This section is about an odd combination of topics which requires some explanation.
I have always been fascinated by maps. I was never much interested in sport but at school I was good at cross-country running. I got involved in the sport of orienteering around 1970 and quickly found that it is a fascinating combination of running and maps.
As a student I also discovered I had an aptitude for programming. When personal computers became available at the end of the 1970s I wanted to see how programming could be applied to orienteering. Apart from race timing and results production which other people were covering, I thought about maps on computers and how they might help people to learn navigation skills, particularly with regard to understanding contours on maps.
I developed a program to simulate orienteering, called The Forest. It was written first for the Tandy TRS-80 and then in 1984 for the Sinclair Spectrum. The latter had more success in the open market. A friend then converted it to work on the BBC Microcomputer too. It was written mainly in assembly language (low level, rather cryptic), with a little BASIC as a container. The maps that could be displayed by such early computers were extremely crude, so a printed map had to be supplied along with the cassette tape containing the program when purchased. The printed map was seen as an advantage because it made copying the package difficult.
Try The Forest: myforest.uk
User Guide for The Forest with useful hints and tips.
Contours - another of my programs which may help understanding contour maps.
A programmer's guide to The Forest is also being written.
Better Orienteering - a site containing a huge number of references and links to useful orienteering resources.
Food for thought: Philosophy of The Forest