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Show Profile  Michael Posted: 28 March 2019, 2:10 AM  
A place to discuss use of this phone app in NZ. I'm thinking about technical issues but we'll see where it goes. The NZ pioneer is Orienteering Waikato. Orienteering Hutt Valley has begun. Be good to know who else.

Show Profile  Michael Posted: 28 March 2019, 2:22 AM  
A problem with the app going to sleep. There's a "do you want to resume" message but when its in an armband or a backpack that's not always noticed. Peter E recommended forcing the app to run in the background, but I cant find how - Google is all about how to STOP apps running in the background. May have a partial fix by putting display timeout up to max but I see it has reset itself to 1min. I'm on Android 5.1.1.

Show Profile  Michael Posted: 28 March 2019, 2:29 AM  
A successful test in regrowth native bush. Control coords from a well-georefd map. Only two mobiles so far. But other tests in the open show that some mobiles are just hopeless even in favourable conditions. What's your experience Waikato?

Show Profile  Michael Posted: 9 April 2019, 3:28 AM  
Problems (using Edge) with the links to "Leaderboard" and "Time Splits". Developer is investigating. In the meantime use another browser.

Show Profile  Michael Posted: 14 April 2019, 3:29 PM  
The MapRun issue with Edge has been fixed.

Had a more extensive test in low native bush today. A few cellphones are hopeless but the majority of the 15 used produced reasonable tracks and found the controls they went past. Be good to have your views Waikato on the proportion of cellphones that won't work with the app. Have started a list of issues for participants and planners, its at

Show Profile  Rolf Posted: 16 April 2019, 10:45 AM  
Waikato has been busy with WOW (lots of Aucklanders turned up... which was great). We will contribute soon!

Show Profile  Ric Posted: 12 May 2019, 5:36 AM  
Have successfully used MapRun for 2 seasons of Urban rogaines. A big improvement in terms of course setting effort. Controls were set using Google Earth from satellite. Used a single course setter for the series. There were some issues - especially with correctly starting the course for some users. It is important to make sure that the everything is working OK at the start! The idea of having a test course with a single control is a good one.

Show Profile  Ric Posted: 12 May 2019, 5:39 AM  
Used MapRun for our Summer Park orienteering series. There were multiple course setters, and because not all the controls were visible from satellite we got setters to capture coordinates from phones. The success of this was patchy - obviously some phones were better at this than others. We need to come up with a better system for this use case.

Have successfully used it to set and test controls in dense bush (Hakarimatas). But only tested with a couple of phones.

Show Profile  Michael Posted: 21 May 2019, 5:10 AM  
Used for 3hr MTB rogaine in flat lifestyle terrain, 21 out of 29 teams used the app. Results at show whether the app was used (A after the score) or paper question-and-answer sheets (P). 3 teams had trouble and continued on paper (points from both A and P). Some teams had more than one phone going, with the same or different results:-)) Plenty of data on the MapRun website to analyse though maybe we need to know the phone type and OS level to draw any conclusions. Do later phones have better success? The event is called "Kapiti Crews Mk3 Main46 etc".

Show Profile  Rolf Posted: 22 May 2019, 1:41 PM  
Lengthy discussion at O Waikato committee meeting about our first series using MapRunners for linear orienteering.
(Note that for our Urban Rogaines... there is no debate that it is a huge success.)

We used it for 6 park/campus events in Feb/March 2019. All controls registered on MapRunners and small flags put at control locations (etiquette was that runners touched the flag... of course if their phone had already beeped there is nothing to ensure they touch it)

Ease of registration.
Tracking for everyone (routegadget)
Instant results.
Ease of technical operation on day. No SI / computer gear required.
No risk of lost or damaged SI gear.
Removes the need for IT /SI expertise on the day.
Some 5-10% of users experience some frustration with controls taking time to register on phone.
Time to manually gather the GPS co-ordinates for all courses ... and then after loading into MapRunners do a test run.
Risk of misalignment of physical control location with GPS co-ordinates.

Our decision for 2020?
The Pro's outweight the cons. We will continue with it, but will make one major change.
MapRunners will only register Start, Control 1 and Finish.
All other controls just require a touch and the event organisers can do a check after the event on the routegadget to see if anyone missed a control. Thus DSQ's will happen later. (a bit like the old days when clip cards were checked!)

