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Orienteering Merit Badge Helps and Documents

The BSA Orienteering merit badge is an exciting opportunity to explore the adventurous world of navigation and outdoor exploration. Orienteering is a sport that combines map reading and compass skills with physical fitness. By earning this merit badge, you’ll learn how to find your way through unfamiliar terrain, solve puzzles, and navigate using tools like maps and compasses.

The Orienteering Merit Badge patch

One of the most important skills you’ll acquire during the Orienteering merit badge is map reading. You’ll learn how to interpret symbols and contour lines on a map, and how to use them to identify hills, valleys, and other features of the land. By understanding maps, you’ll be able to plan your routes and make decisions about the best paths to take. This skill will not only come in handy in the wilderness but can also be applied to everyday life, such as finding your way around a new city.

Another essential aspect of orienteering is using a compass. You’ll discover how to read a compass and understand the cardinal directions (north, south, east, and west). With this knowledge, you’ll be able to navigate accurately, even in dense forests or areas without clear landmarks. The ability to use a compass will give you confidence and independence when exploring the outdoors, allowing you to navigate with ease and without getting lost.

During the Orienteering merit badge, you’ll also learn about pacing and estimating distances. By practicing how to pace yourself and estimate the length of your steps, you’ll be able to measure distances accurately without relying solely on a map or compass. This skill will prove invaluable when you’re out in the wilderness and need to determine how far you’ve traveled or how much farther you need to go.

In addition to the technical skills, orienteering is a great way to stay physically fit. As you explore the outdoors, you’ll be walking, jogging, or even running to navigate through different checkpoints. Orienteering can be a challenging and fun activity that gets you moving and helps improve your endurance, strength, and overall fitness. It’s a fantastic opportunity to enjoy the beauty of nature while staying active and healthy.

Finally, the Orienteering merit badge promotes teamwork and problem-solving. You might participate in orienteering events or challenges with others, which will require cooperation and communication to successfully navigate together. It’s a chance to develop your leadership skills, work as part of a team, and solve problems collectively. These valuable life skills can be applied not only in outdoor activities but also in school, sports, and many other areas of your life.

In conclusion, the BSA Orienteering merit badge offers an exciting adventure for Scouts who are interested in exploring the world of navigation and outdoor exploration. By learning map reading, compass skills, pacing, and estimation, you’ll become a confident navigator in the wilderness. You’ll also improve your physical fitness, develop problem-solving abilities, and foster teamwork. Whether you’re an avid outdoor enthusiast or simply looking for a new and exciting challenge, the Orienteering merit badge will provide you with valuable skills and unforgettable experiences.

Answers and Helps for the Orienteering Merit Badge

Help with Answers for the Orienteering Merit Badge

Find specific helps for the Orienteering merit badge requirements listed on this page. Some of these resources will just give the answers. Others will provide engaging ways for older Scouts to introduce these concepts to new Scouts.

Orienteering Merit Badge Requirement 1: Hazards and First Aid

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.

Orienteering Merit Badge Requirement 1 Helps and Answers

What are some injuries which you could encounter while working on the Orienteering merit badge?

While participating in orienteering, it’s important to be prepared for various injuries that may occur along the way. Here’s a guide to first aid for common types of injuries encountered while working on the Orienteering merit badge:

  1. Cuts and Scratches: If you or someone in your group sustains a minor cut or scratch, start by cleaning the wound with clean water or an antiseptic wipe. Apply an adhesive bandage or sterile gauze pad to cover the wound and secure it with medical tape if necessary. If bleeding is severe or the wound is deep, apply direct pressure and seek medical help.
  2. Blisters: Blisters can be quite common while hiking or running. If a blister forms, avoid popping it as it may increase the risk of infection. Instead, cover the blister with a moleskin or a blister pad to protect it from further friction. If the blister breaks, clean the area with water and apply an antiseptic ointment before covering it with a sterile bandage.
  3. Snakebite: In the unlikely event of a snakebite, it’s crucial to stay calm. Immobilize the bitten limb and keep it at or below heart level. Remove any tight clothing or jewelry near the bite area. Seek medical assistance immediately as snakebites require prompt professional treatment. Do not try to suck out venom or use a tourniquet, as these methods are not recommended.
  4. Insect Stings: If stung by an insect, remove the stinger if present, as it can continue to release venom. Clean the area with soap and water, and apply a cold compress or an ice pack wrapped in a cloth to reduce swelling. Over-the-counter antihistamines or hydrocortisone creams can help alleviate itching and discomfort. If signs of an allergic reaction, such as difficulty breathing or swelling of the face, occur, seek medical help immediately.
  5. Tick Bites: If you find a tick on your body, use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible. Gently pull upward with steady pressure to remove the tick. Clean the bite area with soap and water, and apply an antiseptic. Keep an eye out for symptoms of tick-borne illnesses, such as Lyme disease, and seek medical attention if necessary.
  6. Heat and Cold Reactions:
    • In hot weather, prevent sunburn by wearing sunscreen, protective clothing, and a hat. If someone experiences symptoms of heatstroke (such as a throbbing headache, dizziness, nausea, or confusion), move them to a shaded area, loosen clothing, and apply cool water or ice packs to the neck, armpits, and groin. Seek emergency medical assistance promptly. Heat exhaustion can be treated similarly but usually doesn’t require emergency care.
    • In cold weather, prevent hypothermia by dressing in layers and staying dry. If someone shows signs of hypothermia (such as shivering, slurred speech, confusion, or loss of coordination), move them to a warm place and remove any wet clothing. Wrap them in blankets or use body heat to warm them gradually. Seek medical help immediately.
  7. Dehydration: To prevent dehydration, drink plenty of water before, during, and after your orienteering activity. If someone becomes dehydrated, move them to a shaded area, have them rest, and provide fluids such as water or a sports drink. If symptoms worsen or persist, seek medical assistance.

