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Discussion: World Cup Sprint Cancelled After Punching Problems

in: Orienteering; News

Jun 6, 2015 7:19 PM # 

Today’s World Cup Sprint race in Lysekil, Sweden was unfortunately cancelled due to problems with the touchless punching system. The race was part of the pre-WOC for next years World Championships in Sweden.
Jun 6, 2015 9:11 PM # 
Apparently the units weren't responding correctly. As we know, this means you have to b̶l̶a̶m̶e̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶a̶t̶h̶l̶e̶t̶e̶ void the event.
Jun 7, 2015 1:33 AM # 
A major black eye for this technology...
Jun 7, 2015 1:54 AM # 
Can somebody explain what this Eco mode is?
Jun 7, 2015 4:42 AM # 
It sounds like someone didn't configure them properly.

What's this eco mode? I don't know, it sounds good click the box. Oops...
Jun 7, 2015 5:02 AM # 
Can someone explain why many pairs from the same country had adjacent start times? Can someone explain why the Livesenter for the World Cup Round didn't have any links to the sprint? Can someone explain why the time difference between me and the event seemed to be different to the Norwegian events earlier in the week? Can someone explain why the mens progress results on the IOF live site had the DNF's and some obviously wrong data at the top of the list? Yes yes it was the middle of the night, happy if the joke's on me:-)
Jun 7, 2015 8:04 AM # 
"Some runners had a missing punch but had the correct punch in the backup system, and got a valid result"

I thought this was only possible for Emit touch-free equipment.
Jun 7, 2015 8:10 AM # 
I looked at the SportIdent Air+ instructions for organisers:
It doen't mention "Eco" mode. It says that stations can be operated in "punching" or "timing" mode:
In orienteering Punching Mode is recommended for all controls. SIAC registers the time and
station's code number when it enters the station's radio field. As long as SIAC is within the station's
working range it continuously emits acoustic and visual feedback signals. The feedback signals
from the SIAC confirm that the athlete has successfully recorded a visit to the control.
In Timing Mode the record is stored when the field is at its strongest. When passing a control SIAC
confirms with one short acoustic and visual feedback signal.

I'm guessing that the stations were in Timing Mode.
Jun 7, 2015 8:16 AM # 
They're not using touchfree at Sunday's Middle race. This is apparently a last minute change.
Jun 7, 2015 8:29 AM # 
For what it's worth, I woke up to a lot of correspondence within my IOF circles of the "what on earth's going on here?" variety (without a definitive answer as yet). The system has been used at a number of events without any undue problems - one of the things we look at when making recommendations on the approval of new punching systems is any indication of unusual numbers of mispunches at previous events - so something has clearly gone wrong here which hasn't gone wrong previously.
Jun 7, 2015 9:42 AM # 
Similar thing happenned year ago in Ski O WC. Athletes had to use lots of time and make several attempts to get punch registered. Gear was stored too close together resulting battery drain. And now here programming error. Both are human errors.

So, as I can see there is two options. The first is we simply stop making human errors. Organizers can sleep nights well when we design 100% proof gear, invent never dying batteries and find volunteers never making any errors. That will happen when an aliens invade earth, take over O markets so gear will be powered by alien UFO technology. And all events are organized by aliens. Bulletproof gear and no human errors any longer.

The other option is removing all feedback signals. So if there is any kind of failure athletes will not notice and no-one's time is affected. And we can figure out afterwards what to do with results.

What will happen is the first one, O community will wait for aliens to come and rescue because we are way too fond of beeps and blinks to remove them. So we are getting what we deserve here, no use complaining.
Jun 7, 2015 10:04 AM # 
My guess, and I could be completely wrong cause I haven't looked at any information or anything and have only had limited use with these devices, would be that eco mode is to do with a unit going into 'sleep/standby' mode. That I thought was only possible on the old bsf8 units. So they may have been using a mix of the old units with the new firmware and some of the BS11 unit (the proper sportident air+ units).

I'm with Blair, there has been no problems before so something has to be different this time and that is the only thing I could think of. Cause SI config is pretty simple to program the BS11 units in the right mode.

Once again completely speculating and haven't checked or tested any gear after this issue to see whats happening.
Jun 7, 2015 2:19 PM # 
Bring back pin punching.....
Jun 7, 2015 2:46 PM # 
Except Irish Sprint Champ a month ago won thanks to SIAC problems.
Jun 7, 2015 2:49 PM # 
The Swedish federation website says the misbehaving units were in sleep mode. The instruction PDF linked above talks about sleep mode, just like regular SI, but especially that the working time is only refreshed from a physical punch, not a touchless punch, so it's very important to program the working time to a long time (they recommend 12 hours in the PDF).

