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The mapping technique of showing a road with the path drawn inside the curblines has lost its soul a bit. The idea of these types of maps was pioneered by Bob Letson, back when RRTC did not exist and Ted Corbitt was the sole certifier. Bob found that showing the SPR on the map itself removed much doubt in Ted’s mind about how the course was measured, and reduced the time it took for Bob to receive an answer from Ted.

As a certifier I received maps of this type, but found that most people simply drew in the roads and ran the measure line down the middle, just as in Mark’s example. This resulted in an attractive map, but one which contained no more information than an ordinary single-line map.

As I measure the vast majority of my courses using the Shortest Possible Route (SPR) I find that a single-line map serves me well. It’s an allowable option. Our measurement manual, Course Measurement Procedures, shows an example of a single-line map on page 60.

The advent of Google Maps is a powerful tool for would-be mapmakers. I use it to prepare a background map which covers the entire area of the course. On this background I use PhotoShop to trace the streets where the course goes. I add inserts to describe start and finish.

When I’m done I adjust the brightness and contrast so that the traced line remains dark, but the background map fades a bit. I add street names because they are sometimes too small on the background map.

When I am done I have an electronic map in color, but which will print in black and white.

Below is an example. I cut the image in half vertically, converted the right side to black and white, and stuck the halves back together. The left-hand half of the map is how my electronic version looks. The right half is how the map looks when printed on a black and white printer. All the paper copies I generate are black and white, but I send the color version to the race director so they can have things either way they like.

I think having the area map as a dim background helps the viewer visualize things better than when the background is omitted. Also, the resulting map is to scale.

Also, the process takes a lot less time than drawing a map showing widths of roads.

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I'll add the "single-line" map as an option in my template. I will point out though, that one disadvantage of that type of map is that you can't really show cross streets that aren't part of the course.

Even though most people would call the right side of that map black & white, it's really greyscale. It won't scan in correctly using the USATF's black & white scan technique, right?
Mark, I will dispute the assertion that cross-streets are harder to place on single-line maps.

If I use a 2pt line for the main course lines, I then create cross-streets at a thickness of 1pt. I put the cross-street name perpendicular to the course, and it is there. I only place cross-streets that are close to the split locations, to keep the map less-cluttered. Example

I agree that single-line maps can be useful, but I also think there are times when the street-width maps are useful, also. If someone clearly states that runners have full use of the road (indicated on different sections of the map, accordingly), I don't think an arrow down the middle of the "curbed" road line is any problem. Example Each course needs to be evaluated on its own, and mapped according to its need. One method does not fit all maps.

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