Using a Mapping Compass

Orienteering, the sport of navigation with map and compass, is easy to learn, but always challenging. It is a sport for everyone and can be adapted for all abilities. While most of our students are becoming familiar with geocaching, a more traditional option to learn navigation skills in a fun way is orienteering. It is a wonderful way to combine physical activity with geographical skills and tie in the mapping social studies curriculum.

The object is to travel to a series of points shown on the map and get back to the finish in the shortest amount of time. This travelling can take the form of a leisurely walk or a competitive race.

The points on a course are marked with orange and white flags and punches, electronic devices, pictures or symbols to record as proof you’ve been there.

Orienteering involves map reading and decision-making in addition to a great workout and is often called the “thinking sport”.  Any kind of map may be used for orienteering.

World Orienteering Day is normally held in the month of May and there are events all over the world to celebrate.

Orienteering Canada holds a National Orienteering Week in May as well and the two events complement each other. Orienteering Clubs across Canada will be organizing beginner-friendly events. National Orienteering Week is a great time to try the sport of orienteering and using the hashtag #OrienteerNOW may win you some sweet Orienteering Canada swag.

Orienteering Canada has helpful resources available here to help you get started setting up courses and teaching compass and map reading skills.

Map compasses are inexpensive enough so that all students can have one. Perfect for learning map navigation and basic orienteering, students can use compasses to locate true magnetic north.

Now, find or make a course and have fun!

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