Help topics & resources

Commonly asked questions and resources will be placed here :

Types of orienteering

Sprint: Sprint orienteering doesn't necessarily mean you have to go fast, as all orienteering is concerned with accuracy and not speed. But sprint  terrain is often easier to run.  Sprints are often in an urban or park-like setting, and can be in local streets. Orienteering events are often planned in forest terrain or rough open rural hillsides, as orienteers are always looking for more challenging navigation. Therefore, sprint, urban and park events are great for beginners before moving into more technical forest terrain. 

String orienteering course: String orienteering is a way of marking the route on easy courses. Controls are placed along a string or tape that leads the participant to a control. A marked string or taped course has a dashed line marked on an orienteering map between control points. Sometimes the string or tape will mark a particularly tricky section on an easy course or the whole course can be marked as an introduction to orienteering course. It is ideal to set up a string course for the very young, such as pre-schoolers and primary grade children as their first introductory course. 

Relay orienteering: Each team member of a team completes a short course and tags the next team member. 

Permanent orienteering courses:  You can do a course at any time - solo or with friends - no need to wait for an event. You will need to get a copy of the permanent course map, each location may have a different way to obtain the map. Read more:

MTBO: To test your navigation in different terrain, you can try Mountain Bike Orienteering (MTBO), and Ski Orienteering. PAPO has several MTBO events throughout the year, so check the events calendar.

SkiO: New Zealand's once a year Ski Orienteering event is usually on the middle weekend of the winter school holidays. It is a relaxed, but fun event with scope for those who just want to try another navigation terrain by snowshoe  or for those who really want to blast around on skis. An annual Ski O is run by Remarkables Orienteering Club (ROC), and other event organisations run ski rogaines in winter .

Orienteer of the year, OY series and OY points

Each year the club has an Orienteer of the Year (OY) competition across all the grades and levels. The 2021 OY series is planned to be made up of 8 diverse events, with your top 5 scores counting towards OY points. The OY rules and points calculations have been revised to reflect this change.
They are not just for the young or highly competitive, they are for all orienteers and the points accumulate over the year for different events. Some are not interested in the OY points and but others watch their rankings after each event. The events encourage people to test their navigation in a variety of events.

We are currently upgrading the OY points, so a running tally  throughout the year is not possible, but we are aiming to work on this over winter 2021. 


What is 'thumbing' the map?

Top navigators use a technique known as "thumbing the map". This is holding the map so that your thumb is next to your current position. Folding the map means you can't easily refer to the map key anymore, so you memorise the colours and symbols used on orienteering maps and often wear a control description holder on your arm to refer to symbols without loosing your thumbed placement and orientation on the map. Orienteers use a thumb compass in place on the map with the direction of travel arrow pointing to the destination.

Encouraging map observation by drawing a map 

Creating your own maps and map legends - try drawing one of a local school or a local park:  Great example of an activity for beginners here

Learning map symbols

Orienteering maps have special symbols used on the orienteering legend. The same orienteering symbols are used all over the world, so you can orienteer in any country and read a map without understanding the language if you know the symbols. 

School resources

This American webpage has a diagram of suggested development stages under 'school resources':
An exercise on reading a topographical map:

Improving navigation - training for every stage

Basic Orienteering Skills

  • Folding the map.
  • Thumbing the map.
  • Orientating the map to north (with ground or compass)
  • Reading features on the map.
  • Taking a compass bearing.
  • Following a compass bearing.
  • Pacing
  • Judging distance

From beginner, very easy white level, to red advanced, Orienteering New Zealand have a set of guidelines and examples for your level.

 #learntonavigate #adventuresports #navigationFAQ  #MTBO #MTBorienteering #SkiO #Skiorienteering #orienteeringNZ #PAPO #peninsulaandplainsorienteers