The Five Key Skills of Orienteering

Our compasses aren’t surveyors’ tools – any bearing you measure on the map will likely be off by one or two degrees. As you follow the bearing, you are likely to unconsciously veer off another degree or two. Sometimes these errors will offset each other and you’ll end up exactly on target. But at other times they will compound each other. Over a 100 meter leg, a 3 degree error will put you 5 meters off course. You will likely still be able to see your target. But over a 500 meter leg, the same error would put you over 25 meters off course. You might very well not be able to see the control. So use your compass wisely as you apply the Five Key Skills: Use it to orient your map, and use it to aim yourself in a general direction, but when you use it to try to pick a precise line to a specific point, keep the distance as short as possible.