Foot orienteering (foot-O) is the oldest formal orienteering sport, and the one with the most "starts" per year. Usually, a foot-O is a timed race in which participants start at staggered intervals, are individually timed, and are expected to perform all navigation on their own. The control points are shown on the orienteering map and must be visited in the specified order. Standings are determined first by successful completion of the course, then by shortest time on course.
The history of orienteering begins in the late 19th century in Sweden, the actual term "orienteering" was first used in 1886 and meant the crossing of unknown land with the aid of a map and a compass. The first orienteering competition open to the public was held in Norway in 1897. Notable dates for member nations of the IOF are shown below.