ISOM migration – v2000 to v2017

The biggest news in the orienteering world now is easily the official sanctioning of the newest successor to the International Specification for Orienteering Maps. ISOM 2017 will come into force on 1 May 2017, less than 3 weeks later; the transition period will end on 1 January 2018, at which point all forest (middle/long distance) events must use the new standard.

Although there are eight months left before you’ll be required to adopt the new standard, I strongly recommend you to make the transition from ISOM 2000 to ISOM 2017 as soon as possible – especially if you don’t have events to hold for the rest of April – by converting your maps to the newest symbol sets. OpenOrienteering Mapper has not updated its symbol sets yet; OCAD has released an update which is also compatible with OOM (use the zip package for OCAD11).

Of note, the ISOM 2017 document is licensed under CC-BY-ND-4.0, probably the first IOF map specification to be released under any Creative Commons license.

A crude sum-up of the biggest symbol changes (very crude so don’t punch me for inaccuracies):

ISOM 2017 vs ISOM 2000

Okay so you’ve decided to make the “small” step to convert your symbols (to accomplish the “great” step for orienteering) – you’ll soon find out the hard part being that the bulk of the symbols have their numbers changed! No worries – I’ve made the following correspondence guide below to help you. The ISOM 2000 set on the left is the default from OOM while the ISOM 2017 set is from the OCAD update.

ISOM2000to2017 p1ISOM2000to2017 p2ISOM2000to2017 p3ISOM2000to2017 p4ISOM2000to2017 p5ISOM2000to2017 p6

1. The discrepancies in decimal digits – being variants of the same symbol – are not significant and simply reflects differences in symbol handling between OOM and OCAD
2. Ignore the reversed directions of the cliffs and earth banks – again it stems from differences between OOM and OCAD
3. 521 Building – Black 65% is recommended for large buildings in urban areas. For small buildings or buildings in non-urban areas, the original black 100% can be used
4. 532 Grave – I wrote “custom symbol in Hong Kong” since it has been used with such frequency in Hong Kong, I speculate that the Orienteering Association might just decide to keep this as a special local usage. It is important to note that this symbol is gone from ISOM 2017 (from the 2015 draft onwards).

Last but not least, remember to factor in the transition when you coach orienteering – remind your students/cadets how the symbols will change in less than a year’s time!


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