We've settled on MapRun6 as the app of choice - you install it on your smart phone, and it allows you to run orienteering courses planned by clubs, using real orienteering maps. Your route is tracked in real-time by the app using the phones GPS sensor, and the app beeps to let you know when you've arrived at the correct control site - there generally won't be any physical marker on the ground.
We've found during trials that the best way to use the app is as follows:
- Before you leave home, install the app, and search for a local course you want to run
- If possible, download a physical map of the course and print it out (ours are listed below)
- If you cant do this, you can just use your phone screen as the map
- Drive/Run/Ride to the start (maintaining government guidance on allowed travel areas)
- When ready to run, go into the app, and select the "Go To Start" option
- Walk to the start triangle location
- Your phone will beep, and your timer has started
- Put the phone in your hand or arm strap, grab your paper map, and get going!
- From that point onwards, you just navigate as normal, and listen out for the beeps to tell you when you have reached the right spot.
- When you get to the end, your result will be uploaded, and you can see how you did compared to others.
If you are more of a visual learner, here's a video where I run though the basics of a MapRun6 course
There's also the option of a permanent Orienteering course - these don't require an app, just download the map from the associated Coillte website, go to the area, and run around looking for the permanent marker posts.
The IOA has more information on "DIY Orienteering" here - check it out! They also have a useful guide to map symbols, since not all orienteering maps have them printed on them - worth printing if you need a reference.