Street Orienteering

(Thanks to Geoff Hudson for his great street orienteering and training guides)

Street orienteering is a suburban version of the popular running sport, Orienteering. As in all forms of orienteering, participants are given

a map on which a number of locations are marked (usually with circles)
a score card – which has your name on it and 20 numbered squares
To take part in the event each competitor must visit a given number of sites and record the fact that they’ve been there. When they’ve visited the appropriate number of locations competitors return to the start – with the first back being the winner.

How do I record that I’ve been to a control?

At each of the marked locations there is an orienteering control. In street orienteering these are usually flat plates that have been painted red and white – to make them visible as you approach them. An orienteering punch is mounted on each plate – each punch has a distinctive pin layout. As you visit control 14 – you punch square 14 on your card. The scorer will verify your card against the correct punches to confirm your score for the day.

What skills are required?

Obviously one needs to be able to read a map and run (or walk in the power-walkers section). More advanced competitors look at much more than the street layout between this control and the next; within minutes of starting they’ve planned a route that minimises the distance they have to run and the hills they have to climb. In some variations of the sport – where the need is to collect as many points as possible in a given time – map reading and navigational skill is even more important.

Who can take part?

Anybody. Our current competitors range from 8 years old to 75-80 years old. If you’re fit enough to walk to the local shops, then you too can take part in this sport.

What does a map look like?

A typical map is shown below. The triangle indicates the start/finish location and each of the circles represents a control location. Map scales are typically 1:10,000 – i.e. each centimetre on the map is about 100 metres.


Event Format

Various formats are used.

In Scatter Courses competitors choose their own route around a set number of controls. Points are based on finishing order on each course

In Score Courses competitors get points for each control visited. Higher numbered controls are worth more points – so go for the big ones first! Competitors get as many points as possible in the allocated time….but must not be late back as the penalties for doing so are quite high. If you plan to take part in a score event, bring a watch – you’ll need this to keep track of time.

How do I start?

Turn up at the advertised start location (see the current program on our web page) about half an hour before start time with running gear or lightweight shoes and clothing. You may wish to bring a towel, change of clothing and a drink on hot evenings. A clear plastic bag for your map on rainy days also helps.

Do I have to bring a compass?

No, compasses are not required for street or park runs.

What about school students?

Many students take part in street orienteering as part of inter-school sports. The Silva Inter-School Street Challenge is organised by the Victoria Orienteering Association at the beginning of daylight saving each year. This highly successful competition runs in the Eastern Suburbs of Melbourne and attracts 150-200 students each week.

If your school would like to take part in this event call Peta Whitford of the VOA on 9459 0853 for details.

For more information about Street-Orienteering

Visit an orienteering event – and give it a try. Tell people that you’re a newcomer, they will be pleased to help out.
For general orienteering information, call Peta Whitford (VOA) at the number above.

More Street-Orienteering articles:
Golden Rules for street-orienteering.
How to read a street orienteering map
Your first scatter-course
Your first score-course
A brief guide for beginners

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