As a Geographer I love maps. And I love orienteering. Outdoors, competitive, skills based, running around in nature… What’s not to love?! I love running through the forest and navigating by myself or with friends. I love that the sport has detailed rules so that skill wins and not luck. I love it so much that I decided to offer it as a club at my school. At school, we offer a weekly ‘Exploratories’ activity for Grades 6-9, where they spend two hours off curriculum participating in a teacher-led activity. Consequently, I decided to offer orienteering! The kids absolutely LOVE it. They are so competitive and we have a points chart to record who is winning.

What is Orienteering?

Orienteering is the sport of navigation, using a highly detailed map. Whether you’re an experienced hiker, competitive runner, or just a family or group out for an activity in a park, this sport helps you improve your navigation each time.

Orienteering can gradually build your map-reading skills from exploring a local city park full of obvious structures to navigating remote terrain with few, if any, man-made features. 

On orienteering maps, a course consists of a triangle, circles, a double circle and sometimes connecting lines all in purple. The triangle is the start. The double circle is the finish. All the circles in between are checkpoints. Numbered orange and white flags are placed in the terrain to show you that you have reached the correct location. At each checkpoint you will punch registering that you found the correct location. You may use any route you want between checkpoints.

For all participants, the structure of an event is a safety function. At the end of the event, the number of returnees needs to match the number who started, so always check in with the finish line volunteers, even if you don’t complete your course. This keeps the sport safe and fun.


  1. Punch and flag kit

I purchased a pack of 20 from the O-Store.ca. They arrived super quick and are a great investment for the school as we can use these each year.

2. Compass set

Our Athletics department have a set which I am able to use. I would like to think most schools have a set available. Otherwise you can also purchase from the O-Store.ca.

3. Instructions

I have created a set of instructions for orienteering that you are able to purchase here. Just contact us for more details.

4. Maps

Now this is the tricky part. Orienteering maps are a pretty niche item, and obviously will need to be created for the specific locations that you are choosing to visit. I had to create all mine from scratch using software from OpenOrienteering Mapping.

I now have a set of maps for various parks and recreation areas on Vancouver Island. If you would like a set then please contact us using the contact form. Likewise, if you would like to have some orienteering maps created for you then please contact us and we will get back to you with quote!

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