In any case, as long as the athlete has to confirm the punch registered from feedback signals, this is guaranteed to happen from time to time. It doesn't matter that the system is "approved". Sooner or later there will be human or equipment error. The athlete will not get the signal and will have to turn around (in front of TV cameras at big events which looks silly).

How hard is it to understand? Remove the responsibility from the athlete that the technology is working.
Jun 7, 2015 7:19 PM # 
Exact same thing at the British Sprint Champs (with Emitag). One unit functioning slowly, lots of DQs, complaint, everyone reinstated. And the sleeping-SI unit at WOC2014, and Bostrom's emit in the Turkey WC. etc. etc. The problem is not the brand, the problem is human error. Yes Blair, something was different: the people.

It's good that they're not blaming the athletes this time. Pressure is now on the organisers to avoid potential problems, just in time for WOC2015. Lucky us :(
Jun 7, 2015 9:04 PM # 
And the sleeping-SI unit at WOC2014, and Bostrom's emit in the Turkey WC.

One of those was organizer error and one was runner error. (In that order.)

Hawkeye, we each had to carry two SIAC sticks, so what they mean is that many people were missing a punch on one or the other but had a complete set between the two. The problem with having two of them is that they both beeped, so you wouldn't know if your "primary" stick had recorded the punch unless you took the time to look at it. When I finished there was a long line of runners who, like me, had punches for all the controls but not all on one stick.
Jun 7, 2015 10:18 PM # 
Agreed, but my point is that in each case the system did not respond as the runner expected it to: this happens with all systems. I'm not so interested in allocating blame as figuring out how to minimise the chances of it causing a problem.

Surely nobody doubts that Tove and Yannick deserved a world cup win. Since its obvious to all of us, why can't it happen?
Jun 8, 2015 1:43 AM # 
While extremely sympathetic, it's not obvious to me that Tove and Yannick deserve the wins. I would have to satisfy myself that everyone close behind had no delays. Even doubts in the mind, eg "oooh I wonder if that beeped."
Jun 8, 2015 3:34 AM # 
So we're attempting to speed up time spent at controls by requiring two SI sticks to make sure it works?
Jun 8, 2015 4:00 AM # 
We could have two SI stations at each control. While one is dozing the other could keep watch.
Jun 8, 2015 5:27 AM # 
Two stations, two sticks and a needle punch. But if any of the holes on the paper are outside the box it's still a DSQ.
Jun 8, 2015 12:54 PM # 
Magnus you forgot the official. To sit there in camo, ready to stop the stations being stolen.
Jun 9, 2015 3:39 AM # 
Oh and the pay-wave terminal. Don't want any delays while you're blazing round the course.
Jun 9, 2015 12:49 PM # 
Just a thought, this may sound daft, but can I suggest we have the original backup system back again.

Back in the day (WOC 1976 for example) the officials manning controls to prevent tampering, noted down the competitors numbers and the time when they punched. The timings were collated and the split times produced later the same day. From memory there were no mispunches and only three or four incorrect splits. I assume WOC 2015 and 2016 will have officials at each control to prevent tampering, so why not go the extra "mile" and get them to double up as the independent backup system. Missed numbers, can be covered by national kit, gender and description. You might need two people for the relays, hand held camera for the second spotter (oops technology?).

Whilst we rely on scores of electronic units and humans we will, like it or not, have the same problems arising. I seem to recall the London Marathon with only the finish time to worry about had/has 2/3 layers of independent timing, namely chip timing, video and stop watches! If as has been proved by trial and error, you can't be certain both the system and backup will work, then you need an independent backup. Just a suggestion.
Jun 9, 2015 1:21 PM # 
An easy independent backup is to just put a camera (or two) shooting video near every control, with a timestamp display. It's 2015, that's cheap and easy, and although you're unlikely to need it, you could reconstruct everything by reviewing the video, along with other potentially interesting information about the unfolding of the race.
Jun 9, 2015 1:32 PM # 
I agree that there needs to be a completely independent backup system at each control. With a backup that's tightly tied to the same technology / system as the primary system it's far too likely that when one goes down so does the other.

