel free to play and share, and if someone wants a customized version or has any suggestions you can contact me at dchissick (at) yahoo (dot) com.

Posted 30/11/2019 by dchissick in Uncategorized

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Is Green the new Olive?   Leave a comment

Last Saturday, at exactly the same time as the controversial World Cup race in China (the one with the mass non-disqualification which denied us a first ever world cup victory), we had a League event at Ne’ot Kdumim with similar issues, but no controversy, apparently because no-one cares enough about the results – which says something about our ranking system.

Basically, it was a sprint race on non-urban terrain, and the organisers decided that the new ISSOM 2019 standard was to be used. The main issue there is that the 100% green colour is now defined as impassable (and forbidden to cross), and there is no 100% green/50% black as before.

This map has lots of green, mostly thick bushes in open, rocky terrain, and mostly passable if you’re stubborn enough. Despite the fact that the rules were made clear on both the website and the noticeboard at the event, most orienteers that I talked to after the race didn’t have a clue that they weren’t allowed to pass through the green, and had done so at some point. In addition to this, many edges of the bushes are vague enough, so you don’t really know if you’re in the forbidden area or not.

I had an almost perfect race and enjoyed it, finishing 4th in H40. I’m not complaining, but there are some issues here:

  1. The new mapping standard doesn’t cover many types of “green” vegetation. Technically, most of the bushes on the map should now be 60% green, but that doesn’t represent the reality on the ground.
  2. There is a divergence between the regular orienteering mapping standard and sprint orienteering, which is going to cause lots of confusion.
  3. Organisers should make sure that the rules are applicable on the maps they use.20191026_NeotKdumim_Route

The previous weekend we really kicked off the forest season, with two events hosted by my club, which I enjoyed much more despite some really tough climbing. I ran the first one at Bar’am properly, and the second one at Amuka the day after, with no control flags, using Roni’s map – which is why my track misses controls 4-5 (I knew I hadn’t found them exactly, but couldn’t be bothered to go back and make sure).

The one in the family who’s participating in all the events is Alon, on the children’s course. He’s slowly improving and can finish a sprint course with minimal intervention, but needs some more help in the forest. Following him is always fun.






Posted 02/11/2019 by dchissick in Uncategorized

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Start of Season   Leave a comment

The orienteering season kicked off officially last weekend with a league sprint event at Ramat Hashofet, only 20 minutes from home. This enabled all three of us (Roni, myself and Alon) to participate, in that order – because neither of us can follow Alon before we finish our own courses. That’s the only real advantage of sprint races over forest orienteering; otherwise it’s usually a waste of time and money, in my opinion.

I’m running H40 this year, so I can have a challenge and some competition (H50A is too short, and in H35 I’m too far off the pace). It’s also Roni’s course in D21A, so we can compare routes. I finished 4th in 17:26, while Roni was 3rd in her class with 19:01. I simplified some of the route choices too much (especially 3-4) and probably lost 20-25 seconds overall, but that wouldn’t have changed my position. I’m aiming for the forest races anyway, and anything less than a podium finish there will be a disappointment.

The next league event is also a sprint, not so close to home, and we’ll probably skip it, with the first league forest race only in mid-November. Luckily there are some local races to look forward to before that, and I also plan to do some training in the forest.

It’s been a long summer (and it’s not over – no sign of rain yet), but I have been training regularly and doing various orienteering-related stuff:

  • I got elected to our Ethics committee and then made chairman.
  • Prepared and delivered an advanced course planning workshop.
  • Started mapping an extension to my map of Naura, but postponed it because of nasty vegetation and half the existing map being charred from a forest fire.
  • Finished mapping my home town of Ramat Yishai (it’s a large map – A3 at 1:5,000) and held a successful early morning training event.
  • Started mapping an extension to my Ramot Menashe rogaine map (by running with a headcam) for our 2020 Spring rogaine. I’ve already covered 74 km there, with more to come.
  • Planned and marked a training course (in the forest) for our club.
  • Read Michel Georgiou’s new book “The Winning Eye” – it’s not written very well, but very interesting and useful.

