The OBC Indoor O-Maze-Building Contest is Launched

One of the more exciting orienteering exercises for both experts and newbies has to be navigating an orienteering maze, using electronic (SI) timing at the maze control points.

O-mazes are fun to design, and easy to set up outdoors by simply using the usual metal control stands (or other in-ground posts) and running flagging tape between the posts to build the outline of the maze. SI units (with or without flags) are placed at strategic points within the maze, and competitors are provided with a course map showing the sequence in which the controls have to be visited.

Most mazes can be completed in a few minutes (or less), and more than one competitor can be in the maze at the same time, which adds to the navigational chaos (and spectator enjoyment). Although course times are short, the engagement is usually more extended because many people want to run the maze more than once, to see if they can improve their time (each competitor downloads their SI stick after their ‘run’, to get a record of their time). If you want to keep it fresh, It is easy to change the course at intervals; just move the SI units around to build a different configuration.

All of this is great fun, and pretty straightforward when you are operating outdoors. However, mazes can be just as much fun indoors, if you have the gear to set one up. However, most facilities are not enthusiastic about orienteers driving metal posts into their nice hardwood (or concrete) floors, and most clubs do not have ready access to sufficient numbers of stable portable posts that could be used for running the tape lines.

How can we make INDOOR maze-building practical and easy for organizers/coaches/trainers?

We know that orienteers are smart, inventive (and competitive 😉 people, including many engineers, so Due West decided to launch a BC-wide INDOOR O-MAZE-BUILDING design contest.

Contest Rules

  1. Design a way to quickly set up a stable maze (based on at least a 5×5 matrix) on a hard (i.e. impenetrable) surface. The set-up cannot damage the floor
  2. The uprights must be at least 1m high and able to accept flagging tape (or a similar ‘linear separation device’) without falling over when someone bumps it (things can get a little crazy in a maze)
  3. SI units can be positioned on stands, or small cones or on the floor in some stable fashion (e.g. taped down)
  4. The required gear has to be light, easily stored and transportable in one person’s car (i.e. NOT 25 large orange traffic cones!)
  5. A completely original design solution is not required – feel free to integrate ideas from other sources (as long as they are not patented!).
  6. The goal is to develop a practicable solution, not an ‘insanely-ingenious-but-hard-to-implement’ model (although that would be fun to see, too 😉)
  7. Build an example, send us a picture (convince us it works), and the prize (a $200 gift card) could be yours.

Contest deadline, for submissions (by e-mail to: duewest@orienteeringbc.ca): August 01, 2020