Course Design Clinic 2017 | Resources

Thanks for attending today’s Course Design Clinic with Bob Boltz. Here are some of the resources we worked with, along with sample map files, control descriptions, etc.


Purple Pen | Course Design Software

  • http://purplepen.golde.org/ (Download at home. Purple Pen requires Windows XP SP3, Windows Vista SP2, Windows 7, Windows 8, or Windows 10. If you have a Mac, you can run Parallels Desktop to run Windows, and then run Purple Pen.)

Sample Map File | Ritchie Ledges Area

Slides from today | via Bob Boltz

How do I design courses?

Control Descriptions | Mike Minium version

Control Descriptions | Expanded / IOF 2004

Orienteering at Kenston Intermediate School

Recap of Events

As part of an effort to increase awareness of orienteering as a sport, and to incorporate the many educational and problem- based learning aspects of the sport into the curriculum, NEOOC teamed up with 4th graders from Kenston Intermediate School to put on an orienteering event. In what we hope was the First Annual orienteering day, 200+ 4th graders and staff took part in orienteering in and around the building, and most teams completed four courses covering more than 2 miles distance travelled.

Students prepared with pre-orienteering materials in their classrooms, and completed practice problems solving mazes and orienteering inside a room to get aquatinted with relating the map to reality. A few instructional videos were used to enhance their knowledge of the sport itself, and they learned the importance or rotating the map, and orienting to north at all times.

Bob Boltz, map coordinator of NEOOC, had designed the custom Kenston Intermediate School map covering the grounds around the building, and laid out 4 courses each covering 9 controls over about 0.8km (800m) each. Andreas Johansson, NEOOC club member, and Director of Technology Integration at Kenston Schools, assisted with planning, teacher training, and supervision during the event. They had plenty of help from Kenston PTO to manage map exchanges and supervision around the building. A big thanks to Mr. Adam Fender, Principal at Kenston Intermediate School, for making it happen, and helping coordinating the event, and activities leading up to the very successful day.

Furthermore, the 4th grade students orienteering at KIS was part of a larger worldwide effort to set a new world record for World Orienteering Day (on or about May 11th, 2016), and their efforts were registered along with Kenston Middle School’s 8th grade students doing hot spot orienteering during a field trip to Washington, D.C., as well as the 7th graders orienteering while at 7th grade camp. In total, at least 650+ students and staff from Kenston Schools took part in World Orienteering Day activities, and were counted for the world record attempt.

We’re excited for the opportunities to build long-lasting relationships with the Kenston Schools, and look forward to holding many more orienteering events, including full campus sprint, cross country, and score events in the future.

Photos from 4th Grade Orienteering

Photo credits go to Josh Timmons, Tech Integration Specialist, and Andreas Johansson, Director of Technology at Kenston Local Schools.

[envira-gallery id=”1014″]

MAZE-O / Practice Your Skills

Practice your O-skills even when you’re not out in the woods! The Maze-O will challenge your brain, and sense of direction while finding the shortest, or the fastest routes through the mazes. Each turn slows you down, so try for a straighter line through, with the least amount of turns. And who knows, maybe you’ll see something like this in the near future…

If you want to generate your own mazes, go to http://www.mazegenerator.net/ for all the mazes you could ever want!

Here’s an idea…

How to Select an Orienteering Course

by Karen Dennis via OUSA

This article first appeared in the “Beginners’ Clinic” feature in the June, 1995 issue of Orienteering/North America, the magazine of the sport in the United States and Canada. O/NA frequently publishes helpful features such as this one. O/NA is available by subscription, but the best way to receive it is with a membership in the Orienteering USA (United States Orienteering Federation). Karen Dennis is an experienced orienteer, course setter, and mapper.

This is a description of the standard orienteering course levels and the skills required to do each one — ordered from easiest to hardest. This list is to help you decide which orienteering course and/or which training session to select. Above all, remember that orienteering is intended to be fun. Choose the course which challenges your current skill level but is still easy enough to be fun for you.