My route – GPS was a mess as usual in sprints




Posted 09/10/2019 by dchissick in Uncategorized

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The Book   1 comment

For the past five years, I’ve been writing a book. I’ve also kept it secret, so I managed to surprise everybody at the General Assembly of the ISOA (Israel Sport Orienteering Association).

The book is my orienteering autobiography, and I called it “ניתוח ציר – סיפורו של נווט”, which translates as “Route Choice – an Orienteer’s Story”. Obviously it’s in Hebrew, with no translation available (the cover is below), and it includes 317 pages, 229 pictures/maps (in retrospect, I should have added more), and about 118,000 words.

The main reason I wrote a book that I had less time for outside pursuits because of the children, so I found a way to use my “armchair” time. I also felt that a lot of our orienteering history is going missing, with few options to expose newer orienteers to it, and this is my contribution. I’ve been heavily involved in Israeli orienteering for almost 30 years, in almost all areas (competing, national teams, mapping, clubs, instructing, planning, management, etc.), so the book covers a lot.

I’ve printed 200 copies (at my own expense) for now, and they are being sold at a reasonable price (50 NIS, about 12€) and going well. I hope both newer and more experienced orienteers find it interesting.

I intend to publish some of the charts from the book later on, translated to English, and they summarize parts of my career.

Book cover

Posted 05/07/2019 by dchissick in Uncategorized

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Sprint Relay   Leave a comment

Our club relay this year was a sprint.

The event was initially scheduled for January (in the forest), then postponed to March, then May, June 15th, and finally June 22nd. And at this time of year it had to be a sprint because of the heat.

I don’t think our only major relay race should be on a sprint map, and lots of people agree with me. I participated only because the club needed me. The event was on the Tel-Aviv University map, which is flat and very easy, so for any team with three competent orienteers it was basically a running race, and the fastest runners won.

After the event someone actually suggested that we can have a sprint relay like in international championships – two women and two men – but here it would have to be three men and one woman in each team.

For the first time, I could run in the Senior category (50+), and we had a strong team and finished second – in my opinion, on more technical terrain we would have won. Our women’s 7-year winning streak was ended because we had to put a first-year youth on the anchor leg, and she made a large mistake (but she’ll be great in a year or two). My route is below – nothing interesting and no mistakes (the GPS went crazy between the buildings, so I drew it manually).


Posted 25/06/2019 by dchissick in Uncategorized

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The Next Generation   Leave a comment

I mean the next generation in my family…

Last Saturday we went to a sprint event in Jerusalem. Roni ran, and then Alon (8 years old) did the family course with me. I showed him where to start, made sure he crossed the roads safely, and corrected him once when he left a control in the wrong direction. Apart from that he completed the entire course on his own. He knows how to orient the map, make route choices and execute them, find the controls, and of course read the map symbols. He’s made lots of progress this year, and is also very enthusiastic about orienteering. And his dad is proud of him.


Route choices of an 8 year old

Thanks to Emek Hefer O-Club and especially Alex Lipovich, who is steadily expanding the mapped area in the centre of Jerusalem. Below is an overview of his work to date.




Posted 10/06/2019 by dchissick in Uncategorized

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Bad Timing   Leave a comment

On Friday we had a small Long-O mass start event in Kiryat Ata Forest, not far from home. It was organised by the youths of Technion Carmel O-Club, who did a great job, but for me personally it was a case of bad timing:

  1. Not the right season – the heat wasn’t an issue (the start was at 6:30), but the vegetation in the open areas is terrible at this time of year. I would have loved to run the course in November (and I probably will – for training).
  2. Not in shape – I finished my season after the rogaine, so I haven’t been training for a couple of months – just jogging twice a week in maintenance mode. That’s enough to win a sprint in flat terrain, but not for a 12.8 km competitive course in the hills.
  3. Not awake – I’m not a morning runner, and for me this was a bit too early for a race. I was also a bit tired from other stuff going on.