Remember, while providing first aid, the safety of both the injured person and the first aider is essential. If you are unsure about how to handle a specific injury or medical condition, seek professional medical help as soon as possible.

Why should you be able to identify poisonous plants and animals before starting the Orienteering merit badge?

It’s important to be able to identify poisonous plants and animals before starting the Orienteering merit badge for a few important reasons:

  1. Personal Safety: Knowing how to identify poisonous plants and animals helps keep you safe during your outdoor adventures. Some plants and animals can be harmful if you touch or eat them. By being able to recognize them, you can avoid them and prevent any accidents or illnesses.
  2. Allergic Reactions: Some people are allergic to certain plants or animals, even if they’re not necessarily poisonous. By knowing which ones to watch out for, you can avoid potential allergic reactions. It’s important to stay safe and comfortable while exploring nature.
  3. Navigation and Route Planning: Identifying poisonous plants and animals can also help you navigate better during orienteering. For example, if you see poison ivy on your map, you can plan your route to avoid it. Knowing what to watch out for can help you make better decisions about where to go and how to get there.
  4. Environmental Stewardship: Being able to identify poisonous plants and animals increases your understanding and appreciation for the environment. It shows that you care about protecting nature and its delicate balance. By being aware of these species, you can help preserve their habitats and contribute to the health of the ecosystem.
  5. First Aid and Prompt Medical Attention: If you or someone else accidentally comes into contact with a poisonous plant or animal, knowing what it is can help you provide appropriate first aid. Different plants and animals may require different treatments. Being able to identify them can guide you in giving the right care or seeking help when needed.

By learning about poisonous plants and animals, you’ll be better prepared and more confident during your orienteering adventures. The Orienteering merit badge encourages you to develop these skills so you can enjoy the outdoors safely while appreciating the beauty of nature. Remember, it’s always better to be safe and informed when it comes to your surroundings!

Orienteering Merit Badge Requirement 2: Definition

Explain what orienteering is.

Orienteering Merit Badge Requirement 2 Helps and Answers

Orienteering is a really fun sport where you explore the outdoors and find your way using a map and compass. It’s like a treasure hunt! The Orienteering merit badge is all about learning and getting better at this awesome sport.

So, here’s how it works: You start at a special spot called the starting point, and your goal is to find different checkpoints or control points in a specific order. These checkpoints are marked on a map, and it’s your job to figure out how to get to each one.

But wait, how do you know which way to go? That’s where the compass comes in! With a compass, you can tell which direction is north. By reading the map and using the compass, you can plan your route and decide which paths to take. It’s like solving a puzzle and following clues to find your way.

When you’re out on the orienteering course, you’ll walk, run, or even jog to reach each checkpoint. It’s not just about finding your way, though. You also need to be fit and have good endurance because you’ll be moving around a lot.

The Orienteering merit badge is your chance to become an expert at this sport. You’ll learn how to read maps and use a compass correctly. You’ll also practice planning routes and navigating through forests, parks, or other outdoor places. It’s a great way to enjoy nature while challenging yourself physically and mentally.

So, get ready to put on your adventure hat and explore the outdoors with orienteering! With the Orienteering merit badge, you’ll become a skilled navigator and have a ton of fun along the way. So grab your compass, get out there, and start your orienteering journey!

Orienteering Merit Badge Requirement 3: Using a Compass

Do the following:
a. Explain how a compass works. Describe the features of an orienteering compass.
b. In the field, show how to take a compass bearing and follow it

Orienteering Merit Badge Requirement 3 Helps and Answers

Learning about compasses for the Orienteering merit badge

A compass is a really important tool when you’re doing orienteering. It helps you know which way to go. But how does it work? Well, a compass has a needle that’s like a tiny magnet. The needle can move and point in different directions.

The reason the needle moves is because of something called Earth’s magnetic field. The Earth has a big magnetic field around it, kind of like a big invisible magnet. The needle in the compass is attracted to this magnetic field, so it moves and points in a certain direction.

When you use a compass, you hold it flat and let the needle settle down so it’s not wobbling. Then, you turn the compass until the end of the needle that says “N” lines up with a special marking on the compass. This tells you which way is north.

Now, you can figure out the direction you want to go. You just follow the markings on the compass housing or the spinning circle around it. Those markings show you which way to walk.

Using a compass correctly is super important in orienteering. It’s one of the things you need to learn to earn the Orienteering merit badge. So, when you go on your adventures, make sure you know how to use a compass and you’ll never get lost!

The features of compasses you will use for the Orienteering merit badge

Orienteering compasses are special compasses made just for navigating. They have cool features that help you read them accurately. Let’s learn about some of these features!

  • Baseplate: The baseplate is a see-through plate that holds the compass and has rulers or scales on it. You can use it to measure distances on maps, which helps you figure out how far you need to go.
  • Compass housing: The compass housing is like the compass’s home. Inside, you’ll find a magnetic needle and a spinning circle called a bezel. The bezel has numbers or cardinal directions on it. This helps you turn the compass and line up the needle with the direction you want to go.
  • Sighting Mirror: Some orienteering compasses also have a mirror on the back of the baseplate. This mirror helps you aim the compass at a specific spot or object in the distance. It makes your readings more accurate, so you know exactly where to go.
  • Declination Adjustment: Another neat thing about some orienteering compasses is that you can adjust them for something called declination. Declination is the difference between magnetic north and true north. By adjusting the compass, you can make it point to true north, which is important for accurate navigation.
  • Luminous Markings: Lastly, some compasses have special markings that glow in the dark. This helps you read the compass even when it’s dark outside. It’s great for night adventures or when the lighting is not so good.

