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Remote Live Tracking of Competitors

Show Profile  The Map Guy Posted: 16 October 2009, 5:43 AM  
You guys are off the topic.

BTW Greg not "all orienteers are also tight wads and dont want to spend any money". Orienteering is starting to become a very expensive sport to participate in. This is the main reason why I after 30+ years in the sport rarely attend any events.

Show Profile  rob.g Posted: 16 October 2009, 6:32 AM  

You'd better not try any other sports.

Orienteering is by far the cheapest sport I know of.

Show Profile  The Map Guy Posted: 16 October 2009, 8:33 AM  
It may well be, but why isn't the membership significantly increasing as the population is growing? 'Pay and Play' suits many people who have limited time, but they probably don't do it week in and week out all round the country as many orienteers do (or used to). It requires a healthy income to feed this sort of habit.

Anyway, this has nothing to do with the topic.

Show Profile  Greig Posted: 16 October 2009, 9:38 AM  
Not having a flag changes orienteering for me, I wouldn't enjoy it as much if I was waiting for a beep from a GPS unit. Try playing catching features with the flags hidden. It sucks compared to being able to see them, you even get the beep so it would be exactly like you propose. Sadly most responses to courses like this are similar to mine.

I'm not against the GPS idea just the no flag suggestion.

On another note how about cellphone/digital cameras and taking a picture of a barcode/QR code/picture. Then the pics can be used as proof you went there. Almost all pics are time stamped to show when they were taken so that would give you splits. Not quite as automated as GPS but almost everyone has a camera or cellphone with a camera built in. Maybe this is an option for Michael's not events, the honesty system could still be used but no one has to carry round a pen and paper, just a camera instead.

Show Profile  Michael Posted: 16 October 2009, 11:38 AM  
Good idea, the gliders used cameras before GPS came in. Another time/place stamp is a till receipt, could work well for an urban rogaine with controls in cafes...

Show Profile  mark Posted: 16 October 2009, 2:27 PM  
Harriers is cheaper than orienteering.

Show Profile  leepback Posted: 21 October 2009, 5:17 AM  
I think you lot are way ahead of us over here in OZ.

Like Greg I do not actually like the "no flags" idea and the beep only confirmation rules out deaf orienteers, but it's good to see this sort of dialogue and experimentation and who knows what may eventuate from it.

As per competitors carrying GPS devices I must warn you that if they are anything like me they will either forget to bring it, forget to charge the batteries, or even forget to start or stop it at the appropriate time. I've managed to do all those things and I've only had my Garmin 405 about 6 weeks.

How expensive (and reliable) are those tracking systems used in Euro/Scando where thay must use some sort of triangulation from ground based units. My interest in this is from a safety point of view and knowing where a lost/late competitor maybe although I suppose they could go completly out of range of the triangulation devices but then at least you know where they aint.

Show Profile  Michael Posted: 22 October 2009, 1:02 AM  
Dunno, but my feeling is that the potential comes from the increasing use of "ordinary" gps trackers developed for business and personal use, so that we don't have to depend on one or two suppliers to a specialised market. And we hope that the wider market will encourage and enable the investment in greater accuracy. Can you remember when only a few people had a cellphone - that's where we are with gps at the moment. Of course that doesn't preclude the back-end of the technology from taking off in a different direction, but we'll still have a device that logs "you are here, and the time is..."

Show Profile  nick Posted: 22 October 2009, 6:55 AM  
Whats the history here? Why DO we use the SI system in NZ?

Does anyone know, off the top of their head, about the price comparison (for club and competitor) between SI and Emit?

Leepback mentioned tracking systems used by Euros/Scandis - is this GPS technology, or something else, like a cell-phone mini-network?

Show Profile  Casser Posted: 22 October 2009, 1:56 PM  
Here's a link to a short description of how it is done by the tracking company tractrac.....

On their main page one can have a look at the events that use the tracking - mostly sailing seem to have the money to pay for the tracking but they also cover multisport events and every now and then orienteering - like the world games.

Show Profile  Jagge Posted: 22 October 2009, 4:10 PM  
All orienteering tracking systems I have seen uses GPS technology.

Note, route gadget has these days functionality for live tracking. We have been testing it for two years in Yokuppi night O races in Lahti, Finland. We don't buy any equipment for it - if someone wants to get tracked he uses his own equipment. We use Nokia cell phones, with internal or external (bluetooth) gps. Many runners already had suitable phone, also many have bought small bluetooth gps loggers for logging regular orientering runs instead of garmin forerunner style wrist gps units (those allowed to be used in WRE races). The same unit can be used for live tracking accompanied with cell phone, so cheaper phone models (wihtout gps) can be used. As usual, anyone can download and set it up and try/use it, you just need to have suitable phone for it. Needs some skills/time and experimenting to make it work of course. Our next session will be next wedneday 18 Finish time, more at attackpoint yokuppi thread. Abut 10-12 runners has equipment now, but usually only 4-6 show up at same event.


One big emit/SI difference is there is no clock inside emit punch unit and you don't have to / can't program units, so no need to make sure all clocks are running same time. You just put them to forest at get them back. And you can put them to forest week before a event if you like, no need to worry about clock drifting. Volunteer work saved there and some work can be made earlier, so those last critical hours can be used for making sure everything is right, maps and forkings are ok (instead of working with punch units and setting times at last minute). If you look now at the conversation at swedish forum "alternativet" there is the usual dicussion about recent event with two or finish units running different time. Simply can not happen with emit. But not a big deal if you know what you are doing with SI.

Show Profile  Alistair Posted: 22 October 2009, 5:25 PM  
...on the down side for Emit is quality control with regard to timing. Because there isn't a clock in the control-unit there has to be a clock in the brick. These clocks have been shown to be a little unreliable and sometimes run fast/slow or have the incorrect time. It terms of control checking they are fine but any "important" competition should use a seperate timing system.

(note that my opinion is based on analysis a few years ago - maybe Emit have improved their clock technology since then?)

Show Profile  Jagge Posted: 22 October 2009, 6:16 PM  
As far as I know bricks clock is not used for the actual timing anywhere. Internal clock is just for splits. So there is two clocks you need to take care of, one at start and one at finish and usually neither of them is made by Emit.

I don't think I have ever run a race where brick's clock is used for timing. Except some trainings for sure.

(If you like you could even correct splits of drifting emit bricks if you have online punch unit at start - before start, after clear. But i don't think anybody does that, splits are not that important)

Show Profile  Jagge Posted: 22 October 2009, 6:44 PM  
Off topic, but to make it clear - this is how this Emit thing goes here.
- in bigger/important races there is online controls a finish line. Finishing time is taken from computer's clock, start time from database -> result
- small events there is no online control at finish line, it's just a regular punch unit. At download (usually 15..60 secs after finish) computer reads brick and sees how many seconds ago was the finish punch. It has to use brick's clock for that. Finish time stamp is computer clock's time at download minus split from finish punch to download. Start time from database -> result.

So, in lesser events if time from finish punch to download is very long and brick drifts a lot there can be effect on the result. But almost always waiting time is less than minute and clock will have to drift really fast during that time to make real difference - like two seconds. And if it drifts really really lot your splits will be really strange and it will be noticed. But it's true if your brick runs 10% too fast you'll get 6 secs too good time if it takes one minute from finish punch to download. And your splits will be weird, most likely you'll have negative split time to first control and really bad splits after that. So someone will notice it and tell you most likely have 6 sec too good result. This is also why they don't usually let you hang around too long between finish and download.

Show Profile  Keith Posted: 22 October 2009, 10:30 PM  
The only problem with Emit is... it's terrible to use!

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