Map Reading Challenge night

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A bases style night of 5 map reading challenges that Patrols compete against each other in. (Designed for 10 patrols, but can be modified for fewer).
1. Map Reading battleships,
2. Back to back symbols.
3. Where am I? (understanding locations and bearings)
4. Map reading Bingo,
5. Map reading relay race,


Lots of print outs from the files, (takes a bit of prep)
2 OS maps (the same preferably),


Map Reading Challenge night

Patrols compete against each other as they move around five bases.
Organise the Patrols into a matrix so that each Patrol takes on a different Patrol at each challenge. Our example (in the attachment) uses 10 Patrols (I know, big troop!) but can be modified to accommodate smaller numbers. Each base takes 15 minutes (With a big troop and 5 bases going on at once it takes one leader to be solely responsible for making sure the bases start on time and making sure the scouts get to the next base quickly).
The challenges could be given more time and spaced out over two meetings if required.

Full instructions for each base are included in the print outs.

Map Reading Battleships

Two patrols each have a map section with 3 randomly placed targets. The teams take it in turns to call out map references to try and 'hit' the opponents targets. Just like the original game of battleships but using 6 figure map references.

Back to back symbols instructions

Split each Patrol into pairs. Sit each pair back to back in a line but so the pairs are not right next to each other. One of each pair is the describer and the other is the drawer. The describer is given five of these symbols and within the time has to describe them to their partner who has to draw them accurately. The drawer also tries to write down what they think the symbol means. At the end of the time the drawings are judged and points are
awarded to the best drawings. Bonus marks for guessing the correct name.

Where am I?

Each patrol studies the map and pictures and has to decide from where on the map, and at what bearing, the pictures were drawn.
This challenge has been adapted from a very similar challenge on Scouts org POL website.

Map reading bingo
Again, taken from Scout org POL, map reading bingo. It's just like err.... bingo, but with map symbols.

Map Reading Relay Race

Relay race where Scouts run the length of the hall with a map reference, find the symbol at that reference on a map. Find the same symbol in a pile of slips with symbols and map references on and return to the start where the next Scout runs with the new map ref and so on.


  • bearings
  • Map Bingo
  • Map reader
  • map reading
  • map symbols
  • maps
  • orienteering
  • OS key or legend

Badge Links

  • Navigator - 6-figure reference
  • Navigator - Features
  • Navigator - Locate
  • Orienteer - Colours and symbols