IOF Mapping Specifications

IOF mapping specifications for each discipline of orienteering are as follows:

  • Foot: International Specification for Orienteering Maps (ISOM 2017)
  • Sprint: International Specification for Sprint Orienteering Maps (ISSOM)
  • Mountain Bike: International Specification for Mountain Bike Orienteering Maps (ISMTBOM)
  • Ski: International Specification for Ski Orienteering Maps (ISSkiOM)

Recent changes to ISOM and ISSOM

A revised ISOM was released in 2017. A new Sprint mapping standard was released on 2019. Details of these standards can be found here.

There are several significant changes from the 2001 ISOM specification.  There is necessarily a transition time of many years as our maps are gradually converted from the previous ISOM to the new ISOM specification. Maps used for major IOF events will be required to conform to the new standard from 2018 onwards. In practice for Australia this means maps used for the Oceania carnival in 2019.

The new ISOM places greater emphasis upon legibility including minimum symbol sizes and minimum distances between lines and symbols. This stronger emphasis is partly a recognition of the inevitable transition from spot colour offset to digital printing. This transition demands greater attention to legibility.

The new ISOM is being introduced in tandem with a new control process for mapping for IOF events. Maps will be digitally reviewed by the IOF Mapping Commission before approval is given for the event to proceed. This initially applies to major events (regional and world championships) but may be extended to other events in the future.

The implication of this new standard and checking process is that any new mapping project should stay religiously within the new specification if there is any likelihood the map will be used in the future for a Oceania Championship, World Ranking Event (and eventually a National event). At this point no-one is sure what this will mean for new mapping of technical gold mining terrain in particular.

For major IOF events, only spot colour offset printing will be allowed until the IOF decides that the quality of alternative printing methods have reached a sufficient level. The cost and declining number of spot offset printers means that most other events in Australia will be digitally printed. See these guidelines*.

A ‘Checklist for Controlling the Map Making of Major IOF Events’ is available here*. The checklist is recommended for use by controllers of Australian events, particularly for Level A Events.

Control description specifications can be found here.

Orienteering Australia Rules, Policies and Guidelines

The Competition Rules for Orienteering Australia Foot Orienteering Events contains rules for maps at Section 15 which include:

  • Maps and course printing to be drawn to IOF mapping specifications
  • For Group A events (Aust Champs – Long, Middle, Sprint & Relay, Aust 3 Days and National Orienteering League Events), map deviations need approval of the OA Mapping Chairperson. Other events need approval of the relevant state mapping officer.
  • The map scale for the Australian Long Distance Championship race should be 1:15000. If the map is ‘particularly detailed’, a scale of 1:10000 is recommended for classes M/W-16 years and M/W 40+ years.
  • For M/W Elite junior & senior and M/W 17-39A age classes a scale of 1:10000 requires approval of the OA Director, Technical.

The  OA Operational Manual contains the following mapping policies and guidelines:

  • 2.9 Mapping of Rock Features (April 2014).
  • 2.10 Digital Printing Policy (August 2008)

Information for controllers:

2015 Mapping- Notes for Controllers Workshop

Mapping Deviations

A map with deviations from the mapping specifications may lead to unfair competition.

Under OA Competition Rules it is the responsibility of the Controller ‘to check that the map conforms with the IOF standards’.

In Australia some map deviations have included:

  • non standard symbols used for horse jumps – use the fence symbol
  • sprint map scale of 1:3000 – must be 1:4000 or 1:5000
  • vegetation area symbols too small – leave off the map or redraw with respect to minimum dimensions as specified
  • man made feature not defined – the definition of the symbol must be given in the map legend ie pole
  • ISOM fence symbols used on a sprint map – sprint maps only have two fence symbols: Passable and Impassable
  • North lines not at the correct spacing. The spacing specified has changed with the release of ISOM 2017.
  • map scale of 1:10000 using 1:15000 size symbols for some point features – a 1:10000 scale map is a strict enlargement of a 1:15000 scale map.
  • undefined brown dot screen used presumeably for Broken ground – if the symbol represented Broken ground then the dots should form a random pattern
  • two symbol sizes (brown cross) used for Termite mounds with the smaller symbol being undersize – only one brown cross size is permitted as specified
  • length of dash line too short for Ruined fence – use dash length as specified
  • Less distinct small path symbol drawn at a wider width than specified – draw at specified width
  • Undergrowth screen drawn at the wrong line spacing – draw to specification

*document no longer available