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Remote Live Tracking of Competitors

Show Profile  Bryan Posted: 29 September 2009, 12:21 AM  
Why not use the old and the new? GPS is not quite there yet for electronic punching but it does provide a lot more than Sportident and Emit in terms of live tracking and analysis of routes and it does provide reasonably accurate points in space and time. To get around the requirement of ensuring that competitors visit the controls we could go back to using clip cards and punches. Some software could be built to take GPS tracks overlayed with course and control points and calculate times between controls based on interpolation from GPS points near each control.

Show Profile  Michael Posted: 29 September 2009, 4:45 AM  
Right on Bryan. I was thinking we would still have a flag. And a clipper could provide both "how close is close enough" and the manual backup that is required by our rules.

So to do some experiments, is there an IT student who can write a rough and ready piece of software to take a series of waypoints and a track (GPX format) and decide whether the track goes past the points within a settable margin and produce a set of splits? I emphasise not production software with all oddities catered for, just "proof-of-concept" stuff.

Show Profile  Greig Posted: 29 September 2009, 4:58 AM  
I suggest you send Smithson an email and see if you can try and persuade him. Otherwise Stu is lazing about in UK and might be persuaded.

Show Profile  pcbrent Posted: 29 September 2009, 5:03 AM  
Produce an SI stick that has a built in GPS tracker.

Show Profile  Bryan Posted: 29 September 2009, 7:07 AM  
I'm just writing software for the map portal at the moment so loading stuff into Google is very fresh. The map portal could be extended to load in GPS routes, map image overlays, and courses - all of this stuff is basically free and pretty much part of the standard API that comes with Google Earth and Google maps.

You could have a SI stick with a GPS tracker but there are many clubs who don't have the money to pay for a SI setup (and ongoing costs) and this method may provide a cost-effective solution for clubs. And competitors that don't want to pay for a GPS or hire one don't need to.

I'm happy to experiment with waypoints, tracks to produce a set of splits. What I would require is a sample GPS route on a course, a sample course or OCAD map, and a corresponding set of SI split times for reference. Anyone who has some?

Does anyone know the cost of purchasing a simple portale GPS (with no display - only a logger type of unit)? In it was mentioned that it was about the same price as a SI card, and half the price of O shoes or a good compass.

Show Profile  Greg Posted: 29 September 2009, 7:35 AM  
Bryan, I think you should look at QuickRoute, most of what you say could be done, has been done

Its an awesome program, with buttons to export automatically to Google Earth (with map and route overlay) and also to a DOMA (Digital Orienteering Map Archive)

Show Profile  Bryan Posted: 29 September 2009, 8:10 AM  
Good to see it already done. Now all we need is something to calculate split times based on GPS data. Had a look at cost of GPS loggers and they are pretty reasonable ($70-$200).

Show Profile  Michael Posted: 29 September 2009, 11:22 AM  
Greg could you confirm my impression: QuickRoute is a display tool but doesn't determine whether a given track passes "close enough" to nominated control points?

Bryan, tracks and points coming up. Just got a little hiccup: OCAD "export GPX" is producing files that Garmin Mapsource won't open. Anyone else exported GPX from OCAD 10?

Show Profile  Greg Posted: 29 September 2009, 11:45 AM  
Michael the problem is that you have to move your route around on the map to match it up, unless the map is pre referenced in say google earth and your route is exported into that. The accuracy is not the best sometimes either, with some 'lost' data here and there

Show Profile  Michael Posted: 29 September 2009, 12:09 PM  
Thanks Greg. I've got a map which is georeferenced in OCAD, so the controls can in principle be exported as GPX which avoids the need to do any "matching". Cos its the same coordinate system as the runner's route. GPX input works fine, just need to get GPX output going.

Show Profile  mark Posted: 29 September 2009, 1:45 PM  
GPX files are just XML.
You can open the GPX file in a text editor and compare it to a Mapsource GPX file to find out why it doesn't work in Mapsource.

Show Profile  Michael Posted: 29 September 2009, 2:44 PM  
Thanks Mark, I've done that and the OCAD-produced file lacks many of the tags that the Mapsource-produced ones have. Presumably many of them are optional - can I send a file to you to look at? Email me michael dot wood at mapsport

Show Profile  Keith Posted: 29 September 2009, 11:21 PM  
There was some nice looking OCAD GPS data loggers on sale at the swiss for about $40 NZD I think, Wayne Gray bought one, I use a garmin 405 and quickroute - as do a lot of peeple on this side of the world.

Hopefully the british federation doesn't ban them, good to see the sensible swedes specifcally allow them now.

With regards to accuracy, they tend to be pretty accurate in open areas. eg (hilarous error)
you should be able to align them with just a couple of points, but it normally takes nearly every control, to get it spot on. But in steep sided areas (eg valleys, london city), when you can only see a fraction of the sky, they are really inaccurate, and drop out, completly.

Show Profile  fraser Posted: 1 October 2009, 5:28 AM  
Michael, you need to start a new thread if you want to talk about GPS tracking, this one is for "Live Tracking".

Seriously though, this GPS for NZ$140 from torpedo7 sounds good enough.

Any other recommendations?

Show Profile  Michael Posted: 1 October 2009, 6:07 AM  
Absolutely right Fraser. Shall we call it "Dead Tracking of Orienteers"?

Your GPS is TOO good - it has a screen! Ideally it would just be a black box incapable of giving information to the carrier.

Just sent controls and a track from an actual event off to Bryan.

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