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Remote Live Tracking of Competitors

Show Profile  Martin Posted: 13 October 2009, 10:05 AM  
Interesting experiment Bryan, we have developed a few different algorithms at work to process GPS data from cars to record travel time and speed between various points on roads.

Show Profile  Michael Posted: 15 October 2009, 8:19 AM  
I have discovered that in gliding they use the GPS track in the way we are talking about. The control is a circle around the control point. To "visit" a control you have to get a GPS track point inside the circle, or the line between two successive track points passing thru the circle.

Show Profile  Bryan Posted: 15 October 2009, 8:53 AM  
That sounds like the way of the future to me where you don't have to put out controls - just establish an accurate control point beforehand with the course planner's GPS and the competitors at the event have to visit the 'circle'.

I'm all for this (if the technology is accurate enough) as I've done too many lugging of controls with nasty edges up and down steep hills and having nightmares that I might get skewered with one.

Show Profile  Greg Posted: 15 October 2009, 9:31 AM  
Sounds exactly like adventure racing "controls" and how often do they get those right??

Show Profile  AllanJ Posted: 15 October 2009, 11:10 AM  
All this stuff about not putting out controls in the future seems to be a load of rubbish and will deter people in the long run from participating. No controls is fine for elites but what about Joe Average. They'll continually be disqualified because where they thought they were wasn't and will leave the sport sooner rather than later.

Show Profile  addison Posted: 15 October 2009, 1:26 PM  
I think they are talking about just putting a flag out Allan rather than having to (a) spend a whole heap of money on sport ident and its ongoing cost and (b) not having to carry heavy(ish) control stands everywhere

Show Profile  AllanJ Posted: 15 October 2009, 1:53 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.
"where you don't have to put out controls"

Implies no controls/flags - will still need to carry heavy(ish)stands out to hang flags on if being used. Also, how do you know the GPS is working/recording? And clubs will still have to invest money in GPS units (although not as much) for everyone who doesn't have their own - same as for SI now.

Show Profile  nick Posted: 15 October 2009, 2:17 PM  
Sorry to diverge from GPS tracking but - just out of interest:

Is there any reason that the power source has to be at the control (eg: with SI) instead of on the competitor?

Is it possible to run an SI style system but where the competitor carries the battery? I'm imagining control stands with a permanently attached dumb ID tag which is "activated" by a competitor's battery powered, unique numbered electronic recorder (worn like a watch perhaps?).

If this is possible, would such a system offer reduced capital & maintenance cost to clubs?

Show Profile  Michael Posted: 15 October 2009, 3:51 PM  
It's a tempting thought isn't it? If the expensive bit was owned by the competitor they would pay for it (at least regulars would), monitor the battery usage, look after it and probably wouldn't leave it unattended anywhere. I wonder if the reasons for the design were technical or marketing?

I believe that the Emit system has a different division of function between the competitor and the control units.

BTW I'm not advocating the totally invisible control, except in special circumstances such as experimentation. The first afterwork rogaines used virtual controls and you scored yourself on an honesty system. But it was apparent that the less capable navigators "thought" they were at come controls when they were not, and we moved over to question and answer.

Another special circumstance might be a type of orienteering where GPS's are specifically allowed. Jan Kocbach at (with help from Richard Hensby of PAPO) has been doing some work on putting OCAD maps onto GPSs. I thought the interest in this was for mappers, but it turns out than Jan has been using GPSs as a teaching aid for kids. But normally I would think we'll continue to have at least a marker at the control.

Show Profile  Bryan Posted: 16 October 2009, 12:19 AM  
Maybe a 'load of rubbish' but the idea bears thinking about. Anything to lesson the load of an organiser I'm all for.

Not just 'Joe Average' but all elites have trouble and almost on every course will think 'I was lucky at that control' because they caught sight of the control from far away or came upon the control in surprise when they didn't know exactly where they were.

