Merit Badge Info
Four Day Lesson Plan
1995 Merit Badge
Update proposal

Get Involved
Orienteering map symbols
USGS vs. Orienteering
Meeting room game
Five color map
Black and white map


Who Are We?

Orienteering Merit Badge
(Old Requirements) and Data Sources


  1. Explain what orienteering is.
  2. (a) Point out and name five major terrain features on a map and in the field.
    (b) Point out and name 10 symbols often found on a topographic map.
  3. (a) Explain how a compass works. Describe the features of an orienteering compass and their uses.
    (b)In the field, show how to take a compass bearing and how to follow one.
  4. (a) Explain the meaning of declination. Tell why declination must be taken into account when using a map and compass together.
    (b) Provide a topographic map of your area with magnetic north south-lines.
    (c) Show how to transfer a direction on a map to your compass.
  5. (a) Show how to measure distances, using a scale on an orienteering compass.
    (b) Set up a 300m pace course. Figure out your running pace for 100 meters.
  6. (a) Explain a descriptive clue. Tell how is is used in orienteering.
    (b) Explain how to use an attack point. Describe the offset technique. Tell what is meant by a collecting feature.
  7. Do the following:
    (a) Take part in three orienteering events. One of these must be a cross-country course.
    (b) After each course, write a report with (1) a copy of the master map and descriptive clues, (2) a copy of the route you took on the course, (3) a discussion of how you could improve your time between points, and (4) list of your major weaknesses on this course. Describe what you could do to improve.
  8. Do one of the following:
    (a)Set up a cross-country course at least 2000m long with five control markers. Prepare the master map. Mark the descriptive clues.
    (b) Set up a score-orienteering course with 12 points and a time limit of 60 minutes. Prepare the master map. Set the descriptive clues and point value for each control on this course.
  9. Act as an official during an orienteering event. (This may be during the running of the course you set up for requirement 8)
  10. Teach orienteering techniques to your patrol, troop, or post.

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 the booklet has received far too few updates to be able to fully prepare the Scout for the fun and adventure of competitive orienteering. A list of the needed updates appears elsewhere in these pages. There are many other sources of information a scout can utilize, a couple of which are listed below.

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.