Welcome readers of Ballooning! The following post corresponds to the recent article in Ballooning and offers more insight on the folding of a competition map. Each of our articles in Ballooning will be accompanied by a post here on BalloonPong offering more videos, photos, and info on the month's topic. Cover Photo Credit: Trace Christenson/Battle Creek Enquirer
A BalloonPong Guide to...... MAP FOLDING
by JOE ZVADA
I believe that a good map fold can make or brake your competition. Here is a quick guide to my approach to a good map fold.
Step 1: Identify the flying area.
Event Directors usually center the flying area in the center of the map, but not always. Rely on past experiences at an event, or talk to fellow pilots if your going some place new. In Longview, TX for example, we fly around the convention center in the first part of the week. Then move to the airport for the weekend, which is in the southern part of the map.
Step 2: Find the Gridlines
You never really think you're going to need to reference the gridline labels until its too late. Be proactive and make sure gridline labels run through the flying area part of the map, if they don't you should write them in. It is also a good idea to highlight these, especially on the busier maps.
Step 3: Fold
I start with the right and left sides of the map. Make the crease along a gridline to help keep it straight. Adjust the fold to include as much or as little of the flying area that you see fit.
Another important item is to not overlap on the back side of the map. Overlapping will create more creases in the map as we fold the map smaller. More creases make it more difficult to unfold/refold the map when you need to make changes during the competition.
Fold under the top and bottom sections of the map. Again making sure that there is no overlap on the back side.
This large square is the fold I most often work from. It should include the main flying area of the map and a set of gridline labels. If you are going to fly out of this main fold it is easy to access the folded-under portions on the map. Be ready to adapt to each flight.
The remaining folds are simply for storage. Two center folds shrink the map into a small square that is just the right size to fit in your bag.
And that's it! I know a lot of people have switched to electronic maps, but never underestimate the need for a paper map. I always have one on board and reference it almost as much as the iPad.