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Orienteering in
the Hutt Valley

Orienteering in
New Zealand











U-Max More

More About the Orienteering you do when there's no orienteering...

U-max is an event format in which the course is designed and set out, by the participants, on the day. The only work prior is to select an area and get the map put onto the web in pdf format. Participants print and bring their own. Landowner permission may be required but public bodies don't worry about small numbers.

This page is mainly intended for U-Max organisers.


Here are some previous U-Max maps. Some even have the course on them.
  • Belmont Regional Park from Oakleigh St
    June 2017 U-Max Areas of passable native bush linked up with tracks old and new. Starting from the carpark off Oakleigh St Maungaraki. Has course as run, about 3km measured around the map, took an M70 47min. Download map (563k pdf)
  • Avalon TV Studio/Frasr Park/Taita School
    2016 U-Max #3 and 4 Riverbank terrain (trees very passable during winter, with rare directional runnability.) Starting from the riverbank opposite the end of Percy Cameron St. Blank map. Download map (850k pdf)
  • Avalon/Belmont
    2016 U-Max #2 Riverbank terrain (trees very passable during winter, may thicken up during summer but lots of little tracks). Starting from the riverbank behind Belmont School, 12 controls forming a 4.8km course which can easily be shortcut. Download map (860k pdf)
  • Melling
    2016 U-Max #1 Riverbank terrain (trees very passable during winter, may thicken up during summer but lots of little tracks). Starting from the north end of the riverbank carpark, 15 controls forming a 4.7km course which can easily be shortcut to 3.2km. Download map (770k pdf)

Tell People About It

Here's a typical calendar description. The secretary can include it in the weekly Memb-O too.

"Experimental event, expect changes. Print your own map prior from website which will be given here by Friday. 2 copies, one to set out with and another to run with. Bring pen and minigrip bag. Terrain - insert description here. 1st hour set out 2-3 controls (markers supplied) and create courses; 2nd hour run course, collect markers."

Other Preparation

Ask the mapping officer to sort out the map, and get the webmaster to put it on the web somewhere. Put the web address on to the calendar listing. Make sure you've got 20 or so markers of the same type (rogaine type ribbons are fine.) Print a couple of maps for yourself - you'll need to provide the master map and its good to have a spare in case it gets wet or torn etc. Think about how to divide up the area, see "Quadrants" below.

Draft Timetable

Based on extensive experience (of one event), this schedule was plenty for a group of 8 and an area that supported a 5km course. It sort-of divides into 4 phases (not counting the arrival phase) and is over in less than 2 hours. More people, more differences between people and it would stretch out I think.
  • From 0-15min will be taken up with people arriving late, describing how it works several times, etc. etc.
  • From 15-45min put out flags. Can include inspecting map for corrections etc. Part of the learning.
  • From 45-60min plan course on master map, participants copy course and depart (interval start, or some in reverse)
  • From 60-90 or so min Participants on the course.
  • From 90-120min Slower participants arriving back, discussion, participants gather in the markers.


It helps to direct participants which part of the map to set their controls in, to get a spread. One method is to divide the map (in theory) into 4 quadrants. N, S, E and W or perhaps divided by roads or something.
  • If there are 4 participants (ignore newbies who are not under their own steam) then direct one to each quadrant. 8 and you can multiply the quadrants by 2: close-in or further out. Obviously give the far-out areas to the faster participants. You might be able to give 12 people close, mid and far-out zones, times the 4 quadrants. Whatever system it needs to be simple.
  • More than 12 people, double them up - they set out in pairs.
  • Can be good to have a fifth REALLY close zone, the organiser can do that one. Or a late arrival. Or someone really slow. Just gives a bit of flexibility.
  • You don't need more than about 20 controls, otherwise some end up not getting used.

Plan the Course

You have to string together all these independent pairs of circles. Don't agonise, its not the national champs. Just do it quickly (perhaps in a different colour from the pen the participants used). Missed one out? Just call it 11A or something. Helps to have an obvious shortcut in the course for slower orienteers, that cuts off about 1/3 of the distance.

Mop Up

Chat about the course and map. Make sure everyone is back. They get their own markers in. No results to do. Nice if the mapping officer can put the ACTUAL circles on the map, it can then go on the web as an "Anytime Event". Retire to nearest cafe.

This page written by and installed on 14 Aug 16.