Orienteering Maps

Orienteering uses large-scale topographic maps created specifically for our sport. The maps contain very fine topographic detail and include all significant boulders, cliffs, small marshes, and man-made objects - including small trails. Open areas as well as thick vegetation are depicted with colour overlays so the orienteer can choose the fastest route between control sites. Orienteering maps come in several different varieties which we've described for you below.

Orienteering Ottawa has created and owns many of these maps across the entire National Capital Region: throughout Gatineau park and the Greenbelt, in local parks and campuses, as far west as Arnprior and Almonte and as far south as Kemptville. You can find these maps via the interactive map at the bottom of this page.

If you are interested in obtaining a map, either for personal use or to host an event, see our orienteering resources page.


Most forest orienteering maps fall into this category. Standard orienteering maps are usually at a scale of 1:10 000 (1cm = 100m) but are sometimes printed at 1:7500 or 1:15 000. The creation of these maps is guided by the International Standard for Orienteering Mapping (ISOM) which sets out a standard legend which you can find on the far right.

Orienteering Ottawa's ISOM maps are marked on the map below with green pins.

Quick Notes

Scale: 1:7500 - 1:15 000 Contour Interval: 2.5 m or 5 m
Key features and colours:
Contours and other land form features Buildings and other man-made items
Rock features Roads and trails
Water features (blue) Walls and fences
Forest (white and green) Out of bounds area

Most urban orienteering maps fall into this category. 'Sprint' orienteering maps are at a scale of 1:4000 or 1:5000 (1cm =40 or 50m). The creation of these maps is guided by the International Standard for Sprint Orienteering Mapping (ISSOM) which sets out a standard legend slightly different than that for standard orienteering maps.

One important note is that in Sprint maps certain symbols are forbidden to cross or pass into for safety, fairness, and land-owner relations. These forbidden features are: buildings, impassable walls, impassable fences, gardens, hedges, and lakes.

Examples of Orienteering Ottawa's sprint maps are Carleton University, Ottawa U and Tunney's Pasture.

Quick Notes

Scale: 1:4000 or 1:5000 Contour Interval: 2 m or 2.5 m
Key differences from standard orienteering maps:
Buildings and overhangs Parkland
Pavement Field with long grass
Impassable walls and fences Forest and thick vegetation
Gardens and impassable vegetation Individual trees

Ski orienteering takes place on a track network, and involves, as a basic element, complex route choice problems, including estimating height differences. It is obvious that the map must concentrate on clearly depicting these features. The map must also be legible when skiing at high speed and in adverse weather conditions (snowfall, fog, rain, frost). This means that the map will not show detail any distance from trails in order to highlight the visibility of the track network and to better show the contours.  Only details that impact route choice, navigation and positioning will be shown on the map.

Examples of Orienteering Ottawa's ski-o maps include Riverfront Park, Nakkertok and Fitzroy Provincial Park

Quick Notes

Scale may be: 1:10000, 1:7500 or 1:5000 Contour Interval may be :10 m, 5 m or 2.5 m
Key differences from standard orienteering maps:
  • Forest is marked in white only
  • Trails are marked in green - solid for wide trails, dashed for classic only