Niantic: Please make an official statement on orienteering markers

Hosette-INGHosette-ING Posts: 2,138 ✭✭✭✭✭
edited April 2021 in Criteria Clarifications

For those who aren't aware, orienteering is a sport that involves using only a map and compass to navigate from marker to marker along a predefined course. It can be played casually, but it's also a highly-competitive sport. Most courses are set up for a specific event, but there are a number of permanent courses each with a number of permanent markers along the route.

I've seen multiple discussions about whether orienteering markers should be eligible. My belief is that the start marker would be an excellent wayspot since that information is not obfuscated and it encourages exercise and exploration-- its non-sport analog is a trailhead.

Even though they're similar to trail markers I don't believe that other orienteering markers should be eligible wayspots. The whole point of the sport is to use a map and compass to navigate the terrain to find those markers, and publishing precise GPS coordinates for markers defeats the purpose of the sport. I believe doing this violates the principle of respecting other people and the real-world environment which we play.

Niantic, would you make a ruling on these please?

(I hate doing this but @NianticCasey-ING @NianticGiffard @NianticAtlas)

Post edited by NianticGiffard on


  • Stephyypooke-INGStephyypooke-ING Posts: 504 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I haven’t heard of this sport yet but if the courses/markers are specifically set up just for the sport, and casual hikers are not allowed on the courses, I would think the markers would be compared to the holes in golf, where every individual hole is not eligible.

  • LukeAllStars-INGLukeAllStars-ING Posts: 4,589 ✭✭✭✭✭

    That's my biggest AMA question. A new AMA would be okay as well. has been almost half a year since the last one :D

  • Roli112-PGORoli112-PGO Posts: 2,117 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Why does every little thing need an official "ruling"? If it meets one of the criteria then its valid, its up to the person nominating to make a case for validity.

  • Hosette-INGHosette-ING Posts: 2,138 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Stephyypooke-ING Casual hikers are allowed on permanent courses, since they usually are in public parks and on similar public land. If you hike a lot it's entirely possible that you've passed some-- they look like trail markers only they are orange and white and have an identifier of some sort, sometimes also with "orienteering" written on them. They could be on posts like trail markers, on trees, or probably elsewhere.

    @Roli112-PGO In this case I think they should be explicitly excluded because publishing precise coordinates could impact other sports negatively. It's the same reason that we're advised to put pins on the edge of sports fields rather than in the middle.

  • bilde2910bilde2910 Posts: 71 ✭✭✭

    No, I do not believe these should be eligible.

    When courses are "permanent" (at least here) they are rarely actually permanent. As an example, across my country there are dozens of orienteering clubs who erect wooden markers with a QR code on them. The idea being that you have access to a map either on your phone or on paper, and each of these markers are labeled on the map. You go to the location, scan the QR code with an app, and it registers that you have visited (and optionally puts you on a scoreboard). This is a casual on-going event designed to get the general public to exercise and explore. Those markers are prone to move to other places between seasons. There's not much point in keeping them all at the same places.

    There are also a bunch of other markers. Cloth or plastic ones with a code on them, for example, are usually just tied to a tree or another recognizable structure. These are up for anywhere from a few days to several months, but they're still temporary markers.

    For these to be considered permanent, they'd really have to be mounted in such a way that it's very clear that it'll be there for a very long time. I can see these being rejected similarly to the ruling on individual golf course holes, or disc golf course holes, either way. If there is a sign for the course as a whole, then that's a great candidate, but I don't really see the value of these on their own unless it has additional merit e.g. it provides information about the POI.

    That said, I do recognize that these things may differ from place to place, and I'm only weighing in with my experiences from my own country and areas.

    The markers are specifically set up for the sport, but as it takes place in public areas, anyone is allowed on the course. Orienteering can happen in parks, in the woods, even in streets and residential areas. It's essentially just the same as running as a sport/exercise, except you have to run to specific places and in a specific order.

  • Gendgi-PGOGendgi-PGO Posts: 2,959 Ambassador
    edited April 2021

    This should be posted in Criteria Clarifications. @NianticGiffard will hopefully move the thread.

