Plitvička jezera

Posted by Ivan Nagy, 27 Jan 2010@8:00

Plitvička jezera, (C) OK Maksimir, Zagreb

Hidden in the middle of deep forests of Lika region in Croatia, Plitvice lakes are one of the Europe’s top natural attractions. Thousands of tourists vist this National park every year, but did you know that just a few steps off of the main paths there is a real wilderness, an orienteers’ treat at its best?

On Darko Sakar’s (OK Maksimir, Zagreb) initiative in 1988 the first orienteering map of Plitvice was made by Arne Dirdal and Mats Karlsson, however, it was not before 18 years later that the first competition was actually organized there. In the period 2006 – 2007 a part of the map was renewed by Slovenian-Croatian and Czech mappers. This time it was Dario Štambuk, a Zagreb based dentist and a keen orienteer, who decided to revive the Plitvice project. I happened to be one of the lucky guys invited for mapping.

Strong similarity of relief features

Despite some heavy rains and cold hands during my stay in Plitvice, mapping of the area was fun, though I have to admit that running on the unknown part of the map made by Czech mappers was even far better. The main challenge of the area is the lack of paths, occasionally  greenish vegetation which hinders visibility and above all a strong similarity of relief features. You lose map contact once, and most likely you will end up with a bad race. The fastest way to navigate through this area is to use the gentle ridges and flat hill tops between depressions as kind of line objects whenever you can. A skilled course planner will try to make this hardly possible, though.

The faster type of forest on Plitvička jezera map. This particular area has been used a few times for Sprint races.

Why should you run on this map before you die?

So why did we choose this map as a candidate for 101 maps you should run on before you die? Mainly because of the quality of terrain, but also because of the beauty of this very special place. Plitvice lakes are UNESCO protected and as corny as it may sound they really are something you should see.  Not only because of unique waterscape, but also for the fact that the forests that surround the lakes kept their truly wild spirit – isn’t it exciting to know that the more remote parts of this big National park are still inhabited by the rare specieses like wolf (Canis Lupus), bear (Ursus arctos) and the bobcat (Lynx lynx)?

(Article continues below the pictures.)

Plitvička jezera map. (C) OK Maksimir, Zagreb

Magnificent Plitvice waterscape.

Photo: / CC BY-NC 2.0
Map: Plitvička jezera
Scale: 1: 10000
Equidistance: 5m
Year: 1988, partly renewed in 2006-2007
Size of map: old map cca. 12km2, new map cca. 3km2
Mappers: 1988: Arne Dirdal and Mats Karlsson, 2006-2007: Ivan Nagy, Tomislav Kaniški, Ondřej Dostál (under the pseudonym Josef Marduk), Jan Drbal, Zdeněk Sokolář
Terrain type: Karst terrain, stony, many depressions, in places low visibility
Estimated top speed: 7min/km
Interesting points: The mapped area itself is hundreds of years old beech forest. Walking distance from the map it is possible to reach astonishing waterfall landscape and emerald green lakes.
Links of interest: whole map at low resolution, OK Maksimir (the owning club), Plitvice lakes national park
Events on map: Alpe Adria cup, Maksimir cup
Country: Croatia


Please note that the map being presented in this article does not necessarily mean that it will also be included in the final selection of the 101 maps – and in the paper book. It only means it is currently on our candidate list. Please use the comment field below to give us your opinion about the map.

Why should/shouldn’t this map be on the list of the 101 maps? Do you know about another map with similar characteristics which should be chosen instead? Have you ever run on this map?

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101 Orienteering Maps you should run on before you die!

Posted by Jan Kocbach, 26 Jan 2010@8:00

Some of these maps might make it into the final list of the 101 Orienteering maps you should run on before you die.

With so many magnificent orienteering destinations, it sounds a bit like a mission impossible to select the 101 Orienteering maps you should run on before you die. Yet, we have now started this mission – and you will be able to both follow and shape the list on this blog. We will surely need the help of our readers all over the world in order to get a good result!

… most of all we want to enjoy the process of determining those 101 maps

Our ultimate goal, to produce a real paper book about 101 orienteering maps which every orienteer should run on before he/she dies is clear, but not set as a “101% must”. It depends on many people and circumstances how the project will develop. We will of course do our very best to complete it, however most of all we want to enjoy the process of determining those 101 maps.

101 Orienteering Maps Blog

The “101 orienteering maps” blog was started by Jan Kocbach & Ivan Nagy with the general aim to open a discussion not only about the most outstanding orienteering areas of the world – but also about different aspects of orienteering maps, mapping and to some extent about the essence of the sport itself. We have both had the idea for a long time, an idea which was sparked again after reading a story at a few weeks ago.

In the map presentations here on the blog, we will go beyond the map itself  - and also try to present pictures from the terrain and area and interesting information related to the maps. In some cases we will also present an interesting leg or a course on the map. Expect much more of this additional information in the final paper book – when we, hopefully, get there. A map being presented on the blog is no guarantee that it will make it to the final list.

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Pictures from some of the terrains that might make it into the final list. Both in the blog and in the book we will present pictures from the terrain. When an orienteer gets a map and a picture, it is nearly like being there...

How to get on the list?

The first question that pops to your mind when seeing the title of this project, is surely which criteria we plan to use to determine the 101 maps. We have put a lot of thought into this question, and this is surely one question where we will need YOUR input. Here are some of the criteria we plan to use:

  • Maps which have a characteristic terrain type or vegetation type which you will not find in many places. Of course, in many cases there will be several maps of similar terrain type. In this case, other criteria will be important (including the ones listed below).
  • Maps may be chosen because they have a special history attached to them.
  • The nature and surroundings of the map will surely be important along with the other criteria. One of the most special experiences as an orienteer is to orienteer in an area where magnificent views make it nearly impossible to concentrate on the map.
  • In some cases, geographical position might be a criterium to choose a map.
  • Some maps might be chosen due to a special competition being held on the map.
  • Navigational pleasure – that is how much fun it is to navigate on the map. This is probably one of the most subjective criteria – very difficult to define – and  thus this might give some interesting discussions. However, we think that the pleasure you get from moving through the terrain, taking in the forest and scenery while reading the map, should still be one of the most important criteria to get on the list.

Win your free copy of the book!

The first map will be presented tomorrow – from then on we will present maps with irregular intervals. The first person who manages to guess which map will be presented as the first map tomorrow – and adds it to the comments below – will get a free copy of the final paper book (assuming that we reach our goal and get the book to final print). Note that anyone affiliated with the map owners of the first map, who have been contacted ahead of this first map presentation, can not win.

Help us with your Feedback

Your help is highly appreciated. Use either the Feedback-button to the very right of the webpage, our Facebook-page or comments to the blog-posts to suggest maps and discuss our choices.

Which criteria do you think should be used to determine the 101 Orienteering Maps you should run on before you die? Have you got any suggestions about maps which should be on the list?