Beginner and Intermediate Course Setter's Workshop
Evan Custer
December 2,2000


Aim of good course planning

Courses should be:

One should treat "A, "B," and "C" courses as if they were "A" level courses as far as the technical aspects are concerned. All control sites should be correct and suitable for the competitor, and all flags and descriptions should be correct.


Basic definitions



General principles

An orienteering course is defined by the start, the controls, and the finish. These points have precise locations in the terrain and are shown correspondingly on the map. Between these points are the legs, along which the competitor must orienteer.



Control descriptions

Selection of terrain and major areas

Assembly area

Finish area

Start area

Avoid dangerous areas. Design courses so competitors are not tempted to cross dangerous or out of bounds areas. Insert control(s) so that there are mandatory crossing points of dangerous areas, such as busy roads, deep streams, fences, etc. If unavoidable, describe in course setter's notes, and mark with blue and yellow streamers. Mark all pieces of barbed wire on ground on logical routes with streamers so competitors don't trip or cut themselves.

Drawing board pre-field work

Course winning time and length guidelines

Course Winning Time Distance Ratio USOF Distance BAOCDistance
White 25-30 min 20-25 % 2.0-3.0 km 1.5-2.0 km
Yellow 35-40 min 40-45 % 3.0-5.0 km 2.5-4.0 km
Orange 50-55 min 50-55 % 4.5-7.0 km 3.0-5.0 km
Brown 45-50 min 34-38 % 3.0-5.0 km 3.0-4.5 km
Green 50-55 min 50-55 % 4.5-7.0 km 3.5-6.0 km
Red 60-65 min 70-75 % 6.0-10.0 km 5.0-8.5 km
Blue 75-80 min 100% 8.0-14.0 km 7.0-12.0km

Field work



White course guidelines

Yellow course

Orange course

Advanced courses

Vetting & Meet Preparation

Vetter's responsibilities

Practice runs

It is ideal to either run each course yourself, or have a club member who cannot attend the event run the courses to check on their length and how they flow. Some final adjustment can be made to course length if necessary.

Assignment of control codes when using standard pin punches

Assignment of control codes when using electronic punches

Control Description Sheets

Making master maps using older offset printed maps

OCAD maps

Course setter's notes

Hanging controls

Electronic Punching

One to three days before event

Day of event