I have had a little mapping project underway over the summer and it is now complete. The club were approached by the Wightwick Manor National Trust site to help them with an orienteering project. Firstly we helped them understand what was possible before the committing to helping with the map and a permanent course for them to help both the NT and Walton Chasers. Mapping always starts with a base map and here we struggled with conflicting projections. The area is small and very complicated so the scale of the map was going to be large. The various basemaps and aerial photography we had do not co-ordinate well and in several places we were left guessing to what was actually correct, particularly as the boundaries were very ‘thick’. GPS at this scale was also not accurate and consistent.
On the ground I ended up back in traditional survey mode, taking bearings and cross bearings from known fixed points, and of course pacing. Although I would like to try mapping directly using a tablet computer in the future, the realities of sunlight, wind and rain meant I again used the traditional techniques of tracing paper, overlays coloured pencils and of course a rubber.
Beware though at Wightwick Manor, there must be a rubber thief lurking in the spectacular gardens. I lost 4 in two days at one point and if I do any more mapping it will go on a lanyard round my neck. I brought all the surveys home and Cath did the Cartography in OCAD 9. We will in future though try to use the new open orienteering mapping software that is now in Beta http://oorienteering.sourceforge.net/ This weekend we are soft launching the permanent course so the map will get a thorough test, lets hope I haven’t made too many errors .