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GPS use in Orienteering

Show Profile  pcbrent Posted: 6 April 2009, 11:59 AM  
Of late I have been using a Garmin GPS watch while orienteeirng. It is a useful tool for post race and route analysis.

I was having a discussion with some others in the weekend and wondering by using the GPS am I breaking the IOF rules of Orienteering.

Had a look through the IOF rules and the only relevant rule found is this:

21.3 During the competition the only navigational aids that competitors may use are the map and control descriptions provided by the organiser, and a compass.

So I guess the question is, am I in breach of this rule "using" the gps?

My reading of this is that I am allowed to carry, start, stop the gps, as long as I am not using it as a navigational aid.

Anyone agree/disagree.


Show Profile  addison Posted: 6 April 2009, 12:05 PM  
Agreed Brent.

Infact, even using watches as HR monitors that have altitude on them is breaking the rules. For JWOC I taped over my Watch, as I wanted to record my races for analysis reasons, but didn't want to get in trouble. I think in Switzerland they made me do that from memory?

Show Profile  Greg Posted: 6 April 2009, 12:17 PM  
Does that statement mean you can not use 2 compasses

Show Profile  HeadHoncho Posted: 6 April 2009, 12:22 PM  
Brent - agree: Carry, start, stop - yes, Use - No.
Greg - I've never seen anyone use 2 compasses. I've seen plenty of people USE one compass and CARRY another as back-up.

Show Profile  onemanfanclub Posted: 6 April 2009, 12:58 PM  
Agree, but the tricky thing is how to police that its been carried but not used. Taping over is a start, but I imagine the more important the race the more likely you'd encounter officials that would want it to be some kind of tamper-proof taping or not allow it at all.

OTOH my experience of GPS suggests to me that in most circumstances using it in a race would slow down an experienced orienteer!

Show Profile  mark Posted: 6 April 2009, 2:33 PM  
How would you use a GPS watch to aid navigation while orienteering?
You can't even put maps on the Garmin watches and GPS coordinates are pretty useless unless you know the coordinates of the controls.

Those watches are cool, I just bought one myself.
Bryn uses one as well and it looks like Ross does too.


Show Profile  pcbrent Posted: 6 April 2009, 2:38 PM  
The only advantage I could think of, is you can measure distance. Same as pace counting but more accurate.

Show Profile  Mike Adams Posted: 6 April 2009, 3:07 PM  
At WOC last year we asked that question at the first manager's meeting and got told not to use them.

Show Profile  Mike Adams Posted: 6 April 2009, 3:27 PM  
I think the reasoning was because one of the displays is lap distance, so could be used as a alternative to pace counting for estimating distance. I don't think the issue was knowing what your latitude and longitude or even elevation was.

May it's up to the controller of an event to decide?

Show Profile  pcbrent Posted: 6 April 2009, 3:49 PM  
Yea. I don't think it necessary to ban them. As long as every one is aware that to "use" them in a manner that gives a navigational advantage during the race is not allowed.

It is easy to set the watch to just a normal stopwatch without showing any distances or other data provided from the GPS and lock it. And still be able to download track data post race for analysis.

Show Profile  Michael Posted: 6 April 2009, 3:55 PM  
I think it might be possible to get a benefit without knowing coordinates but by looking at the trace with waypoints at each control, and visually comparing it with your map. The technology will become smarter in the future and we may discover ways to "project" a destination point based on points wwe have already been to. So I think that at some event level its entirely reasonable that they be covered up.

Having said that, the data is fascinating for analysis. Though thousands of non-RouteGadget-using orienteers wouldn't agree.

Show Profile  mark Posted: 6 April 2009, 4:10 PM  
Unlike the handhelds, you can't actually looke at the trace on the Garmin watches.

But the pace counting thing sounds like a good way of cheating.
I was never good enough to use pace counting, so I didn't think of that.

The only reasonable thing seems to be to ban their use, because it is impossible to police fair usage.

Show Profile  Greg Posted: 6 April 2009, 4:34 PM  
You never thought of it Mark cause you are a retard

Show Profile  mark Posted: 6 April 2009, 4:45 PM  
yeah, sure, but I didn't want to use that work, cause it upsets Nick.

Show Profile  mark Posted: 6 April 2009, 4:45 PM  
I meant "word", not "work", but you knew that.

Show Profile  Neil K Posted: 6 April 2009, 5:03 PM  
Disagree. It's a navigational tool so you can't take it with you.


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