Map Reading

The Ten Elements of Orienteering is a series of training films to help you learn the skills needed to orienteer. The videos have been produced by the Irish Orienteering Association. Each video focuses on a particular element of orienteering. Or go to the IOF link below and binge watch.

  1. Introduction to Orienteering
  2. Reading the Map (Part 1)
  3. Orienting the Map
  4. Route Choice (Part 1)
  5. Relocation
  6. Compass Skills
  7. Reading the Map (Part 2)
  8. Route Choice (Part 2)
  9. Courses
  10. Start ‘n Finish

All About Maps

An orienteering map, and a compass, are the primary aids for the competitor to complete an orienteering course of control points as quickly as possible. A map that is reliable and accurate is essential so that a course can be provided which will test the navigational skills of the competitor. The map also needs to be relevant to the needs of the competitor showing the terrain in neither too much nor too little detail.

Because the competition must test the navigational skills of the competitor, areas are sought which have a terrain that is rich in usable features. In addition, the area should be attractive and interesting. Notable examples in Australia include Mt Kooyoora in Victoria, Bay of Fires in Tasmania and both having many boulders and boulder fields, and a wide variety of other terrain types.

Orienteering maps are produced by local orienteering clubs and are a valuable resource for the club. Orienteering maps are expensive to produce and the principal costs are: the fieldwork, drawing (cartography), and printing. Each of these can use up valuable resources of a club, being time consuming and bearing financial costs. Established clubs with good resources e.g. maps and manpower are usually able to host more events.