At World Cups and World Champs where the importance of minimizing the chance of failure is high enough that measures like what FE and JJ are proposing are feasible and worth the cost. It seems obvious to me now that its been suggested.
Jun 9, 2015 2:22 PM # 
Reitrating: And disable the sound and visual feedbacks so nobody turn back. Are GPS tacks good enough as verification?
Jun 9, 2015 2:51 PM # 
Jun 10, 2015 2:15 AM # 
I wonder if a non-orienteer stumbled across the title to this thread and wonders about fisticuffs? A pity we can't promote the sport with an all-in brawl at the first checkpoint. Which will cause some Australian's to remember (I think) the first sprint prologue National League race at Mt Tarrengower with a mass start and a ridiculous number of elites running a short distance to a poor overwhelmed control!
Jun 10, 2015 2:34 AM # 
Don't we get that at the big night relays?
Jun 10, 2015 2:51 AM # 
Sounds like the last WRC held in Cheviot, minus the fists.
Jun 10, 2015 3:26 AM # 
And plus the money hanging over the gate at the exit from the schoolyard on the way to the first control.
Jun 10, 2015 4:26 AM # 
Cheviot was nothing on Prebuz (Czech 2012). Nothing.
Jun 10, 2015 4:34 AM # 
But anyway the control watcher remark is not a joke, as FE has noted. You wouldn't run an important event in an urban area without baby-sitters surely.
Jun 10, 2015 5:22 AM # 
They will have control over the situation.
Jun 10, 2015 5:24 AM # 
I'm curious to see how this will unfold at the IOF level. Presumably there is a strong will to move towards touchless punching, but that's forcing the issues around rules for electronic punching.

What could happen?

a) Hold off on touchless because "it's not ready yet"?

b) Use touchless, but keep pretending the system can never ever fail. Keep feedback signals and current rules, but implement extra measures to lower failure risk (like running with two sticks, or why not three?). Pray to a higher power that a medal or relay is not decided on live TV with someone having to turn around, or having the whole race canceled for that matter.

c) Use touchless, accept that the concept of feedback signal is flawed and remove it. Adopt more flexible rules to allow cameras and control guards to confirm a runner visited a control. Let the athletes focus on deciding the race without concern for the punching system. Let the organizers relax a bit from guaranteeing perfect operation of the punching system (which is impossible).
Jun 10, 2015 5:37 AM # 
Announce the winners before the race starts based on current world rankings. Saves the hassle of organising one.
Jun 10, 2015 6:38 AM # 
d) use two parallel independent systems, both without feedback. Make one record form longer distance, like 2..3 meters (just ramp up the power a bit) and use that as backup. And make the other record only from 40 cm as of today or use old-school touch system. Allow two backup only incidents for each athlete, so no one gets disqualified for just being sloppy once or twice, but no one can gain advantage by always trying to get backup only. If someone has main punch but no back up it is sign the system was not working properly and you disqualify no-one for that control.

The gear needed has already been used and carried by atheltes for some years in our TV O events (regular emit & emitag) but not with these rules, emitag has been there just for TV as online controls to get live splits on TV screen.
Jun 10, 2015 6:39 AM # 
Today splits times are less important and almost irrelevant, because gps gives better data for analysis and splits can be generated form gps tracks. So for example manned controls with just bicycle bell at control would do, babysitter listening ringing sound as confirmation punching has happened by the book.
Jun 10, 2015 7:06 AM # 
The dinger on my bike bell tends to fly off after a number of rings. I can see this being an issue with your proposal.

So if there is a bike bell and you have to go to it, why not just use SI, which seems to have no issues?
Jun 10, 2015 7:12 AM # 
Brilliant tRicky!
Jun 10, 2015 7:23 AM # 
Good to see the bike bell example made it easy enough to understand the feedback is the main problem here.
Jun 10, 2015 7:43 AM # 
I personally can't see an issue with SI or is it just that we have to progress to faster and faster punching? Maybe in the olden days people said why use electronic at all when manual seems to work but look back on those days now and wonder how it was ever used as long as it was. Maybe if and when touchless gets up and running, we'll look back at SI and laugh. Will touchless progress from being able to sense from 30cm away to 50cm to 1m to 5m etc such as the progression along SI sticks from 1/2 to 1/4 second and so forth?

If as they say the problem is a number of athletes needing to punch in a short space of time, just use multiple units!
Jun 10, 2015 7:54 AM # 
Most of the issues are with old touch systems with feedback. No mater what brand or model, SI or si-air, emittag of old emit with screen (screen used as feedback). Same issues: battery failure, hardware defects, sleep modes, human errors in programming. Resulting punching re-attpempts, disqualifications for not figuring out the sound came from an other unit and so on. Brand is irrelevant.

No progress needed, system already can sense from further away. It is just tuned to 30 cm because you are supposed to actually visit the control and not just run near by.
Jun 10, 2015 9:24 AM # 
Each runner has to pick up a small numbered token at each control and carry it. (1) instant reliable feedback. (2) have to visit control. But a few small issues....
Jun 10, 2015 9:30 AM # 
Good idea Tooms! In Switzerland pre-electronic era they had issues with hunters occasionally moving or stealing controls. I don't believe anyone was ever shot :-)
So at each control they used to scatter the contents of a hole punch pouch. If the flag or punch weren't there, you checked for little paper dots and picked one up if they were there.
Jun 10, 2015 9:32 AM # 
Jagge I still don't get your obsession with no feedback, and what's with the bike bell making your argument clear? As mud!
Jun 10, 2015 10:44 AM # 
simmo, If competitors can't know works the system or not they do just race and punch normally even if there is just dummy plastic boxes. So feedback is the only thing that reveals it, even if it is as simple as bike bell runner and babysitter is supposed to hear -- it bell is dropped of you hunt it from the ground, that's not something competitor is supposed to do.

