Course planning symbols and their dimensions are defined for forest competition in ISOM2017-2 (forest maps), and for sprint competition in ISSprOM 2019-2 (sprint maps). Both these documents are available from the IOF (International Orienteering Federation) website

The important thing to note is that these dimensions are specified for the printed scales of 1:15 000 and 1:4 000. When enlarged (or reduced), the overprint symbols will be enlarged (reduced) proportionally. This requirement is more noticeable for forest orienteering maps where maps drawn at 1:15 000 are printed at 1:10 000 or 1: 7 500.

FormatStart triangleControl circleControl no.Finish circles
Sprint (1:4000) 7mm sides 6mm dia. 4mm high Concentric circles 5 and 7mm dia.
Forest (1:15000) 6mm sides 5mm dia. 4mm high Concentric circles 4 and 7mm dia.

Circles are enlarged (or occasionally reduced) to maintain consistency with control descriptions. Older versions of the mapping specification prescribed a fixed size for control circles, so for detailed terrain, it was often necessary to have different control descriptions for the different scale maps (as the area covered by a 5 mm circle at 1:15 000 is greater than that covered at 1:10 000, meaning there are more features in the control circle in the first instance). Strict enlargement eliminates this problem. 

For many midweek and local events, forest maps are printed at 1:5 000. This means that strict enlargement will produce control circles with a 15 mm diameter. This is inconsistent with sprint maps, where a map printed at 1:5 000 will have control circles with only a slightly smaller diameter than sprint maps printed at 1:4 000 (i.e. slightly less than 6 mm). Even though using a 1:5 000 scale for bush maps has become common practice at local events in Tasmania, the much-preferred option is to stick with the standard scales for forest maps (1:15 000, 1:10 000, and 1:7 500). 

Problems can arise when the scale of a sprint map is reduced to fit the map on an A4 page. For example, the Taroona map is drawn at 1:5 000 so that sprint detail can be shown clearly. If course planners wish to use the full map, they might reduce the scale which in turn reduces the default overprint symbol size for a sprint map - a 6 mm circle now becomes a 3.2 mm circle!

The course overprint symbols are generated by course planning software (in Tasmania we use Condes – currently version 10). 

The actual scale of the map is shown in Condes during the event setup, or by going to Canvas>Map. The actual map scale is fixed, while the print scale is variable. 


Note that the when you use the standard dimensions, they are not shown in the dimensions panel of the dialog box. 

There are three legitimate occasions when you might need to change the overprint symbol sizes:

  • When you are enlarging a forest map to 1:5 000 size (noting that this is a non-standard enlargement)
  • When you are reducing a sprint map to a smaller map scale (e.g. 1:7 500 to fit on an A4 page)
  • When you are printing a school map (or other large scale sprint map) drawn at 1:1 000 (for example)

To do this, in Canvas>Course overprint symbols and dimensions select the Course overprint symbols tab and select Configure dimensions and symbols for this canvas.


When this option is chosen, you can change the symbol sizes to whatever you want. Remember that when maps are enlarged, the map symbol sizes are also enlarged (e.g. tracks will appear thicker, boulders will appear larger than they do at say 1:15 000). For consistency and legibility, you should also consider increasing the leg-line and circle-line widths. 


Note that the map will be printed according to the settings you choose, so it is your responsibility to ensure that the map looks sensible! 

Always print a test page. Don’t assume the person printing your maps will make changes to improve the presentation of the competition map – that is not their job, it’s yours!