UsynligO Phone App

UsynligO means “invisible O” in Norwegian and is an app which enables orienteering without physical control placement. When the orienteer physically goes on course using a map obtained from the UsynligO database, the app will track the runner’s position using GPS and will beep as control points are reached. The app records split times as well as the overall course time. The app is free of charge and is available through Google Play or the iPhone app store. Currently there is no charge for its use, though EMPO would gladly accept whatever contribution you feel is appropriate.

EMPO currently has 9 of its courses posted:
Central Park, Schenectady
Cole Hill State Forest, Berne
Coles Woods/Crandall Park, Glens Falls

Five Rivers
Thacher Park North, Knox
Grafton Lakes State Park, Grafton

Margaret Burke WMA, Knox
Moreau Lake State Park, Gansevoort (remote & rugged terrain, course for experienced orienteers only!)
Niskayuna Parks, Niskayuna

To ensure the safety of UsynligO users, we will suspend access to maps during hunting season – Oct. 17 – Dec. 13 for the northern area of the state, including Moreau, and Nov. 21 – Dec. 22 for the southern area including Thacher North, Cole Hill, and Margaret Burke.

To use UsynligO:

Go to the main UsynligO site. You should Register/Log In (and save your login data).

Your browser may ask you if you want to share your location with this site; the easy answer is Yes. If you don’t, it will take a bit longer to access relevant maps, unless you are planning on orienteering in Europe. If you let your browser know your location you will get to a map of North America, where you can drill in to see various map locations, including ours. Or, you can search for maps; all of our maps begin with “EMPO“ so they should appear on the list.

Select the map and course you want and print it. For many maps/courses a color map is best. If you can’t print a color map you can e-mail Phil Hawkes-Teeter and he will mail you one (via USPS, so plan ahead). For this service we request a $1 payment at our PayPal site, currently

After receiving the paper map, you need to get the UsynligO map and course onto your phone by installing the UsynligO app, available through Google Play or the iPhone app store

Next you need to download the map/course to your phone. Do this at home or somewhere with a good cell signal. Don’t wait to do it until arriving at the event site, as the cell service may not be as good.

Individual users can change “control radius” (“slop” or “forgiveness diameter”) from 5 – 35m, and “minimum GPS accuracy” (good for an area you aren’t sure about cell signal strength) from 5 – 200m. Of course, that means that sometimes the control notification tune plays before you actually get to a feature, but you can still continue on to locate the feature. We suggest leaving this setting at the default 15m to begin with. That is pretty large, but your mileage may vary depending upon your phone GPS.

Please note that the 9 EMPO maps/courses listed on the app will NOT have physical controls in place. Our regular and no-contact EMPO meets will have physical controls and may or may not be included on the UsynligO database – we will try to indicate before each meet whether or not the app can be used for it.

To prevent the app from starting before you’re on course, wait until you’re within 100m or so of the start before hitting “automatic” start which gives you a start beep (3 tones) when you get to the start triangle.

Phones can be carried in a waist pouch, on an arm band or any other type of carrier. You can keep it tucked away until you’re done unless you need a hint (which is available on the phone software to show where you are in relation to the control).

If you wish to send Phil your times for the courses we’d be happy to post them online.

Please let Phil know if you have any issues with either the control locations or the app. Good luck!