Introduction to Orienteering. Boy Scout Troop Meeting Skills Session 28 April 2005 Presented by Rich Faherty Scoutmaster, Troop 30 Watertown. Orienteering. Introduction A Brief History or Orienteering Review of Scout Rank Requirements Compass Topographic Maps
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Boy Scout Troop Meeting
28 April 2005
Presented by Rich Faherty
Scoutmaster, Troop 30 Watertown
Orienteering is a ‘thinking’ outdoor sport that combines a participant’s mental ability with physical ability. In orienteering, participants navigate routes between isolated control points using a compass and a map. The emphasis is on map-reading and direction finding skills. It is popular as both a recreational sport and a competitive sport. The sport has several forms, with many variations of venue, length, duration and mode of movement. Some of the basic forms include:
Orienteering courses can be set in any environment where an appropriate map has been made. A variety of modes of movement can be used individually or combined to hold an event.
Types marked with an "*" have international championships sanctioned by the IOF (International Orienteering Federation). Horseback, handicapped, swim and scuba events can also be held.
1. Explain the rules of safe hiking, both on the highway and cross-country, during the day and at night. Explain what to do if you are lost.
1a. Demonstrate how a compass works and how to orient a map. Explain what map symbols mean.
1b. Using a compass and map together, take a five-mile hike (or 10 miles by bike) approved by your adult leader and your parent or guardian.
1. Demonstrate how to find directions during the day and at night without using a compass.
2. Using a compass, complete an orienteering course that covers at least one mile and requires measuring the height and/or width of designated items (tree, tower, canyon, ditch, etc.).
direction of travel arrow
north alignment arrow
lanyard holesCompass Parts
The compass is used primarily to take bearings. A bearing is a horizontal angle measured clockwisefrom north (either magnetic north or true north) to some point (either a point on a map or a point in the real world). Bearings are used to accurately travel to a destination or to locate your position.
If you are working from a map, it is called a map bearing and the angle you are measuring is the angle measured clockwise from true north on your map to this other point on the map.
If you are taking a bearing off a real point on the landscape with a compass, you are using your compass to measure the angle clockwise from magnetic north to this point on the landscape. This is called a magnetic bearing.
Remember that the bearing is measured clockwise. If you think of true north as 12 o'clock then a bearing to the right of that (1 o'clock) is greater than true north and a bearing to the left of True north (11 o'clock) is less than true north.
7. Draw a line on the map along the edge of the base plate, intersecting the prominent landmark symbol. Your position is somewhere along this line.
8. Repeat this procedure for the other prominent landmark. The second landmark should be as close to 90 degrees from the first as possible. Your approximate position is where the two lines intersect.
9. You can repeat this process a third time to show an area bounded by three lines. You are located within this triangle.
10. If you are located on a prominent feature marked on the map such as a ridge, stream, or road, only one calculation from a prominent landmark should be necessary. Your position will be approximately where the drawn line intersects this linear feature
True north and south are of course the local directions to the respective geographic poles. (More precisely, these are horizontal directions, along great circles, toward the poles; the real directions to the poles, along straight lines, point into the ground at angles to the earth's surface.) The geographic poles are defined by astronomical observations, and reflect the rotation of the earth (experienced roughly as the progress of day and night): the earth's axis is the line connecting the geographic poles, and every other point on the earth's surface traces, roughly daily, a circle whose center lies on that axis.
Magnetic north and south are widely misunderstood. The statement is often made that magnetic north is the direction to the North Magnetic Pole. This is, in most places, fairly close to being true. Of course, as with geographic poles, the direction of interest is almost always a horizontal direction. But the horizontal direction in question is that of the needle of a good compass, which nearly always differs measurably from the horizontal direction to the nearer magnetic pole.
The popular idea of "a huge body of magnetized material inside the earth" (and the picture of it as a symmetrical body) encourages this picture. In fact, flows of electrical charges in molten minerals produce the magnetic field. Any overall pattern of flow is secondary to flows that are largely vertical rather than horizontal. These local flows coordinate to a substantial extent so that there is an overall roughly north-south magnetic field, but the nearest flows contribute most strongly to the field sensed by a compass at the earth's surface; the horizontal component of these fields is usually near to the (horizontal) direction from one magnetic pole to another, but with some deviation to left or right. (What is true in the popular picture is that following a compass will eventually lead to a magnetic pole, but following a slightly meandering path.)
