MTB-Orienteering Map Specifications
Changes valid from 15 May 2010
The IOF has introduced a new specification for maps for MTB-Orienteering. Here is a list of the main changes. The specification is online here.
Firstly a brief summary from the rider's perspective
Now here's a more detailed list for mappers. These are the changes in the 15 May 2010 version compared to the 2007 version. E. and O. E.
Roads and Tracks
The symbol for "proper" roads (two black lines with a brown filling) is now only for tarmac roads.
And the three speeds for track ridability become four. Relative to "flat-out on a good surface", the top speed is 100-75%, then 75-50% (noticeable speed reduction), 50-25% (picking your way), and 25-0% (most people can't ride). Australian and NZ have been using four speeds for a few years but only as maps get updated.
- Scale and Symbol Sizes
Scale is still free (with “official” scales for international events). When the scale is 1:10,000 or larger (short distance events) the symbols are enlarged to 150% (as for foot-o)
They have at last stopped talking about forest runnability, well almost. The forest colour (white or 30% green) is for high and low VISIBILITY. Depending where you are in the country you may have been used to either green OR white, well they now have a defined meaning that can help your navigation.
The purple circles and lines will be printed UNDER the black track lines to make the tracks easier to see. And in complicated areas a purple dot can be used in the middle of the circle to clarify the point.
A long stretch of forbidden track can now be shown with a purple zigzag across it. You can still have purple crosses for short bits.
Off-track Riding (Experimental)
You aren't allowed off-track UNLESS SPECIFICALLY PERMITTED. Sometimes there are selected areas where its OK, for example clearings in the forest, or places where there are so many tracks that they can't all be shown. An appendix gives some trial methods for showing where off-track riding is allowed. The green line method for showing virtual tracks is an unofficial NZ custom and is not mentioned.
Now here are one or two fairly subtle items that have not changed, but if you have adapted a foot-o symbol table they are easy to overlook.
- Scale and Symbol Size Section 3.1
Scale is still free (with “official” scales for IOF events). When the scale is 1:10,000 or larger the symbols are enlarged to 150% (as for foot-o)
- Colour Order Section 3.3
They have defined two purples to use. The upper purple is at the top of the colour order as you would expect. Then comes black for tracks and paths. Then comes lower purple for control circles and lines, so that the track network overprints them. Then come the other colours. Some countries have additional colours above "lower purple" such as road sidelines and infill. Download Australia's recommended MTBO symbols as an OCAD V9 file and look at the colour table. Don't adopt these symbols holus bolus, they haven't quite caught up with the new speci.
- 4.1 Land Forms
Land forms no longer includes small erosion gully, knoll and depression, presumably a hint not to put small contours feaures on the map.
- 4.4 Vegetation
They have at last stopped talking about runnability, well almost. The forest colour (white or 30% green) is to distinguish high and low VISIBILITY. But the wording IMO is a compromise to cater for countries that allow off-track travel. Green (30%) is used for "dense trees (low visibility) which reduces the speed of traversing the forest pushing or carrying a bicycle significantly or even makes it impossible to traverse." Symbol 404 rough with scattered trees allows green dots or white.
- 4.5 Man-made Features
The chocolate sandwich type symbol is now only for tarmac roads. The 6 track symbols become 8, as Australia and New Zealand have been using for a few years. Essentially the middle one (dashed tracks) is subdivided into long dashes and short dashes. No surprises there. A non-ridable forest ride (linear gap in the forest without a track) is a thin strip of yellow as you would expect. But there's a curious situation in Australia which allows riding on yellow!
- 4.7 Overprinting Symbols
Some changes to the purple symbols to make clear which ones use upper purple (above black) or lower purple. Some detail changes to line thicknesses. Circles 5.5-6mm, well that’s what I always used but apparently it used to be 7.5. A control circle with a “focus point” (dot in the middle) to clarify the point in a dense network. The dot is upper purple. Forbidden route (out of bounds and forbidden to cross) is a purple zigzag instead of lots of crosses. Actually I can't find the purple cross in the old specification, maybe we've just been using this unofficially, but it is now allowed for a forbidden spot or short stretch of track.
- Appendix 1 Off-track Riding Allowed and Possible (Experimental)
Four possible trial methods for showing where off-track riding is permitted (in events where it is otherwise forbidden). Experimentation is encouraged during 2010-11. They are black dots, black pattern, orange, yellow. They acknowledge that black is bad for seeing detail through, and they acknowledge that yellow/orange is unexpected when it is in the forest. In other words they haven’t got a good solution! They haven't defined the colour "orange".
- Reduced Intensity for Black Features
The black features other than tracks use 70% black. This is to make the track network stand out. So you need to have two blacks in the colour table.
- Black Symbol Sizes
The black features from 515 Railway on have larger dimensions (this is before any enlargement for maps 1:10,000 and larger). They are generally (but not totally) 20% larger than the foot-o equivalents. These are not particularly common for MTBO but affects: railway, powerlines, tunnel, stone wall, high fence, crossing point, firing range, grave, pipeline, high and small tower, fodder rack, and the circle and cross for special man-made features.
- Course Marking Sizes
While the purple triangle and circle sizes are the same as their foot-o equivalents the line thickness is much greater: 0.6mm instead of 0.35mm. Note the new upper/lower purple distinction.
Installed by and updated on 16 Jul 10.