The Orienteering merit badge wants Scouts to be great at using compasses for navigation. By understanding how a compass works and learning about the features of an orienteering compass, Scouts can become skilled navigators. The merit badge gives you chances to practice using the compass, plan routes, and get really good at orienteering. It’s an awesome way to explore and have fun in the outdoors while becoming a master at finding your way!

How to take a compass bearing for the Orienteering merit badge

Taking a compass bearing is an important skill in orienteering that helps you figure out which direction you need to go. Here’s how you can take a compass bearing in a simple way, perfect for someone working on the Orienteering merit badge!

First, hold your compass in your hand and make sure it’s level, not tilted. Look at the bottom of the compass where you’ll see a round dial with numbers and arrows. Those numbers show the directions like north, south, east, and west.

Next, find the direction you want to go on your map. Let’s say you want to go to a specific tree. Put your compass on the map with the edge of the baseplate lined up between your starting point and the tree. Make sure the direction-of-travel arrow on the baseplate points toward the tree.

Now, without moving the compass, turn your whole body until the magnetic needle in the compass aligns with the orienting arrow in the housing. The needle should be inside the little red or black arrow on the compass.

Look at the number on the dial that lines up with the direction-of-travel arrow. That’s your compass bearing! It tells you the angle you need to follow to reach your destination.

Hold the compass in front of you and keep the needle pointing at the same number on the dial. Turn your body until you’re facing that direction. Now, you’re ready to go!

Remember, while practicing taking compass bearings, make sure you have a clear understanding of how to read maps and use a compass safely. The Orienteering merit badge will guide you through these skills, helping you become a confident navigator and enjoy the fun of orienteering adventures!

Orienteering Merit Badge Requirement 4: Topographic Maps

Do the following:
a. Explain how a topographic map shows terrain features. Point out and name five terrain features on a map and in the field.
b. Point out and name 10 symbols on a topographic map.
c. Explain the meaning of declination. Tell why you must consider declination when using map and compass together.
d. Show a topographic map with magnetic north-south lines.
e. Show how to measure distances on a map using an orienteering compass.
f. Show how to orient a map using a compass.

Orienteering Merit Badge Requirement 4 Helps and Answers

Terrain features you might find on a map for the Orienteering merit badge

A topographic map is a special kind of map that shows the features of the land and helps you understand the terrain. It’s an important tool for orienteering and earning the Orienteering merit badge. Let’s explore how a topographic map shows different terrain features in a way that’s easy to understand!

A topographic map uses lines called contour lines to represent the shape of the land. These contour lines are like imaginary lines that connect points of the same height above sea level. They help us visualize the hills, valleys, and other landforms on the map.

Now, let’s talk about some of the terrain features that a topographic map can show:

  1. Hills: When you see contour lines that form concentric circles on the map, it means you’re looking at a hill. The closer the contour lines are together, the steeper the hill.
  2. Valleys: Valleys are represented on the map by contour lines that look like “U” shapes. The contour lines bend and point uphill on each side, showing the lower elevation of the valley.
  3. Ridges: Ridges are shown as contour lines that form “V” shapes. These lines slope downward on both sides, indicating higher elevation along the ridge.
  4. Streams and Rivers: Blue lines on the map represent water features like streams and rivers. They show the path of the water and help you understand where they flow.
  5. Depressions: Depressions, like little basins or bowls, are shown by contour lines with short dashes on the inside. They indicate areas of lower elevation, surrounded by higher land.

By reading and understanding these different terrain features on a topographic map, you can get a clear picture of the land’s shape and elevation. This knowledge is important in orienteering because it helps you plan your route, choose the best paths, and navigate through the terrain effectively.

So, grab your topographic map and start exploring! As you learn more about terrain features and their representation on the map, you’ll become a skilled navigator and earn that Orienteering merit badge.

Symbols you might find on a topographic map for the Orienteering merit badge

On a topographic map, you’ll find a bunch of symbols that represent different features of the land. These symbols are like little pictures that help you understand what’s on the map. Knowing these symbols is important for orienteering and earning the Orienteering merit badge. Let’s check out some common symbols you might find:

  1. Buildings: Buildings like houses, schools, or churches are usually shown as simple squares or rectangles.
  2. Roads and Trails: Roads and trails are often represented by different types of lines. A thick solid line might show a major road, while a dashed or dotted line could represent a smaller road or trail.
  3. Rivers and Streams: Blue lines or blue wavy lines on the map stand for rivers and streams. They show where the water flows.
  4. Forests and Trees: Areas covered in trees are usually shown with green shading or tiny green shapes that look like trees.
  5. Contour Lines: Contour lines are very important symbols on a topographic map. They are lines that connect points of the same height above sea level. They show hills, valleys, and other changes in elevation. (See the section on terrain symbols.)
  6. Mountains: Mountains are often represented by brown shading or brown shapes that show their rough outline.
  7. Lakes and Ponds: Blue areas or blue shapes on the map represent lakes and ponds. They show where water collects.
  8. Parks and Open Spaces: Parks or open spaces might be shown with light green coloring or sometimes just left blank.

Remember, these symbols help you understand the map and the features of the land. By learning and recognizing them, you’ll become a pro at reading topographic maps, which is super important in orienteering. So, keep exploring, understanding those symbols, and have fun earning that Orienteering merit badge!

Maps Compasses and declination

Maps, Compasses, and Magnetic Declination

Declination is an important thing to understand when you’re using a map and compass together. It’s a fancy word that refers to the difference between the direction of magnetic north and true north. You see, the compass needle points towards the Earth’s magnetic field, which isn’t exactly the same as the direction of true north, like on a map.

