NEOC's Mission

  • To provide individuals, groups and families with an organized outdoor activity that is mentally and physically challenging on a variety of levels.
  • To meet the needs of a broad spectrum of society in an environment that is educational, supportive and social.
  • To increase the awareness of orienteering among the general public, advocate land conservation, and promote orienteering as a sport for all.

"New England Orienteering Club" is a tax-exempt public charity under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. (This can be verified at the IRS Web site.) Donations to the New England Orienteering Club are tax-deductible under section 170 of the Code.


NEOC was founded in 1972 to promote the sport of orienteering and develop suitable maps. Today, NEOC has over 400 members, organizes approximately 40 events per year, and has produced nearly 40 specialized, five color orienteering maps in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and eastern Connecticut.

Read more about the founding of NEOC in a collection of articles gathered for NEOC's 40th Anniversary.


NEOC offers on-foot meets (in "O" parlance, regular O-meets) in spring and fall, ski-O meets in winter and some bicycle-O and canoe-O meets in warm weather. Only a few regular O-meets are scheduled for mid-summer because it's just too hot and buggy to run through the woods.

Regular O-meets are held in wooded areas mapped by the Club. NEOC O-maps are five color, 1:15,000, 1:10,000 or 1:5,000 scale, and show features like boulders, small cliffs and vegetation density, in addition to contours, trails, water features, etc. The maps are much more detailed than a Geological Survey map. Participants register, purchase a map with a clue sheet describing the "control" features (check-in points), and then copy the control locations from a master map. The object is to find each control in the prescribed order and return to the finish. Participants carry and imprint a card with the unique paper punch hung at each control to prove they found the control. Some participants walk the courses, and others run competitively.

All regular O-meets offer courses for novices, beginners and family groups. These courses are designated "white" and "yellow" in the schedule. Most meets also offer intermediate, "orange" courses, and many offer advanced, "green", "red" and/or "blue" courses. Some meets offer "string" courses for young children. Informal instruction is available at all meets. Registration fees are described in "Frequently Asked Questions."

There is no prescribed route between control points. At the beginner level, control points are located on or near trails, or other easy-to-find features like the top of a small hill. Route choices are relatively simple. At the advanced level, there are often difficult route choices- a straight line over a hill vs. a longer distance following a trail vs. a line of intermediate distance with less climb but more difficult navigation. Participants select the route best suited to their navigational skills, fitness and alertness, considering the fatigue factor and the potential time loss for navigational errors. If you pick a course level which matches your ability and fitness, your time on the course should be between 30 and 90 minutes.

Registration for Local meets is at the event, typically between 10 AM and 12 PM (check the schedule).

Competitive "A-meets" attract national participation, offer a wider range of courses than Local meets and require registration at least two weeks in advance. A-meet maps are preprinted with the course information. NEOC typically offers two days of A-meets every other year with daily entry fees of between $15 and $30.

NEOC also helps organize three days per year of orienteering instruction for Boy Scout and Girl Scout groups. Advance registration is required. Each day provides training and practice to several hundred scouts from ages 8 through 16.

Membership, Maps, and Contacts

For membership information and fees, see Join NEOC.

The current schedule and directions to the mapped venues may be found on other pages of this web site.

For other inquiries, please send mail to NEOC.

See you in the woods!