I love the challenge of orienteering, finding your way on a map while running. I am fairly good at reading maps, yet I struggle to find my way under time pressure. What we use to navigate a terrain is the map in our mind, not the map in our hands.
There are three representations of the terrain:
- in reality
- on the map
- in the mind.
It is fairly easy to match the representation on my map with the terrain as I look around and orient the map to the compass. I can match up each feature of the terrain: this tree is here, that rock is over there, and this looks like the definite valley on the map. This is sufficient to get a general bearing and to start running like crazy. But it is not sufficient for any sophisticated planning: what will the terrain look when I get there, which route is the best, how do I find my way if I lose contact with the map?
When I run based on the printed map...
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