Orienteering 101

Do you know : Orienteering is a truly global sport. With more than 76 members federations worldwide, an orienteer can try their hand at it whenever they visit a new country. 

The International Orienteering Federation (IOF) is the international governing body of the sport of orienteering. The IOF was founded in 1961 and recognised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 1977. More information about IOF can be found at https://orienteering.org/

The Orienteering Federation of Singapore (OFS) is the local chapter of the sport here. They are a member federation of the IOF since 2018 and is recognised by Sport Singapore as the authority for orienteering promotion. More information about the OFS can be found at https://www.orienteeringsingapore.org.sg 

Orienteering is known as the sport for the thinking runner as it combines both physical and mental challenges. To win, one must not only have the physical capability of running from checkpoint to checkpoint, one must also have the mental concentration and alertness to make decisions on the go.

Orienteering is suitable for anybody and everybody, regardless of age or physical ability. It can be as simple as a leisurely walk, jog or run in any terrain – parks, heartlands, shopping mall, etc. One of the key appeals is that it does not require any special or technical knowledge or skill. The easy accessibility to neighbourhood parks, with open terrain and paved running tracks, open the opportunity to encourage those with physical disabilities to partake in the sport as well.

Orienteering serves as an ideal fun and active family bonding experience where parent and child can learn basic orienteering skills and techniques. The sense of the family achievement in learning new skills and participating in an event together, makes a nice stroll in the park all the more rewarding.

Sequence Orienteering

Sequence orienteering involves a race between controls in a preset order. The winner is the person who completes the course with accuracy (correct order) in the shortest time.

Hint: You should visit the controls in the sequence shown on your map as different categories may have a different map!

Score Orienteering

Competitors visit as many controls as possible within a time limit. There is usually a mass start (rather than staggered), and different categories have different cut off time.

Controls may have different point values depending on difficulty, and there is a point penalty for each minute late. The competitor with the most points is the winner. Should there be a tie, the time taken will be considered.

Control points are placed on features on the map that can be clearly identified on the ground. Control points are marked in the terrain by white and orange “flags”.

Competitors receive a “control description sheet” or “clue sheet” which gives a precise description of the feature and the location of the kite, e.g., boulder, 5m, north side. For experienced orienteers, the descriptions use symbols (pictorial), in accordance with the IOF Control descriptions.

You can find more detailed information on the control description here –

 IOF Control Descriptions (A4)

Triangle : Represent the start location
Circle : The centre of the circle demarks the control location
Double Circle : Represent the Finish location, in some instances the START and FINISH could be at the same location
Purple Line: This is a sequence orienteering format – You must visit the control in this order but it does not shows you how to run to the control.

If you are interested to learn more about the sport of orienteering, be sure to visit the link on Orienteering SG’s website!

Click the link here:

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See you in the next event soon.