Today we are launching two new orienteering compasses at the Jukola relay in Lappeenranta, Finland. Both the new Suunto AIM-6 thumb compass and the AIM-30 baseplate compass were developed together with Sprint Orienteering World Champion Mårten Boström.
Mårten, when did you start working on this project?
I have been involved in the development of Suunto's new orienteering compass line from the beginning of the year.
Product development is exciting as I have realized how much I as an elite orienteer can give insight to the product development team into how the product is actually used.
Mårten Boström worked closely with Suunto's compass business line manager Henrik Palin and designer Heikki Naulapää.
What did you want to change or improve?
As the compass is an orienteer's most precise aiding tool in navigating it's been an interesting task to refine the current compass to become an even better friend when out in the woods.
I wanted to redesign the needle in order to achieve a better contrast on to the map, make the needle much more stable while keeping it fast and take away some markings on the baseplate.
The graphics on the baseplate and the compass capsule were designed based on Mårten’s feedback.
Since the use of the compass needs to be swift I wanted to add color and symbol codes on the edge of the bezel so that there's no need to rotate the compass capsule. Using the colors and symbols one can simply memorize where the arrow is aiming and advance rapidly.
Our goal was to make the colors and symbols on the AIM distinguishable but easily memorable.
What are the key characteristics of a great compass?
A great compass should be easy to use and have a fast & stable needle.
How do you actually test a compass?
The compass is best tested in actual orienteering conditions out in the forest where temperatures vary from -10°C to +35°C and twigs hit your face while you are trying to navigate through unknown terrain over hills and through marshes!