Sprint events differ in several aspects from the longer and more traditional forms of Foot Orienteering. While traditional Orienteering events are normally organized in forest areas, Sprint events are normally organized in urban terrain and parks.

This expansion of classic forest terrain into urban areas and parks presents new challenges to orienteering cartography. The International Specification for Orienteering Maps (ISOM 2017-2) already contains symbols that form the basis for representing these zones. However, to ensure fair Sprint competitions, this set of symbols required review and extension in order to better incorporate park and urban areas.

There are a number of reasons why the cartographic representation of terrain for Sprint events requires a different approach to that used to represent classic forest terrain:

  • Greater number of obstacles that affect the choice of routes in parks and urban areas, such as impassable walls, areas with prohibited access or structures with different levels;
  • Amount of detail in urban areas, particularly in the center of old cities, generally much higher than in forests.

When creating the specification for Sprint maps, not only the new types of terrain were taken into account, but also the purpose of the map. The map format for these events was originally defined by the IOF as follows:

“Sprint races are quick, with greater visibility and easier to follow. These are events in parks, streets and forests where high-speed running is possible. The winner’s time, both male and female, must be between 12 and 15 minutes, preferably in the lower part of the range.”

Thus, derived from this restrictions and obligations, the International Specification for Sprint Orienteering Maps (originally ISSOM, now ISSprOM) was created, with some principles that, in certain situations, differ significantly from those defined in ISOM .