I have seen plenty of programing errors, failing hardware and drained batteries and buggy software over the years. With feedback systems it has resulted as voided races, disqualifications, fairness issues for some having to use back up system or trying again. No matter what brand. With systems without feedback (most races I participate and all I have been organizing) it has resulted just small annoyances, like having to go to forest to replace dead unit and/or not disqualifying anyone for that control during that time frame. No matter what brand. But like I wrote I do know O community is way too fond of beeping boxes it will not go away, so you don't need to worry.
Jun 10, 2015 10:47 AM # 

So this time it was just a bug in on of the components, not something organizers did wrong.
Jun 10, 2015 11:56 AM # 
Well I'm fond of beeping boxes because before they came on the scene I could look at my control card to check that the punch holes were there (feedback).

If a box beeps, and I have checked the code number then when I return to the finish and someone disqualifies me at least I personally have no doubt that the dq is wrong, even if it eventually stands because organisers trust their equipment too much.

What would you be advocating if electronics never happened and we still had pin punches and control cards?
Jun 10, 2015 1:33 PM # 
I still can remember those days, if you saw pin punch is broken and gone you could turn back without trying to punch and also tell it to your club mates if you happen to meet on the way out so they could join you. It was handy for controls you entered and exited about same route. It was part of the game back then when feedback could not be eliminated that easily. No much point in copying disadvantages of old systems to our new ones if we don't have to.
Jun 10, 2015 2:06 PM # 
Why not take it a step further and eliminate the control flag? Just put a hidden touchless station at the location (with a range of a few meters), and when the competitor arrives, he'll just continue on, knowing that he's been to the right place.
Jun 10, 2015 3:24 PM # 
Uncle JiM:
May be we should just carry a phone
Jun 10, 2015 5:57 PM # 
Touchless punching has made a huge difference in ski orienteering. Now you can pass by a control at speed (30 kph or so) and register it. Much changed from having to stop and insert the SI stick or heaven forbid pin punch. Except when they don't beep and you have to stop, climb back up the hill, and reswipe the box. A source of great anxiety when you should really be focusing on the next control rather than worrying about a DQ.
Jun 10, 2015 6:54 PM # 
voiding this is a massive change to a fundamental principle. It was possible to punch at all the units. It used to be the athletes responsibility to check that this happened, but now, it isn't.

This is a change far beyond one software fault in one system, and is likely to have many unexpected consequences.
Jun 10, 2015 7:18 PM # 
Voiding what? Feedback signals?
Jun 10, 2015 7:23 PM # 
My understanding is there were two other issues aside from the fact that many people were missing punches.

The first is that some (or maybe it was just one) race official started telling athletes to punch after witnessing several people having to turn back and punch. The second is that the incorrectly programmed units were fixed or replaced midway through the race. Both of these create unequal conditions that were within the control of the organizers.

I don't know which of the three issues (bad boxes, replaced boxes, interfering official) were considered important, but it does seem like a verifiable clusterfudge of issues. If it were simply that everyone had to go back and punch the bad boxes after not hearing a beep then the conditions would have been the same for everyone. Maybe they wouldn't have voided then, but I actually have no idea.
Jun 10, 2015 8:39 PM # 
See for the punching systems specs.

There is some ambiguity in the specifications and their application in the rules, for example, 2(f) of the spec requires that "For “touch-free” punching stations, a valid punch shall be guaranteed if the e-card is within a radius of (0.3m) from the unit", so this implies that if it can be shown that an athlete was within the radius, a non-punch is an equipment failure.

Even though SI touch-free equipment is now fully approved, rule 20.5 still discriminates between Emit and SI by specifically referring to SI even though both touch-free systems are functionally equivalent.
Jun 10, 2015 9:03 PM # 
Having no feedback is acceptable if the system works 100%. Are we there yet?
Jun 10, 2015 11:26 PM # 

The whole point is that the system will never ever be 100%. That's precisely why there can't be feedback signal.
Jun 11, 2015 2:02 AM # 

I'm bemused by the idea that confirmation isn't necessary, and any "issues" sorted out later. Hmmm, what if it is ME that has done something wrong, like dropped my stick, not gone close enough, or... I think I still want a confirmation, please.
Jun 11, 2015 2:22 AM # 
Touchless punching has made a huge difference in ski orienteering. Now you can pass by a control at speed (30 kph or so) and register it.