Why does declination matter? Well, when you’re navigating using a map and compass, you want to make sure you’re going in the right direction. If you don’t consider declination, you might end up going the wrong way. By adjusting for declination, you can make your compass point to true north instead of magnetic north, which helps you follow the right path on the map. It’s like making sure you’re all on the same page with your compass and the map, so you don’t get lost!

The Orienteering merit badge teaches you about declination and how to handle it correctly. By understanding declination and adjusting your compass accordingly, you can be a skilled navigator during orienteering adventures. So, remember to think about declination, keep your compass and map aligned, and enjoy exploring the great outdoors! Read more about magnetic declination.

Measuring distances on a map for the Orienteering merit badge

Measuring distances on a map using an orienteering compass is a handy skill you’ll learn when working on the Orienteering merit badge. It helps you figure out how far you need to go from one place to another on your adventure. Here’s how you can do it:

  1. First, find the scale on your map. It’s usually a line or bar that shows the relationship between a distance on the map and the actual distance on the ground. The scale might say something like “1 inch equals 1 mile” or “1 centimeter equals 100 meters.”
  2. Now, take your compass and place it on the map with its straight edge along the path you want to measure. Make sure the edge starts at the beginning of the path.
  3. Next, move your compass so the edge ends at the end of the path. Pay attention to where the edge crosses the scale on the map.
  4. Finally, read the distance where the edge of your compass crossed the scale. That’s how far the path is on the map!

Keep in mind that this measurement is in map units, like inches or centimeters. To find the actual distance on the ground, you need to use the map scale and convert it. You can do this by multiplying the map distance by the corresponding scale ratio.

By practicing this skill, you’ll become a pro at measuring distances on a map using your trusty orienteering compass. It’s a valuable tool for successful navigation during your orienteering adventures and earning that Orienteering merit badge. So grab your compass, start exploring, and have fun measuring your way to exciting destinations!

How to orient the map for the Orienteering merit badge

Orienting a map using a compass is a super useful skill you’ll learn when working on the Orienteering merit badge. It helps you make sure your map is aligned with the real world. Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Lay your map on a flat surface, like a table or the ground. Make sure it’s flat and not folded up.
  2. Put your compass on the map with its edge lined up with one of the up-down lines on the map. The compass’s direction arrow should be pointing toward the top of the map.
  3. Turn the compass’s bezel (the circle part) until the letter “N” (which stands for north) lines up with the direction arrow.
  4. Now, rotate the map and compass together until the magnetic needle inside the compass is inside the outline of the orienting arrow.
  5. Ta-da! Your map is now oriented! That means the top of the map is pointing to the north, just like in the real world

By mastering this skill, you’ll be able to read your map accurately and understand the relationship between the map and the environment around you. It’s a crucial skill for successful orienteering and earning that Orienteering merit badge. So, get your compass ready, orient your map, and let the adventures begin!

Orienteering Merit Badge Requirement 5: Paces

Set up a 100-meter pace course. Determine your walking and running pace for 100 meters. Tell why it is important to pace-count.

Orienteering Merit Badge Requirement 5 Helps and Answers

How to determine your walking and running pace for the Orienteering merit badge

Determining the length of your walking and running pace is important in orienteering and working towards earning the Orienteering merit badge. Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Find a measured distance: Look for a known distance, such as a measured track or a marked trail. Make sure the distance is clearly marked and safe for walking or running.
  2. Choose your pace: Decide whether you want to determine your walking or running pace.
  3. Mark the starting point: Stand at the starting point of the measured distance. It could be a specific line or a marker on the ground.
  4. Start walking or running: Begin walking or running at your natural pace. Try to maintain a consistent and comfortable speed.
  5. Count your steps: As you walk or run, count the number of steps you take. Make sure to count only one foot hitting the ground for each step.
  6. Measure the distance covered: Once you reach the end of the measured distance, stop and record the total number of steps you counted.
  7. Calculate your pace length: Divide the distance covered by the number of steps you counted. This will give you the average length of your walking or running pace.

For example, if you covered 100 meters and counted 50 steps, your pace length would be 2 meters per step.

By determining the length of your walking and running pace, you can estimate distances more accurately and plan your routes in orienteering. This knowledge will help you navigate efficiently and make strategic decisions during orienteering activities. So, find a measured distance, count those steps, and enjoy the exciting challenges of orienteering while working towards earning the Orienteering merit badge!

Why do you need to know your pace count for the Orienteering merit badge?

Pace-counting is an important skill to have in orienteering when working towards earning the Orienteering merit badge. It helps you keep track of the distance you have traveled, even when there are no visual cues or markers around. Here’s why pace-counting is important:

  1. Distance estimation: Pace-counting helps you estimate the distance you have covered during an orienteering course. By counting your steps and knowing how many steps you take to cover a certain distance, you can estimate the total distance traveled. This is helpful when there are no markers or signs to guide you along the way.
  2. Route planning: When planning your route on a map, knowing your pace count allows you to estimate how many steps or paces you will need to take to reach different checkpoints or control points. This helps you plan the most efficient and accurate route, considering the distance you need to cover and the time you have available.
  3. Stay on track: Pace-counting helps you stay on track during your orienteering adventure. By keeping track of your paces and comparing them to your planned route, you can make sure you are following the correct path. If your pace count is significantly different from what you expected, it may indicate that you have veered off course and need to adjust your direction.
  4. Time management: By knowing your pace count, you can better estimate the time it will take to complete a leg or section of an orienteering course. This allows you to manage your time effectively, ensuring that you are on track to finish within the desired time frame.

