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Discussion: Good control materials for permanent courses.

in: Orienteering; General

Feb 26, 2023 11:49 PM # 
I keep thinking about setting up a permanent course in or near clarkesville tennessee. Does anyone know of light to carry durable materials for permanent control markers? I thought of 4x4 6 foot pressure treated wood posts but they are HEAVY. One club used flat vinyl slats but some fell down so i wonder how durable they are. Also how to best mark the control so the lettering and numbering weathers the elements over the long term.
Feb 28, 2023 7:17 PM # 
I have been replacing missing controls for the permanent courses in Louisville. The Carsonite posts are good and lightweight to carry around the forest. The two problems we have had with them are that they are prone to getting run over by large mowers at parks if they were along the vegetation boundary, and vandalism at a park where some points were placed at cool ruins that teenagers liked to hang out at. I replaced the vandalized posts with 5"x10" custom printed metal markers and attached them up out of reach to a dead (but firm) tree near the control location. For stickers on the Carsonite posts, I had my local print shop print them on "permanent stick backing, UV resistant ink, and laminated" material.

Carsonite Post

Custom Metal Sign

Start Sign

Custom Metal Sign Vendor
Mar 1, 2023 3:56 PM # 
For our permanent course at Beaumont Scout Reservation, we switched from Carsonite posts due to vandalism and damage from falling trees, to 1.5 inch PVC pipe over T-post pounded into the ground with a PVC cap. We use permanent weatherproof labels with a code on them. If so inclined you can attach a punch to the PVC pipe. We bolted one Carsonite post to the utility pole for safe keeping.

The ranger installed orange birdhouses on T-post at each control location, so we are in the process of attaching punches to the top of the birdhouses. The thought for the birdhouses was to put something inside them (like geocaching) for the scouts to collect to prove they were there.
Mar 1, 2023 10:37 PM # 
Won't the birds get upset with people reaching in to grab out their food?
Mar 2, 2023 4:25 AM # 
Thanks for the insights. I like the T-post idea. Just curious -- why cover it in PVC? Is to allow easy attachment of the weatherproof labels?
Mar 6, 2023 4:05 PM # 
Yes, it gives one a place to attach a label and make it more visible. I have also thought about just attaching a piece of wood painted white and orange with a punch attached.
Mar 19, 2023 6:27 AM # 
David Cynamon:
Here is a collection of control markers from permanent courses I've visited:
Orienteering Posts
The carsonite looks to hold up the best, but they were all placed in locations out of the way of mowers and in areas with less vandalism.
Mar 23, 2023 3:09 AM # 
Consider, maybe, just using a regular orienteering controls. I have been using the same O' markers for 6 years for seasonal courses though they are only out for 6 months each year.

Which brings me to my second suggestion---- consider maybe doing a "Seasonal" course instead of a permanent course. Yes, you will need to go around every year to move the controls (twice if you pick them up during the off season), but----you would probably at least go once just to make sure everything is still there. And by changing it every year, the locals will have something new to look forward to.
Mar 26, 2023 11:39 AM # 
Love it!
Mar 26, 2023 12:42 PM # 
The hittaut courses I did in Sweden last year used L-shaped aluminum stakes with stickers, or, in urban areas, laminated "cards".

No punches, just numbers (to identify the location) with letter codes (recorded to prove you visited). These are semi-permanent, out for ~6 months or so.

ROC uses the carsonite posts for permanent courses and 4x4" laminated cards with a hole punched in the corner for a ziptie for semi-permanent courses. I have had the hole break over the course of a winter, but the cards themselves are reasonably sturdy for a seasonal course. They should be hung with a streamer because the cards are hard to spot if you come at them edge-on.
Mar 28, 2023 7:50 PM # 
The aluminum stakes are also hard to see from a distance - even a few metres can be enough to miss them. The side with the sticker is reasonably visible though.
Nov 14, 2023 1:12 AM # 
What do you think of these 3 sided marker posts called TriView?

I have no affiliation with the company but I’m considering buying some triview marker posts to refresh a permanent O course.

