The Club
About Orienteering



Map O' Maps

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Orienteering maps are special

Differences between Topographical and Orienteering Maps

Topographical maps (commonly known as topos) and orienteering maps have considerably more information than road maps. They concentrate on the physical features on the earth's surface and the relief, or different heights and contours of the land.

Topos come in several scales. National and forest parks are usually 1:100,000. This means that 1 centimetre (cm) on the map equals or represents 1,000,000 cm on the ground. 1,000,000 cm = 1,000 metres (m) = 1 kilometre.

Orienteering maps are commonly 1:10,000 (1 cm = 100 metres), or 1:15,000 for elite competitors, and 1:7,500 or 1:5,000 (1 cm = 50 m) for children and novice adults.

Series NZMS 260 topos have a scale of 1:50,000. These are the most detailed maps available that cover the country. It takes 295 of them to cover the three main islands of New Zealand. They show such things as paddock boundaries, irrigation channels and farmsteads. Contour lines are at 20m vertical intervals. They also use relief shading to show the shape of the land.

Orienteering maps are even more detailed and show such things as knolls, small depressions, pits, boulders, distinctive trees, water troughs, and narrow marshes. Contour lines are at 5m intervals, or in intricate terrain 2.5m.

Topos have grid north lines marked on them. When setting or orientating a topo allowance has to be made for the angle between grid and magnetic north. Orienteering maps have magnetic north lines on them. It is easy to know when the map is correctly orientated because the north lines on the map and the needle on the compass will be parallel.

Another difference is in the colours used. Topos use shades of green and symbols to show different types of vegetation such as native or exotic forest or scrub. Orienteering maps do not differentiate between the types of forest. Instead they use white to show forest of any type that can be run through. The shades of green are used to show passability of vegetation, with light green indicating slow run and dark green impassable or "fight". Open land, such as grass covered paddocks, is coloured yellow.

Map List

(This section is still under construction)

We would like to remind you that possession of a map does not confer on you the right to enter an area or to organise an orienteering event or any other event on these areas.
Maps listed are protected by copywrite, please do not copy maps without the express permission of the Red Kiwi Orienteering Club.

Palmerston Parks & Streets

Osgiliath Wood

  • Travel Times
  • Directions
  • Terrain - Scale, contour interval, area covered
  • Map Example

Bombing Range

  • Travel Times
  • Directions
  • Terrain - Scale, contour interval, area covered
  • Map Example



  • Travel Times
  • Directions
  • Terrain - Scale, contour interval, area covered
  • Map Example




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