This webpage contains sources of information for Irish Orienteers involved in mapping projects. It is maintained by the IOA mapping officer, Chris Slattery, mapping at Please email me any piece of information, no matter how trivial, that you think might be suitable for this webpage.


IOA Map Registration

Please complete this form and email it to mapping at Clubs must also pay a nominal map registration fee of €10 to the IOA. The rules covering map registration are detailed in appendix 3 of the IOA rulebook.

The official IOA map register seems to have disappeared sometime during the 1990′s. Follow the link below to see all registrations received since 2003.

Map Registrations received since 2003 - Google Docs

Map Registrations received since 2003 - pdf


Trinity College Map Archive

Orienteering maps record some unique information that nobody else collects in such a detailed manner. For example vegetation change over time, peat cutting, old stone walls, ruined settlements, drainage features and minor land boundaries.

The Trinity College Glucksman Map Library has over half a million maps making it the largest collection of printed maps in Ireland, however until recently they had only about 20 Orienteering maps. They are very aware of the cultural heritage aspects of Orienteering maps and had been to expand their collection to include them.

Brian Hollinshead of 3ROC took on the massive project of collecting, collating and scanning all known Irish Orienteering maps from the last 40 years, culminating in the donation of 1,060 to the library on March 25th, 2009.

Full details of the project are available on the The Irish Orienteer blogsite.

As a result of this project we now have a detailed IOA Map Survey


Keeping the Trinity College Map Archive up-to-date

Irish Orienteering is proud that 1,060 of its maps were donated to the Trinity College Map Library in March 2009. It is the responsibility and legal requirement of each club to keep this archive up-to-date using the following procedure that must be followed once per year:

  1. Ensure that the following information is clearly printed on the map: map name; scale; north arrow; contour distance; grid reference of at least one significant feature; date of this revision; club; surveyors/cartographers; OSI permit number (if applicable)
  2. Print one paper copy of all new and revised maps and post them to: The Map Librarian, Glucksman Map Library, Trinity College, College Street, Dublin 2
  3. If a version of the map was previously donated give the Map Archive ID Number from the IOA Map Survey - this will help the librarian to quickly and correctly index the new version of the map.
  4. If this is a donation of a new map, please ask the librarian for the new Map Archive ID Number and ask the IOA Mapping Officer to update the spreadsheet on Make sure to indicate if the new map is a subset or superset of another orienteering map and give the appropriate Map Archive ID Number(s).

Ireland’s Earliest Orienteering Maps

Pat Farrelly of the Defence Forces Orienteering Club has found evidence of the earliest known Orienteering event in Ireland: Sunday April 13th 1969 in Harney’s Cross, Clonmel. While we don’t have any maps from the event Pat has managed to find a report on it from the Carlow Nationalist newspaper. Also Pat has found an article introducing the sport of Orienteering from the Defence Forces magazine, Cosantoir, dated March 1969.

Carlow Nationalist mapcosantoir_1cosantoir_2

Eoin Rothery of Ajax, now an active Orienteer in Australia, found this copy of the Glen of the Downs map in Wicklow that was used for the earliest known non-military Orienteering event in Ireland in October 1969. The event crosses the road twice, something that would not be contemplated nowadays – it has been upgraded to a motorway. Eoin also demonstrates a visionary RouteGadget prototype from the late ‘60s (a blue marker). The Glen of the Downs east was re-mapped by Setanta in 2006.



Eoin comments: “The event was in the Glen of the Downs in October 1969 and was followed in November by Niall Rice’s event at the Blessington sand pits/woods, and then by Mike Lunt’s event at Devil’s Glen which was 26 December, 1969. Paddy O’Leary was the Glen of the Downs organiser and Nigel Bark had the fastest time. I don’t have the results and don’t know if there was more than 1 course – the course we did (Sean, Colm and I as a team, aka the Rothery family) is on the map, however faintly. I appear to have drawn in our route to no. 7 at some stage. The course had a number of innovative features – it was a real point to point, with Start and Finish in different locations. Paddy O’Leary did some map corrections, and used colour to highlight various things – blue stream, red road; green and orange both appear to indicate ways through the woods either forest roads or rides. Some of these were actually mapped by Paddy – so he was already updating the available Ordnance Survey map.”

Courtesy of Barry Dalby of EastWest Mapping we have a copy of the Devil’s Glen map used for the 26th December 1969 event and also Ireland’s first colour map – a 1970 two-colour map also of the Devil’s Glen. Both are by Michael Lunt.



