Somewhat like standard topographic or hiking trail maps, but bigger (at finer scale), better (far more mapped features), more accurate and more up-to-date, orienteering maps are among the most detailed topographic maps available, and they take significant skill and time to make.
Maps are generally owned (and copyrighted) by the Orienteering USA club nearest that terrain, and these clubs often make their maps available for a small fee to outdoor enthusiasts, educators and land managers, in addition to their primary use as the basis for the local and national orienteering competitions they host.
The International Orienteering Federation governs the specifications for mapping. There are currently 4 separate specifications: Orienteering Maps, Sprint Orienteering Maps, MTB Orienteering Maps, and Ski Orienteering Maps. The specifications can be found here.
Land is as fundamental to orienteering as maps are. After land has been located that is suitable for orienteering, two important land-related tasks remain:
- Obtaining permission to use the land
- Taking care of the land
Several resources help with land access. These include:
- Orienteering USA’s Land Use Policy
- Park Supervisor’s Guide
- Environmental Orienteering Handbook
- Hosting Events Off-Trail
- OUSA’s Insurance Coverage
Andrea Schneider’s Lidar mapping Guide
OCAD and Lidar (Peter Goodwin)
Creating Orienteering Basemaps using Lidar (Bill Cusworth)
Orienteering mapping using a GPS watch (Gord Hunter)
Georgia Area Orienteering Club’s Junior Mapper Guide
Orienteering Mappers Int. (Facebook Group)
Sprint mapping techniques (Not updated for ISSprOM)
Point of contact:
Orienteering USA Mapping Coordinator, Greg Lennon.
Orienteering USA provides information on mapping service providers as a service to members and others. Inclusion of a service provider does not imply endorsement.
It’s recommended that you request samples of their work and request a valid time schedule before contracting with them. Note that visas must be taken into account for mappers based outside the U.S.