By developing your pace-counting skills, you become a more accurate and efficient navigator during orienteering activities. It helps you stay oriented, plan your route, and keep track of your progress. So, practice pace-counting, embrace the challenges of orienteering, and work towards earning that Orienteering merit badge!

Orienteering Merit Badge Requirement 6: Controls

Do the following:
a. Identify 20 international control description symbols. Tell the meaning of each symbol.
b. Show a control description sheet and explain the information provided.
c. Explain the following terms and tell when you would use them: attack point, collecting feature, catching feature, aiming off, contouring, reading ahead, handrail, relocation, rough versus fine orienteering.

Orienteering Merit Badge Requirement 6 Helps and Answers

International control description symbols you might encounter while working on the Orienteering merit badge

International control description symbols are essential symbols used in orienteering to give important information about the checkpoints or control points along a course. Understanding these symbols is crucial when working towards earning the Orienteering merit badge. Here are some examples of international control description symbols:

  • Circle: A symbol resembling a complete, closed shape, representing the control point’s location.
  • Number: A symbol resembling a numeral, indicating the order of the control point in the course sequence.
  • Line: A symbol resembling a straight line or arrow, showing the route or direction to the control point.
  • Triangle: A symbol resembling a three-sided shape, signifying a control feature or a distinct object near the control point.
  • Punching Start: A symbol resembling a clock with an arrow, marking the official starting point of the course.
  • Square: A symbol resembling a four-sided shape, representing a man-made object like a building or structure.
  • Dot: A symbol resembling a small, round shape, indicating a precise spot or location.
  • Cross: A symbol resembling a plus sign, representing a point feature, often a small object like a stone or post.
  • Star: A symbol resembling a star shape, signifying a control point that is elevated or on top of a hill.
  • Double Circle: A symbol resembling two concentric circles, indicating a control point that is a crossing or junction of paths.
  • X: A symbol resembling a letter X, representing a dangerous area or out-of-bounds location.
  • Oval: A symbol resembling an elongated, rounded shape, signifying a control point that is a depression or hollow.
  • Flag: A symbol resembling a flag or flag-like shape, representing a control point with a visible flag or marker.
  • Control Descriptions Sheet: A symbol resembling a sheet of paper, indicating that the control descriptions for the course are provided separately.
  • Broken Circle: A symbol resembling a circle with a small gap or break, representing a control point that is a pit or quarry.
  • Open Rectangle: A symbol resembling an open, four-sided shape, signifying a control point that is an area or patch of open land.
  • Earth Bank: A symbol resembling a line or shape representing a raised earth feature or bank.
  • Diamond: A symbol resembling a four-sided shape with two longer sides, representing a control point that is a knoll or small hill.
  • Control Card: A symbol resembling a card or piece of paper, indicating the presence of a control card that needs to be marked at the control point.
  • Labyrinth: A symbol resembling a maze-like pattern, signifying a control point that is a maze or intricate path.
  • Barbed Wire: A symbol resembling a series of short, vertical lines connected by diagonal lines, representing a barbed wire fence or barrier.
  • Staircase: A symbol resembling a set of ascending or descending steps, indicating the presence of stairs or steps.
  • Semi-Circle: A symbol resembling a half-circle shape, representing a reentrant or a small valley.
  • Cliff: A symbol resembling a vertical line with short horizontal lines extending from it, indicating a significant cliff or steep slope.
  • Vegetation Boundary: A symbol resembling a line with various shapes on one side, representing a distinct change in vegetation type.
  • Broken Ground: A symbol resembling a jagged line or irregular shape, indicating uneven or rugged terrain.
  • Control Number Code: A symbol usually consisting of numbers or letters, representing a code used to verify the correct control point.
  • Ruin: A symbol resembling a square or rectangular shape with broken or missing sections, representing the remains of a structure or building.
  • Knoll: A symbol resembling a small, rounded shape or bump, indicating a small hill or knoll.
  • Footbridge: A symbol resembling two horizontal lines with vertical supports, representing a bridge designed for pedestrians.
  • Root Stock: A symbol resembling a cluster of lines or shapes representing tree roots or a stump.
  • Earth Wall: A symbol resembling a line or shape representing an earth embankment or wall.
  • Streamer: A symbol resembling a ribbon or flag, indicating the presence of a visible streamer or ribbon attached.
  • Pit: A symbol resembling a small, circular shape or depression, representing a pit or small hole in the ground.
  • Boulder: A symbol resembling a large, irregular shape or rock formation, indicating a significant rock or boulder.
  • Fence Crossing Point: A symbol resembling two lines intersecting a straight line, representing a designated crossing point on a fence.
  • Flagstaff: A symbol resembling a vertical line with a small flag-like shape at the top, representing a flagstaff or flagpole.
  • Trench: A symbol resembling a long, narrow shape or trench-like line, representing a shallow trench or ditch.
  • Knoll with Depression: A symbol resembling a small, rounded shape with an indented area on top, indicating a small hill with a depression or hollow.
  • Water Hole: A symbol resembling a circular shape with wavy lines inside, representing a water-filled hole or pond.

These symbols, along with many others, help orienteers navigate accurately and efficiently through their courses. Understanding and interpreting these symbols will enable you to plan your routes, locate control points, and successfully complete the challenges of the Orienteering merit badge. So, familiarize yourself with these international control description symbols, practice using them on orienteering courses, and enjoy the exciting journey of earning that Orienteering merit badge!