    Post edited by Gendgi-PGO on
  • Roli112-PGORoli112-PGO Posts: 2,117 ✭✭✭✭✭

    If its in the rules of the game to only you a compass and map, then using pogo is against the rules and not Niantics problem.

  • Roli112-PGORoli112-PGO Posts: 2,117 ✭✭✭✭✭

    If the orientireeng park/club/host has a problem with waypoints in there property, they can send a request to Niantic for removal.

  • Roli112-PGORoli112-PGO Posts: 2,117 ✭✭✭✭✭

    not editing the typo their*, for it to go into approval limbo.

  • GearGlider-INGGearGlider-ING Posts: 1,303 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I did orienteering back in scouts! Good times, a lot of fun.

    I could see Niantic stating that these are similar to disc golf courses, where the course is eligible but the individual holes aren't.

    Whatever ruling they make though, I hope they state that these are different from Geodetic Survey Markers or other types of Survey Markers, since a lot of people unfamiliar with both things may not know the difference between the two.

  • sogNinjaman-INGsogNinjaman-ING Posts: 3,219 ✭✭✭✭✭

    They pop up with monotonous regularity on my review screen, normally with the comment "Trail Marker" attached. They all look identical bar some lettering changes. I reject these every time as not eligible - generic, mass produced.

    Here is a standard marker.

  • MilesMitsurugi-PGOMilesMitsurugi-PGO Posts: 67 ✭✭

    I have done orientation quite allot myself and the posts were always temporary (which would make terible waypoints, but that's not what the thread maker is suggesting). However the odd time there was a permanent structure at the starting point which was (usually a public parkinglot), it was usually posted on a large information board with a map of he area and other forest related information (like rules of the forest, update on fire hazard, gnereal history of the area), which in itself is eligible.

    Also in my country we have a right to travel through any large property like a forest as long as you don't pass through someones garden you can go anywhere you like legally.

    I can't remember if there ever was a sign that would mark the meeting point for orientation alone (it's been a few years now since I last took part, it was before GPS gaming), but if there were a permanent proper sign/plaque of a starting point for Orientation, I think that POI would be a great nomination as it promotes (sometimes exhausting) activity and exploration value is off the chart..!

    Oh btw, a oreientation course is never be set where there is no "safe pedestrian access", the first time I took part in it was at age 6 where two 12 year olds lead 10 brats into the forest alone with the odd teacher waddling between the odd group. The starting points usually are at a public parking lot near a forest.

    But then again, we would only need safe pedestrian access to POI for a nomination (not the entire course) if the POI is only the starting/meeting point....

    But where I live, I would never say yes to the posts, only the starting point if it also checks out the other needed criterias.

  • Hosette-INGHosette-ING Posts: 2,138 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @AisforAndis-ING Temporary ones are glaringly temporary and it's unlikely that they would ever be submitted... they tend to be something like a nylon flag hung from a tree. They're usually only up for a day or two. The only course I've ever created was seasonal and recreational rather than competitive, but I think the markers probably go up an hour or two before the event start and get removed shortly after the event.

    There are several permanent courses in the San Francisco bay area. One that I'm familiar with was set up as part of an eagle scout project. Turning all of the markers into wayspots would essentially be creating a cheat guide.

  • GearGlider-INGGearGlider-ING Posts: 1,303 ✭✭✭✭✭
    • mods see this post
    • move it to criteria clarifications
    • don't clarify the criteria about it

    big oof

  • pkmnsearch2-PGOpkmnsearch2-PGO Posts: 249 ✭✭✭

    I know about orienteering as a sport (similar to geocache) but normally there aren't permanent markers.

    when those markers exist, are temporary.

    can you give a real-life example?

  • Hosette-INGHosette-ING Posts: 2,138 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @pkmnsearch2-PGO Certainly! There are several permanent orienteering courses in the San Francisco Bay area. There are lots all over the world, but this the link that I had handy. The markers often look like trail markers on a wooden post but are sometimes permanently affixed to trees, fences, etc.

