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Types of Orienteering

In the bush, in a park, along urban streets, on campuses, or a mix of these .... Wherever you orienteer, it will be an adventure away from the humdrum of life.  Generally a solo sport, but some events cater for group entries - and beginners can always go as a group.

A number of International Orienteering Federation sanctioned formats of orienteering exist. 

  • Foot-O: has by far the greatest number of events.  'Sprint', 'Middle' distance or 'Long' distance are all 'line events' where one must take each control in order as numbered.  An 'UltraSprint' event is another form of line event held on a smaller area but one where every tree and bush has been mapped, however no clues or control IDs are supplied thus demanding confidence to know exactly where you are.  'Score' events on other hand, have a set time in which to visit in any order as many of the various points-allocated controls as you can to maximise your points total.   Relays are occasionally conducted, involving either club teams or state teams.  '3-D orienteering' takes competitors taken up, down and around building complexes, sometimes even through rooms and along corridors - it takes the catch-phrase Orienteering is Mental to a new level!  Another relatively new type of event is 'Maze-O'.  As nothing more than a flat piece of ground is required, the same layout template can be used at multiple venues on the same day, facilitating even international competition.  'Scatter Ois when you have to find a set number of controls and the fastest time wins.  Lastly, to cater for those who cannot read a map, a String Course is sometimes offered to get kids into the rhythm of matching numbers and the fun of punching controls.

  • MTB-O: mountain bike O is offered by pockets of enthusiasts across the country.

  • Duo-O: the pairing of Foot-O with one other format, usually MTB-O (although kayak-O has been offered on occasion).

  • Ski-O: is only offered sporadically in Australia, but is very popular in the northern hemisphere.

  • Trail-O: caters for all ability/disability levels, but is barely offered here.

And there is also our kindred sport, Rogaining in which participants must go out in groups of at least 2.  A classic rogaine is a 24-hour Score Event.  Reduced 12-hr and 6-hr versions are usually offered concurrently.  Metropolitan 6 hr Metrogaine events have become popular, and more recently 3-hr Minigaines are also extremely popular.  Many orienteers do rogaining as well.

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