Orienteering terms for the Orienteering merit badge

  • Attack point: An attack point is a prominent feature or location near your intended control point. It’s a point from which you confidently navigate to the control point. You would use an attack point when the control point itself might be difficult to find or is located in a complex area. By reaching the attack point first, you can then use simpler navigation techniques to find the control point accurately.
  • Collecting feature: A collecting feature is a distinctive object or landmark that helps you navigate to a specific location or control point. You would use a collecting feature when you need to guide yourself towards a specific area by aiming for a recognizable feature. It acts as a reference point to ensure you are on the right track and helps you avoid getting lost.
  • Catching feature: A catching feature is a distinctive object or landmark that helps you know you have overshot your intended location or control point. You would use a catching feature to alert yourself that you have gone too far. By identifying the catching feature, you can turn back and reorient yourself to find the control point accurately.
  • Aiming off: Aiming off is intentionally navigating slightly to one side of your intended control point. You would use aiming off when the control point is located on or near a linear feature, such as a path or stream. By aiming off, you ensure that even if you miss the control point slightly, you will end up hitting the linear feature and can then follow it to find the control point.
  • Contouring: Contouring is a technique of navigating parallel to the contour lines on a map. You would use contouring when the terrain is steep or there are no clear paths available. By contouring, you can maintain a consistent height on the slope while moving horizontally, helping you navigate around obstacles or tricky terrain.
  • Reading ahead: Reading ahead means looking at the map and planning your next few navigational steps while you’re still on the move. You would use reading ahead to prepare for upcoming route choices, control points, or changes in terrain. By reading ahead, you can make quicker decisions and navigate more smoothly, reducing the chances of mistakes.
  • Handrail: A handrail is a linear feature, such as a road, river, or fence, that you use as a guide or reference during navigation. You would use a handrail when you need a reliable and easily recognizable feature to follow, especially in complex or featureless areas. It helps you maintain a consistent direction and provides a visual reference for navigation.
  • Relocation: Relocation is the process of re-establishing your position on the map when you are uncertain or have lost your way. You would use relocation when you feel disoriented or unsure of your location. By using nearby features or known landmarks, you can compare them to the map and determine your exact position, allowing you to continue navigating accurately.
  • Rough versus fine orienteering: Rough orienteering refers to a broader approach to navigation, where you focus on larger features and general directions. It is used when navigating through areas with few landmarks or in the early stages of a course. Fine orienteering, on the other hand, refers to a more detailed approach where you focus on smaller features and precise navigation. It is used when approaching control points or in complex areas with many features.

Understanding these terms and techniques will help you navigate effectively, make informed decisions, and enjoy the challenges of orienteering while working towards earning the Orienteering merit badge. So, practice these skills, explore the outdoors, and have fun orienteering!

Orienteering Merit Badge Requirement 7: Orienteering Events

Do the following:
a. Take part in three orienteering events. One of these must be a cross-country course.
b. 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.

Orienteering Merit Badge Requirement 7 Helps and Answers

Types of orienteering activities you might participate in for the Orienteering merit badge

There are several different types of orienteering activities that you can explore while working towards earning the Orienteering merit badge. Here are a few examples:

  1. Cross-Country Orienteering: Cross-country orienteering is the most common and traditional form of orienteering. Participants navigate through diverse terrains, such as forests, fields, and hills, using a map and compass to find control points along the way. The objective is to complete the course in the shortest time while accurately locating each control point.
  2. Urban Orienteering: Urban orienteering takes place in urban environments, such as cities or towns. Participants navigate through streets, parks, and buildings using maps that depict the urban landscape. This type of orienteering often involves finding control points strategically placed in various city locations.
  3. Trail Orienteering: Trail orienteering involves solving navigational challenges from a fixed point along a marked trail. Participants read detailed instructions and use maps to make decisions about the correct route, often encountering questions or puzzles along the way. It’s a unique form of orienteering that tests both physical and mental abilities.
  4. Score Orienteering: Score orienteering is a flexible format where participants have a set time to find as many control points as possible within a designated area. Each control point carries a specific point value, and participants strategize to maximize their score while staying within the time limit.

These different types of orienteering activities offer diverse experiences and challenges. Each type requires a combination of navigation skills, physical fitness, and strategic decision-making. So, grab your map and compass, choose your preferred type of orienteering, and embark on an exciting journey towards earning the Orienteering merit badge!

Orienteering Merit Badge Requirement 8: Event Setup

Do ONE of the following:
a. Set up a cross-country course that is at least 2,000 meters long with at least five control markers. Prepare the master map and control description sheet.
b. Set up a score orienteering course with at least 12 control points and a time limit of at least 60 minutes. Set point values for each control. Prepare the master map and control description sheet.

Orienteering Merit Badge Requirement 8 Helps and Answers

Tips for setting up a course for the Orienteering merit badge

Setting up an orienteering course can be a fun and rewarding experience while working towards earning the Orienteering merit badge. Here are some tips to help you get started:

  1. Choose the Location: Find a suitable area with diverse terrain, such as a park, wooded area, or open field. Make sure it is safe and accessible for participants of different skill levels.
  2. Plan Control Points: Determine the number and locations of control points along the course. Control points should be spread out to provide a good challenge and avoid congestion.
  3. Assign Point Values: For a score course, assign point values to each control point based on their level of difficulty or proximity. More challenging or distant points can have higher values.
  4. Vary Difficulty: Create a range of difficulty levels within the course by placing control points in different terrains and at various distances from each other. This ensures that participants of all skill levels can enjoy the experience.
  5. Map Creation: For a cross-country course, develop a map of the course, including control points, landmarks, and routes. The map should be clear, accurate, and easy to understand for participants.
  6. Mark the Control Points: Use flags or markers to clearly indicate each control point’s location. Ensure they are securely placed and visible from different directions.
  7. Safety Measures: Consider safety aspects while designing the course. Avoid hazardous areas, mark out-of-bounds zones, and provide clear instructions for participants to stay safe during the activity.
  8. Provide Scorecards: For a score course, create scorecards for participants to record their progress. Include spaces to write the control point number and the points earned.
  9. Test the Course: Before the event, test the course yourself to ensure that control points are accurately placed, the map matches the terrain, and everything is in order.
  10. Timing and Scoring: Set up a timing and scoring system to track participants’ progress and determine the winners if it’s a competitive event. This can be done manually or using electronic timing devices.
  11. Provide Instructions: Make sure to provide participants with clear instructions on how to navigate the course, use the map if applicable, score points, and understand any specific rules or requirements.
  12. Seek Help: Enlist the assistance of experienced orienteers or adult volunteers to help with course setup, monitoring, and event management.
  13. Post-Event Evaluation: After the event, gather feedback from participants to learn from their experiences and improve future orienteering courses.

