National Park Service
What is Orienteering?
Maps and a limited number of compasses can be signed out at the park visitor center. Please note that the course maps cannot be photocopied and cannot be kept overnight. The course maps are available from 9 am to 5 pm only.
Here at the park we use two types of maps; the most common map is our park map, which is basically a tourist road map. It shows the location of the scenic drive, hiking trails, bicycle trails, campground locations, and other areas of interest. However it does not contain enough information to really be useful as an orienteering map. For orienteering we use a topographic map. This type of map actually shows the shapes of hills, valleys, streams, and other features of the park in a measurable way, usually through the use of contour lines. These lines are commonly measured from mean sea level.
However unless your plans call for traveling in a straight line, a compass will not help you much unless you have a map. The map shows the direction you need to go in order to reach your destination, whereas the compass serves as the means of helping you get there. This being the case, any map is better than no map at all.