What is a Virtual Orienteering Course?
A Virtual Orienteering Course (VOC) is a set of checkpoints spread around a park, town, or woodland, created for you to complete and capture with your smartphone or GPS watch. Together with a map showing where they all are, with the right App your smartphone can magically become a brilliant orienteering device and be a map, a compass and a timer all in one.
Rather than running the same route every day, challenge yourself to complete a virtual course. Virtual courses have no infrastructure on the ground – it’s a time trial rather than a race so you can run any course, any time you want! The beauty of the challenge is deciding your own route and capturing control points.
There are 3 main types of courses;
- Score course – this is where you have to find as many controls as you can in the time limit (often 45-60mins). Each control is worth a number of points; they may all have the same value or they may vary. The highest number of points wins. You will lose points if you are late back
- Line course – your aim is to find all the controls in the right order as quickly as possible
- Scatter course – where you have to find all the controls in any order as quickly as possible
So why not have an adventure and find towns and parks to explore with an accessible, flexible and fun Virtual Orienteering Course.
Downloading the App
Virtual Orienteering Courses around the Cleveland area (and around lots of the rest of the UK) use an app called MapRun6 – a free easy to use app for Android, Apple and Garmin.
Download the App to your GPS enabled smartphone or smartwatch from Google Play, Apple App Store, or the Garmin Connect IQ Store (using on a Garmin watch also requires you to have the MapRun6 app on a paired Android or Apple smartphone).
How to Use MapRun from British Orienteering is a handy guide on how to use the MapRun app on a Virtual Orienteering Course.
There are several ways to choose your next adventure:
- Head over to the Go Orienteering Course Finder
- Check out the MapRun.uk site
- See the list of CLOK MapRun Challenges in Cleveland and the surrounding area – the links here also contain more details about the nature of the course
- Search in the app by postcode or navigate to the UK folder to browse different areas by county
However you find your course, you will need to download it in the app. We recommend you download the course map while you have access to WiFi or a good mobile signal.
Most courses on offer are ‘Score’ courses where you visit as many controls as you want with a set time limit. Points are scored by visiting controls – in any order – but lost by spending more than the allowed time. You decide which controls to visit and just how easy or hard you want to make the challenge
Taking it further
If you enjoy Virtual Orienteering Courses, you may want to try a local club event, where electronic controls are placed out on individual, unique courses, which vary in difficulty and length, with something to suit everyone from beginner to expert. To find out more see our pages for Entering an event and Completing a course, and head over to the list of CLOK events to choose your next adventure!