Remember, setting up an orienteering course requires careful planning, attention to detail, and consideration for the safety and enjoyment of participants. By following these tips and putting in the effort, you’ll create an exciting and memorable orienteering experience while working towards earning that Orienteering merit badge!

Orienteering Merit Badge Requirement 9: Officiating

Act as an official during an orienteering event. This may be during the running of the course you set up for requirement 8.

Orienteering Merit Badge Requirement 9 Helps and Answers

Tips for serving as an official at an event for the Orienteering merit badge

Serving as an official at an orienteering event can be a rewarding experience while working towards earning the Orienteering merit badge. Here are some tips to help you fulfill your role as an official:

  • Learn the Rules: Familiarize yourself with the rules and regulations of the event. Understand how the courses are set up, how timing and scoring work, and any specific guidelines for participants.
  • Attend Training: Participate in any training sessions or workshops provided for officials. This will help you gain a deeper understanding of your responsibilities and improve your knowledge of orienteering.
  • Be Prepared: Arrive at the event on time and be prepared for your duties. Bring any necessary equipment or materials, such as a whistle, maps, flags, scorecards, or a timing device.
  • Communicate Clearly: As an official, it’s essential to communicate instructions and information clearly to participants. Use simple and concise language to ensure everyone understands the rules and procedures.
  • Provide Assistance: Be ready to answer questions and assist participants when needed. Offer guidance on map reading, control point locations, or any specific aspects of the event.
  • Ensure Safety: Prioritize the safety of participants and spectators. Keep an eye out for any potential hazards or dangerous situations and take appropriate actions to prevent accidents.
  • Monitor Progress: Keep track of participants’ progress and ensure that they are following the rules. Verify that control points are correctly punched or recorded, and address any issues that may arise.
  • Stay Alert: Pay attention to what’s happening around you throughout the event. Be observant of any potential problems or rule violations and address them promptly.
  • Stay Positive and Encouraging: Maintain a positive and supportive attitude towards participants. Offer words of encouragement and celebrate their achievements.
  • Seek Feedback: After the event, ask for feedback from participants and other officials. This will help you improve your skills and contribute to the success of future orienteering events.

Remember, serving as an official at an orienteering event is a valuable contribution to the sport. By following these tips, you’ll be able to fulfill your role effectively, promote fair play and safety, and enhance the overall experience for participants. Enjoy your time as an official while working towards earning that Orienteering merit badge!

Orienteering Merit Badge Requirement 10: Teach

Teach orienteering techniques to your patrol, troop, or crew.

Orienteering Merit Badge Requirement 10 Helps and Answers

Tips for teaching orienteering techniques for the Orienteering merit badge

Teaching orienteering techniques to other Scouts for the Orienteering merit badge can be a rewarding experience. Here are some tips to help you effectively teach orienteering techniques to your fellow Scouts:

  1. Prepare Materials: Gather the necessary materials, such as maps, compasses, and other orienteering tools. Ensure that each Scout has access to the required materials during the teaching session.
  2. Start with the Basics: Begin by explaining the basic concepts of orienteering, such as map reading, compass use, and navigation techniques. Use simple language and visual aids to help convey the information effectively.
  3. Demonstrate Techniques: Show Scouts how to use a compass, read a map, and navigate through different terrains. Perform step-by-step demonstrations, allowing Scouts to observe and ask questions.
  4. Hands-on Practice: Provide opportunities for Scouts to practice the techniques themselves. Set up small orienteering courses or exercises where they can apply what they have learned. Offer guidance and feedback as they practice.
  5. Encourage Collaboration: Promote teamwork and cooperation among Scouts. Encourage them to work in pairs or small groups to solve navigational challenges together. This fosters a supportive learning environment.
  6. Emphasize Safety: Stress the importance of safety while orienteering. Teach Scouts to be aware of their surroundings, avoid hazards, and use proper equipment. Discuss what to do in case of emergencies or getting lost.
  7. Break it Down: Break complex techniques into smaller, manageable steps. Present information in a clear and sequential manner, allowing Scouts to grasp each concept before moving on to the next one.
  8. Provide Feedback: Offer constructive feedback to Scouts as they practice orienteering techniques. Highlight their strengths and areas for improvement. Encourage them to learn from their mistakes and keep practicing.
  9. Make it Fun: Incorporate games, challenges, and friendly competitions to make the learning experience enjoyable. This can help maintain Scouts’ interest and enthusiasm for orienteering.

Remember, as a Scout teaching orienteering techniques, your role is to guide and support your fellow Scouts in their learning journey. By following these tips, you can help them develop the necessary skills and knowledge to earn the Orienteering merit badge. Enjoy sharing your expertise and fostering a love for orienteering among your peers!


