a. An expert military map reader/land navigator is by no means ready to compete in a civilian orienteering event. However, military experience in navigating on the ground and reading maps will help individuals to become good orienteers. Several orienteering practices and complete familiarization with the map symbols and terms before participating in a real orienteering event is recommended.
(1) Map. The standard orienteering map is a very detailed, 1:15,000-scale, colored topographical map. All orienteering maps contain only north-south lines that are magnetically drawn; this eliminates any declination conversions. Because of the absence of horizontal lines, grid coordinates cannot be plotted and therefore are not needed.
(2) Symbols (Legend). Despite standard orienteering symbols, the legend in orienteering maps has a tendency to change from map to map. A simple way to overcome this problem is to get familiar with the legend every time that a different map is used.
(3) Scale. The scale of orienteering maps is 1:15,000. This requires an immediate adjustment for the military land navigator, especially while moving from point to point. It takes a while for a person that commonly uses a 1:50,000 scale to get used to the orienteering map.
(4) Contours. The normal contour interval in an orienteering map is 5 meters. This interval, combined with the scale, makes the orienteering maps so meticulously detailed that a 1-meter boulder, a 3-meter shallow ditch, or a 1-meter depression will show on the map. This may initially shock a new orienteer.
(5) Terms and Description of Clues. The names of landforms are different from those commonly known to the military. For example, a valley or a draw is known as a reentrant; an intermittent stream is known as a dry ditch. These terms, with a description of clues indicating the position and location of the control points, are used instead of grid coordinates.
b. The characteristics of the map, the absence of grid coordinates, the description of clues, and the methods used in finding the control points are what make civilian orienteering different from military land navigation.