There is some appeal in the notion of going 'naked' with the bush and forest leaving no footprint with no flags placed out and the bush stays 'virgin'.

Technology could help in this respect by competitors having a GPS watch which beaps when they have found a virtual control. (Of course it won't tell where the next control is or in which direction). It could also help ensure that competitors don't skip a control or do a control out of order.

Show Profile  Greg Posted: 16 October 2009, 12:36 AM  
Yes Nick its call Emit

Show Profile  Greg Posted: 16 October 2009, 12:40 AM  
Lets make the experience and quality more shit just to lessen the load of 1 person, which there in-lies the problem, far too many organisers try to do everything themselves, would it be better to have 2-3 more people from the local area helping put out controls than some grumpy old prick complaining about his sore back

Show Profile  Bryan Posted: 16 October 2009, 1:22 AM  
Ahh, I despair sometimes with people who go through life offering no constructive criticism and continually denigrate, castigate, knock everything or swear all the time.

They just end up grumpy with no joy to life like a cancer eating away. They should turn their life around and be positive instead of negative and they will be happier for it. Life is too short and I want to be creative rather than destructive so I usually ignore
these people.

Such a lot of vitriol and diatribe in one sentence belittles you Greg. Really what a proliferation of pernicious trivia.

To everyone else, I organise everything myself because I like it
and because there is noone else to help. I have rarely been grumpy
and I'm not a old prick and I don't have a sore back.

My idea offers the possibility of increasing the experience and making the quality of orienteering better for competitors. Let's discuss it sensibly.

Show Profile  Greg Posted: 16 October 2009, 2:54 AM  
It always amazes me how personally people take comments on Maptalk, you know what you are going to get so why look if you are so sensitive, (which is probably why I keep posting because replies like that send me into hysterics) plus tell me when I directed the grumpy old prick comment at anyone in particular?

Constructive - lets look back over my posting; saying "Ask for help" something a lot of orienteers dont do when organising events, which leads to 'burnout', stress, and a shit job (some of the time). Which leaves us with less and less organisers and people excited about doing something for our sport; Taking away grumpy old pricks, thats a massive constructive comment that would help orienteering out hugely.

Your idea does not "offer the possibility of increasing the experience and making the quality of orienteering better" it offers the possibility of changing the sport to accommodate thoughts of not wanting to do more jobs (by yourself as you like it that way apparently) and as Simon pointed out, taking the reliance of Sport Ident away (mainly because orienteers are also tight wads and dont wont to spend any money)

Show Profile  Bryan Posted: 16 October 2009, 4:28 AM  
Greg, you seem to like getting a rise out of people and you go out of your way to word your posts in such a negative and pernicious way.

'send me into hysterics' indicates to me you get enjoyment out of it. Each one to their own kicks - personally I don't have much respect for anyone who lives their life that way as I try to be the opposite.

Yes, I know you did not direct your comment of 'grumpy old prick' to anyone in particular but it's what people could read into it or intimate, or what was impled that I was replying to. From wikipedia: 'In law, defamationalso called calumny, libel (for written words), slander (for spoken words), and vilificationis the communication of a statement that makes a claim, expressly stated or implied to be factual, that may give an individual, group, government or nation a negative image. It is usually, but not always,[1] a requirement that this claim be false and that the publication is communicated to someone other than the person defamed (the claimant).

I'm not overly sensitive - I was trying to teach you (like I try to do with my six year old son) in the forlorn hope you might change your ways. I've seen how other people end up being too bitter and they are not happy.

Statements like 'orienteers are also tight wads' are emotive and
generalised. There are many clubs in New Zealand who cannot afford

As part of my job, I'm continually trying to improve things and find ways to make life easier. Yes, my idea will make planning easier and may mean more people might plan courses - that's a good thing as long as it doesn't detract from the 'experience and quality'. To my
mind having a beep when you find the virtual control would be the same experience as finding a little orange and white marker. You obviously disagree and you shout out your disagreement in your inimical way.

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