Happy New Year!!
What a year we have had!! So much has changed, and much has been lost, but some new and different paths have been opened.
While we were not able to hold our traditional orienteering meets, we were creative in finding ways to get “out into the woods.”
The new model of printing your own maps at home and going out to courses, set by our fabulous group of volunteer course setters, has been a great success. I have seen people who were not able to attend weekend meets, for whatever reason, go out on a preset course during the week when they are able.
Missing the group aspect of the sport as we have had in the past is difficult. But with proper distancing, printing maps at home, and the wide opportunity to orienteer when you are able, many had a chance to continue with a sport we love. All in all, a much needed antidote to the limits in so many other aspects of our lives.
I want to thank the many members who pitched in to set up courses for BYOM events. The training events also were something we had never done before at this level. We introduced QR codes, and even got through an event with scheduled start times. All of that was due to lots of great work from club members.
I want also to personally thank the Board of Directors for getting the club to seamlessly pivot to the new formats of events. It has been a pleasure to work with the BOD members—they have made my job so much easier.
NEOC has 40-50 mapped locations.
Your membership helps pay for new and updated maps. This past year (2020), we have completed full updates (LiDAR contours, 100% field checks) to Nobscot (3 sq-km) and Wells State Park (7.5 sq-km), and we have a new map of Willard Brook State Forest (6.5 sq-km) and Bigelow Hollow State Park (CT, 6 sq-km).
Updates to Great Brook Farm (6 sq-km) are well underway, and Powissett Peak (9 sq-km) is on the horizon as we continue on a path to refresh our larger competition maps which have the right combination of trails for beginners, off-trail but passable forest for advanced navigators, adequate parking, supportive landowners and managers, etc.
These aren't our only maps, nor are they the only places which could be mapped. Paid, professional mapping is expensive. It costs about $1,500 per square kilometer to map in New England to IOF standards.
Every town a map
There are about 150 cities and towns within 25 straight-line miles of Boston. Every one of them is blessed with parks, conservation lands, school campuses, and other public or permissible lands which might make a good orienteering map. One of the NEOC juniors (Mori F.) made a map (Mary Cummings Park, Burlington/Woburn) as a summer project that we'll likely use in the next few months.
Finding a good new venue for long, advanced courses is tough. (Do you really want to navigate 4-6km off-trail through that light or medium green?) Finding good venues for beginner and intermediate orienteering (White through Orange) is simpler. You could rattle off two or three places in your town or its neighbor where you love to walk the dog or trail run, and you've always wanted to have an O-map of it. Scouts could use it. Local Parks & Rec could use it. You could use it with friends. To be honest, NEOC is unlikely to use it for a traditional event, but that doesn't mean it wouldn't be a great map.
- OUSA's Youth Mapping Program. This service, provided by OUSA, matches requesting youth-serving organizations with mappers (usually remote). There are grants available, too. More information is available at OUSA's website.