So it's all about being faster then. All athletes had the same issue of having to stop and punch so learning to punch as quickly as possible became an acquired technique.
Jun 11, 2015 4:25 AM # 
But the problem is that the "confirmation" cannot be guaranteed to always work, resulting in significant problems such as canceled World Cups, unfairly DSQed athletes (e.g. Hollie Orr and many many others) and situations that make the sport look ridiculous on live TV (e.g. runners having to turn around).

The current rules are written under the incorrect assumption that the system is always working correctly, and are thus too rigid, blaming the athlete when it's in plain view to everyone that's wrong.

Jagge and I are arguing for an approach to fix all of this:

- The only way to guarantee that an athlete never ever have to turn around is to remove the feedback signals.
- The rules will then have to be relaxed to use other evidence that the athlete visited the control, see c) and d) proposed above in this thread.

This is perfectly feasible to implement at the WOC level today and d) might be feasible also at smaller events.
Jun 11, 2015 7:05 AM # 
I like that pi. There's a rigid thought process at the moment that needs the process to be approached from a different perspective, not necessarily trying to fix something that can't be 100% fixed in the way that's traditional.

A challenge that will perhaps present is athletes will pass by a control at speed, maybe not quite 30kph, more like 20kph at best, and perhaps not try all that hard to be within 300mm (or whatever it is/will be) thinking they're safe under an assumption of 'it'll all work out ok'.

I don't even think that's a big problem - the greater good is less screwing around with technical minutiae and easier to conduct / market events.
Jun 11, 2015 7:22 AM # 
And how close do you have to pass by the control to be considered having visited it?

Because whatever limit you impose, there will immediately be a marginal situation involving a high profile race where someone says someone else went past 2cm outside that limit and should be DSQ. What are you going to do then, review the video footage and analyse whether their footfalls were within some arbitrary boundary? Ask the control guard if they remember the runner going past "close enough"?

We're clearly not talking about minor events here - control guards and video footage are ridiculous for anything less than a WOC-level event. I don't see why this touchless thing is being used at all, if its only purpose is to allow runners to run straight past controls without having to slow down. Who's to say they even saw the damn thing?

The only way to guarantee that an athlete never ever have to turn around is to remove the feedback signals.

No, the only way is for the athlete to slow down enough to ensure that they have punched correctly in the first bloody place.
Jun 11, 2015 7:56 AM # 
Slightly off-topic... it is forbidden to cross uncrossable fences in sprint, and it is forbidden to stick your arm through to punch... now say the control is within 30cm of the fence... is there a rule... ?
Jun 11, 2015 8:02 AM # 
I totally agree with Jagge and pi. The decision was taken by IOF when electronic punching came in to make the punching rule much stricter and rely absolutely on the technology (no checking of the control brick, no acceptance of other evidence). Its worked most of the time, but has had some horrific errors (Holly Orr, Ross Morrison and many many others). As far as I was told by the powers that be this was for TV, so that a result could be declared as soon as the last finisher in the Red Group crossed the line. Now this ultra-reliance on technology has resulted in a whole race being cancelled, not just one or two runners affected who can be ignored - maybe time for a change?
Jun 11, 2015 8:16 AM # 
The main advantage of touchless is to avoid a scrum at relays when everyone is punching at once. Or having multiple boxes at different speeds, which previously was the runners problem, but now is the organisers. A serious sprint relay really does need touchless.

But it does open new problems, particularly in a relay sprint finish where it is impossible for the runner to determine the fastest line through the last control.
If someone only goes within 2m of the control*, in full view of everyone then what?

Do you DQ them because they obviously didn't punch correctly?
Do you allow them because they obviously found the control?
Or do you decide the race based on what range the organisers set that day?

Feedback sort of helps, because a runner can at least check if they're legal (and go back if not, ridiculous as that will look on TV).

* Which may be the difference between winning and losing...

@ndobbs Its illegal in the UK. You have to "go to the control" as well as punch it. For this and other reasons I try never to use uncrossable fences as controls if they can be accessed from both sides.
Jun 11, 2015 8:23 AM # 
I'd say last control issues of relays and other fist in finish races can and should be solved by using these arch or other similar approaches and making sure everybody knows it is enough if you run trough the arch or whatever gate. It can't be that difficult to solve that issue really.
Jun 11, 2015 8:34 AM # 
Inflatable archways (gates) at every control - must pass through, like in swimming or paddling events? :-)
Jun 11, 2015 8:35 AM # 
pi and O-ing: you can't use Holly Orr as an example to support no feedback, because she was ruled out DESPITE the feedback that everybody heard on the video. There was a system fault that caused her punch not to be registered - nothing whatsoever to do with the presence or absence of feedback. Would she have been reinstated if feedback was eliminated - I doubt it.