Use the BSA Edge Method for Orienteering merit badge requirement 10

The BSA EDGE method, which stands for Explain, Demonstrate, Guide, and Enable, can be related to Orienteering merit badge requirement 10, which asks you to “explain the rules for competition in orienteering.” Here’s how the EDGE method can help you with this requirement:

  1. Explain: Start by explaining the rules for competition in orienteering to your fellow Scouts. Use clear and simple language to describe the key guidelines and regulations that participants must follow during an orienteering event. Make sure to cover aspects such as map reading, control point navigation, timing, and scoring. Give examples and clarify any terms or concepts that might be unfamiliar to your audience.
  2. Demonstrate: Next, demonstrate how the rules are applied in practice. Show your fellow Scouts how to use a compass, read a map, and navigate between control points. Highlight the importance of following the designated route and accurately punching control cards. You can even set up a small orienteering course or use visual aids to help illustrate the rules in action.
  3. Guide: After explaining and demonstrating, guide your fellow Scouts through the process of understanding and practicing the rules for orienteering competition. Offer step-by-step instructions and support as they try out the techniques and navigate through practice courses. Provide feedback and answer any questions they may have along the way.
  4. Enable: Lastly, enable your fellow Scouts to apply the rules independently. Encourage them to participate in orienteering events, whether it’s a practice session or an actual competition. Offer encouragement and support as they gain more experience and become familiar with the rules. Help create an environment that allows them to apply their orienteering skills confidently and responsibly.

By using the BSA EDGE method, you can effectively explain the rules for competition in orienteering to your fellow Scouts. This approach helps break down the information, demonstrate the practical application, guide their learning, and enable them to navigate orienteering competitions successfully while working towards earning the Orienteering merit badge. Learn more about the EDGE method.

Orienteering Scavenger Hunt

Hold an orienteering scavenger hunt for Orienteering merit badge requirement 10

An orienteering scavenger hunt is a fun way to practice orienteering skills and learn the rules for competition while working towards the Orienteering merit badge. By setting up an orienteering course with clues and destinations, you can demonstrate and apply the rules of orienteering and teach them to others.

Splitting into teams and following different-colored clues promotes fair competition and teamwork. Throughout the scavenger hunt, you’ll learn to respect boundaries and navigate using a compass. The goal is to reach the final destination and find the treasure, reinforcing the completion of the course and the importance of following the rules. See detailed instructions on how to run an orienteering scavenger hunt:

Related Resources for Orienteering Merit Badge

Personal Measurement Log for Orienteering

When participating in an orienteering course, having reliable ways to measure distances is crucial. One helpful method is to create a personal measurement log. Before starting the course, record measurements such as arm span, hand span, foot length, and more. Consistency in how you measure is key. By doing this, you’ll have a reference to accurately estimate and compare distances during the course. This technique will greatly assist you in earning the Orienteering merit badge. See complete instructions and a log sheet.

orienteering troop program feature

Orienteering Troop Program Feature for Scouts BSA

The BSA Troop Program feature for Orienteering complements the Orienteering merit badge by teaching Scouts essential skills in navigating with a map and compass. The program introduces Scouts to the sport of orienteering, covering various topics such as course designations, difficulty levels, and variations. It offers troop meeting ideas, games, and troop outings to enhance their understanding and application of orienteering. This comprehensive resource provides Scouts with a valuable learning experience, fostering their navigation skills, love for the outdoors, and spirit of adventure.

national outdoor awards hiking

National Outdoor Badges Award for Hiking

The National Outdoor Award Hiking Segment provides Scouts, Sea Scouts, and Venturers with an exciting chance to demonstrate their outdoor skills and dedication. As part of the requirements for this award, Scouts can use the Orienteering merit badge to fulfill one of the criteria. By earning this esteemed award, Scouts have the opportunity to showcase their proficiency in various outdoor activities and their commitment to accumulating significant miles through hiking, backpacking, snowshoeing, or cross country skiing.

hiking troop program feature

Hiking Troop Program Feature for Scouts BSA

The Hiking troop program feature aligns with the goals of the Orienteering merit badge by teaching Scouts important skills to prepare for successful outdoor adventures. Through hiking trails in various settings, Scouts develop an appreciation for their surroundings and learn to navigate through parks, back-country areas, and urban landscapes. This program helps Scouts cultivate their orienteering abilities and fosters a deeper understanding and connection with the natural world.

Backpacking Troop Program Feature

Orienteering and backpacking often go hand in hand, as both involve navigation and exploration in the wilderness. By participating in the Backpacking program, Scouts can develop valuable skills such as map reading, route planning, and orienteering techniques that can be applied to their orienteering adventures. Additionally, the Backpacking program emphasizes the importance of Leave No Trace principles, which align with the environmental stewardship aspect of the Orienteering merit badge. By combining their knowledge and experiences in backpacking and orienteering, Scouts can become well-rounded outdoor enthusiasts, equipped with the skills needed to navigate and explore various terrains effectively.

Designed to Crunch Scouts BSA Nova Award

Designed to Crunch Scouts BSA Nova Award (Mathematics)

The Scouts BSA Nova Award for mathematics, “Designed to Crunch,” combines STEM learning with recognition. To earn this award, Scouts complete a mathematics-related merit badge and explore topics like calculating horsepower and statistics for athletics events. The Orienteering merit badge can fulfill a requirement for this award, showcasing the practical application of mathematics in navigation and mapping skills. This connection highlights the importance of math in orienteering and encourages Scouts to appreciate the real-world applications of mathematical concepts in outdoor activities.

Land Navigation Ranger Core Requirement

The Land Navigation requirement for the Venturing Ranger award aligns with the skills taught in the Orienteering merit badge. Venturers must learn and practice map and compass skills and then have the opportunity to teach these skills to others. This demonstrates the shared emphasis on acquiring and sharing orienteering techniques, fostering leadership and community engagement.


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