Lamp Post Orienteering

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Lamp post orienteering or ‘Lamp-Os’ is an easy low tech way of orienteering that can be run in any urban location such as a housing estate as long as there are council lamp post. This could even be run in the dark as long as groups can understand the maps, the lamp post being on will also help to find them. Maps can be very basic in black and white or more advanced, whatever suits you and created from any sort map, e.g. google maps or even O.S on Bing maps. Maps can also be created from the free online Open Orienteering Maps website . Maps can include black and white representations of the chosen area, with streets marked on as black lines – no buildings to act as identifying features – so you’ll need good contact with the map.

All “controls” will be lampposts. As many lamp post locations could be chosen as necessary. Each council lamp post has an identifying number stencilled on it. I prefer to only use the bottom number on the lamp post to keep things easy. Make sure you check out the lamp posts beforehand as some maybe obscured by foliage, been defaced or are just plain missing! But if you can’t use one lamp-post, there is always another round the corner….

Along with the map a control card to write down the lamppost number when you get there will be needed, so you need a pencil - better than a pen if the map/card is damp.


Orienteering maps and control cards (examples attached in files)


• all “Control Points” are lamp posts, identified on the map by a red circle or coloured number;
• Control Points can be visited in any order, or not at all;
• all Control Points are marked somewhere by the council with a unique identifier;
• all Control Points are at an obvious location i.e. near a road junction, street corner or street end;
• once you’ve located a control point, write down the unique identifier;
• Can be run as a timed event or if you are worried about racing around residential streets then points could be awarded as follows:
o Control Points 1 – 10 (green) + 10 points
o Control Points 11 – 20 (orange) + 20 points
o Control Points 21 – 25 (red) + 30 points
o You could add extra points for identifying other things
• For returning each minute or partial minute after the allotted time – 10 points
• The individual/pair with the most points wins;
• please stick to public rights of way, no jumping over garden fences etc. You may use local knowledge for shortcuts and footpaths which may not be on the map, but ensure you can reorient yourself afterwards;
• no use of phones/navigation devices, they’ll likely only get you more lost; and
• if you do get completely lost make sure the teams have a Leaders mobile number that they can contact. Although the Leader might not be able to do anything but laugh!

Top Tips
• maintain good contact with the map – road names on maps are optional, there are no grid squares, you probably don’t have a compass;
• plan a route – it may not be possible for you to visit every Control Point in the hour. Be realistic with your pace, or you’ll be fined heavily for returning late; and
• have fun, there’s prizes to be won, the reward is in the risk!


  • fitness
  • lamp O
  • lamp post
  • orienteering
  • outdoors
  • Urban

Badge Links

  • Navigator - 4 compass points
  • Navigator - 8 compass points
  • Navigator - Orienteering course
  • Navigator - Use map
  • Navigator - Use map
  • Orienteer - Colours and symbols
  • Orienteer - Course
  • Orienteer - Set map