Why assume that a runner turning round will look ridiculous on tv? I reckon it would actually add a bit of interest for both the commentator and viewer. We all love to watch crashes in cycling races, slow wheel changes in F1, Hawkeye at the tennis, disallowed goals in soccer, etc.
Jun 11, 2015 9:03 AM # 
Simmo - what I actually disagree with is 100% organisers reliance on the technology. I thought that was pretty obvious from my post. She should have been reinstated: the video evidence was clear and the organisers refused to use it.
Jun 11, 2015 9:06 AM # 
The organisers didn't refuse to do anything, it was surely an independant jury (no doubt under pressure from the IOF)
Jun 11, 2015 9:18 AM # 
should be solved by using these arch
Apparently that looks really stupid on TV...
Jun 11, 2015 9:19 AM # 
"Organisers" = organisers + jury + IOF Foot Commission and various other entities constituting those who have some power and influence over the results.

Any other words need defining?

" a word means what I take it to mean, no more and no less"
Jun 11, 2015 9:40 AM # 
Juffy. BS11 Blue units have a range of 1.2m (generally will go closer to 1.5m) and the BL11 units have a range of 3m ( one again will go longer than that.). They used to produce a BS11 red unit that had a range of 60cm. That has now been discontinued with the introduction of the new firmware which allows BSF7/8 units to have a guarantee punching range of 30cm (I've tested it and it will go up to 50cm in some directions.)

The problem if you haven't read it was all to do with programming of the BSF7/8 units. New use of old equipment means problems bound to happen if not completely checked and tested. Unfortunately it happened at world cups. My guess is that we won't see another problem as big as that one for a while.

The sportident air+ gear does work and works well when you program is correctly. It also provides a good experience using it. I found in Italy last year at the WRE that because you didn't have to slow down as much you navigation needed to be even quicker which adds another dimension to the racing.
Jun 11, 2015 9:48 AM # 
you can't use Holly Orr as an example to support no feedback, because she was ruled out DESPITE the feedback that everybody heard on the video

What you and everybody heard was Judith Wyder's feedback. Holly never got feedback because the unit she used was apparently in sleep or malfunctioning.
Jun 11, 2015 10:09 AM # 
@O-ing: Any other words need defining?
The computer system automatically flags someone as DQ... Let's suppose everyone saw them speeding past the control, overtaking a rival to win the relay.
Do you think the download team should quietly reinstate them? Or should they publish a provisional DQ and await a compliant to the organiser?
Without a complaint the organiser can't do anything.
Without a complaint AND a protest the jury can't do anything.

For extra credit, see if you can figure out who the organiser is at WOC2015. Remember, you have to find this person if you want to complain ;)
Jun 11, 2015 10:19 AM # 
Hi Graeme.
I'm not really sure what you are driving at. I'm familiar with the system as it is. What I am saying is that the technology should not be 100% relied on - as is the current practice.
Good luck with everything. WOC is in good hands. ( as long as they are not hog- tied).
Jun 11, 2015 11:44 AM # 
Just don't complain to the IT team at WOC, go and see the 'organiser'!
Jun 11, 2015 11:51 AM # 
One measure of the value of an entertainment is the column-inches, the TV seconds, the blogs, the posts, the talk round the water cooler etc etc. I wonder if IOF has a clever new marketing person..
Jun 11, 2015 11:55 AM # 
The touchless is because of the sprint relay. Another solution is to abandon the format for a time.
Jun 11, 2015 12:10 PM # 
@Toph - no, I get the concept, and what went wrong in this case.

I was replying (without quoting, which was clearly a mistake) to pi's horrible suggestion to remove all feedback and have a camera around to judge whether people have "punched" according to some arbitrary line in the sand.
Jun 11, 2015 12:21 PM # 
So what they are using at the Jukola this weekend. Or is a big brawl better for media exposure?
Jun 11, 2015 12:32 PM # 
We can use touchless punching, remove the feedback, and use a person/camera backup: just require that everyone touch the flag with their hand as they run by. Getting that close should mean a 'punch' registers in the overwhelming majority of cases, and the line for judging whether someone was close enough is much clearer than for some arbitrary distance.
Jun 11, 2015 12:34 PM # 
I would say it would do just fine if two missed punches could be judged by camera/babysitter, but third missing one would be DQ for not trying to get advantage by not punching properly, assuming no malfunctioning gear is found.
Jun 11, 2015 12:41 PM # 
Jukola uses system with no feedback whatsoever but with backup. As usual.

There is rumour there hes been since epunching one Jukola with no broken/dead boxes in forest, but anyway almost all has had at least one and ususally several completely dead boxes in forest. The standard practice has usually been is replacing the box as soon as possible and not disqualifying anyone for that control during the period dead unit is there, not bothering to check backup pin marks for that control.

