"What a good idea it would be to do some mapping for CUOC", I thought to myself at last year's AGM. "It will be fun, interesting and shouldn't take up too much time." Isn't it amazing how quickly feelings can change...
1. Decide on the area to be mapped. Existing maps can vary in quality, from those that apparently just require a few alterations, for example in areas of felling, to ones that seem to have very few features at all. I'm not sure which I prefer yet. It's boring to have to cover all the ground on a good map, but it has to be done as there are bound to be some little errors that will affect courses in a big way. On the other hand it's a lot of work filling in a blank map, and can be even more boring than the good map if the ground is really as featureless as the map suggests (i.e. most of Thetford Forest).
2. Get to the area. Not so easy when you don't want to cycle 35 miles to get there and the trains are erratic to say the least. Finding a time with no lectures, supervisions or other commitments is also a problem - one of the occasions when I wish I'd done English. Still, it's a good excuse to miss a few lectures, undoubtedly the ones that really would have been quite useful to go to, unlike the one on Monday, where you fell asleep and learnt nothing.
3. Do the groundwork. The best plan here is to get as many naÃ¯ve and unsuspecting people as possible (especially if they have a car) to come and help. Not really the best way of doing it, if you want to do it properly, as you get several different perspectives on the map, but when a major badge race is looming...
4. Put the map onto OCAD. OCAD is a wonderful program. The best feature is the unlimited Undo command, which unlike various Microsoft programs I can think of, allows you to Undo (and Redo) as far back as you like. You could spend hours playing with contours, getting path bends perfectly smooth, positioning trees precisely...Did I say something about a badge race in less than a month?
5. Fill in the map registration forms. Yes, I know that should be nearer the top, but these things tend to slip your mind. What I didn't realise was that they'd send me back four more forms to fill in for each map. How kind.
6. Sit back and bask in the glory of having completed your first map. Actually not a good idea - best to make yourself scarce and receive comments second hand, as they will not all be polite. This is when you discover all the things you forgot to do, or completely missed. This is when you wish you'd started the whole process earlier. Ah well, next time!
Many thanks to Blanka, Alan and Leo for their help with the Icenian map.
Written by Rosemary Dyer