Quick start

Basic Navigation Routine – Intermediate + Skills Tool Kit – Advanced Strategies and Beyond Advanced

Better Orienteering aims to help you get better at orienteering. It introduces orienteering skills in a structured way and includes videos and free downloads.

Photo: Steve Rush BOK

If you are a newcomer who has not been orienteering before, or you have only been a few times, have a look at the Beginner section.


If you have been orienteering a while and want to build a solid basis for good navigation then look at the Basic Navigation Routine section under the Skill Levels menu. Also have a look at the Skills Tool Kit under the Intermediate section


If you have been orienteering a bit longer and you have hit a point where your orienteering is not improving then after browsing Better Orienteering you could try the self-diagnostic questions under: How well am I orienteering? It will help you identify the building blocks you need to get in place to improve.


If you are a teacher, the Teaching section will help you start finding resources. See also Books and Resources. There are videos and downloads throughout Better Orienteering that may help you, once you are clear on the level of material you are needing.


Better Orienteering works through a set of ideas that will help you join up your skills effectively and use them reliably when orienteering. That is why this website, and the guide that accompanies it, are not just a list of skills.

(Note: throughout Better Orienteering, text in bold is for emphasis not clickable links. You can find what you are looking for from the menus or by searching key words in the Search widget)

What is included on Better Orienteering? – a fuller contents list

Below is a fuller contents list of content on Better Orienteering. This is mainly included for more experienced orienteers navigating this website looking for something specific. The headings correspond to Menu items of the website.


Video – Start Orienteering a Newcomer’s Guide

New to orienteering? Some tips – a visual summary

IOF 3 videos

  • The Map
  • Planning your route
  • Finding your way

British Orienteering Newcomer’s guide

Introduction to map symbols

ISOM 2017 map symbols – Maprunner

IOF control descriptions 2018 – Maprunner

Colour coding explained

Orienteering world-wide 

Video – Orienteering more than just running

Where can I try orienteering?

British Orienteering Events list

Ollie O’Brien’s events map

Forestry Commission Permanent Orienteering Courses

Example of a permanent orienteering course

British Orienteering list of permanent courses

Skill Levels

Basic Techniques

Basic Navigation Routine a visual summary

Why this guide? An overview of Better Orienteering

Routines, concepts and strategies

Remember the basics, have a firm navigation routine

Fold the map

Orient the map to north

Break every leg into 3 parts

       Traffic lights

Video- Setting the map

Go steady to number 1 and get into the flow

Orienteering is about navigation much more than it is about running

Stay in constant contact with the map and compass

Video – Using the compass

When you become unsure of where you are, relocate yourself straight away

Only run as fast as you can think

You vs the navigation    

Don’t simply import your navigation techniques from other scenarios

Spend more time running with maps


It is easy to lose time but very difficult to make it up

 Everybody makes mistakes all the time

Anticipate errors and enjoy continually relocating

Video – Aiming Off

Treat every leg as a new beginning

Ignore other people never talk

Route choice – Look at the options for a leg, weigh them up, then commit

 Video – Route choice

 Know when and how to simplify

 Video – Simplification


Orienteering styles do vary, there is no one right way to navigate

Identify a virtual corridor to track within

Control flow is important but difficult to execute well

 Have the bigger picture in mind

Decide what type of leg you are facing

The right approach for the course in hand

Every map is wrong and orienteering maps are amazing

More certain vs Less certain features

Improve your distance estimation

Beyond Advanced

How to join it all up

It doesn’t have to all be in words

Improve your mental maps

Video – Intricate Contours

Feeling the terrain

Develop an extended race routine

Conclusion – how far can you take your skills?

2 articles by Tierry Geourgious

 Video – Last run of the king

How well am I orienteering?

How well am I orienteering? 3 self-diagnostic questions

Race Analysis

Review your route and performance afterwards

A catalogue of errors

Do practice, don’t only race

Race analysis table

Suggested reading and resources

Books and Resources

Better orienteering as a download

Other free downloads                


Useful websites on orienteering and other resources


 British Orienteering

World of O


SLOW Get up to speed videos

Orienteering USA

Orienteering Australia

Video – An introduction to orienteering from NEOOC

Orienteering Canada Skills





On the Red Line

British Mountain Bike Orienteering


O Maps at World of O

Routegadget UK

Open Orienteering Map UK

Duncan Bayliss, 2019