Virtual O-Tourism

I hope those of you who tried Duncan's Street View orienteering around Southampton enjoyed it. The winner at the moment is Nigel Britton in a time of 18:25. They say that necessity is the mother of invention and French orienteer Simon Blum has taken the experience to a whole new level.

If you head over to you can participate in a short course around the French city of Riems. The Street View imagery has been integrated into the site which means that a) you are forced to navigate along the streets using the provided orienteering map (no peeking at the Street View map or jumping from one location to another) and b) the controls actually appear in Street View for you to punch them once you are close enough!

In case it isn't clear, to get started you need to look down and see the little red placemark that represents the start. Once you've clicked on it, the rest of the map is revealed and you can proceed to the first control. Good luck!

Lockdown Orienteering - the Sprint Edition

This weekend saw the second event in the Lockdown Orienteering series. There were eleven takers from SOC this time around. The format was similar to last time but with a sprint theme to the ten stages. Some of the stages used the same online activities as the Easter event but there were also some new tests for competitors which are highlighted below. The next event takes place on the Bank Holiday weekend and will switch back to the virtual forest and there look to be yet more innovative activities - get your entry in on Fabian 4!

The first stage, for example, required you to pick the shortest of three courses with a maximum of 20 seconds to decide (something I was particularly bad at). Street View featured again but this time the course required you to navigate through the narrow back alleys of Bristol and jumping from one place to another on the map was strictly disallowed!

Stage 4 required you to pick the fastest route between two controls using a new, purpose-built, website. The routes were planned by sprint World Champion Emil Wingstedt and got more and more fiendish as the stage progressed. I'd swear I'd found the only possible route on the last test but still got it wrong! The next stage was a fiendish rendition of the children's game "pick-up pairs" with twenty pairs, each containing a section of very similar looking map.

For Sunday, we had another new stage in the 3D Maze. Whilst relocation was nigh-on impossible in the hardest course, it actually didn't prove to be too tricky to navigate the course. Jigsaws might seem a sedate occupation but with the clock ticking and pieces with straight edges, the next stage was still pretty taxing.

This time I completed the three Catching Features courses which featured two fantastically detailed maps. I have to say that I preferred the clear features of the urban area but my times were still more than double those of the winners. The graphics are a bit of a throw back to the 1990s (not surprising given the age of the game) but it's still an excellent test of several orienteering skills. If you fancy something more photo-realistic, take a look at the preview for Virtual-O.

There was also a shiny new results website custom-built for the event. Congratulations to Tamsin who just pipped Rob for the position of top-SOC. She also placed an impressive 35th in the 10 stage competition. The less said about my own results the better!


Southampton Street View Course

Today should have been the first of our series of summer events. To compensate, inspired by last weekend's Lockdown event, Duncan has planned a virtual course around Southampton on Google Street View with a series of questions to answer as you go. Due to OS licensing, we can't share the orienteering map on the website but, if you drop an email to soc [at], we'll send you the map and instructions for taking part.

In reply to by dk72

Hi dk72, yes it does but it hasn't been used or updated in years (2000). Dave and Christine were the mappers so give Dave (above) an email. Or I have a scan of a printout. We've not been able to get permission for a while..