And result team sleeps nights well because they already know even if they mess everything up badly it all will eventually end up just fine, because runners get no feedback so they will never notice things are messed up. Almost all boxes are already in forest and test runs are made. No need to worry setting times right last minute or anything since there is no clock inside those boxes. the main thing is getting some kind of box out there, no mater what code or works it or not - good if it works, if not it's not a disaster, just minor thing, something they can fix just fine.
Jun 11, 2015 12:47 PM # 
Note, system with no feedback and just arbitrary line in the sand (place card close enough to make it register) has been somewhat happily used tor over decade in Norway and Finland - gear dying every now and then - recently more often for crappy cheap poor quality batteries they put in those cards these days to sell more cards and make more profit. (And no, back up paper does not fall off, just like your shoe laces does not get loose. Because you tape them both).
Jun 11, 2015 1:23 PM # 
@ndobbs "it is forbidden to stick your arm through to punch... now say the control is within 30cm of the fence... is there a rule... ?"

I'm reasonably sure there is, there definitely was such a rule which we were promised was going to be enforced at WC/EOC in Denmark in 2004. In that case there want just fences but also uncrossable hedges - you weren't allowed to punch a control through or over such a hedge...

Of course rules like that never get enforced in Australia, as long as pretty much everyone does it then you'll be OK ;)
Jun 11, 2015 1:39 PM # 
There's a rule about crossing, but what about passing within 30cm, having your swipey thingy go off but technically you haven't crossed ;-)
Jun 11, 2015 2:08 PM # 
I understand the logic of removing the feedback but exactly what would happen when somebody's punch doesn't register? Go back and query the box? review the video footage? That sounds simple enough but the larger the event, the more boxes and/or video you have to retrieve from the forest and review. Maybe this is easier than I envision but I could easily see results not being ready for a day or more. Maybe that isn't so important but.....if it is a high profile event, what will look better, turning around to repunch or needing to wait a day or so for results?
Jun 11, 2015 2:51 PM # 
@tRicky -- I didn't say touchless in skiO was better, I just said it makes a huge difference. More so than when running. Speeds are much higher and flow is now continuous, a big change from having to stop at each control and punch.

Probably more attractive for spectators. Had a final control 2/3 down along the landing of a ski jump in the sprint at Le Fort des Rousses, FR a couple years ago, pretty exciting to blast past it.
Jun 11, 2015 2:57 PM # 
I always thought George was you. Are you related to George Walker?
Jun 11, 2015 3:17 PM # 
George's brother and AP Ken's father...
Jun 11, 2015 3:39 PM # 
He's the skiing one that keeps busting himself.
Jun 11, 2015 6:09 PM # 
But why not an arch, or rather a gate... 2 meters across, with a sensor on both sides? Simple installation--requires only two stakes in the ground. Two runners could pass through, bi-directional. There is redundancy, and no marginal cases. Also, easy to dovetail with the video supplement.
Jun 11, 2015 6:13 PM # 
Right. The "arch" doesn't have to be unsightly, and in a practical sense, it doesn't need to have a top, as there's not any realistic problem with people passing over it at too great an altitude. Basically, the requirement is that your body pass over a line on the ground which is bounded by two posts (maybe with a control marker on the top of each one). There is no ambiguity, no gray area.
Jun 11, 2015 7:19 PM # 
Facinating. Like some sort of..."time portal"
Jun 11, 2015 8:09 PM # 
LoL love your Startrek Post
Jun 11, 2015 8:57 PM # 
Another portal
Jun 11, 2015 9:00 PM # 

Learned two things today.

1. There is an organizer's newsletter from SportIdent. (subscribed)
2. There is new firmware for BSF 7 and 8 units. But I'm going to wait a few weeks until they fix Config +, or something.
Jun 11, 2015 9:51 PM # 
In just over two hours, I'll be in the same room with William Shatner.
Jun 11, 2015 10:56 PM # 
That's like, just over an hour from now!

He's the skiing one that keeps busting himself.

Probably from all the ski jumps and lack of braking at touchless controls :-)
Jun 11, 2015 11:02 PM # 
He's the skiing one that keeps busting himself.

Well, wouldn't it be fair to say that he has also busted himself biking and orienteering?
Jun 11, 2015 11:39 PM # 
The means of busting was not specified. We can all find many and new ways to continue the self-destruction process. That's why we do these great things.
Jun 12, 2015 12:00 AM # 
Ah, touché.
Jun 12, 2015 12:34 AM # 
Stay on-topic Valerie. This thread is touché-less.
Jun 12, 2015 12:54 AM # 
Damn! Another punch out of (my) range.
Jun 12, 2015 1:15 AM # 
So, back to the arch. At the Masters skiO champs in Switz this past January, the finish failed to pick up my passage:

Got an email a month later from the timers. It turns out my garmin 310 that day was on the same wrist as the SI air chip. If within 8 cm of each other, which they were, the garmin can interfere with the SI air sensor. That caused the chip to fail to pick up the finish line plates.

