Courses and Formats

Check here for the rules guiding the sport of orienteering. Most orienteering courses are organized in a ‘classic’ (point-to-point navigation) format, which requires the orienteer to visit all the controls in order. No controls can be skipped. The object is to find all the controls as quickly as possible.

Two other event formats that are often used are Score O and Sprint O.

  • Score O – An orienteering event where participants are given a time limit (usually one hour) to collect as many controls as possible, in any order. Controls typically each have a point value, with more remote locations having a higher value. Orienteers who exceed the time-limit will incur penalty points.
  • Sprint O – A very fast-paced orienteering event usually organized in an urban area or non-technical terrain such as a park or university campus. Controls are relatively easy to locate, with good route choice and running speed being the deciding factors in achieving the fastest time.

Types of Events

Orienteer running in the open

There are several levels of orienteering events, ranging from Canada Cup events to local events, depending on the intended calibre of competition and level of organization offered. Orienteering events are advertised through the club websites and the OBC website, and they are always ‘open’ events – everyone is welcome to participate!

Canada Cup Events

  • A Canada Cup Event is a formally organized competition, where participants compete in many different course levels, based on age and gender categories (e.g. Women 21-34 yrs old; Juniors 15-16 yrs old; etc.)
  • Examples of Canada Cup events include the annual BC Orienteering Championships, the Western Canadian Orienteering Championships and the Canadian Orienteering Championships.


  • A B-Meet is a local event featuring usually 3-4 different levels of courses.
  • A typical event might include four courses ranging from C-1(Novice), C-2 (Intermediate), C-3 (Advanced – Short Course), to C-4 (Advanced – Long Course).
  • Beginners are welcome at B-Level events and can participate in C-1 or C-2 courses based on their experience.


  • A C-Meet is a low-key local event that often only has two courses; a novice course and another more advanced course.
  • The focus of these events is more recreational, with an emphasis on socializing, training and practice.