NZOF Coaching Director
Section 2 Intermediate Techniques
In the last section I started by describing the "Little Book of O Techniques" and stated
that every orienteer should have some of the sections of the book etched on their
mind and should "open" the relevant pages in the mind throughout an event. The
first article dealt in the last issue of " NZ Orienteering" with the basics and in it I said
that these techniques should be known to all of orange standard and above. The first
one was map setting or orientation and I am sure that even white course orienteers
know about that one! However, I have been surprised how many times this
technique is not applied, even by national squad members! How many of you hit a
track and just hare along it with out checking its direction by simply lining the map
up with north on the compass? Or worse still, you do it too quickly, see that it is
nearly right and make everything else on the leg fit in with the mistake, even
though it would have only taken 2 seconds to check it properly?
The moral of this story is that as well as having a "Little Book of O Techniques"
etched in your mind, that you also actually keep refering to it in your mind while you are on the course. If you do this meticulously throughout a course, you will
make far fewer mistakes of less duration!
9. Compass Bearings
- These can be used from an obvious attack point to the control. The
basic method is described below but you should be practicing more
advanced compass use as described after the basic method
- Put compass on map with edge along where you want to go
- Turn dial till lines in dial match the north lines on the
map (note north to north!)
- Hold compass with edge you used in stage 1 pointing away from you
- Turn self and compass until the red end of the needle lies over
the north arrow in the dial and you will be facing the way you need to go
- Thumb compass technique does these stages automatically but misses out
turning the dial.
- If you use a base plate try holding it on the map all the time like a thumb
compass and then you will always have a permanent rough bearing
- Compass and map are meant to complement each other and I strongly
recommend that you hold them both in the same hand, preferably your
steadiest hand which is usually the one that you naturally carry the map in
- If you do this you will always be aplying the 1st basic technique
described in the last issue ... orientate your map and check everything off
against that orientation.
- Most orienteers know how to take a compass bearing but it is included here
in its full form so that you will be able to explain it to a newcomer.
11. Contour Interpretation
- Know some basic contour and earth features such as knoll, depression, earth
bank and steep slope. Such a level of skill would overlap with the basic
techniques described in the last issue
- understand contours in terms of being lines joining spots of equal height and
realise that they are a picture of the shape of the ground, not measured
- mappers may draw them slightly differently to how you see them
- know what 2.5, 5 and 10m contours look like
- understand features such as slope steepness, spurs, reenterants, break of slope
- Have a method of working out up and down, use tags, streams and tops
- notice that you can link contour features together or simplify them to create handrails
11. Collecting Features
- obvious features to go hard for on the route (collecting)
- features beyond the control to "bounce back" off (catching)
12. Aiming off
- aiming deliberately to one side of a feature to know which way to turn
when you hit it.
- This skill is needed at all levels, but would be one to master at this stage
- First of all orientate your map and try to match any line features
- Then look at contour features and vegetation and try to match this up
- Beware that there might be more than one possible match and take all into consideration
- Try to think how far you have come and in what direction since a last known feature
- Be prepared to run on further in the direction of the control to
find something bigger to relocate on
- Be prepared to back track to a big feature to relocate properly if necessary
- It is often more efficient to get out to something big than to
wander around in one place for a long time
The techniques I have described in this section are what I would call
"basics for red courses". These will get you around a red course
reasonably well. However, there are many more advanced techniques
which I will be describing in the next section So, revise the first section
and practise these ones in the mean time and be ready for some
advanced ones in the next issue!
Back to the Little Book index.