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Bayfront Park

Date: (Sat.) Jul. 26, 2008
Location: Menlo Park, CA
Event Director: - 408.386.9343
Course Setter: Cameron Ferguson
Type: C; Standard White, Yellow, and Orange courses; introducing Mobile-O (2-person teams with cell phones)

Course Setter's Notes


Get your cell phones charged and those minutes saved (if you're not on a weekend-free plan). It's time for the first ever Mobile-O event! There's a Checklist and Tips below.

Park Description

It's Bayfront. It's open. It's relatively flat. It's got some fun distinct locations, and some varying vegetation. This tends to be a runner's park as opposed to a navigator's park. However the new Mobile-O should add a new twist to an old park!

Course Stats

  Course     Distance       Climb        Controls   Navigation Level
  White       2.3 km   40 m/130 ft/1.7%     16      Beginner
  Yellow      1.9 km   37 m/120 ft/1.9%     12      Advanced Beginner
  Orange      2.7 km   70 m/230 ft/2.5%     14      Intermediate
  Mobile 1    2.1 km   70 m/230 ft/3.2%     11      FUN!
  Mobile 2    2.3 km   49 m/160 ft/2.1%     13      REALLY FUN!


The grass has been mowed in most sections of the park, but you may still want to use gaiters to keep the stickers out of your shoes (except for the White course, which stays on trails). Also be aware that the park is home to ground squirrels and other burrowing animals, and the cut grass can cover their holes.


Due to the fact that Bayfront is an artificial park, it changes quite frequently. At the time of map printing a few paths were completely missing, some were run down, and some built up. However, from the look of the park, it seems they are doing some major construction in one place, which may result in some additional paths or lack of paths. If this occurs, you will be notified on the day what has changed.


There is water at the Start/Finish Area plus the restrooms. No water is out on the course, so carry your own water if necessary. However, none of the courses are very long, so I'm not expecting you to need it.

Control Locations

Due to the sparse terrain and small size of this park, controls are often located close to each other. Please be careful to compare the control numbers on the bags with the control description table. In setting the courses I have attempted to avoid confusing similar controls.

Special Map Symbols

Most of the black ×'s on the map (including some used as control locations) are electrical junction boxes.

Rock sculptures are indicated on the map with a special symbol. The symbol on the clue sheet is the boulder cluster.

Course Descriptions


This is a fairly short and unsophisticated course, made for the beginner or one who just likes to walk paths. All the controls are either on, or next to the path. I decided I wanted to take White orienteers to the rock circle—something that they don't always get to. However White remains fairly short, with little climb, which all of the courses have in common.


Again fairly short and unsophisticated. Controls are a bit further apart and not necessarily on a path, however a path can be used to get to each location. Yellow also visits the rock circle. Just your basic Yellow course.


Not super long, however I tried to create some interesting route choices, something not always possible. This did lead to a fair bit of climb and a shorter course, but it should hopefully get at least a few of you taking different routes. A perfect course to do after the Yellow, with no shared controls!


As described in the Event Announcement, this is a team event. One person (the controller) has a map and guides the other person (the runner) around the course using a cell phone. The runner doesn't have a map. There are two different courses, so each person has a turn as controller and as runner.

The runner has a cell phone (optionally with a speaker or hands free device), an E-stick, a clue sheet, and a compass, but no map.

The controller has a cell phone (optionally with a speaker or hands free device), the map, a clue sheet, and a compass.

The two course times will not be added to determine a team result. Also, the time between courses is not considered—you can take as long as you want to plan for the second course.

Course 1

The easier of the two courses. It starts with a few White-level controls, then Yellow, then Orange-level controls. This helps to create a course that gets progressively harder, easing both of you into the idea of the Mobile-O. It starts with easy-to-describe locations that become harder as it goes on. It will really give you a taste of Mobile Orienteering.

Course 2

The slightly harder of the two. After doing Course 1 both of you should have some experience with Mobile O-ing at Bayfront. So the controls start off a little harder, not following White at the beginning, but rather Yellow then Orange for longer. Keep in mind that both of you have had a chance to do a course, even if one of you was just talking while the other running.

Checklist for the Mobile-O


  1. You may only direct or run a course once! You can't run or direct a course twice. You can't both run and direct the same course.
  2. The partnership must do Course 1 first. Optionally they can then do Course 2, optionally swapping the running and controlling roles.
  3. The runner may not have a map while running. You do not need one for safety reasons, as the park is a small square area, and if you get lost you should just follow a path until you reach the Start!
  4. The controller may not leave the Start/Registration/Mobile-O area. You are not allowed to see your runner on the course.
  5. Time will not be adjusted for cell phone mishaps. If something happens to your phone, tough luck. Think of it like losing your map. It sucks, but its still just tough luck.
  6. Have fun!


How to become an amazing Mobile-O Orienteer. This was learned by testing the courses. It's quick to learn, but if you want a head start here is what we learned.

  1. The number one most important piece of advise I can give you is to TALK, TALK, TALK!!! The line is open. You should be constantly giving each other info. The goal is that both of you are basically running the course, one with a picture of the map in their head, one with a picture of the surrounding in their head. It should be a two-person effort to become one unit. So TALK, TALK, TALK! and TALK SOME MORE!
  2. Know each other's cell phone numbers and start the call before starting the course. Nothing sucks more then having to wait to connect or not know how to call your partner. Test the phones before you start the course.
  3. Keep the call open at all times. Don't make multiple calls, just keep the line open. It should be a constant link between the two of you.
  4. Use solid, easy-to-see both in person and on a map, items. Rocks and paths are good, as are vegetation boundaries. Hills can be useful to find a broad picture, but are harder to keep a constant stream of conversation about, and in a park as small as Bayfront aren't as useful.
  5. Use "north", "south", "east", & "west". Do not use "left" & "right". You have no clue where the other person is pointing. But you do have a clue where north is! However, be careful not to mix up east and west, as this can lead to a pretty catastrophic error (something Alex and I did several times).
  6. Once at a control, verify your location. This is the easiest time to know exactly where your runner is and where they are pointing.
  7. As the controller, plan a route. Know and tell the runner what they should expect to pass and if you can, approximate a distance.
  8. As a runner, constantly update the controller on your position. It really helps if they can put a finger on the map, and know where you are.
  9. If your call drops:
    a. Runner stops immediately. Don't try to make it to the next control.
    b. Controller makes the call. Runner waits to receive it.
    c. If, after several minutes, the call hasn't gone through, the runner should backtrack to the last place where the call signal was good.
  10. After Course 1, you must hand your map in to receive the map for Course 2.
  11. Once finished with Course 1, discuss with your partner before beginning your next course. Consolidate your knowledge of how to Mobile-O, and start again!

Example Conversation from a hypothetical control point to the next one (i.e., this dialog does not correspond to an actual course):

Runner: Okay, I am at control 7. I am facing North.
Controller: Great, now head south along the path. On the way you should pass some trees on your left and then a small boulder on your right.
(Action: Runner starts going that way.)
Runner: Okay, I am going past the trees and I see the boulder.
Controller: Great, now you should reach an intersection, take the path to the west until you reach a bend, its about 100 meters from the intersection.
Runner: I have gotten to the intersection and I am going west. I can kind of see the bend, what should I do when I reach it?
Controller: When you reach the bend, look to the North and there should be some trees. In the center of those trees is a boulder, the control is on the boulder.
Runner: Okay, I am at the bend, but there are two sets of trees... which ones?
Controller: Sorry, take the western-most set, its in the center.
Runner: I am in the trees and there's the boulder and the control! I am at the control.
Controller: Great! Now...