My passion for orienteering was, from a very young age, unconditional. I wanted to master and understand every single aspect of this sport.
Mapping and course planning in addition to the training methodology was where I have always worked since I was 18 years old.
I have been working in orienteering for twenty years now and during this time I was national junior Portuguese team coach, created and organized dozens of internships for young people (Orijovem) and was also responsible for training camps in Lisbon, Alentejo and Algarve (Sun-o). Moreover, I was a course planner and cartographer in many events, including several times in Portugal O’ Meeting, as well as course planner and cartographer in the World Masters Orienteering Champioship 2008.
Since 2012 I have been spending most of summer periods working in Scandinavia and France where I had the opportunity to meet and work with some of the best clubs and athletes in the world.
I am an Orienteering Map Maker level V (top level) and Course Setter level II (national level).
Beeing an Orienteering Map Maker
Being an orienteering map maker, there will always be phases of great difficulty, I cannot deny it, but after weeks or months of working alone in the woods, there is no feeling like the finishing touches and feeling the stimulating illusion that, with each improvement in the design, I am closer to the perfect map.
The entire alphabet would not be enough to describe everything in a forest that is pertinent to identify in an orienteering map.
I express this need using symbols, lines and colors (ISOM), meticulously positioned, following a scale and altimetry. Whenever I look for the best solution and criteria in the field, not only international regulations, but also thousands of other similar dilemmas or experiences as an athlete in many other locations, events and maps, cross my mind.
I imagine in several “flashes” what is the best way to guarantee fairness, clarity and legibility to the drawing, often doing an imagery exercise, I see the best athletes in the world sailing / running in that specific place and I try to find the best way for them to “flow”, as if your feet could feel the contour lines that your thumb points to them on the map with the aim of the eyes.
If my work has quality, the best athletes will have no doubts and will try the ability to anticipate and choose the next reference or itinerary in an universal and simple language, but of extreme complexity to be “drawed”.
On a planet with such different cultures, alphabets, traditions, rites and languages, it is fascinating to think that orienteering maps around the world follow the same rules and symbols, functioning as a universal language.
It is a responsibility for me, but at the same time pleasant to think that, perhaps human beings from different social backgrounds and contexts, with whom I would never be able to communicate, can equally enjoy my work freely.