YMP: Remote Mapping Tips

We expect that most mappers will not visit the site themselves. Whether visiting the site or not, it will be beneficial for the map requesting Youth Organization (YO) to be involved in the field checking process by being the mapper’s “eyes on the ground”. While this means that you may be working with a field checker who is not skilled in the art of field checking, the upside is that there is increased engagement and investment on the part of the YO. We feel the trade-off between map accuracy and YO engagement is worth it.

It is important to be patient and communicative with your “eyes on the ground”. Remember that a major purpose of this program is to draw more schools and youth organizations into providing quality orienteering experiences for young people. Every conversation is an opportunity to make a difference in this goal. Be kind, be a good listener, be positive. Mapper Julia Doubson has created a wonderful example of how to work with your “eyes on the ground.” Please take a look.

  • In order for a mapper to successfully communicate with an inexperienced field checker, possibly even a YO representative inexperienced in orienteering, a mapper should make sure the YO field checker (FC) has access to:
    • a copy of the ISSprOM symbols sheet
    • the School set symbols if used for the map
    • the International Control Descriptions (specifically those small sketches/pictures – pages 18-29 – showing what, e.g., a re-entrant may look like, or a small gully, etc.). It also helps with the mapper being able to use orienteering vocabulary for items a geography teacher, cadet, or scout leader would maybe call something else.
    • Map symbol – control description cheat sheet (not yet available for ISSprOM 2019)
  • The mapper can provide KMZ files to the FC, in addition to detailed descriptions of what to verify, and possibly help with information on how to upload them into a handheld GPS or a GPS app on a phone. Load the KMZ into the “Custom Maps” folder of a GPS like Garmin. Also the FC can take pictures and send them to the mapper, especially in areas that are not visible in Google Street View.
  • Apps for Android phones that also work offline:
    • Locus Map Free – Hiking GPS navigation and maps.
    • Oribooklet – a free app for Android, made for mapping with a cell phone only. It has a simple and straightforward interface to map objects in the terrain. Once your field job is done, you can export a .gpx file, which the mapper can later import in OCAD and assign to symbols.
  • Useful tools for remote mapping and directing field checkers:
    • use of Strava Heat map to be able to “guess” existence of additional trails in forested areas, maybe not visible in the hill shade, so as to send field checker there to check.
    • use of Karttapullautin for Knoll (= boulder, root stock, junk, etc.), and cliff (=earth bank, place under bridges, walls) generation to help direct field checker to check out specific things, even if not visible in orthoimages.
    • use of noisy lidar areas to have field checker verify seasonal or non-seasonal marshy areas.
    • “vegetation” lines in the vegetation height images generated from Lidar, indicating possible existence of ruined fences in the forest.
    • given that these are often urban, smaller areas, use of Google Street View to take a “second” look at things near roads that the field checker could then check out.
    • using the Google Earth historical images feature to possibly see shapes of trails or the like when created, before trees were planted, or else see images taken during winter months.

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