Over 100 Scottish MapRun Courses Now Available!

The total number of openly available MapRun courses in Scotland passed the 100 milestone last week. Read on for some observations from different clubs about the courses they have set up as well as two further opportunities to join in MapRun workshops.

MapRun Courses in Scotland

Upcoming MapRun Zoom Workshops

It is fantastic to see how clubs and individuals have responded to our changed circumstances to explore new ways of making orienteering accessible and available during these times. The MapRun resource is one which could play a significant role in helping to promote the sport and offer a new route for anyone to give orienteering a try, even once we are able to return to more traditional formats. Although other similar apps are also available, we have now built an excellent Scottish resource of “permanent” MapRun courses, which provides a standardised opportunity for anyone to participate. We plan to support this further by holding another two MapRun workshops as follows:

Tues 30th June, 7-8:30pm. Beginner’s MapRun session for those who have never used the app or have not yet tried to set up any courses. Sign up here by Sun 28th June at the latest.

Tues 7th July, 7-8:30pm. MapRun Discussion session for those who have already set courses up, to share experiences and ideas for further use and promotion. Sign up here by Sun 5th July at the latest.

Here is a taster of what some different clubs have been doing….

STAG – Fredrik Nordvall Forsberg

Our original motivation for setting up MapRun courses was partly as a complementary orienteering opportunity for our members and others visiting Glasgow outside our usual programme of events, and, if we are lucky, also a possible method to attract new members. With the partial easing of lockdown, MapRun has made it possible for STAG to still offer some informal orienteering courses during the Covid-19 situation. We are lucky in that we already have many maps of eg open parkland, which are quite suitable for planning courses “by satellite”. We are tempted to convert our permanent courses to MapRun to cut down on the need for permanent post maintenance.

GRAMP – Rachel Scott

Five Gramps have been actively experimenting with MapRun, both running and creating courses; some had already tried running MapRun courses, enjoyed the novelty factor and wanted to have a go at creating our own whilst others responded to SOA opportunities to explore something different during Lockdown. Nearly all of us enjoy urban O just as much as forest O. This may be the common denominator as MapRun tends to work best in an urban/park setting.

Some of us are ‘serial clickers’, happy to click and see what happens and quite advanced in our experimenting. Others are self-confessed non-techies who want to prove to themselves that they can master new technology. As a visual learner, I found watching the Maprunner videos the best way to get to grips with course setting, rather than digesting wordy guides. The videos include a lot of instructive detail which can be reviewed at your own pace.

Our motivation is to create courses for public consumption rather than personal training, either as part of the gradual gearing up to restart orienteering or, in one case, for a small group of friends who run but don’t (yet) orienteer, to try and introduce them to the sport via the urban side. We are having a club Zoom social/catchup this week and one idea for returning to the sport is to set up our Autumn Urban Series using MapRun – thereby hopefully creating an appetite for more of the same.

East Lothian Outdoor Learning Service – David Robertson

Postbox Orienteering with MapRun

East Lothian Outdoor Learning Service has now set up nine postbox challenges through the larger towns and villages in the county. They are all based on OpenOrienteeringMap and the facility for automatic plotting of postboxes. Our hope is to encourage young people and their families to get active and explore their local area through the use of maps, whether by walking, running or cycling.

The details have been circulated to schools, Active Schools, Scouts & Guides and other groups. There has been most activity where teaching staff have actively encouraged young people to take part. All the maps have a link to ELO and hopefully this will provide a stepping stone to mainstream orienteering once restrictions on our sport are relaxed. Local orienteers have also helped to ‘check sites’ for us and a number have run the courses themselves.

Edinburgh – Katherine Ivory

Katherine has been exploring potential different ways of utilising the MapRun capability in Edinburgh, especially with a view to offering some “real” orienteering to regular members during the current period of restricted activity. She has been testing different ways of setting up courses and the different modes in which the app can be operated. Katherine comments “Have a go: if I can do it – as a user / course developer – anyone can!! I’m not particularly techy, nor a very experienced orienteer. It’s a great way to develop skills and explore areas, sometimes just from a new angle. It’s very satisfying when people try out courses and seem to enjoy them!”

There are now quite a large number of courses, of varying different technical difficulties, available across Edinburgh, planned by members from Interlpers and ESOC. Amongst other users, 37 Pentland Scouts have gained their Orienteering Badge during Lockdown thanks to use of MapRun and other permanent courses. Katherine envisages an opportunity to use the app for running local events during the forthcoming months as Lockdown and travel restrictions ease.

It’s great to hear of all these different and innovative ideas and we hope that it may encourage and inspire others to follow suit. Sign up for one of the Zoom workshops to find out how to get involved! Contact sarah@scottish-orienteering.org for further information.