Features I like:
The Triangular post is the same shape as an orienteering control flag.
The post can be ordered in orange or white. Maybe an orange post with white decals.
360-degree visibility similar to O flags.
Made with some sort of blend of thermoplastics so hopefully durable and long lasting as well as minimal maintenance.
Has a “TriGrip Anchor for locking post into ground.”
“Performs in temperatures ranging from -40 to +150℉”
“UV Stable, designed for 10+ years of outdoor use with our 10-year warranty”
Designed as marker posts for buried utilities such as a gas line or fibre optics.
Can order custom deals.

You would have to affix control codes to the post.

Made in USA. Approx $25 per post plus custom deals
(x orienteering club. Do not remove. www.x orienteering .com , etc.).

Again, I have no affiliation with the company but I’m considering buying some triview marker posts to refresh a permanent O course.
Nov 14, 2023 9:13 AM # 
$25 per post? How many posts have to be installed to refresh the course?
What is the revenue return on your permanent course?
Does the permanent course compromise an area otherwise used for one-day orienteering events? (I learned the hard way about that one)
Does the permanent course direct potential members/ participants to your regular events?
I look at the collection of posts above and see not one of them has any message included directing the curious finder to the orienteering club. Not one. If someone is out there, possibly off the beaten track, they are already a prime candidate for orienteering. Use a bit of that empty space on the posts, possibly just a QR code worth of space to direct them to your web message.
Nov 14, 2023 5:04 PM # 
Good questions.
About the same cost or less than using wood or steel.
Not cheap.
Plastic posts (triview) are somewhat in the orienteering colour and shape theme.
Plastic posts (triview) are lighter to carry when installing.
Plastic posts (triview) have a builtin anchor so hopefully they don't go missing.
18 posts.
No direct revenue return on permanent courses but they do promote and attract people to orienteering including the odd new member.
I have used the permanent course during a clinic, so it saved me time and effort.
Permanent course is in a public city park where we also host events but it does not compromise the area.
"Does the permanent course direct potential members/ participants to your regular events?" Not as directly as they should. For example, we need to add QR codes on the map and control card that links to our website.
Each side of the triview post will have a decal with our website, adding a QR code to those decals is a good idea as well.
Nov 14, 2023 8:17 PM # 
The post can be ordered in orange or white. Maybe an orange post with white decals.

What is the color of the current markers? Are they also posts?

I ask because brown or black posts, with white decals (plus the O-symbol), would blend in more, which might make them more agreeable to the land managers.
Nov 15, 2023 3:40 AM # 
Thanks for the colour concern.

I'm struggling to recall what the posts look like at that location as we have a few different posts for different permanent courses/sites. If I recall correctly, they are thin metal post with a small two letter code placard.

My take on it is to make permanent courses in the same theme as orienteering courses, orange and white, and avoid having posts that blend in to the surroundings. I want to give users of the permanent course as close as possible an orienteering experience as if they were on a nonpermanent course.

We want the posts to promote orienteering. We want people seeing someone using the permanent course to walk over to look at the post, see the orienteering website, maybe scan the QR code. We hope an accidental discovery leads to a QR scan to our website.

Having said that, the park approached us to update the course so hopefully they will like our project update proposal but you never know.
Nov 17, 2023 11:05 PM # 
Another option, low cost: Our club (WCOC) has used homemade permanent markers for about the past 15-20 years, and they have worked fine. They are about 6 inch x 6 inch, and we nail them to a tree next to the feature. Also printed on the markers is our web address, and we occasionally hear from someone who saw the markers and wants to know more about orienteering.

The cost is almost nothing. We print them on a regular inkjet printer, and we laminate them. But if you don't have a laminator sealing them in a map case would work fine.

In our area we would be reluctant to put out anything that costs much--too high a chance of them being stolen.

If you're interested in seeing what the markers look like, email me at
Nov 18, 2023 7:34 PM # 
Do you put the laminated page onto a backer board or something?

I'll email you as well.
Nov 18, 2023 10:52 PM # 
We don't put the page on any sort of board. When laminated, they are fairly stiff.

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