Click Here To Go To The Acornsoft/BES Archive


Cover Art

Map Rally

Map Rally

Map Rally

"It is not acceptable as an educational program as the child is learning a concept which then has to be unlearned later. "
A&B Computing

"Parents and teachers can feel quite reassured that the educational purpose is fully achieved in this splendid cassette."
Electron User


The main objectives of the two Map Rally programs are to help children learn the concept of compass directions, estimation of distances by reference to co-ordinates and the use of map co-ordinates. This is achieved in a motivational and enjoyable way by the simulation of a car rally, where hidden checkpoints have to be located with the help of advice from a navigator.

Two programs are used, one to cover the understanding of compass directions, the other co-ordinates. In both cases there can be a single player, two players or teams. Three levels of difficulty are catered for, allowing a steady improvement through pactice to the understanding of the topics covered. To add further interest, a time limit can be used, whereby penalty points are given to players taking over the permitted time to complete a move.

In "Moving by Directions" no understanding of compass direction is needed for a child to use the program effectively. The child has to follow the "navigator advice" - e.g. North and East, and enter the appropriate directions i.e. at the prompt line in response to the request "Enter direction (N/S)" you might enter N for North, and at "Enter direction (E/W)" E for East.

Thus the child has to enter the same letter as the navigator advice. Learning then takes place as the car moves in the directions of N and E. In addition the miniature compass rose is repeated throughout the program, and on the matrix screens, to reinforce the learning process.

The program covers the use of the four prime compass points. A further program is under development which enables children to understand both the secondary compass points and the use of bearings in degrees.

The programs are designed for use with children in the age range 7 to 13 years. However, this can only be a broad guide, as the capabilities of individual children will extend this range both above and below the given age range.

The Main Program

1. Start - Moving By Directions

Having chosen a time limit (see 4) if required, there follows the option of three stages of difficulty:

  1. Fairly easy
  2. Moderate
  3. Fairly difficult

Choice of the appropriate option sets the size of the matrix. Thus option 1, leads to a matrix of 6 x 6 squares representing 6 x 6 km, option 2, 12 x 12 squares, km and option 3 to 18 x 18 squares, km.

The appropriate choice of 1 or 2 players (or in the latter car there can be teams) is then made and RETURN pressed and the player's name entered.

The matrix is then displayed, and the navigator's advice for the blue car is given. The appropriate entry is then made on the prompt line, followed of course by RETURN. The child then has to gauge the appropriate "distance" in kilometres to move in order to attempt to find the check point with the minimum number of moves and in the minimum distance - and of course without incurring penalties through over-running the time limit! The three check points are located at random for each "rally", and with two players/teams are, of course, at different locations (no follow my leader option!) The finish is at the extreme North Easy corner of the matrix. Note that if two cars occupy the same point then it is displayed as one white car rather than a blue and a red car.

On reaching the check point, the child is rewarded by a cheerful tine (but level adjustable - see section 3) and the request to "check in" by pressing the key C. Stages 2 and 3 then follow, with the random check in points needing to be located. Finally the finish is reached - and the child's grasp of the concepts are easily checked by reference to the last stage, which ought to be made in one move only - and the course completed.

At any time during entry of the direction/distance instructions the DELETE key can be used to cancel the entries provided this is done before RETURN is pressed for the last entry. Thus if an error is made press DELETE and re-enter.

On completion of the rally by the player(s) pressing SPACE leads to a matrix showing the location of the check points, and the route taken by the blue player is then shown as it was developed. This screen is particularly instructive for the child as he can see at a glance any illogical moves, and thus can learn readily from his mistakes. Pressing SPACE leads to the appropriate matrix for the red car if two players have been using the program.

The following screen gives a synopsis of the results of the "rally" for each player.

The screen provides the following information:

Name(s) of player(s)
Time taken in minutes and seconds
The number of moves
The route taken in km
The number of penalty km
The total distance
The minimum number of km necessary to reach the three check points and the finish
The extra distance travelled beyond the direct route

If there were two players then a winners' table is displayed:

Who took the shortest time
Who took the least number of moves
Who travelled the shortest distance

Quite often there is no clear winner on all counts, thus motivating both players.

1. Start - Driving By Co-ordinates

The second program on the cassette covers a different topic. The differences are in the way the child steers the car around the matrix. In this program the car is moved to a point specified by co-ordinates. The convention adopted is that for map references i.e. Northing first then Easting.

For example, if the cars are at the intersection of the lines from north 1 and east 1 then its current location is N1,E1. If you wanted to move then look up the co-ordinates of the destination and enter them e.g. N2,E3.

It should be noted that transposing from the navigator's advice to co-ordinates in this case is much more difficult and tests the child's understanding of compass directions. In all other respects this program functions as the first on the cassette.

2. Inspect/Monitor Records

All BES programs contain a performance recording system or 'monitor'. Using this, teachers, parents or the child can see how well the child is performing a task. Progress can be quantified as a result. Only then can a child's ability and educational needs be identified.

Each time a new name is entered after starting the program from the main menu, a new monitor record is created. The facility will hold the record of the last six children (after number six) number seven will be recovered over number one, eight over two, etc).

The Map Rally monitor gathers information which is available under this option (whether viewed on the screen or as a printout) and includes a map of the route taken, all the information about their route, and other data which includes the number of times they attempted to move off the grid and moves against the navigator's advice.

Careful analysis of the information stored in these records can provide a valuable guide to the needs and successes of each child.

3. Set Sound Level

Sound can be very distracting in certain situations and as a consequence Map Rally has a sound control.

4. Set Time Limit

To add an additional challenge and maintain interest as the user becomes skilled, a time limit can be set for each move. The time can be set at between 1 and 60 seconds, or alternatively 0 entered to set no time limit. At early stages a time limit of around 10 to 20 seconds is recommended.

BES Programs

Map Rally is one of a series of Microcomputer programs produced by Bourne Educational Software with the aim of making learning both easy and enjoyable. The programs are aimed at both home and school use, and are designed to enable children of the appropriate age range to operate them readily through common use of such items as ESCAPE to return to a menu of program options, SPACE to move on to a next screen and so on. They are designed to be self-explanatory and readily understood without a large number of 'instruction' screens. These notes are designed to assist the parent/teacher to obtain the best use of the program, and also to provide a detailed guide to the loading of the program for those who are unfamiliar with the use of the microcomputer.

A common feature with BES programs is the BES MONITOR system, which allows the teacher, parent or child access to the specific entries made, so allowing identification of specifc achievements or problem areas. This does not preclude the use, in appropriate programs, of a more simple and visible scoring system, which is designed to aid motivation.

In the event of any problem with the use of this program, or ideas as to improvements which could be incorporated please do not hesitate to contact BES at the address on the back cover.


Cover Art Language(s): English
Compatibility: Acorn Electron
Release: Professionally released On Cassette
Original Release Date: 1st Nov 1984
Links: Everygamegoing,

Cover Art

Front Inlay Images

Media Scan Images


Map Rally (5.25" Disc)