  • pkmnsearch2-PGOpkmnsearch2-PGO Posts: 249 ✭✭✭

    interesting. in my country we dont have these permanent things. when there are orienteering sport events, everything related is temporary incluinding the markers.

    as for your example, i dont see it to be any different from named trail markers.

  • Thanks for touching base, @Hosette-ING! The nomination should be judged based on the object and the location where it is situated. If the object is something that's mass-produced, it should be rejected.

  • sogNinjaman-INGsogNinjaman-ING Posts: 3,219 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Once again, a comment from a Mod that needs noting and adding to the collective wisdom that are the "Submission Criteria" and the AMAs so that anyone can find it simply, easily and on a page that is "official Niantic".

    Thank you for the clarification.

  • sophielab-INGsophielab-ING Posts: 266 ✭✭✭✭

    They have made a move to a more subjective acceptance/rejection decision. They have moved away from explicit acceptance/rejection on most things. I'm not saying it's better or worse than the explicitly allowed xyz that was prior but it is what is the system now.

  • gazzas89-INGgazzas89-ING Posts: 88 ✭✭✭

    Dunno about anyone else, but that answer from nia doesn't really answer it, other than looking mass produced, but then you could say the same about trail markers looking mass produced if they are all wooden posts with wee signs on them.

    Me personally, I think they could pass, jts still something something encourages exercise and exploration, the argument thay it ruins the point of orienteering, that one I woukd argue I'd you're having g to use pogo/ingress to find it, you're already cheating at the orienteering lol.

  • WheelTrekker-INGWheelTrekker-ING Posts: 2,657 ✭✭✭✭✭

    But if you're not doing orienteering that sign doesn't mean anything, it wouldn't meet criteria.

    So if it's something interesting because you're doing orienteering you don't wanna see it, and if you're not doing orienteering it's just a random sign without any value.

  • flatmatt-PGOflatmatt-PGO Posts: 1,314 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I mean it does answer the question about that particular sign, but it doesn't address the question the original poster had. For example, in a park near me, I have stumbled on a couple of permanent orienteering markers. They are posts in the ground, obviously handmade, with yellow paint and printed clues to find the next marker. I would never submit them as I agree that making their locations public as a wayspot would only detract from their intended purpose. But the reply from @NianticGiffard does not address these markers whatsoever.

  • Hosette-INGHosette-ING Posts: 2,138 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Yes exactly @flatmatt-PGO. The question is really, "Should we allow things to exist in the game that could undermine someone else's sport?" If you're trying to navigate to something and you see a bunch of people standing around the general area mashing buttons on their phones then that probably gives away the location.

    I'm less interested in whether the markers meet the criteria than I am in whether they should be disqualified for their real-world impact on other people.

  • Theisman-INGTheisman-ING Posts: 1,000 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Let me get this straight, your basically worried that people who do orienting may cheat by using a wayspot to get the exact coordinates instead of doing it for themselves

  • 0X00FF00-ING0X00FF00-ING Posts: 749 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Well, yup. We're ALREADY directed to only place wayspot pins where they don't interfere with a game's field of play.

    While golf was previously mentioned explicitly, and not just because of the dangers inherent in hard little white balls streaking towards our heads, it also applies to any other sportsball field.

  • gazzas89-INGgazzas89-ING Posts: 88 ✭✭✭

    By that logic trail marker signs shouldn't be eligible either as they are just some random signs/posts.

    Also, you never know, someone playing pogo might see the orienteering sign, want ro.find out what it is and get into orienteering because of it.

    At the end of the day, orienteering posts/signs still encourage exercise, theres never been a clarification that its exercise "so long as its not used for cheating in one specific exercise"

  • flatmatt-PGOflatmatt-PGO Posts: 1,314 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited April 2021

    I would nominate the starting point of the course in a heartbeat (if I knew where it was). The individual markers, not so much. For me, they are more akin to a disc golf basket than to a trail marker. Having people standing around them still interferes with the sport they're intended for, just with less risk of getting hit in the head with a flying disc.

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