Kristen Treekrem (60) was the map maker on both occasions WOC was held in Norway, Grimstad 1997 and Trondheim 2010. At WOC 2019 he is once again in charge of the map production. 


Today (May 4th) it’s exactly 100 days to go before WOC 2019 starts and the work of Trekreem will be put to the ultimate test.

- The course planners are satisfied with the maps, and the approval of IOF’s Map Commition is sorted. But of course, the true verdict is passed during WOC. And I’ll be present during the event, even without hiding behind dark shades, the experienced map maker says with a smile. He drew the maps even for the NOC, Nordic Orienteering Championships, at Notodden in 2005.

At the bare age of 15 Kristen started making maps on his own initiative at his home place of Ås, just a short distance from the main arena for WOC 2019. He invited to races on the maps and made his debut as a map maker of a more official manner with mapping the schools in Ås on behalf of the local municipality at the age of 18. After having finished an agricultural related education at home in Ås he served in the military. Here he decided that receiving orders from five years younger inexperienced commanders was not his cup of tea and decided not to let anyone tell him what to do. From this point he committed to be a full-time map maker. 

In Grimstad 1997 he shared the responsibility with Vidar Georg Ydse and in Trondheim 2010 with Roar Valstad. This time around he will do the whole job on his own. 

- In general, I would say that a map will be more consistent when fewer are involved in the map making process. And because the vegetation tends to change with the seasons all the field work should be performed during a short time period. I did all the field work during the summers of 2017 and 2018, at a time period that resembles the vegetation we will meet at WOC.

The dry summer of 2018 was a challenge in the process. Not only did he need to carry at least 5 litres of water into the forest every day, but creeks he deemed unpassable in 2017 suddenly had changed to dry stony areas. – I have of course considered the conditions from the perspective of a normal year, so the course planners will have to consider these kinds of challenges, he says.

According to IOF regulations the WOC maps need to be ready one year before the championships, and August 15th, 2018 Treekrem delivered the maps. Between June 1stand 17thhe will perform a last check-up of all possible route choices and reveals that not all 100 square kilometres of embargoed terrain is mapped. 

- Within the frames of secrecy, what are you allowed to say about the WOC terrain?

- The terrain variations and the physical challenges are bigger than in the areas closer to the coast. You’ll get everything from pine hills with wide-range view and good runnability, to slower spruce forest areas with tree fellings. What you don’t see in the maps is that the heather is at its highest in August, and there is a lot of it in the competition area. One of my favourite aspects is that the area for the finals has barely been mapped before, and the qualification area has not been mapped since 1975. It’s great to bring the sport to new areas.

The 60-year-old map maker maps about 55 square kilometres of terrain every year. In his most active years, he produced maps of about 80 square kilometres a year.  – I’ve mostly made maps on a domestic basis, the demand for orienteering maps are big enough in Norway that I never had to work much abroad. Three times only has Treekrem made maps outside of Norway. He made the map for the Swedish Championships in Uddevalla in 1990, and the same year he was involved in making the map for the World Cup in the state of Washington, USA. He also drew a map in Tanzania for the Park World Tour in 1992, where Håvard Tveite and Anders Bjørnsgaard did most of the field work during a training camp in high altitude. 

The bids deadline for making the WOC 2019 maps passed in the autumn of 2016.

- At that time there had been great discussions concerning the maps for the WOC in Strömstad, and I thought it would be crazy to take on a job like this. But it feels safe to accept the job in the end, as no maps are checked as thoroughly as the WOC maps by qualified people, Kristen Treekrem says.

If he brings his shades to WOC 2019 it’s only because of beautiful weather…

- Finally, will you make maps for WOC again later?

- No, next time WOC comes to Norway I hope someone else will make the maps. Not because that I will no longer produce maps, as I never have been employed anywhere and can’t retire anytime soon. I definitively will continue mapping for many years to come. But it’s time for fresh blood to be given the opportunity as well. 

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