Map Symbols

Orienteering maps are drawn using an internationally agreed set of symbols and colours to represent various features and there should be a legend printed down one side to explain the symbols used on that particular map (depending on the features in that area).

The following two links provide a complete list of map symbols used for normal foot orienteering and for school orienteering.

This link provides a complete list of control descriptions. This describes the feature on which the control is placed and position of the control relative to the feature, i.e. on top of, or at the bottom of etc.

Information provided courtesy of maprunner


In summary then

BLUE = wet stuff; ponds, streams, marshes, springs

BROWN = contour lines, pits, depressions (small hollows), gullies, knolls (small hills); "soft" manmade features like earth walls/embankments

BLACK = rock features such as cliffs, crags and boulders; tracks/paths; manmade features like buildings, footbridges, fences, power lines

WHITE = generally good news - open woodland with tall, well spaced trees making it easy to run through although there may be ferns or brashings on the ground

YELLOW = grassy spaces; a paler yellow for rougher terrain such as heather

GREEN = generally bad news - thicker woodland, difficult to get through and the severity depends on the shade of green - the darker it is, the more you really don't want to go there!

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