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Orienteering facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
A person orienteering
World Orienteering Championships 2007 - middle distance 04
World Orienteering Championships 2007 in Kiev, Ukraine. Winners of middle-distance event: Simone Niggli-Luder, Switzerland, and Thierry Gueorgiou, France
Orienteringskort bygholm 2005
An orienteering map
Compasses orienteering
Thumb compass and protractor compass

Orienteering is a sport where people run around a place with instructions on a map. There are lots of types of orienteering and the one that most people so is called Foot Orienteering. In orienteering people use a special map which shows where they have to go. People are timed and the person who is quickest wins. The word Orienteeting comes from orientering, which is a word that comes from Sweden

Orienteering is developed by International Orienteering Federation (IOF).

IOF recognizes the following types of orienteering:

  • Foot-orienteering
  • Ski-orienteering
  • MTB-orienteering (orienteering on mounting-bike)
  • Trail-orienteering


Orienteering started in Sweden. It was meant to get people in the army to get ready for war. The first time when lots of people did orienteering at the same time was when 220 people went orienteering in a place near Stockholm.

About sixty years ago, people started orienteering in Europe, Asia, North America, Australia, and New Zealand and in 1967 a group of people started to meet up in the United States of America to make an orienteering club.

There are now orienteering groups for 67 countries.


Foot-Orienteering is one of orienteering types. For moving on distance sportsmen can use only his own feet.

IOF organizes World Orienteering Championships (WOC) every year and European Orienteering Championships one time every two years. The first WOC was held in 1966 in Finland. Only 10 nations took part in the first WOC.

The Olympics

In the year 1996 some people decided to start to try to have orienteering as a sport in the Olympic games. It has yet to become a sport in the Olympics

As a skill

Orienteering is also done as a life skill. It is used in training of many countries' armed forces. Often, soldiers have to do orienteering courses at night or in the rain. Orienteering is also part of Scoutcraft in many branches of Scouting. Many Scouting groups require learning orienteering to make higher ranks.

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