Why control 1? because MapRunners will not activate the finish option until a competitor has been to 1 control! Also: it is good for competitors to check that the app is running properly.

We think this will give the best of both worlds and continue to allow us to have events that are easy to organise.

Show Profile  Rolf Posted: 22 May 2019, 2:53 PM  
Perhaps I should add the following.

An important issue is getting the correct GPS co-ordinates loaded into MapRunners.
If the controls are all visible from Satellite view then this is an easy process via Google Earth. This works well for 'street' type events. (ie urban rogaines)

For events where the control may be under canopy, then unless you are super confident of the georeferencing of your map features, we found it best if the course setter gathered the co-ordinates of the checkpoint. This however, was fairly laborious and error prone for novice course setters.

Show Profile  Michael Posted: 23 May 2019, 5:55 AM  
The one-control course wouldn’t have worked a week ago:-)) For our last event the demo course wouldn’t load. The developer found a bug in one-control courses, he didn’t say how long it had been there. He first suggested that two or more controls were working (we could use a two-control demo) but then he fixed it just in time.

Looks like we have to accept a small proportion of phones are not up to it, though perhaps it will improve over time. I’m not over hopeful though, the accuracy of consumer-level GPS handhelds and watches has remained about the same for a decade. Gossip is that they could make them more accurate, but marketing reasons drive them towards reducing size (including aerial size) and increasing battery life. Would like to get a handle on which phones are likely to have problems.

Show Profile  Rolf Posted: 2 June 2019, 4:20 AM  
A few points.
1) MapRun is considering adding an admin feature so that the GPS tolerance can be adjusted. Currently it is set to 10m, but the club administrator could adjust to 20 or even 30 meters. This would lower the instance where competitors run up to control but it does not register until they run around a bit. The down side is that the control may activate a fair distance from the control (ie the runner never gets to the control). From an organisational aspect it could mean that GPS locations could be derived from the O map even if the georeferencing is not perfect.

ALso note that MapRunners have created this useful link

It allows you to see any controls outside the set distance allowed (currently 10m) but within some other distance. ie Bob got within 16m of the control, but did not get the control as he didn't get close enough.

Show Profile  Rolf Posted: 2 June 2019, 4:23 AM  
Some other notes from Peter at MapRunners about the problem of getting good GPS co-ordinates..

"..... if you want to be sure it’s going to work (without having to go out into the field for checking) using the existing version of the App, use features you can see in Google Earth.

So, if orienteering is meant to be about the LEGS and not about the CONTROLS, I think you can achieve pretty much the same LEGS as the course planner wanted, and use GPS-friendly controls – by moving controls to features you can see.

....... and I don’t think this really changes the inherent navigational challenge of the leg

I know some course planners like to make it a challenge to find a control within the circle – hidden in low-visibility vegetation – And that can be valid – but I don’t think that is the essence of orienteering (and it certainly doesn’t work for GPS-based orienteering – as one side of a tree trunk vs the other, is the same location for a GPS)
I think the aim should be to set interesting navigational challenges by selecting LEGS – and then finding an appropriate feature for each end - but not making it a search for controls"

Show Profile  Rolf Posted: 2 June 2019, 4:26 AM  
With regard the above comments from Peter.
I think this technology works brilliantly if you adapt the style of the event to suit it.
It will struggle to be effective for tricky sprint Orienteering where controls are tucked into tiny alcoves or similar.
It works well for open terrain with fairly obvious control features.
If you want to have control feature under canopy, then you would need to get organised to gather the GPS co-ordinates ... or be sure your map is very well geo referenced.

Show Profile  Michael Posted: 3 June 2019, 12:59 PM  
A good summary Rolf. Could I add that (apart from the trickiness of control sites and possible influence of buildings and trees on GPS reception) there is the simple influence of map SCALE.

A rough assessment of cellphone wrist and handheld GPS accuracy is "5-10m with occasional flights of fancy out to 50m". The tramper with a 1:50,000 map will not see much error simply because 5-10m is less than the thickness of a track line. The orienteer with a 1:10,000 map who goes up and down the same track will see the GPS traces vary by 1mm (or 2 if they are are unlucky and the errors are opposite). The sprint orienteer with a 1:4,000 map could see the GPS traces vary by 2.5mm or even 5. (Hope I've got the decimal point in the right place but nevertheless think about the principle:-))

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