New Map Specs for MTBO and Orientation Sprint have been released

The IOF Council approved a new map specification for mountain bike orienteering and an updated map specification for sprint orienteering at its last meeting. The specifications are valid from January 2022.

The materials have been prepared by the IOF Chart Commission in cooperation with other commissions and cooperating contributors. The following text briefly summarizes the main objectives of the revisions and changes to the map specifications.


Development of the new ISMTBOM began in 2015 when the MTBO Board Working Group drafted a standards proposal for sprint boards and reviewed some aspects of the current specification. At the January 2018 meeting, it was agreed that the Chart Commission would be responsible for reviewing the ISMTBOM and that the MTBOC would provide technical input. Further developments took place in cooperation with the Czech Commission MTBO (in particular with Libor Bednařík) and consultations were carried out continuously on new versions.

In the fall of 2020, version 13 was sent out for consultation to the advisory group and for feedback from the MTBO community. During the first half of 2021, selected members of the MC and MTBOC created a working group which, in a series of online meetings, worked intensively on the final draft. In the summer of 2021 the final draft was sent to the federations for consultation and comments and in November 2021 the specifications were finalized.

Key changes to ISMTBOM 2022 include:

  • a complete overhaul of the document structure
  • rework the content of the text section to include basic elements similar to those of other map specifications
  • more emphasis on generalization information and correct graphical implementation leading to better map readability
  • as the specification is based on ISOM, the relevant ISOM 2017-2 cartographic symbols have been included
  • changed some map symbol settings, including track and path symbols
  • inclusion of map symbols indicating off-road driving
  • added several new map symbols related to the track network and sprint maps
  • new optional symbols section with map symbols that can be used in cases where off-road driving is allowed, in areas with very little functionality to aid navigation or to improve safety
  • precise definition of added symbols

The new ISMTBOM 2022 can be found on the IOF chart pages. The availability of updated symbol sets in the mapping software can be expected in the coming weeks.

ISSprOM 2019-2

Mapping complex urban structures on orientation maps has long been a problem. With ISSprOM 2019, a new map symbol “Paved area in multi-level structures” has been created to make simple two-level structures like a bridge over a street more readable. Over the past two years it has become clear that the use of this map symbol in combination with others is much wider than originally intended. Despite this progress, the solution was not sufficient for certain urban situations. To resolve this issue, the IOF Map Commission has updated ISSprOM to version 2019-2, where several map symbols have been clarified/changed. The FootO Commission and the Athlete Advisory Group (AAG) have been consulted on the main changes. Consequently, the main changes made to the specifications are as follows:

  • new look of the allowed screen combinations table
  • impassable dark green (element not to be crossed) returns to spec with new CMYK definition 100-0-80-30
  • redefining the bridge symbol (512.1 Bridge or tunnel entrance) which now looks different when it is possible to pass under it
  • clarification of use of symbol 512.2 Underpass or tunnel
  • new numbering, naming and redefining of the 501.2 Paved Zone symbol in multi-level structures to 512.3 Two-Level Walkable Zone which can now be combined with a variety of zone symbols to show two-level walkable (with some exceptions)
  • introduction of a new symbol 501.2 The step or edge of a paved area on the lower level may be used in large split-level areas, when it is necessary to show the situation on the lower level for orientation
  • 709 Out of bounds line widths are finer and spacing is wider to allow recognition of underlying map information
  • some minor changes to other symbols mainly resulting from the changes mentioned above

In addition, to overcome uncertainties in the application of cartographic symbols related to the mapping of complex urban structures on sprint orienteering maps, the Map Commission in cooperation with the FootO Commission has prepared a document Guidelines for mapping and route planning in complex urban structures on sprint orienteering maps.

The purpose of this document is to provide guidelines and present solutions for appropriately and fairly mapping and drawing complex urban structures on sprint orienteering maps. The new version of ISSprOM 2019-2 and the aforementioned guidelines can be downloaded from the IOF mapping pages.

Dino J. Dotson