The Earth's magnetic field, as measured by a magnetic sensor on or above the Earth's surface, is actually a composite of several magnetic fields generated by a variety of sources. These fields are superimposed on each other and through inductive processes interact with each other. The most important of these geomagnetic fields are:
The observed magnetic field is a sum of contributions of the main field (varying in both time and space), the crustal field (varies spatially, but considered constant in time for the time-scales of the World Magnetic Model -- WMM), and the disturbance fields (varying in space and rapidly in time). Earth's main magnetic field dominates, accounting for over 95% of the field strength at the Earth's surface. Secular variation is the slow change in time of the main magnetic field. The WMM represents only the main geomagnetic field
declination diagram and dataMap Features
When first looking at a topographic map, it may appear somewhat confusing. There are a few rules that topographic contours must obey, however, and once you understand these rules the map becomes an extremely useful and easy to use tool. The rules are as follows:
1. Every point on a contour line represents the exact same elevation (remember the glass inserted into the mountain). As a result of this every contour line must eventually close on itself to form an irregular circle (in other words, the line created by the intersection of the glass with the mountain cannot simply disappear on the backside of the mountain). Contour lines on the edge of a map do not appear to close on themselves because they run into the edge of the map, but if you got the adjacent map you would find that, eventually, the contour will close on itself.
2. Contour lines can never cross one another. Each line represents a separate elevation, and you can’t have two different elevations at the same point. The only exception to this rule is if you have an overhanging cliff or cave where, if you drilled a hole straight down from the upper surface, you would intersect the earth’s surface at two elevations at the same X,Y coordinate. In this relatively rare case, the contour line representing the lower elevation is dashed. The only time two contour lines may merge is if there is a vertical cliff.
3. Moving from one contour line to another always indicates a change in elevation. To determine if it is a positive (uphill) or negative (downhill) change you must look at the index contours on either side.
4. On a hill with a consistent slope, there are always four intermediate contours for every index contour. If there are more than four index contours it means that there has been a change of slope and one or more contour line has been duplicated. This is most common when going over the top of a hill or across a valley.
5. The closer contour lines are to one another, the steeper the slope is in the real world. If the contour lines are evenly spaced it is a constant slope, if they are not evenly spaced the slope changes.
6. A series of closed contours (the contours make a circle) represents a hill. If the closed contours are hatched, it indicates a closed depression.
7. Contour lines crossing a stream valley will form a "V" shape pointing in the uphill (and upstream) direction
1. Show that you know first aid for the types of injuries that could occur while orienteering, including cuts, scratches, blisters, snakebite, insect stings, tick bites, heat and cold reactions (sunburn, heatstroke, heat exhaustion, hypothermia), and dehydration. Explain to your counselor why you should be able to identify poisonous plants and poisonous animals that are found in your area.
2. Explain what orienteering is.
3. Do the following:
a. Explain how a compass works. Describe the features of an orienteering compass.
b. In the field, show how to take a compass bearing and follow it.
4. Do the following:
a. Explain how a topographic map shows terrain features. Point out and name five terrain features on a map and in the field.
b. Point out and name 10 symbols on a topographic map.
c. Explain the meaning of declination. Tell why you must consider declination when using map and compass together.
d. Show a topographic map with magnetic north-south lines.
e. Show how to measure distances using an orienteering compass.
f. Show how to orient a map using a compass.
5. Set up a 100-meter pace course. Determine your walking and running pace for 100 meters. Tell why it is important to pace-count.
6. Do the following:
a. Identify 20 international control description symbols. Tell the meaning of each symbol.
b. Show a control description sheet and explain the information provided.
c. Explain the following terms and tell when you would use them: attack point, collecting feature, aiming off, contouring, reading ahead, handrail, relocation, rough versus fine orienteering.
7. Do the following:
a. Take part in three orienteering events. One of these must be a cross-country course.
b. After each event, write a report with
8. Do ONE of the following:
a. Set up a cross-country course of at least 2,000 meters long with at least five control markers. Prepare the master map and control description sheet.
b. Set up a score-orienteering course with 12 control points and a time limit of at least 60 minutes. Prepare the master map and control description sheet.
9. Act as an official during an orientation. This may be during the running of the course you set up for requirement 8.
10. Teach orienteering techniques to your patrol, troop or crew.