On a Virtual Orienteering Course, the controls are GPS co-ordinates and your phone is your dibber

We are using an mobile app named UsynligO for our Virtual Orienteering Courses. This is an app used mostly in Scandinavia (the name means “InvisibleO” in Norwegian!) and by our friends at BOK.

It is similar in many ways to MapRun, which some members may already be familiar with. We have chosen UsynligO at this stage as it simpler to use from both a planner’s and runner’s perspective.

During the recent British Orienteering Webinar series, Scott Bailey from BOK gave an introduction on the app and how it can be used by planners.

  • The app tracks your location via GPS and vibrates and makes a sound when you have found the next control point (it also plays a different sound when you hit the wrong control).
  • Beginners can get help whist doing a course, as it is possible to ask the app for hints (direction and distance).
  • It gives you a set of results at the end – showing your time and splits – useful in training
  • You can share your results if you want and compare them to others on the same course
  • It’s fun! It even plays a little fanfare when you finish the course!

How do I download the app?

More details about the app and how to download it are available here:

To download UsynligO for your device, click below:

Setting up the app

When you install UsynligO on your phone it will ask you to ‘register’ – either by creating your own login, or by an existing Google account.  Either work fine – so its up to you which you prefer.
It’s best to register and login for the first time at home before you set out, in case you can’t remember the relevant login details.

The app will also ask to access ‘Location Data’ – you will need to grant this for the app to work:

  • On an iPhone this can be done using ‘Settings > UsynligO > Location > Always’.  
  • On Android the follow link explains how: Android Location Instructions.

Once logged in, click ‘UsynligO events’ to get a list of events that are close to your current location.
Click on the event name.  This will then give you options of courses that are available to run.

The maps for each course can be downloaded and printed at home in advance, by following this link:

The small three line symbol in the top right of the course screen will take you to a list of existing course results (available if others have already run the course and shared their time).
If you want your name and club to appear in the results – you need to update them in app. In the ‘My Races’ section in the app – click on the little ‘person’ icon at the top of the screen, and update your user details – save the changes, and the next time you run your details will appear in the results.

The small cog symbol in the top right of the course screen will take you to the settings for GPS accuracy which UsynligO will use whilst running.
For our courses, we recommend using the following settings:

  • Control Radius = 20 metres.
  • Minimum GPS Accuracy = 50 metres.

Ready to Run

UsynligO tells you how far you are from the start and once you click on the ‘Start’ button gives a five second countdown, just like a normal race.

Each time you get to a control it plays a small tune, one type for the right control, and a different tune for the wrong control – so its useful to be able to hear your phone as you run the course. 

If you get lost doing a course – it is possible to ask the app for a ‘hint’ where the direction and distance to the next control will be shown along with a virtual compass (these will hints will show up in your result!)

When you get to the end of a course it will play a small fanfare noise!

You only get the fanfare (and automatic timer stop) if you have visited all the controls, if you don’t visit all of the controls you will need to click ‘finish running’ even if you have ‘passed’ the finish. Otherwise your time just keeps accumulating. .

After your run you will get a full breakdown of your time and splits in the app.