This week I'm incredibly thankful that I've spent hundreds of [frustrating] hours on OCAD (orienteering map-drawing software) this year.
My year began with my new Checkpoint Challenge Schools League and for the four events I had to make updates to the maps - adding, amending and removing content - as well as doing all the course planning. There are load of great tutorials online so when I got stuck, I found tutorials to get me through.
I spent loads and loads of hours over the six-week period of the League and by the end I could whiz around the program far more easily.
Then, I started making a map of a primary school in Rustenburg. I created the structure of the map from a Google Earth image, a school plan with notations from my contact teacher there and a bunch of photos of the school taken at certain points by the teacher.
And then I did a site visit, walking the property to check fences, terrain and feature details.
For every hour spent walking, there's a correlation of something like 10 hours spent on OCAD to create a map. I can believe this! It took plenty of hours.
I thoroughly enjoy map-making but it is a very time-consuming process.
That said, there's value in those hours that are spent.
This coming Sunday we (Adventure Racing Club) are hosting the orienteering event out at Big Red Barn, the third event of the Bush Series. I'm doing course planning. Garry is controlling. We have the benefit of a superb map drawn last year by our clubmate, Cobus.
Garry and I spent 8.5hrs on foot at the venue on Sunday to confirm control sites and to look for map updates, which is my task to do.
I made the updates on OCAD far quicker than I expected - and only because of all of those many, many hours spent on updates and map drawing from January to June. And I could also make these updates with confidence, knowing that what I was doing added to the accuracy of the map. Making a map is definitely far more challenging and time-consuming; I had the benefit of a great map to work with too.
It isn't very often that I do course planning (I'm usually more involved on the organising and helping side) and I've enjoyed planning the courses for Sunday's event.