Orienteering Maps

An orienteering course requires the participants to visit a number of locations on the ground with the aid of an orienteering map. The course is marked on the map by a series of red circles, with the feature which you must visit in the centre of the circle. These features range from track junctions, gullies, and creeks to smaller point features such as large boulders.

Tell me More About Courses and Controls

The features which the orienteer must visit are called controls, each of which is marked by a control stand with an orange and white flag. Each control is identified by a unique number, so that you know you are at the right feature when you find it. At an event there may be up to 10 courses which vary both in length (from around 1.5 up to 10 km), and in their navigational difficulty. Completing an orienteering course may take about 20-40 minutes for the easier courses, and 1-2 hours for experienced orienteers on the more difficult courses.

There are two types of orienteering maps. One type is made for orientering conducted in a bush based environment and the other type is made for orienteering conducted in urban and parland environmnets. In both cases, a typical orintereing map shows much more detail than most other maps. Long arrows across the map show the direction of magnetic north, whilst a scale bar will show the scale of the map. Different types of features have characteristic coloured symbols.

Types of Orienteering Maps

Urban Map With Course


Parkland Bush Map With Course

Championship Area Map With Course

What do the Colours on the Map Mean?

white sections are for average forest
green patches are for thicker bush which will impede your progress
yellow sections are areas of open land
black is for tracks, fences, power lines and rocky features
blue is for water features such as creeks (although these may be dry)
brown is for earth features, including contour lines to show land shape
purple is for the course and any special features such as areas that are prohibited entry.|
grey if used is for areas of bare rock.

A Note about Orienteering Maps

Orienteering maps (with the exception of public courses in DIY Orienteering Kits) are not generally for sale outside sanctioned orienteering events. This is because it is not possible to enter private property covered by an orienteering map except during an event. Any requests for orienteering maps for purposes such as framing or for memorabilia may be forwarded to the Director Technical.