Course List

  White for the beginner
  Yellow for the experienced beginner
  Orange for the intermediate level orienteer
  Brown shorter course for the advanced orienteer
  Green short course for the advanced orienteer
  Red longer course for the advanced orienteer
  Blue longest course for the advanced orienteer

White Course—for the beginner

Choose this novice course if you are just beginning to orienteer and have had little or no experience. Before starting you should know:

  • how to interpret map symbols and colors (legend).
  • how to orient the map to North using a compass and/or land features.
  • what are the basic objectives (rules) of orienteering competition.
  • what to do when hopelessly lost (how to user a “safety bearing”).

This course is designed to introduce you to, and give you experience in:

  • following land features (“handrails” such as trails, roads and streams)
  • learning to relate the map to features on the ground
  • judging the distance between control locations
  • gaining self-confidence in map reading

Yellow Course—for the experienced beginner

Choose this beginner course if you have had some experience with orienteering and are quite comfortable with the beginner course, or have done a lot of hiking using topographical maps. Before starting you should know:

  • everything listed for the white course above
  • how to read contour lines
  • how to select and follow a “handrail”
  • how to select and use an “attack point”
  • how to interpret a scale and judge rough distance
  • how to take a rough compass bearing
  • how to select a route choice (safer vs. shorter)
  • how to “recover” from an error by backtracking to last known point

This course is designed to introduce you to, and give you experience in:

  • following handrails to an attack point (rather than to the control)
  • taking a bearing from the attack point to the control
  • judging fine distance between the attack point and the control
  • selecting between simple route choices
  • recognizing “collecting features” and “catching features”
  • reading and interpreting contours
  • recovering using attack points and maps features

Orange Course—for the intermediate level orienteer

Choose this intermediate course if you are moderately experienced with orienteering, you have mastered the white course and done a few yellow courses and been very comfortable with them. Before starting you should know:

  • everything listed for the white and yellow courses
  • how to navigate with or without a “handrail”
  • how to select and use “collecting features” and “catching features”
  • how to “aim off”
  • how to “simplify” a map
  • how to follow a compass bearing
  • how to recognize and avoid “parallel errors”
  • how to read IOF control descriptions

This course is designed to introduce you to, and give you experience in:

  • how to navigate cross-country with confidence
  • make route choices (according to your personal strengths and weaknesses)
  • recovering from “parallel errors” and other mistakes
  • fine map reading while traveling
  • visualization of contours
  • judging physical challenges and pacing yourself

Green Course—short course for the advanced orienteer

Choose this competitive level course if you are an experienced orienteer and have done several orange courses with confidence. Before starting you should know:

  • everything listed for the other courses
  • how to “pace count”
  • advanced techniques such as attacking from above, contouring, thumbing your map, red light, yellow light, green light
  • how to evaluate your own physical and orienteering skills
  • extensive recovery techniques

This course is designed to give you experience in:

  • pacing yourself (physically)
  • recognizing the challenges presented to you by the course setter
  • perfecting your orienteering skills
  • discrimination of mapping details
  • Brown Course—shorter course for the advanced orienteer
    Red Course—longer course for the advanced orienteer
    Blue Course—longest course for the advanced orienteer

These courses have the same difficulty as green, and vary only in the length of the course and in the physical challenge. Brown is shorter and less physically demanding, red is longer, and Blue is the longest and toughest advanced course.

Quick Route – How To Overlay Your GPS Route on a Map

Andreas Johansson from NEOOC describes how to overlay your GPS track (from a Garmin device) on a map, and how to adjust the track.

Racoongaine VII (Western PA) / 20 MAR 2016

In a rogaine-style format, individuals or teams have a fixed time (3 or 6 hours in this event) to visit as many checkpoints as possible; walking, running and resting as they see fit. The checkpoints are spread over a large area, and are pre-marked on a map issued shortly before the start of the event. Point values for visiting each control vary (and are specified in advance) depending on such factors as distance from the start/finish area, elevation, navigational complexity.

O-Skills: Using Handrails

Using handrails is an easy way to get from one control to the next. A handrail is a feature you can easily follow out in the woods, like a trail, water feature, distinct contour line (like running along a ridge line), or something similar. In the example below, the trail acts as the handrail from control 1 to control 2.

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