There were possibly earlier events than these organised by the Defence Forces, possibly as far back as the late ’50s, but to date no documentary evidence has been found.


IOA Mapping Courses

A 2-day mapping course was held in County Westmeath in November 2005. There were 26 students from 11 clubs, representing all three IOA regions and the NIOA.



Two OCAD courses were held in 2009, one in Munster and one in Leinster. A report from the Leinster course is on The Irish Orienteer blogsite. No report is available from the Munster course.

Another OCAD course is planned for Leinster in autumn 2009 – keep an eye on the Irish Orienteering eGroup for details.



The definitive discussion group for Orienteering mapping is O-Map at Please make sure to search the previous messages before asking a question. To subscribe, send an email to O-Map-subscribe at

Nearly all maps are drawn with OCAD There are some utility programs that compliment OCAD available on the British Orienteering Map Groupwebsite. OCAD have recently produced a series of excellent video tutorials.

The international standard for Orienteering maps are available on the IOF Map Commission’s website. There are four categories: foot, sprint/trail, MTBO and SkiO. Note that there is a new standard, ISSOM2007, for Sprint Orienteering maps.

There is an International Orienteering Federation Instructor’s kit for giving an O-mapping course.

The definitive book on Orienteering mapmaking is called Map-making for Orienteers by Robin Harvey, Published by the British Orienteering Federation, Paperback 107 pages (first edition December 1975), ISBN: 0950228125 It seems to be out of print but may be available by searching the web.

Another map-making publication is available from the Canadian Orienteering Association, Map Making for Orienteering, Second Edition, March 2001, Original 1983 by the Canadian Orienteering Federation.

Tony Federer of Up North Orienteers has a written a good online guide called Making Maps for Orienteering (link seems to be (temporarily?) dead).

The Australian Orienteering Federation has a mapping resource section, as do the British . There is a beginner’s guide to Orienteering map making available from theGeorgia (USA) Orienteering club.

The Australian Orienteering Federation has a guide to mapping parkland and schools.

East West MappingStirling Surveyswww.olles.czScott Fraser and provide professional Orienteering map-making services (if your company would like to be listed here please email mapping at

Compute the magnetic declination for a given lattitude/longitude.

Find an Irish Grid Reference.

LIDAR (Laser Imaging Detection and Ranging) is a new technology that could revolutionise Orienteering mapping; at the very least it will have a significant impact on how we draw contours. Unfortunately no LIDAR datasets are available to the public in Ireland yet, but it is worth keeping eye on the technology via Greg Lennon’s LIDAR Links for Orienteering Mapping webpage.


Map Printing

print5‘s Leamington Spa branch in the UK have provided a good colour laser map printing service for various Irish Orienteering events, including the 2003, 2004 and 2006 (Bull Island) Leinster Championships and the 2006 Irish Championships (Carlingford). Most of Print5′s Orienteering map printing is done on waterproof Pretex paper. Contact alan at (Alan Halliday) in Print5 for a quotation.

Which printer should you buy? I know that KerryO have an HP Deskjet 9300 and WEGO use an Epson Stylus 3000 Printer. Contact these clubs to get their opinion of them. Google searches indicate that the Epson 1290 is work a look. Some Epson printers use Epson’s “DURABrite™ pigment inks” which, according to a thread on the O-Map YahooGroup, is waterproof (the ink, not the paper).

The IOF map commission’s PrintTech Project has some detailed technical information about a variety of printers.

The Houston Orienteering Club has produced a good guide to OCAD Printer Colour Setting.

The Leinster Website has a guide to preparing maps for Leinster League events.


IOA Map Survey

This list is based on original work done by Gerry Brady in the 1990s. It was updated by Marcus Geoghegan between 2005 and 2008 and it then underwent a major revision by Brian Hollinshead during the Trinity College map Archive project.

IOA Map Survey


OSI Permits

According to OSI (Ordnance Survey of Ireland) leaflet CP1 which is available under the copyright section of“Anyone wishing to reproduce OSI material, or use it as a basis for their own publication, must obtain prior permission from the OSI”. If your project falls into this category then please obtain a permit from the OSI using the CP1 process.



Some GPS experiments


IOA Mapping Grant Scheme

2009 Mapping Grant Allocation: mapping_grants_allocation_2009




€10,500 2008 2008
€8,000 2007 2007
€8,000 2006 2006
€6,000 2005 2005
€4,000 2004 2004

Mapping Officer’s reports to the IOA AGM

2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009