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Remote Live Tracking of Competitors

Show Profile  The Map Guy Posted: 28 August 2009, 8:21 AM  
I am looking for contact details of anyone who has gear which can be used to remotely track competitors/teams whilst competing in an Adventure race? I know of a guy called Gary Nicholson (imapping) who was used to track the progress of the first and last teams in the 2009 Oxfam Trailwalker event. Anyone else?

Show Profile  pcbrent Posted: 28 August 2009, 8:35 AM  
At Primal Quest we used SPOT; it is a Satellite personal Tracker. It transmits every 10 mins and shows the persons/teams exact location on Google Earth.

I have a couple of the units, but they have not been activated. I understand that there is a cost associated when you activate it, something like $150US for a year.

They gave them to us when we finished the race; I was thinking they may be useful as a safety thing when doing big solo missions, as it can also be used to contact emergency services, or anyone you choose if there is a problem.

Should be more details here:

Show Profile  SimonB Posted: 28 August 2009, 12:05 PM  
can i buy one of you brent?

Show Profile  Neil K Posted: 1 September 2009, 2:34 PM  
Brent is not for sale. But he does lend his body out quite freely on a saturday night.

Show Profile  pcbrent Posted: 1 September 2009, 10:25 PM  
You can't afford me Simon

Show Profile  SimonB Posted: 2 September 2009, 2:04 AM  
true. i guess ill have to stick to facebook stalking then. IM ON YOUR PAGE 24/7 BRENT!

Show Profile  Michael Posted: 24 September 2009, 3:17 AM  
I'm interested in a variation on this - GPS tracker that DOESN'T transmit - and DOESN'T have any display or readout. Purely for tracking, download afterwards into a computer eg by bluetooth or USB. Possibly known by names like "Trackstick" etc.

Are they cheap enough for widespread use yet (ie comparable to a fast SI card)? Just wondering about their use as an alternative to electronic punching (but delivering even more info). For track-based nav (MTBO) we can assume that a signal that goes "close enough" to the control means the competitor was there.

And I kinda feel that we are being held to ransom by an SI/Emit cartel whereas a gps tracker may benefit from a huge market and competition.

Show Profile  Greg Posted: 24 September 2009, 4:03 AM  
asking for trouble with the "close enough" assumption

Show Profile  Michael Posted: 24 September 2009, 4:25 AM  
Merely a problem to be solved. Think outside the square. Or is that box.

Show Profile  Greig Posted: 24 September 2009, 7:44 AM  
Talk to Smithson he bought a GPS like you described. I think it was around $80NZ from somewhere on the web. He's taken it on a few orienteering events here and has maps with the course overlaid.

Navlight may be a cheaper alternative to SI.

I'm not sure there is much chance of an alternate system since SI seems to be fairly well entrenched in NZ now. Plus the desire to spend another $100 or so just because someone wants to use a difference system isn't high.

Show Profile  robert06 Posted: 25 September 2009, 12:47 AM  
I think that gps/technology is just about available to run a course without anything at the control point. Currently price of the gps is still an issue, but the chip set/antenna using all the satellite signs, not just the US military 28, is available. Mobile devices are the short-term answer, as some have some sort of gps chip in them already, just not turned on.
I guess then the question is how often do you upgrade your phone and at what cost?

Show Profile  Michael Posted: 25 September 2009, 3:32 AM  
Thanks Greig and Robert. Dunno about using the gps in a phone though, the device needs to be waterproof! And preferably smaller than a phone. Encouraged by the reported cost of Michael's device. Come in, Michael. Robert, could you amplify "all the satellite signs", is this the SirfIII technology or something else?

Show Profile  Greig Posted: 25 September 2009, 3:38 AM  
There are several problems with GPS. Multipath being one of them, if you are beside a big cliff or steep gully or large building then often your location will be incorrect due to the signal bouncing off the building/feature. I also agree with Greg, how do you define close enough, you'd definitely still need flags out otherwise how would you know you are in exactly the right place.

Plus it would need to be waterproof.

Wouldn't a compatible system be a better solution? Surely someone could come up with a SI card that works in the SI boxes. They look like they cost about $1 to make, there must be some poor electrical engineering student needing to make a bit of money.

Show Profile  Michael Posted: 25 September 2009, 10:04 AM  
Is it clear that I'm brainstorming here? The prize is not saving on the ecards which are half the price of a pair of shoes and competitors are willing to buy them. The prize is saving the $10-15,000 of boxes that are needed for a typical event. And which need servicing. And which can't be used in public places.

Yep I'm assuming progress of the gps technology. Interesting that urban sprint areas may be harder to provide for than forest!

Show Profile  Neil K Posted: 25 September 2009, 11:19 PM  
"How would you know you are in exactly the right place?"

Read the map. Same way the person putting the control out does it.

I think your on to something Micheal.

Show Profile  nick Posted: 28 September 2009, 3:48 AM  
Possible problem w GPS... You're relying on it to update while you enter & leave the control site. What if it fails to update in those crucial seconds?

To avoid this I think you need some kind of local network, but then you run into the same problem of capital expenditure... though you might gain the advantage of live tracking.

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