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Orienteering with Mr. T.

Orienteering is a sport in which participants use an accurate, detailed map and a compass to find features along a course.

These features range from the relatively easy -- trail junctions -- to the more difficult point features such as boulders or small depressions.

Orienteering may be enjoyed as a walk in the woods or as a competitive sport. It can teach natural and physical sciences, social science, mathematics, physical education, outdoor or environmental education.

Orienteering started in Sweden as part of military training and the Marines at Quantico were among the first people in the United States to utilize it as a sport.

A standard orienteering course consists of a start area, a series of "control sites" that are marked by circles on a map, connected by lines and numbered in the order they are to be visited, and a finish.

In most local orienteering events, the start and finish are at the same location. The control site circles are centered around the feature that is to be found; this feature is also described by clues.

On the ground, a control flag marks the location that the orienteer must visit.

To verify a visit, the orienteer uses a punch hanging next to the flag to mark his or her control card. Different punches make different patterns of holes in the paper.

The route between "control sites" is not specified, and is up to the orienteer; the element of route choice and the ability to navigate through the forest are the essence of orienteering.

Most orienteering events use staggered starts to ensure that each orienteer has a chance to do his or her own navigating, but there are several other popular formats, including relays and events in which the orienteer must find as many controls as possible within a specified time.

The maps used for these events are detailed -- 1:10,000 scale, with lines to magnetic north so there is no declination adjustment required. The map is 5-color, showing not only terrain but vegetation differences, water, trails and point features.

Tips and tricks...
Now you should know everything to start orienteering... Here I have some tips. They are pretty obvious... after a while.

If you go to an event make sure you take

  • some adhesive tape
  • pen-knife
  • nylon foil (for the map)
  • some extra pieces of clothing and some to run in
  • Don't forget some food (apple, some chocolate and drink)...

If you have any useful tips, ideas or trick - drop an email to: Steven Tanguay


Introduction Tips to Orienteering Field Trip Project Curriculum Connection Home

Prepared by Steven Tanguay, 10/10/00