Social O's

We meet informally on the second Thursday of every month during daylight savings time at 6:30 PM in Hermann Park at the statue of Sam Houston near the Houston Museum of Natural Science. There is no fee, however, please RSVP by calling the leader on the back of this sheet or Nancy Niemann at 832-317-3519 everyone. Anyone under 18 must obtain a waiver in advance (waiver is available at Waiver ) and have it signed by parent or guardian. Also, an adult must accompany every 3 people under 18, for these free beginner-level meets. We run a street-O with a 1-hour time limit using a map of Hermann Park and the surrounding neighborhood.  Following the event, we relax with food and drink at a location selected by that day's course setter, generally a pizza place.

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Competitive Orienteering Meets

Competitive orienteering meets are open to the public.  Map and compass instruction for beginners begins about an hour before the first competitor/map hiker starts.  Map hikers are self-timed non-competitors.  Map hikers can go out either or both days.   Up to 5 persons may register as map hikers, share a map and pay only one registration fee.  Fees vary from $5 to $15 per event.  Proceeds from the events are used for the production of maps for future events.

Course Categories

Orienteering meets will have several courses set for the competition. The courses will vary in length and amount of climb to allow competitors with different physical capabilities to compete. The courses will also vary in the level of orienteering skills needed to sucessfully navigate and find the control points to provide a challenge to competitors of all skill levels. The course levels are identified by color. Typical skill levels and \lengths are shown in the following table:

The Chicago Area Orienteering Club has a good guide for selecting your orienteering course.

The USOF Cross Country Course Design and Set Guidelines provide a detailed description of the technical considerations for the design of the various courses.

Nearby Orienteering Locations

Bastrop State Park, Bastrop, TX
Directions: West on I-10 to Columbus, north on 71 to Loop 150 (just east of Bastrop), turn right to park entrance. Orienteering quality maps with over 100 permanent markers are available for purchase at the park entrance. NOTE!!! The forest fire in 2012 did severe damage in the park and the permanent orienteering course!!!

Challenger 7 Park, Webster, TX.

Directions: South on I-45 (Gulf Freeway), exit NASA Road 1/FM 528 and go west (towards Alvin) approximately 1/4 mile, turn left onto the park road.

Davey Crockett National Forest
Directions: From Crockett go northeast on Hwy 21 (21 miles).  Drive 3 miles past Mission Tejas State Park to road 511 (If you reach the the Neches River, you have gone to far.).  Go 1/2 miles southeast on 511 and turn left on to 511A.

Fort Boggy, Leona TX
Directions:  I-45 exit 156. Go East 1 mile, in Leona turn north on US 75 proceed north 2 miles.

W. Goodrich Jones State Forest, Conroe, TX
Directions: On I-45 approximate 3 miles north of The Woodlands, exit (Exit 79) onto SH 242.  Proceed west approximately 4.4 mi. until road ends.   Turn right on FM 1488. Proceed 0.7 mi. east, turn south onto dirt road running along west edge of the Jones State Forest.  Follow orange and white signs to the meet site.

Tom Bass Park, Houston, TX
Directions: South on 288, exit at Beltway 8 go east along the access road, follow signs to the park. 

Stubblefield Park, New Waverly, TX
Directions:  From I-45, exit 102 from south or exit 103 from north (at New Waverly) approximately 16 miles north of Conroe.   Go west on FM 1375 approximately 10 miles to the Stubblefield sign on the right.  Follow orange and white signs to the event.

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Practice Meets

An informal event with one intermediate to advanced (orange-red) level course in the deep woods.  Beginners (those who have not successfully completed an orange course) will be accompanied by an experienced orienteer (please call to confirm the availability of an experienced orienteer to accompany you). If you will be bring a large group, please call to make special arrangements as practice meets do not have the medical, water and other amenities of a regular meet.

There is no charge for members. You must be a member to participate. Click here for membership form.   If not a member, you may join there.  For those under 18 obtain a waiver and membership form and have them signed by a parent prior to coming.  Waivers may be obtained at  waiver.htm.

Please call to reserve a map.  Bring water as many of the places we meet will not have any.  If you would like, bring a lunch and stay to socialize afterwards.

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Special HOC Events

Hermann Park, Houston - Annual Club Picnic

Do an orienteering course through the park and surrounding area, bring a dish to share, and elect club officers for the next year.

Date to Be Announced

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Setting/Vetting (Meet Set-Up)

This is when we prepare the course for the next meet.  All members are welcome to come, but this may make you ineligible for competing in this meet.  Call the person in charge before coming.  Bring water and a lunch as many of the places we meet will not have any facilities.  We usually meet at 10:00 AM, go out, have lunch, and then go out again after lunch. If you are not a member of HOC, a signed waiver is required.

Setting is the process of finding the control points selected by the course setter and hanging the control or marking the point with a streamer if the control point is located in an area frequented by other visitors to the park. Setting requires good orienteering skills because you have to accurately read the map and locate the control point on the ground without having a control marker in place.

Vetting is the process of verifying the position of the control points and also evaluating the selection of the control point for use on a particular course. Vetting requires good orienteering skills and knowledge of the course setting guidelines.

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Last updated : 12 April 2015