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Trying to learn more about orienteering? You've come to the right place.  Here are some good videos that cover the basics.  Below them are a list of some common questions people have about orienteering. 


Not finding what you are looking for?  Come ask us!  Come to one of our meets and you will get access to the most  orienteering knowledge in the area all in one place.   If you can't make it, you can reach out to us online at or on Facebook.


Map Symbols

ISOM 2017 Orienteering Map Symbols.jpg

Control Descriptions


Wiki Page With Pictures

  • What is Orienteering?
    Orienteering is a sport that involves navigating a set course from point to point in diverse and usually unfamiliar terrain using a specialized topographical map and a compass. Checkpoints are circled on a specially prepared map, and you decide your own route between them. Should you go straight, through the forest and up the hill? Or perhaps take the longer but flatter trail for awhile? These are the kinds of decisions that run through an orienteer’s mind. Orienteers use only a map and compass to navigate, but compass knowledge is not needed to get started. In fact, the primary skill in orienteering is reading the map and relating it to the terrain, and you can do that with just your eyeballs.
  • Who can do it?
    It can be enjoyed by people of all ages as a competitive cross-country race or as a recreational walk in the woods. Beginners and newcomers are always welcome at OLOU meets. We have courses and training available to assist individuals and families in learning how to orienteer. Come out and join in the fun!
  • What can I expect at my first event?
    Check-in at registration, sign a waiver sheet, pay your fee and pick up an e-punch/fingerstick, whistle, and compass if you need them. GoGo Series meets are designed for beginners and regulars with courses designed for each. It is a casual atmosphere and one of our more experienced members can give you a quick tutorial on what to expect and how to read the map. Just be sure to ask when you check in.
  • What does it cost?
    The fee varies from meet to meet but at our GoGo Meets it's a flat fee of $5 per person for both courses. Young children who are going with an adult are free. A 2nd adult can also come along for free. The fee includes a custom made map, fingerstick rental, and beginner instruction.
  • What should I bring?
    Water, good shoes, and outdoor clothes to handle any rough trails are the most important.
  • Do I have to run?
    Don't be misled by the term 'sprints' - Orienteering is for all speeds, fast and slow. Whether you want a thrilling or relaxing experience is up to you!
  • Is this suitable for young children?
    Most of our meets have beginner/family/kids courses. Just check the meet description to find out.
  • Can I go with a group?
    You may participate in a group as large as 6 people (with the respective fee), though for the best experience, we recommend that your group be only 2 or 3 people, so everyone stays engaged in the activity. If enough maps are available we recommend that everyone in your group carry a map.
  • How long will this take?
    First of all, courses are measured as the crow flies, meaning directly from one checkpoint to another. However, since you are not a bird, you will travel farther than this distance as you zig-zag to get to each checkpoint. Course distances are published in kilometers, so a good rule of thumb is to ’round up’ the kilometers to miles to approximate how far you will go. So for example, at a 5-km course, you may actually travel about 5 miles. Alright, now that you’ve estimated how far you will go, anticipate moving a bit slower than your average hiking or trail running pace (depending on whether you plan to hike or run). You can only move as fast as you can navigate! Plus, waist-high grass can really slow you down. Also, you are bound to get a bit fuddled here and there. Still want a ballpark? Most GoGo courses take between 20-50 minutes, depending on which course you choose and your pace.
  • What is a GoGo Meet?
    GoGo Meets are weekly orienteering events held around the metropolitan Louisville area. The Winter Series are Sunday afternoons while the Summer Series are Tuesday evenings. There are 2 courses at every meet - a beginner/family/first-timer friendly and a more advanced/longer/more challenging version. Regular attendees of the weekly meets will be eligible for a season ending event called 'Chase the Rabbit'. The start times are calibrated in an attempt to have everyone finish at roughly the same time.
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