For races where garmins are legal, better make sure you've got them on different wrists from the SI air.
Jun 12, 2015 3:56 AM # 
It's a worry if SI air is suspectible to that sort of interference (although nothing like that showed in the official test events) - even leaving aside something like a Garmin 310 (which wouldn't be legal at events run under IOF competition rules), one could imagine scenarios involving devices which are allowed (e.g. heart rate monitors) or even mandatory (GPS trackers at major international events). Would be interested to know more.
Jun 12, 2015 5:42 AM # 
Well we've already got a combined compass/SI card (probably now superseded by SI Air!). How long before someone comes out with a combined compass/SI Air Card/GPS tracker? That don't interfere with each other!
Jun 12, 2015 5:48 AM # 
Just need a drone to track each participant.
Jun 12, 2015 6:01 AM # 
I agree with jj, everyone will be happy if the punch line is good enough.
Jun 12, 2015 7:07 AM # 
Drones with HD video camera relay for good entertainment value... :P
Jun 12, 2015 7:21 AM # 
@kadley, how can they know this? Does SIAC have a specific Garmin error-code?

Does SI inform IOF of all the known causes of failure?

Btw, I do think touch-free is fantastic (though touch the flag would be a reasonable rule); it feels much closer to true orienteering, not having to stop at controls.
Jun 12, 2015 7:51 AM # 
What is the definition of "true orienteering"?
Jun 12, 2015 8:00 AM # 
Touching the point can be seen part of this true point-to-point orienteering. But not waiting for computers to communicate and do calculations or runners having to solve one piece puzzle at every control.
Jun 12, 2015 8:57 AM # 
I understand the logic of removing the feedback but exactly what would happen when somebody's punch doesn't register?

In case with electronic back-up (the one registering within ~2m radius, for example ones mentioned here) the backup data comes into play, if it has registered and this is the only punch not registered you are qualified without questions asked, automatically. If you have more that two missing you will be disqualified for not trying to punch properly, unless they know controls are broken for no-one getting their punches registered there.

If there is no electronic back up and you have only one or two missing, they will have to check back-up babysitters. If there is more than two you are disqualified without having to study backups. You can protest and your card can be examined and if it is dead and not registering, those backups may need to be checked for missing controls, especially if broken card is not your own personal one under your own responsibility (hardly never the case at WOC).

Like there is model map there should be model controls with feedback turned on for making it possible to figure out and getting used to the time needed to get punches registered.
Jun 12, 2015 12:00 PM # 
@ndobbs, the IT team was concerned with the failure we encountered and apparently did some tests. I got the impression their experiments found the 8 cm "sphere of influence".
Jun 12, 2015 12:06 PM # 
Garmin Ant uses 2.4Ghz for its communication to the heart rate strap. SI Air also uses 2.4Ghz using a TI CC2500 chip for the touch free communication with the new dedicated boxes, and the same chip as is in a SI10 and SI11 for regular punching, and I think punching touch free with the old boxes (Haven't been able to verify how they are doing the touch free punching with the legacy equipment) If you don't do things right, its easy to have interference problems on 2.4Ghz. But if the garmin interferes, what about other much stronger 2.4Ghz noise sources. Can I point a Yagi at the control and DQ someone?
Jun 12, 2015 3:20 PM # 
I wasn't in position to get a selfie, but I really did see Shatner last night.
Jun 12, 2015 3:50 PM # 
Looks like the other man (Gorn?) is punching with regular SI.
Jun 12, 2015 4:44 PM # 
...and of course there´s also video to confirm (if that can be used according to rules?)...
Jun 12, 2015 4:45 PM # 
Ha! Stupid Gorn. I don't think Air has been used at Vasquez yet.
Jun 12, 2015 4:49 PM # 
From the image it looks like Shatner is more than 30cm away.
Jun 12, 2015 4:50 PM # 
Not his forking?
Jun 12, 2015 5:01 PM # 
Dave and Heidi (QOC) have a Gorn Christmas tree ornament - among a whole tree of trek ornaments. The sound is awesome.
Jun 12, 2015 10:10 PM # 
SI Air+ still uses 125KHz for Touchless punching. 2.4Ghz is used just for the feedback signal.
Jun 13, 2015 1:11 AM # 
Hey enough of this technical talk Edward and Phillip, my head ... is sore.
Jun 13, 2015 5:27 AM # 
Air may not ave been used at Vasquez yet, but some serious punching problems has been recorded there with video cameras.

This discussion thread is closed.