International Orienteering Federation Rules

Orienteering Rules Pertaining to Fairness, Conduct, and Equipment


Prior investigation of the competition area is forbidden.

All persons who take part at an orienteering event (competitors, organizers, team managers and so on) shall demonstrate a high degree of fairness, a sporting attitude, a spirit of comradeship and honesty.

It is forbidden to obtain outside help or collaborate in running or navigation except in a non-competitive class.

A competitor shall not seek to obtain unfair advantage over fellow competitors, nor intentionally run with or behind other competitors during the event in order to profit from their skill.

The competitor is obliged to show respect for other competitors, leaders, land owners or administrators, officials, journalists, spectators, and others as well as residents of the competition terrain and areas.

Competitors for whom the preponderance of the evidence shows that they have intentionally broken these Rules causing a course to be voided may be disqualified by the jury from the current event as well as future USOF events for a period of up to two years.

Equipment and Aids

So long as the particular conditions in the area (i.e. danger of infection) do not necessitate otherwise, choice of clothing shall be up to the individual. It is strongly recommended that the competitor's legs are completely covered.

The organizers may require competitors to wear identifying numbers on a bib on the chest and/or the back. The competitor must not conceal any information on the bib.

During the competition only a compass and the map provided by the organizer may be used for navigation. (and watches are ok)

Personal aids not used directly for navigation are permitted. (e.g. magnifying glass, flashlight, cane, eyeglasses)

The use of any navigation aid other than a compass is prohibited. (e.g. transport, electronic apparatus, radio, pedometer, altimeter, GPS, etc.)

Conduct during the event

The competitors shall move in the terrain as silently as possible and neither by shouting nor by sign give help or do harm to other competitors, nor intentionally draw their attention.

It is the duty of each competitor to help anyone who is injured.

Competitors should carry a whistle. Three blows of the whistle indicate that assistance is needed.

Care will be taken when running along or crossing traffic routes.

Sections marked as required routes on the course must be followed by the competitor.

Once competitors cross the finish line, their competition is over, and they shall not return to the competition area without permission from the organizer.

Competitors who do not finish (DNF) must report to the finish and return their control card and map. They shall in no way attempt to influence the competition or other competitors. They shall not discuss the course or competition area with other competitors who have not yet gone out on their course.

Competitors shall not drink from water jugs in such a way that they contaminate the water others must use, and they shall not waste the water. Each competitor shall avoid using more than 8 oz. of water at any one refreshment control unless they need additional water to drink.

Out of bounds areas

It is forbidden to cause damage in the competition terrain. The competitors are solely responsible for their damage.

The competitor shall not enter the following areas except when specific permission is included in the Event Information: Yards and gardens; Sown land and land with growing or standing crops; Limited access highways or fenced railways; Areas marked "out of bounds".

In consideration of nature conservation, the land owners, and others, the crossing of fences and ditches, as well as passing across forest plantations, shall occur in such a way that no damage is done. Barriers and gates opened by the competitor shall be closed by same.

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