Merit Badge Info
Four Day Lesson Plan
1995 Merit Badge
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Orienteering map symbols
USGS vs. Orienteering
Meeting room game
Five color map
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Orienteering Merit Badge
Requirements and Data Sources


  1. Show that you know first aid for the types of injuries that could occur while orienteering, including cuts, scratches, blisters, snakebite, insect stings, tick bites, heat and cold reactions (sunburn, heatstroke, heat exhaustion, hypothermia), and dehydration. Explain to your counselor why you should be able to identify poisonous plants and poisonous animals that are found in your area.
  2. Explain what orienteering is.
  3. Do the following:
    1. Explain how a compass works. Describe the features of an orienteering compass.
    2. In the field, show how to take a compass bearing and follow it.
  4. Do the following:
    1. Explain how a topographic map shows terrain features. Point out and name five terrain features on a map and in the field.
    2. Point out and name 10 symbols on a topographic map.
    3. Explain the meaning of declination. Tell why you must consider declination when using map and compass together.
    4. Show a topographic map with magnetic north-south lines.
    5. Show how to measure distances using an orienteering compass.
    6. Show how to orient a map using a compass.
  5. Set up a 100-meter pace course. Determine your walking and running pace for 100 meters. Tell why it is important to pace-count.
  6. Do the following:
    1. Identify 20 international control description symbols. Tell the meaning of each symbol.
    2. Show a control description sheet and explain the information provided.
    3. Explain the following terms and tell when you would use them: attack point, collecting feature, aiming off, contouring, reading ahead, handrail, relocation, rough versus fine orienteering.
  7. Do the following:
    1. Take part in three orienteering events. One of these must be a cross-country course.
    2. After each event, write a report with
      1. a copy of the master map and control description sheet ,
      2. a copy of the route you took on the course,
      3. a discussion of how you could improve your time between control points, and
      4. a list of your major weaknesses on this course. Describe what you could do to improve.
  8. Do ONE of the following:
    1. Set up a cross-country course of at least 2,000 meters long with at least five control markers. Prepare the master map and control description sheet.
    2. Set up a score-orienteering course with 12 control points and a time limit of at least 60 minutes. Prepare the master map and control description sheet.
  9. Act as an official during an orientation. This may be during the running of the course you set up for requirement 8.
  10. Teach orienteering techniques to your patrol, troop or crew.

Note to the Counselor:
While orienteering is primarily an individual sport, BSA Youth Protection procedures call for using the buddy system. Requirement 7a can be completed by pairs or groups of Scouts.

BSA Advancement ID#: 80
Source: Boy Scout Requirements, #33215, revised 2004

Data Sources:

Of course the Orienteering Merit Badge Booklet will provide lots of useful data for completion of the merit badge, however orienteering is a dynamic and growing sport in the USA and other literature is constantly being added to a growing list of available resources. My two recommended books are listed below, but there are several others available. The OUSA web site linked below lists sources for literature, local orienteering clubs, a schedule of national and international competitive events which are open to all scouts, and a variety of other information on our sport.

Lowry, Ron & Sidney, Ken, Orienteering Skills and Strategies, Orienteering Ontario, 1220 Sheppard Ave E, Willowdale, Ontario, Canada M2K 2X1. 1985

Wilson, Peter, Orienteering, New Zealand Mountain Safety Council Inc, P.O. Box 6027, Te Aro, Wellington, New Zealand. Fax (04) 857-366. Circa 1992

And possibly the best source of all, a local orienteering club may be within reach of your troop. Check out the link to the OUSA Orienteering and Rogaining Home Page for the lists of North American clubs. Get a schedule and attend one of their events. It will count as one of the courses in requirement 7 and certainly show what is needed to complete requirements 8 and 9.