Welcome to Checkpoint Adventures!

CPA is celebrating it’s 10th anniversary in 2015 with a new home in Colorado and the return of Ultra-O-gaine on July 3rd-4th!

As we get settled into our new home, we hope to improve the website with more information and content.  For the time being, please checkout out more details for the 2015 Ultra-O-gaine (UOG) under the Events menu.

Get a Clue

UOG doesn’t truly conform to the official standards of orienteering and/or rogaining.  Though the event  borrows many of those standards and ideas, UOG was never intended to be an event that complied with any official/sanctioning requirements.  One aspect of UOG that is similar (but not the same) to orienteering is the use of International Orienteering Federation (IOF) control descriptions. Here is a link to the official IOF Specification for Control Descriptions.   UOG generally follows this specification.  However, UOG control description sheets don’t conform completely, and on rare occasions I have created new symbols , or redefined an existing symbol, to address a unique circumstance for an event.

Here is the UOG Control Description (“clue”) sheet from UOG08.  A great example of what 2015 participants can expect.

You may have noticed the “Orienteering Section” at the bottom of the UOG control description sheet.  This refers to a short orienteering course (controls to be found in a specific order) that was thrown into the middle of the rogaine style event in 2008.   An orienteering section is not planned for 2015, but it is another example of how UOG doesn’t always fit the mold with respect to orienteering and rogaining standards.


Out with the Old…

Below is a comparison of the last UOG map vs the 2015 UOG map. Quite a difference in the quality, especially in the printed versions. Back in 2008, available map data was very limited, hard to come by, and/or difficult to work with for untrained map geeks like me. The best I could do at the time was to download scanned 24k topo raster images from USGS/USFS, and splice the individual files together to form a single image that encompassed the entire area I needed. I could then use this new ,seamless, image as a background in OCAD and overlay trails, text, and other information to create a usable map for UOG. The issue that bothered me most with this method was that USGS/USFS maps weren’t updated regularly, so it was (and still is) quite common to find very outdated information on USFS/USGS topo maps…especially with respect to trails. I likely spent as many hours hiking EVERY trail in the event area as I did “erasing” outdated information (pixel by pixel) on the background image created from the USFS/USGS scanned maps.

How the times have changed! Today, nearly all the vector data that USFS/USGS use to create their 24K topos is available for download (contour lines/labels, annotation, trails, roads, structures, water features, boundaries, graveyards, footbridges, etc.) With the data in this format, it is infinitely customizable! The 2015 map image below was created entirely from vector data that was formatted to mimic USFS 24K topos. Want purple contours lines? No problem! That trail doesn’t exist anymore as shown? Hide/delete it with a couple clicks…then upload your own field data to show the actual trail location.

Of course, its not as easy (initially) to create these maps as it sounds. For me, there was a big learning curve I had to overcome using GIS software before I managed to finally get the hang of it. I still like OCAD, but found QGIS as a better (free) alternative that is more flexible and better suited for my map making needs.