To cut a long course short, I quit mentally after control 4 (crossed the path without seeing it) and physically after control 9. This was no fault of the organisers, who did a great job technically and logistically. The second half of the course was probably nicer than the first, so I’m sorry I missed it.

The course planning was good, but I didn’t like the binary legs: contour through the thorns or go up/down, along the path, and then down/up. I would have really liked to see a massive route choice leg in such a course, for example from 9 to 19.


Posted 03/06/2019 by dchissick in Uncategorized

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Sprint Season   Leave a comment

It’s already sprint season here. There are very few forest orienteering events planned, and even some of those are being cancelled because of hot weather. Combine that with a very wet winter that caused lots of cancellations because of rain, and the growing trend towards sprint events anyway, and it’s been a rotten season.

But we take what we get, and last weekend the last two league events of the season were sprint races near home, so there was no reason to ignore them. I skipped the first (on Friday) and stayed with the kids, while Roni ran D21A and then assisted Alon on the H12 course, which was much too difficult for children. Then on Saturday Roni wanted to ride home, and I had an early start, so at the last minute I decided to run there in the morning.

So I jogged from Ramat Yishai to Mizra (below), 19.8 km at 5:40 pace, basically crossing most of the Jezreel Valley. Then I had 25 minutes to get organised, and ran the H50A course – slower than usual, of course. Roni arrived later with the kids, ran her course, followed Alon again (on a more suitable course), and then rode home on her bike using the same route as me.

Strava 20190518

Unbelievably, I still won the category, though some H45’s beat me. I had no interest in the league this year, so I can only imagine what would have happened if I’d tried to win. I won all three sprint races (out of four) that I ran, but I didn’t run any of the eight forest events in this category – and I’m definitely better in the forest. Maybe next season I’ll give it a go.

The whole weekend of races was an anti-climax to the league season. The organisation wasn’t great, they combined the Long and Medium+ courses (all 6 top categories) for no real reason, and Saturday’s area (Mizra kibbutz) was much too easy for an important league race. If I was racing for a ranking position I’d be very disappointed.

There’s nothing much left – a long, hot summer, with very little orienteering. I’ve been on maintenance mode since the Rogaine in early April, and I’ll start training again in mid-June, focusing on strength and core exercises until it gets cool enough to hit the forest again.


Posted 25/05/2019 by dchissick in Uncategorized

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54.5 km   Leave a comment

This year’s Rogaine was originally planned for March 16th, and as usual Roni and I had booked her parents months in advance to look after the kids, but it was postponed because of rain and I had to find a different partner.

The obvious choice was Itay Manor, whom I’ve been coaching for years, is one of the top orienteers in the country (he ran the WOC Long distance last year), and also coaches the national junior team. He had never run an 8-hour rogaine, but is less than half my age and in top form, so there was no doubt he could finish the distance.

For the first time, I was running with someone fitter and better than me at orienteering. The rogaine was on the map of Ben-Shemen forest, which is moderately hilly, mostly has a dense network of tracks, and is very well orienteered – and Itay lives just off the map. Our plan was that I would set the pace, based on my experience, and we were hoping to run 50-55 km overall, and maintain a straight line pace of 5 km/hour.

Based on the preliminary information (an area of 55 km² with 28 controls) I did some basic maths and had a feeling that 40 km (straight line) would be enough to collect all the controls, so we started our planning under that assumption, which turned out to be correct. The most “expensive control” was no. 52, on the eastern edge, adding a full 3 km to the route, so we decided to arrive there relatively late and make a decision based on our progress, with the additional option of skipping no. 62 on the north side just before we finished.

