New map specifications for MTBO and orienteering sprint have been published

The IOF Council approved a new map specification for MTB Orienteering and an update of the map specification for sprint orienteering at its latest meeting. Specifications are valid from January 2022.

The documents were prepared by IOF Map Commission in cooperation with other commissions and cooperating contributors. The following text briefly summarises the main objectives of the revisions and the changes to the map specifications.


Development of new ISMTBOM started in 2015 when the MTBO Map Working Group drafted a proposal of standards for sprint maps, and reviewed some aspects of the current specification. At the meeting in January 2018 it was agreed that the Map Commission would be responsible for the review of the ISMTBOM, and the MTBOC would provide technical input. Further development took place in cooperation with the Czech MTBO Commission (especially with Libor Bednařík) and consultation was continuously undertaken on the new versions.

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

The main changes to the ISMTBOM 2022 are as follows:

  • a complete redesign of the document structure
  • reworking the content of the text section to include similar basic elements as in other map specifications
  • more emphasis on information on generalisation and correct graphical implementation leading to better readability of maps
  • as specification is based on ISOM, relevant ISOM 2017-2 map symbols were included
  • modification of some map symbol parameters, including track and path symbols
  • inclusion of map symbols indicating off-track riding
  • addition of several new map symbols related to track network and for sprint maps
  • new Optional symbols section with map symbols which can be used in cases when off-track riding is allowed, in areas with very few features to help navigation or to improve safety
  • precise definition of symbols added

New ISMTBOM 2022 can be found on IOF Mapping pages. Availability of updated symbol sets in the mapping software can be expected in the next few weeks.


ISSprOM 2019-2

Mapping of complex urban structures on orienteering maps has been a problem for a long time. With ISSprOM 2019 a new map symbol “Paved area in multilevel structures” was created in order to make simple two-level structures like a bridge over a street more readable. Over the last two years it has become clear that the use of this map symbol in combination with others is much broader than originally anticipated. Despite such progress, the solution was not sufficient for some urban situations. To solve this problem the IOF Map Commission updated ISSprOM to version 2019-2, where several map symbols were clarified/changed. The FootO Commission and the Athlete Advisory Group (AAG) were consulted on the main changes. As a result, the main changes to the specification are as follows:

  • new look of the table of permissible combinations of screens
  • uncrossable dark green (feature that must not be crossed) is back to the specification with a new CMYK definition 100-0-80-30
  • redefinition of bridge symbol (512.1 Bridge or tunnel entrance) which has now a different look when it is possible to pass under
  • clarification of the use of the symbol 512.2 Underpass or tunnel
  • new numbering, name and redefinition of symbol 501.2 Paved area in multilevel structures to 512.3 Area passable at two levels which can be now combined with a variety of area symbols to show passability at two levels (with some exceptions)
  • new symbol introduction 501.2 Step or edge of paved area at lower level can be used in large areas with two levels, when it is necessary to show the situation at the lower level for orientation
  • 709 Out-of-bounds area line widths are thinner and spacing is wider to allow recognition of underlying map information
  • some minor changes to other symbols mostly arising from above mentioned changes

Moreover, to overcome uncertainties in the application of map symbols related to the mapping of complex urban structures on sprint orienteering maps, the Map Commission in cooperation with the FootO Commission prepared a document Guidelines for mapping and course planning in complex urban structures on sprint orienteering maps.

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