Types of Orienteering

There are many variations to the standard orienteering event. Here are a few of the types that may be found. The Vulcan Orienteering Club does not typically offer many of these variations. However, the Georgia Orienteering Club (GAOC) typically offers most of these variations at least once during the year. Check the GAOC schedule or VOC schedule to see if any of these variations are on the schedule if you are interested.


In Bike-O, competitors use a bicycle to navigate part or all of an orienteering course. When GAOC has offered Bike-O, competitors navigate a traditional orienteering course through the woods on foot, then choose 1 of 3 bicycle courses routed on either gravel or paved roads.

Bubba Goat

The Bubba Goat is the southern version of "Goat orienteering." This event is typically very long (although sometimes an optional short loop is offered). The format is up to the meet director. Typically there is a mass start and are allowed to follow other competitors, and may skip controls on the course (as specified by the meet director).

The Bubba Goat started in Georgia and has since rotated to the following SE clubs:

1996 – GAOC
1997 – GAOC
1998 – COK
1999 – VOC
2000 – FLO
2001 – BOK
2002 – GAOC
2003 – COK
2004 – GAOC
2005 – VOC
2006 – BOK
2007 – FLO
2008 – COK
2009 – GAOC
2010 – VOC
2011 – BOK
2012 – FLO
2013 – GAOC (cancelled)
2014 – BOK
2015 – VOC
2016 – GAOC
2017 – BOK
2019 – COK
2020 – VOC


Canoe orienteering is a great event to enjoy with the family. Traditional orienteering controls may be places around a lake and in the woods. The course is usually designed as a Score-O with points assigned to each control based on difficulty and distance. One or more competitors navigate the course in a canoe and the winner is the fastest time with the most points. GAOC traditionally hosts a Canoe-O at the last event of the season. Pre-registration is not required and canoe rental is available at the park.


Extreme-O is patterned after a three-day military competition held in a member NATO country each year. Typically, competitors orienteer from several different types of maps, including aerial photographs, quads and topographical maps. Past events have included rope bridge crossings, canoe legs, culvert controls, memory legs and other interesting tests. Extreme-O is usually offered on the third day of the Georgia Navigator Cup event (GAOC event).

Interscholastic Championships

The Interscholastic Championships is a OUSA Sanctioned, Championship event featuring individual and team competitions in the middle school, junior varsity, and varsity categories. For detailed information, check the Orienteering USA web site at www.orienteeringusa.org

JROTC Training Camp

VOC co-hosts an O-Training Camp in conjunction with Headland High School (AL). The camp offers two days of intensive training and orienteering exercises designed to hone the skills of novice high school orienteers. The event is typically held in December. Pre-registration is required.


Line-O is staged in much the same way as cross-county orienteering in term of maps, starting intervals, etc., but there is one major difference; NO controls are marked on the map, only the route. The competitor follows the route as carefully as possible over the terrain. At various points along this line are hidden controls, the location of which is known only to the organizer. The competitor will only find a control by following the route line. As in cross-county orienteering, the fastest person around the course is the winner. A time penalty is given for each missed control.

National Orienteering Day (NOD)

Orienteering clubs across the nation celebrate National Orienteering Day by scheduling orienteering events specifically designed for new comers to the sport. VOC typically host an event with WHITE, YELLOW, ORANGE and RED courses, or a Score-O designed for beginner to intermediate orienteers. We also have instructors on hand to give some individualized attention to beginners. And we typically waive the event fee for the beginner courses. Such a deal!

Night-O (also see Vampire-O)

Orienteering at night is challenging and fun. Traditional orienteering bags may be substituted by reflective sticks and competitors light their way with a flashlight or headlamp. GAOC hosts at least one Night-O each year in conjunction with an afternoon of traditional orienteering courses and an evening picnic. Pre-registration is not required.

Radio-O / ARDF

Radio orienteering, also called Amateur Radio Direction Finding, is a really fun radio-active event, using a map, compass, and radio direction finding equipment to locate hidden transmitters in the forest. You do not need an amateur radio license to be a radio orienteer. At every meet there is a suitable challenges for both novice and expert.


Rugged Outdoor Group Activity Involving Navigation and Endurance

Rogaining is the sport of long distance cross-country navigation. The championship ROGAINE is of 24 hours duration but there are several shorter variants. Teamwork, endurance, competition and an appreciation of the natural environment are features of the sport. Rogaining involves both route planning and navigation between checkpoints using a variety of map types. Rogaines are generally day and night events in which teams of two to five members travel entirely on foot, navigating by map and compass. Teams select their own order of visiting checkpoints in terrain that varies from open countryside to hilly forest. A central base camp provides hot meals and teams may return at any time to eat, rest or enjoy the fellowship. Teams travel at their own pace, and anyone from children to grandparents can experience the personal satisfaction that comes from cross-country navigation at individual levels of competition and comfort.


Where traditional orienteering has specified courses, Score-O is a free form type of event. A smattering of controls are set in the field and assigned a point value based on distance and navigation difficulty. The object of the event is to get the most number of points in a designated time. Each Score-O is uniquely designed by the course setter, but many course setters design the event so that even beginners may win. For example, sometimes the very close and easy controls are assigned the highest point value, while the more difficult controls at further distances are assigned a point value of 1 or 2. Points are usually deducted for every minute over the designated time, so endurance and strategy play an important role.


Ski Orienteering (known as Ski-O, for short) is a sport where skiers use a detailed map to find locations in unfamiliar territory. Basically is is a combination of cross-country skiing and orienteering. Needless to say, not much ski-o goes on in the South.


Sprint-O is much the same as regular orienteering except that it is typically set in an urban park environment. This usually means that the courses tend to be shorter, more open (less woods) and very fast. We had a Sprint event at the January 2005 A-meet. There are several nice parks in the Birmingham area that could easily be mapped and a Park-O set up. VOC has a couple of maps that would be suitable for a Sprint event. Heardmont Park (Shelby County - Highway 119), old orienteering map of George Ward park (Birmingham), Tannehill State Park.


The object of Trail-O is to identify the correct control from a cluster of two or more controls. The orienteer uses all available information, such as clue descriptions, map features, terrain observation and the control arrangement, while viewing the control cluster from a fixed position. Winners are usually determined by the number of correct controls identified rather than fastest time.


A variation of Night-O. Traditional orienteering bags may be substituted by reflective sticks and competitors light their way with a flashlight or headlamp. It is a Score-O at night with a mass start. However, there is a twist! Vampires are out on the course. They are armed with a red lens flashlight. If you are approached by a Vampire shining his/her red light at you, you must stop and give him/her your score card. In return you get the red lens flashlight and you become a vampire. You then must find someone and shine the red light upon them and exchange score card and red flashlight. This continues until the time limit is up. The goal is the have the highest score at the end of the time limit (like in a regular Score-O). These events are typically held around Halloween.

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