Basically, everything went as planned. We gained about 15 minutes on the target pace in the first two hours, held on to it until the decision point at the road crossing before 52, decided not to skip it, and fought through to the finish without any real fear of being late. I was a mess at the end, with no specific pains but total exhaustion, and Itay was much better off but definitely feeling the distance. We were the only team to collect all the controls, in 7:51:17, 54.5 km (by far the most I’ve ever run an 8-hour rogaine) and about 1200m climb, and of course we won the event – but obviously any team of two elite orienteers would have beaten us easily. I also recovered faster than usual, with less stiffness on the following day despite the distance, probably due to the fact that I’m doing more strength and core training than in the past.

Our full route and highlights:

Start – 34 (missed the single-track and lost a minute) – 46 – 45 – 72 – 53 – 51 (totally alone)

83 (met the first Bike-O teams arriving from the start) – 55 (short break, 2 hours)

91 (filled up water) – 33 – 42 – 84 – 43 – 82 – 63 – 61 (second short break, 4 hours)

44 – this was a major route choice decision, we went left and heard that the paths on the right weren’t there. Then the path west of 44 was missing, so we lost at least 5 minutes fighting through the bushes.

Road passage (filled up water and I went sliding down the embankment on my right thigh, no real damage) – 52 – 92 – 32 – 73 – third short break, 6 hours – 31 – 81 – 74 – 41 – 62 – 93 – road passage – 71 – stagger to the finish.

I have major issues with the map. It was based on an MTBO map which covers most of the area, with an additional section mapped recently in the south-east. The symbols were inconsistent, with most roads being drawn thinner than regular tracks, and parts of the map were woefully out of date – the path near 44 was correctly not marked on the previous rogaine map from 2009. Paths on the new section were nowhere near as runnable as marked, and I felt sorry for any of the MTBO teams who tried to use them.

Thanks to Roni for allowing me to go it alone, and to Itay for coming along and dragging me over the finish line – I enjoyed it immensely. Thanks to HaSharon O-Club and especially Nir Kalkstein for all the planning and execution. Next year it’s my turn to organise, and I’ve already started mapping…



The last control – you can see how knackered I am (photo by Gidi Zorea)

Posted 12/04/2019 by dchissick in Uncategorized

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A Long Weekend   Leave a comment

Last week was the Israeli Championship, and this time I didn’t participate because I was planning the first day, so I had a longer weekend than usual.

Our winter is especially rainy this year, and orienteering events are being cancelled or postponed all the time, but for the championship we had beautiful weather. I was in the terrain at Kfar Hahoresh all Thursday afternoon, and of course on Friday throughout the race and until the last control was collected. Then on Saturday we went to Hasolelim with all the children, and after the race I returned there with Roni’s map and ran her course (without controls, of course) for fun.

IOC 2019 Roni

Roni finished second in D21A, which is both a reflection on the state of women’s elite orienteering in Israel, and on her toughness and experience – she’s 38, with three small children, doesn’t train at all (and was sick the week before), quit the team 10 years ago, but has won 4 Israeli championships and represented us in two WOCs. The children are growing – I think she can still win another championship in D21A!

Alon, nearly 8 years old, is now orienteering regularly, and loves it. He finished the children’s course on Friday (Instead of school! Yippeeee!) with Roni and on Saturday with me. He’s really started to understand the map, notice various features, and orientate himself correctly, and we’re enjoying it very much.

Planning the courses was a rush job – I received the first version of the map, without a few sections, only 6 weeks before the race, and the final section 3 weeks before, so I didn’t have much time. I’m sure I could have done a better job given more time, but the feedback was very good (very tough – as promised – but fair).

After the race I published an overview of the courses on Tableau Public, exporting the xml data from Ocad – so now I can create a similar analysis for any event within minutes. I’ll probably improve the visualization over time as well.

20190222 All Courses

Posted 02/03/2019 by dchissick in Uncategorized

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